NSA abuses include Stalking ex-Girlfriends

We have HUMINT, or human intelligence gathered from agents. We have SIGINT or signals intelligence. And now we have LOVEINT or NSA analysts occasionally reading the emails of ex-lovers. It doesn’t happen a lot, the NSA told the WSJ, but often enough that there is a word for it.

The NSA only admitted this abuse to the Senate Intelligence committee a few days ago.

The NSA has dealt with the spying scandal with the classic techniques of government manipulation of the public: Deny for as long as possible, then make few gradual small admissions, so when the big abuses come out the press views the story as stale and is unconcerned about the new scale of abuse coming out.

1. First, deny everything. Say it is impossible to access individual Americans’ email as they are typing.

2. Use the difference between statute (laws passed by Congress) and Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Executive Order (which responded to earlier intel abuses and forbids spying on Americans) to deny that any “laws” have been broken. (An Executive Order has the force of law but isn’t exactly a law.). Notorious authoritarians like Mike Rogers (R-MI), head of the House Intelligence Committee, have used this ploy. Rogers wouldn’t know a civil liberty if he tripped over it.

3. admit the capability but insist there are strict controls absolutely preventing abuse.

4. Insist that the FISA court and the House and Senate intelligence committees have full oversight.

5. Admit that the NSA repeatedly lied to the FISA court.

6. Admit a few tens of thousands of in-country US emails were collected before the FISA judges found out and stopped it.

7. Admit you haven’t actually been telling Congress about the abuses

8. Admit that you’ve been sharing info on Americans gained through warrantless surveillance with the Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement, who then lied about how they came by the evidence

9. admit that just a handful of LOVEINT stalking abuses have occurred

Yet to come: revelations that the British GCHQ, having been paid $150 million to do it, spies on Americans for the NSA & then shares the info

And: Perhaps, the ‘handful of times’ the NSA has engaged in insider trading and affected stock movements

And: Perhaps, the handful of times the NSA has blackened the reputations of politicians it didn’t like

and other handfuls of times Secret Government, which is always tyranny, has trumped democracy and the Constitution

42 Responses

  1. “……engaged in insider trading and effected stock movements.”

    In the two-week period immediately preceding September 11, 2011, there was the highest NYSE volume share trading of the year up to that date.

    It is a clear and reasonable inference that some individuals were aware that the terror attacks were coming and acted accordingly.

    • What? How do you surmise this? What else was happening? In the market? Maybe a post-summer rally….

    • “It is a clear and reasonable inference that some individuals were aware that the terror attacks were coming and acted accordingly.”

      Will the 9/11 conspiracy theorists ever give up? This is tantamount to the “Zionist plot” theory, embraced by Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef and others, that no Jews showed up to work at the Twin Towers on 9/11. There are many reasons stock share trading moves up and down in volume. Foreknowledge of a terrorist attack on 9/11 probably can be discounted as one of them.

      • A late summer rally in Aviation Reinsurance companies? Whoda thunk it was a seasonal business for that?

        Dig deeper, Bill.

  2. There’s another story here: Google and Yahoo are providing (i.e., selling) information to the government at ‘prevailing rates’. It would be interesting to know how these rates are determined, and if they are similar to the rates Booze Hamilton are billing the NSA. From what we know about Snowden’s salary, the margins are pretty good.

  3. As time goes by, I’m rarely surprised by corruption.
    I’ve lived in a country (not U.S.) run by patronage (top down) for more than 10 years and its given me a genuine education in corruption; they’re rife with it; they depend on it; business cannot exist without it, and the government would collapse without it.
    To see this so rampant in the U.S. doesn’t surprise me as much as it begs a question (for me); what is the reason I didn’t see this (in the U.S.) before?
    An inquiry into this question is most illuminating…

    • Hi Arn, it was harder to perceive corruption 25 years ago. We were younger and more idealistic, and without the web, mainstream media ruled. AND, the financial industry did not control the political process to the extent they do.

      • “it was harder to perceive corruption 25 years ago.”

        The evidence was available, but you’re right. It wasn’t easy to get to with the curtain created by the mainstreat media blocking the view. Nothing new there. It has been going on for generations. A few months ago I read a history of the First World War. The Times of London was apparently as dishonest then as the New York Times has been for years.

        Walter Karp and I.F. “Izzy” Stone revealed much of the corruption during the latter half of the 20th Century. Much of what they had to say then is still relevant. Karp exposed the duopoly of the Democratic and Republic parties. The only difference now is that the Repubulican right wing wants to change that to a monopoly.

        • “Walter Karp and I.F. “Izzy” Stone revealed much of the corruption during the latter half of the 20th Century.”

