Tag Archives: NSA

Senate takes up House bill but fails to avoid spying lapse

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., talks with a reporter as he leaves the Capitol following his address to the Senate in Washington, Sunday, May 31, 2015. Senate Republicans say they’ve been unable to make a deal to extend contested anti-terror provisions. As a result, the post-Sept. 11 programs will expire at midnight.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., talks with a reporter as he leaves the Capitol following his address to the Senate in Washington, Sunday, May 31, 2015. Senate Republicans say they’ve been unable to make a deal to extend contested anti-terror provisions. As a result, the post-Sept. 11 programs will expire at midnight.

WASHINGTON — Eight days after blocking it, Senate Republicans have agreed to begin debate on a House bill that would overhaul the National Security Agency’s handling of American calling records while preserving other domestic surveillance provisions.

But that remarkable turnabout didn’t happen soon enough to prevent the laws governing the programs from expiring at midnight Sunday as Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a presidential contender, stood in the way of extending the program, angering his GOP colleagues and frustrating intelligence and law enforcement officials.

Now, the question is whether the Senate will pass a bill the House can live with. If so, the surveillance programs will resume, with some significant changes in how the phone records are handled. If not, they will remain dormant.

The Senate vote on the measure known as the USA Freedom Act can come no earlier than 1 a.m., Tuesday. Senate Republican aides said they expected some amendments, but no major revisions to the bill.

“Having gone past the brink, the Senate must now embrace the necessity of acting responsibly,” said Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, in a statement after Sunday’s Senate vote.

The high-stakes drama played out as Congress debated the most significant changes prompted by the disclosures of Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who revealed the phone records collection and other main surveillance programs. With no deal reached in time, the NSA stopped collecting American phone records at 3:59 p.m. EST Sunday, officials said.

Other authorities that expired allowed the FBI to collect business records in terrorism and espionage investigations, and to more easily eavesdrop on a suspect who is discarding cell phones to avoid surveillance.

Intelligence officials publicly warned of danger, but were not deeply concerned with a lapse of a few days or weeks, given that the authorities remain available in pending investigations. What they most fear is a legislative impasse that could doom the programs permanently.

“The Senate took an important_if late_step forward tonight,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement. “We call on the Senate to ensure this irresponsible lapse in authorities is as short-lived as possible.”

President Barack Obama supports the USA Freedom Act, which ends NSA bulk collection of U.S. phone records but allows the agency to search records held by the phone companies. That bill, which preserves the other expiring provisions, passed the House overwhelmingly May 13.

Senate Republicans blocked that legislation on May 23, arguing that it undercut the NSA’s ability to quickly search the records. It fell three votes short of the 60 needed to advance.

But with no other options, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in an about-face, reluctantly embraced the House-passed bill Sunday night.

“It’s not ideal but, along with votes on some modest amendments that attempt to ensure the program can actually work as promised, it’s now the only realistic way forward,” McConnell said.

The Senate then voted 77-17 to move ahead on the USA Freedom Act.

McConnell was boxed in by the actions of his fellow Kentucky Republican, Paul, who helped stymy the leader’s attempt to pass an extension of current law. Paul objected each time McConnell attempted to bring that measure to a vote.

Paul opposes the USA Freedom Act as not going far enough. But, he predicted , the USA Freedom Act “will ultimately pass.”

Earlier, in a fiery speech decrying NSA surveillance, he shouted, “This is what we fought the revolution over, are we going to so blithely give up our freedom? … I’m not going to take it anymore.” Supporters wearing red “Stand With Rand” T-shirts packed the spectator gallery.

Paul’s moves infuriated fellow Republicans and they exited the chamber en masse when he stood up to speak after the Senate’s vote on the House bill.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. complained to reporters that Paul places “a higher priority on his fundraising and his ambitions than on the security of the nation.”

Paul, for his part, asserted that, “People here in town think I’m making a huge mistake. Some of them I think secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can blame it on me.”

Civil liberties groups were split. Some, including the ACLU, oppose the USA Freedom Act as too weak, and applauded the expiration of the surveillance laws. If the USA Freedom Act passes, the NSA would resume bulk phone records collection during a six month transition period to the new system.

“Congress should take advantage of this sunset to pass far-reaching surveillance reform, instead of the weak bill currently under consideration,” said Michael Macleod-Ball, acting director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.

