Officials at Legacy Emanuel Hospital had to draft a hurried plan of action to avoid losing Medicare funding after a federal agency determined the hospital failed to thoroughly investigate a series of complaints from patients who accused an emergency room nurse of sex abuse. The investigation revealed how Legacy Emanuel Medical Center staff repeatedly bungled their handling of the complaints against nurse Jeffrey N. McAllister.
The death toll from the landslide that hit the Washington town of Oso rose to 33 on Monday, according to the Snohomish County medical examiner's office, which said all but three have been identified.
Kansas National Education Association protested the action but GovernorBrownback got what he wanted.
Weekend, overnight exploits by purchased ideologues and rank amateurs in the Kansas State legislature stripped KS public school teachers of due process rights. This will require all teachers to renegotiate their contracts without any union or other support and make them subject to termination if they don’t. Or if administrators randomly feel like it, or are pressured to do so by rank amateurs, apparently. And there's more where that came from...
There are a number of plot points in the official Boston Bombing story that refuse to lie flat on the morgues green tiles...In light of recent reports and defense motions, it might be useful to summarize what we know, or think we know, about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
In 2009 a domestic violence complaint de-railed his desire for U.S. citizenship, and may have put him in a position to be coerced into becoming an FBI informant. He admitted to slapping his girlfriend; charges were dropped.
Election-year legislation to resume long-term jobless benefits is headed to the House, where a small band of dissident Republicans is leaning on Speaker John Boehner to permit a vote on resuming aid to more than 2 million victims of the Great Recession.
When most environmentalists and folks who follow pipeline markets think of TransCanada, they think of the proposed northern half of its Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Flying beneath the public radar, though, is another TransCanada-proposed pipeline with a similar function as Keystone XL. But rather than for carrying tar sands bitumen to the Gulf Coast, this pipeline would bring to market shale gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). Meet TransCanada’s ANR Pipeline System.
Although not actually a new pipeline system, TransCanada wants ANR retooled to serve domestic and export markets for gas fracked from the Marcellus Shale basin and the Utica Shale basin via its Southeast Main Line. Because of the immense amount of shale gas being produced in the Marcellus and Utica, TransCanada seeks a flow reversal in the Southeast Main Line of its ANR Pipeline System.
TransCanada spokeswoman Gretchen Krueger told DeSmogBlog that ANR’s flow reversal is a “more efficient use of the system based on market demand.”
President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress are making a concerted election-year push to draw attention to women's wages, linking Obama executive actions with pending Senate legislation aimed at closing a compensation gender gap that favors men.
Oklahoma, perhaps the most paradoxical state in the nation. Defeating an anti Sharia law amendment was the highlight of the past year for an Islamic advocacy group in Oklahoma.
As the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held its annual banquet Saturday, guests celebrated a year of advocacy that was highlighted by the defeat of State Question 755, a amendment to the state constitution approved by voters four years ago.
The Fox news emissaries of a faith which teaches "love thy neighbor," spend most of their time bashing anybody and anything deemed anathema to the not so tolerant conservative right. Such was the case, last week, when the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was attacked across a spectrum of Fox News shows because they object to the Islamophobic agenda of those behind a film about domestic violence in Islamic societies. Included in the hate fest were the nice Christians on "The Five" who, once again, spoke of Islam's intolerance. Got Irony?!
The administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development on Tuesday begins a series of appearances before lawmakers who are asking questions about his agency's secret "Cuban Twitter," a social media network built to stir unrest in the communist island.
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The 'Mega' that we mean when we say 'megaload'...
Forest activist Jeffrey Luers is a changed man…and it hurt. Today he talks about potential improvements that could be made to the West Third Avenue Alley, in Eugene, Oregon. Over the weekend a strange article, a ‘megarticle’, so to speak, bubbled up out of the primal porridge. In the piece, Luers says his experiences during the forest protests included being struck with clubs by U.S. Forest Service officers while he manned a barricade. He said his disillusionment grew when he felt his peaceful attempts at making reforms were thwarted.
“So, ultimately, I ended up escalating the tactics for better or worse,” he said. “A few years later, Craig Marshall and myself concluded there is too much at stake to not do everything we could, so we hatched this plan to call attention to climate change.”
Meanwhile... The families of those who died in General Motors cars with defective ignition switches want prosecutors to go after GM insiders responsible for letting the problems fester for more than a decade — and perhaps for covering them up.
This will never happen. Americans have become inured to the fact that in the USA 2014 some people go to jail and other just do not. Ever. Luers was originally sentenced to 22 years in federal prison. 22 years. No one was killed, or even really seriously injured. And for all we know, maybe a few who might have died or respiratory illnesses had a few more years of life.
But the top level managers at , the people responsible for signing off on the agreed silence regarding defective vehicle, signed off on death warrants for their customers. They killed people. And they will never see the inside of a prison.
Meanwhile, Jeffery, keep up with the landscaping! It covers up a multitude of crimes.,..
Next: So the University of Oregon is planning to make it more difficult to drive to the new Cascades campus. Not that there are any more anarchists out there with the testicular fortitude to undertake dangerous actions in the name of the longterm life of life on earth.
How about 75 atheists, most of them former Mormons, marched around Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Sunday during the faith's general conference.
Many mailed resignations to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the end of the walk that was dubbed "the Mormon exodus and mass resignation event" by Atheists of Utah President Dan Ellis.
In case you had better things to do yesterday than watch Fox TV you may have missed that channel's celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Bush presidency. Who says America doesn't have a political system based on royal lineage, money and power. A meritocracy based on merit obtained through power and money. Thus we witness the spectacle of Jeb Bush proclaiming that all the speculation about whether he'll run for president in 2016 is actually getting him more attention than if he had already entered the race.
Indians began voting Monday in the world's biggest election, with the opposition heading into the polls with strong momentum on promises of economic renewal. Voting began Monday morning in the remote northeastern states of Assam and Tripura, with many traveling along highways, dirt tracks and rickety bamboo bridges to cast their ballots. The country's 814 million eligible voters will vote in stages over the next five weeks — a staggered approach made necessary by India's vast size.
And today, Rwanda will mark the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the 100-day genocide. President Barack Obama is remembering the victims of the Rwandan genocide. The Prez sez the event he says was "neither an accident nor unavoidable."
A lot like the fabricated ‘Great Recession’.
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Higher Learning; Hiring Labor...Portland State University received notice Thursday that American Association of University Professors (AAUP) represented faculty could go out on strike on April 16.
Despite the strike notice, the University and the union will resume negotiations Friday to try and reach an agreement on faculty pay and other contract issues.
