NSA Tracks Porn to Discredit Activists …

… And to Blackmail Critics?

Huffington Post reports:

The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target’s credibility, reputation and authority.

***

Among the vulnerabilities listed by the NSA that can be effectively exploited are “viewing sexually explicit material online” and “using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls.”

***

None of the six individuals targeted by the NSA is accused in the document of being involved in terror plots. The agency believes they all currently reside outside the United States. It identifies one of them, however, as a “U.S. person,” which means he is either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.

***

The NSA believes the targeted individuals radicalize people through the expression of controversial ideas via YouTube, Facebook and other social media websites.

***

According to the document, the NSA believes that exploiting electronic surveillance to publicly reveal online sexual activities can make it harder for these “radicalizers” to maintain their credibility.

Huff Post notes that the NSA is also sharing the information with other agencies:

The Director of the National Security Agency — described as “DIRNSA” — is listed as the “originator” of the document. Beyond the NSA itself, the listed recipients include officials with the Departments of Justice and Commerce and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

This is nothing new. We’ve previously reported that information gained by the NSA through spying is shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges.

American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said:

This report is an unwelcome reminder of what it means to give an intelligence agency unfettered access to individuals’ most sensitive information. One ordinarily associates these kinds of tactics with the secret police services of authoritarian governments. That these tactics have been adopted by the world’s leading democracy – and the world’s most powerful intelligence agency – is truly chilling.

Indeed, this is the exactly same kind of thing which the FBI did in the bad old days. As Huffington Post notes:

U.S. officials have in the past used similar tactics against civil rights leaders, labor movement activists and others.

Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI harassed activists and compiled secret files on political leaders, most notably Martin Luther King, Jr. The extent of the FBI’s surveillance of political figures is still being revealed to this day, as the bureau releases the long dossiers it compiled on certain people in response to Freedom of Information Act requests following their deaths. The information collected by the FBI often centered on sex — homosexuality was an ongoing obsession on Hoover’s watch — and information about extramarital affairs was reportedly used to blackmail politicians into fulfilling the bureau’s needs.

***

James Bamford, a journalist who has been covering the NSA since the early 1980s, said the use of surveillance to exploit embarrassing private behavior is precisely what led to past U.S. surveillance scandals. “The NSA’s operation is eerily similar to the FBI’s operations under J. Edgar Hoover in the 1960s where the bureau used wiretapping to discover vulnerabilities, such as sexual activity, to ‘neutralize’ their targets,” he said. “Back then, the idea was developed by the longest serving FBI chief in U.S. history, today it was suggested by the longest serving NSA chief in U.S. history.”

That controversy, Bamford said, also involved the NSA. “And back then, the NSA was also used to do the eavesdropping on King and others through its Operation Minaret. A later review declared the NSA’s program ‘disreputable if not outright illegal,’” he said.

***

[The ACLU's] Jaffer, however, warned that the lessons of history ought to compel serious concern that a “president will ask the NSA to use the fruits of surveillance to discredit a political opponent, journalist or human rights activist.”

“The NSA has used its power that way in the past and it would be naïve to think it couldn’t use its power that way in the future,” he said.

The New York Times argues:

This is precisely the way that politically directed, clandestine surveillance goes off the rails — by digging into personal behavior. Because all of these operations are conducted in secret, according to secret rules, the public has no way of knowing whether the targets are actually enemies of the state, or just individuals who have fallen out of the state’s favor.

***

J. Edgar Hoover compiled secret dossiers on the sexual peccadillos and private misbehavior of those he labeled as enemies — really dangerous people like Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy, for example.

Government officials have repeatedly claimed that the National Security Agency’s collection of metadata is perfectly legal. We should not worry about the N.S.A., according to President Obama, because there are safeguards in place to protect our constitutional rights. Agents would never, ever misuse that information to, say, check on where you’ve been web surfing.

We hate terrorists, and are opposed to religious extremists of any kind who are trying to whip up hatred. The problem, of course, is that the government’s targeting is not limited to actual bad guys, and the government may now label the average American citizen as a “potential terrorist”. It should be clear to everyone by now that NSA spying is not very focused on terrorism … especially given that history shows that mass spying is always focused on crushing dissent.

TechDirt points out:

It’s important to note here that the “targets” in this case are not US persons, and they all do appear to dislike the US, and some appear to have advocated for jihad against the US. However, as the report notes, most of them are not terrorists or even connected to any terrorist organization. They’re just activists and advocates who have spoken out criticizing the US. In one case, a guy was targeted for claiming that “the U.S. brought the 9/11 attacks upon itself” — an argument that plenty of respectable people have made. The lack of any terrorist connection is actually, stunningly, used against these individuals, as one NSA document notes that since they don’t communicate with terrorists it’s worse because it suggests “that the target audience includes individuals who do not yet hold extremist views but who are susceptible to the extremist message.”

Remember, high-level U.S. officials have been warning of tyranny based upon a surveillance state spear-headed by the NSA for 40 years.

Indeed, it is well-documented that the NSA was already spying on American Senators more than 4 decades ago. And a high-level NSA whistleblower says that the NSA is spying on – and blackmailing – top government officials and military officers, including Supreme Court Justices, high-ranked generals, Colin Powell and other State Department personnel, and many other top officials. And see this:

He says the NSA started spying on President Obama when he was a candidate for Senate:

Another very high-level NSA whistleblower – the head of the NSA’s global intelligence gathering operation – says that the NSA targeted CIA chief Petraeus.

