Archives for May 2017

8: Maranda Makes the Snake Pit Nude Again

Maranda single-handedly made the Indy 500 Snake Pit as ratchet as it was in the 1970s. She tells about her weekend of partying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

209: Confirmation Obama Spied on Americans

Chris Spangle, Greg Lenz, Harry Price, and Cat Anagnos discuss the FISA court’s spanking of the Obama administration’s illegal spying on Americans.

Show Notes

Obama Intel Agency Secretly Conducted Illegal Searches on Americans for Years

Summary: “To summarize, we have the communications of Americans inside the United States being incidentally intercepted, stored, sifted through, and in some instances analyzed, even though those Americans are not targets of foreign-intelligence collection.

The minimization procedures are supposed to prevent the worst potential abuses, particularly, the pretextual use of foreign-intelligence-collection authority in order to conduct domestic spying.

But even when complied with, there is a colorable argument that the minimization procedures do not eliminate the Fourth Amendment problem — i.e., they permit seizure and search without adequate cause. Now we know the minimization procedures have not been complied with.

The new scandal involves their flouting.”

While the activities of these Americans might have made them worthy foreign-intelligence targets, there are other ways to monitor them under FISA. Targeting them for section 702 searches increased the likelihood that wholly domestic communications between Americans would be collected. Thus, the minimization procedures were ratcheted up. The most significant change, as the FISA court opinion relates, was that the revised “Procedures categorically prohibited NSA analysts from using U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collection” (emphasis added). This meant the NSA was not supposed to use an American’s phone number, e-mail address, or other “identifier” in running searches through its upstream database. It is this prohibition that the NSA routinely and extensively violated. Evidently, there was widespread use of American identifiers throughout the years after the 2011 revision of the minimization procedures. The violation was so broad that, at the time the Obama administration ended, its scope had still not been determined.

Clearly, this new scandal must be considered in context:

  • The NSA says it does not share raw upstream collection data with any other intelligence agency. But that data is refined into reports.
  • To the extent the data collected has increased the number of Americans whose activities make it into reports, it has simultaneously increased the opportunities for unmasking American identities.
  • Other reporting indicates that there was a significant uptick in unmasking incidents in the latter years of the Obama administration. More officials were given unmasking authority.
  • At the same time, President Obama loosened restrictions to allow wider access to raw intelligence collection and wider dissemination of intelligence reports.
  • This geometrically increased the likelihood that classified information would be leaked — as did the Obama administration’s encouragement to Congress to demand disclosure of intelligence related to the Trump campaign (the purported Trump–Russia connection).
  • And of course, there has been a stunning amount of leaking of classified information to the media.
  • Enabling of domestic spying, contemptuous disregard of court-ordered minimization procedures (procedures the Obama administration itself proposed, then violated), and unlawful disclosure of classified intelligence to feed a media campaign against political adversaries. Quite the Obama legacy.

NATIONAL REVIEW ANDREW MCCARTHY: During the Obama years, the National Security Agency intentionally and routinely intercepted and reviewed communications of American citizens in violation of the Constitution and of court-ordered guidelines implemented pursuant to federal law.

The unlawful surveillance appears to have been a massive abuse of the government’s foreign-intelligence-collection authority, carried out for the purpose of monitoring the communications of Americans in the United States.

While aware that it was going on for an extensive period of time, the administration failed to disclose its unlawful surveillance of Americans until late October 2016, when the administration was winding down and the NSA needed to meet a court deadline in order to renew various surveillance authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

The administration’s stonewalling about the scope of the violation induced an exasperated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to accuse the NSA of “an institutional lack of candor” in connection with what the court described as “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”

The court is the federal tribunal created in 1978 by FISA; it is often referred to as a “secret court” because proceedings before it are classified and ex parte — meaning only the Justice Department appears before the court

upstream collection refers to the interception of communications “as they transit the facilities of an Internet backbone carrier.” These are the data routes between computer networks. The routes are hosted by government, academic, commercial, and similar high-capacity network centers, and they facilitate the global, international exchange of Internet traffic.

Upstream collection from the Internet’s “backbone,” which accounts for about 9 percent of the NSA’s collection haul (a massive amount of communications), is distinguished from interception of communications from more familiar Internet service providers.

Upstream collection is a tool for gathering intelligence against foreign threats to the United States. It is, of course, on foreign intelligence targets — non-U.S. persons situated outside the U.S. — that the NSA and CIA are supposed to focus.

