Sunday, June 9, 2013

Weiner Criticizes Police Stops, but Offers No Alternative (The New York Times) and Other Sunday, June 98th, 2013 NYC Police Related News Articles


Sunday, June 9th, 2013 — Good Morning, Stay Safe


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Weiner Criticizes Police Stops, but Offers No Alternative

By KATE TAYLOR — Sunday, June 9th, 2013 ‘The New York Times’



Appearing before an African-American audience in Harlem on Saturday, Anthony D. Weiner criticized the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy as excessive and promised that, if he became mayor, he would not use the tactic “as a racial tool.” He did not say, however, precisely how he would otherwise change the policy.


The Democratic mayoral hopeful and former congressman spoke at the weekly rally hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton at the headquarters of his organization, the National Action Network, an important stop for all Democratic candidates for mayor.


Mr. Sharpton, in introducing Mr. Weiner, said that he had not yet decided whom he would support, saying, “I hear a lot of noise, but I’m not hearing a lot of policy, and I’m not hearing a lot of vision.” Mr. Sharpton has criticized the only African-American candidate in the race, the former comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., for not being outspoken enough on the stop-and-frisk issue.


Mr. Weiner described the number of stops – some 533,000 last year — as excessive, and said the tactic should not be used “against particular communities,” a reference to the fact that the vast majority of those stopped are young black and Hispanic men. Yet he gave little indication of how he would put that policy into effect. He has said in the past that he does not support creating an inspector general for the Police Department, as a bill before the City Council would do, though he did not bring up that stance on Saturday.


Mr. Weiner also suggested that there were circumstances in which stops were justified.


“If there is a drug dealer in the yard of a public housing project, and he’s acting suspicious, and we’re getting calls to the police, and he’s showing signs that there’s reason to believe he’s doing something wrong, I want a police officer to tap that fellow on the shoulder, and if he’s a drug dealer I want him arrested and thrown out of the community — I want that to happen,” he said.


But “I believe you can fight crime without saying to police officers, ‘Go out and get hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of stops,’” he said.


“And make no mistake: When you have a situation where 97, 98, 99 percent of the stops are resulting in no crime, no gun, no — no police report being submitted beyond just the 250 saying, ‘I stopped the guy,’ you’re a bad cop,” Mr. Weiner said, to applause from the audience. “You’re not doing your job.” (A 250 refers to the form that a police officer fills out after stopping someone. In fact, 12 percent of stops resulted in an arrest or a summons, although guns were found in less than 0.2 percent of stops.)


“And if you have that many stops, and you’re not producing, or you’re not finding guns and other things, your supervisor, the sergeant, is a bad supervisor,” Mr. Weiner continued, raising his voice and shaking his finger. “And if that supervisor is allowing that to go on, you have a bad precinct captain. And if that captain is allowing it to go on, you have a bad commissioner, who’s not doing his job.”


“Now I like Ray Kelly. I think he’s a decent man,” he went on quickly. “But at a certain point you have to recognize, this is a policy of the Police Department to stop hundreds and hundreds, and hundreds of thousands of people as their way of trying to stop crime. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want to stop police officers from doing their job. I want to help them do their job better. And that means not using stop-and-frisk as a racial tool, and that’s what I will do if I’m mayor.”


Mr. Weiner ended by referring to his son, Jordan.


“I have a 17-month-old at home,” he said. “He lives a very nice life. I can say with some certainty, although he might get in trouble –” He paused and added, to laughter, “Being my son, I have a feeling he might.”


“He might get in some trouble,” he continued, “but I can tell you this: The chances of Jordan Zain Weiner getting stopped by a police officer when he’s 17 walking down the street are virtually zero, virtually zero.”


“Right!” some members of the audience shouted.


“He is going to be going to school with African-American kids, with Hispanic kids, with children of color, where he is going to be walking down the same street,” Mr. Weiner continued. “I want his buddies, his friends, from wherever they’re from, to say to each other, ‘Boy, am I glad that we made some smart decisions in 2013 — now neither one of us gets stopped just for walking down the street.’”


Mr. Sharpton, in introducing Mr. Weiner, dismissed the scandal that forced him to resign from Congress, after he was found to be exchanging sexually explicit messages with young women over Twitter. But Mr. Sharpton stumbled in introducing him, describing him as “the candidate for mayor, Congress-, ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner.”




Weiner Critical Of Stop-And-Frisk At National Action Network Rally

By Unnamed Author(s) — Saturday, June 8th, 2013; 4:50 p.m. ‘NY 1 News’



Anthony Weiner made a stop in Harlem Saturday to talk to potential voters about the New York City Police Department's stop, question and frisk policy, a hot topic for many in the neighborhood.


The Rev. Al Sharpton invited Weiner to speak at the National Action Network's weekly rally.


Weiner discussed protecting public housing and creating middle-class jobs, but the audience responded most to his comments about the police department's stop-and-frisk policy.


