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What Is the CIA Hack All About?
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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 hacking systems, trojans, viruses and other ‘weaponized’ malware” and one document even identifies attempts to enable CIA controllers to take control of automobiles that have “On Star” or similar satellite interactive features.

According to analysts who have gone through the documents, any electronic device that is connected to the internet is reported to be vulnerable to being taken over and “weaponized,” manipulated through its microphone or camera function even if it appears to be turned off. Apple, Google, Android and Microsoft products were among the technologies that were targeted, with the security systems being constantly probed for vulnerabilities. When a flaw was discovered it was described as “zero day” because the user would have zero time to react to the detection and exploitation of the vulnerability.

And they are indeed everywhere. Ron Paul has described a woman’s test on the Amazon marketed interactive voice controlled device called Alexa, asking it if it were reporting to the CIA. Alexa, which allegedly cannot tell a lie, refused to answer.

According to Wikipedia, “Alexa is an intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon Lab126, made popular by the Amazon Echo. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, and other real time information.” One reviewer observed “In a good but scary feature, Amazon Echo can learn a person’s habits over time. It will get used to the way a person talks, his/her habits and routines and will save all the data in the cloud.”

Alexa demonstrates that CIA and NSA intrusion into the lives of ordinary people is not unique. In the cyber-sphere there are many predators. Amazon has apparently run special sales to get Alexa devices into as many homes as possible, presumably for commercial reasons, to have a machine in one’s home that will eventually replace the cookies on computers that collect information on what people are interested in buying. The company’s president Jeff Bezos also recently completed a deal worth \$600 million for Amazon to provide cloud hosting services for the Agency. And there are, of course, two clear conflicts of interest in that deal as Bezos is selling a device that can be hacked by the government while he also owns The Washington Post newspaper, which, at least in theory, is supposed to be keeping an eye on the CIA.

But spying for profit and spying by the government are two different things and the WikiLeaks revelations suggest that the CIA has had a massive program of cyberespionage running for a number of years, even having created a major new division to support the effort called the Directorate for Digital Innovation, with an operation component called the Center for Cyber Intelligence. Media reports also suggest that a major hub for the operation was the American Consulate General in Frankfurt Germany, where the Agency established a base of operations.

First of all, it is necessary to make an attempt to understand why the CIA believes it needs to have the capability to get inside the operating systems of phones and other devices which rely on the internet. It should be pointed out that the United States government already has highly developed capabilities to get at phones and other electronics. It is indeed the principal raison d’etre of the National Security Agency (NSA) to do so and the FBI also does so when it initiates wiretaps during criminal and national security investigations.

Beyond that, since the NSA basically collects all electronic communications in the United States as well as more of the same fairly aggressively overseas, it would seem to be redundant for the CIA to be doing the same thing. The CIA rationale is that it has a different mission than the NSA. It exists to conduct espionage against foreign intelligence targets, which frequently requires being able to tap into their personal phones or other electronic devices by exploiting vulnerabilities in the operating systems. As the targets would be either sources or even prospective agents, the Agency would have to protect their identity in the highly compartment world of intelligence, making outsourcing to NSA problematical.

This need to develop an independent capability led to the development of new technologies by the CIA working with its British counterparts. There were apparently successful efforts to target Samsung “smart” televisions, which would use their speakers to record conversations even when the set was turned off. The project was called “Weeping Angel,” and other hacking programs were called “Brutal Kangaroo,” “Assassin,” “Hammer Drill,” “Swindle,” “Fine Dining” and “Cutthroat,” demonstrating that government bureaucrats sometimes possess a dark sense of humor.

Being able to enter one’s home through a television would be considered a major success in the intelligence world. And the ability to access cell phones at source through obtaining full control of the operating system rather than through their transmissions means that any security system will be ineffective because the snoopers will be able to intrude and hear the conversation as it is spoken before any encryption is applied. CIA and its British allies were reportedly able to take control of either Android or i-Phones through vulnerabilities in their security systems by using their attack technologies.

WikiLeaks claims to have 8,761 documents detailing efforts to circumvent the security features on a broad range of electronic devices to enable them to be remotely tapped, the information having apparently been passed to WikiLeaks by a disgruntled government contractor, though the Russians are perhaps inevitably also being blamed. The U.S. government has apparently been aware of the theft of the information for the past year and one presumes it has both done damage control and is searching for the miscreant involved. Also, there have been security fixes on both Apple and Android phones in the past year that might well have rendered the attack technologies no longer effective.

So many will shrug and wonder what the big deal is. So the CIA is tapping into the electronics of suspected bad guys overseas. Isn’t that what it’s supposed to do? That question has to be answered with another question: How do we know if that is all the CIA is doing? Technology that can attack and take control of a telephone or television or computer overseas can also do the same inside the United States. And the Agency can always plausibly claim that a connection with a suspect overseas leads back to the U.S. to enable working on related targets on this side of the Atlantic.

Another issue is the possibility to engage in mischief, with potentially serious consequences. The WikiLeaks documents suggest that the CIA program called UMBRAGE had been able to acquire malware signatures and attack codes from Russia, China, Iran and other places. It does that so it can confuse detection systems and preserve “plausible denial” if its intrusion gets caught, disguising its own efforts as Russian or Chinese to cast the blame on the intelligence services of those countries. It has been alleged that the hack of the Democratic National Committee computers was carried out by Moscow employed surrogates and part of the evidence produced was signature malware that had left “fingerprints” linked to Russian military intelligence in Ukraine. What if that hack was actually done by the CIA for domestic political reasons?

Critics have also pointed out that President Obama in 2014 had come to an agreement with major communications industry executives to share with manufacturers information regarding the vulnerabilities in their systems so they could be addressed and made secure. This would have benefited both the industry and the general public. The agreement was obviously ignored in the CIA case and is just another sign that one cannot trust the government.

However, the real downside regarding the CIA hacking is something that might not even have occurred yet. It is an unfortunate reality that government spying operations largely lack regulation, oversight or any effective supervision by Congress or anyone else outside the agencies themselves. Even if knowledge about communications vulnerabilities has not been employed illegally against American targets or to mislead regarding domestic hacks, the potential to use those capabilities once they are in place will likely prove too hard to resist. As such, no home or work environment will any more be considered a safe place and it is potentially, if not actually, the greatest existing threat to Americans’ few remaining liberties.

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  1. Kiza says:

    Judging by Snowden’s case, the leakers are supplying wikileaks because the surveillance is being abused. Why should we doubt that this “miscreant” leaked because of CIA abuses the same as Snowden leaked because of NSA abuses? Why would people leak “against their own country” unless they are exposing greater criminality inside their own country? This is why there are so many leaks in US – most power abuses are there.

    But here is a laughable view on the reason for the leaks by a former CIA boss:

    It is just that those in power always claim: L’etat c’est moi, serve your country by serving me and my buddies.

  2. There is much here to consider. Can we at least keep the spies and the cops separated? I fear a national security state that smudges the line between legitimate defense against foreign threats and the insatiable appetite of political prosecutors to hammer particular citizens.

    We need an American MI5, separate from the FBI. Spying is about gathering information for the common defense. This is very different from acquiring info to build a legal case.

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
    , @Joe Wong
  3. NoldorElf says:

    The extent of what the CIA has been doing is totally at odds with the ideals of democracy and civil liberties, not that these intelligence agencies care about any of that.

    I wonder what else is under the radar that we the people need to know about. This is surely an organization that is completely out of control and not serving the interests of the American people.

    We are fortunate to have the dark truth revealed. I hope that we will learn more of what is really going on.

