Tag Archives: Cia

The Deep State Is Spying On Congress? You Don’t Say

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The Wall Street Journal, not having the benefit of a near-pathological obsession with all things surveillance-related, has done some goldfish reporting on how shocked, shocked they are that the NSA may have “inadvertently” and “incidentally” gathered up some communications of US elected representatives, during the course of closely scrutinizing the communications of Binyamin Netanyahu.

It’s goldfish reporting because it exhibits no long-term memory of the history of political surveillance; and more particularly, of recent domestic political surveillance stories.

In 2009, liberal Congresswoman Jane Harman was caught in an almost identical scandal, having likewise been a vehement defender of the NSA, and reacted in the same way, denouncing mass surveillance only when it was turned her way.

From 2009 to 2012, the CIA spied on staffers for Senator Dianne Feinstein and other Democratic Intelligence Committee senators, in order to monitor, and to attempt to discredit, their efforts to hold the CIA accountable for horrific and repeated acts of torture; leading Senator Rand Paul to describe the CIA as “drunk with power” and to talk about the “real fear in Senators’ eyes”.

After the Snowden revelations, speculation ran rampant that Supreme Court Justice John Roberts’s last-minute and unexpected change of his key vote on the constitutionality of Obamacare, had been influenced by the NSA’s possession of information on him derived from its mass surveillance systems.

In April 2015, Congressman Jason Chaffetz had personal information from his past leaked by the Secret Service in order to discredit his efforts to investigate the Secret Service for a series of scandals involving drunk driving, hiring sex workers, and failing to protect the White House from trespassers.

The testimony of NSA whistleblower Russell Tice suggests that these are not just isolated cases that happen to have come to light. Instead, they are likely to be the visible portions of an active practice of surveillance of elected officials and jurists with decision-making authority over the budgets and activities of the surveillance state. It’s not an accident that Congress keeps voting in favor of substantive NSA reforms in public, that then mysteriously get stripped in committee. Surveillance power is blackmail power; it’s been used before in the US, is being used now, and will be used in the future, until we stop it.

Saying this is not paranoia; it’s only to be expected. Set up a mass surveillance system, and it will inevitably be turned against its own overseers. That’s a major reason to adhere to the Fourth Amendment and refuse to set one up.

Of course the NSA will spy on their alleged political overseers. Who the hell would stop them? The FISC? Congress itself, which just gleefully expanded surveillance because somebody said “ISIS, ISIS, ISIS, Boo!”? The President?

I think not.

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Has the CIA Revived Operation CHAOS?

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A local activist came to Digital Fourth with a strange story to tell.

She was stopped early in the morning at a Canadian border crossing. During the stop, she was interviewed inside. During that interview, the border guard who initially stopped her walked in, to by the desk where she was, and handed the interviewer a Post-It note. On the note was her name, with “Operation Chaos” written on it in Magic Marker.

Says our volunteer:

“It was huge and right in my face and they were all perfectly casual about it, so I asked, “What is Operation Chaos? ” and I was told it was a random search program where they pulled people out of line to check for whatever they check for. I had to answer some questions about how long I was in Canada and Boston and what I was doing there. also how long I had lived in Boston in the past and this last round (about a year). They asked if the moving van was locked, it was not, and said they were searching it. They searched it with dogs and did not find anything other than liquor purchased at the duty free shop in New York. It all took about ten minutes once they started searching. I did not have anything illegal with me. […] They were surfing the web, and to be honest, I don’t think any of them were really engaged; it was about 2:30 in the morning. I mean the desk officer was busy looking at his screen when the note was handed to him and he just stuck it to the counter. […] They did not ask me anything about political activities, but they looked over my record for a while I filled out the paperwork. I do not have an arrest record.”

When she got home, she looked up “Operation Chaos” on the Internet, and found that there was an Operation Chaos run by the CIA, which started under Johnson, continued under Nixon, was exposed, and then supposedly ended in 1974. Operation Chaos aimed to identify foreign influence over student protest movements.

Our volunteer has been involved in various peaceful digital activism and social justice movements, and her parents were SNCC and SDS members who were under continuous surveillance in the 1960s and 1970s. Both of these organizations are named as having been targets of Operation CHAOS, which implemented an early form of the phone metadata dragnet made famous by Edward Snowden. She says, “J. Edgar Hoover wrote a letter to the local FBI office asking them to harass my father indefinitely.”

This is all one hell of a coincidence.

Let’s consider carefully what this means.

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Midterms & Mass Surveillance, Part II: CIA and Elite Torturers Win, The Rule of Law Loses

DilbertCorporateCulture2002

We lack in this country a major party that offers wholehearted and universal support for the protections embodied in the Bill of Rights, and the choices offered are often highly constrained. To take the last two presidential elections as an example, the more pro-civil-liberties of the major-party candidates has launched more Espionage Act prosecutions than all previous presidents combined; indefinitely detains legally innocent people, for fear of what they might do if released; allows agencies to gin up fake terror plots; calls the idea of actually prosecuting torturers “sanctimonious“; and would prefer a cosmetic surveillance reform that legitimates most of what the deep state is doing and that, of course, wouldn’t punish anyone. The less pro-civil-liberties candidates argued for unending war in the Middle East, invited warmongers and torturers to introduce them at campaign stops, and argued that affording due process to prisoners of war would be a kind of treason.

There’s a reason for this constrained choice set: The elites of both parties no longer, if they ever did, believe that laws apply to them, their colleagues, their funders, or the intelligence agencies. As a result of this culture of lawlessness, no candidate that genuinely seeks to have laws apply universally will garner the insider support needed to advance their candidacies.

We will see the effects of this constrained choice set in the new Congress most clearly in the field of prosecutions for US government acts of torture.

Let’s review the history.

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CIA Chief John Brennan Is Getting A Little Bored, People

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Whoa, for a moment there I was worried. Our own Inspector-General here at the CIA has verified that we tortured people and then lied about it and then illegally surveilled the Intelligence Committee that’s supposed to oversee us, to intimidate them into not publishing the report that documents the torture and lying and covering up. All of which was illegal, like you even care. Even Lawfare is calling for “repercussions”.

What, repercussions like refusing to confirm me as the actual head of the actual CIA? Too late, suckers. Repercussions? Ahaahahaaahaha! Are you kidding me?

Listen, the only person who’s ever gone to jail as a result of CIA torture was the guy who blew the whistle on it. Hell, the lickspittle media is still putting “torture” in air quotes and talking about “enhanced interrogation techniques” (when we do it, naturally, not when “dictatorial regimes” do it.) It’s beautiful. Talk about catapulting the propaganda!

Us senior intelligence agency folks do wonder sometimes though –

What’s it gonna take?

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