To illustrate his problem with the tactic, which many say amounts to racial profiling, Weiner imagined his own toddler son as a teenager.


"The chances of Jordan Zane Weiner getting stopped by a police officer when he's 17 walking down the street are virtually zero. Virtually zero," Weiner said. "I want his buddies, his friends, from wherever they're from, to say to each other, 'Boy, am I glad we made some smart decisions in 2013. Now, neither one of us gets stopped just for walking down the street.'"


This is Weiner's second campaign appearance in Harlem since he entered the mayoral race.


Weiner began his bid for mayor there last month, making his first public appearance as a candidate at 125th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard.




Anthony Weiner says stop-and-frisk should be reformed at Al Sharpton event
The mayoral hopeful was at Sharpton’s Harlem headquarters on Saturday. While there, he slammed the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, which he said was a ‘racial tool’ that hurts police-community relations, but called for it to be reformed rather than abolished.

By Denis Slattery AND Jonathan Lemire — Sunday, June 9th, 2013 ‘The New York Daily News’



Mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner denounced the discriminatory nature of NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk program during a speech at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s Harlem headquarters Saturday.


Critics believe the program, which has become a flashpoint in the mayor’s race, unfairly targets blacks and Latinos and Weiner acknowledged the chances of his own son, now a toddler, being stopped by police as a teenager were “virtually zero.”


He claimed the NYPD was using the tactic as a “racial tool” that hurt police-community relations even if no arrests were made.


Weiner said if “97, 98, 99%” of stops do not result in arrest, “you’re a bad cop. You’re not doing your job.”


However, Weiner only believes the program should be reformed and not eliminated, which puts him at odds with Sharpton. Of the major Democratic mayoral candidates, only Controller John Liu believes the tactic should be abolished.


Mayor Bloomberg and others believe the program should be credited with a reduction of crime across the city.


The crowd at the National Action Network greeted Weiner warmly, and Sharpton praised the practice of “giving people second chances.” Weiner did not mention the sexting scandal that derailed his congressional career.




43 Pct. P.O. Nicholas Finelli      [R.I.P.  Good Guy and a Real Gentleman]


9/11 cancer kills cop, 60

By LARRY CELONA — Sunday, June 9th, 2013 ‘The New York Post’



Nicholas Finelli, a 30-year NYPD veteran, died yesterday of esophageal cancer related to the 9/11 attacks. He was 60.


Finelli worked in the 43rd Precinct in The Bronx and was a member of the NYPD Traffic Squad Benevolent Association.


“Nick loved being a husband, father and police officer and will be missed by everyone who knew him,” said Joseph Anthony, of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.




New York State


NY State Secures $45 Million in Federal Grants for Terrorism Prevention

By Genevieve Belmaker — Sunday, June 9th, 2013 ‘The Epoch Times’



Local governments across New York State can now vie for federal grant money targeted for terrorism security and prevention.


On Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that $45.3 million will go toward state homeland security and terrorism prevention programs. In a release about the funding, Cuomo noted that terrorism preparedness efforts may also be found in programs that also support work for other hazards.


Through the grant program, FEMA is pushing for local governments in New York to gear funding efforts toward two federal priority campaigns. One campaign is related to innovation and sustained support for the National Campaign on Preparedness. The other deals with improving immediate emergency victim care at mass casualty events.


Cuomo also said that grant money is contingent upon New York State getting its official grant from FEMA by about September 1. Applications for funding from local governments are due June 24, which is part of the 2013 fiscal year Homeland Security Grant Program.


Some of the expected uses for the money, which is coming from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FEMA, include support for law enforcement for terrorism prevention-oriented planning, organization, training, exercise and equipment.


Cuomo said it will apply to a “wide range of preparedness and homeland security programs.”


The promise of funding comes with a caveat that local long-term planning should step in line with the federal focus on terrorism, though.


Local governments should work toward “projects and initiatives that comply with Federal grant guidelines for the support of terrorism preparedness,” according to Jerome Hauer, the New York State Division DHS and Emergency Services Commissioner.






Here are the questions about gun violence the CDC would study — if it could

By Brad Plumer — Sunday, June 9th, 2013 ‘The Washington Post’  / Washington, DC



Back in January, President Obama signed an executive order directing the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to start studying “the causes of gun violence.” The idea was to restart federal research into the topic after a longtime freeze.


But that still left a key question unanswered: What would the CDC actually study, if it could? What more is there to know about gun violence that we don’t already know?


Quite a bit, it seems. Earlier this week, a panel at the Institutes of Medicine released a big new report outlining a research agenda for the CDC over the next three to five years. Topics would include the effects of media portrayals of violence and a look at whether “smart guns” that only fire for registered users could decrease accidents.


An accompanying brief  ( ) outlines a number of things that researchers still don’t know — and should study. Here are some highlights:



– “[The] exact number and location of guns and gun types is unknown.”