Voters in Deer Trail, Colo. rejected a proposal that would have allowed people to shoot at unmanned flying objects. It was created by a 49-year-old welder in protest of a federal plan that would allow drones to fly in civilian airspace With a population of 586 and 188 total votes cast, the proposal — — was defeated, with 73 percent voting no. Which is strangely coincidental with the recent Precision Agriculture Expo here in Yamhill County. What the Expo amounted to in actuality was a trade show for drons. Anyone whopractices precision agriculture knows that to be of any use whatsoever, a drone would have to fly a few inches above the ground and be capable of testing the soil's nutrients and chemistry as well as temperature and water content.
What if the National Security Agency (NSA) knows it is violating the Constitution by spying on all Americans without showing a judge probable cause of wrongdoing or identifying the persons it wishes to spy upon, as the Constitution requires? What if this massive spying has come about because the NSA found it too difficult to follow the Constitution?
What if the Constitution was written to keep the government off the people’s backs, but the NSA, the president and some members of Congress have put the NSA not only on our backs, but in our bedrooms, kitchens, telephones and computers? What if when you look at your computer screen, the NSA is looking right back at you?
It gets curioser and curioser: With the NSA's ends outweighing the Constitution's meas and the last nail pounded into Democracy's coffin, America seems poised to at the fulcrum, about to become a very different animal. And it can all be traced abck to the USA Patriot Act. Now, the Senate investigation concludes waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods provided no key evidence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to congressional aides and outside experts familiar with a still-secret, 6,200-page report. The finding could deepen the worst rift in years between lawmakers and the CIA.
Maryland's legislators would like to outlaw the boycotts against IsrEL. THE BOYCOTTS THAT are rising all around the world on all sides in the face of the 21 century's apartheid. One great voice against Apartheid rises above the cackle and that is the voice of Bishop Desmond Tutu. And the news coming
out of Occupied Palestine continues to shake the walls of silence thee world is hunched behind.
Gone are the days when Governor Kitzhaber could claim the pole position in america's losing race to overhaul its healthcare delivery system. Everyone knows the system is hobbled by the insurance companies but Oregon at least was going ti the old hospital try....and Now look what's happened: Last in the nation whwen it comes to gettting people signed up on line. Or perhaps we are actually leading the nation is keepong people out of the clutched of a greedy grasping industry that cares not a whit about healthcare.
The states of Oregon and Washington approved a one-week extension of sport salmon fishing Thursday in the lower Columbia River.
Look out America, Here it comes: Now that untold sums f money are queing up to start pouring into GP coffers, Republican business groups are pised to begin rolling backa nd rolling flat the laws hat as done a feeble job of protecting the environment. But a job none the less. This is just one of the initial salvos: Industry groups and more than a dozen GOP senators are urging the Obama administration to reconsider plans to regulate many of the nation's streams and wetlands, saying the proposed rule hurts economic activity and oversteps legal bounds.
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Still believe that The Great recession was a total surprise that left the plutocrats gobsmacked sideways? Have a look at this lovely bridge - newly new! Once upon a time the prosperity of the upper classes depended upon and to some degree underwrote the prosperity of the American middle class. Not so now. Since 2008, the number of people who call themselves middle class has fallen by nearly a fifth, according to a survey in January by the Pew Research Center, from 53 percent to 44 percent. Forty percent now identify as either lower-middle or lower class compared with just 25 percent in February 2008.
The Senate Intelligence Committee's expected vote to approve declassifying part of a secret report on Bush-era interrogations of terrorism suspects puts the onus on the CIA and a reluctant White House to speed the release of one of the most definitive accounts about the government's actions after the 9/11 attacks. Or we could simply wat for another whistleblower to come forward with the goods. Many people would be far more likely to trust the process and the documents resulting from suuch an event. The vote to reveal comes tomorrow.
The project, dubbed "ZunZuneo," slang for a Cuban hummingbird's tweet, was publicly launched shortly after the 2009 arrest in Cuba of American contractor Alan Gross. He was imprisoned after traveling repeatedly to the country on a separate, clandestine USAID mission to expand Internet access using sensitive technology that only governments use. The U.S. government masterminded the creation of a "Cuban Twitter" — a communications network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba, built with secret shell companies and financed through foreign banks.
Doesn't smell quite right....Don't expect to find genetically modified salmon — or any other engineered fish or meat — on store shelves anytime soon.
Look out below !!! Here comes that avalanche of money. And it looks a lot like Giv Chris Christie knew something the rest of us did not know about the Supreme court decision opening the campaign funding floodgates...Donors have given $33 million to the Republican Governors Association since New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took the helm late last year. The committee to elect GOP governors said Thursday it raised $23.5 million during the first three months of the year. That sum more than doubles the $9.1 million raised at this point in 2010, the last time there were 36 gubernatorial races.
A century-old farmhouse has been demolished near Pendleton to allow workers to continue cleaning up almost 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled in an accident last month. Members of the family that owns the Hill Ranches looked on Tuesday as two excavators tore down the house. Fritz Hill reared two sons there and planted some of the trees surrounding the place. He appeared shaken and didn't want to comment.
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2, The cage fight of the decade is underway in Astoria. It's the corporate legal battle between Westerlund Log Handlers, a deeply indebted Clatsop County timber operator, against versus China National Building Materials Import & Export Co., part of a $30-billion-a-year enterprise partially owned by the People's Republic of China.Westerlund wants to end its relationship with China National and move on. China National is seeking to install its own executive atop Westerlund and is demanding immediate repayment of the $3.55 million it loaned Westerlund. It has even hired an auctioneer to sell off Westerlund's heavy equipment.
3, Medical marijuana in Hillsboro? Hillsboro City Councilor Megan Braze cast the sole no-vote against the first reading of a one-year ban on medical marijuana facilities yesterday. There was no council discussion of the ban, which received its first of two readings*. The one-year moratorium will get a final vote April 15.
4, Yesterday Oregon United for Marriage pushed U.S. District Judge Michael McShane to strike down Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage by May 23, which is when the group says it has to make a decision on whether to go to the ballot.
5, The mayor of Castle Rock is required to take anger management classes for violating the courtesy code at a City Council meeting when he raised his voice against the police chief who asked for more money for ammunition.
6, It is rare but not unprecedented for a pipeline company to be charged with criminal safety laws. But yesterday Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was charged with federal felony counts involving safety violations linked to a deadly 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area
7, District of Columbia elections officials say some problems with electronic voting machines have led to a delay in reporting results from the city's Democratic mayoral primary. I guess if gerrymandering isn't possible, Republicans have to revert to other proven methods.
8, Just When You Thought it was Safe to go Back to the Beach…Chile's President Bachelet gets cautious on the tsunami threat as 8.2 quake kills 5 in northern Chile.
