Page Index Toggle Pages: 1 2 3 [4]  Send TopicPrint
Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored? (Read 31089 times)
George W. Maschke
Global Moderator
*****
Offline


Make-believe science yields
make-believe security.

Posts: 6006
Location: The Hague, The Netherlands
Joined: Sep 29th, 2000
Glenn Greenwald Comments on the Plausibility of AntiPolygraph.org Being Targeted by the NSA
Reply #45 - May 21st, 2014 at 7:14pm
Print Post  
In October 2013, I wrote on the AntiPolygraph.org blog about an e-mail that I received from a U.S. navy petty officer in August of that year relating that during a recent DoD polygraph, he had been presented with logs of the websites that he had visited the night before on his personal computer, in his personal home, using his personal Internet service provider. The logs showed that he had visited AntiPolygraph.org, and they went about trying to discredit this website. I took that report (along with additional information from NSA whistleblower Russ Tice) seriously, and it's why there are warnings on the home page and on this message board suggesting that visitors use the Tor Browser Bundle when visiting this site.

Last night, Glenn Greenwald, the journalist to whom NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden entrusted a large cache of NSA documents detailing the vast system of mass suspicionless surveillance that the NSA has erected in the dark, was in Amsterdam to give a talk about his new book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. I found the book both fascinating and compelling, and I recommend it to all, including our friends in the polygraph community.

I was one of a fortunate few who were able to ask a question during Greenwald's presentation, and I took the opportunity to mention the communication I had received from the Navy petty officer and to ask Greenwald whether he thought that kind of thing is plausible. While he did not directly answer that question, his comments clearly indicated that yes, it is plausible. He intimated that his future reporting will show that the NSA targets activists, civil rights leaders, and foreign policy critics.

Greenwald's entire Amsterdam presentation has been posted to YouTube. The following link jumps to my question and Greenwald's reply:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ihRjmFcGxjE#t=4745
« Last Edit: May 21st, 2014 at 7:48pm by George W. Maschke »  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
E-mail/iMessage/FaceTime: antipolygraph.org@protonmail.com
Wire: @ap_org
PGP Public Key: 316A947C
PGP Public Key (offline): 2BF4374B
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"
Back to top
IP Logged
 
George W. Maschke
Global Moderator
*****
Offline


Make-believe science yields
make-believe security.

Posts: 6006
Location: The Hague, The Netherlands
Joined: Sep 29th, 2000
Re: NSA FIRSTFRUITS: Is This Site Being Monitored?
Reply #46 - May 20th, 2020 at 2:05pm
Print Post  
Journalist Barton Gellman, who had access to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, discusses the NSA's FIRSTFRUITS program in an article titled, "Since I Met Edward Snowden, I’ve Never Stopped Watching My Back" published in The Atlantic. Excerpt:

Quote:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/06/edward-snowden-operation-fi...

The first time I heard the name FIRSTFRUITS, years before the Snowden leak, a confidential source told me to search for it on the internet. All I turned up were ravings on blogs about spooky plots. The George W. Bush administration, according to these accounts, had an off-the-books spying program akin to the work of the East German Stasi. FIRSTFRUITS allegedly listened in on journalists, political dissenters, members of Congress, and other threats to the globalist order. In some versions of the story, the program marked its victims for arrest or assassination. As best I could tell, these stories all traced back to a series of posts by a man named Wayne Madsen, who has aptly been described as “a paranoid conspiracy theorist in the tradition of Alex Jones.” I did a little bit of reading in these fever swamps and concluded that FIRSTFRUITS was a crank’s dark fantasy.

Then came the day I found my name in the Snowden archive. Sixteen documents, including the one that talked about me, named FIRSTFRUITS as a counterintelligence database that tracked unauthorized disclosures in the news media. According to top-secret briefing materials prepared by Joseph J. Brand, a senior NSA official who was also among the leading advocates of a crackdown on leaks, FIRSTFRUITS got its name from the phrase the fruits of our labor. “Adversaries know more about SIGINT sources & methods today than ever before,” Brand wrote. Some damaging disclosures came from the U.S. government’s own official communications, he noted; other secrets were acquired by foreign spies. But “most often,” Brand wrote, “these disclosures occur through the media.” He listed four “flagrant media leakers”: the Post, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Washington Times. The FIRSTFRUITS project aimed to “drastically reduce significant losses of collection capability” at journalists’ hands.

In NSA parlance, exposure of a source or method of surveillance is a “cryptologic insecurity.” If exposure leads to loss of intelligence collection, that is “impairment.” I was fully prepared to believe that some leaks cause impairment, but Brand’s accounting—like many of the government’s public assertions—left something to be desired.

By far the most frequent accusation invoked in debates about whether journalists cause “impairment” to the U.S. government is that it was journalists’ fault that the U.S. lost access to Osama bin Laden’s satellite-phone communications in the late 1990s. It is hard to overstate the centrality of this episode to the intelligence community’s lore about the news media. The accusation, as best as I can ascertain, was first made publicly in 2002 by then–White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. After a newspaper reported that the NSA could listen to Osama bin Laden on his satellite phone, as Fleischer put it, the al‑Qaeda leader abandoned the device. President Bush and a long line of other officials reprised this assertion in the years to come.

But the tale of the busted satellite-phone surveillance is almost certainly untrue. The story in question said nothing about U.S. eavesdropping. And one day before it was published, the United States launched barrages of cruise missiles against al‑Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and a factory in Sudan, including a facility that bin Laden had recently visited. After this, bin Laden went deep underground, forswearing electronic communications that might give his location away. Blaming a news story for this development, rather than a close miss on bin Laden’s life, strained all logic. Yet somehow it became an article of faith in the intelligence community.

In 2001, according to Brand’s NSA documents, the agency “stood up” a staff of leak trackers, and the CIA director hired a contractor “to build [a] foreign knowledge database”—FIRSTFRUITS. One of its major purposes was to feed information about harmful news stories to the “Attorney General task force to investigate media leaks.”

The FIRSTFRUITS project produced 49 “crime reports to DOJ,” three of them involving me. The FBI, in turn, was left with a conundrum. What crime, exactly, was it being asked to investigate? Congress has never passed a law that squarely addresses unauthorized disclosures to reporters by public officials. The United States has no counterpart to the United Kingdom’s Official Secrets Act. Government employees sign a pledge to protect classified information; if they break that pledge, they can lose their security clearance or their job. Those are civil penalties. When it comes to criminal law, they may be subject to charges of theft or unlawful possession of government property. The nearest analogy in the law, however, and the charge most commonly prosecuted in such cases, is espionage.
  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
E-mail/iMessage/FaceTime: antipolygraph.org@protonmail.com
Wire: @ap_org
PGP Public Key: 316A947C
PGP Public Key (offline): 2BF4374B
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"
Back to top
IP Logged
 
Page Index Toggle Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 
Send TopicPrint