The Stasi was one of the most hated and feared institutions of the East German communist government.
The Stasi developed out of the internal security and police apparatus established in the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany after World War II. The law establishing the ministry, whose forerunner was the Kommissariat 5 (modeled along the lines of the Soviet KGB), was passed by the East German legislature on February 8, 1950, four months after the establishment of the German Democratic Republic. The Stasi, whose formal role was not defined in the legislation, was responsible for both domestic political surveillance and foreign espionage, and it was overseen by the ruling Socialist Unity Party. Its staff was at first quite small, and its chief responsibilities were counterintelligence against Western agents and the suppression of the last vestiges of Nazism. Soon, however, the Stasi became known for kidnapping former East German officials who had fled the country; many of those who were forcibly returned were executed.
Under Erich Mielke, its director from 1957 to 1989, the Stasi became a highly effective secret police organization. Within East Germany it sought to infiltrate every institution of society and every aspect of daily life, including even intimate personal and familial relationships. It accomplished this goal both through its official apparatus and through a vast network of informants and unofficial collaborators (inoffizielle Mitarbeiter), who spied on and denounced colleagues, friends, neighbours, and even family members. By 1989 the Stasi relied on 500,000 to 2,000,000 collaborators as well as 100,000 regular employees, and it maintained files on approximately 6,000,000 East German citizens—more than one-third of the population.
In addition to domestic surveillance, the Stasi was also responsible for foreign surveillance andintelligence gathering through its Main Administration for Foreign Intelligence (Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung). Its foreign espionage activities were largely directed against the West German government and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Under Markus Wolf, its chief of foreign operations from 1958 to 1987, the Stasi extensively penetrated West Germany’s government and military and intelligence services, including the inner circle of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt (1969–74); indeed, the discovery in April 1974 that a top aid to Brandt, Günter Guillaume, was an East German spy led to Brandt’s resignation two weeks later.
We, The People have always recognized that our government monitors foreign governments and terrorist/communist threats to our country.
The NSA was started in 1949 under President Herbert Hoover. Originally it was called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA).
This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The AFSA was to direct the communications and electronic intelligence activities of the U.S. military intelligence units: the Army Security Agency, the Naval Security Group, and the Air Force Security Service. However, that agency had little power and lacked a centralized coordination mechanism. The creation of NSA resulted from a December 10, 1951, memo sent by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Walter Bedell Smith to James S. Lay, Executive Secretary of the National Security Council. The memo observed that “control over, and coordination of, the collection and processing of Communications Intelligence had proved ineffective” and recommended a survey of communications intelligence activities. The proposal was approved on December 13, 1951, and the study authorized on December 28, 1951. The report was completed by June 13, 1952. Generally known as the “Brownell Committee Report,” after committee chairman Herbert Brownell, it surveyed the history of U.S. communications intelligence activities and suggested the need for a much greater degree of coordination and direction at the national level. As the change in the security agency’s name indicated, the role of NSA was extended beyond the armed forces.
The creation of NSA was authorized in a letter written by President Harry S. Truman in June 1952. The agency was formally established through a revision of National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9 on October 24, 1952, and officially came into existence on November 4, 1952. President Truman’s letter was itself classified and remained unknown to the public for more than a generation[vague]. A brief but vague reference to the NSA first appeared in the United States Government Organization Manual from 1957, which described it as “a separately organized agency within the Department of Defense under the direction, authority, and control of the Secretary of Defense [...] for the performance of highly specialized technical functions in support of the intelligence activities of the United States.”
On January 6, 2011 a groundbreaking ceremony was held to begin construction on the NSA’s first Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative (CNCI) Data Center, known as the “Utah Data Center“ for short. The US $2 billion data center is being built at Camp Williams, Utah, located 25 miles (40 km) miles south of Salt Lake City. The data center will help support the agency’s National Cyber-security Initiative. It is expected to be operational by September 2013.
