In a post here, roughly 36 hours ago, I published this piece, “NSA Stories: NYRB Blog Post by GU Law Prof. David Cole, Guardian's Excerpt of Greenwald’s Book,” which, among other topics, focused upon Georgetown University Law School Professor David Cole’s incisive preface, (see: ‘We Kill People Based on Metadata’) of sorts, to his actual review of Glenn Greenwald’s latest book, “No Place to Hide.”
In Tuesday’s edition of the paper—today is the release date of Greenwald’s new book—Cole delivers up his formal review of “No Place to Hide,” and it’s not to be missed. Many of the latest NSA realities reported upon by Greenwald in his new book are among the most powerful bullet-points delivered to date on this story, at least since the public first learned of the name, Edward Snowden, just under a year ago.
UPDATE 5/13/14 9:30AM (EDT):First, a little recap of Cole’s sentiments from just over two days ago…
As of today, Glenn Greenwald’s latest book, “No Place to Hide,” is now available at bookstores and online retailers. Documents related to the publication of it are now available via the following links…
NSA Documents associated with the release of “No Place to Hide.”
(This is, easily, the largest document release from Greenwald, to date. And, some of the new material is downright mind-boggling. It pretty much blows the lid off of the almost-year-long propaganda stream we’ve witnessed from our government since reports first surfaced on this story, early last June.)
Much more from Glenn via THIS LINK.
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Other pertinent links:
Another excerpt from “No Place to Hide,” "Glenn Greenwald: from Martin Luther King to Anonymous, the state targets dissenters not just 'bad guys,'" at The Guardian.
(A closely-related read on this brutally important aspect of the over-arching surveillance state story, from yours truly on April 4th, 2013, is LINKED HERE.)
End of update.
‘We Kill People Based on Metadata’(Bold type is diarist's emphasis.)
New York Review of Books' Blog (NYR Blog)
May 10, 2014
Supporters of the National Security Agency inevitably defend its sweeping collection of phone and Internet records on the ground that it is only collecting so-called “metadata”—who you call, when you call, how long you talk. Since this does not include the actual content of the communications, the threat to privacy is said to be negligible. That argument is profoundly misleading.
Of course knowing the content of a call can be crucial to establishing a particular threat. But metadata alone can provide an extremely detailed picture of a person’s most intimate associations and interests, and it’s actually much easier as a technological matter to search huge amounts of metadata than to listen to millions of phone calls. As NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker has said, “metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content.” When I quoted Baker at a recent debate at Johns Hopkins University, my opponent, General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, called Baker’s comment “absolutely correct,” and raised him one, asserting, “We kill people based on metadata.” ...
...The fact that the USA Freedom Act has achieved such wide-ranging support may be less an indication of its compromises than of a fundamental shift in American views. In July 2013, following the Snowden revelations, the Pew Research Center reported that for the first time since it started asking the question in 2004, more Americans expressed concern that counter-terrorism measures were infringing their civil liberties than worried that the government was not doing enough to keep them safe.
Congress is responsive to such shifts in popular opinion. The question now is whether that new attitude can be translated into more systemic reform, or whether enactment of this bill will placate enough people that the demand for further reform fizzles. If the Senate can pass or even strengthen the USA Freedom Act, as Senator Leahy has said he intends to do, it will be a significant achievement for civil liberties. But the biggest mistake any of us could make would be to conclude that this bill solves the problem.
Much earlier this evening, in a comment I made in another post here, I saw this piece from Cole coming before it was even published at the WaPo’s website, just a couple of hours ago…and sure enough…
‘No Place to Hide’ by Glenn Greenwald, on the NSA’s sweeping(Bold type is diarist’s emphasis.)
efforts to ‘Know it All’
By David Cole
Published: May 12
At a meeting with his British counterparts in 2008, Keith Alexander, then head of the National Security Agency, reportedly asked, “Why can’t we collect all the signals, all the time?” The NSA has since sought to dismiss that remark as a quip taken out of context. In his new book, “No Place to Hide,” Glenn Greenwald, one of three recipients of the voluminous, top-secret material that NSA contractor Edward Snowden chose to leak, uses those documents to prove that this was indeed the agency’s guiding principle.
