NSA is one of 16 known US spy agencies. Perhaps others operate secretly. Black budgets conceal what’s spent. Amounts are enormous. They’re unconscionable.
Used responsibly, they’d relieve hunger, shelter the homeless, heal the sick, and educate young people hungry for knowledge.
Out-of-control, unregulated, unmonitored practices operate lawlessly. Enormous harm results. Rogue states operate that way.
On June 1, 1952, Harry Truman authorized NSA. On October 24, revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9 followed. On November 4, 1952, NSA was established.
In 1957, its existence was briefly mentioned in the US Government Organization Manual. It called NSA:
a separately organized agency within the Department of Defense under the direction, authority, and control of the Secretary of Defense for the performance of highly specialized technical functions in support of the intelligence activities of the United States.
It’s headquartered at Fort Meade, MD. It’s operations are highly classified. General Keith Alexander heads them. Spies “R” Us, defines them.
On December 4, 1981, Executive Order 12333, explained NSA/Central Security Service (CSS) responsibilities and purposes. Head of operations is charged with:
- Collect(ing, including through clandestine means), process, analyze, produce, and disseminate signals intelligence information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes to support national and departmental missions;
- Acting(ing) as the National Manager for National Security Systems as established in law and policy, and in this capacity be responsible to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director, National Intelligence; (and)
- Prescrib(ing) security regulations covering operating practices, including the transmission, handling, and distribution of signals intelligence and communications security material within and among the elements under control of the Director of the National Security Agency, and exercise the necessary supervisory control to ensure compliance with the regulations.
- Align (it) with the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004;
- Implement additional recommendations of the 9/11 and WMD Commissions; (and)
- Further integrate the Intelligence Community and clarify and strengthen the role of DNI as the head of the Community; Maintain or strengthen privacy and civil liberties protections.
By law, NSA’s mission is limited to monitoring, collecting and analyzing foreign communications. Its dual missions include:
- the Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID). It relates to foreign intelligence gathering, and
- the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD). It protects US information systems.
Rule of law principles are systematically spurned. It’s more true now than ever. It’s far worse than most people imagine. Anything goes reflects policy. NSA’s a power unto itself. It does whatever it wants covertly.
It spies globally. Big Brother is real. NSA reflects it writ large. Virtually everyone can be watched everywhere all the time. It’s done with technological ease. No one’s safe anywhere any time. There’s no place to hide.
NSA calls its mission “cryptology that encompasses both Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Information Assurance (IA) products and services, and enables Computer Network Operations (CNO) in order to gain a decision advantage for the Nation and our allies under all circumstances.”
Spies “R” Us explains it better. Telecom, Internet and thousands of other corporations cooperate. They’re complicit as willing partners. They’re involved extrajudicially. They operate secretly. They’re unapologetic.
In the 1950s and 60s, NSA spied on all US incoming and outgoing telegrams. In the 1970s, an independent Church Committee investigation discovered clandestine operations for the first time.
Change was demanded. Lawless spying is intolerable. Decades earlier practices pale compared to what now goes on. Subverting fundamental law constitutes tyranny. Today it exists writ large.
America never was democratic. It’s not now. It’s secretive, ruthless, and unprincipled. It’s hegemonically out-of-control abroad.
It’s domestic policies reflect police state lawlessness. Fundamental international, constitutional and US statute laws don’t matter. Diktat power rules. Presidents, Congress and federal courts are complicit.
According to Representative Loretta Sanchez (D. CA), what’s been publicly revealed reflects “the tip of the iceberg.” She was “astounded” about information disclosed privately.
She “can’t speak to what” she now knows. It’s vital others explain what everyone has a right to know. Sunshine is our first line of defense. Constructive change depends on how it’s used.
NSA does more than spy. It lawlessly hacks computer and telecommunication networks. It does so globally. It focuses heavily on strategically important countries.
Mathhew Aid’s a US intelligence expert. On June 10, his Foreign Policy Article headlined “Inside the NSA’s Ultra-Secret China Hacking Group.”
It “actively engage(s) in cyber-espionage.” It does so covertly and lawlessly. Rogue states operate that way. America’s by far the worst.
Obama officials point fingers the wrong way. They accuse China of active cyber-espionage against America. Beijing hit back publicly. Senior Chinese officials accused Washington of hypocrisy.
Beijing’s top Internet official, Huang Chengquing, said China has “mountains of data” revealing widespread US hacking. It’s designed to steal government secrets.
According to Aid, NSA’s Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO) “successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People’s Republic of China.”
Most NSA employees and officials know little or nothing about TAO. “(E)xtraordinary sensitivity” of its operations keeps them secret. Only those needing to know have full access.
Special security clearances are required “to gain access to the unit’s work spaces inside the NSA operations complex,” said Aid.
“The door leading to its ultramodern operations center is protected by armed guards, an imposing steel door that can only be entered by entering the correct six-digit code into a keypad, and a retinal scanner to ensure that only those individuals specially cleared for access get through the door.”
