The Top 5 Lies NSA Defenders Still Spread: Don’t Let Them Get Away With It | TechDirt

The EFF has helpfully put together a list of the top 5 claims that defenders of the NSA have to stop making if they want to remain credible. In short, it’s the top five lies that defenders of the NSA keep repeating over and over again, even though they’ve each been widely debunked. It’s a handy guide to the statements and why they’re untrue. You should go read the whole thing, but these are the five: [Read more]

What the NSA costs taxpayers | CNN

As a result, it’s impossible to say exactly how much money the NSA is given to conduct its surveillance efforts — which Americans learned this week has recently included collecting phone call data and monitoring online activities.

That’s because the NSA, a Defense Department agency created in 1952, falls under the category of a “black” program in the federal budget, a term applied to classified efforts. [Read more]

CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Was Marked Dangerous After BOP Categorized His Crime as ‘Espionage-Related’ | The Dissenter

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who has been serving a prison sentence in a federal correctional facility in Loretto, Pennsylvania for over a year, has written a letter describing how he was given a special designation marking him dangerous. This led to him not being sent to a minimum security camp, and he reveals he was put in a low-security facility because the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inappropriately categorized his offense as one related to “espionage.” [Read more]

Leaked Docs Show Spyware Used to Snoop on U.S. Computers | truthdig

Software created by the controversial U.K. based Gamma Group International was used to spy on computers that appear to be located in the United States, the U.K., Germany, Russia, Iran and Bahrain, according to a leaked trove of documents analyzed by ProPublica.

It’s not clear whether the surveillance was conducted by governments or private entities. Customer email addresses in the collection appeared to belong to a German surveillance company, an independent consultant in Dubai, the Bosnian and Hungarian Intelligence services, a Dutch law enforcement officer and the Qatari government. [Read more]

Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers | Firstlook

Nearly half of the people on the U.S. government’s widely shared database of terrorist suspects are not connected to any known terrorist group, according to classified government documents obtained by The Intercept.

Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database—a watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments—more than 40 percent are described by the government as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” That category—280,000 people—dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog