Category: SECRET SERVICES
Sixty years ago this Monday, on August 19, 1953, modern Iranian history took a critical turn when a U.S.- and British-backed coup overthrew the country's prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh. The event's reverberations have haunted its orchestrators over the years, contributing to the anti-Americanism that accompanied the Shah's ouster in early 1979, and even influencing the Iranians who seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran later that year.
But it has taken almost six decades for the U.S. intelligence community to acknowledge openly that it was behind the controversial overthrow. Published here today — and on the website of the National Security Archive, which obtained the document through the Freedom of Information Act — is a brief excerpt from The Battle for Iran, an internal report prepared in the mid-1970s by an in-house CIA historian.
The document was first released in 1981, but with most of it excised, including all of Section III, entitled "Covert Action" — the part that describes the coup itself. Most of that section remains under wraps, but this new version does formally make public, for the first time that we know of, the fact of the agency's participation: "[T]he military coup that overthrew Mosadeq and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy," the history reads. The risk of leaving Iran "open to Soviet aggression," it adds, "compelled the United States … in planning and executing TPAJAX."
TPAJAX was the CIA's codename for the overthrow plot, which relied on local collaborators at every stage. It consisted of several steps: using propaganda to undermine Mossadegh politically, inducing the Shah to cooperate, bribing members of parliament, organizing the security forces, and ginning up public demonstrations. The initial attempt actually failed, but after a mad scramble the coup forces pulled themselves together and came through on their second try, on August 19.
Why the CIA finally chose to own up to its role is..
Anti-secrecy organization Wikileaks just released a treasure trove of files that, at least for now, you can't read.
The group, which has been assisting ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden after he leaked top-secret documents to the media, posted links for about 400 gigabytes of files on their Facebook page Saturday, and asked their fans to download and mirror them elsewhere.
Here's the cryptic post:
The organization posted the same message about its "insurance" files to Twitter.
You can download the files via torrent but since they are encrypted — and Wikileaks has not yet provided the key — you won't be able to open them.
We can garner at least one thing of note from the file names alone: They probably have a very high level of encryption. The end of the files, "aes256," likely stands for Advanced Encryption Standard-256 bits.
It's a way of locking up your files..
Since the public learned in June about sweeping National Security Agency programs, government officials from President Obama on down have insisted the nation's surveillance programs are subject to layers of oversight.
"I am comfortable that the program currently is not being abused," Mr. Obama said in a press conference last week, when he announced new efforts at increasing transparency. "Part of the reason they're not abused is because these checks are in place."
However, the latest revelation that the NSA violated privacy rules thousands of times, as documented in an internal report — an internal report withheld from at least one leader in Congress responsible for oversight — proves the president and several others in Washington were wrong. The NSA broke privacy rules more than 2,700 times within just one year, according to a May 2012 internal NSA report that was leaked to the Washington Post, along with other secret documents.
"The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance," the Post wrote, noting that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., had not seen the internal report before the newspaper asked her staff about it.
Some of the violations were a result of human error, some were related to technical challenges and most were unintended, the Post reported. The sheer number of violations, however, will raise concerns, CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate said on "CBS This Morning."
"The fact is, this more than just a few inadvertent episodes," he said. "It's really a sense from the internal audits — inside the government — of the violations and overstepping by..
Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says new revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance program suggest the Obama administration has “abused the authority granted to them by Congress” and that he will investigate the matter.
Inhofe’s statement shows a growing concern on Capitol Hill about the scope of the NSA’s intelligence gathering and adds to the calls for additional congressional oversight.
The NSA broke privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted it broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents provided to The Washington Post, which first reported the story.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Friday called the revelations “extremely disturbing” and urged for additional oversight. But she has not called for a congressional investigation.
The Post received the information from former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden, who since releasing information to news-gathering organizations this spring about the agency has exposed the full scope of the
The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.
Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.
The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. A notable example in 2008 was the interception of a “large number” of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused the U.S. area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt, according to a “quality assurance” review that was not distributed to the NSA’s oversight staff.
In another case, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has authority over some NSA operations,,
Germany and the US will begin negotiations this month on an agreement not to spy on each other, a German official said on Monday. The meeting comes in the wake of revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden surrounding NSA surveillance programs.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Ronald Pofalla, told a parliamentary committee Monday that Germany and the US will begin talks later this month on a bilateral ‘no spy’ agreement which, he said, shows that the US is serious about abiding by German law while in Germany.
