US Senate Intelligence Committee Open Hearing on Worldwide Threats (2017-05-11) (SH-216) 


US Senate Intelligence Committee Open Hearing on Worldwide Threats (2017-05-11)
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (California) asks Andrew McCabe, acting FBI director, if the FBI is adequately resourced and what protections are provided to FBI employees to perform their duty
[time point 2.20.20]
Senator: It's been widely reported, and you have mentioned this, that Director Comey asked Rod Rosenstein for additional resources. And I understand that you are saying that you don't believe that you need any additional resources?
A. McCabe: For the Russian investigation, Mam, I think we are adequately resourced.
Senator: And will you commit to this committee that if you do need resources, that you will come to us, understanding that we would make every effort to get you what you need?
A. McCabe: I absolutely will.
[time point 2.21.08]
Senator: What protections have been put in place to assure that the good men and women of the FBI understand that they will not be fired if they aggressively pursue this investigation?
A. McCabe: Yes, mam, so we have very active lines of communication with the team that is working on this issue. They have some exemplary and incredibly effective leaders that they work directly for and I am confident that they understand and are confident in their position moving forward on this investigation, as my investigators, analysts, professionals, staff are in everything we do everyday.
Senator: And I agree with you. I have no question about the commitment that the men and women of the FBI have to pursue their mission. But will you commit to me that you will directly communicate in some way, now that these occurrences have happened and Director Comey has been fired, will you commit to me that under these changed circumstances you will find a way to directly communicate with these men and women to assure them that they will not be fired simply for aggressively pursuing this investigation?
A. McCabe: Yes, Mam.
Senator: Thank you.




US Senate Intelligence Committee Open Hearing on Worldwide Threats (2017-05-11)

An inspiring session of the governmental machine in action: executive branch (the Federal Agencies, the President and those who work for him) informs legislative branch (Congress). Senators of the Intelligence Committee interrogate the men and women whose job is to keep a nation safe and to anticipate threats in a worldwide setting.
Two members of the Committee will request guarantees for employees involved in the Russia probe. Senator Roy Blunt asks the FBI representative (approximated quote): "Can you assure us that if pressures are exerted on your line on duty you will come to this committee?" Senator Kamala Harris will ask (approximated quote): "Can you provide guarantees that no FBI employee will be fired because he does his duty?"
The role of the media in this setting? From :
"Today, despite the mass media’s propensity for (...) sensationalism and superficiality, the notion of the media as watchdog, as guardian of the public interest, and as a conduit between governors and the governed remains deeply ingrained."
At the first attached image: a brief reference during the meeting to a New York Times front page related to the Russian probe.
Flashback on Intelligence-related committees:
From Wikipedia link
"In December 1974, the New York Times alleged that the CIA had conducted illegal domestic activities, including experiments on U.S. citizens, during the 1960s. That report prompted investigations by the U.S. Congress, in the form of the Church Committee, and by a presidential commission known as the Rockefeller Commission that looked into domestic activities of the CIA, the FBI, and intelligence-related agencies of the military."
This led to the revelation of "Project MKULTRA – sometimes referred to as the CIA's mind control program".
As mentioned in Wikipedia:
As the US Supreme Court later noted in CIA v. Sims 471 U.S. 159 (1985) [15] MKULTRA was:
concerned with "the research and development of chemical, biological, and radiological materials capable of employment in clandestine operations to control human behavior." The program consisted of some 149 subprojects which the Agency contracted out to various universities, research foundations, and similar institutions. At least 80 institutions and 185 private researchers participated. Because the Agency funded MKUltra indirectly, many of the participating individuals were unaware that they were dealing with the Agency [16]."
Second attached picture:
"Jan. 4, 1975 Richard Helms, a former director of central intelligence, meets with President Ford to discuss plans for a commission headed by Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller to investigate the C.I.A.'s domestic activitites. "Frankly, we are in a mess," Mr. Ford tells Mr. Helms."
Currently, thousands of people from all over the world complain of #ElectromagneticHarassment or electromagnetic interference with the human organism. It has been cited as "the most complained about crime on the internet". As mentioned at the link ,“neuronal activity in the brain creates a shifting electrical pattern that has a shifting magnetic flux. This magnetic flux puts out a constant 30-50 Hz, 0.5 milliwatt electromagnetic (EMF) wave".
Last year important studies showed that the EEG can be considered as a biometric feature. An individual can be identified based on his EEG. This means that humans are systems with unique electromagnetic resonances and it is possible to tune to these systems the same way we change station on the radio to tune to a broadcasting station (by changing a variable capacitor of a circuit).
Military systems track electromagnetic signals with reference to military equipment (planes, vessels etc). Tracking a human system should not be different, if its unique resonance is known.
No one should underestimate what an arms race among nations could have created at secret services levels. It is not unreasonable to anticipate concepts such as "we are confident that the nation in question is allocating resources in human electromagnetic interference. Being left behind will constitute a strategic competitive disadvantage and poses a threat to out national security".
Even if victims of electromagnetic harassment are not given credibility, nations should show their preparedness for the following emergent worldwide threat:
“Anticipating the hybrid threat of biological interference: the human as an electric and resonant system susceptible to remote influence”.