– “What characteristics differentiate mass shootings that were prevented from those that were carried out?”


– Researchers should try to “identify factors associated with juveniles and youths having access to, possessing, and carrying guns.” In other words, it’s still not entirely clear what types of guns kids get, or how they get them.


– Researchers should also “improve understanding of whether reducing criminal access to legally purchased guns reduces firearm violence.” For instance, would universal background checks actually work?


– Another key question: “Do programs to alter physical environments in high-crime areas result in a decrease in firearm violence?” Do restrictions on alcohol sales, for instance, have any effect on gun violence?


– “Identify the effects of different technological approaches to reduce firearm-related injury and death.” Are there realistic ways to make guns child-proof, for instance?


– “Examine the relationship between exposure to media violence and real-life violence.”


The report also argues that researchers should try to conduct more studies that involve controlled trials that can actually show causation. At the moment, a big chunk of what we know about gun violence is based on studies that simply look at correlations between different laws in different states — which isn’t terribly conclusive.


So there’s a lot to find out. That said, it’s still not clear that the CDC will actually move ahead. Congress, after all, has long barred the CDC from funding any research that could be used to “advocate or promote gun control.” Technically, that’s not a ban on all gun research, but the law is hazy enough that the centers have shied away from the topic altogether.


“Now scientists will have one interpretation of the law from the executive branch and another from Congress,” Andrew Rosenberg of the Union of Concerned Scientists back said in January. And lawmakers still control the funding. So until Congress gives its explicit blessing to the CDC, federal gun research is likely to proceed only haltingly.




F.B.I.   /  Boston Marathon Bombing


Still so many questions for the FBI

By Joan Vennochi — Sunday, June 9th, 2013 ‘The Boston Globe’ / Boston, MA

(Op-Ed / Commentary)



The FBI has a lot of explaining to do about what happened in an Orlando apartment five weeks after the Marathon bombing.


But the questions begin in Boston. The April 15 attack occurred in the heart of the city, and the Boston area was home to bombing suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother, Dzhokhar. The FBI investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 and then lost track of him, allowing him to travel in and out of the country and plan his deadly mission.


A former district attorney, Democratic Representative William R. Keating, said he understands law enforcement’s quest to protect sensitive information. But there’s a way to be transparent and accountable without compromising a criminal investigation, said Keating, who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee.


“Part of their job is to assure the public . . . to be forthright,” said Keating. “It’s a fine line. I’ve had to toe it. They should too.”


As part of a congressional delegation, Keating recently traveled to Russia to meet with intelligence officials. The trip, he said, raised more questions about what information was conveyed to the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died following a shoot-out with police.


What happened in Orlando should be disclosed. So should the FBI’s actions before and after the Marathon bombing.


According to Keating, US lawmakers were shown a letter that Russian officials said they sent to the FBI in March 2011. It supposedly contained detailed information about Tsarnaev’s radicalization. Russian officials wouldn’t give Keating a copy, telling him to get one from the FBI.


“They haven’t come forward with it,” said Keating.


So far, FBI officials involved in the Marathon investigation are communicating mainly via official statements posted on the agency website. The FBI was invited, but didn’t participate in Capitol Hill hearings on the Marathon bombings. Behind the scenes, however, FBI representatives reportedly let it be known they were unhappy with questions posed during a May 9 hearing by Representative Michael McCaul to Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.


McCaul, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, asked Davis if he knew the FBI “opened an investigation into Tamerlan.” The commissioner’s answer: “We were not aware of that.” The Boston FBI office swiftly posted a statement saying it had shared relevant information with Boston police, although the meaning of “shared” remains open to interpretation.


There have been calls for the FBI to explain how and why an agent shot Ibragim Todashev in his Orlando apartment. Todashev, who lived in the Boston area for a time, was shot May 22 while being questioned about a triple slaying in Waltham, which may be in some way connected to Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The ACLU has joined the clamor for more details about the Todashev shooting, and is also calling for an independent investigation.


What happened in Orlando should be disclosed. So should the FBI’s actions and decisions in Boston, before and after the Marathon bombing.


Keating would still like to know exactly what Russian officials told the FBI about Tsarnaev in early 2011, and who in the FBI handled the communication between the two countries. He would like to compare the correspondence the Russians said they sent with whatever the FBI actually received. His mission isn’t finger-pointing, he said; it’s about improving national security.


The information from the Russians triggered some investigation into Tsarnaev. Who in the FBI conducted it? Why didn’t that agent bring along a Boston police representative who serves on Boston’s Joint Terrorism Task Force? It would have been another set of eyes and ears.


In 2012, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was free to take a six-month trip to Dagestan, Russia, and then return to the United States. A year later, he bought two large pyrotechnic devices from a fireworks store in Seabrook, N.H.


