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Posts Tagged ‘Fbi’

Everyone is fair game: Spy agency conducts surveillance on all US citizens

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 14, 2012

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees (Reuters/Chris Morgan/Idaho National Laboratory)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees (Reuters/Chris Morgan/Idaho National Laboratory)

The Obama administration overruled recommendations from within the US Department of Homeland Security and implemented new guidelines earlier this year that allow the government to gather and analyze intelligence on every single US citizen.

Since the spring, a little-know intelligence agency outside of Washington, DC has been able to circumvent the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution and conduct dragnet surveillance of the entire country, combing massive datasets using advanced algorithms to search and seize personal info on anyone this wish, reports the Wall Street Journal this week.

There’s no safeguard that says only Americans with criminal records are the ones included, and it’s not just suspected terrorists that are considered in the searches either. The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has been provided with entire government databases and given nearly endless access to intelligence on everyone in the country, regardless of whether or not they’ve done anything that would have made them a person of interest. As long as data is “reasonably believed” to contain “terrorism information,” the agency can do as they wish.

What’s more is the NCTC can retain that information for years, reviewing it whenever they’d like to take a look.

The update to the agency’s policies, reported by RT at the time and reexamined this week in the Journal, expose any person in the country to invasive and nearly endless government surveillance. Read the rest of this entry »

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Assange to RT: Entire nations intercepted online, key turned to totalitarian rule

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 3, 2012

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says all the necessary physical infrastructure for absolute totalitarianism through the internet is ready. He told RT that the question now is whether the turnkey process that already started will go all the way.

RT: So you’ve written this book ‘Cypherpunks. Freedom and the Future of the Internet’ based on one of the programs that you’ve made for RT. In it, you say that the internet can enslave us. I don’t really get that, because the internet it’s a thing, it’s a soulless thing. Who are the actual enslavers behind it?

Julian Assange: The people who control the interception of the internet and, to some degree also, physically control the big data warehouses and the international fiber-optic lines. We all think of the internet as some kind of Platonic Realm where we can throw out ideas and communications and web pages and books and they exist somewhere out there. Actually, they exist on web servers in New York or Nairobi or Beijing, and information comes to us through satellite connections or through fiber-optic cables.

So whoever physically controls this controls the realm of our ideas and communications. And whoever is able to sit on those communications channels, can intercept entire nations, and that’s the new game in town, as far as state spying is concerned – intercepting entire nations, not individuals.

‘intercepting entire nations, not individuals’ Read the rest of this entry »

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WikiLeaks remains the target of secret federal investigation two years later

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 9, 2012

The United States has yet to charge WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange with any crimes, but a judge this week admitted that a 2-year-old investigation is nonetheless still being pursued by federal prosecutors.

US District Judge Liam O’Grady denied a plea on Wednesday to unseal court documents pertaining to an elusive grand jury investigation targeting WikiLeaks started in 2010. Rejecting a request to make certain materials available outside of the closed-door inquisition, the judge acknowledged that publishing those files would put in jeopardy the country’s still pending and highly-secretive probe into the whistleblower site.

“For reasons stated in the memorandum of the United States, unsealing of the documents at this time would damage an ongoing criminal investigation,” O’Grady ruled in a decision according to court papers first obtained by Wired (.PDF).

The judge’s response this week is in regards to the latest request to release materials believed to discuss persons loosely affiliated with WikiLeaks, a website shunned by the Obama administration and largely expected to be indicted sooner or later for publishing hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables and other sensitive files online.

In December 2010, the US Justice Department subpoenaed the social media site Twitter with papers demanding information on four registered accounts, including the official @WikiLeaks page and three managed by particular individuals, namely activist Jacob Appelbaum; Icelandic lawmaker Birgitta Jonsdottir; and Dutch businessman Rop Gonggrijp. Initially, those persons unsuccessfully attempted to keep Twitter from providing the government with the requested information, including associated phone numbers, email addresses, bank account numbers and IP addresses. Now nearly two years later, they have been denied access to those still-sealed files yet again. Read the rest of this entry »

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Assange to UN: ‘It is time for the US to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks’ (VIDEO)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 28, 2012

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called on the United States to move from words to actions, and put an end to its persecution of WikiLeaks, its people and its sources. He made the statement during an address to a panel of UN delegates.

