Seth Rich

The Black Flag Cafe is the place travelers come to share stories and advice. Moderated by Robert Young Pelton the author of The World's Most Dangerous Places.

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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Tue May 22, 2018 1:08 am

The Untold Story of Japan’s Secret Spy Agency

(NOTE: The third photo down the page (link) shows a MF Wullenweber Array, in the larger bottom circle. If any of you recognize any of the non raydomed antennas, I would be interested. There was a Wullenweber at Coronado but, I think it's been taken down. There aren't many left. kd)

From The Intercept

Every week in Tokyo’s Ichigaya district, about three miles northeast of the bright neon lights and swarming crowds in the heart of Shibuya, a driver quietly parks a black sedan-style car outside a gray office building. Before setting off on a short, 10-minute drive south, he picks up a passenger who is carrying an important package: top-secret intelligence reports, destined for the desks of the prime minister’s closest advisers.

Known only as “C1,” the office building is located inside a high-security compound that houses Japan’s Ministry of Defense. But it is not an ordinary military facility – it is a secret spy agency headquarters for the Directorate for Signals Intelligence, Japan’s version of the National Security Agency.

The directorate has a history that dates back to the 1950s; its role is to eavesdrop on communications. But its operations remain so highly classified that the Japanese government has disclosed little about its work – even the location of its headquarters. Most Japanese officials, except for a select few of the prime minister’s inner circle, are kept in the dark about the directorate’s activities, which are regulated by a limited legal framework and not subject to any independent oversight.

Now, a new investigation by the Japanese broadcaster NHK — produced in collaboration with The Intercept — reveals, for the first time, details about the inner workings of Japan’s opaque spy community. Based on classified documents and interviews with current and former officials familiar with the agency’s intelligence work, the investigation shines light on a previously undisclosed internet surveillance program and a spy hub in the south of Japan that is used to monitor phone calls and emails passing across communications satellites.

According to the current and former officials, the Directorate for Signals Intelligence, or DFS, employs about 1,700 people and has at least six surveillance facilities that eavesdrop around the clock on phone calls, emails, and other communications. (The NSA, in comparison, has said it has a workforce of more than 30,000 and Britain’s signals intelligence agency claims more than 6,000 staff.) The communications collected at the spy facilities are sent back to analysts who work inside the C1 building, which has four underground floors and eight above ground.

“Very few people know what the DFS is doing and can enter the building,” according to an active-duty official with knowledge of the directorate’s operations, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. The official agreed to share details about the directorate after The Intercept and NHK last year revealed that the spy agency had obtained a mass surveillance system called XKEYSCORE, which is used to sift through copies of people’s emails, online chats, internet browsing histories, and information about social media activity. The official said that they believed the directorate’s use of XKEYSCORE was “not permissible” under the Japanese Constitution, which protects people’s right to privacy.

The directorate – known in Japanese as the “Denpa-Bu,” meaning “electromagnetic wave section” – currently has 11 different departments, each focused on a different subject, such as information analysis, public safety and security, and cryptography. However, the departments are kept separate from each other and there is limited communication between them, the active-duty official said. Each department in the C1 building has a different lock installed on the rooms it uses, and these can only be accessed by a select group of people who have the appropriate security clearance, access codes, and identification. The directorate operates as the largest arm of Japan’s Defense Intelligence Agency, which has other divisions focused on, for example, analyzing satellite imagery, sources said.

Atsushi Miyata, who between 1987 and 2005 worked with the directorate and the Ministry of Defense, said that his work for the spy agency had involved monitoring neighboring countries, such as North Korea, and their military activities. But the agency’s culture of intense secrecy meant that it was reluctant to share information it collected with other elements of the Japanese government. “They did not share the data inside of [the] Defense Ministry properly,” said Miyata. “Even inside of the Defense Ministry, the report was not put on the table. So the people did not understand what we were doing.”

The directorate is accomplished at conducting surveillance, but has a tendency to be excessively secretive about its work, according to classified documents The Intercept disclosed last year. A 2008 NSA memo described its Japanese counterparts as being “still caught in a Cold War way of doing business” and “rather stove-piped.” The U.S. continues to work closely with Japan’s intelligence community, however, and collaborates with the country to monitor the communications of countries across Asia.

About 700 miles southwest of Tokyo, there are two small towns called Tachiarai and Chikuzen, which have a combined population of about 44,000 people. Japan’s military, known as the Self-Defense Forces, has a base situated on a patch of grassy farmland in between the towns. But the base is not used to train soldiers. It is one of the country’s most important spy hubs.

For years, the large antennae inside the secure compound, which are concealed underneath what look like giant golf balls, attracted concerns from local residents who were worried that the powerful radio waves they emitted might damage their health or interfere with their televisions. The Japanese government sent senior officials to reassure the locals that there would be no problems, and the government began paying the Chikuzen council an annual fee of about $100,000 as compensation for the disturbance caused by the base. But the function of the antennae was never revealed.

A top-secret document from the directorate offers unprecedented insight into some of the Tachiarai base’s activities. The document – an English-language PowerPoint presentation – appears to have been shared with the NSA during a meeting in February 2013, at which the Japanese spy agency’s then-deputy director was scheduled to discuss intelligence-gathering issues with his American counterparts. The presentation was contained in the archive of classified files provided to The Intercept by Edward Snowden. No internal documents from Japan’s surveillance agency have ever been publicly disclosed before.

According to the presentation, Japan has used Tachiarai for a covert internet surveillance program code-named MALLARD. As of mid-2012, the base was using its antennae to monitor communications passing across satellites. Each week, it collected records about some 200,000 internet sessions, which were then being stored and analyzed for a period of two months. Between December 2012 and January 2013, Tachiarai began using the surveillance technology to collect information about potential cyberattacks. As a result, its data collection rapidly increased, and it began sweeping up information about 500,000 internet sessions every hour – 12 million every day. Despite this, the directorate indicated that it was only able to detect a single email that was linked to an apparent cyberattack. It struggled to cope with the amount of data it was harvesting and asked the NSA for help. “We would like to see processing procedure which the U.S. side employs in order not to affect traditional SIGINT collection,” the directorate told the NSA, “and would appreciate your technical assistance.”

Chris Augustine, a spokesperson for the NSA, declined to answer questions about the agency’s cooperation with Japan, saying in a statement that he would “neither confirm nor deny information concerning potential relationships with foreign intelligence services.” He added: “Any cooperation among intelligence services is conducted lawfully, in a manner that mutually strengthens national security.”

The directorate’s work at Tachiarai appears to focus on monitoring the activities of foreign countries in the region. It is unclear whether it collects Japanese citizens’ communications, either deliberately or incidentally, through dragnet programs like MALLARD. The law in Japan prohibits wiretapping landlines without a court order, but monitoring communications as they are being transmitted wirelessly across satellites is a gray area, Japanese legal experts say, because there are no legal precedents in the country that place limitations upon that kind of surveillance, though there is a general right to privacy outlined in the constitution.

According to Richard Tanter, a professor at the University of Melbourne who specializes in researching government surveillance capabilities, more than 200 satellites are “visible” from Tachiarai, meaning the base can intercept communications and data passing between them using its surveillance systems. Of the 200-plus satellites, said Tanter, at least 30 are Chinese and potential targets for ongoing surveillance. Moreover, he added, “satellites owned or operated by Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, and even the United States or European states may be targeted” by the Tachiarai facility.

Snowden, who worked at a U.S. military base in Japan as an NSA contractor between 2009 and 2012, told The Intercept that Japanese spies appeared to have targeted “entire internet service providers, not just any one customer.” Referencing the MALLARD program, he said that there were not “500,000 terrorist communications happening in one year, much less one hour. … Is this authorized in law in a way that’s well-understood, that’s well-regulated, to make sure they are only targeting bad guys and not simply everything that they see?”

A spokesperson for Japan’s Ministry of Defense refused to discuss MALLARD, but said that the country’s “information-gathering activities” are necessary for national security and “done in compliance with laws and regulations.” The spokesperson acknowledged that Japan has “offices throughout the country” that are intercepting communications; however, he insisted that the surveillance is focused on military activities and “cyberthreats” and is “not collecting the general public’s information.” When pressed to explain how the country’s spy systems distinguish ordinary people’s communications from those related to threats, the spokesperson would not provide details on the grounds that doing so “may be a hindrance to effective future information activities.”
In October 2013, the Directorate for Signals Intelligence was planning to launch an operation aimed at what it described as the “Anonymous internet,” according to the 2013 presentation. This suggests that the directorate wanted to collect data about people’s usage of privacy tools such as Tor, which allows people to mask their computer’s IP address while they browse the internet. Tor is often used by journalists and dissidents to evade government surveillance; however, it is also used by child abusers and other criminals to plan or carry out illegal acts. In April 2013, it was reported that Japanese police were urging internet service providers to find ways to block people who were using Tor to commit crimes. In 2012, the country’s police investigators were repeatedly thwarted by a hacker known as the “Demon Killer,” who posted a series of death threats online. The hacker used Tor to successfully evade detection for seven months, which was a major source of embarrassment for Japanese police — and likely fueled demand for new surveillance capabilities.

Snowden told The Intercept that Japanese spies appeared have targeted “entire internet service providers, not just any one customer.”

The directorate’s activities at Tachiarai and elsewhere are aided by an organization called J6, which is a specialist technical unit connected to Japan’s Ministry of Defense, according to sources familiar with its operations. However, the cooperation between the directorate and J6 has been inhibited by the extreme secrecy that is pervasive within the Japanese government, with each agency apparently reluctant to open up to the other about its respective capabilities. In the 2013 presentation, Japanese officials from the directorate described J6’s role to the NSA, but admitted that they had relied on “assumptions” to do so, because “J6 function is not disclosed to us.”

According to the presentation, the directorate’s role is to carry out surveillance and analyze intelligence. The role of J6 includes analyzing malware and developing countermeasures – such as firewalls – to prevent hacks of Japanese computer systems. A third organization, called the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Organization, or CIRO, is the ultimate beneficiary of intelligence that is collected. Headed by a powerful figure named Shigeru Kitamura, it oversees the work of both the directorate and J6 and is connected to the prime minister’s office, based out of a building known as “H20,” a short walk from the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo’s Chiyoda district.

Between 2000 and 2005, prior to development of the MALLARD internet surveillance program, expansion work took place at the Tachiarai facility. At that time, the then-town council chair, Hitoshi Miyahara, was shown a map of the construction plans, which revealed that a tunnel was being built below the base. Miyahara was allowed to visit the construction site, he said, but was prevented from entering the underground area. The current town council chair, Tsutomu Yano, had a similar experience. He visited the facility about four years ago and was shown around a gymnasium, a cafeteria, and a conference room. He was prevented from accessing the underground tunnel and a space he was told was used for “communications.” Yano said he repeatedly questioned the Self-Defense Forces about the Tachiarai facility’s function. But he never received any answers.

Ed Noguchi contributed reporting and translation.

Great Photos at the link.
https://theintercept.com/2018/05/19/jap ... ce-agency/
kinderdigi
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Wed May 23, 2018 1:42 pm

Witness Said Awan Wiretapped Her, Then Bank Account She Controlled Was Drained

The Daily Caller | 8:56 PM 05/21/2018

After former Democratic IT aide Imran Awan allegedly threatened his stepmother not to talk to police, her email account was accessed in suspicious ways and a lawyer for one of Awan’s brothers found out she emailed the FBI on specific dates and lashed out at her: “You’re a liar, aren’t you?”

Days after that, a bank account the stepmother controlled was almost completely drained through a payment to Imran’s brother, Abid Awan, bank records show — but she said she is too afraid to press criminal charges because she claims he has threatened her. The stepmother, Samina Gilani, also previously said Imran stole two laptops from her.

Imran, Abid and Jamal Awan — along with Imran’s wife, Hina Alvi, and a friend — worked as IT administrators for 1 out of every 5 House Democrats and could read all their emails and files until police banned them from the network in February 2017 for “numerous violations of House security policies.”

Months later, none of the family is in jail, and the stepmother and other witnesses have said Imran and Abid have used their freedom to try to steer the outcome of the case since, including by threatening them not to cooperate with authorities, TheDCNF previously reported.

In April 2016, the House’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) detected allegedly falsified purchase orders, and the Inspector General quickly expanded the scope to investigate cyber violations, finding that members of the Awan family improperly accessed congressmen’s servers and the House Democratic Caucus server thousands of times.

Though House officials suspected that equipment was being stolen, the Capitol Police did not search their homes, The Daily Caller News Foundation learned, and did not ban them from the network until nearly a year later. In the meantime, evidence appears to have been compromised: In December 2016, the CAO notified congressmen that the caucus server had physically disappeared.

Though Abid played a prominent role in the late-2016 IG report, he has not been arrested, with congressmen saying a criminal investigation is ongoing.

In January 2017, in the days around his father’s death, Abid removed Gilani as the beneficiary of his father’s life insurance and replaced her with himself, which led to a lawsuit, TheDCNF previously reported.

Abid’s attorney, Jim Bacon, used the life insurance lawsuit to force Gilani to sit for a sworn deposition Oct. 4, 2017 in which he told her to reveal what she told the FBI about the congressional criminal probe and tried to get her to find out details from investigators.

In one exchange, Bacon knew that she had emailed with the FBI.


BACON Q: [redacted] is your email address, isn’t it? And you send emails from that address including two emails to the FBI, didn’t you?
GILANI A: Yes, a long time ago.
Q: No, not a long time ago. March 5th, 2017. March 6th, 2017. Ma’am, you lied to me, didn’t you? You lied to me, didn’t you? You’re a liar, aren’t you?
A: I forgot about that. It was not in my mind.
BACON: Ah. I think we need to take a break before I explode.

Bacon did not respond to questions from the TheDCNF about how he knew Gilani had emailed the FBI on those dates.

Gilani previously said in court documents that “Imran Awan threatened that he is very powerful and if I ever call the police again [he] will do harm to me and my family members back in Pakistan.”

Gilani testified in the deposition for that lawsuit that Imran wiretapped her.

“He has connected my phone, my house phone, with his own phone,” Gilani testified. “Whenever I talked to someone in Pakistan, he told me later on that ‘you told this, you said this.'”

Those allegations underscored fellow House IT aides’ concerns that the Awans could have used House members’ emails for blackmail.

Gilani said in court documents that Imran acknowledged surveilling her, that she saw him remove a device from behind her printer and that Imran took two laptops from her.

To test whether surveillance might also extend to her email, TheDCNF sent emails to Gilani with a tracker that reported where the messages were opened. The emails were opened in London, Pakistan and Texas.

Gilani’s sister, who lives in Pakistan, said she manages Gilani’s email since Gilani does not speak English. Gilani’s sister also said there is no reason the emails should have been opened in the other locations.

TheDCNF later emailed Gilani to ask for comment on this story, but she did not respond. The email was opened in London and Independence, Kansas, but never in Virginia or Lahore, Pakistan.

