Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored? (Read 28930 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored?
Dec 30th, 2005 at 12:27pm
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Former Navy officer and NSA employee Wayne Madsen, now an independent journalist, reports that the NSA has spied on journalists under a codeword project called FIRSTFRUITS and that since 2001, the NSA has also illegally spied on its own employees and other members of the intelligence community who contacted journalists, members of Congress, inspectors general, and other oversight agencies:

Quote:
December 28, 2005 -- BREAKING NEWS. NSA spied on its own employees, other U.S. intelligence personnel, and their journalist and congressional contacts. WMR has learned that the National Security Agency (NSA), on the orders of the Bush administration, eavesdropped on the private conversations and e-mail of its own employees, employees of other U.S. intelligence agencies -- including the CIA and DIA -- and their contacts in the media, Congress, and oversight agencies and offices.

The journalist surveillance program, code named "Firstfruits," was part of a Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) program that was maintained at least until October 2004 and was authorized by then-DCI Porter Goss. Firstfruits was authorized as part of a DCI "Countering Denial and Deception" program responsible to an entity known as the Foreign Denial and Deception Committee (FDDC). Since the intelligence community's reorganization, the DCI has been replaced by the Director of National Intelligence headed by John Negroponte and his deputy, former NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden.

Firstfruits was a database that contained both the articles and the transcripts of telephone and other communications of particular Washington journalists known to report on sensitive U.S. intelligence activities, particularly those involving NSA. According to NSA sources, the targeted journalists included author James Bamford, the New York Times' James Risen, the Washington Post's Vernon Loeb, the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, the Washington Times' Bill Gertz, UPI's John C. K. Daly, and this editor [Wayne Madsen], who has written about NSA for The Village Voice, CAQ, Intelligence Online, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

In addition, beginning in 2001 but before the 9-11 attacks, NSA began to target anyone in the U.S. intelligence community who was deemed a "disgruntled employee." According to NSA sources, this surveillance was a violation of United States Signals Intelligence Directive (USSID) 18 and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. The surveillance of U.S. intelligence personnel by other intelligence personnel in the United States and abroad was conducted without any warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The targeted U.S. intelligence agency personnel included those who made contact with members of the media, including the journalists targeted by Firstfruits, as well as members of Congress, Inspectors General, and other oversight agencies. Those discovered to have spoken to journalists and oversight personnel were subjected to sudden clearance revocation and termination as "security risks."

In 2001, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rejected a number of FISA wiretap applications from Michael Resnick, the FBI supervisor in charge of counter-terrorism surveillance. The court said that some 75 warrant requests from the FBI were erroneous and that the FBI, under Louis Freeh and Robert Mueller, had misled the court and misused the FISA law on dozens of occasions. In a May 17, 2002 opinion, the presiding FISA Judge, Royce C. Lamberth (a Texan appointed by Ronald Reagan), barred Resnick from ever appearing before the court again. The ruling, released by Lamberth's successor, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelley, stated in extremely strong terms, "In virtually every instance, the government's misstatements and omissions in FISA applications and violations of the Court's orders involved information sharing and unauthorized disseminations to criminal investigators and prosecutors . . . How these misrepresentations occurred remains unexplained to the court."

After the Justice Department appealed the FISC decision, the FISA Review court met for the first time in its history. The three-member review court, composed of Ralph Guy of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Edward Leavy of the 9th Circuit, and Laurence Silberman [of the Robb-Silberman Commission on 911 "intelligence failures"] of the D.C. Circuit, overturned the FISC decision on the Bush administration's wiretap requests.

Based on recent disclosures that the Bush administration has been using the NSA to conduct illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens, it is now becoming apparent what vexed the FISC to the point that it rejected, in an unprecedented manner, numerous wiretap requests and sanctioned Resnick.


It seems that Madsen has an informed source. The illustrations he provides:







appear to be croppings from a photograph of a computer screen at a classified workstation. Madsen has previously published a similar screen shot providing a directory of the NSA's personnel security staff, including the Agency's polygraph examiners.

Although Madsen's current article does not directly address polygraph issues, the reason I post it here is that it raises the question of whether or not AntiPolygraph.org has been the target of illegal wiretapping under FIRSTFRUITS.

