TwitterFacebook

Glenn Greenwald’s New Article Destroys “Invaluable,” Legal NSA Program

Human traffickers rejoice
US News • Views: 27,882

We have a rare event today, a new article at The Intercept! And yes, it’s more of the same hyperbole, exaggeration and unfounded leaping to conclusions we’ve come to expect. By Ryan Devereaux, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras: Data Pirates of the Caribbean: The NSA Is Recording Every Cell Phone Call in the Bahamas - the Intercept.

The National Security Agency is secretly intercepting, recording, and archiving the audio of virtually every cell phone conversation on the island nation of the Bahamas.

According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the surveillance is part of a top-secret system - code-named SOMALGET - that was implemented without the knowledge or consent of the Bahamian government. Instead, the agency appears to have used access legally obtained in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to open a backdoor to the country’s cellular telephone network, enabling it to covertly record and store the “full-take audio” of every mobile call made to, from and within the Bahamas - and to replay those calls for up to a month.

That’s right. This is a legal program they’re exposing, that lets the NSA conduct surveillance in countries like Mexico, Kenya, the Philippines and the Bahamas. Now why in the world would anyone want to do that?

Well, for starters, the Bahamas are infamous as a center for all kinds of criminal money laundering operations, as well as human trafficking. Do I need to mention the similar concerns for Mexico, the Philippines and Kenya?

So there are compelling reasons to spy on these countries. And yes, it’s spying. Welcome to reality.

But since there are compelling reasons, the fine journalists of The Intercept also need to discredit those reasons in order to satisfy their usual agenda of painting the NSA and US as sinister forces with hidden motives.

If the U.S. government wanted to make a case for surveillance in the Bahamas, it could point to the country’s status as a leading haven for tax cheats, corporate shell games, and a wide array of black-market traffickers. The State Department considers the Bahamas both a “major drug-transit country” and a “major money laundering country” (a designation it shares with more than 60 other nations, including the U.S.). According to the International Monetary Fund, as of 2011 the Bahamas was home to 271 banks and trust companies with active licenses. At the time, the Bahamian banks held $595 billion in U.S. assets.

But the NSA documents don’t reflect a concerted focus on the money launderers and powerful financial institutions - including numerous Western banks - that underpin the black market for narcotics in the Bahamas. Instead, an internal NSA presentation from 2013 recounts with pride how analysts used SOMALGET to locate an individual who “arranged Mexico-to-United States marijuana shipments” through the U.S. Postal Service.

It’s important to understand their point here to see how disingenuous and deceptive it is; their evidence that the NSA is not really focusing on Bahamian money laundering operations is … the lack of evidence in a Powerpoint slide. That’s correct — there’s absolutely no positive evidence for this claim in their entire article.

The piece also strongly insinuates that the NSA and DEA are in collusion to share the recorded cell phone data for possibly sinister purposes… but then suddenly, in paragraph 47, we find:

The presentation doesn’t say whether the NSA shared the information with the DEA.

Oh.

By the way, if you check out their source documents, there’s a section they didn’t mention in this wildly speculative article that I’d like to draw your attention to; the second paragraph on page 1:

We are all aware that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is leading our nation’s counternarcotics (CN) efforts. But many are not aware that from the start NSA has been at the forefront of Intelligence Community (IC) support to this seemingly unconventional DOD mission. The novel collection and analysis techniques NSA developed and refined against these criminal hard targets have not only resulted in major successes in the war on drugs, but they have also proven invaluable to other critical SIGINT missions, particularly counterterrorism, sometimes blurring the lines between the two missions.

So these programs The Intercept is exposing were not only legal, they were “invaluable” in fighting crime and terrorism. And the NSA was clearly very aware of the boundaries between the agencies.

Well, say goodbye to this invaluable intelligence gathering effort now. The Mighty Greenwald has killed it. And I’m completely at a loss to understand how killing this program does anything to help victims of the horrible crime of human trafficking.

