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Topic: Intel Matters (Read 48535 times)
The CIA's POV
Reply #350 on:
October 31, 2013, 07:38:15 AM »
Michael Hayden: American Intelligence and the 'High Noon' Scenario
The hardworking folks at the NSA surely must feel a little like Marshall Will Kane.
By Michael Hayden
Updated Oct. 30, 2013 7:27 p.m. ET
While I was at the CIA, I grew concerned over America's ability to keep secrets. I was so concerned that I asked the agency's civilian advisory board to address the question.
Could American espionage survive inside a broader political culture that every day demands more transparency and more public accountability from every aspect of national life?
Their answer wasn't comforting. They weren't sure.
Then I was focused on domestic transparency: What level of openness with the American people would sustain their confidence in what we were doing? I had no thought of international transparency as some sort of prerequisite, but today we find ourselves dangerously close to that prospect.
Responding to the effects of Edward Snowden's serial exposures of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, President Obama admitted to Europeans last month that there were "questions in terms of whether we're tipping over into being too intrusive with respect to the . . . interactions of other governments." The president added that, "We are consulting with other countries in this process and finding out from them what are their areas of specific concern."
In other words, we are asking other countries what aspects of our espionage make them uncomfortable.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto claims to have secured a commitment from a personal conversation with President Obama that "corresponding sanctions" would be applied if press accounts proved true. And now the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel feels fully entitled to ask (and have answered) the Watergate question: "What did the president know and when did he know it?"
It is bad politics and bad policy for good friends to put their partners in politically impossible situations, and recent reports of aggressive American espionage have done just that.
It matters little that the reports may or may not be true or that foreign leaders may or may not have already suspected these activities. The issue now is that seemingly plausible accounts are in the public domain, and people are angry.
To be sure, there is some theater involved here. Public allegations of espionage require "victims" to be publicly outraged. But there also are legitimate concerns about privacy, and even theater can force reduced cooperation with the U.S. on a variety of issues.
And so the president is clearly committed to a "rebalancing." He has teed this up by reminding audiences that "just because we can do something doesn't mean we should do it," and the coming report from his "outside experts" panel, due by year's end, will give him recommendations (and political cover) for making some moves.
Fair enough. I had my share of "political guidance" while at the NSA, too. It's not new.
But the administration needs to be careful not to overachieve.
Recall in 2008 how candidate Obama was a near-obsessive user of his BlackBerry BB.T -2.17% and once elected said that, "They're going to have to pry it out of my hands," much to the alarm of his security staff.
Eventually the president kept his BlackBerry, but his email list was confined to a small group of family and friends and the device itself got some security enhancements.
Picture the backdrop of this episode. The most powerful man in the most powerful country on earth was warned that his communications were vulnerable to intercept by multiple foreign intelligence services in his own national capital. No moral offense, no political pressures, no public posturing. In fact, no attempt was made to portray this as anything other than the way things are.
Things are still that way. States conduct espionage against one another. Including us.
Going forward we need to remember how U.S. intelligence suffered a similar crisis of conscience in the 1990s when the CIA's human-intelligence (humint) collectors were told to stand down and not talk to "bad" people, a deficit from which the agency had to recover after 9/11. We can create a similar effect now if we tell signals-intelligence (sigint) collectors in the NSA that they cannot listen to any "good" people.
There is another important concern. It has to do with Gary Cooper.
In the iconic last scene of the Western "High Noon," Marshall Will Kane (Cooper) is surrounded by townsfolk crowding one another to congratulate him for killing Frank Miller and his murderous henchmen. These are the same townsfolk who a few hours earlier had not only refused to help Kane, but actually accused him of causing Miller's vengeful descent on them.
I wonder how many folks at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. (and actually throughout this country's intelligence community), might want to stream the 1952 classic; they surely must feel a little like Will Kane.
American intelligence works to meet the needs and follows the lead of American policy makers. There is actually a formal framework for national intelligence priorities agreed upon regularly at the National Security Council level.