But that seemed unlikely. Liberal senators who have been aggressive in criticizing the NSA are backing the USA Freedom Act.

“I’m pleased Republicans joined with Democrats to do what’s responsible and support the passage of the USA Freedom Act,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat. “This is a bipartisan compromise that would ensure that our intelligence community has the tools it needs to focus more narrowly on the records of actual terrorists, and end the bulk collection of law-abiding Americans’ private phone calls.”

 

Advertisements

NATO leader sees ‘serious military buildup’ in Ukraine

 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference in Kabul November 6, 2014.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference in Kabul November 6, 2014.

(Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg denounced on Tuesday what he called a serious Russian military buildup both inside Ukraine and on the Russian side of the border and urged Moscow to pull back its troops.

Stoltenberg said NATO saw movement of troops, equipment, tanks, artillery and also of advanced air defense systems in violation of a ceasefire agreement.

Russia denies providing arms or troops to support a separatist pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine, which began after the removal of a Kremlin-oriented Ukrainian president by mass protests in February. A ceasefire was agreed in early September, but fighting flared again recently.

Stoltenberg told reporters as he arrived for a meeting with European Union defense ministers he had information on a buildup inside Ukraine.

“But we also see a military buildup on the Russian side of the border…This is a serious military buildup and we call on Russia to pull back its troops,” he said.

Russia denied similar accusations last week by NATO’s top military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who said NATO had spotted military equipment arriving from Russia in regions of east Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatist rebels.

General-Major Igor Konashenkov, a Russian Defense Ministry official, dismissed Breedlove’s comments last week as anti-Russian “hot air”.

 

NSA spying on foreign embassies helped US ‘develop’ strategy

The National Security Agency in 2010 provided the US ambassador to the United Nations with background information on several governments and their embassies that were undecided on the question of Iranian sanctions.

In May 2010, as the UN Security Council was attempting to win support for sanctions against Iran over its nuclear-energy program, which some say is a front for a nuclear weapons program, several members were undecided as to how they would vote. At this point, the US ambassador to the world body, Susan Rice, asked the NSA for assistance in her efforts to “develop a strategy,” leaked NSA documents reveal.

The NSA swung into action, aiming their powerful surveillance apparatus at the personal communications of diplomats from four non-permanent Security Council members — Bosnia, Gabon, Nigeria and Uganda. This gave Rice an apparent upper-hand in the course of the negotiations.

In June, 12 of the 15-member Security Council voted in favor of new sanctions.

Later, Rice extended her gratitude to the US spy agency, saying its surveillance had helped her to know when diplomats from the other permanent representatives — China, England, France and Russia — “were telling the truth … revealed their real position on sanctions … gave us an upper hand in negotiations … and provided information on various countries’ ‘red lines’.”

The information comes from a new book by journalist Glenn Greenwald, ‘No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State’, the New York Times reported.

Rice’s request for assistance was discovered in an internal report by the security agency’s Special Source Operations division, which cooperates with US telecommunications companies in the event a request for information is deemed necessary.

Greenwald’s book goes on sale Tuesday.

The book also provides a list of embassies around the world that had been infiltrated by the US spy agency, including those of Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, the European Union, France, Georgia, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Venezuela and Vietnam.

United States Vice President Joe Biden (R) sits with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (L) as U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice stands (C) before the start of the United Nations Security Council High-Level Meeting on Iraq at U.N. headquarters in New York, December 15, 2010

News of the NSA’s vast surveillance network, which targets friends and enemies of the United States with equanimity, were revealed in June when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided Greenwald with thousands of files on the program.

Despite promises by President Obama for greater safeguards on the invasive system, which has infuriated people around the world, the NSA seems determined not to let international public opinion block its spying efforts.

“While our intelligence agencies will continue to gather information about the intentions of governments — as opposed to ordinary citizens — around the world, in the same way that the intelligence services of every other nation do, we will not apologize because our services may be more effective,” according to a White House statement.

The latest revelations detailing how the NSA gives American diplomats an unfair advantage raises the question as to how such orders passed legal muster in the first place.