Two weeks after the deposition, on Oct. 19, 2017, an account Gilani controlled was drained of $5,952 — nearly its entire balance — via a transfer to Abid Awan, bank statements obtained by TheDCNF show. On Feb. 21, 2018, Bank of America credited the amount back to the account as a “claims processing transaction” — phrasing banks typically use when returning fraudulent transfers.

Gilani’s attorney, Michael Hadeed, said that was because the bank recognized that Abid had taken the money without authorization.

Gilani told TheDCNF that Abid used a computer to make the transfer. “He used the online method and the PIN,” she said. “It is another fraud of Abid Awan.”

“Abid Awan is threatening me,” Gilani continued, noting that she was too afraid to press criminal charges. “They can hurt my relatives in Pakistan.”

The account is registered to a nonprofit, the International Sufi Educational Organization, and only Gilani and her deceased husband were authorized to make withdrawals, according to bank account documents. The transaction occurred after Abid’s lawyer forced Gilani to disclose personal details, including her Social Security number, in the deposition.

Bacon did not respond to questions about the email usage or the funds drained from the bank account.

Imran was arrested at Dulles airport in July 2017 and he and Alvi — who both worked for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz — were indicted for bank fraud for money moves that allegedly occurred six months earlier. Prosecutors said they believe the dual Pakistani-American citizens had learned of the House investigation shortly before they made the money transfers and that given Imran’s “attempt to depart to Pakistan while knowing he was under investigation, the government asserts that Awan is a flight risk.”

Imran’s attorney said at the time that he thought the bank fraud charges were a “placeholder.” But no additional charges have been brought.

Even as Democrats have frequently talked about the important of enforcing cybersecurity and dedicated significant monies for that purpose, prosecutors said this month that they are negotiating a possible “resolution” with Awan and for months have said they are turning over “voluminous discovery” to Imran’s attorney, despite his not having been charged with anything related to the House investigation.

Meanwhile, House IT aides have told TheDCNF they have knowledge of misconduct but fear retaliation from Democrats if they come forward to law enforcement, and tenants of a rental property Alvi owns who were mentioned in an FBI affidavit told TheDCNF Imran ordered them not to cooperate with police.

Another witness who turned over hard drives to the FBI, Andre Taggart, received a letter from Imran’s attorney demanding money, and Alvi filed a lawsuit in Pakistan saying her husband threatened her with violence, TheDCNF previously reported.

In April 2017, police found a laptop with the username RepDWS that Imran left in a phone booth. Wasserman Schultz subsequently threatened the Capitol Police chief with “consequences” if he didn’t relinquish the evidence. Imran is in possession of a copy of the laptop’s hard drive.

Wajid Ali Syed contributed reporting.

© Copyright 2010 - 2018 | The Daily Caller
http://dailycaller.com/2018/05/21/awan- ... urveilled/
kinderdigi
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Wed May 30, 2018 9:01 pm

As Republicans are kept in the dark, the DOJ appears to be sharing details about Imran Awan in real time with Democrats, who appear to be leaking them to the lawyer of a hacking suspect http://pllqt.it/ukdP1y

https://twitter.com/lukerosiak/status/9 ... 5243292677
kinderdigi
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:46 pm

U.S. Special Operations Command's Elusive Mothership Is Packing Stealth Speedboats

We finally have high-quality images of the entire ship in its completed state.


By Tyler Rogoway

The Drive | June 2, 2018




Ever since we posted the first known picture of the Pentagon's full outfitted special operations mothership—a vessel that is truly designed to hide in plain sight—more information about the shadowy ship's activities has been trickling in. We recently got another fragmented view of it, taken during a port call in Seychelles just two months after it popped up at a dry dock facility in Oman in early January of this year. In the year and a half before its arrival in Oman, it seems to have spent a good amount of time in the Mediterranean and possibly the Baltic Sea as well. But before it left on its maiden voyage in mid-2016, it stopped off in Norfolk, Virginia where it was loaded up with personnel and gear, including what a squad of stealthy special operations fast-boats.

We have wondered what types of craft would fill the now ironically named M/V Ocean Trader's four launch and recovery bays located on the ship's starboard side. The most likely option seemed to be rigid-hull inflatable boats, like the 11 meter Naval Special Warfare RHIB. But it turns out the ship totes around far more advanced vessels in the form of the stealthy Combat Craft-Assault (CCA).
You can read all about the CCA in this past War Zone feature and you can even watch one being tossed out the back of a C-17 in this recent article. But suffice it to say, the type has become a favorite of special operators, and they have been especially active in the Middle East area of operations in recent years.

And yes, this definitely comes to mind when you look at the CCA:

These new images of Ocean Trader came to us from David Kozdron, who was visiting Norfolk in early May 2016. He was on a tour cruise of the bay at the time and thought the vessel looked interesting. After reading our article about it he remembered seeing the ship from that day and had pictures to show for it.
images are by far the best of the very few photos we have seen Ocean Trader in its finished state. In addition to spotting the types of boats it carries, the photos offer a better view of its massive communications suite and they give a better idea of the overall size of its hangars in relation to the vehicles on its deck.

There also appears to be a launcher for Insitu drones on the ship's stern flight deck area. This makes total sense as those efficient and compact remotely pilot vehicle systems are a favorite not just of the U.S. Navy, but also of special operators. The layout of the ship is also ideal for drone operations as its primary flight deck doesn't have to be fouled during their launch and recovery evolutions, as is the case on many surface combatants and helicopter-carrying vessels.

Even though we have finally seen full high-quality exterior shots of the Ocean Trader, who knows when or where it will pop-up next. The vessel is not trackable via its standard Automatic Identification System transponder. But considering the amount of information we have gleaned just in recent weeks following a long period of time when the ship seemed to of all but disappeared, it probably won't be the last time we will be hearing of this phantom-like vessel.

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com

Good photos at the link.
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/21 ... speedboats
kinderdigi
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:30 am

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens

E-readers and tablets are becoming more popular as such technologies improve, but research suggests that reading on paper still boasts unique advantages


Ferris Jabr

Scientific American




In a viral YouTube video from October 2011 a one-year-old girl sweeps her fingers across an iPad's touchscreen, shuffling groups of icons. In the following scenes she appears to pinch, swipe and prod the pages of paper magazines as though they too were screens. When nothing happens, she pushes against her leg, confirming that her finger works just fine—or so a title card would have us believe.

The girl's father, Jean-Louis Constanza—a Jane Goodall among the chimps moment——that is, for people who have been interacting with digital technologies from a very early age.

Perhaps his daughter really did expect the paper magazines to respond the same way an iPad would. Or maybe she had no expectations at all—maybe she just wanted to touch the magazines. Babies touch everything. Young children who have never seen a tablet like the iPad or an e-reader like the Kindle will still reach out and run their fingers across the pages of a paper book; they will jab at an illustration they like; heck, they will even taste the corner of a book. Today's so-called digital natives still interact with a mix of paper magazines and books, as well as tablets, smartphones and e-readers; using one kind of technology does not preclude them from understanding another.

Nevertheless, the video brings into focus an important question: How exactly does the technology we use to read change the way we read? How reading on screens differs from reading on paper is relevant not just to the youngest among us, but to just about everyone who reads—to anyone who routinely switches between working long hours in front of a computer at the office and leisurely reading paper magazines and books at home; to people who have embraced e-readers for their convenience and portability, but admit that for some reason they still prefer reading on paper; and to those who have already vowed to forgo tree pulp entirely. As digital texts and technologies become more prevalent, we gain new and more mobile ways of reading—but are we still reading as attentively and thoroughly? How do our brains respond differently to onscreen text than to words on paper? Should we be worried about dividing our attention between pixels and ink or is the validity of such concerns paper-thin?

Since at least the 1980s researchers in many different fields—including psychology, computer engineering, and library and information science—have investigated such questions in more than one hundred published studies. The matter is by no means settled. Before 1992 most studies concluded that people read slower, less accurately and less comprehensively on screens than on paper. Studies published since the early 1990s, however, have produced more inconsistent results: a slight majority has confirmed earlier conclusions, but almost as many have found few significant differences in reading speed or comprehension between paper and screens. And recent surveys suggest that although most people still prefer paper—especially when reading intensively—attitudes are changing as tablets and e-reading technology improve and reading digital books for facts and fun becomes more common. In the U.S., e-books currently make up between 15 and 20 percent of all trade book sales.

Even so, evidence from laboratory experiments, polls and consumer reports indicates that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way. In turn, such navigational difficulties may subtly inhibit reading comprehension. Compared with paper, screens may also drain more of our mental resources while we are reading and make it a little harder to remember what we read when we are done. A parallel line of research focuses on people's attitudes toward different kinds of media. Whether they realize it or not, many people approach computers and tablets with a state of mind less conducive to learning than the one they bring to paper.

Maryanne Wolf—

Navigating textual landscapes
Understanding how reading on paper is different from reading on screens requires some explanation of how the brain interprets written language. We often think of reading as a cerebral activity concerned with the abstract—with thoughts and ideas, tone and themes, metaphors and motifs. As far as our brains are concerned, however, text is a tangible part of the physical world we inhabit. In fact, the brain essentially regards letters as physical objects because it does not really have another way of understanding them. As Wolf explains in her book Proust and the Squid, we are not born with brain circuits dedicated to reading. After all, we did not invent writing until relatively recently in our evolutionary history, around the fourth millennium B.C. So the human brain improvises a brand-new circuit for reading by weaving together various regions of neural tissue devoted to other abilities, such as spoken language, motor coordination and vision.

Some of these repurposed brain regions are specialized for object recognition—they are networks of neurons that help us instantly distinguish an apple from an orange, for example, yet classify both as fruit. Just as we learn that certain features—roundness, a twiggy stem, smooth skin—characterize an apple, we learn to recognize each letter by its particular arrangement of lines, curves and hollow spaces. Some of the earliest forms of writing, such as Sumerian cuneiform, began as characters shaped like the objects they represented—a person's head, an ear of barley, a fish. Some researchers see traces of these origins in modern alphabets: C as crescent moon, S as snake. Especially intricate characters—such as Chinese hanzi and Japanese kanji—activate motor regions in the brain involved in forming those characters on paper: The brain literally goes through the motions of writing when reading, even if the hands are empty. Researchers recently discovered that the same thing happens in a milder way when some people read cursive.

Beyond treating individual letters as physical objects, the human brain may also perceive a text in its entirety as a kind of physical landscape. When we read, we construct a mental representation of the text in which meaning is anchored to structure. The exact nature of such representations remains unclear, but they are likely similar to the mental maps we create of terrain—such as mountains and trails—and of man-made physical spaces, such as apartments and offices. Both anecdotally and in published studies, people report that when trying to locate a particular piece of written information they often remember where in the text it appeared. We might recall that we passed the red farmhouse near the start of the trail before we started climbing uphill through the forest; in a similar way, we remember that we read about Mr. Darcy rebuffing Elizabeth Bennett on the bottom of the left-hand page in one of the earlier chapters.

In most cases, paper books have more obvious topography than onscreen text. An open paperback presents a reader with two clearly defined domains—the left and right pages—and a total of eight corners with which to orient oneself. A reader can focus on a single page of a paper book without losing sight of the whole text: one can see where the book begins and ends and where one page is in relation to those borders. One can even feel the thickness of the pages read in one hand and pages to be read in the other. Turning the pages of a paper book is like leaving one footprint after another on the trail—there's a rhythm to it and a visible record of how far one has traveled. All these features not only make text in a paper book easily navigable, they also make it easier to form a coherent mental map of the text.

In contrast, most screens, e-readers, smartphones and tablets interfere with intuitive navigation of a text and inhibit people from mapping the journey in their minds. A reader of digital text might scroll through a seamless stream of words, tap forward one page at a time or use the search function to immediately locate a particular phrase—but it is difficult to see any one passage in the context of the entire text. As an analogy, imagine if Google Maps allowed people to navigate street by individual street, as well as to teleport to any specific address, but prevented them from zooming out to see a neighborhood, state or country. Although e-readers like the Kindle and tablets like the iPad re-create pagination—sometimes complete with page numbers, headers and illustrations—the screen only displays a single virtual page: it is there and then it is gone. Instead of hiking the trail yourself, the trees, rocks and moss move past you in flashes with no trace of what came before and no way to see what lies ahead.

Abigail Sellen of Microsoft Research Cambridge in England and co-author of The Myth of the Paperless Office-book do you start to miss it. I don't think e-

At least a few studies suggest that by limiting the way people navigate texts, screens impair comprehension. In a study published in January 2013 Anne Mangen of the University of Stavanger in Norway and her colleagues asked 72 10th-grade students of similar reading ability to study one narrative and one expository text, each about 1,500 words in length. Half the students read the texts on paper and half read them in pdf files on computers with 15-inch liquid-crystal display (LCD) monitors. Afterward, students completed reading-comprehension tests consisting of multiple-choice and short-answer questions, during which they had access to the texts. Students who read the texts on computers performed a little worse than students who read on paper.



Supporting this research, surveys indicate that screens and e-readers interfere with two other important aspects of navigating texts: serendipity and a sense of control. People report that they enjoy flipping to a previous section of a paper book when a sentence surfaces a memory of something they read earlier, for example, or quickly scanning ahead on a whim. People also like to have as much control over a text as possible—to highlight with chemical ink, easily write notes to themselves in the margins as well as deform the paper however they choose.

Because of these preferences—and because getting away from multipurpose screens improves concentration—people consistently say that when they really want to dive into a text, they read it on paper. In a 2011 survey of graduate students at National Taiwan University, the majority reported browsing a few paragraphs online before printing out the whole text for more in-depth reading. A 2008 survey-a 2003 study

Surveys and consumer reports also suggest that the sensory experiences typically associated with reading—especially tactile experiences—matter to people more than one might assume. Text on a computer, an e-reader and—somewhat ironically—on any touch-screen device is far more intangible than text on paper. Whereas a paper book is made from pages of printed letters fixed in a particular arrangement, the text that appears on a screen is not part of the device's hardware—it is an ephemeral image. When reading a paper book, one can feel the paper and ink and smooth or fold a page with one's fingers; the pages make a distinctive sound when turned; and underlining or highlighting a sentence with ink permanently alters the paper's chemistry. So far, digital texts have not satisfyingly replicated this kind of tactility (although some companies are innovating, at least with keyboards).

Paper books also have an immediately discernible size, shape and weight. We might refer to a hardcover edition of War and Peace as a hefty tome or a paperback Heart of Darkness as a slim volume. In contrast, although a digital text has a length—which is sometimes represented with a scroll or progress bar—it has no obvious shape or thickness. An e-haptic dissonance

Exhaustive reading
Although many old and recent studies conclude that people understand what they read on paper more thoroughly than what they read on screens, the differences are often small. Some experiments, however, suggest that researchers should look not just at immediate reading comprehension, but also at long-term memory. In a 2003 studyKate Garland of the University of Leicester and her colleagues asked 50 British college students to read study material from an introductory economics course either on a computer monitor or in a spiral-bound booklet. After 20 minutes of reading Garland and her colleagues quizzed the students with multiple-choice questions. Students scored equally well regardless of the medium, but differed in how they remembered the information.

