Tuesday, July 10, 2012

510 Shady companies with ties to Israel wiretap the U.S. for the NSA - James Bamford

Shady companies with ties to Israel wiretap the U.S. for the NSA - James

(1) Michael Howard leads MPs' call for full inquest into the death of
weapons inspector Dr David Kelly
(2) The True Cause of the Death of David Kelly, by Dr. Michael Powers
(3) Whistleblowers prosecuted under espionage laws. Ridenhour prize
honours them
(4) Shady companies with ties to Israel wiretap the U.S. for the NSA -
James Bamford

(1) Michael Howard leads MPs' call for full inquest into the death of
weapons inspector Dr David Kelly


UPDATED: 09:38 GMT, 15 August 2010


Michael Howard leads MPs' call for full inquest into the death of
weapons inspector Dr David Kelly

UPDATED: 09:38 GMT, 15 August 2010

Former Tory leader Michael Howard tonight put himself at the head of a
powerful all-party campaign to force a full inquest into the death of
Ministry of Defence weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

Mr Howard, Conservative leader when the Hutton Report found Dr Kelly
took his own life, said: ‘In view of the growing number of relevant
questions that have arisen and cast doubt on the conclusions reached by
Lord Hutton, I believe it would now be entirely appropriate for a full
inquest to be held.

‘Recent evidence by the first police officer on the scene, together with
new statements by doctors, raise serious questions which should be
considered. This has been on my mind for quite a while and recent events
have crystallised my view.’

Mr Howard, now a leading Tory peer, was backed by Labour leadership
challenger Diane Abbott, two former Labour Defence Ministers who served
in Tony Blair’s Government and a number of senior Tory, Lib Dem and
Labour MPs.

They spoke out amid signs that the Government is prepared to act in
response to the growing demands to resolve questions over the
circumstances of Dr Kelly’s death.

It emerged yesterday that Attorney General Dominic Grieve is ready to
meet the group of senior doctors who last week claimed Dr Kelly could
not have committed suicide in the way described in Lord Hutton’s report.

Mr Grieve has already indicated he is ready to ask the High Court to
order a full inquest if he believes there is sufficient evidence to cast
doubt on Lord Hutton’s verdict.

And Justice Minister Ken Clarke was yesterday urged by a Cabinet
colleague to scrap Labour’s unprecedented 70-year embargo on releasing
Dr Kelly’s medical records, including the results of the post-mortem

‘If we are going to find out how Kelly died, the first requirement is to
allow his medical details to be scrutinised,’ said the Cabinet Minister,
who asked not to be named.

In tomorrow's Mail on Sunday, Dr Michael J. Powers QC, a doctor and
barrister behind the latest demand by medical experts for a full
inquiry, delivers a fresh challenge to Lord Hutton’s account of the way
Dr Kelly is said to have slashed his wrists.

‘A fatal haemorrhage from a severed ulnar artery is so improbable that
more evidence was essential before such a conclusion could be reached,’
says Dr Powers.

Dr Kelly’s body was discovered in woods near his Oxfordshire home in
July 2003, shortly after he was exposed as the source of a BBC news
report questioning Tony Blair’s grounds for war in Iraq.

Unusually, no coroner’s inquest was held into his death. The only
official verdict has come from the Hutton Inquiry, commissioned by Mr
Blair, which concluded that Dr Kelly, 59, died from loss of blood after
cutting his left wrist with a blunt gardening knife and taking an
overdose of co-proxamol, a painkiller commonly used for arthritis.

Critics regarded the report as a ‘whitewash’, crippled by an assumption
from the outset that suicide was the only possible conclusion – and a
desire by the report’s author, Lord Hutton, to spare Dr Kelly’s family
additional distress.

The Mail on Sunday has led the way in reporting experts’ doubts over the
Hutton verdict. We revealed that a close female confidante of Dr Kelly
believed it was impossible for him to have killed himself by slashing
his wrist because his right cutting hand was too weak to slice into
steak. The woman, Mai Pederson, has confirmed this to Mr Grieve.

We also disclosed last year that 13 doctors had mounted a legal
challenge to the finding of suicide on the grounds that a cut to the
ulnar artery, which is small and difficult to access, could not have
caused death. Their 12-page dossier is also now in Mr Grieve’s hands.

