True World Intelligence News (TWIN)

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U.S. Government to Continue Its War On All Americans

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English: President George W. Bush and Presiden...

English: President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House Monday, November 10, 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clearly, when any government uses the same spying and various surveillance techniques on its own citizens that it uses against hostile foreign military and government officials, then common sense would conclude that such a government is at war with the citizens.

U.S. reasserts need to keep domestic surveillance secret

By Ellen Nakashima,   Published: December 21

The Obama administration Friday reasserted its claim of ­state-secrets privilege to try to block a court from ruling on the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s interception of e-mails and phone calls on U.S. soil without a warrant.

The reassertion of the privilege in two long-running lawsuits comes despite recent disclosures about the NSA’s programs and as President Obama is considering curbs to the NSA’s programs based on recommendations by a review panel he appointed.

“In my judgment, disclosure of still-classified details regarding these intelligence-gathering activities, either directly or indirectly, would seriously compromise, if not destroy, important and vital ongoing intelligence operations,” Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said in a declaration filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California on Friday.

In court filings, the government also acknowledged for the first time that sweeping collections of Americans’ phone and Internet metadata began under the Bush administration, in concert with a program of intercepting phone and e-mail content without warrants — programs that operated for years solely under executive power before being brought under court and congressional oversight. Clapper said in his declaration that President George W. Bush authorized the collection efforts on Oct. 4, 2001, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Despite that declassification, he said, revealing other information about the programs would compromise their effectiveness. The lawsuits are challenging the warrantless surveillance of phone call and e-mail content, and one of them focuses as well on the collection of data on phone calls.

The government is asking the court to dismiss the two cases on grounds that the plaintiffs, Carolyn Jewel and Virginia Shubert, have not proven they were monitored by the NSA’s interception of their phone calls or e-mails. To prove that they were would require disclosure of collection techniques that could cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security, officials said.

Jewel is suing on behalf of all AT&T customers, and Shubert is suing on behalf of all Americans.

“As a matter of course, the NSA cannot publicly confirm or deny whether any individual is or has been subject to intelligence gathering, because to do so would tend to reveal actual targets or subjects,” said Frances J. Fleisch, acting NSA deputy director, in a declaration also filed Friday.

But Cindy Cohn, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing the plaintiffs, said the government’s claim that information about whether they are indiscriminately collecting Americans’ communications is still secret “ridiculous at this point.”

White House to preserve controversial policy on NSA, Cyber Command leadership

By Ellen Nakashima,   Published: December 13

The Obama administration has decided to preserve a controversial arrangement under which a single military official is permitted to direct both the National Security Agency and the military’s cyberwarfare command despite an external review panel’s recommendation against doing so, according to U.S. officials.

The decision by President Obama comes amid signs that the White House is not inclined to place significant new restraints on the NSA’s activities and favors maintaining an agency program that collects data on virtually all phone calls of Americans, although it is likely to impose additional privacy-protection measures.

Some officials, including top U.S. intelligence officials, had argued that the NSA and Cyber Command should be placed under separate leadership to ensure greater accountability and avoid an undue concentration of power.

“Following a thorough interagency review, the administration has decided that keeping the positions of NSA Director and Cyber Command commander together as one, dual-hatted position is the most effective approach to accomplishing both agencies’ missions,” White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in an e-mail to The Washington Post.


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