Psychologists distinguish between remembering something—which is to recall a piece of information along with contextual details, such as where, when and how one learned it—and knowing something, which is feeling that something is true without remembering how one learned the information. Generally, remembering is a weaker form of memory that is likely to fade unless it is converted into more stable, long-—they often just knew the answers.

Other researchers have suggested that people comprehend less when they read on a screen because screen-based reading is more physically and mentally taxing than reading on paper. E-ink is easy on the eyes because it reflects ambient light just like a paper book, but computer screens, smartphones and tablets like the iPad shine light directly into people's faces. Depending on the model of the device, glare, pixilation and flickers can also tire the eyes. LCDs are certainly gentler on eyes than their predecessor, cathode-ray tubes (CRT), but prolonged reading on glossy self-illuminated screens can cause eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision. Such symptoms are so common among people who read on screens—affecting around 70 percent of people who work long hours in front of computers—that the American Optometric Association officially recognizescomputer vision syndrome.

Erik Wästlund of Karlstad University in Sweden has conducted some particularly rigorous research on whether paper or screens demand more physical and cognitive resources. In one of his experiments 72 volunteers completed the Higher Education Entrance Examination READ test—a 30-minute, Swedish-language reading-comprehension exam consisting of multiple-choice questions about five texts averaging 1,000 words each. People who took the test on a computer scored lower and reported higher levels of stress and tiredness than people who completed it on paper.

In another set of experiments 82 volunteers completed the READ test on computers, either as a paginated document or as a continuous piece of text. Afterward researchers assessed the students' attention and working memory, which is a collection of mental talents that allow people to temporarily store and manipulate information in their minds. Volunteers had to quickly close a series of pop-up windows, for example, sort virtual cards or remember digits that flashed on a screen. Like many cognitive abilities, working memory is a finite resource that diminishes with exertion.

Although people in both groups performed equally well on the READ test, those who had to scroll through the continuous text did not do as well on the attention and working-memory tests. Wästlund thinks that scrolling—which requires a reader to consciously focus on both the text and how they are moving it—drains more mental resources than turning or clicking a page, which are simpler and more automatic gestures. A 2004 study conducted at the University of Central Florida reached similar conclusions.

Attitude adjustments
An emerging collection of studies emphasizes that in addition to screens possibly taxing people's attention more than paper, people do not always bring as much mental effort to screens in the first place. Subconsciously, many people may think of reading on a computer or tablet as a less serious affair than reading on paper. Based on a detailed 2005 survey of 113 people in northern California, Ziming Liu of San Jose State University concluded that people reading on screens take a lot of shortcuts—they spend more time browsing, scanning and hunting for keywords compared with people reading on paper, and are more likely to read a document once, and only once.

When reading on screens, people seem less inclined to engage in what psychologists call metacognitive learning regulation—strategies such as setting specific goals, rereading difficult sections and checking how much one has understood along the way. In a 2011 experiment at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, college students took multiple-choice exams about expository texts either on computers or on paper. Researchers limited half the volunteers to a meager seven minutes of study time; the other half could review the text for as long as they liked. When under pressure to read quickly, students using computers and paper performed equally well. When managing their own study time, however, volunteers using paper scored about 10 percentage points higher. Presumably, students using paper approached the exam with a more studious frame of mind than their screen-reading peers, and more effectively directed their attention and working memory.

-book, not owning an e-only be loaned once, for example.

To date, many engineers, designers and user-interface experts have worked hard to make reading on an e-reader or tablet as close to reading on paper as possible. E-ink resembles chemical ink and the simple layout of the Kindle's screen looks like a page in a paperback. Likewise, Apple's iBooks attempts to simulate the overall aesthetic of paper books, including somewhat realistic page-turning. Jaejeung Kim of KAIST Institute of Information Technology Convergence in South Korea and his colleagues have designed an innovative and unreleased interface that makes iBooks seem primitive. When using their interface, one can see the many individual pages one has read on the left side of the tablet and all the unread pages on the right side, as if holding a paperback in one's hands. A reader can also flip bundles of pages at a time with a flick of a finger.

But why, one could ask, are we working so hard to make reading with new technologies like tablets and e-readers so similar to the experience of reading on the very ancient technology that is paper? Why not keep paper and evolve screen-based reading into something else entirely? Screens obviously offer readers experiences that paper cannot. Scrolling may not be the ideal way to navigate a text as long and dense as Moby Dick, but the New York Times, Washington Post, ESPN and other media outlets have created beautiful, highly visual articles that depend entirely on scrolling and could not appear in print in the same way. Some Web comics and infographics turn scrolling into a strength rather than a weakness. Similarly, Robin Sloan has pioneered the tap essay for mobile devices. The immensely popular interactive Scale of the Universe tool could not have been made on paper in any practical way. New e-publishing companies like Atavist offer tablet readers long-form journalism with embedded interactive graphics, maps, timelines, animations and sound tracks. And some writers are pairing up with computer programmers to produce ever more sophisticated interactive fiction and nonfiction in which one's choices determine what one reads, hears and sees next.

When it comes to intensively reading long pieces of plain text, paper and ink may still have the advantage. But text is not the only way to read.



© 2018 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... r-screens/
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:30 am

If Seth Rich Had Nothing to Do with Wikileaks Why Did Rich Attorneys Just Subpoena Julian Assange and Wikileaks Twitter Messages?

The Gateway Pundit

Twitter sent out notices to several investigative reporters and media outlets on Friday including: Wikileaks, Julian Assange, Kim DotCom, Cassandra Fairbanks, Roger Stone, Matt Couch and The Gateway Pundit.

The liberal and Democrat-connected attorneys for Aaron Rich are demanding Twitter turn over all direct messages from these accounts to Aarron Rich’s attorneys.

Aaron is the brother of Seth Rich, the DNC operative who was murdered mysteriously in the summer of 2016. There have been no leads to the murder of Seth Rich. Aaron Rich is suing conservative activists and media outlets for allegedly spreading conspiracy theories about the slain staffer.

On Friday Twitter sent out letters to several conservatives and media outlets including Wikileaks informing the account owners that the attorneys for Aaron Rich are seeking information from the private accounts.

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2018/0 ... -messages/


Subpoena to Twitter Aaron RICH v. Ed Butowsky-1
https://www.scribd.com/document/3813636 ... from_embed
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:20 pm

What Secretive Anti-Ship Missile Did China Hack From The U.S. Navy?

Details surrounding the Navy's Sea Dragon program remain scarce, but there are some distinct possibilities.

By Joseph Trevithick

The Drive | June 8, 2018

China's relentless cyber espionage campaign against the Pentagon has been one of the central reasons why that country's technological warfighting capabilities have aggressively matured over a relatively short period of time. In fact, we now see the fruits of their hacking operations on a daily basis via advanced 'indigenous' weapon systems, some which are now entering into operational service. But a previously unreported intrusion into a Navy contractor's computer network has provided the Chinese military with information on the service's electronic warfare and threat library, cryptographic radio systems used on submarines, specific sensor data, and detailed information on a previously undisclosed and fast-paced initiative to field a supersonic anti-ship missile onto American nuclear submarines dubbed Sea Dragon.

Over half a terabyte of information was stolen electronically from the contractor's computer systems at Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Rhode Island. The installation is a focal point for development and testing of new systems related to sub-surface combat. The contractor's network was not deemed classified but the information on it in its totality was of a highly classified nature according to the Washington Post, which broke the story.


The loss of the Navy's current electronic warfare library is especially troubling as that type of information is considered among the most sensitive data the Pentagon gathers and is critical to countering enemy defensive networks and allowing U.S. assets to survive in contested territory. This theft paired with information on sensor data that potentially collects that information is especially damning as the enemy can figure out not just what the Navy knows, but exactly how they have come to know it.

Yet the news that the Navy is rapidly looking to field a submarine-launched anti-ship missile capable of supersonic speeds is the biggest revelation from this report. Not only that but it is supposedly a weapon already in existence that is being adapted for submarine use. Quite honestly, in a vacuum, it's good news that the Navy is working on such a capability. Giving U.S. nuclear submarines long-range anti-ship capabilities that they can use while operating where no ship can is a critical ability that should be obtained, but what weapon could this be?

A shadowy cutting-edge weapons program

Little is known about the Sea Dragon program, as the Washington Post points out:



"The Sea Dragon project is an initiative of a special Pentagon office stood up in 2012 to adapt existing U.S. military technologies to new applications. The Defense Department, citing classification levels, has released little information about Sea Dragon other than to say that it will introduce a “disruptive offensive capability” by “integrating an existing weapon system with an existing Navy platform.” The Pentagon has requested or used more than $300 million for the project since late 2015 and has said it plans to start underwater testing by September.

...

The introduction of a supersonic anti-ship missile on U.S. Navy submarines would make it more difficult for Chinese warships to maneuver. It would also augment a suite of other anti-ship weapons that the U.S. military has been developing in recent years."

Pentagon budget documents show that Sea Dragon, which began in the 2015 fiscal year, was one of many programs that the secretive Strategic Capabilities Office has managed and is listed in a specific line item covering "Advanced Innovative Technologies." By the following fiscal cycle, this same set of funding also paid for work on land-based railguns, advanced conventional guns and ammo, advanced navigation systems, unspecified enhanced munitions and unmanned aerial vehicle payloads, and a naval drone swarm project called Sea Mob.

In the 2016 fiscal year, the Sea Dragon program completed designs for an in-water test apparatus and the ejection body and its associated hardware, as well as successfully completed a test of the weapon system on land. Unfortunately, subsequent budget requests do not list further accomplishments for the program.

We do know that the Pentagon expected to start underwater static testing of some portion of the system, as well as begin planning for a "sea-based tactical demonstration," by the end of the 2018 fiscal year, which runs through Sept. 30, but its latest budget request for the 2019 fiscal year said that the new funds would go to continued planning for that live-fire test.

The Pentagon asked for nearly $150 million in total to support that work, as well finishing underwater static testing, building a sea-based launch support test site, and continued analysis of the conceptual kill chain associated with the weapon system. This is less than half of the money the U.S. military requested for Sea Dragon for the 2018 fiscal year, but the budget documents note that this was a product of cost savings they had achieved by buying extra long-lead time components in advance.

We have talked regularly and at great lengths about China's increasing naval capabilities on virtually every level. We have also talked for years about America's lack of investment in anti-ship missile systems, which the Pentagon is now working hard to counteract. But there is no existing supersonic anti-ship cruise missile in America's inventory. Few close U.S. allies possess similar weapons either, with the focus being on low-observability, networking, advanced targeting capabilities and so on, not high-speed.


Russia, on the other hand, has focused for decades on developing supersonic and now even hypersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, which are seen as a major threat to American warships. China has also worked hard to independently perfect the anti-ship ballistic missile, with the medium-range DF-21D and a version of the intermediate-range DF-26 becoming one of some of the most potent anti-access threats to American Carrier Strike Groups operating in the Indo-Pacific Theater.

So if no supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles exist in the Pentagon's inventory, or are even deep in development, what is this 'existing' weapon?

Identifying the mystery weapon

This weapon could be one of a number of concepts we identify below. But to start, a submarine-launched version of the SM-6 multi-role missile seems like the most conventional possibility. This is not a cruise missile, but the designation stated in the Washington Post's article could be just a due to the writer's lack of knowledge of existing weapon systems and their capabilities or just a misinterpretation of what is clearly a fairly opaque program.

The SM-6, which you can read all about in this recent profile we published on it, can be launched from the Mark 41 Vertical Launch Systems found on American destroyers and cruisers. In its latest form, it is fully networked, allowing it to receive targeting data from a variety of platforms, including airborne, ground-based, or surface-based sensor nodes. This concept is called Cooperative Engagement Capability/Naval Integrated Fire Control CEC/NIFC and it is one of the most important concepts the sea-going force is trying to implement at this time.
Although it was designed primarily as a surface-to-air weapon to be used against air-breathing threats and ballistic missiles during their terminal stage of flight, the SM-6 has an increasingly potent long-range anti-ship and a land-attack capability able to promptly strike targets over long distances. The fact that it flies at very high speeds on a ballistic-like track instead of a flat cruise missile like flight profile makes it especially hard for enemies to defend against.

Most of America's nuclear fast attack submarines and all its guided missile submarines have 'strike length' vertical launch cells similar to the Mark 41 VLS, that are used to house BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles.
A new arrangement, with two large hatches that cover a number of launch tubes and can be more easily adapted to different weaponry, is now being fielded on latest Virginia class submarines. Soon boats equipped with the Virginia Payload Module, which carries four of these large modular missile bays, will be under construction.

These same cells currently used for Tomahawk cruise missiles could be configured to house an altered SM-6-booster combination capable of launching the missile submerged without destroying the launch cell. If such an arrangement were developed and implemented, the variety and flexibility of firepower that America's submarine force would possess would greatly increase.
Because the SM-6 is networked and doesn't rely on organic sensors installed on its firing platform for targeting, submarines could even act as clandestine launch platforms for anti-aircraft attacks. This would allow for more vulnerable assets, like E-2D Hawkeyes, MQ-4C Tritons, P-8 Poseidons, and powerful radar-packing surface combatants to stand off at long ranges, using their sensor's great reach—outside the range of their own or nearby weapons—to their advantage and remotely ordering up attacks on enemy ships and aircraft by surprise.

The unique list of information Chinese hackers stole from the Navy contractor also points to such a system, which would rely on electromagnetic threat libraries, crypto-communications, and a wide variety of sensors for detecting and engaging threats.

Raytheon, the company who makes the SM-6, has a long history of providing tailored weapons for American submarines, and some non-traditional programs have recently seemed to disappear into the realm of deep classification. For instance, the initiative to arm Navy subs with AIM-9X air-to-air missiles as a short-range last-line of defense against prowling anti-submarine warfare aircraft. That program went as far as being successfully tested before going dark, which you can read all about it in this past feature of ours.

It is also possible that the Washington Post article's author was wrong about the missile's supersonic capability, which would point to fielding an advanced anti-ship cruise missile like Lockheed's very stealthy and smart Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) aboard submarines. Yet this would probably be a less covert affair developmentally speaking. But such a weapon would be especially useful when combined with the SM-6—or another high-speed anti-ship weapon—allowing for long-range, multi-layer attacks on enemy flotillas. Also, the Navy, and its submarines will be getting a long-range, subsonic, anti-ship capability via the Block IV Tactical Tomahawk.