          Lazy journalists may have had difficulty discovering corruption in an earlier era, but a good investigative journalist could discover and reveal corruption during the latter half of the 20th century, and I.F. Stone was a good example. Izzy Stone did not rely on “inside” sources and purloined government documents. He based all of his research on a close reading of publicly available government documents. And he was spot-on most of the time. I didn’t always agree with his take on policy, but I always admired his ability to dig down and discover corruption and misinformation.

          In 1964, using evidence drawn from a close reading and analysis of published accounts, Stone was the only American journalist to challenge President Johnson’s account of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. I.F. Stone is an example of what a good investigative journalist can be, and he did not hide behind the excuse that the mainstream media blocked his view. He didn’t depend on the mainstream (or any other) media or “insider” officials. He did his own meticulous research.

    • Corruption is the norm when you look at the broad sweep of history (as are conspiracies); our fading example of Liberty was only possible because rebels were able to get an ocean between themselves and the Crown.

      Now there is nowhere to run.

  4. “And: Perhaps, the ‘handful of times’ the NSA has engaged in insider trading and affected stock movements

    And: Perhaps, the handful of times the NSA has blackened the reputations of politicians it didn’t like”

    Is there additional information about these kind of instances? We see our politicians engaging in these kind of actions all the time. Our courts dont help, in fact the justices obstruct, making reform a challenge. Thanks

  5. The UK Guardian is reporting the Independent has released possibly classified information, citing it came to them courtesy Snowden. However, just today, Snowden stated he was not the source and that the UK government is the source of ‘information’:

    link to theguardian.com

    The Guardian is supposedly teaming up too with the NY Times on coverage of the Snowden affair. That will be interesting, since the Times itself censors news topics especially on matters of whistleblowrs and national security

  6. If the (even the lo-level) guys at NSA have the ability to seek LOVEINT, then they have the ability to search for BLACKMAILINT, just as J Edgar Hoover notoriously did.

    In that case, then (even hi-level) guys at NSA thus have the power to seek BLACKMAILINT on government figures including JUDGES and thus to control the entire government — either in a individually-determined way or in service of an ideology or political group or powerful interest such as KOCH BROS.

    To me, THIS is the scandal and the most scary possibility.

  7. Yes. We are there. Ignore it at our own peril. I am grateful for your persistence and clarity on this issue.

  8. “It is the height of naivete to think that once collected this information won’t be used. This is the nature of secret government organizations. The only way to protect the people’s privacy is not to allow the government to collect their information in the first place. You know, for us, this would have been a dream come true.” ~Wolfgang Schmidt, former lieutenant colonel in Stasi commenting on NSA.

  9. Comparatively speaking, the LOVEINT issue doesn’t even rise to the level of a nickel-and-dime event, but it does reveal that many people have access to data about many other people that is ripe for the most extreme forms of abuse, including political blackmail. Ponder that one for its possibilities.

    • Indeed – one wonders whether the unwavering support for the NSA demonstrated by many politicians has anything to do with some embarrassing secrets the NSA has agreed to keep quiet. As Hannibal Lector observed: “Quid pro quo, Clarisse, Quid pro quo”

  10. Exactly! I have recently come to suspect something truly mind-blowing: that the NSA has SPECIFICALLY contracted with GCHQ AND OTHER ENTITIES for the express purpose of having these third-parties IGNORE our constitutional rights in their entirety.

    Think about that for a moment. If, in fact, this is true, the NSA, as a monolithic entity, has committed treason and treason on a mind-blowingly huge level.

    And if Obama KNEW about this – let alone had anything to do with authorizing it – then let the impeachment proceedings begin!

    Let’s take a look at Article III, Section 3, shall we?: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

    Granting even our alleged allies the right to engage in mass surveillance of our citizens is nothing more than a crypto-war against them.

    Thus, we would effectively have an entire branch of our federal government going rogue – committing treason against the very people it purports to represent.

    Is there a more perfect example of an erstwhile democratic government secretly engaging in tyranny? No.

    But here’s the chilling question: to what end?

    The enemy is the executive branch of the United States government.

  11. Who has the courage to leave a heartfelt message to this column? Personally, I’m now terrified of ever speaking my mind or trying to get to the truth of our government’s illegal actions.

  12. A variation of this tactic is employed by the U.S. military when investigating civilian deaths at the hands of our troops. First, deny the deaths were caused by us, blame the Taliban, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq, Sunni militia, Shia militia, or the families themelves, etc. When confronted with incontrovertible proof of responsibility, maintain the deaths were ‘collateral damage’ and that others (see foregoing list) were the actual target but that their comrades spirited the bodies of the intended casualties away before the press got there. When grieving families go on TV stating that there were no [see foregoing list] present, only family members who are now dead, admit that ‘some’ civilians were killed in error but that the number claimed is actually twice as many as were really killed – inflated by the grieving families so as to profit from compensation for deaths that didn’t happen. When confronted with proof that the deaths claimed are actually an under-count (after an inventory of body parts & identification of bodies and of who’s still ‘missing’), send a senior officer to make consolation payments of cash & goats in exchange for ongoing silence on the issue.