Foreign agents operating inside the U.S. are mainly the purview of the FBI, which conducts surveillance of their communications through warrants from the FISA court — individualized warrants based on probable cause that a specific person is acting as an agent of a foreign power.

The NSA conducts vacuum intelligence-collection under a different section of FISA — section 702. It is inevitable that these section 702 surveillance authorities will incidentally intercept the communications of Americans inside the United States if those Americans are communicating with the foreign target. This does not raise serious Fourth Amendment concerns; after all, non-targeted Americans are intercepted all the time in traditional criminal wiretaps because they call, or are called by, the target.

But FISA surveillance is more controversial than criminal surveillance because the government does not have to show probable cause of a crime — and when the targets are foreigners outside the U.S., the government does not have to make any showing; it may target if it has a legitimate foreign-intelligence purpose, which is really not much of a hurdle at all.

FISA section 702 provides some privacy protection for Americans: The FISA court orders “minimization” procedures, which require any incidentally intercepted American’s identity to be “masked.” That is, the NSA must sanitize the raw data by concealing the identity of the American. Only the “masked” version of the communication is provided to other U.S. intelligence agencies for purposes of generating reports and analyses. As I have previously explained, however, this system relies on the good faith of government officials in respecting privacy: There are gaping loopholes that permit American identities to be unmasked if, for example, the NSA or some other intelligence official decides doing so is necessary to understand the intelligence value of the communication. While that kind of incidental collection raises the concerns of privacy advocates, it is a small problem compared to upstream collection, the technology of which poses profound Fourth Amendment challenges.


In a nutshell, it is not possible to capture a single e-mail related to a single target as it transits the backbone routes (or “switches”) that connect networks. The NSA must instead capture packets of e-mail data — which include lots of e-mails beside the targeted e-mail.

It sifts through these packets, finds and assembles the components of the email it was looking for, and then discards the rest. (A New York Times report by Charlie Savage earlier this week, in connection with a different FISA issue, provides a good explanation of this process.

By contrast, the relevant discussion in the FISA court opinion of “multiple communications transactions,” or MCTs, is brief and heavily redacted — see the opinion at 15–16.) Even if the NSA does exactly what it is supposed to do (i.e., sift and discard), this means American communications are being seized and subjected to an inspection — however cursory — in the absence of any warrant, probable cause, or foreign-intelligence relevance.

Now, couple this problem with the way the NSA targets. The upstream communications it collects end up in databases. When the NSA has a target about whom it seeks intelligence, it runs a search through the databases using what is variously called an “identifier,” a “selection term,” or a “selector” — some e-mail address, phone number, or other identifying information related to the target. For years, U.S. intelligence agencies have not just sought any communications to or from this target; they have also sought any communications about this target — e.g., when the target merely appears to have been referred to.

This means the communications of people, including Americans inside the United States, are far more likely to be accessed and analyzed — even though, again, there is no warrant or probable cause, there may be no direct communication with a proper intelligence target, and the Americans’ communications may be of no foreign-intelligence value.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447973/nsa-illegal-surveillance-americans-obama-administration-abuse-fisa-court-response

  • Circa News Original Reporter:
    • The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.
    • More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.
    • The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.
    • The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017. (The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.)
    • Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.
    • Officials like former National Security Adviser Susan Rice have argued their activities were legal under the so-called minimization rule changes Obama made, and that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuses.
    • The intelligence court and the NSA’s own internal watchdog found that not to be true:

“Since 2011, NSA’s minimization procedures have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collections under Section 702,” the unsealed court ruling declared.

“The Oct. 26, 2016 notice informed the court that NSA analysts had been conducting such queries inviolation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed to the Court.”

    • The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard American’s privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

      “I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs,” said Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington.

 

  • The NSA acknowledged it self-disclosed the mass violations to the court last fall and that in April it took the extraordinary step of suspending the type of searches that were violating the rules, even deleting prior collected data on Americans to avoid any further violations.“NSA will no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target,” the agency said in the statement that was dated April 28 and placed on its Web site without capturing much media or congressional attention.

