RE: Mil Grappling w/ CyberWar + NEW WashPost on Echelon
Sun, 14 Nov 1999 17:52:44 +0700
"VICEArchIves@ParadoxCafe.Com" <VICE@ParadoxCafe.Com>, <Action@ParadoxCafe.Com>
[: hacktivism :]
Re. Chuck0's [rhetorical?] question, "Is this typical disinformation from the Post?", re
Is the Bear Catholic? Does the Pope shit in the woods? We'd reckon the PentaGone got their legal AD.VICE a tad late and thought it's
best to keep all InfoWar efforts under wraps all the same.
Mea Culpa: We haven't been able to keep up with the posts here. We DOD'd (Data OverDosed) long ago.
But, speaking of the Washington Post, and remembering why we came to this phorum, ie, re Echelon, we pasted a another spiel from the
WP that might interest folks here (below our eSig). It's by James Bamford, author of "The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most
Secret Agency", who's reported to
be working on a new book about the NSA. Anybody got an Url for him?
Interested in whatever responses or considered thots you all might have.
All the best,
I don't wanna get dusted over a typo [sic] It would be embarrassing.
-- Ivanova (A Day in the Strife), paraphrased
Vietnam Information Communications & Education (VICE) Consulting
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This is not a VICE -> -8 VICE Consulting - Clamp Down
Loud and Clear:
The most secret of secret agencies operates under outdated laws.
By James Bamford, Sunday, November 14, 1999; Page B01
On the Yorkshire moors in northern England, dozens of enormous white
globes sit like a moon base, each one hiding a dish-shaped antenna
aimed at a satellite. Acres of buildings house advanced computers and
receiving equipment, while tall fences and roving guards keep the
curious at a distance. Known as Menwith Hill station, it is one of
the most secret pieces of real estate on Earth. It is also becoming
one of the most controversial.
For decades, Menwith Hill has been the key link in a worldwide
eavesdropping network operated by America's super-secret National
Security Agency (NSA), the agency responsible, among other things,
for electronic surveillance and code breaking. It is the NSA's
largest listening post anywhere in the world. During the Cold War,
the station played a major role in the West's ability to monitor the
diplomatic, military and commercial communication behind the Iron
Curtain. But rather than shrinking in the decade since the fall of
the Berlin Wall, Menwith Hill has grown.
People in Europe and the United States are beginning to ask why. Has
the NSA turned from eavesdropping on the communists to eavesdropping
on businesses and private citizens in Europe and the United States?
The concerns have arisen because of the existence of a sophisticated
network linking the NSA and the spy agencies of several other
nations. The NSA will not confirm the existence of the project,
The allegations are serious. A report by the European Parliament has
gone so far as to say "within Europe all e-mail, telephone and fax
communications are routinely intercepted" by the NSA. As one of the
few outsiders who have followed the agency for years, I think the
concerns are overblown--so far. Based on everything I know about the
agency, and countless conversations with current and former NSA
personnel, I am certain that the NSA is not overstepping its mandate.
But that doesn't mean it won't.
My real concern is that the technologies it is developing behind
closed doors, and the methods that have given rise to such fears,
have given the agency the ability to extend its eavesdropping network
almost without limits. And as the NSA speeds ahead in its development
of satellites and computers powerful enough to sift through mountains
of intercepted data, the federal laws (now a quarter-century old)
that regulate the agency are still at the starting gate. The
communications revolution--and all the new electronic devices
susceptible to monitoring--came long after the primary legislation
governing the NSA.
The controversy comes at an interesting time. Throughout much of the
intelligence community, the cloak of secrecy is being pulled back.
The CIA recently sponsored a well-publicized reunion of former
American spies in Berlin and is planning a public symposium on
intelligence during the Cold War later this month in Texas. Even the
National Reconnaissance Office, once so secret that even its name was
classified, now offers millions of pages of documents and decades of
spy satellite imagery to anyone with the time and interest to review
The NSA is the exception. As more and more questions are being raised
about its activities, the agency is pulling its cloak even tighter.
It is obsessively secretive. Last spring, for the first time, it
denied a routine request for internal procedural information from a
congressional intelligence committee.
Headquartered at Fort Meade, halfway between Washington and
Baltimore, the NSA is by far America's largest spy agency. It has
about 38,000 military and civilian employees around the world; the
CIA, roughly 17,000. The agency's mandate is to monitor
communications and break codes overseas; it also has a limited
domestic role, with targets such as foreign embassies. It can monitor
American citizens suspected of espionage with a warrant from a
special court. It is potentially the most intrusive spy agency. Where
scores of books have been written about the CIA, the only book
exclusively on the NSA is the one I wrote in 1982.
Echelon, which links the NSA to its counterparts in the U.K., Canada,
Australia and New Zealand, amounts to a global listening network.
With it, those agencies are able to sift through great quantities of
communications intercepted by satellites and ground stations around
the world, using computers that search for specific names, words or
Whether the NSA will go too far with Echelon is not an idle question.
In the mid-1970s, the Senate and House Select Committees on
Intelligence were created in part as a result of NSA violations. For
decades, the NSA had secretly and illegally gained access to millions
of private telegrams and telephone calls in the United States. The
agency acted as though the laws that applied to the rest of
government did not apply to it.
Based on the findings of a commission appointed by President Ford,
the Justice Department launched an unusually secret criminal
investigation of the agency, known only to a handful of people.
Senior NSA officials were read Miranda warnings and interrogated. It
was the first time the Justice Department had ever treated an entire
federal agency as a suspect in a criminal investigation. Eventually,
despite finding numerous grounds on which to go forward with
prosecution, Justice attorneys recommended against it. "There is the
specter," said their report, which the government still considers
classified, "in the event of prosecution, that there is likely to be
much 'buck-passing' from subordinate to superior, agency to agency,
agency to board or committee, board or committee to the President,
and from the living to the dead."