  4. Considering the potential level of extra-constitutional criminality, one can wonder how it is a damning indictment of certain CIA personalities can run into a shortage of virtual reality paper at amazon books:

    ^ The CIA’s Amazon Books (or how to own a billionaire)

  5. Clyde says:

    I never have and never will use any voice query such as Alexa and Cortana and the Apple version. These are compiled into super desirable databases because the users will be smarter, higher IQ and higher income due to being newer, cooler, bleeding edge technology. Advertisers, CIA NSA will pay more for access to them though the CIA and NSA have probably hacked them so have their data at will anyhow/

    Amazon Echo////lol lulz
    Unz posters will not be buying this crap and similar craps. Amazon echo has 53,054 reviews at Amazon. The sheeple revel in this drek.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  6. Suppose the CIA leak is just NSA’s way of payback for Snowden and for CIA’s intrusion on NSA turf?

    • Replies: @survey-of-disinfo
    , @Zhu
  7. Tom Welsh says:
    @Thomas O. Meehan

    “We need an American MI5, separate from the FBI”.

    Aha! A twentieth clandestine agency with super-powers. That is certainly the solution.

    I would suggest the abolition of the CIA and NSA. The only problem would be to find anyone capable of doing so without being murdered.

  8. Throughout the Anglosphere at least there are few good words spoken for surveillance. But, increasingly, an ageing population will welcome surveillance that might deter would ne malefactors, people will say ‘if you”ve got nothing to hide…..etc.”

    The key objective ought to be to prevent abuse of surveillance by blackmai or just bullying and humiliation. The cop who blackmails a married judge recorded entering a legal gay brothel for example ought to be promptly detected and gaoled for 10 years. There need to be systems to keep an eye on the collectors and accessors of surveillance data and high powered independent bodies charged with surveillance of the surveillers. And damages for misfeasance ought to be ruinously large on top of the criminal penalties.

    Wouldn’t you like cameras and face recognition software to record every visitor to one’s street and every automobile and delivery vehicle? I would.

    And voluntary acceptance of domestic surveillance could save a lot of costs of contests in divorce and other courts… Of course the safeguards against m3isuse would be vital.

    • Replies: @Skeptikal
    , @map
    , @JGarbo
  9. The agreement was obviously ignored in the CIA case and is just another sign that one cannot trust the government.

    One simply cannot trust anyone in a position of power.

  10. Lit Dog says:

    While hardly the main takeaway from this excellent article, one might link the Samsung TV issue with the recent military news concerning Korea. When government policies are created by globalists, we Americans no longer enjoy the peace and security envisioned by the men who founded this country. Instead, our rulers substitute endless war for Washington’s non-interventionism and spying for the Fourth Amendment. Is it any wonder the CIA partners with MI6 in some of these ventures? The sun never sets on a globalist empire, and apparently the TV never signs off either.

    • Replies: @Skeptikal
  11. NSA, CIA and the FBI are out of control, but that’s the way we are going and it is expected, They use terrorism as an excuse to spy on us. Wake up and smell the coffee, if we don’t have outrage today what will tomorrow bring.  Stop the Government from spying on everybody. Use the search engine that does not change its results for political reasons and respects your privacy,  just good old fashion results that are not tracked. The world is over as we once new it. Thank god for Wikileaks maybe the information can save us

  12. woodNfish says:

    It is an unfortunate reality that government spying operations largely lack regulation, oversight or any effective supervision by Congress or anyone else outside the agencies themselves.

    We already know there is no accountability in government and that it is out of control. As I have been saying for a few years now, the US is a fascist police state pretending to be a republic.

  13. TG says:

    Yes, well said.

    I would suggest that it is not just civil liberties that are at stake. These leaks show an intelligence culture that is not just abusive towards the rights of US citizens, but unprofessional, out-of-control and a danger to our national security.

    For every Snowden, there simply MUST be dozens of foreign agents and people with criminal associations working amongst the (tens of thousands??) of employees in the national intelligence agencies. And seemingly they have access to everything, and laughably little oversight. All this intelligence, all these hacking tools, are or will soon be in the hands of foreign powers and criminal groups.

    Remember the ‘hack’ of the Office of Personnel Management database? Well it wasn’t really a hack. There was a contractor that has employees with Chinese passports and administrator access to the entire system… The Chinese didn’t steal the intel, we gave it to them! And how many other, more critical things are we essentially giving away?

    The intelligence services have become lunatic cowboys and are out of control. They need to be reigned in, and re-indoctrinated into how professional intelligence agencies should be run. They need to have compartmentalization, and oversight, and accountability, and fixed budgets, and info needs a chain of command and careful records of who accessed what data, and the goal should be to serve the official policies of the United States government, not cook up Larry-Lightbulb plans to save the world on their own. That’s a lot more boring than Hollywood movies show, but it’s what we need.

    • Replies: @Eagle Eye
  14. Art says:

    This spying on us is totally out of hand. This is wrong. This cannot go on.

    It is time for a new amendment to the Constitution.

    A US citizen must OK the gathering of any information about him – private or governmental – Period.

    A court ordered criminal investigation being the lone exception to the above.

    No coercion may be used to circumvent the above.

    Peace — Art

    p.s. This is the twenty first century – it is time for world peace. The CIA makes trouble – period. It is time to restrict the CIA et al, to spying only – no covert actions on another country without the express consent of congress.

    • Replies: @Delinquent Snail
  15. Agent76 says:

    Mar 8, 2017 8,000 Documents Detail CIA Crimes — But US Media Won’t Touch Them

    Hats off to our so-called free press. Even with our pragmatic worldview, the western media consistently performs well below our already extremely low expectations. It’s now been roughly 24 hours since Wikileaks released more than 8,000 documents detailing the CIA’s “global covert hacking program”.

    Feb 8, 2017 What I Learned From The Declassified CIA Archive

    The CIA has finally complied with the spirit of an executive order signed over two decades ago and made their archive of declassified 25+ year old documents available to the public. Today James explains what the archive is, how to access it, and the shoddy journalism that’s been produced so far about it in the lying establishment fake news dinosaur press.

  16. @The Alarmist

    Suppose the CIA leak is just NSA’s way of payback for Snowden and for CIA’s intrusion on NSA turf?

    Same read here: NSA is not a terror organization, unlike the CIA. (But not according to Hollywood – the entertainment arm of CIA – where NSA is always the bad agency, but CIA is cool and sexy.)

    Project Snowden was a CIA op. to put pressure on the one and only organization on this planet that can keep tabs on the CIA and connect the dots. He also now serves as CIA’s mouthpiece for the ultra gullible telling us which tech to use to be secure. LOL!

    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
  17. We live in a post-republican oligopoly, the operators of which have no qualms about surveilling anywhere and any time. We citizens (subjects, really) aid and assist, trading our privacy for better pricing, free delivery, a move to the front of the line, we think. we know we are being watched and most are OK with it. The only option is to really goo off grid, aamking physical surveillance the only option for our masters, and most people are not willing to do that.

    So plod on, Dobbin! You ARE being watched. You know you are being watched. Lwt them look. They will tire of it, after a while. When the time comes, those watching will see the hammer blow coming their way, and that is as good as it gets.

  18. Common sense dictates that power will always be concentrated in the hands of those who can grasp it, and they will always use it to accumulate wealth and more power.

    The CIA is thus a Government-Within-A-Government, and given its shroud of secrecy, it is certain that at its highest (real) levels (just below the veneer of political control) it is for all practical purposes a hereditary monarchy. It’s predictable that nepotism runs the top of its “professional” ranks.

