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Pedro Gonçalves

NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel | World news | The Gu... - 0 views

  • The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.
  • the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis.
  • The deal was reached in principle in March 2009, according to the undated memorandum, which lays out the ground rules for the intelligence sharing.

    The five-page memorandum, termed an agreement between the US and Israeli intelligence agencies "pertaining to the protection of US persons", repeatedly stresses the constitutional rights of Americans to privacy and the need for Israeli intelligence staff to respect these rights.

    But this is undermined by the disclosure that Israel is allowed to receive "raw Sigint" – signal intelligence. The memorandum says: "Raw Sigint includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence metadata and content."

    According to the agreement, the intelligence being shared would not be filtered in advance by NSA analysts to remove US communications. "NSA routinely sends ISNU [the Israeli Sigint National Unit] minimized and unminimized raw collection"

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  • a much stricter rule was set for US government communications found in the raw intelligence. The Israelis were required to "destroy upon recognition" any communication "that is either to or from an official of the US government". Such communications included those of "officials of the executive branch (including the White House, cabinet departments, and independent agencies), the US House of Representatives and Senate (member and staff) and the US federal court system (including, but not limited to, the supreme court)".
  • Although Israel is one of America's closest allies, it is not one of the inner core of countries involved in surveillance sharing with the US - Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. This group is collectively known as Five Eyes.
  • In the top-secret 2013 intelligence community budget request, details of which were disclosed by the Washington Post, Israel is identified alongside Iran and China as a target for US cyberattacks.
  • another report, marked top secret and dated September 2007, states that the relationship, while central to US strategy, has become overwhelmingly one-sided in favor of Israel.
  • In another top-secret document seen by the Guardian, dated 2008, a senior NSA official points out that Israel aggressively spies on the US. "On the one hand, the Israelis are extraordinarily good Sigint partners for us, but on the other, they target us to learn our positions on Middle East problems," the official says. "A NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] ranked them as the third most aggressive intelligence service against the US."
Pedro Gonçalves

Obama orders US to draw up overseas target list for cyber-attacks | World news | guardi... - 0 views

  • The 18-page Presidential Policy Directive 20, issued in October last year but never published, states that what it calls Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO)
  • An intelligence source with extensive knowledge of the National Security Agency's systems told the Guardian the US complaints again China were hypocritical, because America had participated in offensive cyber operations and widespread hacking – breaking into foreign computer systems to mine information.

    Provided anonymity to speak critically about classified practices, the source said: "We hack everyone everywhere. We like to make a distinction between us and the others. But we are in almost every country in the world."

    The US likes to haul China before the international court of public opinion for "doing what we do every day", the source added.

Pedro Gonçalves

NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily | World news | The ... - 0 views

  • The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

    The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

    The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

    The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

    Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

  • The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual. Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target who is suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets.
  • The order, signed by Judge Roger Vinson, compels Verizon to produce to the NSA electronic copies of "all call detail records or 'telephony metadata' created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad" or "wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls".
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  • The court order expressly bars Verizon from disclosing to the public either the existence of the FBI's request for its customers' records, or the court order itself.
  • The information is classed as "metadata", or transactional information, rather than communications, and so does not require individual warrants to access. The document also specifies that such "metadata" is not limited to the aforementioned items. A 2005 court ruling judged that cell site location data – the nearest cell tower a phone was connected to – was also transactional data, and so could potentially fall under the scope of the order.
  • The court order appears to explain the numerous cryptic public warnings by two US senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, about the scope of the Obama administration's surveillance activities.

    For roughly two years, the two Democrats have been stridently advising the public that the US government is relying on "secret legal interpretations" to claim surveillance powers so broad that the American public would be "stunned" to learn of the kind of domestic spying being conducted.

  • In a letter to attorney general Eric Holder last year, they argued that "there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows."

    "We believe," they wrote, "that most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted" the "business records" provision of the Patriot Act.