Addressing the representatives of the United Nations’ member countries, the WikiLeaks founder spoke of the difference between words and actions, praising US President Barack Obama for his words.

“We commend and agree with the words that peace can be achieved… But the time for words has run out. It is time for the US to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks, our people and our sources.”

Assange was highly critical of US involvement in the Arab Spring, denouncing Obama as audacious for exploiting it. He added that it is “disrespectful of the dead” to claim that the US has supported forces of change. Read the rest of this entry »

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FBI: NYPD’s Muslim spy program harmful and a waste of money

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 2, 2012

Members of the New York Police Department.(AFP Photo / Spencer Platt)

The NYPD’s top officials have endorsed the department’s surveillance of Muslims and even top-secret missions abroad. According to the author of a new book, though, the FBI says these efforts produced “no intelligence of any value.”

That’s what reporter Ronald Kessler has found, at least, and he’s dug deep to get to the bottom of the NYPD’s controversial surveillance tactics that was first uncovered by the Associated Press in recent months. Earlier this year it was discovered that the NYPD had been conducting clandestine surveillance over Muslims and collecting intelligence everywhere from local markets to mosques and even in cities abroad. Kessler investigated that program to put together his forthcoming book, “The Secrets of the FBI,” and in an except just released by the author, he writes that even one of America’s biggest intelligence agencies is up in arms over the NYPD’s actions.

Kessler writes that the efforts under former FBI Director J Edgar Hoover “not only trampled on Americans’ rights but often failed to focus effectively on real threats such as spies and terrorists.” Decades after Hoover’s death, however, Kessler says that those merits are alive and well, but not with the FBI. Even though it’s arguably not part of their job, the NYPD has adopted controversial techniques and policies that the author compares to the practices put forth by Hoover.

“In an unprecedented move, Michael B. Ward, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark office, went public to say that the New York surveillance tactics were not an effective form of intelligence gathering and were in fact harming the fight against terrorism by fomenting distrust among New Jersey’s Muslims,” Keller writes.

Elsewhere in his except, which he says will appear as an epilogue to the paperback edition of his book, slated to hit stores on August 8, Keller writes that FBI officials have shunned the NYPD. Despite widespread anger against the agency going beyond their jurisdiction, though, Keller says that complaints from the Justice Department are not being fully addressed. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Internet Doomsday’ Fizzles As Most Users Remove Crippling Virus In Time

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 10, 2012

Huffington Post UK  |  By 

Dns Changer  

It may have been called ‘Internet Doomsday’ – but the decision to switch off a temporary fix to a virus which could have thrown thousands offline appears to have had little impact.

The DNS Changer virus spread almost a year ago, and was written to change a user’s internet settings to make them visit fraudulent websites.

But when the fraud was discovered so many computers were reliant on the hackers’ servers the FBI had to keep them switched on, or thousands would lose Internet access.

Up to four million machines were originally infected in the US, but by Sunday that was thought to be around 300,000.

Italy (26k), Germany (18k) and India (21k) all had thousands of infected machines, and up to 20,000 UK computers were said to be affected. Read the rest of this entry »

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FBI secretly creates Internet police

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 26, 2012

Photo from

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The FBI was rather public with its recent demands for backdoor access to websites and Internet services across the board, but as the agency awaits those secret surveillance powers, they’re working on their own end to have those e-spy capabilities.

Not much has been revealed about one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s newest projects, the Domestic Communications Assistance Center, and the FBI will probably try to keep it that way. Despite attempting to keep the DCAC largely under wraps, an investigation spearheaded by Cnet’s Declan McCullagh is quickly collecting details about the agency’s latest endeavor.

Governmental agencies have been searching seemingly without end for ways to pry into the personal communications of computer users in America. Congressional approval and cooperation from Internet companies could be an eternity away, of course, but the FBI might be able to bypass that entirely by taking the matter into their own hands. At the Quantico, Virginia headquarters of the DCAC, federal workers are believed to be already hard at work on projects that will put FBI spies into the Internet, snooping on unsuspecting American’s Skype calls, instant messages and everything else carried out with a mouse and keyboard. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anna Chapman, Russian Spy, Allegedly ‘Got Close’ To Obama’s Inner Circle

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 4, 2012

Comment: Anna Chapman again becoming hit or making or hit?:

Was one of Obama’s inner-circle officials on the brink of being seduced by a sexy Russian spy?