And Finally, This:
9, Jared Buzzell, of Lisbon, Maine says he was searching for wild mushrooms Thursday when he saw a porcupine get hit by a car in Minot. Buzzell says he'd heard that a valuable mineral deposit used in Chinese medicine formed in the stomachs of porcupines. He then cut open the dead porcupine to search for the mineral and instead found the baby. When he cut the umbilical cord he thought the baby porcupine was dead until he started massaging it and it began breathing. Buzzell and the baby pocupine are resting comfortably No word on the search for precious minerals or mushrooms or how and where Buzzell acquired his apparent pocupine midwifery skills.
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1, State and federal pipeline safety investigators have been dispatched to the site of an explosion and fire at a liquefied natural gas storage facility in southeastern Washington.
2, The Eugene City Council had voted that the closing of the homeless camp could beginning immediately . With city officials set to begin closing the unauthorized Whoville homeless camp as early as today, about 30 camp residents and homeless advocates made a public plea Monday for another short delay. All Whoville coalition wants is for the the city to hold off until the City Council returns from its monthlong break on April 9.
3, Hanford: How long How much? and when should we pack up and run for our lives?
4, Gerrymandering: it's the only way Republicans can and will win seats in this next round of fanasty electioneering. Even if Democrats recruit great candidates, raise gobs of money and run smart campaigns, they face an uphill fight to retake control of the House in this year’s congressional elections, regardless of the political climate in November.
For lo these many years now Republican strategists have been developing a plan to take advantage of the 2010 census, first by winning key state legislatures and then redrawing House districts to tilt the playing field in their favor.
5, Christopher Hedges continues to hammer away at the ramparts of power. Barack Obama’s administration has filed a detailed brief designed to compel the courts to void a law that permits the military to arrest U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and indefinitely detain them. The Admin has filed a detailed brief with the Supreme Court asking the justices to refuse to accept Hedges et al’s petition to hear their appeal. Hedges & Co. will respond within 10 days. “The arc of history is long but it bends toward justice…”
6, Too much weather; too many people crowded together on a small, exhausted planet. Science has come through with the bad news once again: Yes Virginia the link between climate collapse and civil society collapse. The danger of civic unrest is increased by the pressure of extreme weather events that cause wild competition for non-existent resources and shelter. That plus the climate refugees who find avenues of escape overcrowded and closed.
7, It's that time again: Conscientious Objector Time, of course. Dr. Margaret Flowers doesn’t have health insurance. She’s not eligible for Medicaid and she’s too young to qualify for Medicare.
If she doesn’t sign up, she will be fined.
Dr. Flowers is not going to sign up.
And she’s not going to sign up as an act of civil disobedience. Dr. Flowers plans to be a coscientious Objector in the the fight for single-payer health insurance. And so do I.
8, Yesterday, March 31st was the anniversary of the 100the birthday of Octavio Paz, Although he would reject Socialist realism, later repudiate Stalinism and maintain his distance from the Cuban Revolution, Paz would long retain his faith in revolution as the true lever of social redemption, the only possible means for the positive transformation of history. As late as 1967, he would write that Marxism is “our point of view” and that the Revolution (with the capital letter ascribed to it in Mexican, and anarchist, tradition) was “anointed by the light of the idea, philosophy converted into action, lucid violence.” Enrique Krause wrote this Op Ed this past Saturday in the New York times
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The Columbian newspaper (http://is.gd/e3dPqz ) reports at least 30 people testified during Tuesday's meeting of the Port's board of commissioners, with almost all concerned about safety and environmental risks. The testimony came a week after a majority of Vancouver City Council members opposed the project.
2, Senator Ron Wyden says he applauds the odious deal in which the Dept. of energy wins its coveted Jordan Cove LNG export terminal. But we should be looking at U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., wasting no time turning her new position as Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources into a soapbox for increased natural gas drilling and exports.
In her first set of hearings since taking over leadership of the committee from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Landrieu contended that "increasing exports of liquefied natural gas will create thousands of high-paying jobs and support U.S. allies abroad."
1, The Obama administration said it will extend next week's deadline for Americans who have begun applying for private health insurance but have been unable to complete the process.
2, Rescue workers sifted through mucky rubble on Tuesday amid dwindling hopes of finding any more survivors from among scores of people still missing from a devastating weekend mudslide in Washington state that killed at least 14.
3, At this point in time, the CIA seems to be Losing Friends in Congress . Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s recent denunciation of CIA spying on her Intelligence Committee “suggests that criticism of the national security state has reached such a fever pitch that even its entrenched allies in Congress are starting to peel off. Feinstein’s committee is considering whether to release a report on CIA torture and detention programs.
4, Omnivorous Banks Seek to Devour Detroit: Activists are encouraging Detroiters to send a bankruptcy court their formal objections to state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr’s plans to restructure the city. Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman, pastor of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and a key member of D-REM, Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, said the banks are Detroit’s ultimate nemesis.
5, Microsoft’s recent lawsuit against a former employee accused of leaking trade secrets teaches us an important lesson: Your data is not your data.The Redmond-based software giant admitted in court documents to accessing the Hotmail and messaging accounts of a French blogger in order to determine who was sending him prerelease screenshots of Windows programs and other proprietary corporate information. Federal prosecutors have charged the sender, with theft of trade secrets. Microsoft’s power play should be a wake-up call to journalists and bloggers . In other words: think twice the next time you use your Gmail account to report on an article about Google.
6, Ibrahim Todashev, 27, a Russian immigrant friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was shot and killed last May 22 in the middle of the night by the FBI at the violent end of a five-hour interrogation in his home in Orlando. Now the FBI, ten months later, is claiming that its agent was attacked by Todashev, and was justified in killing him. But a CounterPunch investigation raises grave questions about what happened in that apartment.
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The House energy committee on Tuesday will weigh a bill introduced by Colorado Republican Cory Gardner that would immediately approve export applications already filed with the Energy Department and mandate approval of future proposals of exports to World Trade Organization members.
Currently only gas exports to countries with free trade agreements with the United States are automatically deemed to be in the public interest.
1, This past Saturday was World Water Day. Water and agriculture are inextricably interlinked and interdependent. Agriculture is a major user of both ground and surface water for irrigation — accounting for about 70 percent of water withdrawal worldwide.
2. Long-term unemployment is the most prophetic of all possible pillars of salt: eventually even under the most compassionate of all possible political leaders, the money will dry up because the money is created by the jobs that increasingly are not there. A deal to extend long-term unemployment benefits is still alive in the Senate, as lawmakers push ahead with the bill despite obstacles in the House.
3, So Mayor Charlie Hales sought clearance in his role as police commissioner to supervise Portland officers working with the JTTF, the Joint Terrorism Task Force. The FBI denied Portland Mayor Charlie Hales the "secret" clearance he applied for last year to access information about the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the mayor's spokesman confirmed. The Mayor's intrepid Spokesman Dana Haynes said he didn't know why clearance was denied.
4, Under President Obama’s proposal to Congress, data about Americans’ calling habits would be kept in the hands of phone companies, according to senior administration officials.