It's more likely that his weapon could actually be LRASM-B, or at least an evolutionary relative of it. LRASM-B was being developed alongside the subsonic LRASM-A around the turn of the decade and would have performance nearing Mach 3, operating in a similar fashion as the Russian-Indian developed BrahMos anti-ship missile.
Development work continued on LRASM-B until around 2013 when it was officially passed over. It is very possible that this design was brought back to life under the shadowy Sea Dragon program, with a focus on submarines as a launch platform, not ships. The budgetary dates and what was mentioned in the Washington Post article would certainly support this possibility as well.

Maybe even more promising is the possibility that this is actually the product of a supposedly defunct 2000s initiative to create a high-speed cruise missile dubbed Revolutionary Approach To Time-critical Long Range Strike, or RATTLRS for short. This weapon was all about hitting time-sensitive targets very quickly with little preparation, being able to fly at high altitudes and at speeds approaching Mach 4, obliterating its target with submunitions, a high-explosive warhead, or a penetrating warhead within about 30 minutes time at its maximum range.
This Lockheed-led initiative built on the Skunk Works' experience with the D-21 drone and was supported by the Office of Naval Research and NASA. It was funded throughout the 2000s, had successful payload delivery tests on the jet sled, its engine was built by Rolls Royce, and was approaching a complex flight demonstration phase when it disappeared. This could have been due to budget cuts that happened around the turn of the decade, but maybe it was revived in 2013, adapted for the anti-ship mission, and deep in development in updated form by 2015. It's also worth noting that a submarine-launched capability was part of the program's initial vision.
Adding to the case that RATTLRS may have been reborn in secret is this tidbit of information brought to us by our good friend Stephen Trimble's twitter feed. Apparently, the Navy has been showing off a model of this exact concept just months ago without any real explanation as to why:

Finally, the mystery missile could be a hypersonic missile, not a supersonic missile, for the Ohio class submarine, which the Navy is quietly developing and has test flown fairly recently. Still, the Pentagon has openly discussed these and other hypersonic tests recently, so it's not exactly top secret. Also, this wouldn't be a variation of an existing system as described in the Washington Post article. Fielding such a system operational by 2020 also seems remarkably ambitious, but it may be possible and certainly, China has an extreme interest in hypersonic technologies.

These are just the clearest possibilities for what this weapon could be. It's also possible that it is another weapon system clandestinely developed to a certain degree in the past, and brought back into development due to the changing nature of the world by the middle of this decade. During the mid2000s, time-sensitive strike was such a big deal due to the Global War on Terror that numerous programs existed that never seemed to go anywhere—at least publically.

Loose bits sink ships

Regardless of the exact identity of this weapon system, the idea that the Navy—or at least one of its contractors—lost so much detailed information on what could be one of its most promising and critical weapon systems, as well as the infrastructure that supports it, couldn't have come at a worse time. China is pumping huge sums of money into its maritime warfare programs and fortifying its "fortress" like anti-access/area-denial strategy that will make it harder and harder for America's surface fleet to operate anywhere near striking distance of the Chinese mainland. With this in mind, submarines remain among the most important tools for breaking down this anti-access bubble so that more vulnerable assets can move closer to potential targets and strategic areas. What's worse is that with detailed info in hand, China is likely going to work hard to replicate this capability, not devise a defense against it.

Above all else, this is another terrible reminder about how the Defense Department and the industrial complex that feeds it remains its own worst enemy when it comes to securing highly detailed information about its most critical and costly weapon systems. At some point, the decision has to be made that networks that are not air-gapped and are connected to the outside world in some fashion are not secure enough to gamble such sensitive information on. Physical espionage is a big enough threat to deal with as it is, and the U.S. has failed miserably at defending against electronic espionage using convenient network architecture.
Coming to terms with this reality will mean it will become more time consuming, expensive, and tougher overall to develop new weapon systems. Distributing programs to sites located across the U.S. will instantly become a major issue. But what's the point in the U.S. developing any of these systems if in the end it is just developing them for its number one technological competitor as well?

And the fact that China doesn't have to pay billions upon billions of dollars for this intellectual property—they can steal for virtually nothing—isn't only a loss to American national security, but it actually provides the enemy with a major fiscal edge. And that edge is already being exploited in front of our very eyes on an increasingly unprecedented scale.

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com
© 2018 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Lots of photos at the link.
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/21 ... e-u-s-navy
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:15 am

Q Anon time capsule 15 June 2018



OIG Report: Trump’s plan is a lethal steamroller… Learn why Comey won’t sleep well tonight.

reddit | this post was submitted on 14 Jun 2018

This is a quick update. I will write more about this in the coming days. I just want to clear the air about the OIG report not finding political bias from James Comey and what it really means. Those who are not familiar with the case, at primary analysis, may be deceived by MSM and think this is some kind of victory for Comey. Well, no. It’s not. It’s actually a disaster!

I will explain.

Look at these two tweets from Trump: Imgur. These tweets represent the two angles from which Trump can attack Comey: political and procedural. Is the political angle efficient? No. The most you can get from it is name calling. And this is what Comey knew. He tried to pull Trump to the political battlefield with his book, his tweets and insulting interviews. Trump knew better. He knew the political angle was a dead end. He would tweet from time to time because he is Trump but he knew trying to emphasize Comey’s political bias would not be fruitful. Why? Read this article from CNN, which did its homework back in October 2016 to assess possible damages in relation to the Hatch Act. The important part of the article is here: Imgur. As you can see, proving Comey’s political bias would only trigger disciplinary measures. Irrelevant since Comey was already fired!

So? Let the IG give Comey something costless and that Comey does not need: political equidistance and let’s kill two birds with the same stone. Did you guess which other bird was taken care of here? If the report determines Comey was not politically driven when he exonerated Hillary, then it is also implicitly positioning that Trump was not politically driven when he fired him. Especially if Sessions “forced” Rosenstein to create the paper trail advising him to do so… Lethal…

So? Trump needs to attack Comey through the procedural angle. And this is the primary function of the OIG report.

Why is it relevant to attack Comey? Because of this: Imgur. Comey is among the 13 Angry who used a private email address. Q asks in this Q559: @what? What do you think? Comey used the same domain Hillary used, to conduct the same business she was conducting. Q has it all. I explained this in a previous post, I will repeat it: it’s right here:

Q701 Top 10 player [here now]. 50.22.218.5 Q

Q is telling us he was physically in the place where this IP is located. After digging, we found out the following:
1) 50.22.218.5 is the IP for Softlayer Technologies.
2) The server that hosted clintonemail.com in 2009 had IP 209.62.20.200 and was associated to ThePlanet.com now known as SoftLayer and acquired by IBM a few years back. source.

Q was telling us as early as in Q701 that he had all the goods about the top 10 players who used this server to sell the US to the highest bidders. Q gave out this information in early February! All this time was used by IG Horowitz to polish a damning legal case he started building way back and that no one involved will escape from. It will be the END. It will be a disaster. And Comey knows it.

Now you see it: if the Comey domino falls, you get to the private server, you get to Clinton, you get to Obama, you get to the core of the Deep State.

For this to happen, you need to resurrect the Clinton server investigation. And this can only happen if you have clearly shown there were process irregularities in the past. Hence the super clean OIG report that has now dismissed political bias and is exclusively focusing on procedures and protocol.

Icing on the cake:

Q1497 POTUS in possession of (and reviewing): 1. Original IG unredacted report. 2. Modified IG unredacted report [RR version]. 3. Modified IG redacted report [RR version]. 4. IG summary notes re: obstruction(s) to obtain select info (classified). [#3 released tomorrow] [SEC: FBI/DOJ handling of HRC email investigation] [[RR]] Who has the sole ability to DECLAS it all?

Now that Rosenstein has redacted the report to cover his tracks, these tracks:

Q1470 When the info is released [RR] no more.

Trump is now in position to declassify whatever he sees fit for the whole world to see. He is now in position to say: look what he redacted, look what he did and tried to hide from the world.

While Trump will be debating on when to declassify, Q opens this window for McCabe and all the others who would want to convert:

Q1455 You have a choice. SIS 'good' agents. The time is now. Contact window(s) [GOOD]Biblical. Q

Lethal.

Q1122 TRUST SESSIONS. TRUST WRAY. TRUST KANSAS. TRUST HOROWITZ. TRUST HUBER. Q



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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:28 am

House Report Concluded Pakistanis Made ‘Unauthorized Access’ To Congressional Servers

Luke Rosiak | Investigative Reporter

dailycaller.com

House investigators concluded that Democratic IT aides made unauthorized access to congressional servers in 2016, allegedly accessing the data of members for whom they did not work, logging in as members of Congress themselves, and covering their tracks, according to a presentation summarizing the findings of a four-month internal probe.

Their behavior mirrored a “classic method for insiders to exfiltrate data from an organization,” and they continued even after orders to stop, the briefing materials allege. There are indications that numerous members’ data may have been secretly residing not on their designated servers, but instead aggregated onto one server, according to the briefing and other sources. Authorities said that the entire server was then physically stolen.

When acting on the findings, Democratic leadership appear to have misrepresented the issue to their own members as solely a matter of theft, a comparison of the investigators’ findings with Democrats’ recollections and a committee’s public statement shows, leading 44 Democrats to not conduct protective measures typically taken after a breach — including informing constituents whose personal information may have been exposed. (A list of the involved members is below.)

The presentation, written by the House’s Office of the Inspector General, reported under the bold heading “UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS” that “5 shared employee system administrators have collectively logged into 15 member offices and the Democratic Caucus although they were not employed by the offices they accessed.”

It found indications that a House “server is being used for nefarious purposes and elevated the risk that individuals could be reading and/or removing information” and “could be used to store documents taken from other offices.” The server was that of the House Democratic Caucus, a sister group of the DNC that was run at the time by then-Rep. Xavier Becerra.

The aides named are Imran Awan, his wife Hina Alvi, his brothers Abid and Jamal, and his friend Rao Abbas, Pakistani-born aides whose lives are filled with reason for concern. Abid’s Ukranian wife Natalia Sova and Haseeb Rana were also involved in the Awans’ activities but departed the House payroll prior to the investigation.

One systems administrator “logged into a member’s office two months after he was terminated from that office,” the investigative summary says.

While the rules could have been violated for some innocuous purpose, the presentation indicates that is unlikely: “This pattern of login activity suggests steps are being taken to conceal their activity.”

A second presentation shows that shortly before the election, their alleged behavior got even worse. “During September 2016, shared employee continued to use Democratic Caucus computers in anomalous ways:
•Logged onto laptop as system administrator
•Changed identity and logged onto Democratic Caucus server using 17 other user account credentials
•Some credentials belonged to Members
•The shared employee did not work for 9 of the 17 offices to which these user accounts belonged.”

The investigation found “possible storage of sensitive House information outside the House … Dropbox is installed on two Caucus computers used by the shared employees. Two user accounts had thousands of files in their Dropbox folder on each computer.” Using Dropbox is against House rules because it uploads files offsite.

The Washington Post referenced the presentation in July, and quoted a House source who claimed that the server was full of the Awan children’s “homework” and “family photos.” The presentation offers reasons to doubt that. “Based on the file names, some of the information is likely sensitive,” it reads.

The statements of numerous Democrats indicate that the Democratic staff of the House Administration Committee and other House officials may have withheld information about cybersecurity breaches from members who employed the suspects, and appear to have misled them about the basic nature of the investigation.

“This is the first I’ve heard about that,” said Missouri Democratic Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver — who employed almost every member of the Awan group — of cybersecurity issues.

“The only thing I’m aware of is that he’s being charged with bank fraud,” Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro, who employed Jamal and is a member of the intelligence committee, told TheDCNF. “Do you have evidence that there’s anything more than a bank investigation? If someone’s given you a document to that effect, please give it to me.”

In early February, House Sergeant-At-Arms Paul Irving, Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko, and Jamie Fleet, the Democratic staff director of the Committee on House Administration, summoned affected chiefs of staff to a meeting to announce that the family was being banned from the network. Republican staff was not present, and the briefers omitted all mention of the cybersecurity component that appears to comprise the most dangerous part of the findings, according to numerous Democrats’ accounts.

WATCH YVETTE CLARKE DODGE QUESTIONS:


On Feb. 3, 2017, Committee on House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper and Ranking Member Robert Brady issued the sole official statement about what they called “the ongoing House theft investigation.”

“House Officials became aware of suspicious activity and alleged theft committed by certain House IT support staff,” the statement read. “An internal investigation determined that a number of House policies and procedures had been violated. This information was turned over to the United States Capitol Police and their investigation is ongoing. These employees have also been blocked from accessing House systems. All offices impacted have been contacted. No further comment will be issued until the investigation is complete.”

But that internal investigation’s most notable findings — in fact, the second presentation didn’t even mention theft — concerned credible evidence of a cyber-breach, and at the time of the announcement, the most recent incident of theft consisted of the disappearance of a server that was evidence in a cybersecurity probe, several authorities said.

There is no scenario where the access was appropriate because House members are not allowed to accept services from people not on their payroll and employees are not permitted to log in to servers of members for whom they do not work. The presentation notes that such House polices are codified in law.

But nearly a year later, there have been no criminal charges related to House IT. Two of the suspects were indicted for bank fraud in July after prosecutors said they transferred money from the House bank to Pakistan and tried to flee the country.

There are strong indications that many of the 44 members’ data — including personal information of constituents seeking help — was entirely out of those members’ possession, and instead was stored on the House Democratic Caucus server. The aggregation of multiple members’ data would mean all that data was absconded with, because authorities said that entire server physically disappeared while it was being monitored by police.

An IT aide told TheDCNF that colleagues deployed to clean up after the Awans’ firing discovered that in many offices, computers were set up to be nothing more than “thin clients” that were portals to an outside computer. “They were using terminal servers, your desktop is projected to you” from a computer in a different location.

The presentation — though its language is at times opaquely technical — found remote sessions that remained active for months at a time. The House commonly uses Citrix remote sessions that allow someone’s computer screen to show the contents of a different computer, but its security precautions ordinarily cause them to disconnect after just a few minutes. Virtual Private Networks can also make a server’s hard drive appear to be local to a computer.

A House committee staffer close to the probe told TheDCNF that “the data was always out of [the members’] possession. It was a breach. They were using the House Democratic Caucus as their central service warehouse.”

“All 5 of the shared employee system administrators collectively logged onto the Caucus system 5,735 times, an average of 27 times per day… This is considered unusual since computers in other offices managed by these shared employees were accessed in total less than 60 times,” the presentation reads.

That, too, may imply that dozens of members’ data was all in one place — on the Caucus’s server instead of in members’ possession. The apparently constant access by the entire crew, even their friend Rao Abbas, also doesn’t jive with The Washington Post’s claim that they were using it as a family computer for homework and photos.

With the basics of the probe hidden from members, Democrats appear to have vocally painted an inaccurate picture of what the report alleges occurred, pointing to the current criminal charges instead of the House’s investigation while not taking any steps to protect potentially compromised data.