When policy makers validate a need to better understand, say, the level of corruption in a particular state or the intentions of a friendly but balky ally, what is it they think they are asking the intelligence community to do?
And when they read a responsive, incisive report, where do they think it came from?
There's a real danger here. The American signals-intelligence community is being battered at home from extreme left and extreme right, and it's being battered from abroad for just being extremely good.
Beyond receiving new policy guidance, I fear that community will now take new blows and be conveniently labeled by some as "excessive" or "unconstrained" or "out of control."
At the end of "High Noon," Gary Cooper throws his marshall's badge into the dust, stares his way through the crowd, joins Grace Kelly in a buckboard and drives off in disgust. Let's hope something similar doesn't happen with our intelligence professionals.
Gen. Hayden was director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009.
Reply #351 on:
November 01, 2013, 05:01:41 PM »
R. James Woolsey
Oct. 31, 2013 7:11 p.m. ET
Nearly a quarter of a century ago, the nuclear-policy strategist Albert Wohlstetter wrote in these pages a fine essay titled "The Fax Will Make You Free." In the 1980s, as he noted, the CIA, working with the AFL-CIO and restive Eastern European labor unions, put fax machines to excellent use undermining Soviet rule. That particular technology is now ancient, but Wohlstetter's bigger point remains valid: Technological innovations that vastly expand the amount of information we can transfer to one another are fundamentally revolutionary, for good or ill.
Smartphones are the new faxes and, for many all over the globe, especially the young, their phone is their source of news, their grocery store, their means of talking with (and seeing) absent friends and family, their bank, their movie theater. It is at the core of their lives and their sense of personal freedom. If the United States government wanted to collect intelligence on Germany's leadership, it could not have picked a method more likely to stir wide outrage than tapping the personal phone of a politically popular democratic leader.
And in targeting Chancellor Angela Merkel, the U.S. picked someone who grew up dodging East Germany's Stasi secret police in order to talk honestly to friends. The U.S. has not denied that the monitoring occurred in the past and some media reports say it went on for a decade. If so, we have been sitting on a powder keg for years.
Some Europeans are now being candid about their own espionage, including against the U.S. Bernard Squarcini, the head of French intelligence until last year, recently told Le Figaro that the "French Intelligence Services know full well that all countries, whether or not they are allies in the fight against terrorism, spy on each other all the time."
Many of the recent blasts of allied indignation thus ring quite false, especially since it appears that much of the National Security Agency's collection involved basic information called metadata, such as the date sent and the sender and receiver addresses, not the message content itself. Chancellor Merkel's Germany, however, has not to the best of my knowledge perpetrated the kind or degree of intelligence collection against us that some other allies inside and outside Europe have.
Some critics have waxed indignant over the possibility that the U.S. has collected intelligence on some 35 national leaders. But the intelligence business is not a competition to avoid collecting intelligence. In particular, we should be getting the lowdown on hostile regimes and the governments that deal with them. Keeping an eye on allies has always been part of the effort as well. Yet there is no doubt that the U.S. has taken a heavy blow regarding our part in this wild dance of spies—especially from the monitoring of Chancellor Merkel's phone.
The episode poses its greatest danger if it seriously damages America's ability to obtain badly needed allied intelligence and allied help in dealing with terrorism and terrorist-backing states. We are doubly at risk of losing that sort of cooperation because our allies are already wary of the U.S., having seen less American leadership in recent years on a number of important issues.
Syria is probably the most dramatic case of the U.S. not even leading from behind but rather stumbling along behind. Wavering American leadership has also led the Europeans to fear that their tough economic sanctions on Iran may be subjected to a pre-emptive weakening, now that the Obama administration is avidly pursuing talks with Tehran over its nuclear program. The Europeans also have not forgotten that in 2009 the Obama administration abandoned plans to install antiballistic-missile sites in the Czech Republic and Poland, to the deep concern of both nations and to Moscow's pure delight.
