The NSA’s New Partner in Spying: Saudi Arabia’s Brutal State Police | The Intercept

The National Security Agency last year significantly expanded its cooperative relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, one of the world’s most repressive and abusive government agencies. An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden details the agency’s plans “to provide direct analytic and technical support” to the Saudis on “internal security” matters.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior—referred to in the document as MOI— has been condemned for years as one of the most brutal human rights violators in the world. In 2013, the U.S. State Department reported that “Ministry of Interior officials sometimes subjected prisoners and detainees to torture and other physical abuse,” specifically mentioning a 2011 episode in which MOI agents allegedly “poured an antiseptic cleaning liquid down [the] throat” of one human rights activist. The report also notes the MOI’s use of invasive surveillance targeted at political and religious dissidents. [Read more]

The FBI’s Phony War on Terror | Human Rights Watch

The plan to fly drones laden with explosives into the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon had all the trappings of a post-Sept. 11 spy thriller: high-tech weaponry, secret reconnaissance trips and a dramatic government sting operation that nabbed the Islamic terrorist just in time. “Thanks to the diligence of the FBI and our many law enforcement partners,” the Justice Department declared in September 2011, announcing the arrest of a suspect, “that plan was thwarted.”

And here’s another way in which the plot resembled a piece of airport fiction: It was largely invented. [Read more]

EFF Asks Judge to Rule NSA Internet “Backbone” Spying Techniques Unconstitutional | EFF

San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today presented a federal court with a detailed explanation of how the NSA taps into the Internet backbone and requested the judge rule that the agency is violating the Fourth Amendment by copying and searching the collected data.

EFF argues there are now enough agreed-upon facts in our lawsuit, Jewel v. NSA, to reach a constitutional conclusion. To shed light on how the mass surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment, EFF crafted a new infographic that details each stage of the surveillance. The graphic is freely available for republication. [Read more]

After CIA gets secret whistleblower email, Congress worries about more spying | McClatchyDC

The CIA obtained a confidential email to Congress about alleged whistleblower retaliation related to the Senate’s classified report on the agency’s harsh interrogation program, triggering fears that the CIA has been intercepting the communications of officials who handle whistleblower cases.

The CIA got hold of the legally protected email and other unspecified communications between whistleblower officials and lawmakers this spring, people familiar with the matter told McClatchy. It’s unclear how the agency obtained the material. [Read more]

The Judges Approving the NSA’s Surveillance Requests Keep Buying Verizon Stock | Vice

When the National Security Agency would like to take a look at all of the metadata of phone calls made by people using Verizon, a program revealed last summer by Edward Snowden, they must obtain approval from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (better known as the FISA Court), which typically grants such requests. VICE has obtained disclosures that reveal for the first time since this program was made public that FISA Court judges have not only owned Verizon stock in the last year, but that at least one of the judges to sign off on the NSA orders for bulk metadata collection is a proud shareholder of the company complying with these requests. [Read more]

Should NZ reporters fear spying? | RadioNZ

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has spoken out from self-imposed exile in Russia with a stark warning about surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US.

“The work of journalists has become immeasurably harder than it has been in the past. The very first contact they make before encrypted communications are established is enough to give it all away”. [Read more]


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