Madsen notes that those targeted included "anyone in the U.S. intelligence community who was deemed a 'disgruntled employee.'" By 2000, I fit that profile. Under the pseudonym "Captain Jones," I had posted a public statement about my polygraph experience on the website (no longer on-line) NoPolygraph.com. An updated version of that statement, now under my real name, is available on AntiPolygraph.org here. As I note there, although my statement initially appeared under a pseudonym, I had included enough specific detail that if someone in the U.S. Government really wanted to learn my identity, they could do so. And by November 2000, someone in the Polygraph Section of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, which is co-located with the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland, had in fact done precisely that.

By that time (and also since then) I had additionally communicated with Washington Post staff writer Vernon Loeb, one of the journalists allegedly targeted under FIRSTFRUITS, who quoted me in an article titled "Putting More Energy into Counterintelligence" that was published on 10 July 2000.

And I've corresponded with numerous "disgruntled" current and former members of the intelligence community.

If the NSA targeted AntiPolygraph.org under FIRSTFRUITS (or any other program, for that matter), it is possible that the U.S. Government has determined (or could potentially determine) the identies of most who have contacted AntiPolygraph.org by e-mail, posted on this message board, downloaded The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, or even just visited this website.
« Last Edit: Jan 2nd, 2006 at 1:53pm by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: NSA Spied on IC Employees, Congress, Journalis
Reply #1 - Dec 30th, 2005 at 2:14pm
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George,

 None of this surprises me; an agency without
boundaries.  Being an ex-NSA employee, and currently
in the Intel community, I have posted numerous
times, but obviously don't care.  For some reason,
NSA thinks they are something special, so many NSA
rejects simply apply to other Intel agencies, as in my
case.  Comparatively, I found their work generally pretty
boring.  I am sure they have enough information from
my posts, but again, I don't care.  My only beef with
them, is that NSA security are assholes.  By the way, a
while back, I was interviewing with Lockheed, and
talked with a former NSA military assignee, and he told
me how he used to listen to our oversees troops'
phone conversations over MILSAT.  Nice, hugh ?  Also,
I heard that NSA was tracking peoples' "cookies", as
they visited the NSA web site.  This kind of behavior
indicates that NSA is lacking in real targets, since the
Cold War...
« Last Edit: Dec 30th, 2005 at 3:15pm by NSAreject »  
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Re: NSA Spied on IC Employees, Congress, Journalis
Reply #2 - Dec 30th, 2005 at 6:44pm
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NSAreject wrote on Dec 30th, 2005 at 2:14pm:
George,

  None of this surprises me; an agency without
boundaries.  Being an ex-NSA employee, and currently
in the Intel community, I have posted numerous
times, but obviously don't care.  For some reason,
NSA thinks they are something special, so many NSA
rejects simply apply to other Intel agencies, as in my
case.  Comparatively, I found their work generally pretty
boring.  I am sure they have enough information from
my posts, but again, I don't care.  My only beef with
them, is that NSA security are assholes.  By the way, a
while back, I was interviewing with Lockheed, and
talked with a former NSA military assignee, and he told
me how he used to listen to our oversees troops'
phone conversations over MILSAT.  Nice, hugh ?  Also,
I heard that NSA was tracking peoples' "cookies", as
they visited the NSA web site.  This kind of behavior
indicates that NSA is lacking in real targets, since the
Cold War...


NSAReject,

What you heard about NSA using cookies to track internet use of visitors to its site is right on target. It was a top story on the news networks last night. The NSA's official response is that the whole thing was an unintentional error and once the agency was alerted to the problem, it corrected it.
  
