Tag - CIA

CIA looks to expand its cyber espionage capabilities

Washington Post, By Greg Miller, February 23

CIA Director John Brennan is planning a major expansion of the agency’s cyber-espionage capabilities as part of a broad restructuring of an intelligence service long defined by its human spy work, current and former U.S. officials said.

The proposed shift reflects a determination that the CIA’s approach to conventional espionage is increasingly outmoded amid the exploding use of smartphones, social media and other technologies.

U.S. officials said Brennan’s plans call for increased use of cyber capabilities in almost every category of operations — whether identifying foreign officials to recruit as CIA informants, confirming the identities of targets of drone strikes or penetrating Internet-savvy adversaries such as the Islamic State.

Several officials said Brennan’s team has even considered creating a new cyber-directorate — a step that would put the agency’s technology experts on equal footing with the operations and analysis branches, which have been pillars of the CIA’s organizational structure for decades.

Via emptywheel: After Failing at the White House, Then Illegally Hacking SSCI, Brennan Wants Cyber

Editor of major newspaper says he planted stories for CIA

Digital Journal, By Ralph Lopez, January 26

Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a “propagandist,” an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA.

Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war.

Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short.

How the CIA made Google

Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet—

Medium, By Nafeez Ahmed, January 22

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’
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The Inside Information That Could Have Stopped 9/11

Newsweek, By Jeff Stein, January 14

Just before Christmas, former FBI special agent Mark Rossini greeted me with his usual good cheer when we met for drinks in a midtown Manhattan restaurant. He told me his life had finally taken a turn for the better. He’s spending most of his time in Switzerland, where he works for a private global corporate-security firm. “Life’s good,” he said.

Good, but with a few major changes. Rossini was drinking club soda instead of the expensive cabernets he quaffed when I first knew him as a high-flying FBI official in Washington a decade ago, when he was a special assistant to the bureau’s chief spokesman, John Miller (now with the New York City Police Department). “I’ve cut back,” he said. “Feeling good.”
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CIA board clears staff of snooping Senate computers

A CIA internal watchdog has cleared agency officers of improperly accessing the computers of members of the US Senate intelligence committee.

BBC, January 15

It said CIA officers acted reasonably in searching computers after concerns they contained classified material.

The finding contradicts allegations from lawmakers and an admission from the agency’s own inspector general.

The allegations came during the intelligence committee’s investigation into claims of torture by the CIA.

Reaching Outside C.I.A., Obama Picks Treasury Official to Become Agency’s No. 2

New York Times, By Mark Mazzetti, January 9

Washington — President Obama has chosen the Treasury Department official who has directed the effort to cut off funding of the Islamic State and impose economic sanctions on Syria, Russia and Iran to become the C.I.A.’s deputy director, the agency announced on Friday.

The official, David S. Cohen, who as under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence has spent more than three years in charge of the Obama administration’s attempts to punish foreign governments and cripple terrorist groups, will help lead an agency that remains at the center of armed drone campaigns and covert efforts to arm and train Syrian rebels.

John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, said in a statement that Mr. Cohen brings a “wealth of experience on many of the issues that we focus on as an agency” — such as money laundering, financial support for terrorism and narcotics trafficking.

In the past, the C.I.A.’s No. 2 job, which does not require Senate confirmation, has often been filled by agency veterans or senior military officers. Mr. Cohen, a lawyer who has no previous C.I.A. experience, will replace Avril D. Haines, who left the C.I.A. to become Mr. Obama’s deputy national security adviser.

Mark Udall to consider all options to reveal CIA torture report

The Denver Post, By Mark K. Matthews, November 13

Washington — U.S. Sen. Mark Udall has seven weeks left in office, but the Colorado Democrat isn’t prepared to go quietly — especially when it comes to the twin issues of CIA torture and government snooping.

In his first interview since Election Day, Udall told The Denver Post that he would “keep all options on the table” — including a rarely used right given to federal lawmakers — to publicize a secret report about the harsh interrogation techniques used by CIA agents in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

He also vowed to make one final push to curb the National Security Agency and its power to gather information on ordinary Americans.

