November 28th, 2013
08:25 AM ET

Pakistani official outs CIA officials in drone investigation

By Saima Mohsin and Mariano Castillo

A Pakistani political party official has publicly named two U.S. CIA officials in connection with a police murder investigation into a drone strike.

Police had already initiated an investigation against unnamed persons after a recent drone strike that killed five. In a televised news conference Wednesday, Shireen Mazari, information secretary for the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said she filed an addendum to the police complaint, singling out two U.S. officials.

She gave the names of U.S. CIA Director John Brennan and a person identified as the CIA's Station Chief based in Pakistan. U.S. officials did not confirm to CNN the accuracy of her claims.

"I can't speak to the alleged operational issues, but more broadly I note we have a strong ongoing dialogue with Pakistan regarding all aspects of our bilateral relationship and shared interests," a U.S. Embassy official in Pakistan told CNN.

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Filed under: CIA • drones • Pakistan
Supreme Court allows NSA telephone surveillance to continue
November 18th, 2013
10:22 AM ET

Supreme Court allows NSA telephone surveillance to continue

By Bill Mears

The U.S. Supreme Court will allow the National Security Agency's surveillance of domestic telephone communication records to continue for now.

The justices without comment Monday rejected an appeal from a privacy rights group, which claimed a secret federal court improperly authorized the government to collect the electronic records.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed its petition directly with the high court, bypassing the usual step of going to the lower federal courts first. Such a move made it much harder for the justices to intervene at this stage, but EPIC officials argued "exceptional ramifications" demanded immediate final judicial review. There was no immediate reaction to the court's order from the public interest group, or from the Justice Department.

Published reports earlier this year indicated the NSA received secret court approval to collect vast amounts of so-called metadata from telecom giant Verizon and leading Internet companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo and Facebook. The information includes the numbers and location of nearly every phone call to and from the United States in the past five years, but not actual monitoring of the conversations themselves. To do so would require a separate, specifically targeted search warrant.
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Source: CIA using Patriot Act to collect money transfer data
November 15th, 2013
07:41 AM ET

Source: CIA using Patriot Act to collect money transfer data

By Evan Perez

The CIA is collecting bulk records on international money transfers, using the same Patriot Act legal authority that has become the center of controversy in U.S. surveillance programs, a source told CNN.

A person familiar with the program said the agency's efforts are an outgrowth of terror finance-tracking programs that were established in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks and revealed that al Qaeda funded the hijackers using methods such as smuggled cash, money transfers, and credit and debit cards.

The Treasury Department and the National Security Agency have other programs that similarly focus on financial transaction data. The CIA program provides some redundancies intended to catch transactions that may not draw attention in other programs.

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times first reported the existence of the CIA program Thursday night, saying it has sparked concerns from lawmakers.

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Filed under: CIA
November 3rd, 2013
10:20 PM ET

Report: NSA, GCHQ among worst surveillance offenders, Snowden says

By Chelsea J. Carter and Susanna Capelouto, CNN

Leaked classified documents show the U.S. National Security Agency and its British counterpart are among the "worst offenders" of mass surveillance without oversight, according to an open letter purportedly written by Edward Snowden and published Sunday by the German magazine Der Spiegel.

The publication of the letter, titled "A Manifesto for the Truth," comes as leaks by the former NSA contract analyst have roiled U.S.-European relations amid allegations that the NSA and the UK's Government Communications Headquarters monitored the communication data of some world leaders.

"The world has learned a lot in a short amount of time about irresponsibly operated security agencies and, at times, criminal surveillance programs. Sometimes the agencies try to avoid controls," Snowden wrote, according to the news magazine.

"While the NSA and GCHQ (the British national security agency) appear to be the worst offenders - at least according to the documents that are currently public - we cannot forget that mass surveillance is a global problem and needs a global solution."