And last week, the first interview with the policeman who found Dr
Kelly’s body cast further doubt on the verdict that he died of blood
loss. Detective Constable Graham Coe revealed he had not seen ‘much
blood’ around the body. DC Coe, 63, also said police searched Dr Kelly’s
home the day after his death for papers ‘of a sensitive nature’ about Iraq.

Significantly, the demands for a full inquest now command support from
all sides in Parliament, not just those who opposed the war.

Mr Howard gave full support to the conflict, though later accused Mr
Blair of lying over the reasons for it.

Labour leadership contender Miss Abbott said: ‘When so many doctors have
expressed genuine concerns, I think it would be a good idea to have a
full inquest so we can set this matter to rest once and for all.’

Lord Gilbert, a Defence Minister in the Blair Government, said: ‘If
serious medical people are agitated about the cause of Dr Kelly’s death,
I see no reason why there should not be an inquest to resolve these doubts.’

Fellow former Labour Defence Minister Peter Kilfoyle said: ‘Politicians
who know nothing about medicine have no right to gainsay senior
physicians who say the cause of death in the Hutton Report does not
stack up. An inquest must be approved.’

Senior Labour MP Ann Clwyd, an ardent Labour advocate of the Iraq War,
said: ‘If serious people with no political motive are not satisfied with
the official account, it is fair enough to have an inquest. But we must
take account of the family’s views.’

Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock, a member of the Commons Defence Committee,
said: ‘Dr Kelly was treated appallingly by the last Government. His
death was written off as suicide too hastily and the circumstances of
his death were never fully investigated. If any criminal element was
involved we need to know.’

Tory MP Adam Holloway, an Army captain in the Gulf War, said: ‘We need
to establish the true cause of Dr Kelly’s death.’

However, there is likely to be opposition from Labour figures involved
in the war and its aftermath. They include former Lord Chancellor Lord
Falconer, a close Blair ally. It was he who chose Lord Hutton to
investigate Dr Kelly’s death and who put the 70-year embargo on
releasing his medical records.

A source close to Lord Falconer said: ‘The idea that a coroner’s inquest
could be better than an inquiry led by someone as experienced and as
distinguished as Lord Hutton is not plausible.’

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘The request for the release of Dr
Kelly’s medical papers is currently under consideration.’

David would never have committed suicide in that spot

A distinguished historian and neighbour of Dr David Kelly has added to
the growing clamour for an inquest by declaring he does not believe Dr
Kelly committed suicide.

Count Nikolai Tolstoy said last night that the scientist’s ‘considerate’
character meant he would never have chosen to die in a place where
passers-by were likely to be shocked – particularly when he could easily
have deployed more discreet and effective means of killing himself.

Tolstoy, who is an expert on Celtic mythology and the Second World War,
lives in the Oxfordshire village of Southmoor where the scientist shared
an old farmhouse with his wife, Janice Kelly. Dr Kelly died on nearby
Harrowdown Hill, on a walking route that is widely used by locals.

‘I remember the night of his death very well,’ Tolstoy said last night.
‘There were helicopters flying overhead for hours after the body was found.

‘The general view in the village is that suicide is extremely unlikely.
He used to drink in our local pub and he was a very friendly and
considerate man.

‘I frequently walk past the spot where he died, and he would not have
done something like that in a place where an old lady could have found him.

‘It just seems wholly implausible that he should have chosen to saw away
at his wrist with a blunt knife when there were other means available to
him at home, where his wife kept various drugs for her medical conditions.’

Tolstoy, who stood as a UKIP candidate against David Cameron at the last
Election, believes that Dr Kelly died because he had annoyed Tony
Blair’s Government.

The historian, who is a distant cousin of War And Peace author Leo
Tolstoy, had his own battle with the Establishment in the Eighties when
he was ordered to pay £1.5?million damages to Lord Aldington, after
making claims in a pamphlet accusing the peer of complicity in war crimes.

Tolstoy’s defence against the libel action was seriously hampered when
the Ministry of Defence removed vital papers from the Public Record
Office which Tolstoy needed to fight his case – while Aldington found
his access to war records unimpeded.

‘I was in a similar position when I was attacked by the Establishment
and it didn’t make me feel that way [suicidal],’ Tolstoy added.

‘As Sherlock Holmes said, when you have eliminated the impossible, you
are left with what happened.

‘Presumably the British Government was behind it all. I don’t believe
the theory that Iraqi agents murdered him – how would they have the
means and the opportunity to come into the country?

‘I wouldn’t put anything past the Government, as I know from personal
experience. When the Establishment is threatened, it closes ranks.’