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Re: NSA Spied on IC Employees, Congress, Journalis
Reply #3 - Dec 30th, 2005 at 6:53pm
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polyfool,

  I would love for Congress to somehow audit the NSA,
and see for themselves, all the databases full of
USSID-18 violations (and would probably enjoy all the
porn); of  course, that information is supposed to
be purged:

    http://cryptome.org/ussid18-guide.htm

 The same lame excuse, about the "cookies", happened
about 8 years ago, during Black History Month.  In their
newsletter, in the crossword puzzle, was found a
column:

             U
             B
             R
             E
             A
             L
             T
             R
             A
             S
             H

  The NSA claimed that the entire staff,  that worked on
the puzzle, was African American, so it had to be a
random mistake...
« Last Edit: Dec 30th, 2005 at 7:58pm by NSAreject »  
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Re: NSA Spied on IC Employees, Congress, Journalis
Reply #4 - Dec 30th, 2005 at 7:28pm
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Quote:
Former Navy officer and NSA employee Wayne Madsen, now an independent journalist, reports that since 2001 under a codeword project called FIRSTFRUITS, the NSA has spied on its own employees and other members of the intelligence community perceived to be "disgruntled" employees as well as journalists and the Congress:


It seems that Madsen has an informed source. The illustrations he provides:

http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/firstfruits.htm

appear to be croppings from a photograph of a computer screen at a classified workstation. Madsen has previously published a similar screen shot providing a directory of the NSA's personnel security staff, including the Agency's polygraph examiners.

Although Madsen's current article does not directly address polygraph issues, the reason I post it here is that it raises the question of whether or not AntiPolygraph.org has been the target of illegal wiretapping under FIRSTFRUITS.

Madsen notes that those targeted included "anyone in the U.S. intelligence community who was deemed a 'disgruntled employee.'" By 2000, I fit that profile. Under the pseudonym "Captain Jones," I had posted a public statement about my polygraph experience on the website (no longer on-line) NoPolygraph.com. An updated version of that statement, now under my real name, is available on AntiPolygraph.org here. As I note there, although my statement initially appeared under a pseudonym, I had included enough specific detail that if someone in the U.S. Government really wanted to learn my identity, they could do so. And by November 2000, someone in the Polygraph Section of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, which is co-located with the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland, had in fact done precisely that.

By that time (and also since then) I had additionally communicated with Washington Post staff writer Vernon Loeb, one of the journalists allegedly targeted under FIRSTFRUITS, who quoted me in an article titled "Putting More Energy into Counterintelligence" that was published on 10 July 2000.

And I've corresponded with numerous "disgruntled" current and former members of the intelligence community.

If the NSA targeted AntiPolygraph.org under FIRSTFRUITS (or any other program, for that matter), it is possible that the U.S. Government has determined (or could potentially determine) the identies of most who have contacted AntiPolygraph.org by e-mail, posted on this message board, downloaded The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, or even just visited this website.


George,

I'm with NSAReject on this one. Nothing surprises me anymore. It's pretty sad if the government is wasting its time spying on this website and the people who use it when it should be doing what it's supposed to do. I think NSAReject is right in that it would show just how few leads the intel agencies have and just how desperate they are to get their hands on anything even if it means violating the rights of U.S citizens who trust and believe in their government. It astounds me how there seems to be no regard whatsoever for the U.S. Constitution. The framers/ founding fathers must surely be "rolling in their graves."
  
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Re: NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored?
Reply #5 - Jan 1st, 2006 at 4:53pm
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The NSA FIRSTFRUIT graphics provided on Mr. Madsen's website, and copied above, include the logo of the "Foreign Denial & Deception Committee" (FDDC). FDDC Vice Chairman James B. Bruce, writing in a 2003 Studies in Intelligence article titled, "Laws and Leaks of Classified Intelligence: The Consequences of Permissive Neglect," explains that "This committee represents an inter­agency effort to understand how foreign adversaries learn about, then try to defeat, our secret intelligence collection activities." In his article, among other things, Bruce called for laws to criminalize the publishing of classified information leaked to journalists. By the time Bruce's article was published, the alleged FIRSTFRUITS illegal wiretapping would have been well underway.

Elsewhere, in an article originally published by the website NewsMax.com, but since yanked from that site (but now mirrored  on TheMemoryHole.com), Bruce has been quoted as saying, "We've got to do whatever it takes -- if it takes sending SWAT teams into journalists' homes -- to stop these leaks."

Bruce's publicly expressed views, combined with that which has already been reported by the New York Times about illegal NSA domestic surveillance, make the  FIRSTFRUITS allegations reported by Madsen seem not so very farfetched.

Bruce's minimalist attitude toward Americans' First Amendment rights also calls to mind DoDPI instructor Paul M. Menges' suggestion in 2002 that making information about polygraph countermeasures publicly available (as AntiPolygraph.org does) should be outlawed.

