Archive for the ‘Edward Snowden’ Category

Supreme Court Asked to Look at Warrantless NSA Spying Powers – InsideSources

Digital rights advocates asked the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday to review the case of an American convicted with evidence gathered under FISA Section 702 warrantless National Security Agency surveillance authority meant to spy on foreign nationals.

Privacy and digital rights groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a petition Thursday with the nations highest court seeking review of the case ofMohammed Mohamud, an American citizen who was charged in 2012 with planning to car-bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon. Information used to prosecute Mohamud was gathered using Section 702 of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act.

Section 702 authorizes NSA to tap the physical infrastructure of internet service providers, like fiber connections, to intercept foreign emails, instant messages, and other communications belonging to foreign nationals as they exit and enter the U.S. But according to NSA, the program also incidentally sweeps up the communications of Americans corresponding with, and until recently, merely even mentioning foreign targets.

NSA is legally barred from searching through Americans communications without a warrant, but that wasnt the case with Mohamud. His emails were intercepted specifically by a program dubbed PRISM, the existence of which was leaked to the press by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013. PRISMgives NSA access to communications transmitted over internet edge services like Google, Yahoo, or Facebook.

Mohamud learned after his conviction that his emails were gathered under Section 702 and sought to suppress the evidence, arguing its gathering violated his Fourth Amendment rights against search and seizure without a warrant. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit noted the governments conduct was quite aggressive at times but upheld the search, a move EFF, the Center for Democracy and Technology and New Americas Open Technology Institute call dangerous and unprecedented.

The ruling provides an end-run around the Fourth Amendment, converting sweeping warrantless surveillance directed at foreigners into a tool for spying on Americans, Mark Rumold, a staff attorney for EFF, said Thursday. Section 702 is unlike any surveillance law in our countrys history, it is unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court should take this case to put a stop to this surveillance.

The groups add weight to a Supreme Court petition filed by Mohamuds attorneys in July, and join a long list of battles from the courts to Congress over the legality of Section 702. Wikimedia and the ACLU are suing the government over the use of Section 702 in theFourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Congress has held several hearings this year to debate the laws renewal ahead of its expiration at the end of December.

Section 702 is at the heart of a dispute between Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, the nations top spy chief. Wyden has pressed Coats and his predecessor to provide an estimate of the number of Americans incidentally swept up in Section 702 that both claim is impossible to produce. The senator has further suggested the authority could be used to warrantlessly target Americans directly.

Congresss concerns over Section 702 have become a point of rare bipartisanship for some. Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has fought alongside Wyden to peel back the curtain on Section 702. South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham is grilling intelligence officials for information about what Section 702 gathers on lawmakers and other members of government, and if those intercepts can and are used to politically target government officials like former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

In testimony to Congress intelligence chiefs including NSA Director Mike Rogers have admitted Section 702 programs have a history of compliance issues, some highlighted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves more than 99 percent of the governments secret surveillance requests.

The typically intel-friendly court chastised the government for an institutional lack of candor on a very serious Fourth Amendment issue. One such opinion said NSA has engaged in significant overcollection . . . including the content of communications of non-target U.S. persons and persons in the U.S.

As a result, NSA in April suspended a Section 702 practice known as about collection when NSA sweeps up American emails and text messages exchanged with overseas users that simply mention search terms like an email address belonging to a target but isnt to or from a target.

The agency recently told Congress its working on a technical solution to reengage about collection.

All of the pushback comes as intelligence leaders pressure Congress not just to renew Section 702 but implement it permanently. Top Republicans and Democrats have endorsed the idea, including Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas and Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein of California.

In a recent interview, Snowden said using Section 702 to surveil Americans requires the agency to engage in little more than word games. Privacy advocates suspect the loophole created by Section 702 likelyamounts to millions or even hundreds of millions of warrantless interceptionsbelonging to Americans.

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August 10, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Dispatches from Hell Before Breakfast – The Cipher Brief

Mark Kelton Former Deputy Director for Counterintelligence, CIA National Clandestine Service

President Donald Trump is not the first American public figure to go to war with the press, nor is he the most extreme in his views. Even without benefit of Twitter, the antipathy of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman for the Civil War-era Fourth Estate manifested itself in a memorably vituperative stream of quotes. The American press, he asserted, is a shame and a reproach to a civilized peopleWhen a man is too lazy to work and too cowardly to steal, he becomes an editor and manufactures public opinion.

Defamed as insane by the newspapers, Sherman responded in kind, calling his tormenters a set of dirty newspaper scribblers who have the impudence of Satan. In keeping with that theme of eternal damnation, he reacted with undisguised glee on being (erroneously) told one morning that three journalists had been killed by shellfire. Thats good! he said, Now well have dispatches from hell before breakfast.

While he bridled at personal attacks on him, Sherman reserved particular loathing for those whom he described as defamers of the army and publishers of military secrets. Shermans anger over sensitive material appearing in the press had a basis in fact. Indeed, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee cited information gleaned from careful reading of northern newspapers smuggled south as one of his principal sources of intelligence.

I hate newspapermen, Sherman raged, They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are.

Famous, and infamous, for making Georgia howl during his March to the Sea, Sherman was also merciless in dealing with the press. In the course of the 1863 Vicksburg campaign, Sherman took the unheard-of step of court-martialing New York Herald correspondent Thomas Knox for violating his order that any reporters sending out information that might give information and comfort to the enemy would be arrested and treated as spies. Fortunately for Knox, he was only banished from the Army. A conviction for spying could have earned the reporter a death sentence, an outcome that likely would not have much bothered Sherman.

In his fury over the exposure in the press of secret information, Sherman has much in common with American intelligence officers of today, who are trying to protect secrets, and lives, amidst a deluge of news reports fed by leaks of classified information. An early July 2017 U.S. Senate report concluded that the Trump Administration faces an alarming wave of disclosures of classified data, noting that the number of leaks during the first sixth months of the Trump Presidency was seven times greater than those that occurred during the same period of the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The potential consequences of such disclosures for U.S. national security, not least among them the exposure of intelligence sources and methods and a consequent lack of confidence in the ability of the U.S. to protect secrets provided to it by agents and foreign partners alike, demand that the issue of leaks be addressed with urgency. Failure to plug those holes will cripple the ability of the U.S. to collect and protect intelligence that is essential to dealing effectively with such pressing national security issues as ISIS, North Korea, Russia, Iran, and China.

News reports based upon classified information provided by those frequently described as present and former government officials are clearly calculated to maximize the notice those stories garner and, consequently, the damage they inflict on the current Administration. This is not a novel tactic. As President Reagan once quipped, I decided that what I was going to say I wanted to get a lot of attention, so Im going to wait and leak it.

What is new is a palpable decline in professional discipline among some with access to classified information who appear willing to divulge it for political reasons. Irrespective of motivation, however, the leaking of such information is never justified or justifiable. As President Obama made clear, Theres a reason why these programs are classified. The law makes no allowance for the motives driving those who violate their secrecy oaths in exercises in egotism or pique.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo is surely right in asserting that these revelations are partly a result of the worship of leakers. The once clear line between the criminal act of disclosing classified information and appropriate resort to protected whistleblower status has, sometimes with malice aforethought, been blurred.

The glorification of the traitorous acts of Edward Snowden has engendered confusion among broad swaths of the public (and, apparently, in the minds of some officials) as to what constitutes leaking as opposed to whistleblowing. That whistleblower imprimatur has also been ascribed by some to leakers who have chosen to ignore their professional obligations.

A similar degradation in professionalism has shown itself in the eagerness of some in the media to publish classified information with little or no regard to accepted journalistic standards for vetting that material or for the consequences for U.S. national security. The journalistic practice embodied in such legendary American reporters as Ernie Pyle, an approach that was at once appropriately skeptical but not irresponsibly adversarial regarding the conduct of national security activities and policy, seems to be wholly absent in some of his successors.