On April 15, two bombs exploded at the Marathon finish line, killing three people and injuring scores more. When surveillance photos of Tamerlan Tsarnaev surfaced, why didn’t the FBI agent recognize him from the interview? The photos were released to the public for identification, leading to an intensive manhunt. In the course of it, MIT police officer Sean Collier was killed during an encounter with the Tsarnaev brothers, and a transit police officer almost died from what appears to have been friendly fire during a shoot-out.


There are still so many questions.  FBI officials can’t duck them forever.




Homeland Security


Government surveillance programs renew debate about oversight

By Robert Barnes, Timothy B. Lee and Ellen Nakashima — Sunday, June 9th, 2013 ‘The Washington Post’  / Washington, DC



The disclosure of vast government surveillance programs has renewed the debate about whether the kind of transparent oversight that Americans expect from their government can work if it might compromise efforts to keep them safe from terrorism.


President Obama and his national security leaders have asserted that vigorous oversight of government surveillance of phone calls and Internet data exists and denounced media reports that brought the programs to public attention.


On Saturday, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. called the reports “reckless disclosures,” while also scoring the media for not giving “full context” to the “extent to which these programs are overseen by all three branches of government.”


But civil libertarians, some members of Congress and others criticize the oversight as hollow. Secrecy binds the traditional role of Congress to openly debate the programs, they say, while the special court established to deal with the government’s requests under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act operates out of public view.


“I find it difficult to believe that Congress or the FISA court provide the robust oversight to which President Obama alluded,” said Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law and an expert on national security law.


“The lack of transparency ­really impacts negatively the ability of Congress to conduct effective oversight,” said Amie Stepanovich of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “Members of Congress are representatives of the people. But the public has been kept totally in the dark about these programs.”


Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said judicial oversight of the programs is undermined when the only court entrusted to make sure Americans’ rights are not compromised “meets in secret, allows only the government to appear before it and rarely publishes its decisions.”


Obama, a bipartisan group of congressional leaders and Clapper have pushed back hard against such assertions. Clapper declassified for release Saturday ways in which he said the programs are monitored, including “an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency” to members of Congress through a variety of reports and briefings to congressional intelligence and judiciary committees.


But members of Congress on their own have no way of knowing whether violations of procedure have occurred, and any public discussion of the reports is curtailed.


That is why some members of Congress were cryptic in public comments about the surveillance programs


Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), for example, warned that Americans would be “stunned” if they learned how the government had interpreted Section 215 of the Patriot Act. He was probably referring to the dragnet surveillance of call records that was revealed by the Guardian, a British newspaper, on Wednesday. But because the program’s existence was classified, Wyden was barred from publicly disclosing what he learned as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.


“The Intelligence Committee knew, and members [of Congress] could go into the Intelligence Committee room and read the documents,” said Jennifer Hoelzer, a former Wyden staffer. “But they couldn’t bring staff, they couldn’t take notes, they couldn’t consult outside legal scholars.”


Moreover, Hoelzer said, there is little incentive for a member of Congress to object to something that the administration says is necessary to combat terrorism. “Nobody necessarily wants their fingerprints on anything that could ever go wrong,” she said. “They may be for or against it in theory, but they don’t want their name on the record.”


The FISA court has similarly been the subject of complaints.


The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, created in 1978 in response to fears of abusive government spying, operates from a secure courtroom in the D.C. federal courthouse. It is composed of 11 federal judges chosen by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Unlike a regular court, only the government appears before it when a judge considers programs such as the telephone records search revealed by the Guardian or the PRISM Internet surveillance program that paper and The Washington Post uncovered last week.


One judge at a time considers the government’s requests, and any denials can be appealed to a three-member panel. But that is rare. The court reported that in 2012, it approved each of the 1,789 eavesdropping requests it received from the Justice Department, save for one that was withdrawn. The court made modifications in 40 of the requests.


One of the court’s roles is to ensure the government’s procedures regarding foreign targets does not interfere with the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans who might be swept up in the surveillance. The court reported at least once that that had occurred.


But details about that and other opinions are unknown, because almost all of the court’s work is secret.


Judges who have served on the court bristle at the notion it is a rubber stamp for the government. They have described the work as intense and pressurized.


“It has opened my eyes to the level of hatred that exists in the world,” U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, now the court’s chief judge, told The Post in 2009.


Congressional leaders and civil liberties groups have pressed the Obama administration and the FISA court to release redacted versions of opinions that show the underlying legal reasoning for surveillance under FISA. But officials have resisted, saying that redaction is difficult because classified information is so intertwined with legal analysis.


“Removing the classified information would leave a document that lacks any meaningful substance,” Robert S. Litt, general counsel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said this year in a statement to The Post.


But Gregory T. Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, said that “failure to disclose the legal foundation for this surveillance creates distrust of intelligence agencies that will ultimately harm national security.”


Vladeck said that there have been proposals over the years for some sort of special advocate to serve in the FISA court. “Nongovernmental but security-cleared lawyers whose job is to argue against the government,” he said. “That, in my view, would be a very helpful start.”