In addition to France's being a far better leader than the U.S. on Syria—they were ready to punish Bashar Assad for his chemical-weapons use, no need for a parliamentary vote of approval—the French also took charge in Mali earlier this year to combat Islamist rebels. Germany has long stood beside us in Afghanistan. In short, our allies over the past several years, almost always including Britain, have taken action that is in America's interest on more than one occasion.
But they have also rather frequently seen the U.S. make unilateral concessions to enemies and refuse to lead. And whereas those badly served by the ObamaCare website have received a presidential apology, those badly served by our weakness overseas have not. At our worst, we have suggested by our behavior that it is better to be an enemy of the United States (Assad) than a friend ( Hosni Mubarak ).
Because of this history, the U.S. must take steps to bolster a spirit of trust and cooperation with its allies. A restoration of American leadership would do much to help on that front, as it did during the Cold War, when the U.S. would show initiative and assumed, rightly, that its allies would follow. With America and its allies battling the global terror threat, no less sense of direction from Washington is needed.
But even in the absence of such leadership, the U.S. can take another step to build necessary bridges with its allies. America already is part of the decades-old "Five Eyes" pact with Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, agreeing to share intelligence and not to spy on each other. The U.S. should accede to recent requests from Germany and France to join the group.
Taking such a step would not be popular in some corners of the intelligence community. But if the U.S. is already going to stand down on intelligence efforts and military capability because of the costs imposed by sequestration, world-weariness, or other reasons, then we must stop and take stock of where intelligence now fits in the nation's interests. If President Obama is not going to lead in the way that successful leaders always have, the U.S. must figure out other means of enhancing the support of major allies. For these seven nations to agree not to spy on one another is, in these circumstances, a reasonable direction to take.
Chancellor Merkel should be able to use her phone with the confidence that at least the Americans are not among those listening in.
Amb. Woolsey is the chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a venture partner with Lux Capital. He is a former director of Central Intelligence.
WSJ: Jenkins: How to live with spying
Reply #352 on:
November 04, 2013, 10:18:17 AM »
How to Live With Spying
'Five Eyes' shows that governments have the ability to restrain themselves.
By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.
Nov. 1, 2013 7:13 p.m. ET
Google, Facebook and Microsoft are in a near-panic about U.S. surveillance disclosures, especially with claims this week that government agencies were reading traffic among their far-flung data centers. Yet always dubious, and becoming more so, are suggestions by analysts and trade groups that tens of billions of dollars in U.S. business interests are at risk.
If web users were going flee the cloud over security fears, they would have done so already over Russian mafia, Chinese technology thieves and malignant hacktivists, who are out to do real harm. Users may not like or trust the National Security Agency's claim that it merely is hunting terrorists. But of all the people trolling through our data, the NSA would seem most benign.
The latest revelations do nothing to change this. Despite the furor, German Chancellor Angela Merkel would have known multiple intelligence agencies were interested in her phone calls—and she used her smartphone anyway. Why wouldn't Joe Shmoe ?
In a speech six years ago, then-CIA Deputy Director Donald Kerr delivered the unwelcome verdict: Privacy is not a realistic expectation much of the time on the Web. Our world is increasingly self-regulated by this fact. Recognizing as much is the beginning of wisdom.
Mr. Kerr added, "I think all of us have to really take stock of what we already are willing to give up, in terms of anonymity, but also what safeguards we want in place to be sure that giving that doesn't empty our bank account or do something equally bad elsewhere."
The answer won't be, as some in Germany have proposed, to close off the "national" Internet and require data belonging to German users to be kept on German servers. This would only deliver a squalid, impoverished Internet that users would find unacceptable (ask those in Iran and China).
A new modus vivendi is taking shape and it probably begins with the "Five Eyes" Club, now widely known because of the Edward Snowden leaks. Five Eyes consists of the U.S, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand—countries that claim (pretend) they don't spy on each other in order to maintain a trusting intelligence-sharing relationship.