(2) The True Cause of the Death of David Kelly, by Dr. Michael Powers

Subject: Dr. Michael Powers The True Cause of the Death of David Kelly:
From: Paul de Burgh-Day <pdeburgh@harboursat.com.au>
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 20:58:09 +1000

My friends,

All of you but the most recent additions to my list will know of my
interest in the 'suicide' of Dr David Kelly.
The Dr Kelly who raised grave doubts 'correctly as we now know' about
Tony Blairs "Dodgy Dossier" that made it possible to attack Iraq.

At time, Dr Kelly was supposed to have committed suicide. A highly
doubtful proposition!

In this new report and analysis by a legal and medical authority in such
matters, further doubts are raised about the original 'findings'.

The most generous thing I can manage to say is that the official
findings must be seen as highly suspect.
Which leads one to conclude that the probability that Dr Kelly was
eliminated is extremely high.



The True Cause of the Death of David Kelly

By Dr. Michael Powers


April 8, 2012

Dr Kelly was a brilliant man who did his best for his country. We owe it
to him and ourselves to discover the true cause of his death

In this powerfully argued article, doctor and barrister Dr Michael
Powers QC explains why justice demands an inquest is held

Since his untimely death in July 2003, questions have continued to be
raised about the circumstances of Dr David Kelly’s death. Many wonder
whether he really killed himself and speculate that he was murdered. His
sudden death shocked the nation – how could it have happened?

As a specialist practitioner in law and medicine, I feel a
responsibility to the two professions to air my doubts about a case that
bridges both worlds.

Any question of suicide or murder has to follow the determin ation of
the cause of death. To do otherwise risks putting the cart before the
horse. It would, for example, be scientifically and logically unsound to
assume suicide and then to set about finding evidence to prove it.

Before asking whether a deceased himself or a third party put the bullet
in the head, it is necessary to determine first that there was a hole in
the head and secondly that the deceased died because of it.

For 1,000 years, coroners have been investigating sudden, violent and
unnatural deaths. They have got good at it. Suicide used to be a crime
and a finding of self-murder is an unhappy reflection on the victim and
his family and friends.

That is why suicide has to be proved to the same high standard as
murder. It has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased
did the act which killed him with that intention in mind.

The normal inquest process in the case of David Kelly was interrupted by
the order of the Government. Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor at the
time, exercised a rarely used power to require the Oxfordshire coroner
to adjourn his investigation and to give that responsibility to Lord Hutton.

The coroner had the power to compel witnesses to attend and to give
evidence on oath. The Government which took our country to war with Iraq
chose not to give these considerable powers to Lord Hutton.

Although there were 24 days of evidence taken over two-and-a-half
months, the whole of the medical evidence took no more than a half day.
The evidence of the pathologist, toxicologist and forensic biologist can
be read in 30 minutes. No one could say this was a detailed
investigation into the death.

I was trained as a doctor and during my years in medical practice I
often had to pass fine catheters into the radial artery in the wrist.
This is where medics usually feel the pulse. It can even be seen
pulsating in many people. Dr Kelly’s wrists were not slit. Neither
radial artery was cut. This alone is a strange finding in someone who
intends suicide by this method.

Deeper in the wrist on the side of the little finger lies the ulnar
artery. It is not used for catheterisation because it is too small. Yet
Lord Hutton, on the unchallenged evidence of a single pathologist,
concluded that Dr Kelly bled to death from the severance of this single
small artery in the left hand.

No courtroom drama would be complete without critical witnesses being
challenged through the cross-examination process. Like all barristers, I
received a rigorous training in advocacy and, because of its enormous
importance, I take time from my practice to train barristers in this
art. A skilful cross-examination is often the key to ascertaining the truth.

None of this happened in Lord Hutton’s inquiry and witnesses were simply
led through prepared evidence. Reading the transcripts, far from
providing any sense of satisfaction, leaves me with feelings of
frustration. Opportunity after opportunity was lost to pursue answers
until every avenue had been thoroughly explored and every ‘escape route’

At the very end of his evidence, Dr Nicholas Hunt, the pathologist who
had conducted the post-mortem, was asked: ‘Is there anything else you
would like to say concerning the circumstances leading to Dr Kelly’s death?’

Such a question gives the witness who is favourably disposed to the
questioner an open opportunity to go further than his witness statement.
It is NOT a question ever asked in cross-examination as it provides a
free pass to an escape route.