There being an inherent tension between secrecy and the democratic principles that are the basis of our republic, the press plays a crucial role in educating and informing citizens about what secret organizations do in their name. It is, however, hard to see how the publishing of intelligence that could help in targeting the leader of ISIS; the disclosure of the purported details of a sensitive counterintelligence investigation; or the outing of an under-cover CIA officer; to cite but a few recent examples, serve any higher purpose than acting as social media click bait.

In such an environment, an intelligence officer (or, in my case, a former officer) receives an unsolicited call or email from a reporter with trepidation. This is so because that officer knows such a contact will likely confront him or her with the probability that information about a classified activity, which the officer may have knowledge, has leaked, and that the reporter is attempting to get the officer to speak about information the latter is sworn to protect.

Intelligence officers, particularly those who have had to make an unsolicited approach to an operational target (the cold call of Cold War spy lore), are often amused by reporters obvious use of familiar elicitation techniques, to include appeals to ego and warnings about the need to set the record straight lest the officers actions or intent be erroneously presented. Yet, however superficially amiable the uninvited contact with a reporter, the intelligence officer never views such a call as a friendly act, as it almost invariably portends the exposure of information that can damage national security, can put at risk lives of people who work with U.S. intelligence or, particularly in the age of terror, can potentially endanger that officer and his or her family.

Sherman judged newspapermen the most contemptible race of men that exist. Having had to dispatch officers to explain to agents why the secrets they passed us appeared in the press, and having seen officers names published despite their requests and those of the CIA to both the journalist and paper involved not to do so, I must confess some sympathy for that view. Indeed, dispatches from hell before breakfast could easily describe stories based upon leaks that appear with alarming regularity in my morning newspaper.

In truth, however, Shermans most contemptible race of men are those who violate their sacred oaths by divulging secret information with which they have been entrusted by the same American people they are sworn to protect. In my experience, leak investigations are notoriously difficult to conduct, much less to prosecute. Nonetheless, for the good of the country, the Trump Administration needs to move aggressively to stem the current torrent of leaks. Putting the heads of a few leakers on pikes (figuratively speaking, of course) would be a good place to start.

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Dispatches from Hell Before Breakfast – The Cipher Brief

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August 10, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Security means knowing your network better than your attackers or your users: ex NSA head – CSO Australia

Australian debate on encryption based on a very thoughtful question about visibility of governments own insider threat

Governments must be held to higher standards than commercial entities when it comes to protecting citizens privacy, a former deputy head of the US National Security Agency has said while noting that increasingly complicated threats have nonetheless necessitated a fresh look at security and privacy.

Few know this better than Chris Inglis, a career US military officer who served as deputy director of the NSA for 8 years and presided over the ignominious mass information leak by Edward Snowden. Snowdens actions which Inglis has previously said showed a lack of courage drew attention onto the NSA and its mass surveillance programs, which eventually led to changes in the NSAs remit and even bigger problems when NSA-developed exploits were this year leveraged to enable the mass WannaCry and Petya malware attacks.

Snowdens compromise, and the significant shift in government transparency that Snowdens revelations about mass surveillance occasioned, has been a defining force in reshaping the information-security dialogue between public and private sectors. Recent years have seen governments in Australia and elsewhere moving to formalise their cybersecurity defences, as well as the rapid maturation of a security community that has tapped novel technologies to respond to the growth in low and slow infiltrations used by malicious insider like Snowden.

Because they are familiar with installed defences, such insiders have proven uniquely able to avoid tripping conventional alarms. And this, says Inglis, has laid out the extent of the problem facing companies and government agencies alike.

Weve got to move from episodic defence at choke points, to a continuous understanding of whats happening on these networks such that we can detect anomalies or bad activities the first time it happens, he explains. Its no longer good enough to react well; you have to anticipate well.

Inglis comments mirror those of Australian government cybersecurity advisor Alistair MacGibbon, who has frequently and publicly called for change in our collective approach to security. Security vendors have been on the same page, with analysts warning years ago that Australian companies are thinking reactively more than in an agile way. This requires engagement from the business yet even as hackers get more professional about their approach to breaching security, some CSOs had struggled to make the same progress in getting the executive support they need.

This had led many companies into a similar situation as the one that Inglis and his peers faced at the NSA where companies find themselves compromised and trying after the fact to figure out where they had gone wrong. With Australian businesses recently ranked as the most likely in the world to deploy data loss prevention tools after a breach rather than before one its a lesson that many companies will continue to learn the hard way.

Inglis, for one, has put his money on user entity behavioural analytics (UEBA) technology that watches users online behaviour on an ongoing basis, quietly searching for behavioural anomalies that might indicate suspicious behaviour by otherwise-trusted users.

Shortly after leaving the NSA, Inglis joined the advisory board of UEBA vendor Securonix, which this month opened shop in Australia to tap into a land rush for ANZ businesses that are shoring up their defences in anticipation of a perfect storm of new legislation and governance requirements they will face in 2018 and beyond.

UEBA is just as important in catching outsiders as it is in catching Snowden-like insiders. Outsiders Holy Grail is to become someone or something that has privileges inside the system, Inglis said. Youre looking for a baseline that says that there is actually a different entity behind this privilege, and you want to catch that to defend the integrity and reputation of the person whose privileges have been stolen.

Once that theft happens, the damage can be considerable and fast. We have put more and more power into the hands of fewer individuals, Inglis said. Computers allow you to have much higher leverage based on a single person; the scope and scale attendant to what somebody can do is now much bigger. And your ability to catch it in time to restore things to good order easily, is much harder.

Varying narratives about Snowdens legacy years later, he remains a traitor to some and a hero to others shouldnt distract from the importance of embracing new technologies to stop what he did, Inglis said, arguing that everything should be on the table at this point.

Despite his call for stronger government oversight, Inglis called for a level-headed approach to the current controversy around the governments plans to force software giants to figure out a way to provide access to otherwise inaccessible communications.

While mass brute-force decryption remains mathematically challenging and the details of how such access might be provided remain sketchy, Inglis said its important to remember that the government is effectively fighting its own insider threat. And while discussion about the mechanisms of such a policy are still in early days, he sees them in large part as an extension of long-standing policy around police access to potential evidence of criminal activity.

The Australian governments push to gain access to secure private messaging was an example of the type of considerations that had to be weighed given the current security climate, Inglis said. The question is whether we can take advantage of the capabilities that are there under the rule of law as it has existed for time immemorial, he explained.

The question now is how do we not force ourselves into a place to choose between one and the other, he said, but to ask the right policy questions and come up with the right framework.

The further question, he continued, is whether you want to begin to alter technology trends so you can continue to have a collective defence with secure domestic and national security and individual rights? The government is held accountable by its citizens to deliver those. Its a very thoughtful question.

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Tags cybersecurity adviser Alistair MacGibbonNational Security AgencyEdward SnowdenPetyaprotecting citizensWannaCryChris Inglismalware attacks

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August 8, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Booz Allen Hamilton’s criminal probe could drag on for years, CEO says – Washington Post

The Department of Justices probe into the billing practices at Booz Allen Hamilton is unlikely to wrap up quickly, the McLean government contracting firms chief executive told analysts Monday.

Horacio Rozanski said the criminal investigation could take years to resolve.

The timeline for resolution remains uncertain, but given the complexity of cost accounting issues and the fact that we are still in the early stages of the investigation, we believe it is more likely to be years than months, Rozanksi said in a call with investors.

The company disclosed on June 15 that it is under federal investigation for the way it handled certain elements of the companys cost accounting and indirect cost charging practices, but has offered little information on the scope of the inquiry or what prompted it. Indirect costs are typically items like general administrative expenses or other overhead that may or may not be allowed under a government contract.

Rozanski emphasized Tuesday that his company is cooperating with the investigation and no charges have yet been brought. He said it is too early to estimate how much the company would spend on legal expenses, and he said the company had not yet set aside funds to deal with the matter.