If anyone reading this message board has knowledge of illegal domestic espionage such as has been alleged under FIRSTFRUITS, please consider contacting the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. On 30 December 2005, founder Sibel Edmonds and senior advisor William Weaver published the following appeal:

Quote:
December 30, 2005

NSWBC Call to Patriotic Duty


By Sibel Edmonds & William Weaver


Without whistleblowers the public would never know of the many abuses of constitutional rights by the government.  Whistleblowers, Truth Tellers, are responsible for the disclosure that President George W. Bush ordered unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens.  These constitutional lifeguards take their patriotic oaths to heart and soul: Rather than complying with classification and secrecy orders designed to protect officials engaging in criminal conduct, whistleblowers chose to risk their livelihoods and the wrath of their agencies to get the truth out.  But will they be listened to by those who are charged with accountability?

The Whistleblowers Law of Congressional Hearings holds that the higher ranking the official who testifies the less the likelihood that the truth will be revealed.  With this in mind, it is impossible to proceed to the viscera of what happened to whom and when without asking those who are charged with putting policy decisions into the actual stream of practice.  High officials have perverse incentives to hide what is done in their orders by the employees below them.  It is indispensable that Congress reach deep inside the National Security Agency and other agencies, seeking out employees at the operational level to determine how the President’s illegal order was carried into action.  To assure that this occurs, we need for people with information from the agencies involved to come forward and ask to be interviewed by Congress.  The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition calls on people with knowledge of unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens to contact NSWBC and let us know that they are willing to provide congress with information and testimony.  Anonymity, if desired, will be scrupulously honored.  NSWBC will provide contact information to Congress and investigative authorities, and will follow up to ensure that these witnesses were in fact interviewed in good faith by congressional staff and committees and allowed to participate in the hearing process.   NSWBC will be the conduit between agents and Congress for those like Russ Tice, a former intelligence agent at the National Security Agency, who announced his willingness to disclose to Congress illegal acts by officials at his former employer.  At NSWBC we know what we are asking people to do: Our organization is made up exclusively of veteran intelligence and law enforcement officers, agents and analysts.

Now is the time to come forward, not to reveal legitimately classified information, but to make yourselves available as witnesses and to serve the true supervisor of us all: the Constitution. Ordinarily one would expect the congress to be the guardian of our freedom by living up to its storied role as a check and balance to the President and the  Executive Branch.  But for four years, members of our Congress in supposed oversight committees were aware of illegal spying on American citizens.  Co-opted by an unscrupulous commitment to secrecy and the state, intelligence oversight committees in Congress must step out of the way for a People’s hearing on the matter of presidentially ordered illegal surveillance.  Congress must engage in a broad, public hearing of these matters.

Accountability, in the end, always comes down to the public’s right to know, the right to have the most basic knowledge about what its servants are doing with its money and its authority. Ambassador Maxwell Taylor, when asked what he thought about the public’s right to know of what the government is doing on its behalf, infamously responded the he did not “believe in that as a general rule.”  Fortunately, that is not a general rule that comports with our system of government.  Citizens cannot make informed choices if they do not have the facts.  Public servants should not be forced to choose between career and conscience, between commitment to oath and commitment to colleagues, and if we live by our words, laws, and principles they will not have to.  Protecting all employees of the People are that:

  • Their higher loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law;
  • Information may never be classified as secret merely because it is embarrassing or incriminating, or to cover up criminal and unlawful conduct;
  • There is no agreement that public servants may sign that will require them lie to the Congress or courts;
  • The United States’ Code of Ethics for Government Service explains carefully and clearly in an assured voice that "Any person in government service should put loyalty to the highest moral principles and to the Country above loyalty to persons, party, or Government department."