Dr Hunt answered: ‘Nothing I could say as a pathologist, no.’ He is an
experienced expert witness. What on earth did that answer mean? He was
there to give evidence as a pathologist. He knew that. Everyone knew
that. So why did he give that answer? It begged the question whether
there was anything else he knew. Was he concerned about any other
forensic or factual evidence? These questions were never asked.

Hutton focused on the so-called dodgy dossier and the conflict between
the Government and the BBC which, at that time, was more in the public
eye. Because it was taken for granted that Dr Kelly had killed himself,
the medical evidence was insufficiently explored.

In the absence of any bleeding tendency from a clotting deficiency (and
there was no evidence of this) fatal haemorrhage from a severed
ulnarartery is so improbable that more evidence was essential before
such a conclusion could be reached.

If you want to know how much beer has gone from a full pint glass, it is
easy. You can either measure how much has been poured out or measure how
much remains. To be confident, you would measure both. The same approach
should have been adopted in this case.

As it was not, there is no evidence as to whether there was sufficient
haemorrhage from the ulnar artery to cause death. The inquiry fell into
the trap of the circular argument: Dr Kelly died, therefore he must have
lost sufficient blood.

In my work as a barrister I meet many medics, but I have never met a
single doctor who has disagreed with the proposition that it is
extremely improbable that haemorrhage from a single, severed ulnar
artery would ever be a primary cause of death.

Yet this extreme unlikelihood was never explored with Dr Hunt. Whatever
the reason, this was a serious failure of the Hutton Inquiry. It has
understandably led to a suspicion of cover-up.

This could not have been the cause of death, the argument goes. If it
were not the cause, then what did cause his death? Was it something Dr
Kelly did to himself, intending to cause his own death, which has not
yet been discovered? Was it part of some elaborate plan by others to end
his life?

The only way to stop the many theories which abound is for there now to
be a thorough and open investigation by way of a fresh inquest. Surely
the Government realises that the way to foster conspiracy theories is to
be secretive and to resist calls to disclose all the medical evidence.
We should pay tribute to Dr Kelly. He was a brilliant man who did his
best in the service of this country. He deserves our gratitude and
respect. We owe it to him and ourselves to ensure the true cause of his
death is ascertained.

Dr Michael J. Powers QC is a barrister specialising in medical causation
and a Fellow of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine of the Royal
College of Physicians to which he is an appointed examiner.

(3) Whistleblowers prosecuted under espionage laws. Ridenhour prize
honours them

From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)"
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2012 16:05:42 -0400

The Obama administration's disturbing treatment of whistleblowers.

Obama has shown a hostility to whistleblowers that exceeds that shown by
President Bush. Democrats should be concerned

Paul Harris, Wednesday April 11 2012, guardian.co.uk


Later this month six Americans will be honoured with a Ridenhour prize
which celebrates truth-telling in the public interest.

They are a varied bunch. Eileen Foster helped expose systemic fraud at
America's largest mortgage provider Countywide Financial. Lt Col Daniel
Davis spoke out against the top brass's portrayal of US military actions
in Afghanistan while he was still a serving soldier. Author Ali Soufan
wrote The Black Banners, a history of Al-Qaida. The two makers of Semper
Fi a documentary about a Marine's investigation into the death of his
daughter gets a Ridenhour for film and Congressman John Lewis ? a hero
of the Civil Rights struggle gets a courage award.

All spoke out even when the forces arrayed against them were large,
powerful, or questioned their motives and patriotism. That should be
something that the Barack Obama administration would celebrate. After
all, this is a White House that once vowed to protect whistleblowers
when it drew up its transition agenda. "Such acts of courage and
patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer
dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled," the document said as
Obama prepared to take power.

But that was then. This is now.

Over the past three and a half years the Obama White House has instead
shown a ferocious hostility to many whistleblowers and earned itself the
ire of progressive columnists like Salon's Glenn Greenwald and
whistleblower defence groups like the Project on Government Oversight
and the Government Accountability Project.

Danielle Brian, of the PGO, has said the US department of justice in the
Obama administration "sent a clear of message of fear and intimidation"
to whistleblowers in the national security field. This is how the GAP's
Jesselyn Raddack herself a former whistleblower at the DoJ put it:
"While the Bush administration treated whistleblowers unmercifully, the
Obama administration has been far worse. It is actually prosecuting
them," she wrote recently.