    It’s hardly tinfoil hat land to see JFK’s assassination as motivated by his stated intent to break up the CIA. Undoubtedly the CIA has ever since then been for all practical purposes a commercial empire using the US government (and military) as a means to channel unimaginable wealth into the hands of those who actually manage it.

    None of this will change as long as nation-states that are as wealthy and large (large = easy pickings plus lots of secrecy) as the USA exist. Nothing lasts forever, and all trends eventually reverse, so this too will change….we just have no idea if it will be this century or one yet to come.

    My personal view is that the last 50 years of monetary/economic lunacy will provide the conditions to destroy such vast conspiracies. The evaporation of the wealth in the Bond Ocean will gut the power and central control necessary to the CIA’s (and “intelligence organs’) propagation. By the eventual lows, when all the pedophila and unimaginable evil used as blackmail fodder to keep “the rulers” in line comes to light, people will turn their backs and remove their consent from what we accept today.

    • Replies: @Chuck Orloski
  19. Mark Green says: • Website

    The hacking, disinfo, subversion and coordinated attacks on Trump are not likely to subside. We are entering a new era. Here’s a very chilling look at what might lie ahead for a ‘doomed’ Trump presidency:

  20. @survey-of-disinfo

    We are NEVER aware of the real battles.

    Everything we’re told is a lie, because everyone telling us stuff is in on the gig at some level.

    Also, we’re only told things that our neighbors will accept. Our minds do not allow us to see facts that contradict too much our basic beliefs and premises. This is why people still widely accept what their parents and grandparents were told in the Warren Commission report.

    There are always rulers and the ruled. I just wish they’d give up on some of the more stupid and destructive idiocy (Holy Diversity, for instance) and let we, the ruled, just get on with our lives.

  21. mtn cur says:

    Those who grow up sniffing bicycle seats can be expected to expand to being peeping toms, then to B and E , and finally to rapes of opportunity. What else did anyone think was happening?

  22. Anonymous [AKA "wrenchtool"] says:

    yeah, but you (and I) will post on social media following postings “about the CIA” The CIA never had it so easy. Just set up websites that tell fairy tales and made up nonsense that sounds plausible and watch the sheep react in real time. Bon apetite!

    • Replies: @Clyde
  23. Skeptikal says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    These encomiums to being surveilled are beneath comment.
    Or, is the post a supposed to be a joke?

    • Agree: Kiza, jacques sheete
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  24. Skeptikal says:
    @Lit Dog

    I was wondering about the CIA-Samsung-North Korea connection.
    Are all Koreans already under Samsung Surveillance?
    Samsung seems to be a terrible company.
    I think I’ll stick with Nokia, if I do any of this “smart” stuff at all.
    So far I am surviving without it—even earning a living—but wonder whether it is possible to travel these days (internationally) without a smart phone.

  25. @Art

    I agree with everything you say. I have to play devils advocate tho……
    “It is time to restrict the CIA et al, to spying only – no covert actions on another country without the express consent of congress.”
    I like the spying only for the CIA. The problem is that if they need consent from congress, their hidden machinations against our enemies are no longer hidden. Even if there was a small congressional committee, the info would still get out and the potential targets would be warned.

    I think a better option is to remove the teeth and claws of the CIA and make it into a purely information gathering organization. Remove its ability to carry out death strikes and over the top “entrapment” scenarios where we give bad people weapons and supplies to “see what they will do”.

    • Replies: @Art
  26. I hope someday a raspberry pi like smartphone phone can be made so that people can have total control of the operating system. The cellular phone companies have put all their users at risk in the name of profits in their closed ecosystem. Linux is free but it has bugs which are fixed daily. If they don’t update Android then they like companies that profit from the internet of things, allowing mischief to occur regardless if Google or Amazon put CIA backdoors in their products. If you aren’t using Snowden approved Tails OS for your desktop and laptop then your information could very well end up in some government’s hands. It might be a good idea to take an old PC and turn it into a router because routers rarely get firmware updates and new vulnerabilities are found everyday in the Linux kernel. Its free and unlike Windows 10 you don’t get unwanted ads and forced updates nor telemetry that could possibly be sent to some government. KDE is better than Windows 10 desktop.

    The losers in all of this are American IT companies. Death by Empire. Whose going to trust them? This is another black eye for them after the Snowden revelations. Its like the US government and these companies want to lose consumer confidence. Open source is the best option. At least people have the option of viewing the source of the programs they install and are free to fork it and alter it. The irony is that Android smartphones and enterprise Linux use SeLinux which was developed by the NSA but the code can be viewed and changed by anyone. Who knows what is on Android phones? Does anyone trust them? At&t already gives our information to the US government. Why wouldn’t they insert stuff into the Android operating system? Android products aren’t updated. All those hacks will work for years because of that. Google can’t do anything about it even if they wanted to.

    The funny part is that about half the internet runs on Linux and 99% of the top super computers do too but vulnerabilities in all these consumer devices using outdated Linux kernels due to laziness or government agencies will bring down the internet. An internet attack for the Guinness Book of World Records. Then we won’t have to worry about government spying because the whole global communication system will be down because of large botnets or maybe just ours in a cyberattack. The US Government is stupid. Its using these hacked and unsecure operating systems too. Its a strange policy to eat your own but thats what it is doing. There shouldn’t be an industry for exploiting these security flaws in American products. How can they be that stupid? American IT products will be as popular as American cars. They will need a bailout which means less money for the CIA. I doubt those microphone enabled spy devices are feeding information directly to the CIA (but I’m sure that they are datamining in the cloud for patterns and the information is probably more useful to the police/FBI), but it shows how this stuff shatters consumer confidence in American products. Consumers need total control of the firmware of their devices is the take away from all of this and if they don’t then they can only assume that whoever does has the power to use the device anyway they wish.

    • Replies: @Eagle Eye
  27. Joe Wong says:
    @Thomas O. Meehan

    More peeking eyes and surveillance surly will satisfy one of the traits of the Westerners, exhibitionism.

  28. @dc.sunsets

    “… power will be always concentrated in the hands of those who can grasp it.’

    Dear dc. sunsets,

    I really dig your very cool “screen name” and I found your comments meaningful & worthy of serious consideration.

    However, and despite my having great respect for the writings of P. Giraldi, I have a deep feeling that the current-burning CIA/Mossad hacking case is the DECEPTIVE product of “power” being wielded & exercised by Deep State Hands that are fully capable of “grasping it.”

    I do not even cotton to an imaginary idea of Tel Aviv/D.C. spooks laughing at me and saying , “Ere, what you bin drinking, (wood)Chuck?”

    Thanks, dc.sunsets!

    post scriptum: And as you pl;ease, it’s very interesting to read what the late-Michael Collins Piper had to (powerfully) convey about who were the real perps of President John F. Kennedy’s murder. (sigh) Contemporary (skeptical) Americans are trained to accept that the “M.I.C. did it,” along with operational CIA management expertise! As expected, dc.sunsets, today, the mere public naming of actual JFK assassination culprit names (even posthumously) is discouraged and could do harm to serious American investigative journalists.

    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
  29. Art says:
    @Delinquent Snail

    I think a better option is to remove the teeth and claws of the CIA and make it into a purely information gathering organization. Remove its ability to carry out death strikes and over the top “entrapment” scenarios where we give bad people weapons and supplies to “see what they will do”.

    Hear hear — Much better!

    Clearly the CIA has become an unelected power center involved in many wrongs both foreign and domestic.

    Maybe a whole new agency should be created.

    Peace — Art

    • Replies: @Delinquent Snail
  30. mcohen says:

    Leak and potato soup.

