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Government Surveillance

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How not to prevent the next Reality Winner
Once upon a time one applied for a government position that required a clearance with the expectation that in three or four months the process would be completed and the authorization would or would not be issued. I experienced the drill on three occasions for top-secret clearances, once for the Department of Defense (DOD) and... Read More
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The danger lies in what might be coming next
The WikiLeaks exposure of thousands of documents relating to the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) hacking program, which was expanded dramatically under President Barack Obama between 2013 and 2016, has created something of a panic in the users of cell phones, online computers and even for smart television viewers. The documents describe “more than a thousand... Read More
The revelation that an Israeli firm cracked the iPhone raises questions about state-corporate espionage
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) court battle with Apple over the security system in place on iPhones appears to be over. But some experts in the communications security community are expressing concern because of the Bureau’s unwillingness to reveal what exactly occurred to end the standoff. According to government sources speaking both on and... Read More
Letting the government bypass iPhone security measures won't stop terrorists—or make you safer
The question of how to balance government surveillance with individual privacy is really quite simple. On one side the government believes that the investigation of someone who is either planning or has actually carried out a crime should be without any conditions, that all evidence potentially relating to the event should be accessible to law... Read More
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A New Year's Wish
“Terrorism” might well be the word one encounters most in the international media. The reaction to recent incidents has been hysterical coupled with demands for an apocalyptic violent response. At this point with the old year ending and the new one about to begin, it would perhaps be fruitful to examine both the reality of... Read More
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Tom Engelhardt's New Book Tells All!
I have just finished reading Tom Engelhardt’s latest book Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. I will be completely frank – it is a book I would have liked to have written myself. Indeed, I did try to write something like it a couple of years back... Read More
The government has cried wolf too many times to be trusted with backdoors into our cell phones
Should America’s law enforcement and the intelligence agencies have the ability to read other people’s mail or listen in on their phone calls? Or, more to the point, since we live in a nation where the rule of law and constitutional liberties allegedly prevail, do they have any legal right to do so given the... Read More
Keeping tabs on Turkey alone is justification enough for Langley to relax its new rules on targeting Europe
Amidst simultaneous media-driven foreign policy crises dealing with Russia and ISIS, most normally well informed Americans might well be forgiven for missing a recent Associate Press report headlined “CIA halts spying in Europe.” The text somewhat contradicts the headline, as it goes on to describe how the Central Intelligence Agency has issued instructions to its... Read More
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England Swings Like a Pan-Tilt-Zoom Camera Do!
As someone who studied English history as an undergraduate and then went on to do two postgraduate degrees at the University of London I have to admit to lifelong Anglophilia. Nevertheless, I sometimes continue to be astonished at how differently John Bull and Yankee Doodle view, in particular, the relationship that one has with the... Read More
Bob Menendez and Angela Merkel get rude reminders of how the spy world works
Two new spy stories surfaced during the past week. One involved the United States’ apparent recruitment of a German Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) foreign intelligence officer and an ongoing investigation of a Bundeswehr official who might also have been turned, together resulting in the CIA Chief of Station in Berlin being declared persona non grata and expelled... Read More
Why the agency went overboard spying on allies---and what damage has been done.
The Edward Snowden files’ revelation that the United States has been tapping the phones of top French, Mexican, Brazilian, and German politicians should not really surprise anyone, but that is not the real story. The “everyone does it” argument is meant to mitigate the offense, but is wrong on two counts. It is incorrect technically,... Read More
Seemingly authorized leaks have done far more damage than Snowden's revelations.
An intriguing story floated under the radar in the New York Times last week, relating to the alleged al-Qaeda plot to carry out major attacks in Yemen back in August, which led to the closure of 19 American diplomatic facilities. I describe the plot as alleged because there were a number of inconsistencies in the... Read More
Why treason charges against the NSA whistleblower don't hold up
There are a number of narratives being floated by the usual suspects to attempt to demonstrate that Edward Snowden is a traitor who has betrayed secrets vital to the security of the United States. All the arguments being made are essentially without merit. Snowden has undeniably violated his agreement to protect classified information, which is... Read More
The NSA's global surveillance power is unmatched—and even our friends are uneasy.
The shock being registered by various European foreign ministries over the revelation that the United States has been intercepting their communications, both public and governmental, is in reality a bit of a theatrical performance to soothe the nerves of their domestic audiences, which are demanding that something be done to preserve privacy. But it also... Read More
As I am half Italian and have lived in Italy, a good cup of espresso or cappuccino is a dietary staple. I have consequently cohabited with a series of coffee machines of increasing complexity. The latest, an Italian brand that is actually made in Italy, grinds the beans, tamps them down, heats the water and... Read More
It has become routine to identify individuals from their DNA. The recent killing of five Israelis and their Bulgarian driver by a suicide bomber demonstrates the importance of such an investigative tool as Israel might consider the attack a casus belli if the attacker can be identified by DNA and plausibly linked to either Hezbollah... Read More
TAC readers have no doubt heard Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama defending the “freedom” of the internet as they demand that countries like Russia and China not interfere with the rights and privacy of online users. Well, it turns out that the country that most interferes with internet content, perhaps predictably, is the United States.... Read More
It is difficult to imagine what might produce a longing for the good old days of George W. Bush, but the Obama Administration is certainly approaching that tip point. First there was National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair spelling out a policy of assassination of American citizens overseas based on suspicion and secret evidence and then... Read More
Is it too much to suggest that the federal government is putting all the tools in place that could one day lead to a totalitarian regime? Patriot Acts, Military Commissions, NSA domestic spying, state secrets privilege, national security letters, and now a bill moving through the Senate that will permit censorship of the internet. The... Read More
My colleagues in the security business inform me that the United Kingdom is now the most constantly and thoroughly surveilled country on earth. Cameras provide continuous coverage of the centers of most cities and there is monitoring of all major roads and bridges by CCTV linked to monitors that can send one a ticket automatically... Read More
I just wandered over to Takimag where I hoped to penetrate the bizarre graphics to get Pope Benedict's analysis of the global meltdown. Alas, His Holiness has not yet spoken out on the issue beyond his indictment of materialism that came out last week. Glancing up the screen, I noticed an amazon banner ad featuring... Read More
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Philip Giraldi
About Philip Giraldi

Phil Giraldi is a former CIA Case Officer and Army Intelligence Officer who spent twenty years overseas in Europe and the Middle East working terrorism cases. He holds a BA with honors from the University of Chicago and an MA and PhD in Modern History from the University of London. In addition to TAC, where he has been a contributing editor for nine years, he writes regularly for Antiwar.com. He is currently Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest and resides with his wife of 32 years in Virginia horse country close to his daughters and grandchildren.


Personal Classics
A Modern Guernica Enabled by Washington
Pressuring Candidates Even Before They Are Nominated
But is it even a friend?
The gagged whistleblower goes on the record.
Today’s CIA serves contractors and bureaucrats—not the nation.
Pay no mind to the Mossad agent on the line.