In one remarkable slide presented at a 2011 meeting of five nations’ intelligence agencies and revealed here for the first time, the NSA described its “collection posture” as “Collect it All,” “Process it All,” “Exploit it All,” “Partner it All,” “Sniff it All” and, ultimately, “Know it All.”
Much has been written about the NSA’s omnivorous appetite for personal data — much of it by Greenwald for the Guardian and other outlets. In his new book, however, he offers a revealing and disturbing overview, illustrated by dozens of reproduced secret documents, of just how far the NSA has gone to achieve Alexander’s vision of collecting and knowing it all. Relying on newly disclosed and already disclosed documents, Greenwald shows that the scope of the NSA’s surveillance not only exceeds our imagination but the agency’s capacity even to store, much less analyze, it all.
In a one-month period last year, for example, a single unit of the NSA, the Global Access Operations unit, collected data on more than 97 billion e-mails and 124 billion phone calls from around the world; more than 3 billion of those calls and e-mails were collected as they passed through the United States. As of 2012, the agency was processing more than 20 billion telecommunications per day. In a single month in 2011, the NSA collected 71 million calls and e-mails from Poland alone — not a major hub of terrorist activity, the last I checked. The NSA has admitted that “it collects far more content than is routinely useful to analysts.” These numbers call to mind Sen. Everett Dirksen’s quip about government spending: “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”
The NSA achieves these ends by working hand in hand with private telecommunications and Internet service providers. One NSA document describes an unnamed corporate partner as “aggressively involved in shaping traffic to run signals of interest past our monitors” and reports that in a single month, this top-secret, public-private partnership yielded more than 6 billion records of telephone calls and Internet activity. Under another program revealed here, the NSA intercepts routers, servers and other network equipment being shipped overseas; installs back-door surveillance bugs; rewraps the packages with factory seals; and sends them on their way, thereby ensuring that the agency will have clandestine access to all information that passes through them.
Other documents describe X-KEYSCORE, the NSA’s most powerful tool, which, as its name implies, enables the agency to track every keystroke on a computer, permitting the agency to monitor in real time all of a user’s e-mail, social-media and Web-browsing activity. In a single month in 2012, X-KEYSCORE collected 41 billion records for one NSA unit. Greenwald contends that this is the program Snowden was referring to when he said that, with an e-mail address, he could tap into any American’s communications. (The NSA has accused Snowden of exaggerating, but the documents suggest that he may be right.)…
All of the above being said, perhaps one of the most Orwellian travesties of the NSA document leaks story is that the folks in Fort Meade are not even the largest domestic wiretapping entity funded by taxpayers these days: “Guardian, Wheeler Revisit ‘Hemisphere’: Massive, Secret U.S. Phone Dragnet Co-Funded by WH.”
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A head's-up from Kossack BOHICA, in the comments...
Tonight on PBS FrontlineTonight, in "United States of Secrets," the first of a two-part look at how this country became such an out-of-control surveillance state, it calls out former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden as a liar's liar. It really, truly, deeply calls him out.Fresh Air had an interview with two NSA analysts, Bill Binney and Kirk Wiebe, from the documentary last night.
Hayden's not alone, he’s just the most obvious liar in tonight’s Part One. And producer/director Michael Kirk is so skilled at building the kind of case he does against those who would shred democracy in the name of what they say is our necessary defense that Hayden is continually shown in an interview acting like he thinks he is getting over with his lies.
Memo to Hayden "You’re not."When stories began to emerge about the U.S. government's massive surveillance of Americans' phone and Internet communications, it was no surprise to a group of analysts who had left the National Security Agency soon after the Sept. 11 attacks. Those analysts, who'd worked on systems to detect terrorist threats, left in part because they saw the NSA embarking on a surveillance program they regarded as unconstitutional and unnecessary.
Two of those analysts, Bill Binney and Kirk Wiebe, are interviewed in a Frontline documentary called , which airs Tuesday night.
Binney was a cryptomathematician who worked as technical director of the NSA's World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group.
Wiebe was a senior analyst who was awarded the NSA's Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the agency's second-highest honor.
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