UPDATE at 5:45pm ET: It seems unlikely.

report earlier this week by The Independent described a “honey trap” allegedly being run by Russian spy Anna Chapman. FBI head of counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi was quoted as saying that the spy ring was “getting close enough to a sitting US cabinet member that we thought we could no longer allow this to continue.” The FBI later clarified to HuffPost, “There is no allegation or suggestion in the complaint that Anna Chapman or anyone else associated with this investigation attempted to seduce a U.S. Cabinet official.” Read the rest of this entry »

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FBI And CIA ‘Turf War’ Scuppered Secret Plan That Could Have Thwarted 9/11, David Davis Claims

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 28, 2012

Is this just politics within politics or another drama? Otherwise why has it taken so long to come out?:

Infighting between US intelligence agencies delayed a secret plan to tap every phone in Afghanistan that could have helped prevent the September 11 attacks, a senior Conservative MP has claimed.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening, David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, said the American government then attempted to cover up its embarrassment by shutting down a series of court cases, including one in London, that arose from the intelligence operation.

Davis was using the case to provide a warning against proposals by the British government to bring in similar powers in courts that would suppress any embarrassing intelligence failures.

He told MPs that in 1998, the Taliban decided Afghanistan needed a new phone network. As no domestic companies had the necessary expertise, they invited foreign companies to bid for the rights to build the network. The company they chose was called Telephone Systems International.

Based in New Jersey, TSI was owned by one Ehsanollah Bayat, a Kabul-born American citizen – who unknown to the Taliban was also an FBI informer. Read the rest of this entry »

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FBI: Cyber attacks – America’s top terror threat

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 2, 2012

AFP Photo / Frederic J. Brown

AFP Photo / Frederic J. Brown

Organized cyber crime is replacing terrorism as the number one threat to the American nation, says the FBI chief. The bureau is preparing to battle internet-based aggressors with recently created cyber-squads policing the web.

The Cyber Crime section of the FBI website pledges that the bureau is ready to defend America from the cyber space threat. This vow, however, did not help much when the bureau’s website went down after a massive attack by Anonymous hacktivists on January 20.

Over the last few months, the Anonymous hacker community attacked the websites of the White House, CIA, FBI, Department of Justice, US Department of Homeland Security, Universal Music Group, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America.

Just as the internet is not a boys’ toy anymore, hackers are no longer boys, either. Nowadays, previously “isolated hackers have joined forces to form criminal syndicates,” FBI boss Robert Mueller said at the RSA security conference in San Francisco on Thursday. These syndicates are often international, so this poses additional difficulties because it takes close work with foreign security agencies to achieve a result in the material world, while the internet knows neither borders nor boundaries, Mueller explained.

“We are losing money, we are losing data, we are losing ideas,” he added. “Together we must find a way to stop the bleeding.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Amine El Khalifi Arrested: Capitol Suicide Bombing Attempt Halted

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 18, 2012

Safety pollution becoming another terrible threat to the world as nobody safe, nowhere safe:

WASHINGTON — A 29-year-old Moroccan man who believed he was working with al-Qaida was arrested Friday near the U.S. Capitol as he was planning to detonate what he thought was a suicide vest that undercover operatives gave him, officials said.

Amine El Khalifi of Alexandria, Va., was taken into custody with a gun that didn’t work and inert explosives, according to a counterterrorism official. He arrived near the Capitol in a van with the two undercover operatives, and walked toward the building, according to court papers. He was arrested before he left the parking garage.

El Khalifi made a brief appearance on Friday afternoon in federal court in Alexandria, where a judge set a bail hearing for Wednesday. After his arrest, FBI agents raided a red brick rambler home in Arlington, Va. A police car blocked the entrance.

A criminal complaint charges him with knowingly and unlawfully attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against property that is owned and used by the United States. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

El Khalifi, who was under constant surveillance, expressed interest in killing at least 30 people and considered targeting a building in Alexandria and a restaurant, synagogue and a place where military personnel gather in Washington before he settled on the Capitol after canvassing that area a couple of times, the counterterrorism official said. During the investigation, El Khalifi went with undercover operatives in January to a quarry in West Virginia to practice detonating explosives, according to court documents. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Anonymous’ Knocks CIA Site Offline

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 11, 2012

Getty Images


Hacking group Anonymous has apparently claimed credit for knocking the Central Intelligence Agency’s website offline. An update at the YourAnonNews Twitter account reads:

CIA TANGO DOWN: (via @RT_America)

Sure enough, as of 4:16pm ET on Friday, the website isn’t loading. reports that the site was initially taken down around 3:10pm ET.

