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Journalist warns of ‘explosive’ news from cache Snowden leaked | UPI.com

The journalist who published files leaked by fugitive U.S. leaker Edward Snowden says new reports from the data Snowden supplied would be more volatile.

Glenn Greenwald, who works for British newspaper The Guardian, said the reports from the cache of information Snowden took about the expansive National Security Agency cellphone and Internet surveillance programs would be “more explosive in Germany” than previous reports about cooperation between the NSA and German intelligence, Der Spiegel reported Friday. [Read the full article]

Merkel pressed on U.S. spying row before German election | Reuters

(Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to reassure German voters on Friday that Germany is not a “surveillance state” and said she was pressing Washington for answers on reports of intrusive snooping by U.S. intelligence.

Revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs have filled German newspapers in the last two weeks and have become a headache for Merkel ahead of a September 22 election in which she is tipped to win a third term. [Read the full article]

Tech firms demand PRISM transparency from US government | The Telegraph

As the NSA surveillance scandal rumbles on, an alliance of 63 companies, investors, charities and trade organisations – including Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft – has written a letter to President Obama, asking for permission to make public the number of government requests for information about their users.

In the letter, the alliance also asked to report the number of individuals, accounts, or devices for which information was requested, as well as the number of requests that sought communications content, basic subscriber information or other information. [Read the full article]

Dennis Blair: NSA Asked Telecoms To Store Calling Records in 2009, Was Rejected | The Daily Beast

The National Security Agency approached telecommunications companies in 2009, and asked them to store calling records it could access later if a phone number was suspected to be connected to a terrorist.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Dialogue Thursday, Dennis Blair, the former Director of National Intelligence said, “We went to the telecom companies and asked if we could go to them and get this data and the telecom companies said, ‘no.'” [Read the full article]

Snowden’s disclosure prompts global debate over privacy versus national security | PRI

The debate over government surveillance versus individual privacy isn’t confined to the United States. The revelations from Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency leak have prompted investigations and allegations the world over.

The National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programs were the subject of a testy open hearing in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. [Read the full article]

NSA director suggests phone companies, not government, could store calling records | Washington Post

ASPEN, Colo. — The director of the National Security Agency said Thursday that he is open to the idea of allowing telephone companies, rather than the NSA, to store vast pools of calling records that could be used in counterterrorism cases.

Speaking at a security conference, Gen. Keith Alexander strongly defended the spy agency’s surveillance efforts, which rely on the information known as calling “metadata” to identify and track terrorists and their plots. [Read the full article]

NSA Phone Snooping Cannot Be Challenged in Court, Feds Say | Wired

The Obama administration for the first time responded to a Spygate lawsuit, telling a federal judge the wholesale vacuuming up of all phone-call metadata in the United States is in the “public interest,” does not breach the constitutional rights of Americans and cannot be challenged in a court of law.

Thursday’s response marks the first time the administration has officially answered one of at least four lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of a secret U.S. snooping program the Guardian newspaper disclosed last month. The administration’s filing sets the stage for what is to be a lengthy legal odyssey — one likely to outlive the Obama presidency — that will define the privacy rights of Americans for years to come. [Read the full article]

NSA chief strongly defends govt. surveillance programs, but suggests he’s open to changes | CNN

The director of the National Security Agency on Thursday offered a full-throated defense of a domestic monitoring program that has been at the center of government leaks, while also tacitly supporting an idea to dramatically change the controversial snooping.

In a public interview at the Aspen Security Forum, NSA Director Keith Alexander addressed the leaks carried out by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified documents to the media. [Read the full article]

Ex-NSA chief: Huawei spies for China, Snowden security leak ‘most destructive’ in U.S. history | Infoworld

China-based network hardware company Huawei poses an “unambiguous national security threat” to the United States, according to former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden in an interview with the Australian Financial Review.

Hayden, who is a retired four-star Air Force general, also deemed Edward Snowden’s exposure of the PRISM program “the single most destructive leak of American security information in our history,” adding that Americans will be far more comfortable with the nation’s secretive surveillance programs “once the media gives us a proper opportunity to explain exactly what it is the U.S. intelligence community does for its people.” [Read the full article]

NSA chief speaks out on program at Aspen Security Forum | Aspen Times

Four-star Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, spent the better part of his Thursday night interview at the Aspen Security Forum explaining that Big Brother isn’t prying into phone calls, emails and social media to the extent that many Americans believe.