Five Eyes has become the finest club in the world. Angela Merkel wants to join (though she might suggest France isn't quite ready). Five Eyes rewards governments precisely for recognizing, even as they go about their spying, the mutual benefit of restraint in pursuit of common interests.
Five Eyes almost certainly explains why Australia, after making conciliatory noises, last week abruptly refused to let Huawei, a Chinese contractor distrusted by U.S. intelligence, play a role in its national broadband rollout (a decision meant to encourage China to curb its own exploitative and reckless activities in the infosphere).
Five Eyes likely explains why Canada last month prohibited an Egyptian company, already part-owner of a Canadian wireless network, from acquiring a fiber backbone whose customers include government agencies.
Five Eyes is a model for governments balancing friendship and rivalry in view of a bigger picture. A telling episode, in retrospect, was Canada's little-noticed 2008 shootdown of a U.S. company's purchase of a Canadian firm that operates a high-resolution satellite in an unusual polar orbit.
Radarsat-2, as the satellite is known, is increasingly vital to observe human activity in a warming Arctic, whose resources are claimed by several countries, including the U.S. and Canada. Canada worried the U.S. would cut off its ability to observe U.S. warships in the event of a future sovereignty showdown, but its company also needed access to the U.S. space market to thrive. This dilemma the U.S. graciously helped to solve last year by waving through, with little fuss, the Canadian firm's acquisition of an important U.S. space contractor despite the countries' Arctic dispute.
In the coming world, it probably doesn't hurt that government secrets not only are unsafe from each other, but from their own people. It probably doesn't hurt either that spying is an overrated source of national advantage—otherwise East Germany today would be a superpower.
No doubt many would prefer the countryless world of the Internet to be protected by the kind of strict and enforceable laws that are possible within national boundaries. That's not in the cards anytime soon.
It may not be anybody's ideal solution, but the only solution on offer is the one illustrated by U.S.-Canada dealings over Radarsat-2—namely responsible countries restraining their own rivalries and cooperating in their common interest not to kill the golden goose of Web commerce, including the trust users have in their email and Facebook feeds.
POTH Vaginas at Foggy Bottom bending over for Russians
Reply #353 on:
November 17, 2013, 07:54:12 AM »
WASHINGTON — In the view of America’s spy services, the next potential threat from Russia may not come from a nefarious cyberweapon or secrets gleaned from the files of Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor now in Moscow.
Instead, this menace may come in the form of a seemingly innocuous dome-topped antenna perched atop an electronics-packed building surrounded by a security fence somewhere in the United States.
In recent months, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon have been quietly waging a campaign to stop the State Department from allowing Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, to build about half a dozen of these structures, known as monitor stations, on United States soil, several American officials said. They fear that these structures could help Russia spy on the United States and improve the precision of Russian weaponry, the officials said. These monitor stations, the Russians contend, would significantly improve the accuracy and reliability of Moscow’s version of the Global Positioning System, the American satellite network that steers guided missiles to their targets and thirsty smartphone users to the nearest Starbucks.
“They don’t want to be reliant on the American system and believe that their systems, like GPS, will spawn other industries and applications,” said a former senior official in the State Department’s Office of Space and Advanced Technology. “They feel as though they are losing a technological edge to us in an important market. Look at everything GPS has done on things like your phone and the movement of planes and ships.”
The Russian effort is part of a larger global race by several countries — including China and European Union nations — to perfect their own global positioning systems and challenge the dominance of the American GPS.
For the State Department, permitting Russia to build the stations would help mend the Obama administration’s relationship with the government of President Vladimir V. Putin, now at a nadir because of Moscow’s granting asylum to Mr. Snowden and its backing of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. (WHAT THE FCUK?!?!?!?!?)