This past week’s revelations have briefly united a civil libertarian collection of conservatives and liberals who are distrustful of too much government power.


The controversy also has created a political convergence among congressional leaders who have spent years fighting each other on other issues: House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) lead the bipartisan defense of the aggressive surveillance techniques.


Timothy Edgar, a former privacy officer for Obama and President George W. Bush, faults both leaders for failing to be more transparent with the public about the standards for collection of data and the privacy protections in place.


The disclosure of the programs, for instance, has prompted the spirited defense from Clapper about oversight.


“These are very important privacy safeguards, which you wouldn’t be able to talk about in a program that hasn’t been confirmed,” said Edgar, who worked for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.


Likewise, he said, the executive branch prefers dealing with members of Congress behind closed doors. “But the ideal is to have an actual public debate and not just substitute a briefing of Congress,” he said.


Stepanovich noted that Obama both criticized the disclosure of the programs and said it was “healthy for our democracy” to have an open discussion about how to balance privacy and security concerns.


“I’d like to know how this debate could take place if nobody knew about this program,” she said.




How the U.S. Uses Technology to Mine More Data More Quickly

By JAMES RISEN and ERIC LICHTBLAU — Sunday, June 9th, 2013 ‘The New York Times’



WASHINGTON — When American analysts hunting terrorists sought new ways to comb through the troves of phone records, e-mails and other data piling up as digital communications exploded over the past decade, they turned to Silicon Valley computer experts who had developed complex equations to thwart Russian mobsters intent on credit card fraud.


The partnership between the intelligence community and Palantir Technologies, a Palo Alto, Calif., company founded by a group of inventors from PayPal, is just one of many that the National Security Agency and other agencies have forged as they have rushed to unlock the secrets of “Big Data.”


Today, a revolution in software technology that allows for the highly automated and instantaneous analysis of enormous volumes of digital information has transformed the N.S.A., turning it into the virtual landlord of the digital assets of Americans and foreigners alike. The new technology has, for the first time, given America’s spies the ability to track the activities and movements of people almost anywhere in the world without actually watching them or listening to their conversations.


New disclosures that the N.S.A. has secretly acquired the phone records of millions of Americans and access to e-mails, videos and other data of foreigners from nine United States Internet companies have provided a rare glimpse into the growing reach of the nation’s largest spy agency. They have also alarmed the government: on Saturday night, Shawn Turner, a spokesman for the director of national intelligence, said that “a crimes report has been filed by the N.S.A.”


With little public debate, the N.S.A. has been undergoing rapid expansion in order to exploit the mountains of new data being created each day. The government has poured billions of dollars into the agency over the last decade, building a one-million-square-foot fortress in the mountains of Utah, apparently to store huge volumes of personal data indefinitely. It created intercept stations across the country, according to former industry and intelligence officials, and helped build one of the world’s fastest computers to crack the codes that protect information.


While once the flow of data across the Internet appeared too overwhelming for N.S.A. to keep up with, the recent revelations suggest that the agency’s capabilities are now far greater than most outsiders believed. “Five years ago, I would have said they don’t have the capability to monitor a significant amount of Internet traffic,” said Herbert S. Lin, an expert in computer science and telecommunications at the National Research Council. Now, he said, it appears “that they are getting close to that goal.”


On Saturday, it became clear how close: Another N.S.A. document, again cited by The Guardian, showed a “global heat map” that appeared to represent how much data the N.S.A. sweeps up around the world. It showed that in March 2013 there were 97 billion pieces of data collected from networks worldwide; about 14 percent of it was in Iran, much was from Pakistan and about 3 percent came from inside the United States, though some of that might have been foreign data traffic routed through American-based servers.



A Shift in Focus


The agency’s ability to efficiently mine metadata, data about who is calling or e-mailing, has made wiretapping and eavesdropping on communications far less vital, according to data experts. That access to data from companies that Americans depend on daily raises troubling questions about privacy and civil liberties that officials in Washington, insistent on near-total secrecy, have yet to address.


“American laws and American policy view the content of communications as the most private and the most valuable, but that is backwards today,” said Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington group. “The information associated with communications today is often more significant than the communications itself, and the people who do the data mining know that.”


In the 1960s, when the N.S.A. successfully intercepted the primitive car phones used by Soviet leaders driving around Moscow in their Zil limousines, there was no chance the agency would accidentally pick up Americans. Today, if it is scanning for a foreign politician’s Gmail account or hunting for the cellphone number of someone suspected of being a terrorist, the possibilities for what N.S.A. calls “incidental” collection of Americans are far greater.


United States laws restrict wiretapping and eavesdropping on the actual content of the communications of American citizens but offer very little protection to the digital data thrown off by the telephone when a call is made. And they offer virtually no protection to other forms of non-telephone-related data like credit card transactions.