  • The NSA, as part of a program secretly authorized by President Bush on 4 October 2001, implemented a bulk collection program of domestic telephone, internet and email records. A furore erupted in 2006 when USA Today reported that the NSA had "been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth" and was "using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity." Until now, there has been no indication that the Obama administration implemented a similar program.

    These recent events reflect how profoundly the NSA's mission has transformed from an agency exclusively devoted to foreign intelligence gathering, into one that focuses increasingly on domestic communications.

Pedro Gonçalves

NSA taps in to user data of Facebook, Apple, Google and others, secret files reveal | W... - 0 views

  • Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's Center for Democracy, that it was astonishing the NSA would even ask technology companies to grant direct access to user data.

    "It's shocking enough just that the NSA is asking companies to do this," he said. "The NSA is part of the military. The military has been granted unprecedented access to civilian communications.

    "This is unprecedented militarisation of domestic communications infrastructure. That's profoundly troubling to anyone who is concerned about that separation."

Pedro Gonçalves

White House admits four US citizens were killed by drone strikes | World news | guardia... - 0 views

  • admitting for the first time that four American citizens were among those killed by its covert attacks in Yemen and Pakistan since 2009.
  • The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that between 240 and 347 people have been killed in total by confirmed US drone strikes in Yemen since 2002, with a further 2,541 to 3,533 killed by CIA drones in Pakistan.
Pedro Gonçalves

Chinese Army Cyberunit Apparently Attacking U.S. Targets Again - ReadWrite - 0 views

Pedro Gonçalves

'Political coward' Binyamin Netanyahu sees rift with Barack Obama widen | World news | ... - 0 views

  • The Goldberg article, along with Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel as defence secretary, has been interpreted in Israel as clear signs of the president's exasperation with Netanyahu and possible payback for the latter's support of Obama's rival, Mitt Romney, in the US election in November. Hagel is seen as "anti-Israel" because of his questioning of Israeli government policy and the pro-Israel lobby in the US.
  • "Obama... has been consistent in his analysis of Israel's underlying challenge: If it doesn't disentangle itself from the lives of West Bank Palestinians, the world will one day decide it is behaving as an apartheid state." The White House did not deny the words attributed to the president.
Pedro Gonçalves

UN security council's EU members to condemn Israeli settlements expansion | World news ... - 0 views

  • blunt criticism from the US of Israel's announcement on Monday of plans to build an extra 1,500 homes in the settlement of Ramat Shlomo.

    US state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: "We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action. These repeated announcements and plans of new construction run counter to the cause of peace. Israel's leaders continually say that they support a path towards a two-state solution, yet these actions only put that goal further at risk."

  • William Hague, the British foreign secretary, urged Israel to revoke the decision, saying that if it was implemented, "it would make a negotiated two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, very difficult to achieve". All Israeli settlements were "illegal under international law", he added.
  • French officials also sharply condemned the move, describing it as illegal colonisation.
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  • On Tuesday, the general assembly passed a non-binding resolution condemning settlement activity by 196 votes to six.
  • The approval of the next stage in the construction of hundreds of apartments in Ramat Shlomo, across the pre-1967 Green Line, follows Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's authorisation last month for the development of a controversial expanse of land near Jerusalem, known as E1.
  • The Ramat Shlomo plan caused a major diplomatic row between Israel and the US when it was first announced during a visit to Jerusalem by US vice-president Joe Biden in the spring of 2010.
  • Construction on E1 has been opposed by the US for many years as it would effectively close off East Jerusalem – intended to be the future capital of Palestine – from the West Bank, and further divide the West Bank into northern and southern spheres.
  • some Israeli analysts believe it is also being driven by next month's general election in Israel, in a bid to consolidate the rightwing vote for the ruling Likud party in coalition with hardliner Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu.

    "This is our campaign," a Likud source told the Israeli daily Ma'ariv. "Until now, it has worked excellently. The timing is deliberate."