“This offer could have never been made if the Americans’ assurances that they will stick to German law in Germany wasn’t actually true,” he told the committee.
Pofalla, who is responsible for coordinating Germany’s various intelligence agencies, said the talks will offer a unique opportunity to set standards for the future work of western intelligence agencies now that the Cold War is over.
He also told lawmakers that the government was given assurances by US and UK spying agencies that there is not a system of comprehensive spying and wiretapping in Germany.
“Unlike many erroneous statements to the contrary, the basic rights of millions of Germans are not being violated,” he said, adding that allegations against the US and UK are now “off the table.”
But German opposition members have been harshly critical of the government’s handling of the NSA spying scandal.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, head of the Social Democrats in parliament, has called the government’s decision not to let him testify in front of the parliamentary committee on the NSA scandal "outrageous."
“The fact that they refused me shows that Merkel’s government is not interested in clearing things up,” Steinmeier said on Monday.
Merkel’s government said that he could not be heard that quickly, as the committee did not have enough time to prepare for his testimony.
The government defended its decision, stating..
It turns out that the NSA's domestic and world-wide surveillance apparatus is even more extensive than we thought. Bluntly: The government has commandeered the Internet. Most of the largest Internet companies provide information to the NSA, betraying their users. Some, as we've learned, fight and lose. Others cooperate, either out of patriotism or because they believe it's easier that way.
I have one message to the executives of those companies: fight.
Do you remember those old spy movies, when the higher ups in government decide that the mission is more important than the spy's life? It's going to be the same way with you. You might think that your friendly relationship with the government means that they're going to protect you, but they won't. The NSA doesn't care about you or your customers, and will burn you the moment it's convenient to do so.
We're already starting to see that. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others are pleading with the government to allow them to explain details of what information they provided in response to National Security Letters and other government demands. They've lost the trust of their customers, and explaining what they do — and don't do — is how to get it back. The government has refused; they don't care.
It will be the same with you. There are lots more high-tech companies who have cooperated with the government. Most of those company names are somewhere in the thousands of documents that Edward Snowden took with him, and sooner or later they'll be released to the public. The NSA probably told you that your cooperation would forever remain secret, but they're sloppy. They'll put your company name on presentations delivered to thousands of people: government employees, contractors, probably even foreign nationals. If Snowden doesn't have a copy, the next whistleblower will.
This is why you have to fight. When it becomes public..
Brazilian officials have expressed reluctance to purchasing dozens of military planes from the US after it was revealed that the NSA not only closely monitored Brazilian energy and military affairs, but also mined for commercial secrets.
The US had planned to sell Brazil – a country in the process of revitalizing its Air Force – 36 fighter jets in a deal worth more than US$4 billion. But when US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday, the leaders will not discuss the deal, a source near to the situation told Reuters.
Kerry traveled to Colombia before making his way to Brazil in an attempt to repair relations with Latin American nations after NSA leaker Edward Snowden disclosed documents showing that the US spied on communications related to the military, political and terror issues, and energy policies.
“We cannot talk about the fighters now…You cannot give such a contract to a country that you do not trust,” the source said.
Chicago-based Boeing Co. is competing for the $4 billion contract against France’s Rafale and Sweden’s Gripen, although the longer Brazil goes without choosing, the more likely it is that other competitors will enter the fray.
Rousseff delayed a decision on the fighter jets because of budget woes and widespread demonstrations protesting austerity and government corruption.
“I don’t expect the president to decide on the fighter contract this year, and next year is an election year so it might have to wait until 2015,” a Brazilian government source said.
Brazil’s Foreign Minister, Antonio Patriota, informed United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon of the nation’s situation as recently as last week.
Tuesday’s visit will be Kerry’s first trip to Brazil as Secretary..
BOGOTA — Secretary of State John F. Kerry faced questions about National Security Agency spying here Monday as the government of Colombia asked for an explanation of reports that the United States has collected telephone and e-mail data in this hemisphere.
Similar questions are likely to arise in Brazil, which Kerry will visit Tuesday as part of his first trip to South America as secretary.