According to the documents, a legal team went to work on May 22 building the case to electronically eavesdrop on diplomats and envoys from Bosnia, Gabon, Nigeria and Uganda whose embassies were apparently not yet covered by the NSA.

A judge from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved the request on May 26.

The Obama administration has faced fierce criticism following revelations of the global surveillance program, which was used not simply to identify potential terrorists, but to eavesdrop on the communications of world leaders.

Following revelations that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s private cell phone communications were being hacked by the NSA, Germany pushed for a ‘no-spy’ agreement with the United States to restore the trust.

The Obama administration, however, rejected the offer.

Now Europe has announced plans to construct a new Internet network that bypasses the United States and the NSA, a move the US Trade Representative labeled “draconian.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Former CIA director: ‘We kill people based on metadata’

Former National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Michael Hayden

At a recent debate concerning the National Security Agency’s bulk surveillance programs, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden admitted that metadata is used as the basis for killing people.

The comments were made during a debate at Johns Hopkins University, after Georgetown University Law Center professor David Cole detailed the kind of information the government can obtain simply by collecting metadata – who you call, when you call them, how long the call lasts, and how often calls between the two parties are made.

Although NSA supporters often claim such metadata collection is permissible considering the content of the call is not collected, Cole argued that is not the case, since the former general counsel of the NSA, Stewart Baker, has already stated metadata alone is more than enough to reveal vast amounts of an individual’s personal information

Writing in the New York Review of Books, Cole elaborated (you can also watch his explanation around the 14 minute mark of the embedded video):

“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.’”

Hayden paused after making this statement – around the 18 minute mark of the video – and then qualified it by adding, “but that’s not what we do with this metadata.”

Presumably, when Hayden emphasizes “this metadata,” he is referring to the information collected from American citizens. As RT reported in February, the US is already using metadata to select targets for drone strikes around the world. In a report for the Intercept, an unnamed drone operator – backed up by documents leaked by Edward Snowden – said the agency analyzes metadata as well as mobile-tracking technology to determine targets, without employing human intelligence to confirm a suspect’s identity.

Screenshot from YouTube user Johns Hopkins

“People get hung up that there’s a targeted list of people,” the operator said. “It’s really like we’re targeting a cell phone. We’re not going after people – we’re going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.”

According to Cole, the realization that the NSA is collecting such vast amounts of information has prompted action from both Democrats and Republicans in Washington. Last week, two committees in the House of Representatives recently voted unanimously to support the USA Freedom Act, which would bar the NSA from collecting metadata in bulk. The data would remain in the possession of telecommunications companies, only to be accessed by the government if it can prove reasonable suspicion to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

As noted by Cole, however, the bill doesn’t address all the facets of the NSA’s surveillance program. As its currently written, the Freedom Act only applies to American citizens, not foreigners who are also under surveillance, nor does it address what he termed the NSA’s “guerilla-like tactics of inserting vulnerabilities into computer software and drivers, to be exploited later to surreptitiously intercept private communications.”

As RT reported previously, the NSA designed at least two encryption tools offered by the security firm RSA – one of which was made the default option, and which allowed the NSA to easily infiltrate computer security systems.

Enhanced by Zemanta

NSA embedded surveillance tools within exported US computer hardware

While the United States has warned against buying Chinese routers due to surveillance concerns, a new book about the Edward Snowden revelations states America has been intercepting and tinkering with routers intended for foreign customers.

According to Glenn Greenwald – one of the journalists entrusted with Snowden’s leaked documents – the National Security Agency has been implanting devices into routers headed overseas since at least 2010.

In an extract from Greenwald’s new book, titled “No Place to Hide,” the journalist states the NSA “routinely receives – or intercepts – routers, servers, and other computer network devices being exported from the US before they are delivered to the international customers.”

Once the agency gets its hands on these products, it embeds devices that are linked to the NSA’s own system, giving officials access to foreign networks and information from all the users connected to that network.

“In one recent case, after several months a beacon implanted through supply-chain interdiction called back to the NSA covert infrastructure,” a 2010 NSA report states, according to Greenwald. “This call back provided us access to further exploit the device and survey the network.”

The revelation comes after US officials and lawmakers spent years criticizing Chinese telecommunications companies like ZTE and Huawei for potentially looking to sell their products to Americans while collecting data for the Chinese government.

Glenn Greenwald.