UPDATE at 5/19/14 4:49:10 pm

Julian Assange is furious at Pernicious G, and he’s issuing threats to reveal the name of the country Greenwald redacted from this article. According to Greenwald, revealing this country would cause deaths.

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
Take advantage of our yearly subscription, and save 50% off the normal subscription price! One-year ad-free subscriptions are just $59.95. Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing now and save!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2015-03-17 11:42 am PDT

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Thanos
Washington State Florist Fined for Refusing to Service Gay Wedding
A judge in Washington state on Friday fined a florist $1,000 after she refused to sell flower arrangements for a gay couple's wedding, officials said. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who along with the couple - Robert Ingersoll ...

7 minutes ago
Views: 7 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
EiMitch
Cracked: 8 Things Vietnam War Movies Leave Out (By an Enemy Soldier)
cracked.com Once the fighting started, a lot of people died, well over a million on our side alone. For the war to continue, a constant stream of new fighters had to join up, and they didn't have the benefit of ...

13 hours, 38 minutes ago
Views: 194 • Comments: 4
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
Romantic Heretic
The Lavender Scare
Here is an interesting article on one of Tail Gunner Joe's sick witch hunts that has, unfortunately, been forgotten. I try not to feel schadenfreude of the fate of McCarthy's side kick, Ray Cohn, but I never succeed.

20 hours, 34 minutes ago
Views: 225 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
FemNaziBitch
Should Women ‘Man Up’ at the Office, or Does Office Culture Need to ‘Man Down’?
About the Graphic How should a woman try to get ahead in a male-dominated workplace? Perhaps the answer lies less on women "manning up" and more in how businesses value their employees. Many women confront this tension as they ...

1 day, 22 hours ago
Views: 309 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
William Barnett-Lewis
Orthopraxy Pt 2
If we accept the idea of Orthopraxy over Orthodoxy, then what does evangelism look like? What is the Witness of those who try to follow the Way of Christ Jesus? To evangelize is to spread the good news that we ...

2 days, 10 hours ago
Views: 342 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 4
thecommodore
Eric Alterman: A Wake-Up Call for US Liberals
A short column in The Nation that is a must read. The primary difference between liberalism and conservatism, at least in theory, is that the latter is an ideology and the former isn't. Conservatism, as Milton Friedman argued, posits that ...

2 days, 18 hours ago
Views: 538 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 5
Great White Snark
The NSA Has Taken Over the Internet Backbone. We’re Suing to Get It Back.
Blow off Snowden all you like, but what was revealed to be true is still true. The NSA lacks oversight with power. FISA is already too much and now they casually exceed even that generous provision. The world first learned ...

4 days, 17 hours ago
Views: 605 • Comments: 9
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
Lumberhead
Lead Prosecutor Apologizes, Admits Mistakes in Glenn Ford Case
This is a powerful admission of culpability and I applaud his courage in making it. It really should be read in its entirety. Glenn Ford should be completely compensated to every extent possible because of the flaws of a system ...

1 week ago
Views: 762 • Comments: 4
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 8
Dark_Falcon
Sarah Vine of the DM gets it wrong on teaching about rape.
Sarah Vine of the DM gets it wrong: SARAH VINE: Teaching 11-year-olds about rape is a form of child abuse The problem with this country, I've come to realise, is that it treats adults like children and children like adults. ...

2 weeks, 1 day ago
Views: 1,184 • Comments: 6
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 9
Fred72
Obama, Reagan, treaties, and agreements
So sayeth Conservative Reason: This was a deal. Not an agreement. Not a treaty. A treaty lasts months, years, or decades. This was a short-term project to solve an immediate crisis. Were laws broken? Sure. But there was no violation ...

2 weeks, 6 days ago
Views: 1,291 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
 Frank says:

Never stop and keep going -- Giving advice to young musicians. early 80's interview with pennsylvania state police officer whom is also a zappa fan. originally to be shown to local high school students of the area but frank ended up on the subject of politics and you can just imagine why the kids never seen this video.