 

 

  • In question is the collection of what is known as upstream “about data”about an American that is collected even though they were not directly in contact with a foreigner that the NSA was legally allowed to intercept.The NSA said it doesn’t have the ability to stop collecting ‘about’ information on Americans, “without losing some other important data. ” It, however, said it would stop the practice to “reduce the chance that it would acquire communication of U.S. persons or others who are not in direct contact with a foreign intelligence target.”

 

 

  • The NSA said it also plans to “delete the vast majority of its upstream internet data to further protect the privacy of U.S. person communications.”Agency officials called the violations “inadvertent compliance lapses.” But the court and IG documents suggest the NSA had not developed a technological way to comply with the rules they had submitted to the court in 2011.

 

    • Officials “explained that NSA query compliance is largely maintained through a series of manual checks” and had not “included the proper limiters” to prevent unlawful searches, the NSA internal watchdog reported in a top secret report in January that was just declassified. A new system is being developed now, officials said.
    • The NSA conducts thousand of searches a year on data involving Americans and the actual numbers of violations were redacted from the documents Circa reviewed.
    • But a chart in the report showed there three types of violations, the most frequent being 5.2 percent of the time when NSA Section 702 upstream data on U.S. persons was searched.
    • The inspector general also found  noncompliance between 0.7 percent and 1.4 percent of the time involving NSA activities in which there was a court order to target an American for spying  but the rules were still not followed. Those activities are known as Section 704 and Section 705 spying.
    • The IG report spared few words for the NSA’s efforts before the disclosure to ensure it was complying with practices, some that date to rules issued in 2008 in the final days of the Bush administration and others that Obama put into effect in 2011.

      “We found that the Agency controls for monitoring query compliance have not been completely developed,” the inspector general reported, citing problems ranging from missing requirements for documentation to the failure to complete controls that would ensure “query compliance.”

      The NSA’s Signal Intelligence Directorate, the nation’s main foreign surveillance arm, wrote a letter back to the IG saying it agreed with the findings and that “corrective action plans” are in the works.

“More than one in 20 internet searches conducted by the National Security Agency, involving Americans, during the Obama administration violated constitutional privacy protections,” announced Fox News’ Bret Baier near the top of Special Report. “And that practice went on for years. Not only that. But the Obama administration was harshly rebuked by the FISA court for doing it.”

208: Update on the Russian “Scandals”

Chris Spangle, Greg Lenz, Harry Price, and Cat Anagnos discuss the new Russian scandals, Trump’s foreign visits, and if the death of Seth Rich is a conspiracy theory.

Show Notes

The actual facts on what Trump said to the Russians

  • The New York Times has a new blockbuster™ story this afternoon on Russian officials talking about trying to influence Trump aides, but there’s always a caveat in these kind of reports that makes them more smoke as opposed to a smoking gun.
    • ‘It is unclear, however, whether Russian officials actually tried to directly influence Mr. Manafort and Mr. Flynn.’
      In the case of the Times piece, it is the above sentence. (And even if the Russian officials did try to influence them, that still leaves us short of collusion.)
  • Conrad Black on Trump and Comey:
    • The New York Times’ claim that Trump had upheld funding for the Russian investigation was debunked by the acting FBI director, Comey loyalist and Democrat Andrew McCabe. McCabe also debunked the theory that a special prosecutor was needed, as the FBI had not been interfered with and would carry out the investigation scrupulously and thoroughly.
    • Rod Rosenstein debunked the Times-Post story that he (Rosenstein) had threatened to resign. Despite this, the unimaginably ludicrous Chuck Schumer still demanded a special prosecutor, now with a foregone conclusion of the ultimate result, as the price for approving any nominee for FBI director, (even if it were Hillary Clinton).
    • Mueller’s appointment cuts the Democrats off at the ankles.“
    • There is no question that he told President Trump that on the basis of all evidence, Trump was not suspected of wrongdoing in his campaign’s relations with the Russian government, and Senator Feinstein, a militant Trump opponent, confirms that Comey had said this to her and the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Charles Grassley.
    • The same person who rushed before the cameras to convict but excuse from charges Mrs. Clinton, could express privately the innocence of Mr. Trump, but could give no hint of it publicly, even though he knew perfectly well that the continuing confected cloud of the Russian collusion allegation seriously impeded the ability of the administration to govern.”

 

  • Washington Post Allegations from Anonymous Sources:

 

    • President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.
    • Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.
    • Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.