To do that it is using the bluntest of tools: the Espionage Act, a first
world war-era law intended to combat the threat from spies, not internal
dissenters. So far six whistleblowers have been charged under the
draconian law with the last one CIA veteran John Kiriakou being indicted
on 3 April.

Kiriakou, who was a counter-terrorism expert in Pakistan and helped
capture senior Al-Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah, has been a vocal critic
of waterboarding. He spoke to journalists and wrote a book about it,
calling it torture and exposing it as a deliberate policy, rather than
the actions of a few rogues. Now a hefty jail term could be his reward.

Others, from across a spectrum of government departments, include people
who have exposed wrongdoing at the National Security Agency or fears at
the FBI that Israel might attack Iran. Another at the state department
spoke out about North Korean nukes and, of course, there is the
suspected WikiLeaks source, army private Bradley Manning.

Defenders of Obama's record on these whistleblowers point to a national
security defence and say they actively encourage people to speak out
about wrongdoing elsewhere. Whistleblowing may be one thing, they say,
but intelligence leaking is another. Every government has a right to
protect its secrets. But one can also point to other areas where the
Obama administration has shown a love of secrecy that should shame the
Democrats who slammed President George Bush for a similar attitude.

For example, the Food and Drug Administration is being sued by current
and former employees who say it started monitoring their private emails
after they complained that approved medical devices might be risky. Or
consider Obama's signing of a new defence law called the NDAA which
critics have said defines illegal support of terrorists so broadly that
journalists could be swept up in it by interviewing sources at radical
groups. A group of writers and activists, including a Pulitzer
prize-winning former New York Times reporter, have already gone to court
in New York arguing the NDAA is chilling free speech around the globe.

Perhaps the Obama administration should perhaps remember who the
Ridenhour prizes are named after. That is Ron Ridenhour, a Vietnam
veteran who, while on active duty, investigated disturbing rumours of a
terrible war crime by US soldiers. He then wrote to Congress to reveal
an event that caused headlines around the world: the massacre at My Lai.
Many in the Obama White House would agree that Ridenhour was a real
American hero. But if he did what he did today, in Iraq or Afghanistan,
just as Kiriakou has done, maybe they would prosecute him.

Readers respond:

The Obama administration has shown a love of secrecy that should shame
the Democrats who slammed President George Bush for a similar attitude.
It should shame the Democrats, yes, but it doesn't. It's all about
partisanship and winning points for your team; trashing the country is
fine when the alternative is trashing your team's popularity.

Bradley Manning is a whistleblower who acted out of conscience when he
discovered evidence of war crimes. He released this evidence to
Wikileaks, including the 'Collateral Murder' videotape, which showed
civilians and journalists (and even children) being shot and killed by
trigger happy soldiers firing from a black hawk helicopter (light 'em
up, light 'em all up). He also revealed the US policy of not reporting
torture done by the Iraqi's to those 'detainees' handed over to
them--this in violation of the Geneva Convention regarding treatment of
prisoners. This and other evidence was given to Wikileaks in hope that
this info would lead to reform and an end to the war and the war crimes
being committed. However, neither Obama nor the Pentagon is interested
in anything other than blindly going forward with a disastrous and
criminal war agenda. Obama even said on camera that Manning 'broke the
law'--this before he was even charged let alone tried. If this does not
disappoint, I don't know what would.

(4) Shady companies with ties to Israel wiretap the U.S. for the NSA -
James Bamford

From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)"
Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2012 13:42:57 -0400

Shady Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA

By James Bamford

Wired Magazine, April 3, 2012


By James Bamford April 3, 2012 | 6:30 am | Categories: NSA Email

Army General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, is having a busy
year — hopping around the country, cutting ribbons at secret bases and
bringing to life the agency’s greatly expanded eavesdropping network.

In January he dedicated the new $358 million CAPT Joseph J. Rochefort
Building at NSA Hawaii, and in March he unveiled the 604,000-square-foot
John Whitelaw Building at NSA Georgia.

Designed to house about 4,000 earphone-clad intercept operators,
analysts and other specialists, many of them employed by private
contractors, it will have a 2,800-square-foot fitness center open 24/7,
47 conference rooms and VTCs, and “22 caves,” according to an NSA
brochure from the event. No television news cameras were allowed within
two miles of the ceremony.