Anonymous has recently claimed takedowns of sites belonging to the Boston Police Departmentthe FBI, the DOJ, the U.S. Copyright Office and two of Brazil’s largest banks.

The group also recently intercepted a conference call between the FBI and Scotland Yard, which entailed cybercrime investigators discussing Anonymous’ activities. Read the rest of this entry »

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FBI plans social network map alert mash-up application

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 27, 2012

FBI Develops Facebook Spy Tool

The FBI is seeking to develop an early-warning system based on material “scraped” from social networks.

It says the application should provideinformation about possible domestic and global threats superimposed onto maps “using mash-up technology”.

The bureau has asked contractors to suggest possible solutions including the estimated cost.

Privacy campaigners say they are concerned that the move could have implications for free speech.

The FBI’s Strategic Information and Operations Center (SOIC) posted its “Social Media Application” market research request onto the web on 19 January, and it was subsequently flagged up by New Scientist magazine.

The document says: “Social media has become a primary source of intelligence because it has become the premier first response to key events and the primal alert to possible developing situations.”

It says the application should collect “open source” information and have the ability to:

  • Provide an automated search and scrape capability of social networks including Facebook and Twitter.
  • Allow users to create new keyword searches.
  • Display different levels of threats as alerts on maps, possibly using colour coding to distinguish priority. Google Maps 3D and Yahoo Maps are listed among the “preferred” mapping options.
  • Plot a wide range of domestic and global terror data.
  • Immediately translate foreign language tweets into English. Read the rest of this entry »

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FBI Releases Russian Spy Ring Videos and Photos, Starring Anna Chapman

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 1, 2011

Read the rest of this entry »

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Bad Mathematics: A Trillion Dollar Problem

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 12, 2011

by John F. McGowan, Ph.D. in Applied MathHistory

In the classic 1961 Disney science fiction comedy movie The Absent Minded Professor, Professor Ned Brainard of Medfield College of Technology has been struggling for three months to make a breakthrough in his garage, home to a low budget chemistry lab and his antique Model “T” car. A blackboard shows a collection of cryptic formulas including:

 H = E $-$ PV

Professor Brainard has a sudden realization that the formula is in error and changes it to:

 H = E + PV

The Professor proceeds to make a series of frantic changes to his bubbling chemistry experiment, forgetting about his wedding, and there is an explosion. When he wakes up (after missing his wedding and losing his fiance), he has discovered “flying rubber” or “flubber,” a miraculous material that seems to violate every law of physics and provides the driver for the rest of the comedy. The movie ends with the Professor (and his fiance in a true Disney happy ending) flying his flubber-powered Model “T” to the United States capital where he outflies jet fighters sent to intercept him. Incidentally, the corrected formula is actually the formula for the enthalpy, a common thermodynamic concept.

This portrayal of the near magical power of mathematics is common in science fiction, especially popular movies and video, serious as well as comedic. The classic science fiction movie The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) features a famous scene in which the alien visitor Klaatu solves a problem in celestial mechanics on the blackboard of Professor Jacob Barnhardt, supposedly revealing the secret of interplanetary (perhaps interstellar) travel, a somewhat curious act for the representative of an interplanetary civilization supposedly fearing atomic attack from the barbaric Earth men. The original Star Trek television series featured several episodes in which either the science officer Mr. Spock or the ship’s super-intelligent computer solved some new, never before encountered problem by performing some mysterious calculations, all by the end of each less than one hour episode. The 2003 disaster movie The Core, which has the dubious distinction of some of the worst and most inaccurate physics in any major movie, features several scenes where the scientists perform some complex calculation, sometimes in their heads in seconds, and solve an otherwise fatal problem (e.g. the end of the world). The television series Numb3rs features mathematicians who help the FBI solve otherwise unsolvable criminal cases through the magic power of mathematics. Read the rest of this entry »

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