  31. @Chuck Orloski

    Chuck, knowing that I’m a nobody in nowheresville located in Nowheristan, flyover county USA, I am comfortable knowing that I’ll live my life in complete ignorance of most of what happened in the past, what’s happening now and most of what I’ll still be around to coincide with in the future.

    I’m lucky that I know who I am and where to find my house after visiting the store. Everything more than that is gravy.

    To me, every bit of news I didn’t witness first hand (and video record from several angles, so I can go back and check my perceptions) is a conspiracy theory. It’s all either fiction, or a tiny slice of reality that suffers from selection bias.

    Who killed JFK? I don’t know, I don’t care, and I assume that the official story is One Big Lie. Ditto for every other event of enough significance for it to be in a history book or make the Evening News. Everyone has an angle, even if the only one is “sell me some soap” during the commercials.

    We live in the Panopticon. The Information “Superhighway” is Orwell’s Telescreen. Never have so many people had so much information at their fingertips, and never has the proportion of that information that is wrong been so large. We drown in lies, disinformation, opinion-disguised-as-fact and a host of stuff we think is so that Just Ain’t So.

    I try not to worry about it. [grin]

    • Replies: @survey-of-disinfo
  32. Skeptikal says:

    RE “The danger lies in what might be coming next”

    That is the subtitle of the Giraldi piece.
    From that subtitle I inferred that further leaks would reveal so much information ABOUT the CIA etc. that the situation would become dangerous enough for the vulnerable CIA to strike back in some crazy way.

    But Giraldi did not go on to say anything about the “danger” in “what might be coming next.”
    Please, Giraldi, complete the try. What is the next foreseeable danger from more Wikileaks dumps?

    • Replies: @Philip Giraldi
  33. @dc.sunsets

    It’s all either fiction, or a tiny slice of reality that suffers from selection bias.

    This is no doubt the most accurate and sensible comment in this thread. Something to keep in mind, always.

  34. Eagle Eye says:

    For every Snowden, there simply MUST be dozens of foreign agents and people with criminal associations working amongst the (tens of thousands??) of employees in the national intelligence agencies.

    Precisely. Surveillance paid for by U.S. taxpayers is being used AGAINST US by enemy governments and domestic criminals. Does anyone still doubt that both presidential campaigns tapped directly into (and out of) the intelligence apparatus?

    The old Cold War jokes have long been flipped around, e.g. “In America, you watch television. In Soviet Union, television watch you.”

  35. Eagle Eye says:
    @Johnny F. Ive

    The irony is that Android smartphones and enterprise Linux use SeLinux which was developed by the NSA but the code can be viewed and changed by anyone.

    This still leaves the risk that subtle vulnerabilities could be hiding in plain sight, and/or that system security is undermined by insecure hardware protocols such as USB.

    One of the biggest vulnerabilities affects the generation of “random” numbers for purposes of encryption. If the “random number generator” has been crippled subtly by the NSA or CIA, then it will be much easier than users expect to break the resulting encryption of messages and files.

    • Replies: @Johnny F. Ive
  36. Renoman says:

    Thank God they are so stupid!

  37. @Skeptikal

    Thanks Skeptikal! The danger is not the next WikiLeaks dump but rather that our own national security agencies, with all the tools at hand to investigate American citizens without any oversight, will become something like the East German Stasi or Russian KGB! We are close to that already and the political class ignores the reality while they continue to play politics and point at each other.

  38. Skeptikal says:
    @Philip Giraldi

    I assumed we were already there . . .

  39. @Eagle Eye

    I agree! They’ve done that already in regard to RSA.

    The Linux kernels biggest problem is the vulnerabilities hiding in plain sight. That is why its a shame Wikileaks didn’t dump all the info on the Linux kernel. We are less safe because of that. They should at least report every vulnerability out in the open for it and the BSDs. A release would cause quite a fuss and that would be a good thing. The lack of transparency bothers me. It contradicts the open source spirit.

  40. map says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Blackmail is already illegal.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  41. Oldeguy says:
    @Philip Giraldi

    Quis custodiet ipso custodies ? quote from Roman poet Juvenal
    Or in English: Who guards the guardians ? The problem is not new.
    If Knowledge is indeed Power, and Absolute Power corrupts absolutely, the tighter the secrecy, the worse the threat.
    Is believing that the ” Intelligence Community” is actually running the country serious paranoia to the point of mental illness, or is trusting this vast secrecy shrouded, utterly unaccountable collection of Wizards serious naïveté to the point of mental illness ?

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  42. @Skeptikal

    I don’t know why I should treat someone seriously who is so careless with the language that a perhaps recently discovered (“word a day” grow-your-vocabulary) learned sounding word has to be thrown in. Where is the “encomium”? Kiza’s agreement is easier to understand from his record of low emotional control, particularly wrt me.

    Let me start you on something simple. Are you aware of the high coverage by CCTV in the UK? Have you a reasoned opinion about its utility and appropriateness for the US or parts of it (and which parts?)?

    Do you agree that retired older people are likely to be pleased if there are surveillance cameras recording who and whose vehicles come and go in the busy streets they live on?

    Have you mever heard people say something like “I don’t see what they’ve got to worry about if they’ve done nothing wrong”? Which brings one to the qualifications one would want to thrust upon their complacency. Such as the chance afforded to embarrass people or manipulate them into buying something. But, above all…

    Don’t you regard misuse of surveillance data as a very big problem? Wouldn’t it be better dealt with if the level of surveillance was better understood?

    Let’s take a concrete (imagined) case. Since the US has proved so appallingly bad at keeping its own and its allies secrets let us suppose that all CIA contractors and staff were kept under constant surveillance (as agreed as part of the contracts). In the men’s toilet it was recorded that Jo Blow was watching porn on his Iphone and masturbating. Since the CIA doesn’t have enough porn proofed ordained monks even the preliminary checking of such surveillance records has to be delegated to lay contractors, even after filtering for names like Snowden and Manning, and so you have a quis custodiet ipsos custodies problem, do you not? Watch the watchers and hit them hard if they stray. Isn’t that very very important?

    While you are capable of linguistic surprises I take it from your moniker that we don’t need to discuss the possibility and consequences of a caring or uncaring or judgmental or any supernatural being surveilling your every naughty thought and deed???

  43. @Philip Giraldi

    So it’s the oversight and the prevention and punishment of misuse/abuse which has already become the most important consideration now, has it not? Wasn’t it Secretary Stimson who (is supposed to have) said that “gentlemen do not read each other’s mail”. A bit late now to take the Stimsonian view rather than to deal realistically with where we are and are heading??? Let’s get some tough minded worldly elders to watch the watchers with enough turnover to ensure complacency or limited vision doesn’t damage effectiveness and the deadly committee problem of a shared responsibilty being no one’s responsibility is avoided.

  44. @map

    Of course. But because it is so poisonous and, almost by definition, hard to deter and prevent, that only emphasises the point that surveillung the surveillers and preventing abuse has, by now – 80 years on from Secretary Stimson’s famous wirds that I quoted in a #42 – we should take the true lesson from the Canute legend and deal with reality.

  45. Thinking of what I might not like preserved for malicious eyes and ears of my telephone and other conversations and correspondence I suppose I would prefer that no one could come across a record of my being apparently bitchy about a friend, asking a rather demeaning favour or any of a dozen potential embarrassments depending,or not, on tendentious interpretation. But that’s the mote in the eye. What of the letter you wrote decades ago that might now make you cringe or at least struggle to explain it? More realistically, what of your thousands of emails? Are you going to make sure no one salvaging or just opportunistically trawling old hard drives is going to find anything that could make you look bad?

    Lighten up. Less paranoia and more attention to how to deal with misuse/abuse is my recommendation.