The lack of clarity has investors worried.

The investigation could be [related to] two accounts out of 10,000 or something widespread that is in all of them. We just dont know, said Brian Ruttenbur, an analyst with Drexel Hamilton

Ruttenbur said the firms stock price has been trading about 5 percent below other firms in its industry, and will likely continue to do so until the issue is resolved. The June 15 revelation that the firm is under criminal investigation was enough to cause the firms stock price to drop by 17.8 percent the following day, erasing most of the stocks post-election gains.

The probe comes as the company is still smarting from allegations that employees Edward Snowden and Harold Martin III were involved in national security leaks.

Rozanski insisted Tuesday that the company has so far seen no impact from the investigation on the companys ability to bid on new contracts or service old ones.

Unless its something like fraud, I dont think this would hurt their business per say, said Cai Von-Rumohr, an analyst with Cowen investment bank. It certainly didnt in the first quarter [of 2017]; their bookings were sensational.

If history is any guide, the financial pain is likely to be small. An analysis of seven similar cases conducted by Cowen investment bank found the firms typically settled for less than $9 million. Thats a relatively small sum for a company as large as Booz Allen, which takes in almost $5.5 billion each year.

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August 8, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Columbia University Announces New, $100000 Data Journalism Program as Industry Embraces Data – MediaFile

One of the nations premiere journalism schools, Columbia University, just announced the creation of a new Master of Science in Data Journalism degree. The degree can be earned in a 12-month, three-semester program, for an estimated cost of $106,000, according to the university.

In a press release announcing the new degree, Dean Steve Coll said, For journalists to carry out their function as watchdogs on power, storytellers and sifters of the truth, they increasingly must understand how to interrogate data and computer code.

Colls words bring to mind some of the biggest stories from recent years, including the Panama Papers, Hillary Clintons leaked emails and the Edward Snowden leaks.

While Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he wants to crack down on leaks coming from the White House, data leaks do not seem to be disappearing from the public eye anytime soon. This June, voter files from Republican data firm Deep Root Analytics were accidentally leaked online. Data leaks are becoming increasingly commonplace; media giant HBO was the victim of a hack just this week.

Few disagree with Columbia Journalism Schools conclusion that, Journalists who understand data and computation will be able to do their jobs more effectively in a world ever more reliant on complicated streams of information. However, some journalists took to Twitter to criticize the programs price tag.

Poynters Benjamin Mullin, in his article about the new degree, asked the relevant question: But is $100,000 really realistic for journalism students who are graduating into a shrinking industry where the median pay is $38,870 per year?

Derek Willis, a data journalist for ProPublica, seemed to defend the programs price tag in a series of tweets. While he acknowledged that there could be cheaper and more efficient routes, he said that journalism education should be producing more specialists (subject or skill) than generalists.

How we teach and value data journalism concerns the entire industry and journalism education, said Willis in an interview with MediaFile.

Data journalism degrees are a new phenomenon in the United States. Only a few schools have graduate programs that incorporate data and journalism Stanford Universitys Graduate Degree in Journalism also focuses on data, and the UC Berkeley New Media Program has a significant data component.

In Europe, these programs are also relatively new. King Juan Carlos University in Madrid started its Data Journalism program back in 2012. Cardiff University, as well as several other United Kingdom schools, offer programs in data journalism.

Despite this progress, the 2017 Global Data Journalism survey found that Most data journalists have a formal education in communication and journalism. A significantly smaller number have university level education in data and computer related disciplines.

Whether it be investigative data journalism like the Panama Papers reporting, political data journalism like the work that FiveThirtyEight and The Upshot put out during the 2016 presidential campaign, or even reporting on data leaks data journalism has become a mainstay in newsrooms across the board.

Back in 2015, Columbia Journalism Schools Emily Bell was featured on a panel at the Paley Center for Media titled The Next Big Thing in Journalism: Follow the Data. At the event, she said: We might continue to be great school for writers but, unless we put data with that, we will not be a very great school for very long.

As data becomes an increasingly integral part of both everyday life and journalism, it may become an expectation that journalists have a background working with data. So while it may be too early to evaluate Columbias new degree and its cost, programs that specialize in data journalism may become more commonand perhaps cheaperas the news industry shifts towards a data-first mindset.

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Columbia University Announces New, $100000 Data Journalism Program as Industry Embraces Data – MediaFile

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August 7, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Subpoena threats for news organizations real, but not new – Constitution Daily (blog)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that the Justice Department is looking at an expanded policy to subpoena more news organizations who publish classified information. So how would this affect journalists First Amendment rights?

“I’ve listened to our career investigators, FBI agents and others, and of prosecutors about how to most successfully investigate and prosecute these matters,” said Sessions on Friday. “At their suggestion, one of the things we are doing is reviewing policies for effecting media subpoenas.”

Sessions specifically pointed to the Washington Posts publication of two telephone conversation transcripts between President Donald Trump and other world leaders. Trump also have criticized the Post and the New York Times for recent reports that contained information from government intelligence sources about the Russia election investigation.

In prior presidential administrations, the federal government has more often gone after people who leaked the information to the press and not the outlets that published it.

The legal protections for publishers who release classified information, but who arent directly involved in illegally obtaining the same information, are based on a series of Supreme Court decisions. In New York Times v. United States (1971), the Court in a 6-3 decision ruled that the First Amendment protected the newspapers right to publish the Pentagon Papers, government documents about the Vietnam War illegally obtained by a private individual and published in the New York Times and Washington Post.

To find that the President has ‘inherent power’ to halt the publication of news … would wipe out the First Amendment and destroy the fundamental liberty and security of the very people the Government hopes to make ‘secure, said Justice Hugo Black. The word ‘security’ is a broad, vague generality whose contours should not be invoked to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment.

However, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press after illegally obtaining them, was charged with six counts of espionage, six for theft, and one for conspiracy. Although his prosecution ultimately ended in a mistrial due to government misconduct, it was clear that Court didnt believe the First Amendment excused illegal activity, even if it furthered a journalistic interest.

In another case, the Court said in Bartnicki v. Vopper (2001) that a radio commentator who broadcast a phone conversation illegally obtained by another person was protected by the First Amendment. The phone conversation was about public school union negotiations and potential violence related to them. Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said, a stranger’s illegal conduct does not suffice to remove the First Amendment shield from speech about a matter of public concern.

While the press may enjoy a broad protection against prosecution for publishing third-party content, the people who are found to be the leakers dont. For example, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was charged with two crimes under the Espionage Act for stealing classified information and passing it on to publishers. Today, he is staying in Russia living in virtual exile. In 2013, former Army private Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years for giving more than 700,000 documents to Wikileaks. (Mannings sentence was later commuted by President Barack Obama.)

Reporters who also publish classified information may also be compelled by a court to reveal their sources based on the location of the court action, especially if the case is in the federal court system.

In the Supreme Courts Branzburg v. Hayes decision from 1972, the Court found that the First Amendment does not relieve a newspaper reporter of the obligation that all citizens have to respond to a grand jury subpoena and answer questions relevant to a criminal investigation, and therefore the Amendment does not afford him a constitutional testimonial privilege for an agreement he makes to conceal facts relevant to a grand jury’s investigation of a crime or to conceal the criminal conduct of his source or evidence. The Branzburg decision did allow for states to pass their own shield laws to protect reporters from revealing sources; a federal shield law doesnt exist.

Justice Byron White wrote the majority opinion in the 5-4 Branzburg decision, but it was a concurring opinion from Justice Lewis Powell that led to a greater movement toward state shield laws. Powell believed courts should balance the governments need for information with a journalists right to protect sources.

In a high-profile case, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller spent about three months in jail in 2005 after she refused to reveal a source of a White House leak and was found in contempt by a federal judge.