5, Many GMO crops are resistant to the chemical herbicide Roundup (active ingredient: glyphosate). This allows farmers to spray the herbicide over the crop to control weeds. As weeds in the US and elsewhere have progressively gained resistance to Roundup, farmers have been spraying higher doses of the herbicide and spraying them more often. By implication, there will be concomitant effects on food and the environment. However, even though there is increasing concern about the health impacts of Roundup/glyphosate, little is known about current levels in food and animal feed. Now, a new study has found that glyphosate in GMO soybeans is at levels higher than many vitamins.
6, Ibrahim Todashev, 27, a Russian immigrant friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was shot and killed last May 22 in the middle of the night by the FBI at the violent end of a five-hour interrogation in his home in Orlando. Now the FBI, ten months later, is claiming that its agent was attacked by Todashev, and was justified in killing him. But a CounterPunch investigation raises grave questions about what happened in that apartment.
7, A scientist who documented the landslide conditions on a Washington hill that buckled last weekend in a massive mudslide warned in a 1999 report filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of "the potential for a large catastrophic failure." The Seattle Times reports that report was written by Daniel J. Miller and his wife, Lynne Rodgers Miller. Daniel Miller told the newspaper, "We've known it would happen at some point."
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The Free Software Movement will save your sad ass when the NSA's malware comes calling ...but only if you know it, support it and use it.
0314 OR Jackson official: Local GMO ban would cost $200,000 a year to enforce
Ore. — A local ban on genetically modified crops could cost Jackson County more than $200,000 a year to enforce, according to a report the county commissioners asked for.
The report delivered Wednesday by County Administrator Danny Jordan also said the ban could put a stop to medical marijuana crops grown from seed to increase its DNA and yield and could bar strains of lawn grass that are genetically modified, the Medford Mail Tribune (http://bit.ly/1kPkVC1) reported.
Advocates of the measure on the May ballot disputed the estimates, saying costs should be minimal, at most, because the county has discretion in enforcement efforts.
"We've already heard the opponents trying to scare people by claiming the Family Farms measure would have high enforcement costs, but this is pure political fiction," said Elise Higley, the director for Our Family Farms Coalition.
Organic farmers who fear their crops will be tainted through cross-pollination have backed the measure.
If voters approve it, the measure would be unique among Oregon's 36 counties. The Legislature has since voted to pre-empt local regulation of genetically modified crops, allowing the Jackson County measure to be grandfathered.
Jordan said the estimate was based on having a full-time code inspector, a hearings officer's time, the cost of a testing contractor and administrative expenses.
The measure has "undefined terms and vague terminology" that will give county officials trouble, Jordan said.
"In order to enforce the proposed ordinance, the county is going to have to make policy/legal judgments on the various terms that are not defined, increasing the risk of litigation," he said.
The report also said the costs of cleaning up fields could run to thousands of dollars an acre, depending on whether soil was removed and dumped in a landfill or whether the fields were chemically fumigated and heated.
0314 WA FBI won't conduct marijuana-license background checks for Washington state
The FBI is refusing to run nationwide background checks on people applying to run legal marijuana businesses in Washington state, even though it has conducted similar checks in Colorado — a discrepancy that illustrates the quandary the Justice Department faces as it allows the states to experiment with regulating a drug that's long been illegal under federal law.
Washington state has been asking for nearly a year if the FBI would conduct background checks on its applicants, to no avail. The bureau's refusal raises the possibility that people with troublesome criminal histories could wind up with pot licenses in the state — undermining the department's own priorities in ensuring that states keep a tight rein on the nascent industry.
It's a strange jam for the feds, who announced last summer that they wouldn't sue to prevent Washington and Colorado from regulating marijuana after 75 years of prohibition.
The Obama administration has said it wants the states to make sure pot revenue doesn't go to organized crime and that state marijuana industries don't become a cover for the trafficking of other illegal drugs. At the same time, it might be tough for the FBI to stomach conducting such background checks — essentially helping the states violate federal law.
The Justice Department declined to explain why it isn't conducting the checks in Washington when it has in Colorado. Stephen Fischer, a spokesman for the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division, referred an Associated Press inquiry to DOJ headquarters, which would only issue a written statement.
"To ensure a consistent national approach, the department has been reviewing its background check policies, and we hope to have guidance for states in the near term," it said in its entirety.
In Washington, three people so far have received licenses to grow marijuana — without going through a national background check, even though the state Liquor Control Board's rules require that that they do so before a license is issued.
"The federal government has not stated why it has not yet agreed to conduct national background checks on our behalf," Washington state Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith said in an email. "However, the Liquor Control Board is ready to deliver fingerprints as soon as DOJ is ready."
0313 US How the NSA Plans to Infect 'Millions' of Computers with Malware
By Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald12 Mar 2014, 9:19 AM EDT235
One presentation outlines how the NSA performs "industrial-scale exploitation" of computer networks across the world.
Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.
The classified files - provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden - contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware "implants." The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.
The covert infrastructure that supports the hacking efforts operates from the agency's headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and from eavesdropping bases in the United Kingdom and Japan. GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, appears to have played an integral role in helping to develop the implants tactic.
In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target's computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive. In others, it has sent out spam emails laced with the malware, which can be tailored to covertly record audio from a computer's microphone and take snapshots with its webcam. The hacking systems have also enabled the NSA to launch cyberattacks by corrupting and disrupting file downloads or denying access to websites.
The implants being deployed were once reserved for a few hundred hard-to-reach targets, whose communications could not be monitored through traditional wiretaps. But the documents analyzed by The Intercept show how the NSA has aggressively accelerated its hacking initiatives in the past decade by computerizing some processes previously handled by humans. The automated system - codenamed TURBINE - is designed to "allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually."
In a top-secret presentation, dated August 2009, the NSA describes a pre-programmed part of the covert infrastructure called the "Expert System," which is designed to operate "like the brain." The system manages the applications and functions of the implants and "decides" what tools they need to best extract data from infected machines.
Mikko Hypponen, an expert in malware who serves as chief research officer at the Finnish security firm F-Secure, calls the revelations "disturbing." The NSA's surveillance techniques, he warns, could inadvertently be undermining the security of the Internet.
"When they deploy malware on systems," Hypponen says, "they potentially create new vulnerabilities in these systems, making them more vulnerable for attacks by third parties."
Hypponen believes that governments could arguably justify using malware in a small number of targeted cases against adversaries. But millions of malware implants being deployed by the NSA as part of an automated process, he says, would be "out of control."
"That would definitely not be proportionate," Hypponen says. "It couldn't possibly be targeted and named. It sounds like wholesale infection and wholesale surveillance."
