Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The official legal rationales for US drone strikes and
NSA surveillance programs remain classified. A growing number of advocacy groups
are calling on the White House to come clean about its counterterrorism programs.
US drone strikes in Pakistan have killed at least 400 civilians, according to NGO and
Pakistani government sources cited by Amnesty International. Meanwhile, National
Security Agency surveillance programs have collected thousands of communications
from American citizens, in violation of the US Constitution’s prohibition against
unreasonable search and seizure. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media PARIS—France does not want an escalation of the row over US snooping on millions of French citizens’ telephone communications, the government’s spokesperson said Tuesday, after a breakfast meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius.
Fabius told Kerry that the snooping, which targeted politicians, businessman and individuals with no public profile, was “unacceptable between friends and allies”.
Kerry had earlier tried to defuse the row, assuring the US’s “old ally” that Washington is reviewing its information-gathering techniques, a message that US President Barack Obama repeated in a call to French President François Hollande.
But French government spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem on Tuesday seemed to indicate that Paris does not want a confrontation.
“It is up to Foreign Minister Fabius to decide what line we take but I don’t think there is any need for an escalation,” she told France 2 television. “We have to have a respectful relationship between partners, between allies. Our confidence in that has been hit but it is after all a very close, individual relationship that we have.”
Using material obtained by NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, Le Monde newspaper on Monday revealed massive interception of calls, SMS messages and keyboard strokes by the National Security Agency (NSA), which recorded more than 70 million calls in one 30-day period last year.
In further revelations on Tuesday it said that the NSA had shown particular interest in French internet provider Wanadoo and communications giant Alcatel-Mucent and had also spied on French embassies and France’s delegation to the UN.
The spying had helped the US obtain a vote on the UN Security Council in favor of more sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, one NSA internal note boasted. Operatives were instructed to use not just the Prism program, which was exposed by Snowden, but also Upstream, a system that intercepts communications on undersea cables and the world wide web.
The US defends its intelligence-gathering in the name of the fight against “terrorism” but Le Monde says that the “secrets of major national firms” had been probed as well. One document seen by the paper shows that between 8 February and 8 March the NSA collected 124.8 billion pieces of data on phone calls and 97.1 billion digital operations.
Source: Radio France Internationale
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — In an effort to supplement their recruitment efforts, The Secret Service, whose agents protect US presidents, made its debut on Twitter the micro-blogging site, on Monday. Initially, the Secret Service was created on July 5, 1865 in Washington, D.C., to suppress counterfeit currency. In 1902 The Secret Service assumed full-time responsibility for protection of the President. Two operatives were assigned full time to the White House Detail.
“The Internet is a valuable resource for people all over the world,” said Secret Service Assistant Director Mickey Nelson.
“By using social media sites, we hope to supplement our recruitment efforts, while providing an informative, helpful tool to businesses and individuals who are interested in information from our agency.”
Presidential Threat Protection Act was passed, which in part, authorized the Secret Service to participate in the planning, coordination, and implementation of security operations at special events of national significance (“National Special Security Event”), as determined by the President.
The Patriot Act increased the Secret Service’s role in investigating fraud and related activity in connections with computers. In addition it authorized the Director of the Secret Service to establish nationwide electronic crimes task forces to assist the law enforcement, private sector and academia in detecting and suppressing computer-based crime; increased the statutory penalties for the manufacturing, possession, dealing and passing of counterfeit U.S. or foreign obligations; and allowed enforcement action to be taken to protect our financial payment systems while combating transnational financial crimes directed by terrorists or other criminals.
The network of Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Forces expanded from 15 to 24 nationwide task forces dedicated to fighting high-tech, computer-based crimes through successful public-private partnerships. Since 2003, the Secret Service made nearly 29,000 criminal arrests for counterfeiting, cyber investigations and other financial crimes, 98 percent of which resulted in convictions, and seized more than $295 million in counterfeit currency.
Nelson said the @SecretService account would highlight the service’s investigative mission and hand out information to local communities about security on presidential visits and other high-profile events.
Newscast Media — Members of The House of Representatives have agreed to extend some of surveillance powers granted by the 2001 Patriot Act after the 9/11 attacks in a 275-144 vote. The ACT will extend until December provisions on wiretaps, access to business records and surveillance of terror suspects. The matter now goes to the Senate for its consideration. The provisions are set to expire on 28 February. Former President George W. Bush introduced the Patriot Act after the September 11, attacks.
Mr Bush and other supporters argued that the legal safeguards traditionally granted to criminal suspects left the US ill-protected against further attacks. Critics say the broad powers the act grants US law enforcement agencies violate Americans’ privacy.
“I believe the American people have a legitimate fear of out-of-control government,” said Republican Dana Rohrabacher, one of 27 from his party to vote against the bill on Monday.
“And yes, they have a legitimate fear of out-of-control prosecutors and out-of-control spy networks,” he asserted.
The provisions covered under the bill give the US government the authority for “roving surveillance” of suspects who might be able to thwart investigative methods that ordinarily require a judge’s warrant.
They also give federal investigators access to business records with a warrant from a secret national security court and grant federal law enforcement greater power to watch foreign so-called “lone wolf” terror suspects. http://www.newscastmedia.com/patriotact.html