And journalists who actively take part in an illegal activity to acquire information dont usually enjoy legal protections. In 1999, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found that ABC reporters who applied for jobs at a grocery chain to investigate food safety violations were guilty of trespassing. The Fourth Circuit said that even though the publication of the story was in the public interest, the press has no special immunity from the application of general laws.

So while the federal government does issue subpoenas to journalists, they are infrequent. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, using Freedom of Information requests, found out they averaged nine per year between 2001 and 2010, and only two of the 21 subpoenas issued between 2007 and 2010 involved disclosing confidential sources.

Scott Bomboy is editor in chief of the National Constitution Center.

Filed Under: First Amendment

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Edward Snowden: Russian crackdown on web freedom is ‘violation of human rights’ – DeathRattleSports.com

Surveillance expert Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency (NSA) analyst turned leaker, has spoken out about the recent spike in internet censorship across Russia and China, saying the incoming ban of VPNs and proxies is a violation of human rights.

On Sunday 30 July, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law which said any technology that could be used to access blacklisted websites including virtual private networks and online anonymisation software will be completely outlawed from 1 November 2017.

Separate legislation will require all messaging applications in the country to be able to identify users through phone numbers after 1 January next year.

Moscow officials argued that the unprecedented move was designed to block access to illegal content and not to restrict the web for law abiding citizens.

Not everyone agreed. Banning the unauthorised use of basic internet security tools makes Russia both less safe and less free. This is a tragedy of policy, Snowden commented on 30 July, via Twitter.

The NSA whistleblower (or criminal leaker, to some) currently lives in Russia with his partner after being granted asylum in 2013.

He continued: If the next generation is to enjoy the online liberties ours did, innocuous traffic must become truly indistinguishable from the sensitive.

Whether enacted by China, Russia, or anyone else, we must be clear this is not a reasonable regulation but a violation of human rights.

The internet clampdown has been teased for months. In late April, it emerged that Russias media watchdog was drafting the legislation to completely prohibit the use of anonymising software.

Firms that fail to abide by the rules would face hefty financial penalties, reports suggested.

And it is now clear the plans were not limited to Russia, with Chinese authorities also talking up moves to bolster its Great Firewall, the state censorship apparatus. In July 2017, Bloomberg reported that access to VPNs would be banned in China from February next year.

VPNs, and web browsing software such as Tor, are able to circumvent censorship and hide identities in a way that makes it difficult for authorities to track the locations of users. In the post-Snowden world, as state-backed spying hit the public consciousness, use of such tools rocketed.

Snowden, who could risk biting the hand that feeds by criticising the Russian state, warned: For [those]working for major firms: note well this spread in China and Russia within the same week. Dont sleep on the trend. US tech giants have, so far, complied with the bans.

Banning the unauthorized use of basic internet security tools makes Russia both less safe and less free. This is a tragedy of policy.

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August 5, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Obama’s ‘War on Leakers’ Was More Aggressive Than Trump’s So Far – Newsweek

The U.S. Justice Department has significantly ramped up its number of leak investigations, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday, more than tripling themcompared with the past three years numbers combined.

Thestatement likely came much to the glee of President Donald Trump. But it was his predecessor, Barack Obama, who charted a course for Trump when it came to leak crackdowns.

Perhaps answering his bosss cries for investigations, Sessions said that at least four people, three of whose cases had not been reported on as of Friday, have already been charged with unlawfully disclosing classified material or with concealing contacts with foreign intelligence officers. He also said the Justice Departmenthad seen a boom in criminal referrals for probes into intelligence agency leaks.

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Referrals for investigations of classified leaks to the Department of Justice from our intelligence agencies have exploded, Sessions said. In the first six months of this administration, DOJ has already received nearly as many criminal referrals involving unauthorized disclosures of classified information as we received in the last three years combined.

To date, only Reality Winner, a 25-year-old federal government contractor accused ofleaking classified information to The Intercept, is known to be facing prosecution. Her trial is set to begin in October.

Sessionss DOJ still has to play catch-up to reach the number of leak investigations from Obamas time.

DOJ prosecutors under the Obama administration pursued nine leak cases, and in May 2013 it was disclosed that federal investigators had surreptitiously seized two months worth of phones records from Associated Press reporters and editors, including home phones and cellphones, The New York Times reported.

Later in 2013, a scathing report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)said the Obama administrations war on leaks had been the worst of its kind since the days of Richard Nixon, who engaged in a cover-up that eventually led to his resignation in 1974.

At the time of the CPJs report, Obamas team had used the Espionage Act, passed in 1917, to kick-start eight prosecutions involving allegations of leakedclassified information, including those against Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Manning was later granted clemency by Obama, before he left office earlier this year, while Snowden remains in exile in Russia.

Though CPJs report did show that the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington set off a major expansion of information deemed to be classifiedstarting with the administration of President George W. BushObamas eight prosecutions far outranked the three Espionage Act prosecutions under every other president before him.

In May 2016, Obama said that many of the cases prosecuted during his time in office actually were holdovers, but according to Politico that proved to be untrue.

Many of the cases that are often lumped into, you know, my ledger, essentially were cases that were brought before we came into office, Obama said to a college newspaper. Some of them are serious, where you had purposeful leaks of information that could harm or threaten operations or individuals who were in the field involved with really sensitive national security issues.

Politico found that of the eight cases, three were from the Bush administration that preceded Obama.

One of those cases involved New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, who in 2005 revealed the National Security Agencys domestic and clandestine surveillance program. Risen also wrote about a CIA operation to disrupt Irans nuclear program in a book published in 2006. Under Obama, the DOJ and Attorney General Eric Holder attempted to force Risen to testify and reveal his source of the classified information.

In December, Risen penned an op-ed forthe Times,and its closing paragraph now seems almost prophetic: Press freedom advocates already fear that under Senator Jeff Sessions, Mr. Trumps choice to be attorney general, the Justice Department will pursue journalists and their sources at least as aggressively as Mr. Obama did.

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Obama’s ‘War on Leakers’ Was More Aggressive Than Trump’s So Far – Newsweek

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Edward Snowden: Russian crackdown on web freedom is ‘violation of human rights’ – International Business Times UK

Surveillance expert Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency (NSA) analyst turned leaker, has spoken out about the recent spike in internet censorship across Russia and China, saying the incoming ban of VPNs and proxies is a “violation of human rights”.

On Sunday 30 July, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law which said any technology that could be used to access blacklisted websites including virtual private networks and online anonymisation software will be completely outlawed from 1 November 2017.

Separate legislation will require all messaging applications in the country to be able to identify users through phone numbers after 1 January next year.

Moscow officials argued that the unprecedented move was designed to block access to illegal content and not to restrict the web for law abiding citizens.

Not everyone agreed. “Banning the ‘unauthorised’ use of basic internet security tools makes Russia both less safe and less free. This is a tragedy of policy,” Snowden commented on 30 July, via Twitter.

The NSA whistleblower (or criminal leaker, to some) currently lives in Russia with his partner after being granted asylum in 2013.

He continued: “If the next generation is to enjoy the online liberties ours did, innocuous traffic must become truly indistinguishable from the sensitive.

“Whether enacted by China, Russia, or anyone else, we must be clear this is not a reasonable ‘regulation’ but a violation of human rights.”

The internet clampdown has been teased for months. In late April, it emerged that Russia’s media watchdog was drafting the legislation to “completely prohibit” the use of anonymising software.

Firms that fail to abide by the rules would face hefty financial penalties, reports suggested.

And it is now clear the plans were not limited to Russia, with Chinese authorities also talking up moves to bolster its Great Firewall, the state censorship apparatus. In July 2017, Bloomberg reported that access to VPNs would be banned in China from February next year.

VPNs, and web browsing software such as Tor, are able to circumvent censorship and hide identities in a way that makes it difficult for authorities to track the locations of users. In the post-Snowden world, as state-backed spying hit the public consciousness, use of such tools rocketed.