Rep. Ted Lieu of California, who employed Abid Awan and is a member of the foreign affairs committee, said as far as he was concerned it was a simple issue of bank fraud.

“The staffer that I used, there was no allegation,” he told a TV station. “If you look at the charge of the brother, he was charged with bank fraud… that has nothing to do with national security.”

Prosecutors contend in court filings that they committed bank fraud and tried to flee because they found out about the already-existing investigation into their House activities.

Becerra’s House Democratic Caucus knew about problems and tried to stop them, according to the presentation, but the suspect defied him. Based on other members’ accounts, Becerra does not appear to have warned other offices that might have been affected.

“The Caucus Chief of Staff requested one of the shared employees to not provide IT services or access their computers,” the investigative briefing reads. “This shared employee continued.” Then, as police monitored the server as a primary piece of evidence, they discovered in January that it was taken from under their noses and replaced with a different computer.

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kinderdigi
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:54 am

Why is the Democrats' bizarre IT scandal being ignored?

www.foxnews.com
3 mins read

While the focus in Washington, D.C. remains centered on the Mueller Russia probe, we cannot lose sight of another ongoing investigation on Capitol Hill. At the center of this developing scandal are the nefarious actions of a former Democratic congressional IT aide indicted last year on bank fraud charges, who at the time was being paid by a high-profile member of Congress although he was barred from the House computer systems.


While the case has not received a lot of mainstream media attention, the details are sordid. Not only does the case raise serious national security and obstruction of justice concerns, it also suggests a blatant cover-up on the part of the lawmakers involved.
Our story begins in the early 2000s when an IT contractor named Imran Awan began doing work for a number of House Members. He was later joined in this work by seven other family members who had almost little or no computer technology expertise, including his wife and two brothers. One of Awan’s brothers at 20 years old was earning the same amount as a member of Congress. After being fired from one office for “incompetence” the other congressional offices continued to pay him.

In February of 2016 the House Office of Inspector General revealed that $120,000 in office equipment belonging to the office of Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., went missing. At the time, Imran’s brother Abid Awan worked for Representative Clarke in an IT capacity and was believed to be involved in the equipment’s disappearance.
Later that year the House Office of Inspector General informed both House leadership, and the Committee on Administration, that the Awans had gained unauthorized access into the servers of 15 House members who did not employ them! Additionally, it came to light that from October 2015 to April 2016, the Awans made “excessive log ons,” to the tune of 27 times per day, to a server belonging to the House Democratic Caucus.
Not only does the case raise serious national security and obstruction of justice concerns, it also suggests a blatant cover-up on the part of the lawmakers involved.
In January of 2017, a Democratic Caucus server was reported stolen.

Shortly after the Awans were barred from accessing the House computer systems in February of 2017, many of the 44 House Members – all Democrats -- who gave the Awans access to their constituent and other office data, fired them. One high profile member, however, continued to employ Imran Awan.
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., employed Imran Awan from 2005 until he was arrested on bank fraud charges while attempting to flee the United States to Pakistan on July 25, 2017. Although Awan was barred from the House computer systems in February of that same year and unable to perform IT work for her office, Wasserman Schultz refused to remove Awan from house payroll and continued to pay him at the same rate. She compensated Awan with taxpayer funds for several months, all while he was under indictment for bank fraud charges.
Since Wasserman Schultz failed to answer even basic questions about the nature of Awan’s employment in her office, last July my organization asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate her for blatantly disregarding House Ethics rules, as members of Congress are directly responsible for ensuring their staff are only paid for official public work.
What makes this situation even more bizarre and troubling is in April of 2017, during the time Wasserman Schultz kept Awan employed, he left a laptop belonging to her in an abandoned public phone booth in the House Rayburn Office Building, along with “a Pakistani ID card, copies of Awan’s driver’s license and congressional ID badge, and letters to the U.S. attorney.” After this incident, Wasserman Schultz went on a public attack against the United States Capitol Police demanding they return her laptop, even publicly threatening Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa with “consequences” if it wasn’t returned.
Then a few months later she denied it was her laptop saying “I have never seen that laptop. I don’t know what’s on the laptop.” The laptop’s username was “RepDWS.”
These are only some of the bizarre facts of this case. The victims have been described as 44 members of Congress, but are they? Taxpayer funds were used to purchase equipment and pay salaries. The data likely included private citizens’ information and government information. The members of Congress were entrusted with, and expected to keep secure, our government property and our data—the citizens are the true victims here.
It’s interesting that members of Congress always hold businesses publicly accountable when there is a high-profile breach of customer data, but in this case they have failed to take action. To date, the Awans have not been charged with a single crime related to illegally accessing and stealing congressional computer servers as part of a sophisticated criminal enterprise.
Given what’s at stake here in terms of national security and the security of our citizens, our government must demand accountability, even in investigation-saturated and -weary Washington.
Kendra Arnold is Executive Director of the nonprofit Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan ethics watchdog group.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/06/ ... nored.html
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:42 am

Imran Awan FBI Complaint Document
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents ... davit.html

Update on Awan cover up to protect DNC
Luke Rosiak
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhoPa90aT64



Sources: Wasserman Schultz Screamed At House Officials To Kill Hacking Probe, Intervened In Pakistani Criminal Matter
1:05 AM 06/05/2018
Luke Rosiak | Investigative Reporter

Pakistani Criminal Matter

dailycaller.com
6 mins read

Ex-Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she intervened in a Pakistani land deal involving her then–IT aide Imran Awan, according to two House employees. The dispute came after Awan’s father was charged with fraud in relation to the deal, and the mysterious exertion of political influence resulted in Pakistani authorities instead targeting the elderly alleged victims, according to a local report.
And when a House Office of Inspector General cybersecurity investigation found that Awan made “unauthorized access” to House servers, including the House Democratic Caucus’ shortly before the election, Wasserman Schultz became “frantic, not normal,” “making the rounds” to House officials in an attempt to kill the investigation, one House employee told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Awan told people Wasserman Schultz chose the name for his daughter, Leza — a Jewish name — and that the Florida congresswoman’s daughter regularly rode a horse that Awan kept at a boarding facility, sources with knowledge of the relationship told TheDCNF.
Wasserman Schultz cornered House Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko and called him a “fucking Islamophobe,” saying “you will not so much as take away their parking spots,” the two House employees said Kiko told them.


The congresswoman also told Kiko she had invited Awan’s whole family to her daughter’s bat mitzvah and said she had “helped him with a land deal,” the sources said. A spokesman for Kiko declined to comment on this story.
A 2009 article in the Pakistani publication Dawn, headlined “Influential expat shields father from long arm of law,” said Awan’s father was facing criminal fraud charges involving a land deal, but Awan used political connections to pressure the police into targeting the alleged victims instead.
Awan’s father purchased “huge chunks of land from different farmers in 2008,” but all the checks bounced, the report said. “The police high-ups are ‘ominously’ indifferent to proceed against Awan,” and it’s “noteworthy” how they were “complying with the desires of” Awan, who the paper described as a “White House employee.”
“About a dozen farmers of Chak 7-JB, Panjor, including five siblings — all aged between 57 and 70 — have given up hope of justice after they sold their agricultural lands to Ashraf Awan of Bole De Jhugi, who is the father of White House employee Shahid Imran,” Dawn reported. Imran Awan also goes by Shahid Imran Awan, Virginia court records show.

The police harassed the 19 would-be victims, including the five elderly brothers and even their lawyer, and charged them with “frivolous” cases, apparently to get them to stop trying to get the money they say they were owed, the paper said.
“Mohammad Abid, a victim of [Ashraf] Awan’s alleged high-profile swindling, said that [Ashraf] Awan’s son had easy access to the corridors of power and that’s why he was able to [pressure] the police to dance to his tunes,” Dawn reported.
The article details a series of people who say they were then subject to retaliation, including widow Bushra Bibi who said, “now Imran was threatening her with dire consequences.”
A third source, who’s familiar with Imran Awan, told TheDCNF that Awan recounted the intervention in the foreign criminal matter and that Awan said it was Wasserman Schultz who intervened. A fourth source — a fellow House IT aide — previously told TheDCNF that Awan said now-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was involved.
Dr. Zafar Iqbal, one of the alleged victims, told TheDCNF that “Imran came to Pakistan to get [his father] out of jail, since he had some [connections] in the Congress.”
Ashraf Awan’s business partner in the land deal, Rashid Minhas, told TheDCNF that the elder Awan gave a USB to a Pakistani senator who is a former head of a Pakistani intelligence agency, and that Imran claimed his IT position in Congress gave him the power to “change the U.S. president.” Minhas is in prison for an unrelated fraud charge.
On July 25, 2016, the House Inspector General notified the Committee on House Administration that investigators had detected major cybersecurity violations by the Awan family. Awan, his wife, two brothers, his brother’s wife, and even his elderly father were all being paid by various Democrats to manage their servers, with many of the members from Wasserman Schultz’s Florida.
The finding came at a critical time for Democrats: It was three days after WikiLeaks published the first emails from a hacked on the DNC, setting the stage for Wasserman Schultz to lose her position as party chair and for Democrats to begin electioneering on a theme of Russian hacking.
In February 2017, Kiko and the House’s top law enforcement official, Paul Irving, outlined serious violations in a letter to the committee, and the family was banned from the House computer network. The letter also noted that the House Democratic Caucus server disappeared soon after the IG report named it as key evidence.
But Wasserman Schultz refused to fire Awan, with her spokesman saying he would work on “websites” and “printers,” which a cybersecurity expert previously told TheDCNF would presumably involve network access.
The congresswoman also added Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, to her payroll in late 2016, after the investigation was in full swing, but before the family was banned from the network. Wasserman Schultz kept paying her until March 17 — 12 days after Alvi went to Pakistan with $12,000 in a suitcase.
Her actions so rattled the Administration Committee’s Democratic staff director, Jamie Fleet, that he planted a negative story in Politico that revealed Wasserman Schultz, his fellow Democrat, was continuing to pay the suspect, two House sources said. The story also said Wasserman Schultz had a “friendly personal relationship” with Awan and Alvi.
Fleet did not respond to a request for comment.
Kiko said in an April 2018 hearing spurred by the scandal that he was powerless to stop members who refused to fire a bad actor. (RELATED: Hearing Reveals Congress Provided ‘No Supervision’ Of IT Aides, Missed Red Flags, But Members Block Proposed Reforms)
“Termination, now it’s the member’s responsibility … We can revoke everything but they could still be employed,” he said. He added that his office should have the authority to override members who would want to keep a rule-breaker on the government network.
Wasserman Schultz became fixated on finding out everything investigators knew about Awan, the House sources said. House investigators briefed her extensively with significant evidence about Awan and his family, including improper computer evidence.
Yet Wasserman Schultz said in a statement, “my office was provided no evidence to indicate that laws had been broken, which over time, raised troubling concerns about due process, fair treatment and potential ethnic and religious profiling.” (RELATED: Own Wife Turns, Accuses Him Of Fraud, Violent Threats)
Wasserman Schultz was defending someone investigators allegedly told her was suspected of cybersecurity violations, despite having resigned from her position as DNC head following a devastating hack during the 2016 election.
Despite Wasserman Schultz’s relationship with Awan, in April 2017 — two months after he was banned from the computer network — the IT aide appeared to put the congresswoman at risk. Capitol Police found a laptop with the username RepDWS in a phone booth at midnight along with a copy of Awan’s ID, a letter to prosecutors and a note that said “attorney-client privilege,” according to a police report. Awan’s ID caused police to tie it to a criminal suspect and seize it, but the note kept them from looking at it.
That led to a tense exchange recorded on video in May 2017, in which Wasserman Schultz threatened the chief of the Capitol Police with “consequences” for not returning the laptop. When he refused, she mulled attempting to restructure the Capitol Police’s entire board so that her committee would have more leverage over it.
House sources told TheDCNF these exchanges were only a public glimpse into numerous such interactions, which were frequently profane, with every official she could buttonhole. One source said she also went to the Department of Justice and “made a stink.”
Wasserman Schultz hired the House’s former top lawyer, Bill Pittard — who had recently quit the House — to try to block prosecutors from seeing evidence, TheDCNF previously reported. Awan obtained legal representation from two lawyers who began their careers in Miami — one with experience in espionage cases and the other a former aide to Hillary Clinton. Wasserman Schultz’ district includes much of Miami.
One of Awan’s lawyers told a judge he felt “very strongly” that prosecutors should not be able to look at the RepDWS laptop, mounting an attorney-client privilege argument. Prosecutors did not challenge the argument before the judge.
In August 2017, Imran and Hina were charged with four felony counts for gathering up money under allegedly false circumstances before wiring $300,000 to Pakistan in January. Prosecutors said the timing suggests that the Awans had learned of their investigation, which a spokeswoman for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, AshLee Strong, told TheDCNF was supposed to be secret. Capitol Police “requested that the shared employees be allowed to continue to use their IT credentials until February [2017] because they didn’t want to tip off the employees,” she said.
Wasserman Schultz’s brother is a prosecutor in the same office handling the case and has tweeted about it.
Gowen said the wire transfer instead had to do with the land deal, which he told the Washington Examiner was “quickly souring.”
Wasserman Schultz did not respond to a request for comment.


Wajid Ali Syed reported from Faisalabad, Pakistan.
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:http://dailycaller.com/2018/06/04/wasserman-schultz-awan-islamophobe/
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:00 am

Democrats' IT scandal set to explode with possible plea deal

www.foxnews.com
3 mins read
The curious case of Imran Awan, which sounds like an international spy thriller, is entering its third act. Awan was a congressional IT aide to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and he was finally fired just after he was arrested trying to fly to Pakistan last summer.


Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, were charged last summer with bank fraud. They now appear poised to strike a plea deal with the Department of Justice. A plea agreement hearing is set for July 3 before U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan in Washington, Fox News reported Wednesday.
As I’ve dug deep into this case for my book “Spies in Congress” (out later this year), sources have made it clear that the bank fraud charges in this case, though very real, are just a way to hold the defendants.

Alleged theft of congressional equipment, massive data breaches of Congress members’ emails, likely espionage and more are all wrapped up in this case that involves data from 40 or more Democratic members of Congress.
Sources tell me that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has been looking into this matter since well before Awan and his crew of Pakistani congressional IT aides were booted off the House computer network in February 2017.
Sources also say that investigators were particularly interested in whether anyone else in the congressional offices that all of these IT aides worked for was involved in alleged improper activity. This might include Rep. Wasserman Schultz, who was the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair when she employed Awan. It might also include former Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., who employed Awan when Becerra was chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. Becerra is now California attorney general.