TAO’s mission involves “collect(ing) intelligence information on foreign targets by surreptitiously hacking into their computers and telecommunications systems, cracking passwords, compromising the computer security systems protecting the targeted computer, stealing the data stored on computer hard drives, and then copying all the messages and data traffic passing within the targeted email and text-messaging systems.”
“The technical term of art used by NSA to describe these operations is computer network exploitation (CNE).”
Last October, Obama authorized selecting overseas targets for cyber-attacks. He did so by secret presidential directive. He’s playing with fire.
His Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) claims to “offer unique and unconventional capabilities to advance US national objectives around the world with little or no warning to the adversary or target and with potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging.”
Washington will “identify potential targets of national importance where OCEO can offer a favorable balance of effectiveness and risk as compared with other instruments of national power.”
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It suggests operating domestically the same way. Keith Alexander heads US Cyber Command (Cybercom). He’s authorized to conduct these attacks.
TAO personnel are responsible for developing information needed to destroy, damage, or otherwise compromise targeted sites.
According to Aid, TAO “is the now the largest and arguably the most important component of the NSA’s huge Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate.”
“(O)ver 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers.”
Their job is identifying computer systems and supporting telecommunications networks for attack.
TAO is “an industry unto itself.” It’s a virtual “wunderkind” of US intelligence. “They go places, get things (and do what) nobody else in the IC (intelligence community) can.”
It keeps growing in size and scope. It’s a global monster. It’s exponentially expanding. It’s so huge and menacing it’s no longer possible to hide.
China’s acutely aware of its activities. President Xi Jinping knows the threat. So do Russia, Iran, and leaders of other countries.
They’re reacting defensively and offensively. Two sides can play this game. Cyber-attacks constitute war by other means. Fallout can be disastrous.
America’s an out-of-control menace. It’s lawless, unprincipled, uncompromising, and unrelenting. It threatens freedom and world peace. According to Wired.com, a recent Pentagon report recommended nuclear war in response to cyberattacking America.
Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller now write Times op-eds. He does so irresponsibly. He supports Big Brother lawlessness. Perhaps he has something to hide. He’s been on the wrong side of issues for years. He disgraces his profession doing so.
On June 16, he headlined “Living with the Surveillance State.” Spying is good, he suggests. Sacrificing privacy and other freedoms are small prices to pay.
Preventing terror attacks matter most. No threats exist. Claiming otherwise doesn’t wash. Keller didn’t explain.
“The danger,” he says, “is not surveillance per se.” He claims most people “decidedâ€¦.that life on the grid entails a certain amount of intrusion.”
He arrogantly believes “most people” share his view. We’re “adjusting to life in a surveillance state,” he says.
Big Brother writ large reflects police state lawlessness. No one understanding the stakes is comfortable.
Real danger, says Keller, exists without “rigorous, independent regulation and vigilant oversight to keep potential abuses of power from becoming a real menace to our freedom.”
He’s more out of touch than he admits. Democracy’s more illusion than reality. So-called checks and balances. They eroded long ago. They’re nonexistent.
Diktat power runs America. Congress and federal courts are complicit. Tyranny’s the law of the land. Police state statutes eroded most freedoms. Anyone can be targeted for any reason or none at all.
Thousands of political prisoners rot in America’s gulag. It’s the world’s largest by far. Permanent war is longstanding policy. So is torture, neoliberal harshness, out-of-control corruption, and whatever monied interests say goes.
America’s social contract is being destroyed. It’s happening in plain sight. Thirdworldizing America is policy. A race to the bottom reflects it. Reality for most people is nightmarish. Today’s young generation has no future.
Inequality is institutionalized. Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. Popular needs go begging. Mass surveillance reflects what Chomsky calls “keeping the rabble in line.”
Media scoundrels like Keller don’t explain. “I don’t think we’re on a slippery slope to a police state,” he claims. Perhaps he didn’t notice one already exists.
Times columnist Tom Friedman’s no better. His articles reflect hack journalism. He’s unprincipled and wrongheaded. He supported Bush’s Iraq war.
He’s unconcerned about imperial aggression. He suggests America’s “designated enemies” border on insanity. He’s silent on Israel’s worst crimes.
He supports Big Brother lawlessness. He did so in his article headlined “Blowing a Whistle.”
“Yes, I worry about potential government abuse of privacy from a program designed to prevent another 9/11 – abuse that, so far, does not appear to have happened. But I worry about another 9/11.”
Gross privacy abuses exist. Free expression is compromised. Dissent is an endangered species. 9/11 is the Big Lie of our time. It was state-sponsored terrorism. It was a false flag. Overwhelming evidence proves it.
Friedman claims America’s an “open society.” He’s paid to lie. He and other media scoundrels substitute managed news misinformation for truth and full disclosure.
Snowden’s no “heroic whistle-blower,” he says. Big Brother’s protecting us, he believes. Sacrificing freedom for alleged security’s worth it, he claims. He’s unaware of any abuses.
He’s more out of touch than Keller. America’s freedom rests in peace. It lies in history’s dustbin. Police state lawlessness replaced it. Blowing that whistle matters most.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/