In 2012, a report by the House Intelligence Committee stated the companies “may be violating United States laws” and have “not followed United States legal obligations or international standards of business behavior”.

Although no evidence was uncovered to back up the allegations, the committee still pushed American companies to reject products from ZTE and Huawei.

“Private-sector entities in the United States are strongly encouraged to consider the long-term security risks associated with doing business with either ZTE or Huawei for equipment or services,” the committee stated.

“US network providers and systems developers are strongly encouraged to seek other vendors for their projects. Based on available classified and unclassified information, Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems.”

The news also comes less than two months after it was revealed that the NSA spied on Huawei, as well as the China’s Trade Ministry, banks, companies, and top political officials. As RT reported in March, the campaign against Huawei took place a few years before lawmakers urged American companies to stay away from Chinese products, and was intended to explore potential links to China’s cyber warfare units.

Whether or not it discovered any evidence for this, however, remains unknown.

According to Greenwald, it is “quite possible” that Chinese companies are tampering with their products in order to install surveillance technology, but it wouldn’t be any different from what the US is doing on its own.

Meanwhile, hacktivist group Anonymous has called for a protest against Greenwald as he sets out on his book tour for “No Place to Hide.” The ire directed at Greenwald comes from the journalist’s relationship with Pierre Omidyar, Greenwald’s boss at First Look Media and the ultimate owner of PayPal. Omidyar’s PayPal was hacked three years ago by those now deemed the “PayPal 14” for refusing to process donations to WikiLeaks after the online organization published classified US government documents given to it by US Army leaker Chelsea Manning.

Omidyar, Anonymous says, allowed the blocked donations as a “means of control,” and he and Greenwald have since only expressed “tepid ‘support’ for the PayPal 14” as the group faces jail time and $80,000 in court-ordered restitution.

Anonymous also criticizes Greenwald’s – and Omidyar’s – place as the possessor of a major cache of public documents regarding National Security Agency surveillance supplied by leaker Edward Snowden. Anonymous said that, nearly a year after the NSA leaks were first published, Greenwald has positioned himself in a cozy, lucrative spot by forming a partnership with billionaire Omidyar while hawking his book – promised to have more NSA leaks – for a profit. Greenwald’s handling of the leaks has kept “aggressive, non-celebrity journalists from finding answers and pro-freedom hackers from building better defenses.”

The protest, Anonymous wrote, should aim to explain the relationship between the journalist and his financial benefactor.

Enhanced by Zemanta

NSA knew about Heartbleed for two years – Bloomberg

The critical “Heartbleed” bug reported earlier this week to have affected the security of most of the internet was discovered by researchers at the United States National Security Agency two years earlier, according to a new report.

On Friday afternoon, Bloomberg News journalist Michael Riley reported that the NSA knew about the monstrous flaw for at least two years ahead of this week’s announcement, but kept it hidden from technologists and instead exploited it to hack the computers and correspondence of certain intelligence targets.

Earlier in the week, the open-source OpenSSL internet security project issued an emergency advisory after discovery of the Heartbleed bug revealed a weakness that may have for years allowed hackers to access online information otherwise thought to be protected by the SSL/TLS encryption standard used by around two-thirds of the web.

But according to sources that Riley says are familiar with the matter, the NSA kept details of the bug a secret shortly after first discovering it in early 2012 so that it could be added to the agency’s toolbox of exploits and hacks.

“The agency found the Heartbeat glitch shortly after its introduction, according to one of the people familiar with the matter, and it became a basic part of the agency’s toolkit for stealing account passwords and other common tasks,” Riley wrote.

“Putting the Heartbleed bug in its arsenal, the NSA was able to obtain passwords and other basic data that are the building blocks of the sophisticated hacking operations at the core of its mission, but at a cost,” he added. “Millions of ordinary users were left vulnerable to attack from other nations’ intelligence arms and criminal hackers.”

Shortly after Bloomberg published their report, agency spokeswoman Vanee Vines told the National Journal that the NSA “was not aware of the recently identified vulnerability in OpenSSL, the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability, until it was made public in a private-sector cybersecurity report.”

“Reports that say otherwise are wrong,” she said, dismissing Riley’s report.