“The House Office of Inspector General tracked the Awans network usage and found that a massive amount of data was flowing from the (congressional) networks,” said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa. “Over 5,700 logins by the five Awan associates were discovered on a single server within the House, the server of the Democratic Caucus Chairman, then Rep. Xavier Becerra of California. Up to 40 or more members of Congress had all of their data moved out their office servers and onto the Becerra server without their knowledge or consent.”
Becerra left Congress in January 2017. Before he left, Capitol Police wanted a copy of the caucus server’s contents.
Becerra presumably told Imran Awan that Capitol Police wanted a copy of the server. What is known is that Awan did produce a copy of a server’s data for Capitol Police; however, after taking a look at the data they were provided, Capitol Police determined they were given a copy of data from some other server instead.
“Capitol Police found that the image (the copy of the server contents) they were supplied was false,” said Rep. Perry, quoting a report from the House Office of Inspector General.
So the Awans had access to – in fact, were copying – all the emails, personal schedules and other data from the Democrats they worked for to this server and, according to other reports, a Dropbox account.
Imran Awan was also going back to Pakistan for long stays and, in fact, at times worked remotely from Pakistan. This is where the case leads to possible espionage.
Meanwhile, court hearings on the alleged bank fraud Imran Awan and Hina Alvi have been charged with have been delayed again and again. The last hearing took place in October 2017.
The delays came as Department of Justice prosecutors and defense attorneys have been fighting it out over a laptop found in a cubbyhole (what was once a phone booth) in congressional office building that has the username “REPDWS” (a computer used by Imran Awan that is the property of Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s office).
What’s on this computer we can only surmise, but it is clear that Wasserman Schultz wants the evidence kept out of court. She even publicly threatened the chief of the Capitol Police with “consequences” if the laptop wasn’t returned.
Meanwhile, a House Office of Inspector General investigation determined that Awan and his crew (none of whom underwent background checks to gain the IT positions they held in Congress) committed numerous violations of House security policies.
There is a lot more to come from this explosive case. Before this plea agreement hearing was set the biggest worry was that the government’s odd failure to prosecute Awan for alleged thefts of government equipment (some of which were found in a garage of one of Awan’s rental properties) and the many alleged national security violations pointed to a political cover-up.
Now it appears the plot is set for a riveting climax.
Frank Miniter is author of "The Future of the Gun" & "The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide". His latest book is, is "Kill Big Brother", a cyber-thriller that shows how to balance freedom with security without diminishing the U.S. Bill of Rights.

read:http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/06/06/democrats-it-scandal-set-to-explode-with-possible-plea-deal.html
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:13 am

DARPA's Amazing Reconfigurable Wheel Tracks Go From Wheel To Track In Two Seconds Flat

The experimental technology looks to solve one of the biggest conundrums of mechanized warfare.

By Tyler RogowayJune 23, 2018

http://www.thedrive.com

It's one of the biggest trade-offs in mechanized warfare—the efficiency of a wheel or the go-anywhere capability of the track. Wheels are far more adept at speeding over roads and semi-improved surfaces, while tracks own the sand, mud, and snow, as well as crumbling urban surfaces, mediums that can leave even the hardiest wheeled vehicles in a world of hurt. DARPA, along with their partners at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center, have come up with an amazing solution to this problem—a transformer of sorts that can go from wheel to track in two seconds flat.

The USMC Is Buying New Amphibious Vehicles That Can't Swim Faster Than What They Have NowBy Joseph Trevithick Posted in The War Zone
This New Video Showing DARPA's Master Plan For Its Gremlins Drones Is AwesomeBy Tyler Rogoway Posted in The War Zone
Images Emerge Of M1A2 Abrams Tank Equipped With Trophy Active Protection SystemBy Tyler Rogoway Posted in The War Zone
DARPA Wants to Use Fish and Other Sea Life to Track Enemy SubmarinesBy Joseph Trevithick Posted in The War Zone
DARPA’s Submarine Hunting Drone Ship Test’s Sensor Hauling ParasailBy Tyler Rogoway Posted in The War Zone
The Reconfigurable Wheel Tracks initiative has emerged under the Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program ran by the Pentagon's famed 'bleeding-edge' research and development agency. GXV-T covers a number of technologies and applications, and DARPA describes the program's aims as "improving mobility, survivability, safety, and effectiveness of future combat vehicles without piling on armor." According to DARPA, the overall program has the following structure:
GXV-T’s technical goals include the following improvements relative to today’s armored fighting vehicles:
Reduce vehicle size and weight by 50 percent
Reduce onboard crew needed to operate vehicle by 50 percent
Increase vehicle speed by 100 percent
Access 95 percent of terrain
Reduce signatures that enable adversaries to detect and engage vehicles
The GXV-T program seeks to develop advanced technologies in the following four technical areas:
Radically Enhanced Mobility—Ability to traverse diverse off-road terrain, including slopes and various elevations. Capabilities of interest include revolutionary wheel/track and suspension technologies that would enable greater terrain access and faster travel both on- and off-road compared to existing ground vehicles.
Survivability through Agility—Autonomously avoid incoming threats without harming occupants through technologies that enable, for example, agile motion and active repositioning of armor. Capabilities of interest include vertical and horizontal movement of armor to defeat incoming threats in real time.
Crew Augmentation—Improved physical and electronically assisted situational awareness for crew and passengers; semi-autonomous driver assistance and automation of key crew functions similar to capabilities found in modern commercial airplane cockpits. Capabilities of interest include high-resolution, 360-degree visualization of data from multiple onboard sensors and technologies to support closed-cockpit vehicle operations.
Signature Management—Reduction of detectable signatures, including visible, infrared (IR), acoustic and electromagnetic (EM). Capabilities of interest include improved ways to avoid detection and engagement by adversaries.
Phase two of the program's contract winners recently demonstrated what they have been working on, and this is where Carnegie Mellon's Reconfigurable Wheel Tracks first appeared.
Check them out in action at time index 2:20 in the video below:


This incredibly innovative and futuristic system is part of Radically Enhanced Mobility portion of the GXV-T program. DARPA describes it and the tracks in a press release, stating:
Radically Enhanced Mobility:
GXV-T envisions future combat vehicles that could traverse up to 95 percent of off-road terrain, including slopes and various elevations. Capabilities include revolutionary wheel-to-track and suspension technologies that would enable access and faster travel both on- and off-road, compared to existing ground vehicles.
Reconfigurable Wheel-Track (RWT):
Wheels permit fast travel on hard surfaces while tracks perform better on soft surfaces. A team from Carnegie Mellon University National Robotics Engineering Center (CMU NREC) demonstrated shape-shifting wheel-track mechanisms that transition from a round wheel to a triangular track and back again while the vehicle is on the move, for instant improvements to tactical mobility and maneuverability on diverse terrains.
Such a capability could be downright revolutionary if it were to make it to an operational state. But just because it works for a technological demonstration, doesn't mean it is anywhere near being ready for combat operations. Cost, complexity, and durability are all key questions that would have to be answered if the system were to make it into production.
But even if those hurdles remain somewhat steep, such a capability could be worth the headaches they may cause in an operational state for certain users. The USMC in particular, which focuses on executing transitional fights from the beach to inland locales, could make great use of this technology on Humvees and Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs). Even larger armored personnel carriers could leverage a form of the technology.
Equipping scout/reconnaissance and special operations vehicles with such a system also makes some sense as they may venture where road conditions are unknown, and with little fire support for protection. Being able to morph between wheels and tracks at an instant, and thus offering high-speed and rugged terrain access flexibility, could literally mean the difference between life and death.

Oshkosh Defense
USMC JLTV fitted with chains for snow operations.
There are also huge applications in the civilian market for this type of concept. Law enforcement, search and rescue, and emergency and disaster response teams could use this capability to plow through terrain that is inaccessible to wheeled vehicles, while still being able to retain a high-speed road capability as well. This could drastically reduce the timeframe for critical mobility operations and for the recovery of wounded personnel. Even farmers could make great use out of the concept.
The thought of such a system becoming a reality, even in just a developmental state, is pretty amazing. This was the stuff of our far-fetched science fiction dreams just years ago. It will be very interesting to see where this technology goes, but it is likely headed somewhere beyond an experiment because the capability is just too sweet not to pursue on a grander level.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com

Photos at the link

:http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/21723/darpas-amazing-reconfigurable-wheel-tracks-go-from-wheel-to-track-in-two-seconds-flat
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:29 am

The Wiretap Rooms
The NSA’s Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities

Ryan Gallagher, Henrik Moltke
The Intercept
June 25 2018, 5:00 a.m.

The secrets are hidden behind fortified walls in cities across the United States, inside towering, windowless skyscrapers and fortress-like concrete structures that were built to withstand earthquakes and even nuclear attack. Thousands of people pass by the buildings each day and rarely give them a second glance, because their function is not publicly known. They are an integral part of one of the world’s largest telecommunications networks – and they are also linked to a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.

Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T facility containing networking equipment that transports large quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world. A body of evidence – including classified NSA documents, public records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees – indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.

The NSA considers AT&T to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.” It is a collaboration that dates back decades. Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to AT&T’s customers. According to the NSA’s documents, it values AT&T not only because it “has access to information that transits the nation,” but also because it maintains unique relationships with other phone and internet providers. The NSA exploits these relationships for surveillance purposes, commandeering AT&T’s massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into communications processed by other companies.

Much has previously been reported about the NSA’s surveillance programs. But few details have been disclosed about the physical infrastructure that enables the spying. Last year, The Intercept highlighted a likely NSA facility in New York City’s Lower Manhattan. Now, we are revealing for the first time a series of other buildings across the U.S. that appear to serve a similar function, as critical parts of one of the world’s most powerful electronic eavesdropping systems, hidden in plain sight.

“It’s eye-opening and ominous the extent to which this is happening right here on American soil,” said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “It puts a face on surveillance that we could never think of before in terms of actual buildings and actual facilities in our own cities, in our own backyards.”

There are hundreds of AT&T-owned properties scattered across the U.S. The eight identified by The Intercept serve a specific function, processing AT&T customers’ data and also carrying large quantities of data from other internet providers. They are known as “backbone” and “peering” facilities.

While network operators would usually prefer to send data through their own networks, often a more direct and cost-efficient path is provided by other providers’ infrastructure. If one network in a specific area of the country is overloaded with data traffic, another operator with capacity to spare can sell or exchange bandwidth, reducing the strain on the congested region. This exchange of traffic is called “peering” and is an essential feature of the internet.

Because of AT&T’s position as one of the U.S.’s leading telecommunications companies, it has a large network that is frequently used by other providers to transport their customers’ data. Companies that “peer” with AT&T include the American telecommunications giants Sprint, Cogent Communications, and Level 3, as well as foreign companies such as Sweden’s Telia, India’s Tata Communications, Italy’s Telecom Italia, and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom.

AT&T currently boasts 19,500 “points of presence” in 149 countries where internet traffic is exchanged. But only eight of the company’s facilities in the U.S. offer direct access to its “common backbone” – key data routes that carry vast amounts of emails, internet chats, social media updates, and internet browsing sessions. These eight locations are among the most important in AT&T’s global network. They are also highly valued by the NSA, documents indicate.

The data exchange between AT&T and other networks initially takes place outside AT&T’s control, sources said, at third-party data centers that are owned and operated by companies such as California’s Equinix. But the data is then routed – in whole or in part – through the eight AT&T buildings, where the NSA taps into it. By monitoring what it calls the “peering circuits” at the eight sites, the spy agency can collect “not only AT&T’s data, they get all the data that’s interchanged between AT&T’s network and other companies,” according to Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician who worked with the company for 22 years. It is an efficient point to conduct internet surveillance, Klein said, “because the peering links, by the nature of the connections, are liable to carry everybody’s traffic at one point or another during the day, or the week, or the year.”

Christopher Augustine, a spokesperson for the NSA, said in a statement that the agency could “neither confirm nor deny its role in alleged classified intelligence activities.” Augustine declined to answer questions about the AT&T facilities, but said that the NSA “conducts its foreign signals intelligence mission under the legal authorities established by Congress and is bound by both policy and law to protect U.S. persons’ privacy and civil liberties.”

Jim Greer, an AT&T spokesperson, said that AT&T was “required by law to provide information to government and law enforcement entities by complying with court orders, subpoenas, lawful discovery requests, and other legal requirements.” He added that the company provides “voluntary assistance to law enforcement when a person’s life is in danger and in other immediate, emergency situations. In all cases, we ensure that requests for assistance are valid and that we act in compliance with the law.”

Dave Schaeffer, CEO of Cogent Communications, told The Intercept that he had no knowledge of the surveillance at the eight AT&T buildings, but said he believed “the core premise that the NSA or some other agency would like to look at traffic … at an AT&T facility.” He said he suspected that the surveillance is likely carried out on “a limited basis,” due to technical and cost constraints. If the NSA were trying to “ubiquitously monitor” data passing across AT&T’s networks, Schaeffer added, he would be “extremely concerned.”

Sprint, Telia, Tata Communications, Telecom Italia, and Deutsche Telekom did not respond to requests for comment. CenturyLink, which owns Level 3, said it would not discuss “matters of national security.”

The eight locations are featured on a top-secret NSA map, which depicts U.S. facilities that the agency relies upon for one of its largest surveillance programs, code-named FAIRVIEW. AT&T is the only company involved in FAIRVIEW, which was first established in 1985, according to NSA documents, and involves tapping into international telecommunications cables, routers, and switches.

In 2003, the NSA launched new internet mass surveillance methods, which were pioneered under the FAIRVIEW program. The methods were used by the agency to collect – within a few months – some 400 billion records about people’s internet communications and activity, the New York Times previously reported. FAIRVIEW was also forwarding more than 1 million emails every day to a “keyword selection system” at the NSA’s Fort Meade headquarters.

Central to the internet spying are eight “peering link router complex” sites, which are pinpointed on the top-secret NSA map. The locations of the sites mirror maps of AT&T’s networks, obtained by The Intercept from public records, which show “backbone node with peering” facilities in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

One of the AT&T maps contains unique codes individually identifying the addresses of the facilities in each of the cities.

Among the pinpointed buildings, there is a nuclear blast-resistant, windowless facility in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood; in Washington, D.C., a fortress-like, concrete structure less than half a mile south of the U.S. Capitol; in Chicago, an earthquake-resistant skyscraper in the West Loop Gate area; in Atlanta, a 429-foot art deco structure in the heart of the city’s downtown district; and in Dallas, a cube-like building with narrow windows and large vents on its exterior, located in the Old East district.

Elsewhere, on the west coast of the U.S., there are three more facilities: in downtown Los Angeles, a striking concrete tower near the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Staples Center, two blocks from the most important internet exchange in the region; in Seattle, a 15-story building with blacked-out windows and reinforced concrete foundations, near the city’s waterfront; and in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, a building where it was previously claimed that the NSA was monitoring internet traffic from a secure room on the sixth floor.

The peering sites – otherwise known in AT&T parlance as “Service Node Routing Complexes,” or SNRCs – were developed following the internet boom in the mid- to late 1990s. By March 2009, the NSA’s documents say it was tapping into “peering circuits at the eight SNRCs.”