Pedro Gonçalves

US warns Israel off pre-emptive strike on Iran | World news | guardian.co.uk - 0 views

  • US military commanders have warned their Israeli counterparts that any action against Iran would severely limit the ability of American forces in the region to mount their own operations against the Iranian nuclear programme by cutting off vital logistical support from Gulf Arab allies.
  • The US Fifth Fleet is headquartered in Bahrain and the US air force has major bases in Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Senior US officers believe the one case in which they could not rely fully on those bases for military operations against Iranian installations would be if Israel acted first.
  • "The Gulf states' one great fear is Iran going nuclear. The other is a regional war that would destabilise them," said a source in the region. "They might support a massive war against Iran, but they know they are not going to get that, and they know a limited strike is not worth it, as it will not destroy the programme and only make Iran angrier."
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  • Barak's comments appear to signal that Israel's new red line is an Iranian stockpile of about 200kg of 20%-enriched uranium in convertible form, enough if enriched further to make one bomb. Western diplomats argue the benchmark is arbitrary, as it would take Iran another few months to enrich the stockpile to 90% (weapons-grade) purity, and then perhaps another year to develop a warhead small enough to put on a missile.
  • Israel's defence minister, Ehud Barak, said this week in London that it was the Iranian decision this year to convert a third of the country's stock of 20%-enriched uranium into fuel (making it harder to convert to weapons-grade material if Iran decided to make a weapon) that had bought another "eight to 10 months".
  • Israeli leaders had hinted they might take military action to set back the Iranian programme, but that threat receded in September when the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, told the United Nations general assembly that Iran's advances in uranium enrichment would only breach Israel's "red line" in spring or summer next year.
  • France's president, François Hollande, met Netanyahu in Paris on Wednesday but rejected the push for military action.

    "It's a threat that cannot be accepted by France," Hollande said, arguing for further sanctions coupled with negotiations. A new round of international talks with Iran are due after the US presidential elections, in which Tehran is expected to be offered sanctions relief in return for an end to 20% enrichment.

  • The UK government has told the US that it cannot rely on the use of British bases in Ascension Island, Cyprus, and Diego Garcia for an assault on Iran as pre-emptive action would be illegal. The Arab spring has also complicated US contingency planning for any new conflict in the Gulf.
  • US naval commanders have watched with unease as the newly elected Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, has made overtures towards Iran. US ships make 200 transits a year through the Suez canal. Manama, the Fifth Fleet headquarters, is the capital of a country that is 70% Shia and currently in turmoil.
  • Ami Ayalon, a former chief of the Israeli navy and the country's internal intelligence service, Shin Bet, argues Israel too cannot ignore the new Arab realities.

    "We live in a new Middle East where the street has become stronger and the leaders are weaker," Ayalon told the Guardian. "In order for Israel to face Iran we will have to form a coalition of relatively pragmatic regimes in the region, and the only way to create that coalition is to show progress on the Israel-Palestinian track."

Pedro Gonçalves

New Cyberwar Rules Of Engagement: Will The U.S. Draft Companies To Fight? - 0 views

  • In a speech to business leaders in New York City Oct. 11, Panetta for the first time admitted the U.S. armed forces were prepared to take on an offensive role against any cyber attackers who seek to cause significant harm to the U.S. - or the loss of life to its citizens. Prior to this statement, the military has acknowledged only a defensive stance against such attacks.
  • The Washington Post reports that among those new rules of engagement, "for the first time, military cyber-specialists would be able to immediately block malware outside the Pentagon’s networks in an effort to defend the private sector against an imminent, significant physical attack, The Post has reported. At present, such action requires special permission from the President."
  • at least one academic paper has argued that companies be drafted to participate in cyberwarfare.

    "Cyberwarfare… will penetrate the territorial borders of the attacked state and target high-value civilian businesses," wrote University of Dayton Professor Susan Brenner in 2011. "Nation-states will therefore need to integrate the civilian employees of these (and perhaps other) companies into their cyberwarfare response structures if a state is able to respond effectively to cyberattacks.

    "While many companies may voluntarily elect to participate in such an effort, others may decline to do so, which creates a need, in effect, to conscript companies for this purpose," Brenner and her co-author, attorney Leo Clarke, added.

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