In December, a five-person review group handpicked by US President Barack Obama to reassess the NSA’s intelligence gathering abilities said that the government must not stockpile details about any so-called “zero day” vulnerabilities, or flaws unknown to computer programs who have thus had “zero days” to patch them.

“In almost all instances, for widely used code, it is in the national interest to eliminate software vulnerabilities rather than to use them for US intelligence collection,” the group told the president. “Eliminating the vulnerabilities — “patching” them — strengthens the security of US Government, critical infrastructure, and other computer systems.”

“We recommend that, when an urgent and significant national security priority can be addressed by the use of a Zero Day, an agency of the US Government may be authorized to use temporarily a Zero Day instead of immediately fixing the underlying vulnerability.”

Pres. Obama has since asked Congress to adhere to one of that group’s recommendations — halting the government’s bulk collection of telephony metadata — but has not publically spoken of zero days before or after this week’s discovery of Heartbleed.

Previously, however, journalists and privacy advocates working with the trove of classified NSA documents disclosed last year by former contractor Edward Snowden said that the secretive intelligence agency had been undermining the very security of the internet by exploiting other flaws to hack targets.

At a security conference in December, expert Jacob Appelbaum from Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine said that the NSA had acquired the means to compromise any Apple iPhone in the world and occasionally relied on a number of high-tech tools and implants to hack targets.

“Basically the NSA, they want to be able to spy on you. And if they have ten different options for spying on you that you know about, they have 13 ways of doing it and they do all 13. So that’s a pretty scary thing,”said Appelbaum, who previously spoke on behalf of WikiLeaks at a US conference and is a core member of the Tor anonymity project.

And since June, NSA leaks disclosed by Mr. Snowden have shown that the NSA has done everything from physically tapping into fiber optic undersea internet cables to get further access to the world’s communications, to tricking the systems administrators of private companies into installing malware that would open up their machines to American spies.

via NSA knew about Heartbleed for two years – Bloomberg — RT USA.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No legal means exist to challenge mass surveillance – Snowden

No legal means exist to challenge mass surveillance, said NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, testifying to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

A former NSA contractor, Snowden was speaking to the PACE session in Strasbourg via a video link-up from Moscow.

Wanted in the US on treason charges, he sparked a huge international scandal last year he leaked to the media classified evidence of American government spying programs.

“I would like to clarify that I have no intention of harming the US government or straining bilateral ties between any nations. My motivation is to improve the government, not to bring it down,” Snowden said.

Snowden told the European parliamentarians that any kind of web traffic can be analyzed and searched with little effort.

The technique can be used to identify a person with a certain social or religious group and business interactions. Using this technology, NSA can also make a list of home addresses of people who match a certain criteria.

Snowden added, however, that there are no “nightmare scenarios” where the US government would, for instance, fingerprint all gay people. However, they can follow law violators as well as those where just had the bad luck to follow a wrong link on the internet, he said.

Enhanced by Zemanta

NSA carried out unauthorised searches on Americans’ calls and emails – DNI Clapper

US intelligence chiefs have confirmed that the National Security Agency uses loopholes in the surveillance law to carry out unsanctioned searches of Americans’ phone conversations and e-mail messages.

On the face of it, the NSA’s collection programmes are aimed at foreigners, but in August the Guardian published a secret change in the rules allowing the NSA to look through Americans’ messages.

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, confirmed for the first time in a letter that data related to US persons was collected. The letter and all top-secret NSA documents were provided to The Guardian by Edward Snowden. Clapper did not specify how many unauthorized searches had been performed by the NSA.

Speaking of the broad surveillance in June, President Barack Obama said that no one listened to people’s telephone calls. The programme was meant to register phone numbers and durations of calls only, not people’s names or the content of calls. Now confirmation that the NSA inspects Americans’ phone call and email databases casts doubt on Obama’s words.

The NSA is allowed to collect communications without individual warrants as long as those are foreign communications. The communications of Americans in contact with foreigners can also be collected without a warrant, and intelligence agencies admit that purely domestic communications can also be unintentionally swept into the databases. This process is called ‘incidental collection’.

Initially, NSA regulations did not allow the databases to be searched for any information relating to US citizens or residents of the US. But in October 2011 the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved new procedures that allowed the agency to investigate US persons’ communications. This information was provided in documents revealed by Snowden. The ruling gives the agency free access to databases containing information relating to US people.