And a senior ACLU policy analyst who has worked on issues related to NSA data gathering (Jay Stanley) hints that the NSA may be exercising actual or implied leverage against politicians:

Everyone has dark suspicions about their political opponents from time to time, and Americans are highly distrustful of government in general. When there is any opening at all for members of the public to suspect that officials from the legislative and judicial branches could be vulnerable to leverage from secretive agencies within the executive branch — and when those officials can even suspect they might be subject to leverage — that is a serious problem for our democracy.

Indeed, top constitutional experts say that the Obama and Bush administration are not only worse than Nixon … but worse than the Stasi East Germans. Indeed, history seems to be repeating … or at least rhyming.

Postscript: We wonder whether some of these guys are a tad nervous about the new NSA spying revelations.

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  • Tonto

    When discussing child porn, few people would be willing to say it. But I’ll go there anyway.

    Getting the goods on someone, whatever information it may be, can be very profitable. In fact, getting the goods on enough people can open up doors and shut them too. It’s called blackmail and blackmail is the fare of effective spying.

    And I dare say, no one is beyond being reached, and put into fear, if enough effort is put into finding some small fact and making it seem like way more than it really is.

    Such is the infinite complexity of our social reality. Such is the effect of the sort capability spying science has placed into the hands of those we all know, are made up of most vulgar, aggressive and rapacious in our society.

    It’s like everything scientific. It all goes into the hands of those who should least be trusted to have it.

    • Eric Hodgdon

      I generally agree with you, and …… for a man to spend no time with a woman for 29 years, and not be in prison, is quite a feat I can honestly claim. Did I do nothing by myself? Of course not. Does it matter what I did while alone? I’ll not explain how I survived, but I’m not afraid of what it was which kept me sane. However, to the World, I’m back and enjoy female companionship everyday again.

      Fears are personal and can only be exploited if one let’s them be exploited. If one’s behavior is honest, involves no legal questions, and harms no one, then why fear it? Blackmail requires fear for there to be a victim. Fear controls most people. Getting over the fear is frightening at first, but becomes nothing when it’s realized where the fear is – nowhere but in the mind.

  • markii

    snowdens letting out the porno surveillance for terrorists,hints that the “falling on swords” of petraeus and spitzer, were part of this uberintelligence means of getting good honest men out of the way for rotten pawns to wall street.
    Spitzer for daring to contemplate to “clean up wall street” and Petraeus for beginning to separate himself from the spin of “operation enduring freedom”.
    Its a big dirt collector,to roll the few honest humans left in government — and its the people who uphold integrity that get rid of the few really integral people (for blemishes).

  • gozounlimited

    What banksters can learn from porn…… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6oyLejO1gs

  • Washington76

    Europe May Suspend Data Transfer Agreement with US

    http://export.gov/safeharbor/eu/index.asp

  • yoyofosho

    lol, that Joel Brennar character can kiss my ass. What a tool he is. Judges are declared the FISC court is a kangaroo court which lacks oversight. Joel Brennar is either being lied to or is lying. Only two possibilities.

  • Robert Barsocchini

    The above, as well as spying on the UN, etc., is all part of the USA’s global fascist dictatorship. For many decades, USA has been using military force to prevent Earth from achieving democracy. For example, while essentially the entire world votes, every year, to implement June 1967 borders on Israel and end the illegal, genocidal US sanctions against Cuba, the USA simply uses military force to prevent these democratic legal consensuses, or the will of the world, from being implemented. That’s fascist dictatorship, but not just of one country; of the planet. Hence global war, torture and spy networks, and US arms spending roughly equal to the rest of the world combined. That’s not to protect the stolen North American subcontinent. That’s to protect worldwide fascism.

    Details: http://empireslayer.blogspot.com/2013/11/preventing-democracy-global.html

    And: http://empireslayer.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-solution-to-israel-palestine.html

  • http://politicalfilm.wordpress.com/ polfilmblog

    Listen to the full interviews of NSA Satellite Analyst Russell Tice:

    http://politicalfilm.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/inside-nsa-another-whistleblower-tice/

    “[NSA] went after lawyers and law firms… They went after judges. One
    of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap
    information in my hand… They went after State Department officials.
    They went after people in the executive service that were part of the
    White House — their own people.”

  • ot osman

    What do they usually say? If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

    Same here: if you don’t want your nude pictures published, don’t take them.

    http://www.hdpornosaati.com/kat/liseli-porno

  • Bruce

    It’s S.S. : Call fascists, FASCISTS!

  • Joe Hetero

    Woe… wait a second… “We hate terrorists, and are opposed to religious extremists of any kind who are trying to whip up hatred. ” So define “religious extremists of any kind”. You mean radical Islam tied directly to terrorist acts? Or like in America where Christians who oppose abortion and those who support it? Are they terrorists? Extremists? Yes they are, in the good liberal book. In fact, ANYONE who disagrees with the Democrat Party’s agenda IS a ‘potential’ terrorist.

    So now you have to write more clearly, because you could be another unwitting puppet of the beast you appear to want to expose. Shoot, may YOU are an NSA operative for all I know.

  • Joe Hetero

    Heck, any good liberal looking at porn should be PROUD to be exposed by the NSA! I mean, they teach children in school how to masturbate, have good sex, etc., so WHAT is the big deal. Porn is all over TV, nudity, sexual innuendo, etc. It’s all constantly in your face, and the NSA thinks it HURTS these guys?

 

 

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