Snowden, who could risk biting the hand that feeds by criticising the Russian state, warned: “For [those] working for major firms: note well this spread in China and Russia within the same week. Don’t sleep on the trend.” US tech giants have, so far, complied with the bans.

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Edward Snowden: Russian crackdown on web freedom is ‘violation of human rights’ – International Business Times UK

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Supreme Court Asked to Look at Warrantless NSA Spying Powers – InsideSources

Digital rights advocates asked the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday to review the case of an American convicted with evidence gathered under FISA Section 702 warrantless National Security Agency surveillance authority meant to spy on foreign nationals. Privacy and digital rights groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a petition Thursday with the nations highest court seeking review of the case ofMohammed Mohamud, an American citizen who was charged in 2012 with planning to car-bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon. Information used to prosecute Mohamud was gathered using Section 702 of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act. Section 702 authorizes NSA to tap the physical infrastructure of internet service providers, like fiber connections, to intercept foreign emails, instant messages, and other communications belonging to foreign nationals as they exit and enter the U.S. But according to NSA, the program also incidentally sweeps up the communications of Americans corresponding with, and until recently, merely even mentioning foreign targets. NSA is legally barred from searching through Americans communications without a warrant, but that wasnt the case with Mohamud. His emails were intercepted specifically by a program dubbed PRISM, the existence of which was leaked to the press by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013. PRISMgives NSA access to communications transmitted over internet edge services like Google, Yahoo, or Facebook. Mohamud learned after his conviction that his emails were gathered under Section 702 and sought to suppress the evidence, arguing its gathering violated his Fourth Amendment rights against search and seizure without a warrant. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit noted the governments conduct was quite aggressive at times but upheld the search, a move EFF, the Center for Democracy and Technology and New Americas Open Technology Institute call dangerous and unprecedented. The ruling provides an end-run around the Fourth Amendment, converting sweeping warrantless surveillance directed at foreigners into a tool for spying on Americans, Mark Rumold, a staff attorney for EFF, said Thursday. Section 702 is unlike any surveillance law in our countrys history, it is unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court should take this case to put a stop to this surveillance. The groups add weight to a Supreme Court petition filed by Mohamuds attorneys in July, and join a long list of battles from the courts to Congress over the legality of Section 702. Wikimedia and the ACLU are suing the government over the use of Section 702 in theFourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Congress has held several hearings this year to debate the laws renewal ahead of its expiration at the end of December. Section 702 is at the heart of a dispute between Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, the nations top spy chief. Wyden has pressed Coats and his predecessor to provide an estimate of the number of Americans incidentally swept up in Section 702 that both claim is impossible to produce. The senator has further suggested the authority could be used to warrantlessly target Americans directly. Congresss concerns over Section 702 have become a point of rare bipartisanship for some. Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has fought alongside Wyden to peel back the curtain on Section 702. South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham is grilling intelligence officials for information about what Section 702 gathers on lawmakers and other members of government, and if those intercepts can and are used to politically target government officials like former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. In testimony to Congress intelligence chiefs including NSA Director Mike Rogers have admitted Section 702 programs have a history of compliance issues, some highlighted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves more than 99 percent of the governments secret surveillance requests. The typically intel-friendly court chastised the government for an institutional lack of candor on a very serious Fourth Amendment issue. One such opinion said NSA has engaged in significant overcollection . . . including the content of communications of non-target U.S. persons and persons in the U.S. As a result, NSA in April suspended a Section 702 practice known as about collection when NSA sweeps up American emails and text messages exchanged with overseas users that simply mention search terms like an email address belonging to a target but isnt to or from a target. The agency recently told Congress its working on a technical solution to reengage about collection. All of the pushback comes as intelligence leaders pressure Congress not just to renew Section 702 but implement it permanently. Top Republicans and Democrats have endorsed the idea, including Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas and Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein of California. In a recent interview, Snowden said using Section 702 to surveil Americans requires the agency to engage in little more than word games. Privacy advocates suspect the loophole created by Section 702 likelyamounts to millions or even hundreds of millions of warrantless interceptionsbelonging to Americans. Follow Giuseppe on Twitter

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Dispatches from Hell Before Breakfast – The Cipher Brief

Mark Kelton Former Deputy Director for Counterintelligence, CIA National Clandestine Service President Donald Trump is not the first American public figure to go to war with the press, nor is he the most extreme in his views. Even without benefit of Twitter, the antipathy of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman for the Civil War-era Fourth Estate manifested itself in a memorably vituperative stream of quotes. The American press, he asserted, is a shame and a reproach to a civilized peopleWhen a man is too lazy to work and too cowardly to steal, he becomes an editor and manufactures public opinion. Defamed as insane by the newspapers, Sherman responded in kind, calling his tormenters a set of dirty newspaper scribblers who have the impudence of Satan. In keeping with that theme of eternal damnation, he reacted with undisguised glee on being (erroneously) told one morning that three journalists had been killed by shellfire. Thats good! he said, Now well have dispatches from hell before breakfast. While he bridled at personal attacks on him, Sherman reserved particular loathing for those whom he described as defamers of the army and publishers of military secrets. Shermans anger over sensitive material appearing in the press had a basis in fact. Indeed, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee cited information gleaned from careful reading of northern newspapers smuggled south as one of his principal sources of intelligence. I hate newspapermen, Sherman raged, They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. Famous, and infamous, for making Georgia howl during his March to the Sea, Sherman was also merciless in dealing with the press. In the course of the 1863 Vicksburg campaign, Sherman took the unheard-of step of court-martialing New York Herald correspondent Thomas Knox for violating his order that any reporters sending out information that might give information and comfort to the enemy would be arrested and treated as spies. Fortunately for Knox, he was only banished from the Army. A conviction for spying could have earned the reporter a death sentence, an outcome that likely would not have much bothered Sherman. In his fury over the exposure in the press of secret information, Sherman has much in common with American intelligence officers of today, who are trying to protect secrets, and lives, amidst a deluge of news reports fed by leaks of classified information. An early July 2017 U.S. Senate report concluded that the Trump Administration faces an alarming wave of disclosures of classified data, noting that the number of leaks during the first sixth months of the Trump Presidency was seven times greater than those that occurred during the same period of the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The potential consequences of such disclosures for U.S. national security, not least among them the exposure of intelligence sources and methods and a consequent lack of confidence in the ability of the U.S. to protect secrets provided to it by agents and foreign partners alike, demand that the issue of leaks be addressed with urgency. Failure to plug those holes will cripple the ability of the U.S. to collect and protect intelligence that is essential to dealing effectively with such pressing national security issues as ISIS, North Korea, Russia, Iran, and China. News reports based upon classified information provided by those frequently described as present and former government officials are clearly calculated to maximize the notice those stories garner and, consequently, the damage they inflict on the current Administration. This is not a novel tactic. As President Reagan once quipped, I decided that what I was going to say I wanted to get a lot of attention, so Im going to wait and leak it. What is new is a palpable decline in professional discipline among some with access to classified information who appear willing to divulge it for political reasons. Irrespective of motivation, however, the leaking of such information is never justified or justifiable. As President Obama made clear, Theres a reason why these programs are classified. The law makes no allowance for the motives driving those who violate their secrecy oaths in exercises in egotism or pique. CIA Director Mike Pompeo is surely right in asserting that these revelations are partly a result of the worship of leakers. The once clear line between the criminal act of disclosing classified information and appropriate resort to protected whistleblower status has, sometimes with malice aforethought, been blurred. The glorification of the traitorous acts of Edward Snowden has engendered confusion among broad swaths of the public (and, apparently, in the minds of some officials) as to what constitutes leaking as opposed to whistleblowing. That whistleblower imprimatur has also been ascribed by some to leakers who have chosen to ignore their professional obligations. A similar degradation in professionalism has shown itself in the eagerness of some in the media to publish classified information with little or no regard to accepted journalistic standards for vetting that material or for the consequences for U.S. national security. The journalistic practice embodied in such legendary American reporters as Ernie Pyle, an approach that was at once appropriately skeptical but not irresponsibly adversarial regarding the conduct of national security activities and policy, seems to be wholly absent in some of his successors. There being an inherent tension between secrecy and the democratic principles that are the basis of our republic, the press plays a crucial role in educating and informing citizens about what secret organizations do in their name. It is, however, hard to see how the publishing of intelligence that could help in targeting the leader of ISIS; the disclosure of the purported details of a sensitive counterintelligence investigation; or the outing of an under-cover CIA officer; to cite but a few recent examples, serve any higher purpose than acting as social media click bait. In such an environment, an intelligence officer (or, in my case, a former officer) receives an unsolicited call or email from a reporter with trepidation. This is so because that officer knows such a contact will likely confront him or her with the probability that information about a classified activity, which the officer may have knowledge, has leaked, and that the reporter is attempting to get the officer to speak about information the latter is sworn to protect. Intelligence officers, particularly those who have had to make an unsolicited approach to an operational target (the cold call of Cold War spy lore), are often amused by reporters obvious use of familiar elicitation techniques, to include appeals to ego and warnings about the need to set the record straight lest the officers actions or intent be erroneously presented. Yet, however superficially amiable the uninvited contact with a reporter, the intelligence officer never views such a call as a friendly act, as it almost invariably portends the exposure of information that can damage national security, can put at risk lives of people who work with U.S. intelligence or, particularly in the age of terror, can potentially endanger that officer and his or her family. Sherman judged newspapermen the most contemptible race of men that exist. Having had to dispatch officers to explain to agents why the secrets they passed us appeared in the press, and having seen officers names published despite their requests and those of the CIA to both the journalist and paper involved not to do so, I must confess some sympathy for that view. Indeed, dispatches from hell before breakfast could easily describe stories based upon leaks that appear with alarming regularity in my morning newspaper. In truth, however, Shermans most contemptible race of men are those who violate their sacred oaths by divulging secret information with which they have been entrusted by the same American people they are sworn to protect. In my experience, leak investigations are notoriously difficult to conduct, much less to prosecute. Nonetheless, for the good of the country, the Trump Administration needs to move aggressively to stem the current torrent of leaks. Putting the heads of a few leakers on pikes (figuratively speaking, of course) would be a good place to start.