As a result of the investigations, Congress in 1978 passed the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which stated in black
and white what the NSA could and could not do. To overcome the NSA's
insistence that its activities were too secret to be discussed before
judges, Congress created a special federal court, the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Court, to hear requests for warrants for
national security eavesdropping. In case the court ever turned down
an NSA request, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Appeals Court
was created. It has never heard a case.
In the more than two decades since the FISA was passed, the law has
remained largely static, while cell phones, e-mail, faxes and the
Internet have come to dominate how we communicate. The point hasn't
been lost on the NSA. Last month, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden,
director of the NSA, gave a speech inside the agency. I was one of
the few outsiders invited to attend. Hayden warned of the "new
challenges" in "information technology" that the agency now faces.
"The scale of change is alarmingly rapid," he said, noting that "the
world now contains 40 million cell phones, 14 million fax machines,
180 million computers, and the Internet doubles every 90 days."
That's not all Hayden acknowledged. He had just returned from
England, he said, where he had met with colleagues at Government
Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain's equivalent of the NSA.
He added that they had renewed a long-standing commitment to work
together. No director had ever spoken publicly of that close
partnership. "We must go back to our roots with GCHQ," Hayden said.
The cooperation between the Echelon countries is worrying. For
decades, these organizations have worked closely together, monitoring
communications and sharing the information gathered. Now, through
Echelon, they are pooling their resources and targets, maximizing the
collection and analysis of intercepted information. Officials from
many of the European Union countries fear that the NSA may be
stealing their companies' economic secrets and passing them on to
American competitors. "We're hoping we can use our position to alert
other parliaments and people throughout the European Union as to
what's going on," Glyn Ford, a member of the European Parliament,
told the BBC. "Hopefully that will lead to a situation where some
proper controls are instituted and that these things are done under
The issue has also caught the attention of the House and Senate
intelligence committees, and the NSA's response has been anything but
reassuring. As part of its normal oversight responsibilities, the
House Select Committee on Intelligence last spring requested from the
NSA a number of legal documents that outline the agency's procedures
for its eavesdropping operations. The agency, in essence, told the
committee to take a hike. It refused to release any of the documents
based on a unique claim of "government attorney-client privilege."
Despite repeated requests by the intelligence committee, the NSA
insisted that those documents "are free from scrutiny by Congress."
Eventually, after months of negotiation, the NSA complied.
It is highly unlikely that Echelon is monitoring everyone everywhere,
as critics claim. It would be impossible for the NSA to capture all
communications. It has had personnel cutbacks in the past five years
as its national security targets have increased in number: North
Korean missile development, nuclear testing in India and Pakistan,
the movement of suspected terrorists and so on. Listening in on
European business to help American corporations would be a very low
priority, and passing secret intercepts to companies would quickly be
Still, the NSA's stonewalling of Congress should serve as a warning
bell. Under Section 502 of the National Security Act of 1947, as
amended, the heads of all U.S. spy agencies are obligated to furnish
"any information or material concerning intelligence activities . . .
which is requested by either of the intelligence committees in order
to carry out its authorized responsibilities." Rep. Porter J. Goss
(R-Fla.), the House committee's chairman and a former CIA officer,
has long argued for a stronger intelligence community, and even he
seemed stunned by the NSA's arrogance. The NSA's behavior, he said,
"would seriously hobble the legislative oversight process
contemplated by the Constitution."
Rather than disappear further from view, the agency should publicly
address these concerns, and the intelligence committees should hold
hearings to update the laws governing the NSA and to close what now
amount to loopholes. For example, the 1978 FISA prohibits the NSA
from using its "electronic surveillance" technology to target
American citizens. But that still leaves open the possibility that
Britain's GCHQ or another foreign agency could target Americans and
turn the data over to the NSA. Another problem is that the FISA
appears not to apply to the NSA's monitoring of the Internet.
While covering such things as "wire" and "radio" communications,
there is no mention of "electronic communications," which is the
legal term for communicating over the Internet as defined by the
Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. Worse, FISA applies
only "under circumstances in which a person has a reasonable
expectation of privacy."
In the recent film, "Enemy of the State," the NSA was portrayed as an
out-of-control agency listening in on unwitting citizens. As the
nation begins a new century, congressional hearings to redefine the
agency's boundaries are the best way to prevent life from imitating
James Bamford, author of "The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's
Most Secret Agency" (Viking Penguin), is working on a new book about
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company
>From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On
>Behalf Of Chuck0
>Sent: Tuesday, 09 Nov 1999 12:08
>Subject: Military Grappling With Guidelines For Cyber Warfare
>[: hacktivism :]
>The hacktivism phorum has now been officially initiated--or lost its
>virginity--with a news story from yesterday's Washington Post on "cyber
>Is this typical disinformation from the Post? Did the military really
>conduct electronic terrorism during the War Against Yugoslavia?
>The most fascinating aspect of this article is how the Washington Post
>bring up the "reluctance" by the Pentagon to conduct "warfare" that
>could have been construed as war crimes. The Post feels comfortable
>talking about hypothetical NATO cyber-war crimes, yet has been unable to
>report on international efforts to charge NATO officials with the more
>mundane variety of war crime.
><sigh> Why am I surprised?
>Military Grappling With Guidelines For Cyber Warfare
>Questions Prevented Use on Yugoslavia
>Dr. Laura is scared of this sig file
>"All the anarchy you'll ever need, organized neatly
>and with reassuring authority."
> -- 1998 Rough Guide to the Internet
>FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL AND LEONARD PELTIER!
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