Because of smartphones, tablets, social media sites, e-mail and other forms of digital communications, the world creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data daily, according to I.B.M.


The company estimates that 90 percent of the data that now exists in the world has been created in just the last two years. From now until 2020, the digital universe is expected to double every two years, according to a study by the International Data Corporation.


Accompanying that explosive growth has been rapid progress in the ability to sift through the information.


When separate streams of data are integrated into large databases — matching, for example, time and location data from cellphones with credit card purchases or E-ZPass use — intelligence analysts are given a mosaic of a person’s life that would never be available from simply listening to their conversations. Just four data points about the location and time of a mobile phone call, a study published in Nature found, make it possible to identify the caller 95 percent of the time.


“We can find all sorts of correlations and patterns,” said one government computer scientist who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly. “There have been tremendous advances.”



Secret Programs


When President George W. Bush secretly began the N.S.A.’s warrantless wiretapping program in October 2001, to listen in on the international telephone calls and e-mails of American citizens without court approval, the program was accompanied by large-scale data mining operations.


Those secret programs prompted a showdown in March 2004 between Bush White House officials and a group of top Justice Department and F.B.I. officials in the hospital room of John Ashcroft, then the attorney general. Justice Department lawyers who were willing to go along with warrantless wiretapping argued that the data mining raised greater constitutional concerns.


In 2003, after a Pentagon plan to create a data-mining operation known as the Total Information Awareness program was disclosed, a firestorm of protest forced the Bush administration to back off.


But since then, the intelligence community’s data-mining operations have grown enormously, according to industry and intelligence experts.


The confrontation in Mr. Ashcroft’s hospital room took place just one month after a Harvard undergraduate, Mark Zuckerberg, created Facebook; Twitter would not be founded for two more years. Apple’s iPhone and iPad did not yet exist.


“More and more services like Google and Facebook have become huge central repositories for information,” observed Dan Auerbach, a technology analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “That’s created a pile of data that is an incredibly attractive target for law enforcement and intelligence agencies.”


The spy agencies have long been among the most demanding customers for advanced computing and data-mining software — and even more so in recent years, according to industry analysts. “They tell you that somewhere there is an American who is going to be blown up,” said a former technology executive, and “the only thing that stands between that and him living is you.”


In 2006, the Bush administration established a program known as the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, to accelerate the development of intelligence-related technology intended “to provide the United States with an overwhelming intelligence advantage over future adversaries.”


I.B.M.’s Watson, the supercomputing technology that defeated human Jeopardy! champions in 2011, is a prime example of the power of data-intensive artificial intelligence.


Watson-style computing, analysts said, is precisely the technology that would make the ambitious data-collection program of the N.S.A. seem practical. Computers could instantly sift through the mass of Internet communications data, see patterns of suspicious online behavior and thus narrow the hunt for terrorists.


Both the N.S.A. and the Central Intelligence Agency have been testing Watson in the last two years, said a consultant who has advised the government and asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak.





Industry experts say that intelligence and law enforcement agencies also use a new technology, known as trilaterization, that allows tracking of an individual’s location, moment to moment. The data, obtained from cellphone towers, can track the altitude of a person, down to the specific floor in a building. There is even software that exploits the cellphone data seeking to predict a person’s most likely route. “It is extreme Big Brother,” said Alex Fielding, an expert in networking and data centers.


In addition to opening the Utah data center, reportedly scheduled for this year, N.S.A. has secretly enlarged its footprint inside the United States, according to accounts from whistle-blowers in recent years.


In Virginia, a telecommunications consultant reported, Verizon had set up a dedicated fiber-optic line running from New Jersey to Quantico, Va., home to a large military base, allowing government officials to gain access to all communications flowing through the carrier’s operations center.


In Georgia, an N.S.A. official said in interviews, the agency had combed through huge volumes of routine e-mails to and from Americans.


And in San Francisco, a technician at AT& T reported on the existence of a secret room there reserved for the N.S.A. that allowed the spy agency to copy and store millions of domestic and international phone calls routed through that station.


Nothing revealed in recent days suggests that N.S.A. eavesdroppers have violated the law by targeting ordinary Americans. On Friday, President Obama defended the agency’s collection of phone records and other metadata, saying it did not involve listening to conversations or reading the content of e-mails. “Some of the hype we’ve been hearing over the past day or so — nobody has listened to the content of people’s phone calls,” he said.


Mr. Rotenberg, referring to the constitutional limits on search and seizure, said, “It is a bit of a fantasy to think that the government can seize so much information without implicating the Fourth Amendment interests of American citizens.”


Reporting was contributed by David E. Sanger and Scott Shane from Washington, Steve Lohr and James Glanz from New York, and Quentin Hardy from Berkeley, Calif.




Comparing Two Secret Surveillance Programs

By Unnamed Author(s) — Sunday, June 9th, 2013 ‘The New York Times’



New details about two government programs used by the National Security Agency to gather telephone and Internet data provide insight into how surveillance programs that began under George W. Bush have been used under President Obama.