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Security means knowing your network better than your attackers or your users: ex NSA head – CSO Australia

Australian debate on encryption based on a very thoughtful question about visibility of governments own insider threat Governments must be held to higher standards than commercial entities when it comes to protecting citizens privacy, a former deputy head of the US National Security Agency has said while noting that increasingly complicated threats have nonetheless necessitated a fresh look at security and privacy. Few know this better than Chris Inglis, a career US military officer who served as deputy director of the NSA for 8 years and presided over the ignominious mass information leak by Edward Snowden. Snowdens actions which Inglis has previously said showed a lack of courage drew attention onto the NSA and its mass surveillance programs, which eventually led to changes in the NSAs remit and even bigger problems when NSA-developed exploits were this year leveraged to enable the mass WannaCry and Petya malware attacks. Snowdens compromise, and the significant shift in government transparency that Snowdens revelations about mass surveillance occasioned, has been a defining force in reshaping the information-security dialogue between public and private sectors. Recent years have seen governments in Australia and elsewhere moving to formalise their cybersecurity defences, as well as the rapid maturation of a security community that has tapped novel technologies to respond to the growth in low and slow infiltrations used by malicious insider like Snowden. Because they are familiar with installed defences, such insiders have proven uniquely able to avoid tripping conventional alarms. And this, says Inglis, has laid out the extent of the problem facing companies and government agencies alike. Weve got to move from episodic defence at choke points, to a continuous understanding of whats happening on these networks such that we can detect anomalies or bad activities the first time it happens, he explains. Its no longer good enough to react well; you have to anticipate well. Inglis comments mirror those of Australian government cybersecurity advisor Alistair MacGibbon, who has frequently and publicly called for change in our collective approach to security. Security vendors have been on the same page, with analysts warning years ago that Australian companies are thinking reactively more than in an agile way. This requires engagement from the business yet even as hackers get more professional about their approach to breaching security, some CSOs had struggled to make the same progress in getting the executive support they need. This had led many companies into a similar situation as the one that Inglis and his peers faced at the NSA where companies find themselves compromised and trying after the fact to figure out where they had gone wrong. With Australian businesses recently ranked as the most likely in the world to deploy data loss prevention tools after a breach rather than before one its a lesson that many companies will continue to learn the hard way. Inglis, for one, has put his money on user entity behavioural analytics (UEBA) technology that watches users online behaviour on an ongoing basis, quietly searching for behavioural anomalies that might indicate suspicious behaviour by otherwise-trusted users. Shortly after leaving the NSA, Inglis joined the advisory board of UEBA vendor Securonix, which this month opened shop in Australia to tap into a land rush for ANZ businesses that are shoring up their defences in anticipation of a perfect storm of new legislation and governance requirements they will face in 2018 and beyond. UEBA is just as important in catching outsiders as it is in catching Snowden-like insiders. Outsiders Holy Grail is to become someone or something that has privileges inside the system, Inglis said. Youre looking for a baseline that says that there is actually a different entity behind this privilege, and you want to catch that to defend the integrity and reputation of the person whose privileges have been stolen. Once that theft happens, the damage can be considerable and fast. We have put more and more power into the hands of fewer individuals, Inglis said. Computers allow you to have much higher leverage based on a single person; the scope and scale attendant to what somebody can do is now much bigger. And your ability to catch it in time to restore things to good order easily, is much harder. Varying narratives about Snowdens legacy years later, he remains a traitor to some and a hero to others shouldnt distract from the importance of embracing new technologies to stop what he did, Inglis said, arguing that everything should be on the table at this point. Despite his call for stronger government oversight, Inglis called for a level-headed approach to the current controversy around the governments plans to force software giants to figure out a way to provide access to otherwise inaccessible communications. While mass brute-force decryption remains mathematically challenging and the details of how such access might be provided remain sketchy, Inglis said its important to remember that the government is effectively fighting its own insider threat. And while discussion about the mechanisms of such a policy are still in early days, he sees them in large part as an extension of long-standing policy around police access to potential evidence of criminal activity. The Australian governments push to gain access to secure private messaging was an example of the type of considerations that had to be weighed given the current security climate, Inglis said. The question is whether we can take advantage of the capabilities that are there under the rule of law as it has existed for time immemorial, he explained. The question now is how do we not force ourselves into a place to choose between one and the other, he said, but to ask the right policy questions and come up with the right framework. The further question, he continued, is whether you want to begin to alter technology trends so you can continue to have a collective defence with secure domestic and national security and individual rights? The government is held accountable by its citizens to deliver those. Its a very thoughtful question. Error: Please check your email address. Tags cybersecurity adviser Alistair MacGibbonNational Security AgencyEdward SnowdenPetyaprotecting citizensWannaCryChris Inglismalware attacks

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August 8, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Booz Allen Hamilton’s criminal probe could drag on for years, CEO says – Washington Post