Overseas, Menwith Hill, the NSA’s giant satellite listening post in
Yorkshire, England that sports 33 giant dome-covered eavesdropping
dishes, is also undergoing a multi-million-dollar expansion, with $68
million alone being spent on a generator plant to provide power for new
supercomputers. And the number of people employed on the base, many of
them employees of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, is due to
increase from 1,800 to 2,500 in 2015, according to a study done in
Britain. Closer to home, in May, Fort Meade will close its 27-hole golf
course to make room for a massive $2 billion, 1.8-million-square-foot
expansion of the NSA’s headquarters, including a cybercommand complex
and a new supercomputer center expected to cost nearly $1 billion.

The climax, however, will be the opening next year of the NSA’s mammoth
1-million-square-foot, $2 billion Utah Data Center. The centerpiece in
the agency’s decade-long building boom, it will be the “cloud” where the
trillions of millions of intercepted phone calls, e-mails, and data
trails will reside, to be scrutinized by distant analysts over highly
encrypted fiber-optic links.

Despite the post-9/11 warrantless wiretapping of Americans, the NSA says
that citizens should trust it not to abuse its growing power and that it
takes the Constitution and the nation’s privacy laws seriously.

But one of the agency’s biggest secrets is just how careless it is with
that ocean of very private and very personal communications, much of it
to and from Americans. Increasingly, obscure and questionable
contractors — not government employees — install the taps, run the
agency’s eavesdropping infrastructure, and do the listening and analysis.

And with some of the key companies building the U.S.’s surveillance
infrastructure for the digital age employing unstable employees, crooked
executives, and having troubling ties to foreign intelligence services,
it’s not clear that Americans should trust the secretive agency, even if
its current agency chief claims he doesn’t approve of extrajudicial
spying on Americans. His predecessor, General Michael V. Hayden, made
similar claims while secretly conducting the warrantless wiretapping

Until now, the actual mechanics of how the agency constructed its highly
secret U.S. eavesdropping net, code-named Stellar Wind, has never been
revealed. But in the weeks following 9/11, as the agency and the White
House agreed to secretly ignore U.S. privacy laws and bypass the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Court, J. Kirk Wiebe noticed something odd. A
senior analyst, he was serving as chief of staff for the agency’s
Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center (SARC), a sort of
skunkworks within the agency where bureaucratic rules were broken, red
tape was cut, and innovation was expected.

“One day I notice out in the hallway, stacks and stacks of new servers
in boxes just lined up,” he said.

Passing by the piles of new Dell 1750 servers, Wiebe, as he often did,
headed for the Situation Room, which dealt with threat warnings. It was
located within the SARC’s Lab, on the third floor of Operations Building
2B, a few floors directly below the director’s office. “I walk in and I
almost get thrown out by a guy that we knew named Ben Gunn,” he said. It
was the launch of Stellar Wind and only a handful of agency officials
were let in on the secret.

“He was the one who organized it,” said Bill Binney of Gunn. A former
founder and co-director of SARC, Binney was the agency official
responsible for automating much of the NSA’s worldwide monitoring
networks. Troubled by the unconstitutional nature of tapping into the
vast domestic communications system without a warrant, he decided to
quit the agency in late 2001 after nearly forty years.

Gunn, said Binney, was a Scotsman and naturalized U.S. citizen who had
formerly worked for GCHQ, Britain’s equivalent of the NSA, and later
become a senior analyst at the NSA. The NSA declined Wired’s request to
interview Gunn, saying that, as policy, it doesn’t confirm or deny if a
person is employed by the agency.

Shortly after the secret meeting, the racks of Dell servers were moved
to a room down the hall, behind a door with a red seal indicating only
those specially cleared for the highly compartmented project could
enter. But rather than having NSA employees putting the hardware and
software together and setting up walls of monitors showing suspected
terrorism threats and their U.S. communications, the spying room was
filled with a half-dozen employees of a tiny mom-and-pop company with a
bizarre and troubling history.

“It was Technology Development Corporation,” said Binney.

The agency went to TDC, he says, because the company had helped him set
up a similar network in SARC — albeit one that was focused on foreign
and international communications — the kind of spying the NSA is
chartered to undertake.

“They needed to have somebody who knew how the code works to set it up,”
he said. “And then it was just a matter of feeding in the attributes
[U.S. phone numbers, e-mail addresses and personal data] and any of the
content you want.” Those “attributes” came from secret rooms established
in large telecom switches around the country. “I think there’s 10 to 20
of them,” Binney says.

