American government’s answer to privacy concerns — Trust us!


Women sense my power and they seek the life essence…But, I do deny them my essence, Mandrake.

The National Security Agency director, Mike Rogers…sought to calm a chorus of doubts about the government’s plans to maintain built-in access to data held by US technology companies, saying such “backdoors” would not be harmful to privacy, would not fatally compromise encryption and would not ruin international markets for US technology products.

Rogers mounted an elaborate defense of Barack Obama’s evolving cybersecurity strategy in an appearance before an audience of cryptographers, tech company security officers and national security reporters at the New America Foundation in Washington…

For most of the appearance, however, Rogers was on the defensive, at pains to explain how legal or technological protections could be put in place to ensure that government access to the data of US technology companies would not result in abuse by intelligence agencies. The White House is trying to broker a deal with companies such as Apple, Yahoo and Google, to ensure holes in encryption for the government to access mobile data, cloud computing and other data…

Rogers admitted that concerns about US government infiltration of US companies’ data represented a business risk for US companies, but he suggested that the greater threat was from cyber-attacks…

US technology companies have bridled at government pressure to introduce weaknesses in encryption systems in order to ensure government access to data streams, and technical experts have warned that there is no way to create a “backdoor” in an encryption system without summarily compromising it. An appearance by Obama at a cybersecurity conference at Stanford University last week to tout cooperation between the government and US tech companies was upstaged by an impassioned speech by Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, who warned of the “dire consequences” of sacrificing the right to online privacy…

“‘Backdoor’ is not the context I would use, because when I hear the phrase ‘backdoor’ I think: ‘Well this is kind of shady, why wouldn’t you want to go in the front door, be very public?’” Rogers said. “We can create a legal framework for how we do this.”

“Legal framework”, eh? Let me remind folks the first mass bombing of civilians had a “legal framework”. Hitler’s Condor Legion was invited into Spain by the fascist dictator, Franco. All perfectly legal. They bombed civilians in Madrid, Guernica, across Republican Spain.

Not that the United States would ever “legally” bomb civilians. Oh.

Independent review says NSA program is illegal and should end

An independent executive branch board has concluded that the National Security Agency’s long-running program to collect billions of Americans’ phone records is illegal and should end.

In a strongly worded report to be issued today, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board said that the statute upon which the program was based, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, “does not provide an adequate basis to support this program…”

The board’s conclusion goes further than President Obama…The board had shared its conclusions with Obama in the days leading up to his speech…

The divided panel also concluded that the program raises serious threats to civil liberties, has shown limited value in countering terrorism and is not sustainable from a policy perspective.

“We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the telephone records program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “Moreover, we are aware of no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack.”

The politicians and pundits who say otherwise are liars, egregious and gutless, fools dedicated to Cold War ideology.

RTFA for beaucoup details, analysis – albeit as stodgy as expected.

From Obama to Mike Rogers, the conformity of cowards who prefer Overlords to oversight, continues as freely under John Brennan as it did in the CIA under Allen Dulles. From liberals to anal retentive conservatives, allegiance to anything-but-liberty is their only solution to the fear ruling their political lives as thoroughly as their dedication to corporate wealth.

House Republicans hold Big Brother Festival – call it a hearing


Michelle Bachmann is Big Brother in drag

The name of Tuesday’s hearing of the House Select Committee on Intelligence sounded more like the subtitle to a Stanley Kubrick film: “How Disclosed NSA Programs Protect Americans, and Why Disclosure Aids Our Adversaries.”

Chairman Mike Rogers’ (R-MI) clear goal was to give the members of the intelligence committee a chance to trumpet the value of the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance program and chastise Edward Snowden, the former defense contractor who fled to Hong Kong with the intent of leaking secret documents.

“In recent years, these programs…have protected the U.S and our allies from terrorist threats…blah, blah, blah

Snowden has asserted that as a low-level analyst he had unfettered access to Americans’ private communication through connections with top technology companies established by the so-called PRISM program.

“If I target for example an email address, for example under FAA 702, and that email address sent something to you, Joe America, the analyst gets it,” Snowden wrote. “All of it. IPs, raw data, content, headers, attachments, everything. And it gets saved for a very long time – and can be extended further with waivers rather than warrants.”

He’s referring to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which according to the government “targeted acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning foreign targets located outside the United States under court oversight.” Snowden argues that where such actual oversight exists, it can be easily gamed.

Alexander flatly denied that such access exists…

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) took on Snowden directly, echoing Dick Cheney by calling him a “traitor…”

Chairman Rogers echoed Bachmann. “It is at times like these where our enemies within become almost as damaging as our enemies on the outside,” he said.

The only thing they left out – today – was the Red Menace from China. And homosexuals. Don’t forget homosexuals.

Rightwing politicians in America aren’t especially inventive or up-to-date. Their fears, the things that go boomp in the night and scare the Bejeebus out of them haven’t changed in centuries. So, just as Joe McCarthy attacked everyone from the State Department to President Eisenhower as either agents or dupes of a foreign power, the fallback position has always been that the homosexuals in positions of power are complicit with defiling the purity of our bodily fluids – and on and on.

Ted Cruz and the rest of the proto-fascist crowd, the Bachmans, the renamed phony Christian Coalition, have already started down that alley. Expect to hear it from the rest of the Republican Party as we approach the 2014 elections.