Posted 2017-01-18

CIA publishes online 25 years old or older records

Approximately 930,000 documents, totaling more than 12 million pages


Executive Order 13526 (formerly EO 12958, as amended) requires the declassification of (nonexempt historically valuable) records 25 years or older.
These are now available online on CREST (the CIA Records Search Tool)





Posted 2016-12-23

On Classification Policy

Article by Steven Aftergood



Posted 2016-11-04

Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command talks at Harvard University on 2016-10-05


Excerpts from the Harvard Gazette:

At the NSA, he added, “We don’t set the law; we don’t write the law. Our job is to execute the mission we are assigned within that legal and policy framework.” Still, Rogers said, attempts to strike a balance between security and privacy merit a broad policy discussion.


(full video of the talk is available)



Posted 2016-11-03

Becky Richards, Director of NSA Office of Civil Liberties and Privacy, on Intelligence Oversight and Compliance Mechanisms on 2016-10-14


"Government Surveillance and Privacy Concerns" an event organized by the "Constitution Project" and Google on 2016-10-14: 


Clip created (by from the video of the whole event (starting at about time point 1:00:00 of the original video)
Transcript for the clip (some modifications were made on the automatic transcript) 
"We have an intelligence community designed to protect the United States from any number of different issues and we need to have a discussion as policy makers about what you want your intelligence community to do. And if you are not comfortable, if we're not comfortable with the authorities that we have given the intelligence community, that is absolutely what we need to be thinking about as a democracy and that's what we have to think about.
How are the different forms of government really engaging in that conversation? Certainly a lot of conversation was had after Snowden about how much did Congress really know. Have we really thought about all of those? Those are really great conversations and thought pieces we need.
Because not everybody in the United States can have access to intelligence to the level and degree that is going to make each person everywhere feel comfortable that their intelligence community is doing the right thing. We won't have any intelligence. The foreign targets are gonna go figure those things out. I can't put all the good people of the United States over here and tell you what the intelligence community is doing and then say okay, I have my list of bad guys over here, you don't get to know this. It doesn't work that way.
So we have to think about how do we build these proxies in. Oversight has been mentioned a few times in these conversations. And there are a number of overseers in this area. We have the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board now. That's relatively new, folks, on this area here. We have the FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) for areas. We have the Office of Director of National Intelligence, we have the Department of Justice, we have the Congressional Committees. There are a number of folks. And then internal at NSA we have a number of folks who are specifically focused on oversight and compliance in addition to the Inspector General.
So one of the questions, I think as we go through these discussions, particularly 702 is, we should say: well, are all of our oversight functions working? Do we have too many of them? Do we have not enough? Are people held appropriately accountable and responsible for those activities? I've seen a few times folks say, well, if I had one more person checking to make sure if this was really the right target, then that will make sure that we have all the targets correct. And it turns out that people start to lose accountability the more people they think up the chain are going to find the problem. And so we want to think about how we design these different activities."


@infobook tweet



Posted 2016-10-26


"NSA Can Access More Phone Data Than Ever" – But with “Procedural Protections” now in place?

Tweeted by The Constitution Project
“One of the NSA's most controversial programs was the mass collection of telephonic metadata from millions of Americans — the information about calls, including the telephone numbers involved, the time and the duration but not the calls' content — under a broad interpretation of the Patriot Act's Section 215.”
via the Washington Post: In 2014, NSA was not getting information from all providers and from what is was getting it could ingest only 30% of data.
In 2015 the USA Freedom Act is signed: “The USA Freedom Act ended the NSA's bulk collection of metadata but charged the telecommunications companies with keeping the data on hand. The NSA and other U.S. government agencies now must request information about specific phone numbers or other identifying elements from the telecommunications companies after going through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court and arguing that there is a "reasonable, articulable suspicion" that the number is associated with international terrorism.”
"Rather than one internal, incomplete database, the NSA can now query any of several complete ones.
The new system "guarantees that the NSA can have access to all of it," Inglis said."
"Mark Rumold, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News he doesn't have much of a problem with the NSA's wider access to telephone data, since now the agency has to go through a "legitimate" system with "procedural protections" before jumping into the databases."
#PatriotAct #Section702