    By the way, why does it not occur to more people that are blackmailed to set up the blackmailer with help of lawyer and police? But here I confess to knowing little of the reality beyond written and TV fiction. I have in the distant past set up a few traps that I would have enjoyed seeing sprung with 100 per cent proof. I remember leaving some accounts for an opponent to see in the expectation that he might misinterpret them and attempt to use them against me. But that was his bread and butter and he just handed them back to me with a smile 🙂

  46. @Oldeguy

    I was about to click on agree but pedantry requires me to say “well said”.

  47. Skeptikal says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    Not sure what kind of problem the word “encomium” presents for you.
    Seems like maybe your own problems with the language obscure what you mean to say and you end up saying or seeming to say the opposite of what you meant. Otherwise I see no consistency in what you appear to be saying in your various examples. If you want to be surveilled, that is really your problem.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  48. Just when I thought the Wiz couldn’t be more full of shit, he surprises.

    • LOL: SolontoCroesus
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  49. @Beefcake the Mighty

    You never surprise. Try writing a coherent on-the-point argument or just introducing some relatively little known facts or underpublicised ideas and then you might surprise people with IQs north of 90.

    • Replies: @Beefcake the Mighty
  50. @Skeptikal

    It seems you are not a serious person even by the standards of anonymous bloggers generally. We know you can emote and abuse but what else?

    What about giving us an essay on “Problems associated with surveillance in the digital age? Is it new? Is it all bad? What are the answers to problems?” Even Part 1 should allow us to see if you are better than a C student.

  51. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    The establishment knows what is happening.

  52. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The danger is not the next WikiLeaks dump but rather that our own national security agencies, with all the tools at hand to investigate American citizens without any oversight, will become something like the East German Stasi or Russian KGB! We are close to that already and the political class ignores the reality while they continue to play politics and point at each other.

    Weren’t Stasi and KGB controlled by… politicians?
    Who would control their American counterpart? If it weren’t politicians, it wouldn’t be exactly a counterpart.

  53. Clyde says:

    Now more than ever — “only the paranoid survive” Andy Grove of Intel

  54. Kiza says:
    @Philip Giraldi

    The issue I tried to highlight in my first comment is how much are the chartered powers getting abused. The situation with Stasi and KGB is that they were serving totalitarian regimes, therefore their actions were consistent with their charter, they were abusive only towards citizens who digressed from the regime’s dogma, but they still remained within their charter of pursuing “the enemies of the people” (which meant the enemies of the Party). Personal enrichment within Stasi and KGB was just not an option. The problem with NSA, CIA, FBI, DHS, TSA and so on is that they are venturing outside of their charter for the benefit of a particular group within. For example, for the money & power of Clinton supporters within CIA, or Democrats within CIA, or opponents of Clinton and so on. Even the famous drug running by CIA has been done primarily for the enrichment of the individuals involved.

    Therefore, the corruption of US and UK supposedly government agencies, is quite different than what was going on with Stasi and KGB. It is possible that these USUK agencies will start abusing ordinary people one day, just like Stasi and KGB, but this would be needed only if the Deep State felt directly threatened by some undefined resistance group. What is much more likely is an internal conflict within agencies and between agencies, between fractional groups. Which appears to be the story of Trump.

  55. “Weren’t Stasi and KGB controlled by… politicians?
    Who would control their American counterpart? If it weren’t politicians, it wouldn’t be exactly a counterpart.”

    After the folks in the East managed to get rid of Communism, we discovered a trove of formerly secret Eastern European government documents. It turns out that the civilian governments rued the day they created unaccountable secret police agencies and then unleashed them, because they then became uncontrollable and laws unto themselves, without oversight possible. Eventually, they were the real power, with the civilian party officials themselves blackmailed and fearful.

    As Herman Goering put it, “It works the same in every country … whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”

  56. @Wizard of Oz

    As my old friend John Reilly (may he rest in peace) used to argue, the spread of internet surveillance technology actually seems to be having a conservative effect. It is re-introducing into the present times the same sort of social conditions that obtained throughout most of human history.

    When the majority of mankind lived in villages, small towns, or hamlets containing at most a few thousand souls, it was tough to keep anything a secret. Somebody would see, somebody would talk, the rumors would get out, the women would start gossiping, and before long everyone was all up in each other’s business. People weren’t just anonymous faces in a crowd back then. Every person, every deed, had at least a minimum social significance that was witnessed and remarked upon by others. The principal effects of living in such an environment are probably these:

    1) A high premium was placed on reputation and personal honor. Since it was impossible to conceal your actions, the people around you would have a pretty good sense of your character. To be known as honest, brave, skilled, or wise was a great benefit—a major source of social capital and a surety against casual assault. Lies, slander, and other attacks on one’s personal honor were met hotly.

    2) A rough and ready justice prevailed for those caught in major offenses. A man found cheating at business or a woman discovered in adultery could expect a very harsh and public punishment, up to and including capital punishment.

    3) Shameful deeds and habitual vices become much harder to live down; your relatives, friends, and children all become tainted with the stain of your sins. In order to manage the psychological tension it is necessary to practice forgiveness and patience, but also to engage in frequent and cathartic emotive outbursts of various description. The pace of life quickens; the pendulum swings more towards Florentine choler than English spleen.

    I suppose I do not fear the surveillance state as much as some others here, simply because I know there is nothing new under the sun. Moreover, our increasingly individualized society of inept hobbledehoys may benefit from being forced to live in a more frank and open manner.

  57. JGarbo says:
    @Wizard of Oz

    You’re assuming a benevolent and expert surveillance, which is naive and historically inaccurate. Catching villains is “good” but too often the incompetents and outright fools (not to mention sadists and malcontents) charged with control and “judgement” of these tools catch the wrong person(s). There lies the problem.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  58. @JGarbo

    No i’m only assuming that there is going to be extensive surveillance by governments and others, thatvit is dangerous if uncontrolled, that it is important to try and put controls in place that could counter the dangers, and that some systems could at least go a long way to achieving the desirable watching and controlling of the watchers.

    It may be that part of the development of control systems would involve analysis of the different kinds of surveillance, the different surveillers and the various justifications that is beyond the level of expertise and information that any of us on this thread have at our fingertips. Quite a numbet of the cruder more simple minded explosions of opinion her suggest that very little though has been given to the complexity of the issues and of the underlying facts.

  59. @Intelligent Dasein

    Thank you for introducing another sophisticated angle to a discussion which has been somewhat marred by explosive simple mindeness or, at best, lack of reflection

    Your point does make it clear that merely objecting to all or much surveillance that is going to occur isn’t going to be vrry helpful.

  60. Anonymous [AKA "The Philosopher In Transition Back to Philosopher"] says:

    Or they spy on Americans and the whole ‘terrorism’ thing is a ruse to get yummy yummy blackmail materials on internal enemies to the ((cabal)))

  61. @Intelligent Dasein

    Internet anonymity also permits the expression of reasonable but politically unacceptable opinions on things like race, Israel, and historical revisionism which if expressed openly could lead to professional ruin or outright imprisonment. It’s a barrier to censorship, and removing the protection of anonymous posting is hardly conservative. Whatever the negative aspects of anonymity are (rudeness, obscenity, whatever), it’s usually the proper conservative position that the costs of trying to completely stamp out vice exceed the benefits.

    It’s no surprise that the more of a Judeo-phile one is, the more sympathetic they are to mass surveillance.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
  62. TheJester says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Agree. The village life of the yeoman and his family was always on public display. They could hide nothing from the community, especially from the company of women who served as a community intelligence/surveillance agency.