The Department of Justices probe into the billing practices at Booz Allen Hamilton is unlikely to wrap up quickly, the McLean government contracting firms chief executive told analysts Monday. Horacio Rozanski said the criminal investigation could take years to resolve. The timeline for resolution remains uncertain, but given the complexity of cost accounting issues and the fact that we are still in the early stages of the investigation, we believe it is more likely to be years than months, Rozanksi said in a call with investors. The company disclosed on June 15 that it is under federal investigation for the way it handled certain elements of the companys cost accounting and indirect cost charging practices, but has offered little information on the scope of the inquiry or what prompted it. Indirect costs are typically items like general administrative expenses or other overhead that may or may not be allowed under a government contract. Rozanski emphasized Tuesday that his company is cooperating with the investigation and no charges have yet been brought. He said it is too early to estimate how much the company would spend on legal expenses, and he said the company had not yet set aside funds to deal with the matter. The lack of clarity has investors worried. The investigation could be [related to] two accounts out of 10,000 or something widespread that is in all of them. We just dont know, said Brian Ruttenbur, an analyst with Drexel Hamilton Ruttenbur said the firms stock price has been trading about 5 percent below other firms in its industry, and will likely continue to do so until the issue is resolved. The June 15 revelation that the firm is under criminal investigation was enough to cause the firms stock price to drop by 17.8 percent the following day, erasing most of the stocks post-election gains. The probe comes as the company is still smarting from allegations that employees Edward Snowden and Harold Martin III were involved in national security leaks. Rozanski insisted Tuesday that the company has so far seen no impact from the investigation on the companys ability to bid on new contracts or service old ones. Unless its something like fraud, I dont think this would hurt their business per say, said Cai Von-Rumohr, an analyst with Cowen investment bank. It certainly didnt in the first quarter [of 2017]; their bookings were sensational. If history is any guide, the financial pain is likely to be small. An analysis of seven similar cases conducted by Cowen investment bank found the firms typically settled for less than $9 million. Thats a relatively small sum for a company as large as Booz Allen, which takes in almost $5.5 billion each year.

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Columbia University Announces New, $100000 Data Journalism Program as Industry Embraces Data – MediaFile

One of the nations premiere journalism schools, Columbia University, just announced the creation of a new Master of Science in Data Journalism degree. The degree can be earned in a 12-month, three-semester program, for an estimated cost of $106,000, according to the university. In a press release announcing the new degree, Dean Steve Coll said, For journalists to carry out their function as watchdogs on power, storytellers and sifters of the truth, they increasingly must understand how to interrogate data and computer code. Colls words bring to mind some of the biggest stories from recent years, including the Panama Papers, Hillary Clintons leaked emails and the Edward Snowden leaks. While Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he wants to crack down on leaks coming from the White House, data leaks do not seem to be disappearing from the public eye anytime soon. This June, voter files from Republican data firm Deep Root Analytics were accidentally leaked online. Data leaks are becoming increasingly commonplace; media giant HBO was the victim of a hack just this week. Few disagree with Columbia Journalism Schools conclusion that, Journalists who understand data and computation will be able to do their jobs more effectively in a world ever more reliant on complicated streams of information. However, some journalists took to Twitter to criticize the programs price tag. Poynters Benjamin Mullin, in his article about the new degree, asked the relevant question: But is $100,000 really realistic for journalism students who are graduating into a shrinking industry where the median pay is $38,870 per year? Derek Willis, a data journalist for ProPublica, seemed to defend the programs price tag in a series of tweets. While he acknowledged that there could be cheaper and more efficient routes, he said that journalism education should be producing more specialists (subject or skill) than generalists. How we teach and value data journalism concerns the entire industry and journalism education, said Willis in an interview with MediaFile. Data journalism degrees are a new phenomenon in the United States. Only a few schools have graduate programs that incorporate data and journalism Stanford Universitys Graduate Degree in Journalism also focuses on data, and the UC Berkeley New Media Program has a significant data component. In Europe, these programs are also relatively new. King Juan Carlos University in Madrid started its Data Journalism program back in 2012. Cardiff University, as well as several other United Kingdom schools, offer programs in data journalism. Despite this progress, the 2017 Global Data Journalism survey found that Most data journalists have a formal education in communication and journalism. A significantly smaller number have university level education in data and computer related disciplines. Whether it be investigative data journalism like the Panama Papers reporting, political data journalism like the work that FiveThirtyEight and The Upshot put out during the 2016 presidential campaign, or even reporting on data leaks data journalism has become a mainstay in newsrooms across the board. Back in 2015, Columbia Journalism Schools Emily Bell was featured on a panel at the Paley Center for Media titled The Next Big Thing in Journalism: Follow the Data. At the event, she said: We might continue to be great school for writers but, unless we put data with that, we will not be a very great school for very long. As data becomes an increasingly integral part of both everyday life and journalism, it may become an expectation that journalists have a background working with data. So while it may be too early to evaluate Columbias new degree and its cost, programs that specialize in data journalism may become more commonand perhaps cheaperas the news industry shifts towards a data-first mindset.

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August 7, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Subpoena threats for news organizations real, but not new – Constitution Daily (blog)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that the Justice Department is looking at an expanded policy to subpoena more news organizations who publish classified information. So how would this affect journalists First Amendment rights? “I’ve listened to our career investigators, FBI agents and others, and of prosecutors about how to most successfully investigate and prosecute these matters,” said Sessions on Friday. “At their suggestion, one of the things we are doing is reviewing policies for effecting media subpoenas.” Sessions specifically pointed to the Washington Posts publication of two telephone conversation transcripts between President Donald Trump and other world leaders. Trump also have criticized the Post and the New York Times for recent reports that contained information from government intelligence sources about the Russia election investigation. In prior presidential administrations, the federal government has more often gone after people who leaked the information to the press and not the outlets that published it. The legal protections for publishers who release classified information, but who arent directly involved in illegally obtaining the same information, are based on a series of Supreme Court decisions. In New York Times v. United States (1971), the Court in a 6-3 decision ruled that the First Amendment protected the newspapers right to publish the Pentagon Papers, government documents about the Vietnam War illegally obtained by a private individual and published in the New York Times and Washington Post. To find that the President has ‘inherent power’ to halt the publication of news … would wipe out the First Amendment and destroy the fundamental liberty and security of the very people the Government hopes to make ‘secure, said Justice Hugo Black. The word ‘security’ is a broad, vague generality whose contours should not be invoked to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment. However, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press after illegally obtaining them, was charged with six counts of espionage, six for theft, and one for conspiracy. Although his prosecution ultimately ended in a mistrial due to government misconduct, it was clear that Court didnt believe the First Amendment excused illegal activity, even if it furthered a journalistic interest. In another case, the Court said in Bartnicki v. Vopper (2001) that a radio commentator who broadcast a phone conversation illegally obtained by another person was protected by the First Amendment. The phone conversation was about public school union negotiations and potential violence related to them. Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said, a stranger’s illegal conduct does not suffice to remove the First Amendment shield from speech about a matter of public concern. While the press may enjoy a broad protection against prosecution for publishing third-party content, the people who are found to be the leakers dont. For example, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was charged with two crimes under the Espionage Act for stealing classified information and passing it on to publishers. Today, he is staying in Russia living in virtual exile. In 2013, former Army private Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years for giving more than 700,000 documents to Wikileaks. (Mannings sentence was later commuted by President Barack Obama.) Reporters who also publish classified information may also be compelled by a court to reveal their sources based on the location of the court action, especially if the case is in the federal court system. In the Supreme Courts Branzburg v. Hayes decision from 1972, the Court found that the First Amendment does not relieve a newspaper reporter of the obligation that all citizens have to respond to a grand jury subpoena and answer questions relevant to a criminal investigation, and therefore the Amendment does not afford him a constitutional testimonial privilege for an agreement he makes to conceal facts relevant to a grand jury’s investigation of a crime or to conceal the criminal conduct of his source or evidence. The Branzburg decision did allow for states to pass their own shield laws to protect reporters from revealing sources; a federal shield law doesnt exist. Justice Byron White wrote the majority opinion in the 5-4 Branzburg decision, but it was a concurring opinion from Justice Lewis Powell that led to a greater movement toward state shield laws. Powell believed courts should balance the governments need for information with a journalists right to protect sources. In a high-profile case, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller spent about three months in jail in 2005 after she refused to reveal a source of a White House leak and was found in contempt by a federal judge. And journalists who actively take part in an illegal activity to acquire information dont usually enjoy legal protections. In 1999, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found that ABC reporters who applied for jobs at a grocery chain to investigate food safety violations were guilty of trespassing. The Fourth Circuit said that even though the publication of the story was in the public interest, the press has no special immunity from the application of general laws. So while the federal government does issue subpoenas to journalists, they are infrequent. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, using Freedom of Information requests, found out they averaged nine per year between 2001 and 2010, and only two of the 21 subpoenas issued between 2007 and 2010 involved disclosing confidential sources. Scott Bomboy is editor in chief of the National Constitution Center. Filed Under: First Amendment