Contact: Sibel Edmonds-Director, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, sedmonds@nswbc.org

Sibel Edmonds, NSWBC Founder & President, sedmonds@nswbc.org

Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI language specialist, was terminated from the bureau after reporting security breaches, cover-up, and blocking of intelligence with national security implications. Since that time, court proceedings in her whistleblower case have been blocked by the imposition of “State Secret Privilege,” and Congress has been prevented from discussion of her case through retroactive reclassification by the Department of Justice. Edmonds, fluent in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani; holds an MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, and a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

Professor William Weaver, NSWBC Senior Advisor, wweaver@nswbc.org

Bill Weaver served in U.S. Army signals intelligence for eight years in Berlin and Augsburg, Germany, in the late 1970s and 1980s. He holds a law degree and Ph.D. in politics from the University of Virginia. He currently is an associate professor and associate director of faculty for the Institute for Policy and Economic Development and an Associate in the Center for Law and Border Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso. He specializes in executive branch secrecy policy, governmental abuse, and law and bureaucracy.

About National Security Whistleblowers Coalition

National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), founded in August 2004, is an independent and nonpartisan alliance of whistleblowers who have come forward to address our nation’s security weaknesses; to inform authorities of security vulnerabilities in our intelligence agencies, at nuclear power plants and weapon facilities, in airports, and at our nation’s borders and ports; to uncover government waste, fraud, abuse, and in some cases criminal conduct. The NSWBC is dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers through a variety of methods, including advocacy of governmental and legal reform, educating the public concerning whistleblowing activity, provision of comfort and fellowship to national security whistleblowers suffering retaliation and other harms, and working with other public interest organizations to affect goals defined in the NSWBC mission statement. For more on NSWBC visit
www.nswbc.org
  

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Re: NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored?
Reply #6 - Jan 2nd, 2006 at 2:39am
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Happy New Years Folks ...

Now down to business ....

Thanks George for this particular thread, The meer thought of domestic spying on loyal US citizens, is repugnant on more levels than I care to comment on. But as far as being a member of this website and NSA or anyother agency finding out, then so be it. Because I think Congress, ( I did write my Senator and Congressman, and voiced that investigation and possible legal action is neccessary). Is in no mood for an administration doing illegal things in time of war. The president should have extraordinary powers to fight a war. But this violates constitutional law, war or no war, hiding under the guise of NATIONAL SECURITY.  And now that we know that this particular operation was and is underway. I think the perpetrators will be running for the holes they have buried themselves in. Because I will be more than happy to bring litigation on my rights to free speech and privacy. I hope the congressional investigation gets full discloser of the lists of people operation FirstFruits listened too or monitored. More and more I see this government swinging to the extreme right and suppressing the constitution at every move.  Because I don't think that dissent with  polygraph interrogations has any link to the War on Terror.  No matter what our distinguished polygraphers have to say. And for that matter just remember, that I do believe that federal employees are hard working, honest, and to try to live to the code of ethics. THen  again there will be a few who think they are above the law.  This too shall be dealt with.
  

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Re: NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored?
Reply #7 - Jan 6th, 2006 at 9:24am
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Ok people lets think about something here, everyone knows there are several methods used for passing polygraph tests, so why would the government waste our  tax dollars monitoring this site, there are far better lie detectors trust me, the polygraph is old news, and if the government really did care about this site do you think it would still be on the internet Undecided
  
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Re: NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored?
Reply #8 - Jan 6th, 2006 at 9:42am
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letsENDstupidity wrote on Jan 6th, 2006 at 9:24am:
Ok people lets think about something here, everyone knows there are several methods used for passing polygraph tests, so why would the government waste our  tax dollars monitoring this site, there are far better lie detectors trust me, the polygraph is old news, and if the government really did care about this site do you think it would still be on the internet Undecided


There are a number of plausible reasons why some in the U.S. Government might want to monitor this website. Polygraph screening is the cornerstone of U.S. counterintelligence policy. This website provides information on how to pass the polygraph whether or not one is telling the truth. Security officers at agencies such as the CIA, NSA, and FBI might well want to know which applicants and employees have sought information regarding polygraph countermeasures. Access to AntiPolygraph.org's e-mail, or to the account information and IP addresses of registered users on this message board, would be very helpful in this regard.

Now, I am not positively asserting that AntiPolygraph.org has been the target of federal wiretapping, but such monitoring of law abiding citizens who disagree with certain policies of the U.S. Government is not without precedent (for example, the FBI's infamous COINTELPRO). I think that Wayne Madsen's recent reporting on illegal NSA monitoring of U.S. persons (in addition to that which James Risen of the New York Times has revealed) is cause for concern.
  