Last month, Brazil’s O Globo newspaper said that most Latin American countries, with a special focus on Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia, had been targets of surveillance that included military affairs and what the article called “commercial secrets.”
The newspaper said the revelations, which the United States has not publicly addressed, were based on documents released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. O Globo cited leaked documents that it said indicated surveillance of the oil industry in Mexico and Brazil, as well as counter-narcotics and counterterrorism operations in Colombia.
Brazil has called private U.S. explanations “insufficient.” Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota has said his government will ask the United..
The father of NSA leaker Edward Snowden has obtained a Russian visa and, along with his attorney, plans to visit his son in Moscow “very soon.” The exact date of the trip has not been disclosed.
“We now have a date for visiting Moscow. We have visas, we have a date which we won’t disclose right now because of the frenzy,” Lon Snowden’s attorney, Bruce Fein, said on Sunday. “It’s very soon,” he told ABC’s This Week, where he appeared together with his client.
The elder Snowden and Fein said they have not spoken directly with the former CIA employee since he fled the US after exposing the National Security Agency's top-secret surveillance programs.
The whistleblower received temporary asylum in Russia on August 1, after being trapped in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for over five weeks.
Lon Snowden and his lawyer said that while visiting Edward, they plan to consider options for him to return to the US in the future. Back in his home country, the NSA leaker has been charged with espionage and other crimes.
“We intend to visit with Edward and suggest criminal defense attorneys who have got experience in Espionage Act prosecutions,” Fein stated.
Lon Snowden noted that “as a father,”…
President Obama said Friday he would pursue reforms to open the legal proceedings surrounding government surveillance programs to greater scrutiny, the administration’s most concerted response yet to a series of disclosures about secret monitoring efforts.
At his first full news conference in more than three months, Obama said he intends to work with Congress on proposals that would add an adversarial voice — such as a lawyer assigned to advocate privacy rights— to the secret proceedings before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Several Democratic senators have proposed such changes to the court, which approves government requests for warrants and other collection efforts.
In addition, Obama said he intends to work on ways to tighten one provision of the Patriot Act — known as Section 215 — that has permitted the government to obtain the phone records of millions of Americans. He announced the creation of a panel of outsiders — former intelligence officials, civil liberties and privacy advocates, and others — to assess the programs and suggest changes by the end of the year.
“It’s not enough for me, as president, to have confidence in these programs,” Obama said in the White House East Room. “The American people need to have confidence in them as well.”
Obama spoke on the eve of a week’s vacation, and he struck a defiant tone in speaking about a range of issues over the hour-long news conference.
The Gallup tracking poll shows that his public approval rating of 44 percent is near a 12-month low. A mix of Republican opposition..
US President Barack Obama’s cancelled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin provided a great opportunity for China’s state-run media to high-five Russia, showcasing growing ties between the two neighbors.
“Russia has impressed the world, which views the Kremlin as the ‘winner’ and the White House as the ‘loser,’” proclaimed an unsigned editorial in the Global Times on Thursday about the decision to give immunity to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. “Moscow displayed its national characteristics of decisiveness and boldness.” China’s decision to let Snowden decamp from Hong Kong and avoid confronting America head-on “serves the long-term interests of China’s diplomacy,” the paper added, concluding that Washington, “ate dirt this time.”
Revelations of widespread spying by the U.S. government could bring big financial fallout to the cloud-computing industry, according to a Washington-based think tank.
U.S. cloud providers could lose between $21.5 billion and $35 billion in revenue over the next three years because of worries about the National Security Agency's PRISM program, which enables the government to access user data from U.S. Internet companies, according to a report this week by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.
The estimate is partly based on market-share projections and a global survey, which found that more than half of respondents, including companies and other industry professionals based outside the U.S., said they would be less likely to use a U.S.-based cloud service in light of Prism. Ten percent said they had already canceled a project with a U.S.-based Internet company as a result, according to the Cloud Security Alliance, the trade group that conducted the survey.
Spying concerns "will likely have an immediate and lasting impact on the competitiveness of the U.S. cloud computing industry if foreign customers decide the risks of storing data with a U.S. company outweigh the benefits," according to the think tank's report. A $21.5 billion or $35 billion loss of revenue would be the equivalent..