Alexander, who also heads the U.S. Cyber Command, also said that the mission of protecting American lives from terrorism outweighs many privacy concerns and that U.S. military and security officials and personnel are maintaining a targeted effort, within the confines of the law, against those who seek to do the nation harm. [Read the full article]

Obama attorney: NSA programs are legal | USA Today

For its latest defense of National Security Agency surveillance programs, the Obama administration brought in one of its key lawyers.

Robert S. Litt, general counsel for the director of national intelligence, said in a Friday speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington that phone and Internet surveillance programs are legal, and carefully managed to protect privacy and civil liberties. [Read the full article]

Germany backs away from claims NSA program thwarted five attacks | Kansas City Star

BERLIN — German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich is backing off his earlier assertion that the Obama administration’s NSA monitoring of Internet accounts had prevented five terror attacks in Germany, raising questions about other claims concerning the value of the massive monitoring programs revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Friedrich had made the assertion about the number of attacks that the NSA programs – which scoop up records from cellphone and Internet accounts – had helped to avert after a brief visit to the United States last week. But on Tuesday, he told a German parliamentary panel, “It is relatively difficult to count the number of terror attacks that didn’t occur.” And on Wednesday, he was publically referring to just two foiled attacks, at least one and possibly both of which appeared to have little to do with the NSA’s surveillance programs. [Read the full article]

NSA Taking Action to Implement New System Security Measures | Legal Insurrection

NSA head General Keith Alexander said at a forum earlier this week that the agency is taking steps to insure that a breach of its systems like the one committed by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor employed through Booz Allen Hamilton, cannot occur again.  The agency is said to be implementing new security measures to prevent unauthorized access to it systems. [Read the full article]

NSA Doublespeak, Federal Crimes and Punishment | Tenth Amendment Center

The oath of office for any federal employee (excepting the President) reads as follows:

“I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” [Read the full article]

After PRISM: Toward a New World Internet Order (People’s Daily, China) | World Meet US

Does the mass surveillance conducted by the United States mark a turning point, at which the world must work in earnest to develop rules of the road for cyberspace, and dispel international suspicion with cooperation? For China’s state-run People’s Daily, senior editor Ding Gang suggests that recrimination helps no one, but if the U.S. refuses to take take corrective action, a way must be found to act without it. [Read the full article]

The PRISM Scandal, the Kremlin, and the Eurasian Union | Atlantic Community

The PRISM scandal should serve as a wake-up call for Europe and the US to pay attention to the new geopolitical fault lines in Europe, as the scandal has diminished US soft power, deepened the crisis of confidence between the EU and US, and offered Putin a new opportunity.  Putin is poised to launch his project of a Eurasian Union, which would seek to expand Russian influence into the “weak Orthodox underbelly” of Europe and directly compete with the EU. [Read the full article]

EU justice chief vows new data protection laws | Global Post

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said Friday she is determined to deliver new European data protection laws in the wake of revelations about covert US surveillance.

“PRISM has woken Europeans up to the need to have robust, strict rules,” Reding told AFP in an interview going into informal talks with European Union justice ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania. [Read the full article]

FISA 101: 10 key dates in the evolution of NSA surveillance | CS Monitor

When news of the PRISM data collection and surveillance program broke in early June 2013, it shook up the cyber security debate, and called into question just how much information the US government is authorized to collect. But government data collection isn’t something that just sprang up out of nowhere – it just sprang into national attention after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked government documents about the secret government agency. Here’s a brief list of post-9/11 legislation and surveillance programs to add a historical perspective to the current government surveillance debate. [Read the full article]

An open highway for Britain’s snoops | Daily Star

No one should be surprised that the British Parliament’s intelligence and security committee concluded Wednesday that the country’s intelligence surveillance division, GCHQ, did not break any laws in its use of America’s Prism surveillance program, which has provided access to the content of millions of private communications. The British government has been saying the same thing for weeks, ever since Edward Snowden, a contractor who worked with the National Security Agency, exposed the shocking extent of government intrusion into our day-to-day lives.

However, the committee, which carried out a hastily arranged investigation into Snowden’s allegations, conceded it had only focused on intelligence information that GCHQ had requested from the United States on particular suspects, where a warrant had been granted, as required by British law, and signed by a minister. Small wonder then that it found no evidence of law breaking. [Read the full article]

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