Formed in April 1984, TDC was owned by two brothers, Randall and Paul
Jacobson, and largely run out of Randall’s Clarkesville, Maryland house,
with his wife acting as bookkeeper. But its listed address is a post
office box in Annapolis Junction, across the Baltimore-Washington
Parkway from the NSA, and the company’s phone number in various business
directories is actually an NSA number in Binney’s old office.

The company’s troubles began in June 1992 when Paul lost his security
clearance. “If you ever met this guy, you would know he’s a really
strange guy,” Binney said of Paul. “He did crazy stuff. I think they
thought he was unstable.” At the time, Paul was working on a contract at
the NSA alongside a rival contractor, Unisys Corporation. He later
blamed Unisys for his security problems and sued it, claiming that
Unisys employees complained about him to his NSA supervisors. According
to the suit, Unisys employees referred to him as “weird” and that he
“acted like a robot,” “never wore decent clothes,” and was mentally and
emotionally unstable. About that time, he also began changing his name,
first to Jimmy Carter, and later to Alfred Olympus von Ronsdorf.

With “von Ronsdorf’s” clearance gone and no longer able to work at the
NSA, Randy Jacobson ran the company alone, though he kept his brother
and fellow shareholder employed in the company, which led to additional

“What happened was Randy still let him have access to the funds of the
company and he squandered them,” according to Binney. “It was so bad,
Randy couldn’t pay the people who were working for him.” According to
court records, Ronsdorf allegedly withdrew about $100,000 in
unauthorized payments. But Jacobson had troubles of his own, having
failed to file any income tax statements for three years in the 1990s,
according to tax court records. Then in March 2002, around the time the
company was completing Stellar Wind, Jacobson fired his brother for
improper billing and conversion of company funds. That led to years of
suits and countersuits over mismanagement and company ownership.

Despite that drama, Jacobson and his people appeared to have serious
misgivings about the NSA’s program once they discovered its true nature,
according to Binney. “They came and said, ‘Do you realize what these
people are doing?’” he said. “‘They’re feeding us other stuff [U.S.] in
there.’ I mean they knew it was unconstitutional right away.” Binney
added that once the job was finished, the NSA turned to still another
contractor to run the tapping operation. “They made it pretty well
known, so after they got it up and running they [the NSA] brought in the
SAIC people to run it after that.” Jacobsen was then shifted to other
work at the NSA, where he and his company are still employed.

Randall Jacobsen answered his phone inside the NSA but asked for time to
respond. He never called back.

In addition to constructing the Stellar Wind center, and then running
the operation, secretive contractors with questionable histories and
little oversight were also used to do the actual bugging of the entire
U.S. telecommunications network.

According to a former Verizon employee briefed on the program, Verint,
owned by Comverse Technology, taps the communication lines at Verizon,
which I first reported in my book The Shadow Factory in 2008. Verint did
not return a call seeking comment, while Verizon said it does not
comment on such matters.

At AT&T the wiretapping rooms are powered by software and hardware from
Narus, now owned by Boeing, a discovery made by AT&T whistleblower Mark
Klein in 2004. Narus did not return a call seeking comment.

What is especially troubling is that both companies have had extensive
ties to Israel, as well as links to that country’s intelligence service,
a country with a long and aggressive history of spying on the U.S.

In fact, according to Binney, the advanced analytical and data mining
software the NSA had developed for both its worldwide and international
eavesdropping operations was secretly passed to Israel by a mid-level
employee, apparently with close connections to the country. The
employee, a technical director in the Operations Directorate, “who was a
very strong supporter of Israel,” said Binney, “gave, unbeknownst to us,
he gave the software that we had, doing these fast rates, to the Israelis.”

Because of his position, it was something Binney should have been
alerted to, but wasn’t.

“In addition to being the technical director,” he said, “I was the chair
of the TAP, it’s the Technical Advisory Panel, the foreign relations
council. We’re supposed to know what all these foreign countries,
technically what they’re doing…. They didn’t do this that way, it was
under the table.” After discovering the secret transfer of the
technology, Binney argued that the agency simply pass it to them
officially, and in that way get something in return, such as access to
communications terminals. “So we gave it to them for switches,” he said.
“For access.”

But Binney now suspects that Israeli intelligence in turn passed the
technology on to Israeli companies who operate in countries around the
world, including the U.S. In return, the companies could act as
extensions of Israeli intelligence and pass critical military, economic
and diplomatic information back to them. “And then five years later,
four or five years later, you see a Narus device,” he said. “I think
there’s a connection there, we don’t know for sure.”