“Trying to run out the clock … is not an option,” Udall said Thursday of the long-hidden CIA report. “The truth will come out.”

Senate’s inquiry into CIA torture sidesteps blaming Bush, aides

McClatchy, By Jonathan S. Landay, Ali Watkins and Marisa Taylor, October 16

A soon-to-be released Senate report on the CIA doesn’t assess the responsibility of former President George W. Bush or his top aides for any of the abuses of the agency’s detention and interrogation program, avoiding a full public accounting of one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror.

“This report is not about the White House. It’s not about the president. It’s not about criminal liability. It’s about the CIA’s actions or inactions,” said a person familiar with the document, who asked not to be further identified because the executive summary – the only part to that will be made public – still is in the final stages of declassification.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report also didn’t examine the responsibility of top Bush administration lawyers in crafting the legal framework that permitted the CIA to use simulated drowning called waterboarding and other interrogation methods widely described as torture, McClatchy has learned.

“It does not look at the Bush administration’s lawyers to see if they were trying to literally do an end run around justice and the law,” the person said.

The Great Expectancy

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Pax Americana continues to crumble before our eyes. The belief that the United States has a divinely-inspired obligation to police the entire world has always been most strongly held among Americans themselves; some of the beneficiaries of this largesse, such as the Vietnamese and most recently the Iraqis, never quite showed the gratitude America felt it had earned by bringing them liberty, freedom, justice, and a Starbucks Grandé Mocha every morning on their way to work. Of course, it takes a lot of effort to keep Americans invested in the Pax Americana dream, especially since to make the dream mean anything the U.S. has to have “boots on the ground” in strange places that seem to have little to do with American security. Read More

It’s All Snowden’s Fault

You read that right. Them’s the talking points out of DC. Obama got caught flat-footed. Apparently the CIA/DIA/NSA/NSC all believed that Putin would not send troops in. (I wonder what this tells us about our drone intel?) And so now what we’re getting from DC is it’s all Snowden’s fault because apparently he gave the Russians the keys to our SIGINT kingdom and our assets are worthless now and the Russians were able to sneak all this past us.

Fucking kill me.

You mean to tell me that no one in the CIA/DIA/NSA/NSC could come up with the independent idea, based on 350 years of Russian history, that Putin and Russia would fight for their strategic depth? Am I the only person on the planet that saw this coming? Honestly, I’m just not that smart.

Also, this is not Snowden’s fault. What this shows is the wishful thinking of the entire intelligence and elite policy apparatus in DC. And that is why the flaming hypocrisy of the reaction to Putin and his actions has been so intense. The sheep got sucker punched while they were drinking the Kool-Aid. (And that my friends is a mixed-metaphor worthy of Tom Friedman.)

Look, I goddamned told you so. I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs for two fucking weeks the Russians would do this. Everyone said, “no, Putin’s not going to go that far.”

He did. What’s your excuse now?

This could have all been avoided had we left the Ukraine as a buffer state. That way, Putin gets his strategic depth and the EU could extract their austerity wealth.

Reap the whirlwind.

Update: In the annals of stupid, this very well may end up in the top ten. Can I just say, you do not ever, ever, ever make a threat that you cannot back up. If you say you are going to use nukes on someone, you goddamned well better have nukes in your back pocket, not some stupid hypothetical 3-6 month breakout time horizon. Especially against someone as ruthless, patient and cunning as Vladimir Putin.

This shit is looking to get really, really ugly. Really, really fast.

And you know what: when you have bankers stealing from everyone, lots of unemployment, lots of recession and depression you get war.

Military and intel-agency physicians and psychologists in abusive interrogation (aka torture)

donoharm

Sometimes people forget who they are.  The power to heal becomes the power to torture. 

The following material is the first part of the Executive Summary of a just released report, Ethics Abandoned, on physician and allied health personnel engaging in cruel behavior towards detainees..  Do no harm became use harm as a technique.  This is against everything the health professions stand for.

Note that the American Psychiatric Association condemned torture and said no psychiatrist could participate in torture and be within the bounds of the profession.  The American Psychological Association refused to issue a blanket condemnation, to its eternal shame.