 

  • President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, turned over 305 pages of documents related to the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election to the House and Senate intelligence committees this week, according to people familiar with the ongoing inquiries.
  • House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said today that the FBI had decided to withhold documents, including memos, notes, summaries, and recordings, requested by his committee in regards to the ongoing Russia probe. This was revealed in a letter sent by Chaffetz to the FBI responding to the agency’s decision to withhold documents requested by the Committee on May 16, 2017.
  • Seth Rich: Rich was murdered July 10, 2016, near his affluent neighborhood in Washington, D.C. He was shot in the back with a handgun at 4:18 a.m. while he walked home, and nothing was taken from him. He was transported to a local hospital and was pronounced dead at 5:57 a.m. On July 22, just 12 days after Rich’s death and days before the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia, WikiLeaks released 20,000 emails from DNC officials.

    Wheeler said in several interviews last week that a federal investigator has elaborate details about Rich’s connection to WikiLeaks and is a credible source.

    “I don’t like to suggest things without saying the person’s name, but I can’t say that person’s name, because that person would be thrown under the bus,” Wheeler told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “This person, we checked him out, we have to check him out, he’s very credible – he said he laid eyes on the computer and he laid eyes on the case file.

    “When you look at that with the totality of everything else that I’ve found on this case, it’s very consistent for a person with my experience to begin to think, perhaps there were some email communications between Seth and WikiLeaks.”
  • Wheeler: “There were some problems that Seth was having on his job at the DNC right before he was killed. And the person that called the father after I called the police to get information (Brazile), that’s the person that Seth was having problems with at the DNC. So connect the dots, here; it’s starting to all come together.”
  • Brazile resigned as a contributor from CNN on Oct. 14 after it was revealed in hacked e-mails from John Podesta’s account that she leaked the questions to Clinton’s campaign before CNN-sponsored events with the candidates.
  • “Kim Dotcom” is the Twitter handle for the hacker described as an “entrepreneur, innovator, gamer, artist, Internet freedom fighter & father of 5.” He is a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur who founded Megaupload. On May 20, “Kim Dotcom” tweeted: “I knew Seth Rich. I know he was the @Wikileaks source. I was involved.”
  • The manager of the Washington, D.C., bar where Rich was last spotted hours before he was shot and killed said D.C. police officers never interviewed the bar’s staff or requested any evidence from the bar, including the bar’s surveillance video from that night, as part of an investigation into Rich’s murder.
  • A couple of days ago, WND ran a story entitled “Bombshell: Donna Brazile Warned Off Private Eye On Seth Rich Murder.”  The story was sourced back to on-the-record quotes provided by Detective Rod Wheeler who was hired by the Rich family shortly after their son’s suspicious murder in July 2016.
  • Among other things, Wheeler said that it was former Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman Donna Brazile who allegedly called police and the Rich family and demanded to know why a private investigator was “snooping” into Rich’s death.

 

  • “The high-ranking DNC official that called the police after I inquired about Rich’s case was Donna Brazile,” veteran homicide detective Rod Wheeler told WND. “Why shouldn’t I reveal who it was?”
  • Brazile, who was also a CNN contributor and a Hillary for America donor at the time, was caught providing Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton with questions that would later be asked of Clinton at a televised CNN town hall. In an interview with Fox News before the election, Brazile denied leaking the questions to Clinton. But in a March 17, 2017, column for Time magazine, she finally admitted doing so, saying it was a “mistake I will forever regret.”

 

207: The Establishment Responds to Trump, Pence, and If the LP is Worth It

Chris Spangle and Greg Lenz are joined by the ultimate establishment member, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz. The Indiana-based commentator and reporter of IndyPolitics.org, as well as Spangle’s former mentor, explains if Mike Pence would be a good President. We also touch on the Comey firings and ask the establishment if the Libertarian Party should exist.

206: Jenn Gray on Marketing Libertarianism

Libertarian marketing all-star Jenn Gray explains the most effective techniques she’s found to spread the libertarian message.

205: Comedian Shaun Latham on Communicating with Confidence

Chris Spangle and Greg Lenz welcome comedian Shaun Latham on to discuss communicating with confidence. Follow Shaun here: https://www.facebook.com/Shaunlathamcomedy/

204: The History of Pot and The Drug War

Chris Spangle, Greg Lenz, James Nease, and Tanner Perdew discuss the history of marijuana prohibition, the cost of the drug war, and if Hank Hill was a cuck.

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