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Re: NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored?
Reply #9 - Jan 17th, 2006 at 5:44pm
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George,
How can an outsider gain access to the IP addresses of the board's registered users?  Do they not require admin rights?  Can you tell if someone was looking in this area?

Also, what if someone had a static IP address, or posted with an annonymous proxy, wouldn't that defy the purpose of looking into that information for indentification purpose?
  
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Re: NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored?
Reply #10 - Jan 17th, 2006 at 6:10pm
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 Maybe NSA can hack into computers and attack proxy
servers ?   Am I glad, I'm outta there !   Go get um,
Russ Tice !  Smiley
  
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Re: NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored?
Reply #11 - Jan 18th, 2006 at 4:56pm
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Johnn wrote on Jan 17th, 2006 at 5:44pm:
George,
How can an outsider gain access to the IP addresses of the board's registered users?  Do they not require admin rights?  Can you tell if someone was looking in this area?


The easiest way would be to secure the cooperation of the company that hosts this website. When AntiPolygraph.org's server was located in the United States (we're now on a server in Canada), under the Patriot Act, the FBI could have demanded records by issuing our webhosting company a "National Security Letter." The company would be forbidden from telling us about the letter. The FBI may also have convinced a FISA judge to issue a warrant for surreptitious monitoring of this site.

An intelligence agency such as the NSA could trawl Internet traffic for e-mail sent to or from the domain antipolygraph.org. By doing so, it would receive, among other things, copies of the usernames and passwords assigned when people register on this message board. I suppose it could also sniff traffic other than e-mail, for example, the HTTP POST commands that are sent when a person posts a message.

Quote:
Also, what if someone had a static IP address, or posted with an annonymous proxy, wouldn't that defy the purpose of looking into that information for indentification purpose?


A static (fixed) IP address would make identifying a poster easier, even long after the post was made. Tracing posts made through an anonymous proxy could be considerably more difficult, especially if a sophisticated proxy network like Tor were used and the e-mail address used for registration purposes were also created (and only checked) through such a proxy.

I don't know whether this site is now, or has ever been, the target of government eavesdropping. But it is a possibility that cannot be dismissed out of hand.
  

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Re: NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored?
Reply #12 - Jan 28th, 2006 at 9:59pm
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For those with doubts about the possibility of this site being monitored, read the article below.


ACLU Releases Government Photos
    WXIA TV, Atlanta

    Friday 27 January 2006

     
A government photo shows Caitlin Childs protesting.
(Photo: WXIA 11Alive.com)
     
    The ACLU of Georgia released copies of government files on Wednesday that illustrate the extent to which the FBI, the DeKalb County Division of Homeland Security and other government agencies have gone to compile information on Georgians suspected of being threats simply for expressing controversial opinions.

    Two documents relating to anti-war and anti-government protests, and a vegan rally, prove the agencies have been "spying" on Georgia residents unconstitutionally, the ACLU said.

    For example, more than two dozen government surveillance photographs show 22-year-old Caitlin Childs of Atlanta, a strict vegetarian, and other vegans picketing against meat eating, in December 2003. They staged their protest outside a HoneyBaked Ham store on Buford Highway in DeKalb County.

    An undercover DeKalb County Homeland Security detective was assigned to conduct surveillance of the protest and the protestors, and take the photographs. The detective arrested Childs and another protester after he saw Childs approach him and write down, on a piece of paper, the license plate number of his unmarked government car.

    "They told me if I didn't give over the piece of paper I would go to jail and I refused and I went to jail, and the piece of paper was taken away from me at the jail and the officer who transferred me said that was why I was arrested," Childs said on Wednesday.

    The government file lists anti-war protesters in Atlanta as threats, the ACLU said. The ACLU of Georgia accuses the Bush administration of labeling those who disagree with its policy as disloyal Americans.

    "We believe that spying on American citizens for no good reason is fundamentally un-American, that it's not the place of the government or the best use of resources to spy on its own citizens and we want it to stop. We want the spies in our government to pack their bags, close up their notebooks, take their cameras home and not engage in the spying anymore," Gerald Weber of the ACLU of Georgia said during a news conference.

    "We have heard of not a single, government surveillance of a pro-war group," Weber said. "And I doubt we will ever hear of a single surveillance of a pro-war group."