The facilities’ purpose was to bolster AT&T’s network, improving its reliability and enabling future growth. They were developed under the leadership of an Iranian-American innovator and engineer named Hossein Eslambolchi, who was formerly AT&T’s chief technology officer and president of AT&T Labs, a division of the company that focuses on research and development.

Eslambolchi told The Intercept that the project to set up the facilities began after AT&T asked him to help create “the largest internet protocol network in the world.” He obliged and began implementing his network design by placing large Cisco routers inside former AT&T phone switching facilities across the U.S. When planning the project, he said he divided AT&T’s network into different regions, “and in every quadrant I will have what I will call an SNRC.”

During his employment with AT&T, Eslambolchi said he had to take a polygraph test, and he obtained a government security clearance. “I was involved in very, very top, heavy-duty projects for a few of these three-letter agencies,” he said, in an apparent reference to U.S. intelligence agencies. “They all loved me.”

He would not confirm or deny the exact locations of the eight peering sites identified by The Intercept or discuss the classified work he carried out while with the company. “You put a gun to my head,” he said, “I’m not going to tell you.”

Other former AT&T employees, however, were more forthcoming.

A former senior member of AT&T’s technical staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, confirmed with “100 percent” certainty the locations of six of the eight peering facilities identified by The Intercept. The source, citing direct knowledge of the facilities and their function, verified the addresses of the buildings in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

A second former AT&T employee confirmed the locations of the remaining two sites, in Chicago and San Francisco. “I worked with all of them,” said Philip Long, who was employed by AT&T for more than two decades as a technician servicing its networks. Long’s work with AT&T was carried out mostly in California, but he said his job required him to be in contact with the company’s other facilities across the U.S. In about 2005, Long recalled, he received orders to move “every internet backbone circuit I had in northern California” through the San Francisco AT&T building identified by The Intercept as one of the eight NSA spy hubs. Long said that, at the time, he felt suspicious of the changes, because they were unusual and unnecessary. “We thought we were routing our circuits so that they could grab all the data,” he said. “We thought it was the government listening.” He retired from his job with AT&T in 2014.

A third former AT&T employee reviewed The Intercept’s research and said he believed it accurately identified all eight of the facilities. “The site data certainly seems correct,” said Thomas Saunders, who worked as a data networking consultant for AT&T in New York City between 1995 and 2004. “Those nodes aren’t going to move.”

An estimated 99 percent of the world’s intercontinental internet traffic is transported through hundreds of giant fiber optic cables hidden beneath the world’s oceans. A large portion of the data and communications that pass across the cables is routed at one point through the U.S., partly because of the country’s location – situated between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia – and partly because of the pre-eminence of American internet companies, which provide services to people globally.

The NSA calls this predicament “home field advantage” – a kind of geographic good fortune. “A target’s phone call, email, or chat will take the cheapest path, not the physically most direct path,” one agency document explains. “Your target’s communications could easily be flowing into and through the U.S.”

Once the internet traffic arrives on U.S. soil, it is processed by American companies. And that is why, for the NSA, AT&T is so indispensable. The company claims it has one of the world’s most powerful networks, the largest of its kind in the U.S. AT&T routinely handles masses of emails, phone calls, and internet chats. As of March 2018, some 197 petabytes of data – the equivalent of more than 49 trillion pages of text, or 60 billion average-sized mp3 files – traveled across its networks every business day.

The NSA documents, which come from the trove provided to The Intercept by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, describe AT&T as having been “aggressively involved” in aiding the agency’s surveillance programs. One example of this appears to have taken place at the eight facilities under a classified initiative called SAGUARO.

As part of SAGUARO, AT&T developed a strategy to help the NSA electronically eavesdrop on internet data from the “peering circuits” at the eight sites, which were said to connect to the “common backbone,” major data routes carrying internet traffic.

The company worked with the NSA to rank communications flowing through its networks on the basis of intelligence value, prioritizing data depending on which country it was derived from, according to a top-secret agency document.

NSA diagrams reveal that after it collects data from AT&T’s “access links” and “peering partners,” it is sent to a “centralized processing facility” code-named PINECONE, located somewhere in New Jersey. Inside the PINECONE facility, there is a secure space in which there is both NSA-controlled and AT&T-controlled equipment. Internet traffic passes through an AT&T “distribution box” to two NSA systems. From there, the data is then transferred about 200 miles southwest to its final destination: NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland.

At the Maryland compound, the communications collected from AT&T’s networks are integrated into powerful systems called MAINWAY and MARINA, which the NSA uses to analyze metadata – such as the “to” and “from” parts of emails, and the times and dates they were sent. The communications obtained from AT&T are also made accessible through a tool named XKEYSCORE, which NSA employees use to search through the full contents of emails, instant messenger chats, web-browsing histories, webcam photos, information about downloads from online services, and Skype sessions.

The NSA’s primary mission is to gather foreign intelligence. The agency has broad legal powers to monitor emails, phone calls, and other forms of correspondence as they are being transported across the U.S., and it can compel companies such as AT&T to install surveillance equipment within their networks.

Under a Ronald Reagan-era presidential directive – Executive Order 12333 – the NSA has what it calls “transit authority,” which it says enables it to eavesdrop on “communications which originate and terminate in foreign countries, but traverse U.S. territory.” That could include, for example, an email sent by a person in France to a person in Mexico, which on its way to its destination was routed through a server in California. According to the NSA’s documents, it was using AT&T’s networks as of March 2013 to gather some 60 million foreign-to-foreign emails every day, 1.8 billion per month.

Without an individualized court order, it is illegal for the NSA to spy on communications that are wholly domestic, such as emails sent back and forth between two Americans living in Texas. However, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the agency began eavesdropping on Americans’ international calls and emails that were passing between the U.S. and other countries. That practice was exposed by the New York Times in 2005 and triggered what became known as the “warrantless wiretapping” scandal.

Critics argued that the surveillance of Americans’ international communications was illegal, because the NSA had carried it out without obtaining warrants from a judge and had instead acted on the orders of President George W. Bush. In 2008, Congress weighed into the dispute and controversially authorized elements of the warrantless wiretapping program by enacting Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act, or FISA. The new law allowed the NSA to continue sweeping up Americans’ international communications without a warrant, so long as it did so “incidentally” while it was targeting foreigners overseas – for instance, if it was monitoring people in Pakistan, and they were talking with Americans in the U.S. by phone, email, or through an internet chat service.

Within AT&T’s networks, there is filtering equipment designed to separate foreign and domestic internet data before it is passed to the NSA, the agency’s documents show. Filtering technology is often used by internet providers for security reasons, enabling them to keep tabs on problems with their networks, block out spam, or monitor hacking attacks. But the same tools can be used for government surveillance.

“You can essentially trick the routers into redirecting a small subset of traffic you really care about, which you can monitor in more detail,” said Jennifer Rexford, a computer scientist who worked for AT&T Labs between 1996 and 2005.

According to the NSA’s documents, it programs its surveillance systems to focus on particular IP addresses – a set of numbers that identify a computer – associated with foreign countries. A classified 2012 memo describes the agency’s efforts to use IP addresses to home in on internet data passing between the U.S. and particular “regions of interest,” including Iran, Afghanistan, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. But this process is not an exact science, as people can use privacy or anonymity tools to change or spoof their IP addresses. A person in Israel could use privacy software to masquerade as if they were accessing the internet in the U.S. Likewise, an internet user in the U.S. could make it appear as if they were online in Israel. It is unclear how effective the NSA’s systems are at detecting such anomalies.

In October 2011, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves the surveillance operations carried out under Section 702 of FISA, found that there were “technological limitations” with the agency’s internet eavesdropping equipment. It was “generally incapable of distinguishing” between some kinds of data, the court stated. As a consequence, Judge John D. Bates ruled, the NSA had been intercepting the communications of “non-target United States persons and persons in the United States,” violating Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. The ruling, which was declassified in August 2013, concluded that the agency had acquired some 13 million “internet transactions” during one six-month period, and had unlawfully gathered “tens of thousands of wholly domestic communications” each year.

The root of the issue was that the NSA’s technology was not only targeting communications sent to and from specific surveillance targets. Instead, the agency was sweeping up people’s emails if they had merely mentioned particular information about surveillance targets.

A top-secret NSA memo about the court’s ruling, which has not been disclosed before, explained that the agency was collecting people’s messages en masse if a single one were found to contain a “selector” – like an email address or phone number – that featured on a target list.

“One example of this is when a user of a webmail service accesses her inbox; if the inbox contains one email message that contains an NSA tasked selector, NSA will acquire a copy of the entire inbox, not just the individual email message that contains the tasked selector,” the memo stated.

The court’s ruling left the agency with two options: shut down the spying based on mentions of targets completely, or ensure that protections were put in place to stop the unlawfully collected communications from being reviewed. The NSA chose the latter option, and created a “cautionary banner” that warned its analysts not to read particular messages unless they could confirm that they had been lawfully obtained.

But the cautionary banner did not solve the problem. The NSA’s analysts continued to access the same data repositories to search, unlawfully, for information on Americans. In April 2017, the agency publicly acknowledged these violations, which it described as “inadvertent compliance incidents.” It said that it would no longer use surveillance programs authorized under Section 702 of FISA to harvest messages that mentioned its targets, citing “technological constraints, United States person privacy interests, and certain difficulties in implementation.”

The messages that the NSA had unlawfully collected were swept up using a method of surveillance known as “upstream,” which the agency still deploys for other surveillance programs authorized under both Section 702 of FISA and Executive Order 12333. The upstream method involves tapping into communications as they are passing across internet networks – precisely the kind of electronic eavesdropping that appears to have taken place at the eight locations identified by The Intercept.

The AT&T building in Atlanta was originally constructed in the 1920s as the main telephone exchange for the city’s downtown area. The art deco structure, made of limestone, was designed to be the largest in the city at the time at 25 stories tall. However, due to the Great Depression, plans were scaled back and at first, it only had six stories. Between 1947 and 1963, the building was upgraded to host 14 stories, and a large brown microwave tower – visible for miles – was also added. A profile of the building on the History Atlanta website notes that it contains “operations, phone exchanges and other communications equipment for AT&T.”

NSA and AT&T maps point to the Atlanta facility as being one of eight “peering” hubs that process internet traffic as part of the NSA surveillance program code-named FAIRVIEW. One former AT&T employee – who spoke on condition of anonymity – confirmed that the site was one of eight primary AT&T “Service Node Routing Complexes,” or SNRCs, in the U.S. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites.

Information provided by a second former AT&T employee adds to the evidence linking the Atlanta building to NSA surveillance. Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician, alleged in 2006 that the company had allowed the NSA to install surveillance equipment in some of its network hubs. An AT&T facility in Atlanta was one of the spy sites, according to documents Klein presented in a court case over the alleged spying. The Atlanta facility was equipped with “splitter” equipment, which was used to make copies of internet traffic as AT&T’s networks processed it. The copied data would then be diverted to “SG3” equipment – a reference to “Study Group 3” – which was a code name AT&T used for activities related to NSA surveillance, according to evidence in the Klein case.

The Atlanta facility is likely of strategic importance for the NSA. The site is the closest major AT&T internet routing center to Miami, according to the NSA and AT&T maps. From undersea cables that come aground at Miami, huge flows of data pass between the U.S. and South America. It is probable that much of that data is routed through the Atlanta facility as it is being sent to and from the U.S. In recent years, the NSA has extensively targeted several Latin American countries – such as Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela – for surveillance.

Like many other major telecommunications hubs built during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Chicago AT&T building was designed amid the Cold War to withstand a nuclear attack. The 538-foot skyscraper, located in the West Loop Gate area of the city, was completed in 1971. There are windows at both the top and bottom of the vast concrete structure, but 18 of its 28 floors are windowless.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the facility handles much of the city’s phone and internet traffic and is equipped with banks of routers, servers, and switching systems. “This building touches every single resident of the city,” Jim Wilson, an AT&T area manager, told the newspaper in 2016.


One of the building’s architects, John Augur Holabird, said in a 1998 interview that it housed “a big switchboard.” He added: “In case the atomic bomb hits Milwaukee, you’ll be happy to know your telephone line will still go through even though the rest of us are wiped out. And that’s what that building was for.”

10 South Canal Street originally contained a million-gallon oil tank, turbine generators, and a water well, so that it could continue to function for more than two weeks without electricity or water from the city, according to Illinois broadcaster WBEZ. The building is “anchored in bedrock, which helps support the weight of the equipment inside, and gives it extra resistance to bomb blasts or earthquakes,” WBEZ reported.





Today, the facility contains six large V-16 yellow Caterpillar generators that can provide backup electricity in the event of a power failure, according to the Chicago Sun Times. Inside the skyscraper, AT&T stores some 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel, enough to run the generators for 40 days.

NSA and AT&T maps point to the Chicago facility as being one of the “peering” hubs, which process internet traffic as part of the NSA surveillance program code-named FAIRVIEW. Philip Long, who was employed by AT&T for more than two decades as a technician servicing its networks, confirmed that the Chicago site was one of eight primary AT&T “Service Node Routing Complexes,” or SNRCs, in the U.S. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites.

This AT&T building is a fortified, cube-like structure, located in the Old East area of Dallas, not far from Baylor University Medical Center. Built in 1961, it is a light yellow-brown color with a granite foundation. Large vents are visible on the exterior of the building, as are several narrow windows, many of which appear to have been blacked out or covered in a reflective privacy glass.

The 4211 Bryan Street facility is located next to other AT&T-owned buildings, including a towering telephone routing complex that was first built in 1904. A piece about the telephone hub in the Dallas Observer described it as “an imposing, creepy building” that is “known in some circles as The Great Wall of Beige.”

According to the Central Office website, which profiles telecommunications buildings across the U.S., the Dallas telephone hub is “the main regional tandem and AT&T for long distance and toll services in the Dallas Texas region.” Today, the building also has “major fiber connections to Plano, Irving, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Ft. Worth, Abilene, Houston and Austin,” the website adds.

NSA and AT&T maps point to the 4211 Bryan Street facility as being one of the “peering” hubs, which process internet traffic as part of the NSA surveillance program code-named FAIRVIEW. A former AT&T employee confirmed that the site was one of eight primary AT&T “Service Node Routing Complexes,” or SNRCs, in the U.S. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites.

At the time of its construction in 1961, the AT&T building known as the Madison Complex was the tallest building in downtown Los Angeles. It has since been dwarfed by a number of corporate office skyscrapers in the surrounding Financial District.

Located between Chinatown and the Staples Center, the fortress-like structure is one of the largest telephone central offices in the U.S. “The theoretical number of telephone lines that can be served from this office are 1.3 million and this office also serves as a foreign exchange carrier to neighboring area codes,” according to the Central Office, a website that profiles U.S. telecommunications hubs.