    However, massive surveillance in our information age might be providing a new cloak for privacy. The village yeoman did not have the ability to “go dark”. People schooled in the new information technologies can take concrete steps in that direction. There is a minor trace of me on the Internet while some of my acquaintances light up the Internet like a Christmas tree.

    There is also the ability to hide in the massive “ocean of data” being collected. While the yeoman lived in a “pond of data” where he could become knowable to the community, those lost in the current “ocean of data” can maintain a quasi-anonymous existence because there is too much data for him to become knowable even to the NSA.

    Historical events such as 911 expose that the intelligence services are collecting so much data that they cannot effectively process it to fuse credible intelligence estimates. The data rarely comes useful information. Terrorists operate in plain sight because, to quote an old aphorism, “One can know more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing.” The shortened version by Edward Snowden: “When you monitor everyone, you understand nothing.”

  63. headrick says:

    If the five eyes intelligence services have access to the NSA database like the Judge said, this means foreign connected agents with a political objective can hack any US data source without any trail whatsoever from the US perspective. How easy is it to find English fellow travelers to hack US political operations without paper trail for exposure much less US prosecution and courts. Watergate was about hacking he DNC office to dig some dirt and it brought down a government. This is 1000 times worse, They hacked the entire countries data infrastructure, and the THEY is forever immune to detection or prosecution. If true this is really the end of the US political experiment. Russia is not the problem. The USA and it’s open policy of sharing unsupervised raw hacked data from literally any US computer or telecommunications source.
    No wonder that a British intelligence agent was the source of the trump Golder Shower Gate. This is truly game over.

  64. Sparkon says:

    You wrote:

    Historical events such as 911 expose that the intelligence services are collecting so much data that they cannot effectively process it to fuse credible intelligence estimates.

    No. That’s what good analyst do. Even though 9/11 was an inside job, there were plenty of indications that something was up, but it was all swept under the carpet to avoid exposing the Arab patsies.

    See, for example, Able Danger, Coleen Rowley, and Phoenix FBI office memo:

    An F.B.I. agent in Phoenix told counterterrorism officials at the bureau’s headquarts last July that he had detected an alarming pattern of Arab men with possible ties to terrorism taking aviation-related training, and urged a nationwide review of the trend, according to F.B.I. officials.


    During the early aftermath of September 11th, when I happened to be recounting the pre–September 11th events concerning the Moussaoui investigation to other FBI personnel in other divisions or in FBIHQ, almost everyone’s first question was “Why?—Why would an FBI agent(s) deliberately sabotage a case? (I know I shouldn’t be flippant about this, but jokes were actually made that the key FBI HQ personnel had to be spies or moles like Robert Hanssen who were actually working for Osama Bin Laden to have so undercut Minneapolis’s effort.)

    There was also a warning in 2000 from a network executive–now very hard to find–that new digital technology made it possible to televise bogus events that were virtually impossible to distinguish from real events.

    I may be able to find this story later, but for now, please see Simon Shack’s September Clues. Most people have been fooled by the CGI used, but the perps actually did a fairly sloppy job of it, which Shack illustrates in his movie, and also his website. Once you look, it’s fairly obvious, but don’t take my word for it; see for yourself.

    Even Donald Trump recognized that the WTC’s mostly steel facade was far too strong and massive to have given way so easily to a mostly aluminum airplane.

    I suggest that the danger lies in another made-for-TV spectacular.

  65. Greg Bacon says: • Website

    The CIA is the biggest terrorist op on the planet, from running drugs out of SE Asia during the Vietnam War, to running cocaine out of SA, documented by journalist Gary Webb, which cost him his life, and back to running heroin out of Afghanistan.

    They’ve deposed democratically elected governments all over the world, from Chile, to Honduras, Africa, to Ukraine and Iran and now are staging a ‘Color Revolution’ against the American people who had the audacity to NOT vote for the corrupt Hillary.

    And there’s more than ample evidence that they were behind JFK’s 1963 murder.

    The CIA should be broken into a 1,000 pieces and scattered to the wind.

  66. DanC says:

    > The Washington Post newspaper, which, at least in theory, is supposed to be keeping an eye on the CIA

    Nobody even pretends that the Washington Post would keep any sort of a critical eye on the CIA. Everyone who hasn’t been living in a fog all their life knows that when it comes to The Company, they only publish puff pieces and planted articles.

    The Company has co-opted reporters from the WashPo since the 1950s. They’ve even placed operatives in there since that time. Has been acknowledged publicly.

    There’s not even a pretense of theory about WP‘s functions for the CIA.

    All the people sneering about Amazon investing in a money-losing Old Media organ don’t Get It. Given that the Amazon empire stands to make a lot of money doing Big Data services for the CIA, Bezos’s investment in The WP would seem to be a perfect match.

  67. @Beefcake the Mighty

    Internet anonymity also permits the expression of reasonable but politically unacceptable opinions on things like race, Israel, and historical revisionism which if expressed openly could lead to professional ruin or outright imprisonment.

    On the one hand, that’s true. But on the other hand, widespread surveillance also allows for a lot more of what Steve Sailer calls “noticing.” When everything is being watched and recorded, even the thickest normy has a good chance of getting red-pilled on the hate-facts of black crime and Israeli meddling. It may be that a state which attempts to be both a surveillance panopticon and a massive purveyor of politically correct untruths is hoist with its own petard. You can get away with being one or the other, but not both.

    It’s important to emphasize that I am in no way arguing that universal surveillance by the state is an unqualified good thing. It is, however, a fact of life at the present moment and one we might conceivably turn to our advantage.

    • Replies: @Ivan K.
  68. @TheJester

    I very much agree with your general point that main force data-mining is pretty useless from an intelligence perspective. The ostensible purpose of the intelligence community is to help the state to defend itself. That goal is both necessary and just, but in respect of said goal the community’s actual activities have been expensive, ineffective, and counterproductive.

    I see the same thing occurring everywhere, for example in private industry. This is a topic I’ve frequently remarked about over the years. In one industry after another, the urge to get “up to date” with the new technology has meant introducing heavy-handed IT solutions into what are in fact rather simple activities. Grocery clerks walk around with Honeywell scanners and headsets while their managers constantly watch computer screens. There is now serious talk of robotic burger-flippers to man the fast food fry-pits. Everything is data-mined and the information is turned over to third-party contractors who sift through it looking for “inefficiencies” in the system, who then return with a new round of recommendations to implement which makes the job even more complicated. All the current buzz about automation and self-driving cars is another indication of the trend.

    And for all this the economy is getting—worse. Productivity is down, wages are down, people are miserable in their jobs and don’t really understand what they are doing anymore, and customer service sucks. How much did all this technology cost? What was the point of all this? It certainly wasn’t rational, whatever it was.

    The IT-ification of everything is a fad, a fetish. Because it is so universally discussed and unhelpfully introduced into both Big Business and Big Government alike, I consider it to be a derivative of the mindset of the elite class, a sot of governing myth by which they structure their mental activities and which marks them as members of the elite, and moreover an indication that that mindset is growing sickly and detached from reality. It cannot be justified in terms of its results; there is no practical rationale for it. And yet at the present moment, for both intelligence chiefs and corporate CEOs alike, it remains “the way we do things.”

    At some point all this useless activity is going to run up against the implacable demands of reality, and when it goes down it will take a large portion of the elite with it.