  13. I have it from a relie-able source that Davy Gregory of “Beat the Press” and Bubba Sheeper of “Screw the Nation” were very impressed by how Andy Coma grilled Obama this week on CNN. Did you notice how the president wiped his brow when he staggered off the set? Accordingly, check the boob tube tomorrow for how Davy and Bubba will follow suit by laying into officials from the NSA and the chairpersons of the House and Senate intelligence (sic) committees to make sure the data scooper-uppers don’t every spy on us again.

    I also still have that bridge across New York’s East River for sale.

  14. Also not mentioned here:

    CONTRACTORINT…What the hordes of non-NSA analysts…(like Edward Snowden) have done with their unprecedented access to American communications.

    Gee, wonder if Booz, Allen’s wondrous success in attracting government contracts is attributable to more than their cozy relationships with the Washington elites.

  15. When individuals face insurmountable obstacles, sometimes they go crazy. Remove the stress, they become more rational. The impetus for them is to remove stress.

    This civilization has some pretty serious insurmountable obstacles: Population versus food capacity – known as carry capacity – may decline as global climate change affects weather patterns for the worse, fossil fuel availability make highly productive agriculture a thing of the past, and diseases spread poleward thanks to warmer climates. Oh yes, droughts.

    Our leaders/power controller are not up to the task. They seek reassurance for themselves by monitoring us and controlling useful information we might glean, and by making sure they know who the threats are, read organizations that might trouble them.

    Without doubt, there is trouble, and just like the good people on the Titanic, the Costa Concordia and Oceanos all discovered, those that survived I mean, the captain and senior officers have neglected to tell us that there is a catastrophe brewing. Secrecy is the word. Ineptitude is the word.

    • “Our leaders/power controller are not up to the task.”

      The Peter Principle has it that people rise to their level of incompetence.

  16. What is not covered in most news report on Snowden is that government doesn’t really know what documents he has. Since no one is monitoring NSA, the operator can do as they wish, spying on their girlfriend, or as in case of Snowden copy a lot of documents with out anyone realizing it.

    So far, according to all reports, Snowden has acted honorably and not done anything to damage the security of the country, but what if others in NSA have been taking advantage of the documents for their own agenda.

  17. There’s a great recent quote to the effect that there is no surviellence method that cannot be hacked. A lot of the best human hackers aren’t Americans. A related twin quote would be that there is no intel that cannot be bought or loaned as a favor, either from government employees or the many contracted non-government security businesses whose prime fundamental is to produce profit. Which by the way is how so much of that top secret and astronomically expensive military gear Americans paid for by eating and educating less managed to get into enemy hands and kept the international playing field even enough and fearful enough to support never ending calls for more military R&D. Freedom of the people has been left far behind as a meaningless but handy-for-hicktown political slogan in both instances. American citizens, who are supposed to control the system in America, are the ones most kept in the dark and least able to affect any change. Privacy of thought and therefore freedom is becoming….quaint. The Constitution offers as much power as the Dead Sea Scrolls. America as an idea is effectively dead as a doornail, and lot of Americans, like the diehard early American supporters of the King whom American mythmakers have erased from history, heartily approve, including an astonishing number of po’ people not fortunate enough to have access to a bulging security teat. Amerika indeed. Onward Fox, breakfast newscast of champions!

  18. Were monies received from other entities? Were these funds properly put into the US treasury? How were they accounted for? What happened to these funds? How about the $150 million paid to the British? Was that money properly dealt with? Where is the paper trail on these transactions.

  19. So how many members of the NSA are even women? I see the title of this story has been rightly changed from “ex-lovers” to “ex-girlfriends.”

    • Would having more women in position to paw through the haystack or target useful fools ‘n stuff have any mitigating effect on the horrific gathering, use and mostly abuse of ‘INT of all the various “isn’t it fun and smart and kewl to create new INTacronyms?” potential and existing types?

      One would want to hope so, but…

  20. If you can hack the PC or smartphone of the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation, you will be rich leveraging info into stocks. No greedy annalyst would resist. If you hack the email of a salesman, he or she is done, you own his or her clients. Analysts have certainly received attractive offers from friends and family in sales jobs, and their bosses get them from multinational companies. You can be sure some of them agreed to help.

    • Actually, all you have to hack is the device-ery of a few of those C-Suite Muggers’ “people.” All the Good Stuff and Gossip will be there to scan and gainfully apply too…

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