By Shimon Prokupecz
The National Security Agency forced out a civilian employee who unwittingly provided password access to former agency contractor Edward Snowden that he later used to obtain classified information he normally couldn’t access, according to an NSA memo.
The memo was sent to members of Congress and reveals for the first time that a Snowden coworker was essentially tricked into giving up his password.
By Bill Mears
U.S. intelligence officials would not rule out the possibility on Tuesday that admitted National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has been meeting secretly with Russian authorities, who have given him asylum from U.S. prosecution.
The subject of Russia dominated a House Intelligence Committee hearing, featuring testimony from the director of national intelligence, as well as the heads of the CIA, FBI, and Defense Intelligence Agency.
DNI James Clapper told lawmakers it was "certainly a possibility" Russian intelligence services have spoken with Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor whose disclosure of sensitive surveillance methods has caused a political uproar.
"I would find it incredulous if they didn't," said Clapper, about any efforts to influence Snowden by the FSB, Russia's state security organization.
By Tom Cohen
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Wednesday asked classified leaker Edward Snowden and his accomplices to turn over any intelligence documents they have yet to make public, warning that terrorists and other foes were "going to school" on information from disclosures so far.
Clapper spoke at a Senate hearing on the annual report of worldwide threats, and his opening statement outlined a series of crises and challenges around the world that he called the most significant he has ever experienced.
He said Snowden's disclosures have put U.S. intelligence operations and citizens at risk.
Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, is in Russia seeking permanent asylum to avoid U.S. criminal charges over the leaking of classified documents that exposed surveillance programs, including the collection of phone records for possible use in terrorism investigations.FULL STORY
By Barbara Starr
Navy Vice Adm. Michael Rogers is expected to be nominated the next director of the embattled National Security Agency, a U.S. official confirmed to CNN.
The current director, Gen. Keith Alexander, is expected to retire in March.
Alexander's tenure has been most recently marked by controversy over intelligence leaks by former agency contractor Edward Snowden about electronic surveillance.
By Evan Perez
The National Security Agency program that collects data on nearly every U.S. phone call isn't legal, a privacy review board said Thursday in a newly released report.
Moreover, the five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board said it's been largely useless in thwarting terrorism.
"We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation," the board wrote in the report released Thursday.FULL STORY
By Tom Cohen. Jim Acosta and Mariano Castillo
Under pressure by last year's classified leaks of U.S. surveillance, President Barack Obama on Friday unveiled new guidance for intelligence-gathering and reforms intended to balance what he called the nation's vital security needs with concerns over privacy and civil liberties.
In a speech at the Justice Department, Obama sought to defend the need for the government to gather intelligence while responding to protests raised at home and abroad over programs revealed in the leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.FULL STORY
(CNN) - National Security Agency chief Gen. Keith Alexander, in response to a letter from Sen. Bernie Sanders, said Tuesday that nothing the agency does "can fairly be characterized as 'spying on Members of Congress or American elected officials.'"
Alexander did not offer any further details about members of Congress specifically, arguing that doing so would require him to violate the civilian protections incorporated into the surveillance programs.
"Among those protections is the condition that NSA can query the metadata only based on phone numbers reasonably suspected to be associated with specific foreign terrorist groups," Alexander wrote. FULL POST
Congress is just like everyone else. That's the message the National Security Agency has for Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The independent senator from Vermont sent a letter to the agency Friday, asking whether it has or is "spying" on members of Congress and other elected American officials.
The NSA provided a preliminary response Saturday that said Congress has "the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons."
"NSA's authorities to collect signals intelligence data include procedures that protect the privacy of U.S. persons. Such protections are built into and cut across the entire process. Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons," said the agency in a statement obtained by CNN.
By Dugald McConnell and Brian Todd
A top-secret National Security Agency team uses spyware and hacking to gather intelligence on targets, according to a new report based on internal agency documents.
According to Der Spiegel, a German magazine that published some of the documents, the unit's interception techniques are worthy of James Bond: intercepting a computer being shipped to a target and installing spyware before it is delivered; supplying an altered monitor cable that transmits everything on a computer's screen to the NSA; or planting a USB plug with a secret radio transmitter.
The unit, called Tailored Access Operations, also uses hacking in addition to spy craft. The most basic method involves phishing, sending an e-mail that lures a target into clicking on it and unknowingly downloading NSA spyware. More sophisticated techniques include identifying exploitable computer vulnerabilities by eavesdropping on a target's error messages; tracking a target's cookies to shadow their Internet use; and even surreptitiously diverting a target's web surfing to phony replica web pages of commonly used sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Agents could use such fake sites both to see what a target is typing and to try to insert spyware on the target's computer, according to cybersecurity expert Michael Sutton at ZScaler, a California-based information technology security company.FULL STORY
By Evan Perez
The National Security Agency notched a much-needed win in court, after a series of setbacks over the legality and even the usefulness of its massive data collection program.
A federal judge in New York ruled Friday that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of data on nearly every phone call made in the United States is legal.
The ruling contrasts with another ruling last week by a federal judge in Washington, who called the same program "almost Orwellian" and likely unconstitutional.
In his ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge William Pauley said that while the NSA's program under Section 215 of the Patriot Act has become the center of controversy since it was revealed by leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, it is legal.FULL STORY