Michael Hayden, the former head of CIA and NSA, hypothesized that a massive hacker attack on the US was possible from "sex-starved" activists like Anonymous in retaliation for any future prosecution of whistleblower Edward Snowden.
"If and when our government grabs Edward Snowden and brings him back here to the United States for trial, what does this group do?" the retired Air Force general asked in a speech to Washington group, the Bipartisan Policy Center, on Tuesday.
Hayden speculated that Snowden supporters would come after no one but the US government. However, he said that they would have a hard time attacking ‘dot-mils’, the well-protected military computer networks in the .mil internet domain.
"So if they can't create great harm to dot-mil, who are they going after?" he pondered, according to the Guardian. "Who for them are the World Trade Centers? The World Trade Centers, as they were for Al-Qaeda."
The general was referring to hackers and groups concerned with internet transparency, whom he lumped together as "nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous, twentysomethings who haven't talked to the opposite sex..
US embassies in the Middle East are to remain closed for the rest of the week as supporters of the National Security Agency's sweeping surveillance powers used the unspecified terror alert to bolster the case against reining in the controversial measures.
The closures follow the alleged interception of al-Qaida communications in Yemen, which intelligence committee members in Congress have been told were collected overseas using powers granted to the NSA under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – not the bulk surveillance programs disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden.
A privacy group questioned the publicity given to the latest alert after the State Department announced on Sunday evening that the number of embassies and consulates closed "out of an abundance of caution"
would be increased, with some remaining shut for up to a week.
Rebublican senator Saxby Chambliss said the NSA had identified threats that were the most serious for years and akin to levels of "terrorist chatter" picked up before 9/11.
"These [NSA] programs are controversial, we understand that," he told NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday. "But they are also very important … If we did not have these programs, then we..
Agents with the United States National Security Agency (NSA) sometimes wax lyrical when they look back on their time in Germany — to the idyllic Chiemsee lake and the picturesque Bavarian town of Bad Aibling. Anyone who has received "a free beer at the club email" and knows "that leberkäse is made of neither liver, nor cheese" can claim to be a real Bavaria veteran, former NSA employees write in a document called the "A Little Bad Aibling Nostalgia."
The profession of love for the Bavarian lifestyle and the large surveillance base southeast of Munich is among the documents in the possession of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, some of which SPIEGEL has seen. The surveillance facility is known for its large "radomes," giant golf ball-like structures which contain state-of-the-art surveillance technology. They were officially closed in September 2004. The Americans, though, were quietly replaced by telecommunications experts from the German military..
Foreign ministers from the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), a South American trading block, expressed concern over alleged US spying activities on them. "We are here mandated by our heads of state who met in Monte Video at the Mercosur summit to express our serious concern of espionage allegations that have come out of Mr. Snowden's allegations," Antonio Patriota, the foreign minister of Brazil, told reporters here. "This is something that has great implications for our region and our world," he said, after their meeting with UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon earlier on Monday. "Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon shared these concerns and he reacted in a way that shows sensitivity to the message we have conveyed from our heads of state," said Foreign Minister Elias Jaua of Venezuela, who is also the rotating president of the block. More specifically we also raise the serious implications regarding the denial for the aircraft carrying President Morales of Bolivia to land in a number of European countries, Patriota said. The plane, which was flying Morales back to Bolivia on July 2 from a multilateral meeting in Moscow, was forced to land in Vienna, Austria where it remained grounded for several hours, after Italy, France, Portugal and Spain all denied the plane access on suspicion that it was carrying US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden. "This is also unprecedented and this raises serious questions with respect to the necessary respect that one should show to heads of states and government. In this case..
Members of Congress have been repeatedly thwarted when attempting to learn basic information about the National Security Agency (NSA) and the secret FISA court which authorizes its activities, documents provided by two House members demonstrate.
From the beginning of the NSA controversy, the agency's defenders have insisted that Congress is aware of the disclosed programs and exercises robust supervision over them. "These programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate," President Obama said the day after the first story on NSA bulk collection of phone records was published in this space. "And if there are members of Congress who feel differently, then they should speak up."
But members of Congress, including those in Obama's party, have flatly denied knowing about them. On MSNBC on Wednesday night, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct) was asked by host Chris Hayes: "How much are you learning about what the government that..