The 448-foot, 17-story building is beige, rectangular, and mostly windowless. On its roof, there is a large microwave tower, which was originally used to transmit phone calls across a network of antennae. The tower’s technology became obsolete in the early 1990s, and it ceased to operate. It remains in place today as a sort of monument to outdated methods of communication and stands in contrast to the more modern buildings in the vicinity, many of them owned by banks.

The Madison Complex is located just two blocks from One Wilshire, which houses what is reportedly the most important internet exchange on the U.S. west coast. “Billions of phone calls, emails and internet pages pass through One Wilshire every week,” the Los Angeles Times reported in 2013, “because it is the primary terminus for major fiber-optic cable routes between Asia and North America.”

Due to the close proximity of the Madison Complex and One Wilshire, and their shared role as telecommunications hubs, it is likely that the buildings process some of the same data as it is being routed across U.S. networks.

NSA and AT&T maps point to the Madison Complex facility as being one of the “peering” hubs, which process internet traffic as part of the NSA surveillance program code-named FAIRVIEW. A former AT&T employee confirmed that the site was one of eight primary AT&T “Service Node Routing Complexes,” or SNRCs, in the U.S. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites.

According to AT&T records, the building is a “hardened telco data center” and was upgraded in 2000 to become an internet data center. Thomas Saunders, a former AT&T engineer, told The Intercept that, in the 1970s, the building was considered to be “the biggest hub for transmission [of communications] in the country.” Saunders also claimed that, had Bush been in Manhattan during the 9/11 attacks, the Secret Service would have taken him to safety inside the AT&T facility. “It’s the strongest building in town,” he said.

NSA and AT&T maps indicate that the 10th Avenue facility is one of eight “peering” hubs that process internet traffic as part of the NSA surveillance program code-named FAIRVIEW. Two former AT&T employees confirmed that the site was one of eight primary AT&T “Service Node Routing Complexes,” or SNRCs, in the U.S. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites.

The design of the building bears some resemblance to another windowless building in New York City – AT&T’s towering skyscraper at 33 Thomas Street in lower Manhattan. As The Intercept reported in 2016, 33 Thomas Street is a major hub for routing international phone calls and appears to contain a secure NSA surveillance room – code-named TITANPOINTE – that has been used to tap into faxes and phone calls.

NSA and AT&T documents indicate that 10th Avenue building serves as the NSA’s internet equivalent of 33 Thomas Street. While the NSA’s surveillance at 33 Thomas Street mainly targets phone calls that pass through the building’s international switching points, at the 10th Avenue site the agency appears to primarily collect emails, online chats, and data from internet browsing sessions.

This San Francisco AT&T building has been described as the city’s telecommunications “nerve center.” It is about 256 feet tall, has nine floors, and its exterior is covered in silver-colored panels; there are a series of vents that can be seen at street level, but there are few windows.

NSA and AT&T maps obtained by The Intercept indicate that 611 Folsom Street is one of the eight “peering” hubs in the U.S. that process internet traffic as part of the NSA surveillance program code-named FAIRVIEW. Philip Long, who was employed by AT&T for more than two decades as a technician servicing its networks, confirmed that the San Francisco site is one of eight primary AT&T “Service Node Routing Complexes,” or SNRCs, in the U.S. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites.

Long recalled that, in the early 2000s, he “moved every internet backbone circuit I had in northern California” through the Folsom Street office. At the time, he said, he and his colleagues found it strange that they were asked to suddenly reroute all of the traffic, because “there was nothing wrong with the services, no facility problems.”

“We were getting orders to move backbones … and it just grabbed me,” said Long. “We thought it was government stuff and that they were being intrusive. We thought we were routing our circuits so that they could grab all the data.”

It is not the first time the building has been implicated in revelations about electronic eavesdropping. In 2006, an AT&T technician named Mark Klein alleged in a sworn court declaration that the NSA was tapping into internet traffic from a secure room on the sixth floor of the facility.

Klein, who worked at 611 Folsom Street between October 2003 and May 2004, stated that employees from the agency had visited the building and recruited one of AT&T’s management level technicians to carry out a “special job.” The job involved installing a “splitter cabinet” that copied internet data as it was flowing into the building, before diverting it into the secure room.


He said equipment in the secure room included a “semantic traffic analyzer” – a tool that can be used to search large quantities of data for particular words or phrases contained in emails or online chats. Notably, Klein discovered that the NSA appeared to be specifically targeting internet “peering links,” which is corroborated by the NSA and AT&T documents obtained by The Intercept.





“By cutting into the peering links, they get not only AT&T’s data, they get all the data that’s interchanged between AT&T’s network and other companies,” Klein told The Intercept in a recent interview.

According to documents provided by Klein, AT&T’s network at Folsom Street “peered” with other companies like Sprint, Cable & Wireless, and Qwest. It was also linked, he said, to an internet exchange named MAE West, a major data hub in San Jose, California, where other companies connect their networks together.

Sprint did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Cable & Wireless said the company only discloses data “when legally required to do so as a result of a valid warrant or other legal process.” In 2011, CenturyLink acquired Qwest as part of a $12.2 billion merger deal. A CenturyLink spokesperson said he could not discuss “matters of national security.”


The Seattle facility is located in the city’s downtown area, not far from the waterfront. The gray building is 15 stories tall, with a dozen rows of narrow, blacked-out windows and vents that rise to its peak. According to public records, it was first constructed in 1955 and has reinforced concrete foundations and exterior walls that are supported by a steel frame.

Historically, the facility was an important communications switching point in the northwest of the U.S., routing calls between places like Bellingham, Spokane, Yakima, and north to Canada and Alaska. Today, the building appears to be primarily owned by the Qwest Corporation – a subsidiary of CenturyLink – but AT&T has a presence within it. AT&T’s logo is emblazoned on a plaque outside the building’s entrance.


Twenty-five miles north of Seattle, there is a major intercontinental undersea cable called Pacific Crossing-1, which routes communications between the U.S. and Japan; it is possible that the Seattle building processes some of these communications and others that pass between the U.S. west coast and Asia.

NSA and AT&T maps point to the Seattle facility as being of eight “peering” hubs that process internet traffic as part of the NSA surveillance program code-named FAIRVIEW. A former AT&T employee confirmed that the site was one of eight primary AT&T “Service Node Routing Complexes,” or SNRCs, in the U.S. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites.

The building is a large, concrete, rectangular-shaped facility with few windows, located less than a mile south of the U.S. Capitol. Property tax records show that Verizon owns the majority of the property (worth $26 million), while AT&T owns a smaller part (worth $8.8 million). Plans of the building’s internal layout show that AT&T has space on the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors.

Central Office Buildings, a website that profiles telecommunications hubs in North America, describes the 30 E Street South West facility as “the granddaddy HQ of Verizon landline in Washington, DC.” It adds that the building contains a “a slew of switches of various types,” including AT&T equipment for routing long distance phone calls across networks.

Capitol Police has an office located opposite the telecommunications hub, and a large number of police vehicles are usually located around the site. When The Intercept visited the facility to take photographs earlier this year, within a few minutes, several armed police officers arrived on the scene with dogs. They questioned our reporter, searched his car, and said that the building was considered critical infrastructure.

NSA and AT&T maps point to the Washington, D.C. facility as being one of eight “peering” hubs that process internet traffic as part of the NSA surveillance program code-named FAIRVIEW. A former AT&T employee confirmed that the site was one of eight primary AT&T “Service Node Routing Complexes,” or SNRCs, in the U.S. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites.

Documents

Documents published with this article:
•FAA702 comms memo
•FAIRVIEW brief overview
•FAIRVIEW overview with notes
•SSO dictionary relevant entries
•SSO news relevant entries

Graphics and Photos at the link..
https://theintercept.com/2018/06/25/att ... -spy-hubs/
kinderdigi
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:01 am

Kim Zetter

WIRED


New Edward Snowden documents revealed on Saturday in the New York Times detail a decade-long secret partnership between the NSA and AT&T, which provided the spy agency with metadata on billions of emails. Although the Times story has garnered a lot of attention, it offers few details about how the telecom conducted the siphoning and spying for the NSA.

But two stories published almost decade ago by WIRED and Salon provide in-depth details about the secret rooms at AT&T facilities in San Francisco, Missouri, and other areas across the US that the NSA used to siphon internet data.

AT&T isn't identified by name in the Snowden documents, but the Times notes that "a constellation of evidence" points to AT&T as the primary company mentioned in them, which several intelligence officials have confirmed to the paper.

According to the Times piece, the siphoning of internet data from AT&T began in 2003 and continued for a decade in a relationship that the NSA called "highly collaborative." The telecom giant, according to one Snowden document, was extremely willing to help out the spy agency, and its engineers "were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency."

WIRED and Salon exposed that willingness back in 2006, when Mark Klein, a former technician with AT&T in San Francisco, and two other former AT&T technicians who worked at other facilities, provided information about secret rooms the telecom had built in Bridgeton, Missouri and San Francisco.

According to them, AT&T first built the highly secured room in Bridgeton, outside St. Louis, in 2002. The telecom outfitted the room with a biometric “mantrap” that was secured with retinal and fingerprint scanners, and only workers with a TS/SCI security clearance were allowed inside. The facility, local workers were told, was being used for "monitoring network traffic" for "a government agency."

The Bridgeton facility was a significant jewel in the NSA's crown, because it was AT&T's technical command center, the place from which the telecom managed all of the routers and circuits carrying its domestic and international Internet traffic. At the time, AT&T controlled about one-third of all bandwidth carrying Internet traffic to homes and businesses across the country, which essentially gave the NSA access to an enormous amount of data through its partnership with the telecom.

Although the Bridgeton room was likely one of the most important secret rooms AT&T established for the NSA, it wasn't the only one. AT&T also hid "secret rooms" deep in the bowels of other facilities in several US cities. The Snowden documents the Times obtained say the company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs, but doesn't identify the cities. Documents shown to WIRED in 2006, however, indicate that in addition to San Francisco and Bridgeton, secret rooms were built at AT&T facilities in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego. "These installations enable the government to look at every individual message on the internet and analyze exactly what people are doing," WIRED wrote in 2006.

Documents that Klein provided WIRED at the time offer technical details about how it was done. High-speed fiber-optic circuits entered Room 641A at an AT&T facility on Folsom Street in San Francisco and were connected to routers for the telecom's WorldNet service, part of the internet's common backbone. Only one management-level technician with a security clearance from the NSA could enter the room.

Plans for the secret room, drawn up in 2002, discussed the difficulties of trying to spy on fiber-optic circuits. Unlike copper wire circuits that emit electromagnetic fields that can be tapped without disturbing the circuits, fiber-optic circuits don't leak their light signals. In order to monitor communications crossing them, technicians have to physically cut the fiber and divert a portion of the light signal to siphon data, using splitters. AT&T diverted the split signal to a special cabinet in its secret room. There, a device made by Narus analyzed the traffic and presumably filtered it to provide the NSA with the data it wanted. This included giving the NSA access to metadata from billions of emails as they flowed across the telecom's domestic networks.

According to the Times, AT&T began turning over emails and other internet data to the spy agency around October 2001, even before the secret rooms were built, in a program dubbed "Fairview." The program forwarded 400 billion Internet metadata records to the NSA's headquarters at Ft. Meade in Maryland—which included the senders and recipients of emails and other details, but not the content of the correspondence. AT&T also forwarded more than one million emails a day to be run through the NSA's keyword selection system. In September 2003, AT&T apparently enabled a new collection capability for the spy agency, which amounted to a "'live' presence on the global net." The Times doesn't elaborate on what this involved.

In 2011, AT&T also began handing over phone metadata to the NSA, including call records for 1.1 billion domestic cellphone calls a day.

Documents leaked by Snowden in 2013 provided stark evidence in support of the claims made in 2006 by Klein and the two other anonymous AT&T technicians. But according to the Times, it's unclear if the program for siphoning Internet data still exists in its original form today. In the last two years, revelations exposing the breadth of the NSA's surveillance, as well as the cooperation of technology companies in helping the NSA spy, have forced the agency to curtail some of its activity. Some companies have also begun to push back against the agency's requests for data in the wake of the public's anger about their duplicity in helping the agency spy.



© 2018 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.
https://www.wired.com/2015/08/know-nsa- ... ying-pact/

33




Nate Anderson -

Ars Technica | 4/12/2006, 9:55 AM


The EFF's case against AT&T has barely begun, yet it has already brought to light some fascinating details about the methods behind the NSA's alleged wiretapping abilities. Mark Klein, a retired AT&T engineer who is now participating in the case as a witness, has released a statement to the media in which he outlines many of the allegations that are currently under seal. Chief among them is his claim that AT&T installed powerful traffic monitoring equipment in a "secret room" in their San Francisco switching office at the behest of the NSA.


"In 2002, when I was working in an AT&T office in San Francisco, the site manager told me to expect a visit from a National Security Agency agent, who was to interview a management-level technician for a special job. The agent came, and by chance I met him and directed him to the appropriate people.

In January 2003, I, along with others, toured the AT&T central office on Folsom Street in San Francisco—actually three floors of an SBC building. There I saw a new room being built adjacent to the 4ESS switch room where the public's phone calls are routed. I learned that the person whom the NSA interviewed for the secret job was the person working to install equipment in this room. The regular technician work force was not allowed in the room."

According to Klein, this room contained (among other things) a Narus STA 6400 traffic analyzer into which all of AT&T's Internet and phone traffic was routed; Klein himself helped wire the splitter box that made this possible. In addition to AT&T's own traffic, Klein alleges that the company also routed its peering links into the splitter, meaning that any traffic that passed through AT&T's own network could be scanned. Futhermore, San Francisco wasn't the only place such secret rooms were built; Klein claims that AT&T offices in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego also have them.

So what exactly is a Narus STA 6400? It's hard to get precise details for obvious reasons, but Narus does describe the system in general terms. Others have done a bit more digging and claim that the system can analyze more than 10 billion bits of data per second, and point out that the company sells its systems to governments worldwide. Saudi Telecom and Telecom Egypt both use Narus equipment to monitor and apparently block VoIP traffic in their countries, for instance, and they they recently inked a similar deal with Shanghai Telecom.

Given the massive scale of the spy operation in the US (and this is only one company; it's not yet clear if the NSA has partnered with other telecom firms), it's growing increasingly difficult to believe that this is truly "targeted surveillance." The equipment used and the vast scale of the information being monitored both suggest that the NSA is sifting through massive amounts of user data and phone calls. Much of the information that passes through their spy system must therefore be domestic rather than international in nature. It is possible that phone calls, for instance, that begin and end in the US are simply passed through the system without being scanned, but if so, this must certainly tempt the NSA, which has only to tweak their settings to see all that new data. What is actually being monitored is still unclear, but it looks as though this trial could bring much of it to light.

https://arstechnica.com/uncategorized/2006/04/6585-2/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A
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