Phone records program:

A court order released by The Guardian was part of a program used by the N.S.A. to collect phone records.


Prism Internet surveillance program:

The Washington Post and The Guardian released details of an N.S.A. program used to gain access to data from Internet companies.




How long has it been going on?


Phone records program:

About 7 years, in its current form.


Prism Internet surveillance program:

About 6 years, in its current form.




Who are the targets of the surveillance?


Phone records program:

Americans. A court order called for logs of all calls “between the United States and abroad” or “wholly within the United States.”


Prism Internet surveillance program:

Foreigners. But Americans’ data can be swept into the database when they communicate with people overseas.




What data are collected?


Phone records program:

“Metadata.” The records consist of the time and duration of phone calls and the phone numbers involved. They do not include the content of calls.


Prism Internet surveillance program:

Online communications data and content. According to a classified presentation, the data include e-mail, chat services, videos, photos, stored data, file transfers, video conferencing and logins.




Which companies are known to be involved?


Phone records program:

The leaked court order involved a subsidiary of Verizon Communications. Sprint and AT&T have also reportedly received demands for data. A spokesman for Verizon said that if the company were to receive a federal court order in certain circumstances, it would be required to comply.


Prism Internet surveillance program:

The leaked presentation listed:  Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, Apple  as companies currently involved.   Companies are required to comply with directives for information, but there is evidence that some have been able to delay or resist; on Friday, Google’s C.E.O. and chief legal officer said, “Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don’t follow the correct process.”




How are the data collected?


Phone records program:

The leaked court order directs a phone company to submit all call log data on a daily basis for the three-month duration of the order. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said that the order appeared to be a routine reauthorization of a continuing program.


Prism Internet surveillance program:

The original reports said the presentation indicated that the government gained access to the companies’ servers directly, but several of the companies denied that was the case, and people briefed on the arrangements said that technical means have been arranged for the government to gain access to only specific data in response to court orders.




How are the data used?


Phone records program:

James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, said in a statement that the information is used to help “discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities.”


Prism Internet surveillance program:

The presentation and other materials obtained by The Post claim that the program is the leading source of material for intelligence reports and the president’s daily briefs.



How does the government analyze the data?


Phone records program:

According to Mr. Clapper, the government may not sift through the data indiscriminately, but may query the data when “there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization.”


Prism Internet surveillance program:

The Post reported that analysts search the system using terms that predict a target’s “foreignness,” with at least 51 percent confidence. They will then sweep the contacts of someone suspected of being a spy or a foreign terrorist, and often their contacts’ contacts. Officials said that the program minimizes the collection and retention of information “incidentally acquired” about Americans.




What is the legal basis for the program?


Phone records program:

Section 215 of the 2001 Patriot Act amended the “business records” section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and made it easier to obtain a court order demanding business records (or “any tangible things”), so long as they are deemed merely relevant to a national security investigation. A 2008 law amending FISA shielded companies from civil lawsuits for complying with court orders.


Prism Internet surveillance program:

Officials said the program’s legal basis was the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, which was reauthorized in 2012 and allows the government to obtain an order from a national security court to conduct blanket surveillance of anyone “reasonably believed” to be outside the United States without individualized warrants even if the interception takes place on American soil. The law also shields companies from civil lawsuits for complying with court orders.




Who has oversight?


Phone records program:

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Congress and the White House.


Prism Internet surveillance program:

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Congress and the White House.




NSA: The finder and keeper of countless US secrets

By KIMBERLY DOZIER   (The Associated Press)  —  Sunday, June 9th, 2013; 8:40 a.m. EDT



WASHINGTON (AP) -- An email, a telephone call or even the murmur of a conversation captured by the vibration of a window - they're all part of the data that can be swept up by the sophisticated machinery of the National Security Agency.


Its job is to use the world's most cutting edge supercomputers and arguably the largest database storage sites to crunch and sift through immense amounts of data. The information analyzed might be stolen from a foreign official's laptop by a CIA officer overseas, intercepted by a Navy spy plane flying off the Chinese coast, or, as Americans found out this past week, gathered from U.S. phone records.


Code-breakers at the Fort Meade, Md.-based NSA use software to search for keywords in the emails or patterns in the phone numbers that might link known terrorist targets with possible new suspects. They farm out that information to the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies and to law enforcement, depending on who has the right to access which type of information, acting as gatekeeper, and they say, guardian of the nation's civil liberties as well as its security.


The super-secret agency is under the spotlight after last week's revelations of two surveillance programs. One involves the sweeping collection of hundreds of millions of phone records of U.S. customers. The second collects the audio, video, email, photographic and Internet search usage of foreign nationals overseas - and probably some Americans in the process - who use major Internet companies such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Yahoo.


NSA was founded in 1952. Only years later was the NSA publicly acknowledged, which explains its nickname, "No Such Agency."