     
     
Caitlin Childs, shown at an ACLU news conference.
(Photo: WXIA 11Alive.com)
    The ACLU wants Congress and the courts to order government agencies, including the FBI, to stop unconstitutional surveillance.

    Weber said the ACLU of Georgia may sue the government, in order to define, once and for all, what unconstitutional surveillance is in a post-911 America.

    The FBI in Atlanta declined to comment. According to the Associated Press, FBI spokesman Bill Carter in Washington, D.C. said that all FBI investigations are conducted in response to information that the people being investigated were involved in or might have information about crimes.

    As for Caitlin Childs' protest against meat eating, the files obtained by the ACLU include the DeKalb County Homeland Security report on the surveillance of Childs and the others. The detective wrote that he ordered Childs to give him the piece of paper on which she had written his license tag number, telling her that he did not want her or anyone else to have the tag number of his undercover vehicle.

    The detective did not comment in his report about why his license tag number was already visible to the public.

    The detective wrote that Childs was "hostile, uncooperative and boisterous toward the officers."

    Childs said today that the agents shouldn't have been there in the first place, squelching legal dissent.

    "We have the right to gather and protest and speak out."

  
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Re: NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored?
Reply #13 - Jan 29th, 2006 at 10:49am
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
Here's a link to the WXIA-TV Atlanta article polyfool cited:

http://www.11alive.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=75151

For related reading see the ACLU of Georgia's press release:

http://www.acluga.org/press.releases/0509/vegans.honeybaked.html

and also the statement of complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia:

http://www.acluga.org/briefs/honeybaked/Complaintl.pdf

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Re: NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored?
Reply #14 - Feb 14th, 2006 at 5:25am
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Inquiry into Wiretapping Article Widens
    By David Johnston
    The New York Times

    Sunday 12 February 2006

    Washington - Federal agents have interviewed officials at several of the country's law enforcement and national security agencies in a rapidly expanding criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding a New York Times article published in December that disclosed the existence of a highly classified domestic eavesdropping program, according to government officials.

    The investigation, which appears to cover the case from 2004, when the newspaper began reporting the story, is being closely coordinated with criminal prosecutors at the Justice Department, the officials said. People who have been interviewed and others in the government who have been briefed on the interviews said the investigation seemed to lay the groundwork for a grand jury inquiry that could lead to criminal charges.

    The inquiry is progressing as a debate about the eavesdropping rages in Congress and elsewhere. President Bush has condemned the leak as a "shameful act." Others, like Porter J. Goss, the C.I.A. director, have expressed the hope that reporters will be summoned before a grand jury and asked to reveal the identities of those who provided them classified information.

    Mr. Goss, speaking at a Senate intelligence committee hearing on Feb. 2, said: "It is my aim and it is my hope that we will witness a grand jury investigation with reporters present being asked to reveal who is leaking this information. I believe the safety of this nation and the people of this country deserve nothing less."

    The case is viewed as potentially far reaching because it places on a collision course constitutional principles that each side regards as paramount. For the government, the investigation represents an effort to punish those responsible for a serious security breach and enforce legal sanctions against leaks of classified information at a time of heightened terrorist threats. For news organizations, the inquiry threatens the confidentiality of sources and the ability to report on controversial national security issues free of government interference.

    Bill Keller, executive editor of The Times, said no one at the paper had been contacted in connection with the investigation, and he defended the paper's reporting.

    "Before running the story we gave long and sober consideration to the administration's contention that disclosing the program would damage the country's counterterrorism efforts," Mr. Keller said. "We were not convinced then, and have not been convinced since, that our reporting compromised national security.

    "What our reporting has done is set off an intense national debate about the proper balance between security and liberty - a debate that many government officials of both parties, and in all three branches of government, seem to regard as in the national interest."

    Civil liberties groups and Democratic lawmakers as well as some Republicans have called for an inquiry into the eavesdropping program as an improper and possibly illegal intrusion on the privacy rights of innocent Americans. These critics have noted that the program appears to have circumvented the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires court approval for eavesdropping on American citizens.