  69. annamaria says:
    @Philip Giraldi

    From an excellent interview with Michael Hudson:
    “The new mode of warfare isn’t military anymore, it’s financial. Russia and China realize that the United States is dissipating its ability to conquer countries financially by spending its economic surplus on military and the FIRE sector. Trump realized that as a real estate developer, he’d been fighting banks all his life. There’s no love there for the banks. So the neocons are out to get him. They’re saying it is treason to want peace instead of war. We need an enemy sufficient enough to justify giving all the surplus to the upper 5% and spending it on the military. If you don’t advocate doing that, you’re a traitor – to their fortunes. So they’re out to get rid of him.”

    • Replies: @Chuck Orloski
  70. Svigor says:

    Judging by Snowden’s case, the leakers are supplying wikileaks because the surveillance is being abused.

    Or because they view the surveillance itself as abusive.

    This is why there are so many leaks in US – most power abuses are there.

    Laughable. We have an open society, and don’t chop peoples’ heads off for leaks. So, 1, we talk openly about leaks, defections, etc., when they happen. 2, the consequences of leaks, defections, etc., are much less.

    Corruption and abuse of power (by western standards) are absolutely rampant in most of the world.

    The real western exception in this context is the treachery of the elites against their own kinfolk, via open-borders lunacy and mass immigration, so-called “affirmative action,” “Diversity” mania, multiculturalism, etc. That’s pretty unique. But most anti-war types are indifferent at best, or in active support at worst.

  71. Ivan K. says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    All that analogy with village life to show advantages of mass surveillance looks wrong-headed. Right off the top of my head:

    In a village, everyone watches everyone a little, and one’s close family members watch each other a lot. in the social model we’re approximating of atomised society + universal surveillance, only appointed, indoctrinated state employees do most of the watching, and only a tiny elite can utilize most of it.

    The virtuous village has always been in good deal a myth. Viz., Ancient Greece’s always present decadence, the not infrequent dominance of blowhards, the ultimate incapacity of progress ….

    Running away from ‘tightly-knit’ communities happens not only out of economic pressures, but because of a healthy opposition to mindless, self-destructive oppression.

    Social media celebrities who have earned their popularity through virtue can very well be an brief episode in the process of overall decline and fall. The populus is too debased to defend even its genuine heroes when the elites choose to censor or punish them. That has been shown time and again.

    In rural life, there has always been an extensive contact’ with nature that has aided the survival of sanity. Now, environmental degradation can destroy opportunities even for village dwellers.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  72. Davejoe says:

    I am seriously considering dumping my smart phone and replacing with a “dumb” flip phone. A smart phone has become a monitoring device that some sex offenders are forced to wear. Why should I voluntarily pay for a similar device?

    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
    , @Clyde
  73. @Davejoe

    All phones share the same GPS monitoring as part of the expanded 9-1-1 capability (or was it just an excuse…..? Like we need to ask…..)

    We are all belled. Until the current technology fad fails, we live in the Panopticon. The only question is how naked will be the hammer poised over our heads?

    It remains my belief that:
    (1) A Leninist totalitarianism is not possible in a country where the ownership of firearms is so common. Even a few zealous men who refuse to quietly be rounded up for the Gulag would depopulate the enforcing agencies of volunteers to execute the arrests.

    (2) Our modern Panopticon is mostly used to blackmail those allowed to rule. Only people with horrific, sick, or humiliating crimes in their closets are allowed to become Supreme Court Justices, Congressmen, or high level bureaucrats. This is why, in the fullness of time, we will eventually discover that America’s “halls of power” are saturated with pederasts, child-rapists, who-knows-what…even people who practice cannibalism and have paintings that celebrate it on their office walls. Only those with deep secrets to hide can advance.

    When you have such dirt on those who decide whether or not you’ll be investigated, decide on your organization’s budgets, decide who will be appointed to run your agency, decide whether or not to take your “advice” on who to invade, what puppet should be installed, etc., etc., you rule far more effectively than any tyrant in any history book.

    Look at the multi-million dollar estates in the Virgin Islands, Aegean islands, Monaco and like destinations; imagine how many of those palaces are owned by family members whose relatives (fathers, mothers, uncles, etc.) have high level positions in the CIA or other “Intelligence” Agencies. Imagine what it’s like to visit Diego Garcia, a place that undoubtedly rivals the best Five Star All-Inclusive Resort on Earth, built by the American Empire for the Empire’s royalty.

    The time is not yet ripe for revelations of this cesspool to ooze into the light. That day will come, however, and rather than “clean up” Dodge City, it will simply cause the power and prestige of Mordor-on-the-Potomac to fade. We are at apogee of the power and prestige of Washington DC and Wall Street. In coming years, people will turn their attention to far more local and important things, like still being alive and fed tomorrow.

    • Replies: @DaveJoe
  74. After reading a concise summary of the Wikileaks Vault 7 contents I had a cold chill run through my body. Of course most thinking people already knew more or less that these things were happening but it still drove something through to me.

    I remember during my ‘hot car’ times that all that was necessary to avoid costly speeding tickets was knowing where the crude tripod traps were and keeping a vigilant eye on the rear view mirror for the easily identifiable vehicle of a doughnut brigand.

    Then little by little things got more difficult. No big deal, progress and all that. My first real shock came when I was informed about Echelon ( intercepting all international fax transmissions). This was pre internet and even pre Waco which I always associated with ‘the start of the final push’. I was involved in doing international deals so it was indeed of concern.

    Now like the proverbial frog in the pot we wake up in a dystopia that Orwell would have found too fantastic to put to paper. The only comfort I have is as several posters put it that there is an information overload and subnormal intellects processing it. But it is a small comfort.

    The next person who tells me that if I have nothing to hide, I have nothing to worry about will be indirectly paying for a new roof for his dentist’s cottage.

    I had read an authoritative book on the Stasi and if memory serves, one in three citizens were rats of sorts. German efficiency. I thought that this could never be bested. Well guess what, the cloud apparently catches a part of each and every person every day.

    For you trivia buffs, the architect for the refining of the aforementioned Stasi, Marcus Wolf was hired in 2003 by Homeland Security. How much more insanity can the world stand?

    I want my childhood back.


    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
  75. @Art

    We have too many agencys. We dont need this one to be disolved sonit can just be remade with a new name an no bad publicity.

  76. @annamaria


    In addition, P.M. Netanyahu & Preseident Trump both realize that “The U.S. is dissipating its financial ability to conquer countries,” and Tel Aviv will not be left without a major military sponsor to further its global Zionist goals.

    They stand crooked and tall throughout the ages!

    Thank you and I hope all is well with you & family.

  77. @Timur The Lame

    I, too, miss my suburban Mayberry RFD childhood where kids could climb the fire escape of a downtown store and watch the Labor Day parade without inciting a tactical response from DHS and when a 12 year old could ride his bike to the hobby shop, buy some rocket engines and cannon fuse and go have some fun in a nearby college athletic field without inciting yet another tactical response from DHS.

    People younger than 50 have no clue what was lost in the 1970’s. Even in the 1980’s a boy could walk down a rural road with a shotgun or 22 rifle over his shoulder and no one who passed by gave it the tiniest thought.

  78. It needs to be remembered that all intelligence services spy on people and, in the modern age, all no doubt use hacking, whether carried out be themselves or bought from professional (criminal) hackers. A great deal of Putin’s antics are justified by his American supporters with the argument that “others do it too” and if that justifies Putin, it must also justify US intelligence operations. I hadn’t heard the “disgruntled government contractor” argument and Mr Giraldi needs to be much more specific to make it credible, in particular as to where he heard it. Given that this claim has popped up so late in the day, it sounds suspiciously like an attempt by Putin’s American supporters to come up with an alternative, unverifiable, source for the hacking.