But the C.I.A. and other American spy agencies, as well as the Pentagon, suspect that the monitor stations would give the Russians a foothold on American territory that would sharpen the accuracy of Moscow’s satellite-steered weapons. The stations, they believe, could also give the Russians an opening to snoop on the United States within its borders. The squabble is serious enough that administration officials have delayed a final decision until the Russians provide more information and until the American agencies sort out their differences, State Department and White House officials said.
Russia’s efforts have also stirred concerns on Capitol Hill, where members of the intelligence and armed services committees view Moscow’s global positioning network — known as Glonass, for Global Navigation Satellite System — with deep suspicion and are demanding answers from the administration.
“I would like to understand why the United States would be interested in enabling a GPS competitor, like Russian Glonass, when the world’s reliance on GPS is a clear advantage to the United States on multiple levels,” said Representative Mike D. Rogers, Republican of Alabama, the chairman of a House Armed Services subcommittee.
Mr. Rogers last week asked the Pentagon to provide an assessment of the proposal’s impact on national security. The request was made in a letter sent to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr.
The monitor stations have been a high priority of Mr. Putin for several years as a means to improve Glonass not only to benefit the Russian military and civilian sectors but also to compete globally with GPS.
Earlier this year, Russia positioned a station in Brazil, and agreements with Spain, Indonesia and Australia are expected soon, according to Russian news reports. The United States has stations around the world, but none in Russia.
Russian and American negotiators last met on April 25 to weigh “general requirements for possible Glonass monitoring stations in U.S. territory and the scope of planned future discussions,” said a State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, who said no final decision had been made.
Ms. Harf and other administration officials declined to provide additional information. The C.I.A. declined to comment.
The Russian government offered few details about the program. In a statement, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington, Yevgeniy Khorishko, said that the stations were deployed “only to ensure calibration and precision of signals for the Glonass system.” Mr. Khorishko referred all questions to Roscosmos, which did not respond to a request for comment last week.
Although the Cold War is long over, the Russians do not want to rely on the American GPS infrastructure because they remain suspicious of the United States’ military capabilities, security analysts say. That is why they have insisted on pressing ahead with their own system despite the high costs.
Accepting the dominance of GPS, Russians fear, would give the United States some serious strategic advantages militarily. In Russians’ worst fears, analysts said, Americans could potentially manipulate signals and send erroneous information to Russian armed forces.
Monitor stations are essential to maintaining the accuracy of a global positioning system, according to Bradford W. Parkinson, a professor emeritus of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University, who was the original chief architect of GPS. As a satellite’s orbit slowly diverges from its earlier prediction, these small deviations are measured by the reference stations on the ground and sent to a central control station for updating, he said. That prediction is sent to the satellite every 12 hours for subsequent broadcast to users. Having monitor stations all around the earth yields improved accuracy over having them only in one hemisphere.
Washington and Moscow have been discussing for nearly a decade how and when to cooperate on civilian satellite-based navigation signals, particularly to ensure that the systems do not interfere with each other. Indeed, many smartphones and other consumer navigation systems sold in the United States today use data from both countries’ satellites.
In May 2012, Moscow requested that the United States allow the ground-monitoring stations on American soil. American technical and diplomatic officials have met several times to discuss the issue and have asked Russian officials for more information, said Ms. Harf, the State Department spokeswoman. In the meantime, C.I.A. analysts reviewed the proposal and concluded in a classified report this fall that allowing the Russian monitor stations here would raise counterintelligence and other security issues.
The State Department does not think that is a strong argument, said an administration official. “It doesn’t see them as a threat.”
Re: Intel Matters
Reply #354 on:
November 18, 2013, 07:03:03 AM »
Obama has more room to maneuver after the election.
A New Model for Defense Intelligence
Reply #355 on:
November 22, 2013, 04:57:47 AM »
WSJ: NSA respects the law
Reply #356 on:
November 25, 2013, 10:32:51 AM »
Continuing with our consideration of both sides of this issue
Snowden and His Fellow Fantasists
Declassified NSA documents disprove his claim that he could legally wiretap anyone.