According to its website, NSA is not allowed to spy on Americans. It is supposed to use its formidable technology to "gather information that America's adversaries wish to keep secret," and to "protect America's vital national security information and systems from theft or damage by others," as well as enabling "network warfare, a military operation," that includes offensive cyberoperations against U.S. adversaries.


The agency also includes the Central Security Service, the military arm of code-breakers who work jointly with the agency. The two services have their headquarters on a compound that's technically part of Fort Meade, though it's slightly set apart from the 5,000-acre Army base.


Visible from a main highway, the tightly guarded compound requires the highest of clearances to enter and is equipped with electronic means to ward off an attack by hackers.


Other NSA facilities in Georgia, Texas, Colorado and Hawaii duplicate much of the headquarters' brain and computer power in case a terrorist attack takes out the main location, though each one focuses on a different part of the globe.


A new million-square-foot storage facility in Salt Lake City will give the agency untold additional capacity to store the massive amounts of data it collects, as well as adding to its analytical capability.


"NSA is the elephant of the U.S. intelligence community, the biggest organization by far with the most capability and (literally) the most memory," said former senior CIA official Bruce Riedel, who now runs the Brookings Intelligence Project.


NSA's experts include mathematicians and cryptologists, a term that means everything from breaking codes to learning and translating multiple foreign languages. There also are computer hackers who engage in offensive attacks like the one the U.S. and Israel are widely believed to have been part of, planting the Stuxnet virus into Iranian nuclear hardware, damaging Iran's nuclear development program in 2010.


Then there are "siginters," the signals intelligence experts who go to war zones to help U.S. troops break through encrypted enemy communications or work with a CIA station chief abroad, helping tap into a foreign country's phone or computer lines.


"More times than we can count, we've made history, without history even knowing we were there," reads a quote on the NSA's Web page by the current director, Gen. Keith Alexander.


NSA workers are notoriously secretive. They're known for keeping their families in the dark about what they do, including their hunt for terror mastermind Osama bin Laden. NSA code-breakers were an essential part of the team that tracked down bin Laden at a compound in Pakistan in 2011.


Their mission tracking al-Qaida and related terrorist groups continues, with NSA analysts and operators sent out to every conflict zone and overseas U.S. post, in addition to surveillance and analysis conducted at headquarters outside Washington.


The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said in a statement Saturday that the NSA's programs do not target U.S. citizens. But last week's revelations show that the NSA is allowed to gather U.S. phone calls and emails and to sift through them for information leading to terrorist suspects, as long as a judge signs off. Lawmakers are questioning the scope of the information gathered, and how long and how much of it is kept.


"Does that data all have to be held by the government?" asked Sen. Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.


King, a Maine independent, was briefed on the program this past week, but would not discuss how long the government holds on to the phone records. "I don't think there is evidence of abuse, but I think the program can be changed to be structured with less levels of intrusion on the privacy of Americans," he said.


While NSA has deferred any public comment to Clapper, it offered an internal article written by director of compliance John DeLong, who's is in charge of making sure NSA protects Americans' privacy.


DeLong writes that privacy protections are being written into the technology that sifts the information, "which allows us to augment - not wholly replace - human safeguards." The NSA also uses "technology to record and review our activities. ... Sometimes, where appropriate, we even embed legal and policy guidance directly into our IT architecture."


What that means is that the data sifting is mostly done not by humans, but by computers, following complicated algorithms telling them what to look for and who has a right to see it.


"Through software, you can search for key words and key phrases linking a communication to a particular group or individual that would fire it off to individual agencies that have interest in it," just like Amazon or Google scans millions of emails and purchases to track consumer preferences, explained Ronald Marks, a former CIA official and author of "Spying in America in the Post 9/11 World."


Detailed algorithms try to determine whether something is U.S. citizen-related or not. "It shows analysts, `we've got a US citizen here, so we've got to be careful with it,'" he said.


Another way counterterrorist officials try to protect U.S. citizens is through centers where operators from the military, CIA, NSA, FBI, Treasury and others sit side by side. When one comes across information that his or her agency is not supposed to access, it's turned over to someone in the center who's authorized to see it.


But the process isn't perfect, and sometimes what should be private information reaches agencies not authorized to see it.


"When information gets sent to the CIA that shouldn't, it gets destroyed, and a note sent back to NSA saying, `You shouldn't have sent that,'" Marks said. "Mistakes get made, but my own experience on the inside of it is, they tend to be really careful about it."


Analysts need that level of detail because they are no longer looking for large networks, but small cells or individuals that carry out "lone wolf" attacks, as the Boston Marathon bombing is thought to have been.


"If we are going to fight a war or low intensity conflict that has gone down to the level of individual attacks by cells one or two people, if you are looking for total risk management, this is the kind of thing you're going to have to do," Marks said.




Online:  NSA:





                                                          Mike Bosak








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