    • Replies: @annamaria
  79. @dc.sunsets,

    Boy, don’t get me started. I bought a brand new Remington 870 Wingmaster shotgun on the main street of a larger town North of Toronto in ’75 and walked several blocks on the same main street without a gun case. It was neither a big deal for me or anyone else on that moderately busy street. Now it would be SWAT time, not even to mention all the permits and restrictions needed to even make the purchase.

    We did things like driving around the back roads with a case of beer shooting groundhogs out of the window with the only real concern being getting a fine and losing the beer. DUI wasn’t even a consideration. The cops were actually human back then. When younger, they were like stern big brothers. Of course we didn’t do crime, just boy stuff. Always called them Sir. Doing that today and getting caught would be National news at 6 pm. No exaggeration.

    You know, it wasn’t really that long ago. The graph of insanity has gone near vertical since those days. Fredo Reed on this site has many similar recollections albeit from an even earlier era.

    If I die tomorrow at least I had lived through those times. I really feel sorry for the young’uns these days. But then again they seem to me to be weaponized zombie screen junkies so maybe I don’t give a rat’s ass after all.


  80. annamaria says:
    @Michael Kenny

    Your post makes a flawlessly compete agreement with the leading ziocons’ agitations for more wars: “The Kagans are back…”
    Robert Kagan: “It would have been impossible to imagine a year ago that the Republican Party’s leaders would be effectively serving as enablers of Russian interference in this country’s political system. Yet, astonishingly, that is the role the Republican Party is playing.” … Though Obama’s intelligence officials offered no verifiable evidence to support the claims – and WikiLeaks denied getting the two batches of emails from the Russians – the allegations were widely accepted across Official Washington as grounds for discrediting Trump and possibly seeking his removal from office. … Even if the Russians did hack the Democratic emails and somehow slipped the information to WikiLeaks – an unsubstantiated and disputed contention – those two rounds of email disclosures were not that significant to the election’s outcome. … by all acconts, the WikiLeaks-released emails were real and revealed wrongdoing by leading Democrats, such as the Democratic National Committee’s tilting of the primaries against Sen. Bernie Sanders and in favor of Clinton. The emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta disclosed the contents of Clinton’s paid speeches to Wall Street, which she was trying to hide from voters, as well as some pay-to-play features of the Clinton Foundation. In other words, the WikiLeaks’ releases helped inform American voters about abuses to the U.S. democratic process. [Surely, a democratic process is the last thing the ziocons are interested in; see “understanding” with AlQaeda/ISIS, the rapprochement with Saudis, and open collaboration with Ukrainian neo-Nazis]. The emails were not “disinformation” or “fake news.” They were real news.
    [I]t’s clear what Kagan and other neocons have in mind, an escalation of hostilities with Russia and a substantial increase in spending on U.S. military hardware and on Western propaganda to “counter” what is deemed “Russian propaganda.”

    The Fifth column of Israel-firsters and mega-war profiteers are relentless. The US citizenry has no need to fight for the “chosens” dream of Eretz Israel and other lunatic grandiosities of world domination. Though, if you have a son or two to spare in the imperial wars thousands miles away from the US, this is your choice, but the citizenry has already had enough of Bush/Wolfowitz/Ledeen’s “WMD in Iraq”.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  81. Ivan K. says:

    “Were third-party bugging a prevalent practice, it might well smother that spontaneity – reflected in frivolous, sacrilegious and defiant discourse – that liberates daily life.”


  82. Zhu says:
    @The Alarmist

    It’s safe to assume that NSA, CIA, DIA, etc., are all rivals.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  83. @Ivan K.

    Gosh, one nuanced contribution on top of another! Moi, I’ll stick to the big city and skip the sea-change or rural retirement retreat. I tend to forget gossip anyway, even the enjoyably malicious.

  84. @Zhu

    You mean that the Deep State may not be reliable when the time comes for firm decisions and tight control? How appallingly human.

  85. @annamaria

    There would have been so many disillusioned or merely unhappy Democrats outraged by the DNC treatment of Sanders that ot shouldn’t be necessary for an objective observer to even think it probable that there was a pro Trump hack rather than an outraged Democrat’s leak.

  86. @Beefcake the Mighty

    And you can yawn and f**t at the same time Gerry?

  87. RobinG says:


    Did everyone stay at the Metropol? Hmmm…. (nice). 😉

    But how was it “violating the Constitution” for Flynn to [be paid to] speak in Moscow? He was no longer part of the gov’t. Elijah Cummings outrage seems phony, his remarks like fake news.
    Moscow paid \$45,000 for Flynn’s 2015 talk, documents show.

    • Replies: @Philip Giraldi
  88. @RobinG

    Yes, we were all at the Metropol but only Flynn and Jill Stein were paid to attend, as far as I know

  89. DaveJoe says:

    My issue is not for or against any “Leninist totalitarianism” but simply to deny these little men with power at borders (within 100 miles of any border!) to rummage through my personal information. Little men with power are the worst

    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
  90. “But spying for profit and spying by government are two different things”??? I think we all are going to have to change our thinking on that, and realize that while government itself, i.e. the people who fund it and who it supposedly represents, does not make a profit, that the elite very successfully use it to enhance their own individual profits.

  91. @DaveJoe

    Power does attract the worst just as roadkill attracts flies.

    The ride we’re on has ups and downs whose cycle time is longer than a man’s life. We get to deal with the world as it is, even if that sometimes means weeping for what was so recently lost. We in the USA have so much to lose…and are well on our way to losing it entirely.

    I subscribe to a hypothesis that ends up being quite deterministic…sadly, at this point in the cycle.

  92. Clyde says:

    I am seriously considering dumping my smart phone and replacing with a “dumb” flip phone. A smart phone has become a monitoring device that some sex offenders are forced to wear. Why should I voluntarily pay for a similar device?

    To limit GPS tracking of dumb phone just remove battery. You could carry it during work hours and reconnect battery only when in GPS coordinates that are OK with you. Of course this means you would have to call back people who missed you.

    Money is to made by someone who mods dumb cell phones with a simple connect/disconnect switch for the battery. This switch would probably be effective for smart phones too. But some have internal GPS? and might log it even with no battery power? Unlikely.

    • Replies: @DaveJoe
  93. DaveJoe says:

    Thanks for suggesting removing the battery in a flip phone to avoid being tracked. I have nothing to hide (in my long life I haven’t even received a single speeding ticket), but what I do and where I go is nobody’s business.

    Have started shopping for a flip phone. Hope they don’t have any in-built GPS that works (for a while) even without a battery. Private companies and government are in cahoot, as to be expected in fascism.

    • Replies: @Clyde
  94. Clyde says:

    Instead of flip phone get an old model LG smart phone that is a trac phone. Might even be just 3G. Easier to text w a smartphone. Just don’t sign up for data plan. So you use smart phone as a cell phone.
    Can also install google hangouts and google voice on such a smart phone. You get a free google voice phone number. Then at home or any place with free wi-fi you can use the google voice phone number too.

    Check out the LG trac phone rating here and buy cheaper at ebay or wherever you like. Amazon too.

  95. RobinG says:

    Very colorful comments at 😉

    “Trump….. comprehensively bugged by Barry and the Chicagoes.”

    “….Trump should go all-out Erdogan on the Deep State?”

  96. TG says:

    Imagine that the police decided that, because criminals often use locks, that locks will be illegal. No US citizen will be allowed to lock their cars, their homes, their lockers, etc. That way if the police decide to check something out they will not be inconvenienced.

    But. Now nobody has any locks. So it’s not just the police – anyone can just drive away with your car, or enter your home and help themselves to your stuff, or assault your children, etc.

    Would you feel safer? Really?

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