    Former Vice President Al Gore has called for a special prosecutor to investigate the government's use of the program, and at least one Democrat, Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, has said the eavesdropping effort may amount to an impeachable offense.

    At the same time, conservatives have attacked the disclosure of classified information as an illegal act, demanding a vigorous investigative effort to find and prosecute whoever disclosed classified information. An upcoming article in Commentary magazine suggests that the newspaper may be prosecuted for violations of the Espionage Act and says, "What The New York Times has done is nothing less than to compromise the centerpiece of our defensive efforts in the war on terrorism."

    The Justice Department took the unusual step of announcing the opening of the investigation on Dec. 30, and since then, government officials said, investigators and prosecutors have worked quickly to assemble an investigative team and obtain a preliminary grasp of whether the leaking of the information violated the law. Among the statutes being reviewed by the investigators are espionage laws that prohibit the disclosure, dissemination or publication of national security information.

    A Federal Bureau of Investigation team under the direction of the bureau's counterintelligence division at agency headquarters has questioned employees at the F.B.I., the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the office of the Director of National Intelligence, the officials said. Prosecutors have also taken steps to activate a grand jury.

    The interviews have focused initially on identifying government officials who have had contact with Times reporters, particularly those in the newspaper's Washington bureau. The interviews appeared to be initially intended to determine who in the government spoke with Times reporters about intelligence and counterterrorism matters.

    In addition, investigators are trying to determine who in the government was authorized to know about the eavesdropping program. Several officials described the investigation as aggressive and fast-moving. The officials who described the interviews did so on condition of anonymity, citing the confidentiality of an ongoing criminal inquiry.

    The administration's chief legal defender of the program is Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, who is also the senior official responsible for the leak investigation. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Feb. 6, Mr. Gonzales said: "I'm not going to get into specific laws that are being looked at. But, obviously, our prosecutors are going to look to see all the laws that have been violated. And if the evidence is there, they're going to prosecute those violations."

    Mr. Bush and other senior officials have said that the electronic surveillance operation was authorized by what they call the president's wartime powers and a Congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Al Qaeda passed in the days after the September 2001 terror attacks.

    The government's increasing unwillingness to honor confidentiality pledges between journalists and their sources in national security cases has been evident in another case, involving the disclosure in 2003 of the identity of an undercover C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson. The special counsel in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, demanded that several journalists disclose their conversations with their sources.

    Judith Miller, at the time a reporter for The Times, went to jail for 85 days before agreeing to comply with a subpoena to testify about her conversations with I. Lewis Libby Jr., who was chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Mr. Libby has been indicted on charges of making false statements and obstruction of justice and has pleaded not guilty.

    "An outgrowth of the Fitzgerald investigation is that the gloves are off in leak cases," said George J. Terwilliger III, former deputy attorney general in the administration of the first President Bush. "New rules apply."

    How aggressively prosecutors pursue the new case involving the N.S.A. may depend on their assessment of the damage caused by the disclosure, Mr. Terwilliger said. "If the program is as sensitive and critical as it has been described, and leaking its existence could put the lives of innocent American people in jeopardy," he said, "that surely would have an effect on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion."

    Recently, federal authorities have used espionage statutes to move beyond prosecutions of government officials who disclose classified information to indict private citizens who receive it. In the case of a former Pentagon analyst, Lawrence A. Franklin, who pleaded guilty to disclosing defense secrets, federal authorities have charged Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, formerly representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group.

    The two men have been indicted on charges of turning over information obtained from Mr. Franklin to a foreign government, which has been identified as Israel, and to journalists. At Mr. Franklin's sentencing hearing in Alexandria, Va., Judge T. S. Ellis III of Federal District Court said he believed that private citizens and government employees must obey laws against illegally disseminating classified information.

    "Persons who have unauthorized possession, who come into unauthorized possession of classified information, must abide by the law," Judge Ellis said. "That applies to academics, lawyers, journalists, professors, whatever."

    Some media lawyers believe that The Times has powerful legal arguments in defense of its reporting and in protecting its sources.

    Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., who has represented publications like The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine, said: "There is a very strong argument that a federal common-law reporters' privilege exists and that privilege would protect confidential sources in this case. There is an extremely strong public interest in this information, and the public has the right to understand this controversial and possibly unconstitutional public policy."

  
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