The NSA declined to answer questions about its deployment of implants, pointing to a new presidential policy directive announced by President Obama. "As the president made clear on 17 January," the agency said in a statement, "signals intelligence shall be collected exclusively where there is a foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose to support national and departmental missions, and not for any other purposes."
"Owning the Net"
The NSA began rapidly escalating its hacking efforts a decade ago. In 2004, according to secretinternal records, the agency was managing a small network of only 100 to 150 implants. But over the next six to eight years, as an elite unit called Tailored Access Operations (TAO) recruited new hackers and developed new malware tools, the number of implants soared to tens of thousands.
To penetrate foreign computer networks and monitor communications that it did not have access to through other means, the NSA wanted to go beyond the limits of traditional signals intelligence, or SIGINT, the agency's term for the interception of electronic communications. Instead, it sought to broaden "active" surveillance methods - tactics designed to directly infiltrate a target's computers or network devices.
In the documents, the agency describes such techniques as "a more aggressive approach to SIGINT" and says that the TAO unit's mission is to "aggressively scale" these operations.
But the NSA recognized that managing a massive network of implants is too big a job for humans alone.
"One of the greatest challenges for active SIGINT/attack is scale," explains the top-secret presentation from 2009. "Human 'drivers' limit ability for large-scale exploitation (humans tend to operate within their own environment, not taking into account the bigger picture)."
The agency's solution was TURBINE. Developed as part of TAO unit, it is described in the leaked documents as an "intelligent command and control capability" that enables "industrial-scale exploitation."
TURBINE was designed to make deploying malware much easier for the NSA's hackers by reducing their role in overseeing its functions. The system would "relieve the user from needing to know/care about the details," the NSA's Technology Directorate notes in one secret document from 2009. "For example, a user should be able to ask for 'all details about application X' and not need to know how and where the application keeps files, registry entries, user application data, etc."
In practice, this meant that TURBINE would automate crucial processes that previously had to be performed manually - including the configuration of the implants as well as surveillance collection, or "tasking," of data from infected systems. But automating these processes was about much more than a simple technicality. The move represented a major tactical shift within the NSA that was expected to have a profound impact - allowing the agency to push forward into a new frontier of surveillance operations.
The ramifications are starkly illustrated in one undated top-secret NSA document, which describes how the agency planned for TURBINE to "increase the current capability to deploy and manage hundreds of Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) and Computer Network Attack (CNA) implants to potentially millions of implants." (CNE mines intelligence from computers and networks; CNA seeks to disrupt, damage or destroy them.)
Eventually, the secret files indicate, the NSA's plans for TURBINE came to fruition. The system has been operational in some capacity since at least July 2010, and its role has become increasingly central to NSA hacking operations.
Earlier reports based on the Snowden files indicate that the NSA has already deployed between 85,000 and 100,000 of its implants against computers and networks across the world, with plans to keep on scaling up those numbers.
The intelligence community's top-secret "Black Budget" for 2013, obtained by Snowden, lists TURBINE as part of a broader NSA surveillance initiative named "Owning the Net."
The agency sought $67.6 million in taxpayer funding for its Owning the Net program last year. Some of the money was earmarked for TURBINE, expanding the system to encompass "a wider variety" of networks and "enabling greater automation of computer network exploitation."
The NSA has a diverse arsenal of malware tools, each highly sophisticated and customizable for different purposes.
One implant, codenamed UNITEDRAKE, can be used with a variety of "plug-ins" that enable the agency to gain total control of an infected computer.
An implant plug-in named CAPTIVATEDAUDIENCE, for example, is used to take over a targeted computer's microphone and record conversations taking place near the device. Another, GUMFISH, can covertly take over a computer's webcam and snap photographs. FOGGYBOTTOM records logs of Internet browsing histories and collects login details and passwords used to access websites and email accounts. GROK is used to log keystrokes. And SALVAGERABBIT exfiltrates data from removable flash drives that connect to an infected computer.
The implants can enable the NSA to circumvent privacy-enhancing encryption tools that are used to browse the Internet anonymously or scramble the contents of emails as they are being sent across networks. That's because the NSA's malware gives the agency unfettered access to a target's computer before the user protects their communications with encryption.
It is unclear how many of the implants are being deployed on an annual basis or which variants of them are currently active in computer systems across the world.
Previous reports have alleged that the NSA worked with Israel to develop the Stuxnet malware, which was used to sabotage Iranian nuclear facilities. The agency also reportedly worked with Israel to deploy malware called Flame to infiltrate computers and spy on communications in countries across the Middle East.
According to the Snowden files, the technology has been used to seek out terror suspects as well as individuals regarded by the NSA as "extremist." But the mandate of the NSA's hackers is not limited to invading the systems of those who pose a threat to national security.
In one secret post on an internal message board, an operative from the NSA's Signals Intelligence Directorate describes using malware attacks against systems administrators who work at foreign phone and Internet service providers. By hacking an administrator's computer, the agency can gain covert access to communications that are processed by his company. "Sys admins are a means to an end," the NSA operative writes.
The internal post - titled "I hunt sys admins" - makes clear that terrorists aren't the only targets of such NSA attacks. Compromising a systems administrator, the operative notes, makes it easier to get to other targets of interest, including any "government official that happens to be using the network some admin takes care of."
Similar tactics have been adopted by Government Communications Headquarters, the NSA's British counterpart. As the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported in September, GCHQ hacked computers belonging to network engineers at Belgacom, the Belgian telecommunications provider.
The mission, codenamed "Operation Socialist," was designed to enable GCHQ to monitor mobile phones connected to Belgacom's network. The secret files deem the mission a "success," and indicate that the agency had the ability to covertly access Belgacom's systems since at least 2010.
Infiltrating cellphone networks, however, is not all that the malware can be used to accomplish. The NSA has specifically tailored some of its implants to infect large-scale network routers used by Internet service providers in foreign countries. By compromising routers - the devices that connect computer networks and transport data packets across the Internet - the agency can gain covert access to monitor Internet traffic, record the browsing sessions of users, and intercept communications.
Two implants the NSA injects into network routers, HAMMERCHANT and HAMMERSTEIN, help the agency to intercept and perform "exploitation attacks" against data that is sent through aVirtual Private Network, a tool that uses encrypted "tunnels" to enhance the security and privacy of an Internet session.
The implants also track phone calls sent across the network via Skype and other Voice Over IP software, revealing the username of the person making the call. If the audio of the VOIP conversation is sent over the Internet using unencrypted "Real-time Transport Protocol" packets, the implants can covertly record the audio data and then return it to the NSA for analysis.
But not all of the NSA's implants are used to gather intelligence, the secret files show. Sometimes, the agency's aim is disruption rather than surveillance. QUANTUMSKY, a piece of NSA malware developed in 2004, is used to block targets from accessing certain websites. QUANTUMCOPPER, first tested in 2008, corrupts a target's file downloads. These two "attack" techniques are revealed on a classified list that features nine NSA hacking tools, six of which are used for intelligence gathering. Just one is used for "defensive" purposes - to protect U.S. government networks against intrusions.
