Tag Archive for Surveillance State

James Risen’s Painful Truths

New York Times national security reporter James Risen, author of the new book, Pay Any Price.

President Obama promised a “transparent” administration – but the American people didn’t know the transparency would go only one way, letting the government look at the people while blocking the public’s view of the government, a reality described in James Risen’s new book, reviewed by Norman Solomon.

Cameras to Detect ‘Abnormal’ Behavior

Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

In the chimerical pursuit of perfect security, Western countries are turning to advanced technology to detect and stop terrorist attacks. But these expensive schemes often fail to deliver greater safety while further eroding personal freedom, as Sander Venema observed in the Netherlands.

PRISM’s Controversial Forerunner

William Hamilton, developer of the PROMIS software, and his wife Nancy.

From the Archive: Richard L. Fricker, a courageous journalist and frequent writer at Consortiumnews, died on Sept. 12 from heart failure. Among Fricker’s important work was his investigation of the U.S. government’s PROMIS software which preceded the NSA’s Orwellian PRISM, as Fricker noted last July.

Obama’s Failure to Rein in CIA and NSA

CIA Director John Brennan at a White House meeting during his time as President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser.

Despite Barack Obama’s promises during the 2008 campaign to reform the U.S. intelligence community, he has continued to tolerate its abuses, enable its excessive secrecy and indulge its bone-headedness, as ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman explains.

Does Cell-Phone Case Imperil NSA Spying?

U.S. Supreme Court

Though the Republican-controlled U.S. Supreme Court often splits 5-4 on partisan and ideological issues, a consensus is emerging against the government’s electronic intrusion on personal privacy, which could portend trouble for NSA spying, says Marjorie Cohn.

Treating Snowden as a ‘Personality’

Vanity Fair graphic accompanying its profile of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The mainstream U.S. media prefers personalities over substance, so it was perhaps not a surprise that its focus at the first anniversary of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks was on his alleged peculiarities, not the frightening prospect of a Big Brother state, says ex-State Department official William R. Polk.

How NSA Can Secretly Aid Criminal Cases

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Though the NSA says its mass surveillance of Americans targets only “terrorists,” the spying may turn up evidence of other illegal acts that can get passed on to law enforcement which hides the secret source through a ruse called “parallel construction,” writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

An Ignored Pre-9/11 Warning on Spying

internet-address

One year after NSA contractor Edward Snowden began exposing the U.S. government’s surveillance capabilities, Europe and other targets are still reeling from the revelations. But a little-noticed report in summer 2001 offered an early warning, says Dutch IT expert Arjen Kamphuis.

An Appeal for More Whistleblowers

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

As more and more secrecy envelopes the U.S. government – with millions of hidden records concealing both past and present – there is no practical alternative for democracy but to fight back with “unauthorized” disclosures, as Norman Solomon explains in an appeal for more whistleblowers.

How Snowden Changed the World

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

Globe-rattling disclosures from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden began a year ago and have shaken how the world understands the capacity of the U.S. government and its allies to pry into almost every facet of the lives of almost anyone, as former British intelligence official Annie Machon recalls.