Secrecy

Buying a Seat at Surveillance State’s Table

Amazon's founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post.

Internet billionaires with lucrative ties to the Surveillance State are buying up media and ignoring people who ask if $250 million may be the new price tag for a seat at the power table, as Norman Solomon wonders about the Washington Post’s new owner Jeff Bezos.

NSA’s Preference for Metadata

A slide from material leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the Washington Post, showing what happens when an NSA analyst "tasks" the PRISM system for information about a new surveillance target.

Exclusive: The hidden ball in the debate over the NSA’s collection of phone and e-mail metadata (vs. tapping into actual conversations with a court order) is that the NSA actually prefers the metadata approach because it strips away privacy more efficiently, says ex-NSA analyst Kirk Wiebe.

Robert Gates Double-Crosses Obama

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on May 1, 2011, watching developments in the Special Forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Neither played a particularly prominent role in the operation. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

Special Report: Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is slamming President Obama in a new memoir, accusing him of lacking enthusiasm for the Afghan War. But perhaps Obama’s bigger mistake was trusting Gates, a Bush Family operative with a history of dirty dealing, writes Robert Parry.

NSA Insiders Reveal What Went Wrong

nationalsecurityagency

In a memo to President Obama, former National Security Agency insiders explain how NSA leaders botched intelligence collection and analysis before 9/11, covered up the mistakes, and violated the constitutional rights of the American people, all while wasting billions of dollars and misleading the public.

The Russian-Saudi Showdown at Sochi

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief, meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Exclusive: Last summer, Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar reportedly offered Russian President Putin a deal: if Russia abandons Syria, Saudi Arabia would protect the Sochi Olympics from Islamic terrorists. Putin is said to have angrily rebuffed the offer. Now, with two terrorist attacks, it’s Putin’s move, writes Robert Parry.

NYT Backs Off Its Syria-Sarin Analysis

Secretary of State John Kerry (center) testifies on the Syrian crisis before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Sept. 3, 2013. At the left of the photo is Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. and on the right is Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. No senior U.S. intelligence official joined in the testimony. U.S. State Department photo)

Exclusive: For months, the “slam-dunk” evidence “proving” Syrian government guilt in the Aug. 21 Sarin attack near Damascus was a “vector analysis” pushed by the New York Times showing where the rockets supposedly were launched. But the Times now grudgingly admits its analysis was flawed, reports Robert Parry.

Gen. Michael ‘No Probable Cause’ Hayden

Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and the NSA.

Exclusive: Ex-NSA chief Michael Hayden, who once declared that “probable cause” is not part of the Fourth Amendment, is sure to hurl more stones at NSA leaker Edward Snowden, especially after a New York judge endorsed the NSA’s “metadata” as legal, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

The Year of the ‘Leaker’

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden speaking in Moscow on Oct. 9, 2013. (From a video posted by WikiLeaks)

Exclusive: Critics of “leakers” Manning and Snowden claim that unauthorized disclosures risk lives, but a stronger case can be made that many more lives have been lost due to government deceptions on issues of war or peace, lies that secrecy made possible, writes Robert Parry.

Did Manning Help Avert War in Iran?

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, standing up for Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning.

From the Archive: President Obama’s diplomatic breakthrough with Iran on its nuclear program still faces strong resistance, but the historic opening might have been disrupted if not for the leaks of Pvt. Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, who got a 35-year prison sentence as “thanks,” as Robert Parry reported last summer.

Obama’s Not-So-Terrible Year

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Exclusive: Official Washington is giving a big thumb down to President Obama’s performance in 2013. But his diplomatic breakthroughs in the Middle East and even some of his troubles with Obamacare and the NSA could ultimately make the year a historic turning point, says Robert Parry.