"Mass exploitation potential"
Before it can extract data from an implant or use it to attack a system, the NSA must first install the malware on a targeted computer or network.
According to one top-secret document from 2012, the agency can deploy malware by sending out spam emails that trick targets into clicking a malicious link. Once activated, a "back-door implant" infects their computers within eight seconds.
There's only one problem with this tactic, codenamed WILLOWVIXEN: According to the documents, the spam method has become less successful in recent years, as Internet users have become wary of unsolicited emails and less likely to click on anything that looks suspicious.
Consequently, the NSA has turned to new and more advanced hacking techniques. These include performing so-called "man-in-the-middle" and "man-on-the-side" attacks, which covertly force a user's internet browser to route to NSA computer servers that try to infect them with an implant.
To perform a man-on-the-side attack, the NSA observes a target's Internet traffic using its global network of covert "accesses" to data as it flows over fiber optic cables or satellites. When the target visits a website that the NSA is able to exploit, the agency's surveillance sensors alert the TURBINE system, which then "shoots" data packets at the targeted computer's IP address within a fraction of a second.
In one man-on-the-side technique, codenamed QUANTUMHAND, the agency disguises itself as a fake Facebook server. When a target attempts to log in to the social media site, the NSA transmits malicious data packets that trick the target's computer into thinking they are being sent from the real Facebook. By concealing its malware within what looks like an ordinary Facebook page, the NSA is able to hack into the targeted computer and covertly siphon out data from its hard drive. A top-secret animation demonstrates the tactic in action.
The documents show that QUANTUMHAND became operational in October 2010, after being successfully tested by the NSA against about a dozen targets.
According to Matt Blaze, a surveillance and cryptography expert at the University of Pennsylvania, it appears that the QUANTUMHAND technique is aimed at targeting specific individuals. But he expresses concerns about how it has been covertly integrated within Internet networks as part of the NSA's automated TURBINE system.
"As soon as you put this capability in the backbone infrastructure, the software and security engineer in me says that's terrifying," Blaze says.
"Forget about how the NSA is intending to use it. How do we know it is working correctly and only targeting who the NSA wants? And even if it does work correctly, which is itself a really dubious assumption, how is it controlled?"
In an email statement to The Intercept, Facebook spokesman Jay Nancarrow said the company had "no evidence of this alleged activity." He added that Facebook implemented HTTPS encryption for users last year, making browsing sessions less vulnerable to malware attacks.
Nancarrow also pointed out that other services besides Facebook could have been compromised by the NSA. "If government agencies indeed have privileged access to network service providers," he said, "any site running only [unencrypted] HTTP could conceivably have its traffic misdirected."
A man-in-the-middle attack is a similar but slightly more aggressive method that can be used by the NSA to deploy its malware. It refers to a hacking technique in which the agency covertly places itself between computers as they are communicating with each other.
This allows the NSA not only to observe and redirect browsing sessions, but to modify the content of data packets that are passing between computers.
The man-in-the-middle tactic can be used, for instance, to covertly change the content of a message as it is being sent between two people, without either knowing that any change has been made by a third party. The same technique is sometimes used by criminal hackers to defraud people.
A top-secret NSA presentation from 2012 reveals that the agency developed a man-in-the-middle capability called SECONDDATE to "influence real-time communications between client and server" and to "quietly redirect web-browsers" to NSA malware servers called FOXACID. In October, details about the FOXACID system were reported by the Guardian, which revealed its links to attacks against users of the Internet anonymity service Tor.
But SECONDDATE is tailored not only for "surgical" surveillance attacks on individual suspects. It can also be used to launch bulk malware attacks against computers.
According to the 2012 presentation, the tactic has "mass exploitation potential for clients passing through network choke points."
Blaze, the University of Pennsylvania surveillance expert, says the potential use of man-in-the-middle attacks on such a scale "seems very disturbing." Such an approach would involve indiscriminately monitoring entire networks as opposed to targeting individual suspects.
"The thing that raises a red flag for me is the reference to 'network choke points,'" he says. "That's the last place that we should be allowing intelligence agencies to compromise the infrastructure - because that is by definition a mass surveillance technique."
To deploy some of its malware implants, the NSA exploits security vulnerabilities in commonly used Internet browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer.
The agency's hackers also exploit security weaknesses in network routers and in popular software plugins such as Flash and Java to deliver malicious code onto targeted machines.
The implants can circumvent anti-virus programs, and the NSA has gone to extreme lengths to ensure that its clandestine technology is extremely difficult to detect. An implant named VALIDATOR, used by the NSA to upload and download data to and from an infected machine, can be set to self-destruct - deleting itself from an infected computer after a set time expires.
In many cases, firewalls and other security measures do not appear to pose much of an obstacle to the NSA. Indeed, the agency's hackers appear confident in their ability to circumvent any security mechanism that stands between them and compromising a computer or network. "If we can get the target to visit us in some sort of web browser, we can probably own them," an agency hacker boasts in one secret document. "The only limitation is the 'how.'"
The TURBINE implants system does not operate in isolation.
It is linked to, and relies upon, a large network of clandestine surveillance "sensors" that the agency has installed at locations across the world.
The NSA's headquarters in Maryland are part of this network, as are eavesdropping bases used by the agency in Misawa, Japan and Menwith Hill, England.
The sensors, codenamed TURMOIL, operate as a sort of high-tech surveillance dragnet, monitoring packets of data as they are sent across the Internet.
When TURBINE implants exfiltrate data from infected computer systems, the TURMOIL sensors automatically identify the data and return it to the NSA for analysis. And when targets are communicating, the TURMOIL system can be used to send alerts or "tips" to TURBINE, enabling the initiation of a malware attack.
The NSA identifies surveillance targets based on a series of data "selectors" as they flow across Internet cables. These selectors, according to internal documents, can include email addresses, IP addresses, or the unique "cookies" containing a username or other identifying information that are sent to a user's computer by websites such as Google, Facebook, Hotmail, Yahoo, and Twitter.
Other selectors the NSA uses can be gleaned from unique Google advertising cookies that track browsing habits, unique encryption key fingerprints that can be traced to a specific user, and computer IDs that are sent across the Internet when a Windows computer crashes or updates.
What's more, the TURBINE system operates with the knowledge and support of other governments, some of which have participated in the malware attacks.
Classification markings on the Snowden documents indicate that NSA has shared many of its files on the use of implants with its counterparts in the so-called Five Eyes surveillance alliance - the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
GCHQ, the British agency, has taken on a particularly important role in helping to develop the malware tactics. The Menwith Hill satellite eavesdropping base that is part of the TURMOIL network, located in a rural part of Northern England, is operated by the NSA in close cooperation with GCHQ.
