"If the program were in place before 9/11, I believe it would have prevented 9/11," Mike Morell said earlier today on the CBS television program `Face the Nation.' "And by the program, I mean two things. I mean, NSA's ability to query the database, which would have allowed NSA to find one of the 9/11 hijackers in California, and the part of the … Read more
In a closely watched speech about the NSA and its spy programs, President Obama said this week that "the work has begun" on hammering out detailed reforms, and he announced some initial measures, including steps to prevent abuse of the widely criticized bulk phone-records program and greater privacy protections for citizens of other nations. Critics, however, were less than all-in.
The speech was a response to comments and recommendations made by the president's handpicked NSA Review Group in a report (PDF) released in late December, as well as to opinions gleaned from recent White House meetings with … Read more
President Obama has ordered a redesign of the NSA's controversial phone-records program, saying the secretive spy agency will now need court permission to get at stored data on calls and should no longer collect and store the information itself. Instead, the bulk metadata -- which includes information on calls placed and received -- will be held by a yet-to-be-determined third party.
The changes are among those announced by the president during a speech Friday that revealed Obama's response to reform proposals made by his handpicked NSA review group. The group -- formed in response to the debate over … Read more
The US National Security Agency is collecting millions of "untargeted" text message from across the globe on a daily basis, according to a report from The Guardian.
An NSA program, codenamed Dishfire, collects and stores nearly 200 million global SMS messages a day, reported The Guardian on Thursday, citing documents provide by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. The program reaches beyond existing surveillance targets and collects "pretty much everything it can," according to the report.
The NSA has extracted information such as "people's travel plans, contact books, financial transactions and more -- including of individuals … Read more
The National Security Agency is using secret wireless technology that allows it to access and alter data on computers, even when they are not connected to the Internet, according to a New York Times report.
Since 2008, the agency has been increasingly using a "covert channel of radio waves" that can transmit from hardware installed in the computers, according to NSA documents and experts interviewed by the Times. Signals can then be sent to briefcase-size relay stations miles away, according to the report.
The NSA has also installed surveillance software on nearly 100,000 computers around the world, … Read more
President Obama is expected to announce a slew of possible reforms to the National Security Agency's surveillance programs on Friday. Within these proposed reforms are recommendations to limit spying on ally governments, stop the NSA's storage of telephone record data of US citizens, and increase controls on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Unsurprisingly, judges of the FISC have taken issue with some of the proposed controls. Former presiding judge of the FISC and current director of the Administrative Office of the United States Court Judge John D. Bates penned a letter (PDF) to several lawmakers, which was … Read more
In anticipation of President Barack Obama's speech about his review of the National Security Agency's spying programs, the American Civil Liberties Union has launched a petition calling for the amnesty of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
"Edward Snowden is a great American who deserves full immunity for his patriotic acts. And we're proud to serve as his legal advisors," the ACLU wrote on the petition. "Now if tens of thousands of us stand together and tell President Obama to grant Snowden immunity, we have a real chance of bringing him home."
As of … Read more
The filmmaker behind the new Aaron Swartz documentary is using the film's recently released trailer to rally support for a campaign against mass surveillance.
It's fitting cause for the documentary of a man famous for his fight with the US government over Internet freedoms, and the new trailer uses Swartz's words to spur more action. The film, called "The Internet's Own Boy," premieres at the Sundance Film Festival next week.
Thursday saw the latest salvo in the "Edward Snowden: Hero or Traitor?" debate, as the top two members of the House Intelligence Committee said a classified Pentagon report found that Snowden's leaking of NSA documents had endangered US troops and helped terrorists -- though they declined to provide specifics.
"This report confirms my greatest fears -- Snowden's real acts of betrayal place America's military men and women at greater risk," committee Chairman Mike Rogers said in a statement cited by Foreign Policy. "Snowden's actions are likely to have lethal consequences for … Read more