Enhanced by Zemanta

From Merkel to Tymoshenko : NSA spied on 122 world leaders, Snowden docs reveal

The NSA’s data base contains information obtained during the surveillance of over a hundred world leaders, new leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed.

Der Spiegel has looked through a top secret presentation by NSA’s Center for Content Extraction, which is responsible for automated analysis of all types of text data.

According to the document, the leaders of 122 states were among the high-ranked targets of the US intelligence.

However, only 12 names were revealed by the German journalists in the publication as an example.

With the heads of state arranged alphabetically by first name, the list begins with ‘A’ as in Abdullah Badawi, the former Malaysian prime minister.

He’s followed by Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who appears so high due to being mentioned under his alias, Abu Mazin.

The catalogue of world leaders under surveillance goes on with the heads of Peru, Somalia, Guatemala and Colombia right up to Aleksander Lukashenko of Belarus.

The list is completed by Yulia Tymoshenko at No.122, who used to be Ukrainian prime minister from February-September 2005 and from December 2007 till March 2010.

Merkel appears on the document between former Mali president, Amadou Toumani Toure, and Syrian leader, Bashar Assad.

The document indicates that the German chancellor has been included in the so-called Target Knowledge Database (TKB), which includes “complete profiles” of the individuals under surveillance.

The automated name recognition system, Nymrod, which deals with transcripts of intercepted fax, voice and computer-to-computer communications, has provided around 300 citations for Merkel alone, Der Spiegel wrote.

The authors of the NSA presentation especially stressed the effectiveness of the automated capture, with manual maintenance of high-ranking targets database being “a slow and painstaking process”.

Der Spiegel were also shown a weekly report from the Special Sources Operations (SSO) division, which proves that the NSA had received a court order to spy on Merkel.

According to the paper, FISA, the special court responsible for intelligence agency requests, provided the NSA with authorization to monitor “Germany” on March 7, 2013.

The new Snowden leaks are significant for Germany as they prove that Chancellor Merkel was an official target for surveillance by the US.

The office of German Federal Public Prosecutor, Harald Range, still hasn’t made up its mind over suing the National Security Agency.

The allegations that the NSA monitored Merkel’s mobile phone and conducted mass surveillance on the communications of millions of Germans are currently under review by the prosecutors.

Enhanced by Zemanta

NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander says future Snowden leaks could lead to deaths

65

The data that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden‘s holds could, if released, lead to deaths, the agency’s outgoing director says.

Gen. Keith Alexander said in an interview aired Tuesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that the possibility that more information coming from Snowden could cost people their lives represents his “greatest concern.”

“Do you know what he has?” host Baier asked the general.

“We have a good assessment of what he has, yes,” Alexander said.

“And is there a lot more damaging to come?”

“Yes, especially to our military operations and those who are serving overseas,” Alexander replied.

Alexander said he was “hugely disappointed” when he learned that Snowden, who was entrusted with sensitive information, began leaking NSA data last summer.

“I think this will haunt him for the rest of his life,” Alexander said. “Here’s a young guy who made some huge mistakes.”

When asked what he would do with Snowden were he granted 15 minutes alone with him, Alexander said he wouldn’t attack the former analyst, but instead might reveal to him the damage he’s caused the agency, “so he knows the damage — the significant damage to our nation and to our allies.”

Alexander also said the reforms pushed by President Obama, which would require the NSA to prove more direct links from terrorists before acquiring data from telephone companies, are sensible.

“The approach that we put forward … is one that would limit what we get, so it does away with the business record FISA database as we know it today, and we would now work with the telecommunications company on specific numbers that have a terrorist nexus and get only that data,” Alexander said. “This is an approach that I think meets the intent of protecting our civil liberties and privacy and the security of this country.”

Also in the interview, Alexander addressed concerns raised by former President Carter, who on Sunday said he uses snail mail to communicate with foreign leaders for fear his emails are being monitored.

“We’re not [monitoring the emails],” Alexander said. “So he can now go back to writing emails. The reality is, we don’t do that. And if we did, it would be illegal and we’d be … held accountable and responsible.”

via NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander says future Snowden leaks could lead to deaths | Fox News.

Enhanced by Zemanta