2016-10-14: "Government Surveillance and Privacy Concerns" an event organized by the "Constitution Project" and Google 


US Foreign Intelligence collects information on 94.000 foreign targets outside the US*

In 2015, 4500 US person terms were used for queries in above database

(Becky Richards, Director of NSA Office of Civil Liberties and Privacy, citing the "Transparency Report")
Foreign targets include terrorists, drug cartel persons and other criminals, but also according to Neema S.Guliani of American Civil Liberties Union ACLU Nationwide ( collection could affect families calling abroad, journalists etc. What are the implications? How are US citizens impacted?
Event organized by the "Constitution Project" and Google

Intelligence collection, query (of assembled database) and use in court

What are the basic protections or minimization procedures, i.e. procedures minimizing impact to citizens, e.g. minimize collection by obtaining metadata vs content of phone calls (who calls who at what time as appears on a phone bill)
[9.50] Becky Richards, Director of NSA Office of Civil Liberties and Privacy ( responds on protections:
1. By statue – FISA Section 702: Targets foreigners, outside US. Collections performed with assistance of US providers
a. Collection by PRISM by US providers (US person queries allowed by recommendation, retention 5 years)
b. “Upstream” on internet with assistance of US providers (no US person queries, retention 2 years)
2. By executive order 12333 (other types of SIGINT) (outside US, no US person queries, retention 5 years)
3. By presidential order PPD28 (Jan 2014) privacy for international and US citizens, retention 5 years
S.Bradford Franklin, Exec.Director of the "Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board" (, independent agency that advises the government, says that the FBI primarily and also NSA and CIA have asked that they see additional limits (i.e. exceptions).
Peter Swire, one of the 5 people that constitute “the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications” ( created after Snowden, asks how these requests can be handled.
Queries of the database for Domestic Law Enforcement would be bypassing the warrant procedure. Do you ask for warrants? Do you allow querying but prohibit use in court?
Peter Swire also notes that as Section 702 is up for renewal (expires December 31st 2017), the European Commission is expected to ask that European allies have the same protections as American citizens who are protected by the 4th Amendment. The EU is expected to ask that indiscriminate searches against Europeans are stopped and that protections are expanded to European allies.


Talk starts at 8.45 after introduction by Rajesh De (moderator), Partner and Global Head of Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Practice, Mayer Brown LLP.
*this information is found the end of transcript for "01:29:11 Peter Swire"
Note also the discussion of "Oversight Mechanisms" by Becky Richards at 00:56:20. The Director of the NSA Office of Civil Liberties and Privacy asks if the Oversight functions are working and if people are held accountable.







Additional information on Section 702


"In 2008, Congress passed a set of updates to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), including Section 702 which authorized warrantless surveillance of non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be outside the country. However, documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that 702 was being used far more heavily than many expected, serving as the legal basis for the collection of large quantities of telephone and Internet traffic  passing through the United States (and unlike 215, including content rather than just metadata). Still, as 702 only permits overseas collection, most criticism of the provision has come from abroad. But many domestic privacy advocates also worry that large amounts of American communication are being swept up “incidentally” and then used as well."



Electronic Frontier Foundation: A Coalition Says to Congress: End 702 or Enact Reforms

Rachel Brand, a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, testified that a warrantless search of information collected under Section 702 of FISA using a U.S. person identifier is more protective of privacy than a search conducted pursuant to a warrant based on probable cause.


Ms. Brand’s reasoning is that the government would have to engage in investigatory activities to collect the information necessary to obtain a probable cause warrant, which would be more intrusive than searching data already collected. This is incorrect for at least two reasons. (...)


@infobook tweet






Whistleblowers, the Referees: those who call attention to fraud, waste & abuse, those who report wrong-doing


Excerpt from wikipedia

A whistleblower (whistle-blower or whistle blower)[1] is a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organization that is either private or public.


Origin of term: The term whistle-blower comes from the whistle a referee uses to indicate an illegal or foul play.[5][6] US civic activist Ralph Nader is said to have coined the phrase (...)



Excerpts from the tumblr of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (link)

"In 1778, whistleblowing formally became part of the future Federal Government mission when the Continental Congress made it a duty. Today, Executive Order 12674“Principles of Ethical Conduct for Government Officers and Employees” continues the tradition legislated more than two centuries ago."


"Dan Meyer is the Executive Director for IC Whistleblowing and Source Protection program. He has made it his duty to ensure no matter where an employee works – whether it be at a large Washington headquarters or a small office in the mid-west – there is no question how to report wrongdoing. Meyer is an advocate for the whistleblowing process, and works with employees to understand the lawful process and protections available to them as potential Intelligence Community Whistleblowers."


July 30th is National Whistleblower Appreciation Day

Tweet from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence



@infobook tweet