ETHICS ABANDONED
Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse In the War on Terror   Read More

The “Insider” View of the Snowden Leak

While I disagree with a great deal of what is said in tonight’s Nelson Report, I think it is extremely useful to read it to understand how the “insiders” see the leak. They have absolutely no conception of how Main Street sees it. How run of the mill people involved in small scale retail politics who are trying to make the world better, how this program(s) scares them. And so much more. Regardless, read the report:

THE SNOWDEN/FOX/AP/PRISM DEBATE…a couple of real life Loyal Reader insiders add some very important personal experience perspective: Read More

A Public Indictment Could Shed Light on CIA’s Secret Program

Agonist Newswire

By Cora Currier, ProPublica
Creative Commons

gitmoFederal prosecutors in Brooklyn unsealed an indictment Wednesday charging Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun with six terrorism-related counts.  (Image)

The announcement that Harun is in U.S. custody in New York may also shed light on a small part one of the most secretive aspects of U.S. counterterrorism operations during the Bush administration: What became of terror suspects held by the CIA in its network of “black-site” prisons around the world? Or disappeared into foreign cells in extraordinary renditions?

With their indictment of Harun, prosecutors offered a basic account of how the 43-year-old Nigerian – described as “a prototype Al Qaeda Operative” – spent the last decade. He fought U.S. forces in Afghanistan, prosecutors said, before leaving for Africa, where he allegedly conspired to bomb U.S. diplomatic facilities. Harun, also known by his alias Spin Ghul, eventually wound up in Libyan prison for six years before he was released amid the turmoil of the uprising against Muammar Qaddafi.

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‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Director Kathryn Bigelow, Screenwriter Mark Boal Respond to Critics

THR:

The director and screenwriter of Zero Dark Thirty accepted the best director and best picture awards at Monday night’s New York Film Critics Circle Awards and used the opportunity onstage to address simmering controversies: the debate over their film’s use of torture, as well as the impending Senate investigation into their sources in crafting the movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

“I thankfully want to say that I’m standing in a room of people who understand that depiction is not endorsement, and if it was, no artist could ever portray inhumane practices; no author could ever write about them; and no filmmaker could ever delve into the naughty subjects of our time,” Bigelow said to applause from the press and peers assembled at the Crimson Club in Manhattan.

[…]

Boal, in accepting the best picture award, gave a more full-throated defense of the film, while also pulling in an even more current political headline.

“There’s been a lot written about this movie; some of it has popped off the entertainment page to the news page. And from time to time, some of you might have wondered if we would have liked to comment on some of that coverage, and the answer is yes,” he said, standing defiantly at the podium.

“Let me just say this: there was a very interesting story on the front page of the New York Timestoday by Scott Shane, about a CIA agent who is now facing jail time for talking to a reporter about waterboarding,” he explained, referencing the story of John Kiriaku, an ex-CIA operative who was sentenced to 30 months in prison for disclosing the name of a covert CIA agent’s name to a journalist. Kiriaku publicly discussed torture on television and was a source for many other journalists.

“This gentleman is going to jail for that. And all I can say is that I read that story very closely. It sort of reminds me of what somebody else said when they were running for president, which is, ‘If this shit was happening to somebody else, it would be very interesting. For us, it’s quite serious,” Boal continued, a nod at the pending Senate investigation into whether the CIA improperly gave him classified information to assist in the making of the film.

“But nevertheless, I stand here tonight being extremely proud of the film we made… In case anyone is asking, we stand by the film,” he added, throwing down a gauntlet. “I think at the end of the day, we made a film that allows us to look back at the past in a way that gives us a more clear-sighted appraisal of the future.”

Related: Alex Pasternack: “The “problem” with Zero Dark Thirty‘s portrayal of torture isn’t the portrayal itself, but what it represents”; Jose A. Rodriguez: “I was intimately involved in setting up and administering the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program, and I left the agency in 2007 secure in the knowledge not only that our program worked but also that it was not torture.” [Update: Scott Horton in 2007 on Rodriguez, aka, The Scapegoat]

(Image: david_shankbone, Flickr/CC)

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