Top-secret documents show that the British base - referred to by the NSA as "MHS" for Menwith Hill Station - is an integral component of the TURBINE malware infrastructure and has been used to experiment with implant "exploitation" attacks against users of Yahoo and Hotmail.
In one document dated 2010, at least five variants of the QUANTUM hacking method were listed as being "operational" at Menwith Hill. The same document also reveals that GCHQ helped integrate three of the QUANTUM malware capabilities - and test two others - as part of a surveillance system it operates codenamed INSENSER.
GCHQ cooperated with the hacking attacks despite having reservations about their legality. One of the Snowden files, previously disclosed by Swedish broadcaster SVT, revealed that as recently as April 2013, GCHQ was apparently reluctant to get involved in deploying the QUANTUM malware due to "legal/policy restrictions." A representative from a unit of the British surveillance agency, meeting with an obscure telecommunications standards committee in 2010, separately voiced concerns that performing "active" hacking attacks for surveillance "may be illegal" under British law.
In response to questions from The Intercept, GCHQ refused to comment on its involvement in the covert hacking operations. Citing its boilerplate response to inquiries, the agency said in a statement that "all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight."
Whatever the legalities of the United Kingdom and United States infiltrating computer networks, the Snowden files bring into sharp focus the broader implications. Under cover of secrecy and without public debate, there has been an unprecedented proliferation of aggressive surveillance techniques. One of the NSA's primary concerns, in fact, appears to be that its clandestine tactics are now being adopted by foreign rivals, too.
"Hacking routers has been good business for us and our 5-eyes partners for some time," notes one NSA analyst in atop-secret document dated December 2012. "But it is becoming more apparent that other nation states are honing their skillz [sic] and joining the scene."
Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona Will Not Seek Re-election
Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona said Wednesday that she would not run for re-election, ending speculation about her plans.
Even though the Arizona Constitution limits governors to two terms, Ms. Brewer had talked lately about trying to find a way around it. Her first term came by appointment, after the governor at the time, Janet Napolitano, left to become President Obama’s Homeland Security secretary, and Ms. Brewer could make a case in court that although she has served two terms, one of them was not an elected term, so it should not count.
0314 US White House withholds thousands of documents from Senate CIA investigation
from the Kansas City Star
BY JONATHAN S. LANDAY, ALI WATKINS AND MARISA TAYLOR
McClatchy Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — The White House has been withholding for five years more than 9,000 top-secret documents sought by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for its investigation into the now-defunct CIA detention and interrogation program, even though President Barack Obama hasn’t exercised a claim of executive privilege.
In contrast to public assertions that it supports the committee’s work, the White House has ignored or rejected offers in multiple meetings and in letters to find ways for the committee to review the records, a McClatchy investigation has found.
The significance of the materials couldn’t be learned. But the administration’s refusal to turn them over or to agree to any compromise raises questions about what they would reveal about the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists in secret overseas prisons.
The dispute indicates that the White House is more involved than it has acknowledged in the unprecedented power struggle between the committee and the CIA, which has triggered charges that the agency searched the panel’s computers without authorization and has led to requests to the Justice Department for criminal investigations of CIA personnel and Senate aides.
“These documents certainly raise the specter that the White House has been involved in stonewalling the investigation,” said Elizabeth Goitein, the co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program at the New York University Law School.
The committee and the CIA declined to comment.
In a statement to McClatchy, the White House confirmed that “a small percentage” of the 6.2 million pages of documents provided to the committee were “set aside because they raise executive branch confidentiality interests.”
The White House also said that it had worked closely with the committee “to ensure access to the information necessary to review the CIA’s former program.”
Speaking to reporters earlier during a White House event, Obama said that the administration has worked with the committee to ensure that its study is “well informed” and that he was committed to seeing the report declassified once a final version is completed. He said it wouldn’t be proper for him to comment directly on the battle between the CIA and the committee, except to say that CIA Director John Brennan had referred the issues to the “appropriate authorities and they are looking into it.”
The Democrat-controlled committee has largely kept silent about the tussle with the White House, even as some members have decried what they contend has been the CIA’s refusal to surrender key materials on the agency’s use under the Bush administration of interrogation methods denounced by the panel chairwoman as “un-American” and “brutal.”
The chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, made no mention of the White House documents during a blistering floor speech Tuesday in which she charged that the CIA may have undermined the Constitution and violated the law by searching computers used by her staff to compile the study. Brennan has denied her allegations and the White House has expressed continued confidence in his leadership of the CIA.
In question are some 9,400 documents that came to the committee’s attention in 2009, McClatchy has learned. It’s unclear whether the CIA first gave the committee staff access to the materials before the White House withheld them.
Obama, however, still hasn’t formally decreed that the documents are protected by executive privilege, McClatchy learned. Although the doctrine isn’t mentioned explicitly in the Constitution, the Supreme Court in 1974 recognized a limited power by the White House to withhold certain communications between high officials and close aides who advise and assist them.
The withholding of the documents “may not be a smoking gun” proving White House obstructionism, said Goitein, a former Senate Judiciary Committee legal adviser.
Among the other explanations: The White House might have determined that the documents are not relevant to the inquiry or that they are indeed covered by executive privilege but that the president has not yet been forced to assert the claim, she said.
“The most nefarious explanation is that they are not privileged and the White House simply doesn’t want to hand them over,” Goitein said. “Executive privilege is generally asserted after negotiations and brinksmanship behind the scenes. People put on paper what they want to be formalized, and these negotiations by their very nature are very informal.”
The committee, the CIA and the White House have held periodic talks on the materials since 2009. Their apparent failure to resolve the standoff prompted Feinstein to write several letters last year to Obama’s chief legal adviser, Kathryn Ruemmler, seeking a resolution, McClatchy has learned.
A White House official, who declined to be further identified as a matter of administration policy, said that Ruemmler responded to Feinstein’s letters, although information obtained by McClatchy indicated that she hadn’t.
It was not known if the materials came up during a visit that Ruemmler and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough paid to Feinstein and the committee’s vice chairman, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., on Tuesday after Feinstein delivered her speech.
To date, the most explicit public reference to documents being withheld by the White House appears to have been made last August by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., an Intelligence Committee member who has led calls for a full disclosure of the CIA interrogation program.
In written questions that he submitted for the confirmation process of former CIA General Counsel Stephen W. Preston to be the Pentagon’s top lawyer, Udall asked Preston what role he’d played in an agency decision to withdraw documents that initially had been provided to the committee staff.
“During the CIA’s document production of more than six million pages of records, the CIA removed several thousand CIA documents that the CIA believed could be subject to executive privilege claims by the president,” Udall wrote. “While the documents represent an admittedly small percentage of the total number of records produced, the documents – deemed responsive – have nonetheless not been provided to the committee.”
