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FBI Spies On IMs E-Mails And Cell Phones

FBI Spies On IMs E-Mails And Cell Phones

John Bryne
Raw Story
April 8, 2008

FBI also spies on home soil for military, documents show; Much information acquired without court order

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been routinely monitoring the e-mails, instant messages and cell phone calls of suspects across the United States — and has done so, in many cases, without the approval of a court.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act and given to the Washington Post — which stuck the story on page three — show that the FBI’s massive dragnet, connected to the backends of telecommunications carriers, “allows authorized FBI agents and analysts, with point-and-click ease, to receive e-mails, instant messages, cellphone calls and other communications that tell them not only what a suspect is saying, but where he is and where he has been, depending on the wording of a court order or a government directive,” the Post says.

But agents don’t need a court order to track to track the senders and recipients names, or how long calls or email exchanges lasted. These can be obtained simply by showing it’s “relevant” to a probe.

RAW STORY has placed a request to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for the new documents, and will post them upon receipt.

Some transactional data is obtained using National Security Letters. The Justice Department says use of these letters has risen from 8,500 in 2000 to 47,000 in 2005, according to the Post.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union released letters showing that the Pentagon is using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance.

Documents show the FBI has obtained the private records of Americans’ Internet service providers, financial institutions and telephone companies, for the military, according to more than 1,000 Pentagon documents reviewed by the ACLU — also using National Security Letters, without a court order.

The new revelations show definitively that telecommunications companies can transfer “with the click of a mouse, instantly transfer key data along a computer circuit to an FBI technology office in Quantico” upon request.

A telecom whistleblower, in an affidavit, has said he help maintain a high-speed DS-3 digital line referred to in house as the “Quantico circuit,” which allowed an outside organization “unfettered” access to the the carrier’s wireless network.

The network he’s speaking of? Verizon.

Verizon denies the allegations vaguely, saying “no government agency has open access to the company’s networks through electronic circuits.”

The Justice Department downplayed the new documents.

A spokesman told the Post that the US is asking only for “information at the beginning and end of a communication, and for information “reasonably available” by the network.

The FBI’s budget for says the collection system increased from $30 million in 2007 to $40 million in 2008, the paper said.

 

Homeland Security invokes nuclear bomb, as Bush quietly links cybersecurity program to NSA

John Byrne
Raw Story
April 9, 2008

Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff has dropped the bomb.

At a speech to hundreds of security professionals Wednesday, Chertoff declared that the federal government has created a cyber security “Mahattan Project,” referencing the 1941-1946 project led by the Army Corps of Engineers to develop American’s first atomic bomb.

According to Wired’s Ryan Singel, Chertoff gave few details of what the government actually plans to do.

He cites a little-noticed presidential order: “In January, President Bush signed a presidential order expanding the role of DHS and the NSA in government computer security,” Singel writes. “Its contents are classified, but the U.S. Director of National Intelligence has said he wants the NSA to monitor America’s internet traffic and Google searches for signs of cyber attack.

The National Security Agency was the key player in President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was revealed by the New York Times in 2005.

Sound familiar? Yesterday, documents acquired by the Electronic Frontier Foundation under the Freedom of Information act showed the FBI has engaged in a massive cyber surveillance project that targets terror suspects emails, telephone calls and instant messages — and is able to get some information without a court order.

Last week, the ACLU revealed documents showing that the Pentagon was using the FBI to spy on Americans. The military is using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance to obtain private records of Americans’ Internet service providers, financial institutions and telephone companies, according to Pentagon documents.

Chertoff sought to calm those who worry that Homeland Security will begin to take an invasive Internet role.

“We don’t have to sit on the internet and prevent things from coming in or going out,” Chertoff said, which Singel says refers to China and other countries that censor what web sites their citizens can see. “That’s not what we are going to do.”

Bush wants $42 million more for program
But Chertoff may have had another reason for hyping threats of cyber terrorism. Money.

Congress appropriated $150 million in funding for the program this year, Singel notes. The administration has sought $192 million for 2009.

Speaking of threats, Chertoff remarked: “Imagine, if you will, a sophisticated attack on our financial systems that caused them to be paralyzed. It would shake the foundation of trust on which our financial system works.”

Remarked Singel wryly, “That digital mushroom cloud scenario means the government’s role in computer security must extend beyond federal networks, and reach to shared responsibility for financial, telecommunication and transportation infrastructure, Chertoff said. “The failure of any single system has cascading effects across our country.”

Which recalls another quote by a senior administration official.

Speaking of the alleged threat of Saddam Hussein in 2003, then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice remarked, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

Zombie Computers Called National Threat
http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/04/zombie-computer.html

Cyber Security Efforts Like Manhattan Project
http://www.ajc.com/business/content/..ebsecurity_0408.html

New Documents Detail FBI Eavesdropping On Americans’ Emails, IMs and Phone Calls
http://infowars.net/articles/april2008/080408FBI.htm

DHS Wants to Install Permanent Checkpoint in Vermont
http://www.wcax.com/global/story.asp?s=8117897

Hillary Supports Expanded Police State
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/l..r12,0,2210184,print.story

3-Years For Laser Pointer Assault On Helicopter
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,347932,00.html

Anti-Terror Laws Used To Spy On Family
http://www.independent.co.uk/n..sed-to-spy-on-family-807873.html

100 Officers Raid Car Show To Give Tickets
http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/23/2302.asp

D.C. police set to monitor 5,000 cameras
http://www.washingtontimes.c..9/METRO/769331158/1004

CCTV could be used in exam rooms
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7342432.stm

Police officers to be microchipped
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pag..article_id=558597&in_page_id=1770

 


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