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November 3rd, 2013
02:33 PM ET

McCaul: TSA, law enforcement need better coordination

By CNN's Joe Sterling and Jason Seher

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said Sunday that Transportation Security Administration officers at the nation's airports need to work better with local law enforcement to help prevent incidents like Friday's shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

"The coordination with the local police is key because, remember, TSA officers are not armed," the Texas Republican told CNN's Candy Crowley on "State of the Union."

In the wake of the shooting at LAX's Terminal 3 – where a gunman, identified by police as 23-year-old Paul Ciancia, killed a TSA officer and wounded three other people – McCaul said he had already referred his suggestions to TSA Administrator John Pistole.

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November 2nd, 2013
07:24 PM ET

Supporter paints picture of Snowden’s life in Moscow

By CNN’s Greg Clary

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has now been in Moscow for more than five months while Russia considers whether to grant his request for permanent asylum. But his day-to-day activities remain largely a mystery.

One person who knows more than most about Snowden’s situation is Jesselyn Radack, who met with him recently in Moscow.

Radack is a member of the whistleblower-support organization, Government Accountability Project, and a former ethics adviser to the Justice Department. She became a whistleblower herself after raising concerns about the interrogation of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh.

Radack says security is still paramount for Snowden—she and the other visitors weren’t told the location of their meeting because of security concerns.

“It appeared to be a hotel, somewhere, but I don't know Moscow, so I didn't recognize where we were really,” Radack said.

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Filed under: Edward Snowden • NSA • Russia
Kerry defends U.S. surveillance program, but admits it goes too far at times
November 1st, 2013
02:17 AM ET

Kerry defends U.S. surveillance program, but admits it goes too far at times

Secretary of State John Kerry defended U.S. surveillance programs as he took part in a London conference by video Thursday, but acknowledged, "yes, in some cases, it has reached too far inappropriately".

Kerry, who was in Washington, addressed the Open Government Partnership annual summit meeting.

During a discussion of the surveillance programs, Kerry talked about the spying accusations that have roiled world leaders.
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Filed under: NSA • Sec. State John Kerry
Head of NSA rethinks intel gathering strategies
November 1st, 2013
12:23 AM ET

Head of NSA rethinks intel gathering strategies

In the wake of revelations the U.S. spied on some of its closest partners, the head of the National Security Agency said Thursday he thinks some relationships with allies are more important in the fight against terrorism than the gathering of intelligence.

A week after reports the United States was spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and potentially 30 or more other heads of state, Gen. Keith Alexander said there may be more effective ways of gathering the intelligence Washington needs without jeopardizing crucial relationships with allies.
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Filed under: Edward Snowden • NSA
Amid NSA surveillance uproar, Congress starts crafting some limits
October 31st, 2013
11:46 PM ET

Amid NSA surveillance uproar, Congress starts crafting some limits

The global uproar over the National Security Agency's surveillance programs is prompting Congress to begin making some legal changes.

Most of the changes under way are focused on data collected on Americans, and little is expected to change in foreign intelligence collection.

The Senate Intelligence Committee approved a bill Thursday to make some limited changes to the law that governs the NSA's surveillance activities, focusing mostly on the program that gathers so-called metadata on nearly every call made by American telephone company customers. The data include the number called, and the time and length of the call, and are gathered under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
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Filed under: Edward Snowden • NSA
House committee questions spy chiefs about phone tapping allegations
October 29th, 2013
02:03 PM ET

House committee questions spy chiefs about phone tapping allegations

By CNN Staff

The House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday afternoon is questioning U.S. spy chiefs about accusations that the National Security Agency has tapped not only the phone calls of millions of Americans, but those of top U.S. allies.

Tuesday's hearing, billed as a discussion of potential changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, comes amid claims, reported last week by German magazine Der Spiegel, that the NSA monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.

It's the latest in a series of spying allegations that stem from disclosures given to news organizations by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who describes himself as a whistle-blower. Comments by President Barack Obama's administration claiming that he did not know of the practice until recently have drawn criticism from both the right and the left.

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Filed under: NSA
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