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Edward Snowden: Russian crackdown on web freedom is ‘violation of human rights’ – DeathRattleSports.com

Surveillance expert Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency (NSA) analyst turned leaker, has spoken out about the recent spike in internet censorship across Russia and China, saying the incoming ban of VPNs and proxies is a violation of human rights. On Sunday 30 July, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law which said any technology that could be used to access blacklisted websites including virtual private networks and online anonymisation software will be completely outlawed from 1 November 2017. Separate legislation will require all messaging applications in the country to be able to identify users through phone numbers after 1 January next year. Moscow officials argued that the unprecedented move was designed to block access to illegal content and not to restrict the web for law abiding citizens. Not everyone agreed. Banning the unauthorised use of basic internet security tools makes Russia both less safe and less free. This is a tragedy of policy, Snowden commented on 30 July, via Twitter. The NSA whistleblower (or criminal leaker, to some) currently lives in Russia with his partner after being granted asylum in 2013. He continued: If the next generation is to enjoy the online liberties ours did, innocuous traffic must become truly indistinguishable from the sensitive. Whether enacted by China, Russia, or anyone else, we must be clear this is not a reasonable regulation but a violation of human rights. The internet clampdown has been teased for months. In late April, it emerged that Russias media watchdog was drafting the legislation to completely prohibit the use of anonymising software. Firms that fail to abide by the rules would face hefty financial penalties, reports suggested. And it is now clear the plans were not limited to Russia, with Chinese authorities also talking up moves to bolster its Great Firewall, the state censorship apparatus. In July 2017, Bloomberg reported that access to VPNs would be banned in China from February next year. VPNs, and web browsing software such as Tor, are able to circumvent censorship and hide identities in a way that makes it difficult for authorities to track the locations of users. In the post-Snowden world, as state-backed spying hit the public consciousness, use of such tools rocketed. Snowden, who could risk biting the hand that feeds by criticising the Russian state, warned: For [those]working for major firms: note well this spread in China and Russia within the same week. Dont sleep on the trend. US tech giants have, so far, complied with the bans. Banning the unauthorized use of basic internet security tools makes Russia both less safe and less free. This is a tragedy of policy.

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August 5, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Obama’s ‘War on Leakers’ Was More Aggressive Than Trump’s So Far – Newsweek

The U.S. Justice Department has significantly ramped up its number of leak investigations, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday, more than tripling themcompared with the past three years numbers combined. Thestatement likely came much to the glee of President Donald Trump. But it was his predecessor, Barack Obama, who charted a course for Trump when it came to leak crackdowns. Perhaps answering his bosss cries for investigations, Sessions said that at least four people, three of whose cases had not been reported on as of Friday, have already been charged with unlawfully disclosing classified material or with concealing contacts with foreign intelligence officers. He also said the Justice Departmenthad seen a boom in criminal referrals for probes into intelligence agency leaks. Daily Emails and Alerts – Get the best of Newsweek delivered to your inbox Referrals for investigations of classified leaks to the Department of Justice from our intelligence agencies have exploded, Sessions said. In the first six months of this administration, DOJ has already received nearly as many criminal referrals involving unauthorized disclosures of classified information as we received in the last three years combined. To date, only Reality Winner, a 25-year-old federal government contractor accused ofleaking classified information to The Intercept, is known to be facing prosecution. Her trial is set to begin in October. Sessionss DOJ still has to play catch-up to reach the number of leak investigations from Obamas time. DOJ prosecutors under the Obama administration pursued nine leak cases, and in May 2013 it was disclosed that federal investigators had surreptitiously seized two months worth of phones records from Associated Press reporters and editors, including home phones and cellphones, The New York Times reported. Later in 2013, a scathing report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)said the Obama administrations war on leaks had been the worst of its kind since the days of Richard Nixon, who engaged in a cover-up that eventually led to his resignation in 1974. At the time of the CPJs report, Obamas team had used the Espionage Act, passed in 1917, to kick-start eight prosecutions involving allegations of leakedclassified information, including those against Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Manning was later granted clemency by Obama, before he left office earlier this year, while Snowden remains in exile in Russia. Though CPJs report did show that the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington set off a major expansion of information deemed to be classifiedstarting with the administration of President George W. BushObamas eight prosecutions far outranked the three Espionage Act prosecutions under every other president before him. In May 2016, Obama said that many of the cases prosecuted during his time in office actually were holdovers, but according to Politico that proved to be untrue. Many of the cases that are often lumped into, you know, my ledger, essentially were cases that were brought before we came into office, Obama said to a college newspaper. Some of them are serious, where you had purposeful leaks of information that could harm or threaten operations or individuals who were in the field involved with really sensitive national security issues. Politico found that of the eight cases, three were from the Bush administration that preceded Obama. One of those cases involved New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, who in 2005 revealed the National Security Agencys domestic and clandestine surveillance program. Risen also wrote about a CIA operation to disrupt Irans nuclear program in a book published in 2006. Under Obama, the DOJ and Attorney General Eric Holder attempted to force Risen to testify and reveal his source of the classified information. In December, Risen penned an op-ed forthe Times,and its closing paragraph now seems almost prophetic: Press freedom advocates already fear that under Senator Jeff Sessions, Mr. Trumps choice to be attorney general, the Justice Department will pursue journalists and their sources at least as aggressively as Mr. Obama did.

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August 5, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Edward Snowden: Russian crackdown on web freedom is ‘violation of human rights’ – International Business Times UK

Surveillance expert Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency (NSA) analyst turned leaker, has spoken out about the recent spike in internet censorship across Russia and China, saying the incoming ban of VPNs and proxies is a “violation of human rights”. On Sunday 30 July, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law which said any technology that could be used to access blacklisted websites including virtual private networks and online anonymisation software will be completely outlawed from 1 November 2017. Separate legislation will require all messaging applications in the country to be able to identify users through phone numbers after 1 January next year. Moscow officials argued that the unprecedented move was designed to block access to illegal content and not to restrict the web for law abiding citizens. Not everyone agreed. “Banning the ‘unauthorised’ use of basic internet security tools makes Russia both less safe and less free. This is a tragedy of policy,” Snowden commented on 30 July, via Twitter. The NSA whistleblower (or criminal leaker, to some) currently lives in Russia with his partner after being granted asylum in 2013. He continued: “If the next generation is to enjoy the online liberties ours did, innocuous traffic must become truly indistinguishable from the sensitive. “Whether enacted by China, Russia, or anyone else, we must be clear this is not a reasonable ‘regulation’ but a violation of human rights.” The internet clampdown has been teased for months. In late April, it emerged that Russia’s media watchdog was drafting the legislation to “completely prohibit” the use of anonymising software. Firms that fail to abide by the rules would face hefty financial penalties, reports suggested. And it is now clear the plans were not limited to Russia, with Chinese authorities also talking up moves to bolster its Great Firewall, the state censorship apparatus. In July 2017, Bloomberg reported that access to VPNs would be banned in China from February next year. VPNs, and web browsing software such as Tor, are able to circumvent censorship and hide identities in a way that makes it difficult for authorities to track the locations of users. In the post-Snowden world, as state-backed spying hit the public consciousness, use of such tools rocketed. Snowden, who could risk biting the hand that feeds by criticising the Russian state, warned: “For [those] working for major firms: note well this spread in China and Russia within the same week. Don’t sleep on the trend.” US tech giants have, so far, complied with the bans. Read more

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August 4, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed


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