In 2009, to protect its assets and to access more electricity, NSA sought to decentralize and expand its existing facilities in Ft. Meade and Menwith Hill, the latter expansion expected to be completed by 2015.
FORMER NSA ANALYST ON THE RISE OF THE SURVEILLANCE STATE
June 12, 2013
Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian columnist who first brought international attention to the National Security Agency’s monitoring of millions of telephone and Internet logs of individual Americans and major businesses, originally made his way to the national political conversation during the second term of George W. Bush.
Greenwald’s blog was picked up by Salon in 2005 and quickly became a haven for civil libertarians shocked by the news of the administration’s warrantless phone surveillance. His book attacking this policy by Bush, How Would a Patriot Act?, became a best-seller. After calling attention to the surveillance policy of the Obama administration in a series of articles this month, Greenwald tells Business Insider that he is not surprised that many liberals have not joined him as they did during Bush.
Greenwald told Business Insider late Tuesday night that he thinks some left-leaning members of the media — such as Time magazine’s Joe Klein and The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin — have shifted stances on surveillance and civil liberties for “principle-free, hackish, and opportunistic” reasons.
“I’m not surprised,” Greenwald said in an email. “I’ve been amazed and disappointed for a long time at how the most slavishly partisan media Democrats who pretended to care so much about these issues when doing so helped undermine George Bush are now the loudest apologists and cheerleaders for these very same policies.
“If they started a club called Liberal Pundits to Defend the National Security State, no auditorium in the country would be large enough to accommodate them.
“To call them principle-free, hackish, and opportunistic is to be overly generous.”
On Tuesday House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer defended the Obama administration’s domestic spying programs as legal, unlike the Bush programs, The Hill reports:
”The difference between this program and the Bush program [is that] the Bush program was not sanctioned by law; this is pursuant to law,” Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol. “I think that’s a very important distinction that some people don’t draw, but they ought to draw.”
Former NSA Analyst J. Kirk Wiebe joined “Wilkow!” Wednesday to discuss the NSA’s secret domestic spying program, leaker Edward Snowden’s motivations, and the growing surveillance state from Bush to Obama.
What is the NSA’s PRISM program? (FAQ)
by Ben Dreyfuss and Emily Dreyfuss
June 7, 2013
We now know that the NSA uses something called PRISM to monitor private Web data. Sounds like “1984.” What does it really mean?
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has released a statement saying, “PRISM is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program.” Instead, the name PRISM appears to refer to the actual computer program used to collect and analyze data legally requested by the NSA and divulged by Internet companies. This matches reports from CNET and The New York Times.
However, as the New York Times reported late Friday evening, it has come to light that the nine large tech companies first reported to be working with the NSA to divulge information have, in fact, made it easier for the government to access data from their servers.
Which companies are involved?
Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook, Google, Apple, PalTalk, YouTube, and Skype. Dropbox is allegedly “coming soon.” However, 98 percent of PRISM production is based on just Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft.
All nine of them have explicitly denied that the government has “direct access” to their servers. Reliable sources have confirmed to CNET that PRISM works on a request-by-request basis, rather than unfettered access, as was originally reported by the Washington Post. Here is a direct quote from our in-depth article on this issue:
Those reports are incorrect and appear to be based on a misreading of a leaked Powerpoint document, according to a former government official who is intimately familiar with this process of data acquisition and spoke today on condition of anonymity.
Still, it appears that though they may have withheld direct access to their servers, many did in fact agree to collaborate with the government on “developing technical methods to more efficiently and securely share the personal data of foreign users in response to lawful government requests.”
It’s not entirely clear, but according to the New York Times, in at least two cases the companies discussed creating secure digital dropboxes where information sought by the NSA could be electronically deposited. Facebook reportedly actually built such a system.