Narus was formed in Israel in November 1997 by six Israelis with much of
its money coming from Walden Israel, an Israeli venture capital company.
Its founder and former chairman, Ori Cohen, once told Israel’s Fortune
Magazine that his partners have done technology work for Israeli
intelligence. And among the five founders was Stanislav Khirman, a
husky, bearded Russian who had previously worked for Elta Systems, Inc.
A division of Israel Aerospace Industries, Ltd., Elta specializes in
developing advanced eavesdropping systems for Israeli defense and
intelligence organizations. At Narus, Khirman became the chief
technology officer.

A few years ago, Narus boasted that it is “known for its ability to
capture and collect data from the largest networks around the world.”
The company says its equipment is capable of “providing unparalleled
monitoring and intercept capabilities to service providers and
government organizations around the world” and that “Anything that comes
through [an Internet protocol network], we can record. We can
reconstruct all of their e-mails, along with attachments, see what Web
pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice over Internet
Protocol] calls.”

Like Narus, Verint was founded by in Israel by Israelis, including Jacob
“Kobi” Alexander, a former Israeli intelligence officer. Some 800
employees work for Verint, including 350 who are based in Israel,
primarily working in research and development and operations, according
to the Jerusalem Post. Among its products is STAR-GATE, which according
to the company’s sales literature, lets “service providers … access
communications on virtually any type of network, retain communication
data for as long as required, and query and deliver content and data …”
and was “[d]esigned to manage vast numbers of targets, concurrent
sessions, call data records, and communications.”

In a rare and candid admission to Forbes, Retired Brig. Gen. Hanan
Gefen, a former commander of the highly secret Unit 8200, Israel’s NSA,
noted his former organization’s influence on Comverse, which owns
Verint, as well as other Israeli companies that dominate the U.S.
eavesdropping and surveillance market. “Take NICE, Comverse and Check
Point for example, three of the largest high-tech companies, which were
all directly influenced by 8200 technology,” said Gefen. “Check Point
was founded by Unit alumni. Comverse’s main product, the Logger, is
based on the Unit’s technology.”

According to a former chief of Unit 8200, both the veterans of the group
and much of the high-tech intelligence equipment they developed are now
employed in high-tech firms around the world. “Cautious estimates
indicate that in the past few years,” he told a reporter for the Israeli
newspaper Ha’artez in 2000, “Unit 8200 veterans have set up some 30 to
40 high-tech companies, including 5 to 10 that were floated on Wall
Street.” Referred to only as “Brigadier General B,” he added, “This
correlation between serving in the intelligence Unit 8200 and starting
successful high-tech companies is not coincidental: Many of the
technologies in use around the world and developed in Israel were
originally military technologies and were developed and improved by Unit

Equally troubling is the issue of corruption. Kobi Alexander, the
founder and former chairman of Verint, is now a fugitive, wanted by the
FBI on nearly three dozen charges of fraud, theft, lying, bribery, money
laundering and other crimes. And two of his top associates at Comverse,
Chief Financial Officer David Kreinberg and former General Counsel
William F. Sorin, were also indicted in the scheme and later pleaded
guilty, with both serving time in prison and paying millions of dollars
in fines and penalties.

When asked about these contractors, the NSA declined to “verify the
allegations made.”

But the NSA did “eagerly offer” that it “ensures deliberate and
appropriate measures are taken to thoroughly investigate and resolve any
legitimate complaints or allegations of misconduct or illegal activity”
and “takes seriously its obligation to adhere to the U.S. Constitution
and comply with the U.S. laws and regulations that govern our activities.”

The NSA also added that “we are proud of the work we do to protect the
nation, and allegations implying that there is inappropriate monitoring
of American communications are a disservice to the American public and
to the NSA civilian and military personnel who are dedicated to serving
their country.”

However, that statement elides the voluminous reporting by the New York
Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and Wired on the
NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. Also not reflected is that in the
only anti-warrantless wiretapping lawsuit to survive the government’s
use of the “state secrets” privilege to throw them out, a federal judge
ruled that two American lawyers had been spied on illegally by the
government and were entitled to compensation.

So take the NSA’s assurances as you will.

But as NSA director Alexander flies around the country, scissors in
hand, opening one top-secret, outsourced eavesdropping center after
another, someone might want to ask the question no one in Congress seems
willing to ask: Who’s listening to the listeners?

James Bamford is the author of the The Shadow Factory: the Ultra-Secret
NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America.

No comments:

Post a Comment