Preston responded that “a small percentage of the total number of documents was set aside for further review. The agency (CIA) has deferred to the White House and has not been substantially involved in subsequent discussions about the disposition of those documents.”
In a related episode in 2010 as described by Feinstein in her speech on Tuesday, the committee staff discovered that it was no longer able to access hundreds of documents that it previously had been able to read.
“This was done without the knowledge or approval of committee members or staff and in violation of our written agreements,” she said.
CIA personnel initially accused computer technicians of removing the documents and then asserted that they were pulled on the White House’s orders, Feinstein said. The White House denied issuing such orders, she said, and “the matter was resolved” with renewed administration and CIA pledges that there would be no further intrusions into the staff’s database.
Feinstein, however, did not say what happened to the documents.
The records being held by the White House are separate from materials generated by an internal CIA review of some 6.2 million pages of operational cables, emails and other top-secret documents made accessible to committee staff in a secret CIA electronic reading room in Northern Virginia. The committee approved a final draft of the $40 million, 6,300-page study in December 2012.
In his first significant comments on the scandal, Chambliss took to the Senate floor late Wednesday afternoon to launch an apparent counterattack on Feinstein’s speech.
“Although people speak as though we know all the pertinent facts surrounding this matter, the truth is, we do not,” said Chambliss, who pointed out that the committee’s Republican staff didn’t participate in investigating the detention and interrogation program.
“We do not have the actual facts concerning the CIA’s alleged actions or all of the specific details about the actions by the committee staff regarding the draft of what is now referred to as the Panetta internal document,” Chambliss said. “Both parties have made allegations against one another, and even speculated (on) each other’s actions, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions that must be addressed.”
“No forensics have been run on the CIA computers . . . at the CIA facility to know what actually happened either regarding the alleged CIA search or the circumstances under which the committee came into possession of the Panetta internal review document.”
And then comes this on the LA Times Tech page:
0314 US NSA posed as Facebook to infect computers with malware, report says
Complete with an ardent denial from the NSA:
[Updated 1:25 p.m. PDT March 13: The NSA has said that the report by the Intercept is inaccurate.
"NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites," the agency said in a statement. "Nor does NSA target any user of global Internet services without appropriate legal authority."]
The NSA has reportedly been using an automated system codenamed TURBINE to infect computers and networks with malware. (Patrick Semansky / Associated Press / June 6, 2013)
'Angry Birds' used for NSA, British spying efforts, documents say
Silicon Valley's reaction to Obama's NSA reforms: Not enough
Apple Gotofail bug: Simple mistake or NSA conspiracy?
By Salvador Rodriguez This post has been updated, as indicated below.
March 12, 2014, 11:34 a.m.
The National Security Agency has reportedly used automated systems to infect user computers with malware since 2010, according to a Wednesday report. And at times the agency pretended to be Facebook to install its malware.
The NSA has been using a program codenamed TURBINE to contaminate computers and networks with malware "implants" capable of spying on users, according to the Intercept, which cited documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Between 85,000 and 100,000 of these implants have been deployed worldwide thus far, the report said.
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To infect computers with malware, the NSA has relied on various tactics, including posing as Facebook.
The federal agency performed what is known as a "man-on-the-side" attack in which it tricked users computers into thinking that they were accessing real Facebook servers. Once the user had been fooled, the NSA hacked into the user's computer and extracted data from their hard drive.
Facebook said it had no knowledge of the NSA"s TURBINE program, according to the National Journal. However, the social network said it is no longer possible for the NSA or hackers to attack users that way, but Facebook warned that other websites and social networks may still be vulnerable to those types of attacks.
"This method of network level disruption does not work for traffic carried over HTTPS, which Facebook finished integrating by default last year," Facebook told the National Journal. "If government agencies indeed have privileged access to network service providers, any site running only HTTP could conceivably have its traffic misdirected."
Other ways the NSA infects malware onto computers include sending out spam emails.
The NSA is capable of installing different kinds of malware, each capable of performing different tasks. According to the report, certain malware can:
Use a computer's microphone to record audio
Use a computer's webcam to take photos
Record a computer's Internet browsing history
Record login details and passwords use for Web services
Log users' keystrokes
Extract data from flash drives when they are plugged into infected computers
Block users from accessing certain websites
Corrupt files that computers attempt to download
When the NSA first began infecting computers with malware in 2004, it would do so manually, according to the report. At that time, only between 100 and 150 implants had been deployed.
Tony Benn: the establishment insider turned leftwing outsider
The upper-middle class nonconformist radical had a tireless reformist zeal who was loved and loathed in equal measure by both the right and the left
Tony Benn former Labour MP, cabinet minister, writer, and a much-admired hate figure Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the guardian
Tony Benn was one of the most mesmerising and divisive figures in the mainstream of postwar British politics. An establishment insider who became a rebellious leftwing outsider, a cabinet minister turned street protester and reviled prophet of capitalism's demise, he nonetheless managed in old age to become something of a national treasure. "It's because I'm harmless now," he would explain.
In the course of a 60-year career in public life which left a more lasting impact on the constitution than on the direction of governments or their policies – first as Anthony Wedgwood Benn, briefly as Viscount Stansgate, and from 1973 as plain Mr Benn – he was both loved and loathed in equal measure by countless voters who had never met him.
As such Benn stood in a long line of upper-class, nonconformist radicals with a moral crusader's unsettling zeal, as recognisably English as a character out of Anthony Trollope or even PG Wodehouse. His former Oxford tutor, later his Notting Hill neighbour and cabinet colleague, the cerebral Tony Crosland, was devoted to him even though he accused Benn – known to some intimates as "Jimmy" – of working so hard that "he creates endless crises". Crosland would say affectionately: "Nothing the matter with him except he's a bit cracked."
It was a lack of any direct dealings with their troublesome, often self-righteous colleague which characterised many of "Jimmy's" more ardent admirers in the opinion of detractors less forgiving than Crosland. To them he symbolised disastrous and rancorous splits in the 1970s and 80s, a decade of unrealistic self-indulgence made worse when fellow-leftwingers, Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock led the party. Between the left and Roy Jenkins's rightwing SDP split, it cost them power for 19 years.
Benn outside parliament in 1961. Photograph: Philip Jones Griffiths
Surviving Bennites and their leftwing allies in the unions and grassroots labour movement were quick to counter criticism with praise for his far-sighted warnings against globalisation or unaccountable corporate power and his resilient optimism, after Benn's death at 88 was announced on Friday. With the possible exceptions of Aneurin Bevan and Arthur Scargill on the left and Margaret Thatcher or Enoch Powell on the radical right, no mainstream postwar political figure aroused such partisan loyalty – or fear.
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