On Tuesday, June 11, Google published a letter to the Justice Department, asking for permission to disclose the mechanism by which FISA requests are completed. A Facebook spokesperson joined the call, announcing that Facebook would “welcome the opportunity to provide a transparency report that allows us to share with those who use Facebook around the world a complete picture of the government requests we receive, and how we respond.” After writing the letter to the Justice Department, Google discussed with Wired Magazine the ways it gets legal information to the government, insisting throughout that reports of “direct access” to Google servers have been erroneous. Jump to our How does it work? section for more details.
Why isn’t Twitter a part of PRISM?
That’s a very good question that at first no one was able to answer.
It now appears as though the answer is: Twitter simply said no.
Companies are legally obligated to comply with any legitimate government request for user data, but they are under no legal obligation to make that process easier. Twitter apparently refused to join the other nine in steam rolling the process.
On Friday, June 7, the New York Times wrote:
Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations. They opened discussions with national security officials about developing technical methods to more efficiently and securely share the personal data of foreign users in response to lawful government requests. And in some cases, they changed their computer systems to do so.
What type of data is monitored?
According to “slides and other supporting materials” given to the The Guardian and The Washington Post by Snowden: “e-mail, chat, videos, photos, stored data, VoIP, file transfers, video conferencing, notifications of target activity…log-ins, etc., online social networking details” — so, everything.
For instance, Google data includes “Gmail, voice and video chat, Google Drive files, photo libraries, and live surveillance of search terms.”
The original report suggests that “NSA reporting increasingly relies on PRISM” as its leading source of raw material, accounting for nearly one in seven intelligence reports.
A reliable source tells CNET that both the contents of communications and metadata, such as information about who’s talking to whom, can be requested.
Can they read my iMessage?
Theoretically, yes. That is the kind of data the program has access to.
So someone has read my e-mail?
Aside from the fact that Google’s algorithms crawl your e-mail all the time to target ads at you, “someone” within the NSA may have read your e-mails.
Is it even legal?
Yes, under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 2008 and the Protect America Act of 2007. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a statement Thursday night saying that “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.” FISA was renewed last year by Congress.
Is this the same as the data Verizon is giving to the NSA?
No. This is separate. The data Verizon gives to the NSA is only metadata, so although the government can see who you call and how long you talk to them, they are not listening in on your voice mails and phone calls. But again, that’s a separate NSA program. For more information on it, read this.
What’s the fallout?
Well, so far respected human rights watchdog Freedom House has downgraded America’s freedom ranking. Last time their survey was released, the United States was the second most free country on Earth in terms of Internet freedoms. That position is about to change.
How can I avoid this?
Should I be outraged?
Probably! But maybe not. President Obama addressed PRISM on Friday and essentially said, “Don’t worry. You can trust us.”
Interjected here are President Ronald Reagan’s quote about government:
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’
Who is to blame for this?
Well, let’s let Anthony Romero of the American Civil Liberties Union sum it up. He is quoted by The New York Times as saying, “A pox on all the three houses of government. On Congress, for legislating such powers, on the FISA court for being such a paper tiger and rubber stamp, and on the Obama administration for not being true to its values.”
WH Celebrates New High Performance Computing Center Opening
June 12, 2013
By JERYL BIER
The White House announced the opening of a new government supercomputing center in northern Maryland this week. Patricia Falcone of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) attended a ceremony to mark the occasion along with Maryland Senator Ben Cardin and various army officials:
OSTP’s Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs Dr. Patricia Falcone provided keynote remarks yesterday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the US Army Research Laboratory’s (ARL) new supercomputing center at Aberdeen Proving Ground in northern Maryland…
The new ARL Supercomputing Center—containing two new IBM iDataPlex computers with the capacity to perform 50,000 trillion floating point operations per second, or 50 petaflops—will provide state-of-the art high performance computing capabilities as well as extraordinary capacities in advanced high-speed networking and data analysis, providing unprecedented benefits to the Army, the Department of Defense, and the Nation as a whole.