L. Gordon Crovitz
Nov. 24, 2013 6:52 p.m. ET
Edward Snowden thought he was exposing the National Security Agency's lawless spying on Americans. But the more information emerges about how the NSA conducts surveillance, the clearer it becomes that this is an agency obsessed with complying with the complex rules limiting its authority. Contrary to the fantasies of Mr. Snowden and other critics, the NSA may be dangerously risk-averse.
Last week the NSA responded to demands for disclosure by declassifying a 2,000-page trove of documents, including reports to Congress and internal training materials. They portray an agency acting under the watchful eye of hundreds of lawyers and compliance officers.
These documents disprove one of Mr. Snowden's central claims: "I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authority to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the president if I had a personal email," he told the Guardian, a British newspaper.
Hardly. A 131-page PowerPoint deck, used to train NSA officers, details constitutional and regulatory limits on the agency. It emphasizes that warrants are required to access emails or calls involving Americans. One slide warns: "Under NO circumstances may the substantive content of communications be received."
A 52-page directive issued in 2011, "Legal Compliance and U.S. Persons Minimization Procedures," outlines how to avoid emails or phone calls involving Americans. Another training slide warns: "No matter how inconvenient the rules may seem, if we fail to adhere to them, the next set of rules will be far stricter."
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The NSA also released the legal arguments the Justice Department used in 2006 to justify collection of phone metadata—the telephone number of the calling and called parties and the date, time and duration of the call.
The legal brief explained that the collection of metadata solves "the following fundamental problem: Although investigators do not know exactly where the terrorists' communications are hiding in the billions of telephone calls flowing through the U.S. today, we do know that they are there, and if we archive the data now, we will be able to use it in a targeted way to find the terrorists tomorrow."
Metadata collection is about connecting the dots linking potential terrorist accomplices. The Clinton administration created barriers to the use of metadata, which the 9/11 Commission concluded let the terrorists avoid detection. Since then, metadata has helped stop dozens of plots, including an Islamist plan to blow up the New York Stock Exchange in 2008.
The Supreme Court this month refused to hear a legal challenge to the collection of phone logs. In 1979, the court held that there is no legitimate expectation of privacy in records of phone calls (as opposed to the calls themselves). The declassified brief from 2006 made clear that such metadata "would never even be seen by any human being unless a terrorist connection were first established," estimating that "0.000025% or one in four million" of the call records "actually would be seen by a trained analyst."
To get approval for a query to test connections among phone numbers, analysts must get approval from one of seven top NSA officials. Listening to the content of calls requires a warrant from a judge.
These privacy protections are poorly understood. Stanford security expert Amy Zegart, who conducted a recent opinion poll, reported on the Lawfare blog that "39% of respondents still erroneously believe (after consistently hearing otherwise from intelligence officials) that the NSA's bulk telephone 'metadata' program includes call content." The only cases so far of NSA officers intentionally violating the rules—other than Edward Snowden—were a dozen cases of agency staff spying on their love interests.
The disclosures by the NSA may begin to set the record straight, but the truth must overcome months of disinformation. Last week, veteran investigative reporter Bob Woodward told Larry King he wished Mr. Snowden "had come to me instead of others, particularly the Guardian" with the documents he took. Mr. Woodward said he would have tried to "sort it out and present it in a coherent way." Instead, "people are confused about whether it's illegal, whether it's bad," Mr. Woodward said, adding, "I certainly wouldn't call him a hero."
This month, new FBI head James Comey told a congressional hearing that the NSA is "obsessed with compliance." Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, recently worried at a Georgetown Law conference that "some of the operators may be reluctant to go up the line and take full advantage of the legal authorities we have" due to the "controversies now swirling."
Before the Snowden leaks put the NSA on the defensive, the agency was making the case for more power to gather anonymous data to identify terrorists. That's the debate we should be having.
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