TwitterFacebook

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

Human traffickers rejoice
US News • Views: 28,050

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: 2015-04-18 5:26 pm PDT

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
FemNaziBitch
Deprived of Care, Incarcerated Women Suffer Miscarriages, Stillbirths, Ectopic Pregnancies
This is the second article in RH Reality Check's Women, Incarcerated series. You can read the other pieces in the series that have been published so far here. On the morning of September 11, 2011, Krystal Moore thought she ...

10 hours, 29 minutes ago
Views: 121 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Thanos
Brian Wilson - on the Island Ft. She & Him
New album 'No Pier Pressure" now available! iTunes: smarturl.itAmazon: smarturl.it Follow Brian Wilson:brianwilson.comfacebook.comtwitter.com Visit the Brian Wilson online store for exclusive album bundles: smarturl.it

1 day, 1 hour ago
Views: 129 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Great White Snark
Videos: F-35B Operational Test Trials-Success!
Sorry folks the video is flash, so can't embed it. During OT-1, actual Marines -- not test overseers -- are operating the six F-35Bs that embarked May 18 for the tests; this includes pilots and maintainers. During DT (developmental testing), ...

1 day, 9 hours ago
Views: 231 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 2
Romantic Heretic
R.I.P. Tanith Lee
I learned last night the the great Fantasy/horror author Tanith Lee passed away on Sunday. She was a victim in her later years of the greed that infests the publishing industry. If it wasn't Game Of Thrones, Twilight, or The ...

2 days, 13 hours ago
Views: 358 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
Shiplord Kirel
John Mosley Dies at 93: Denver Native Was Tuskegee Airman, Sports Pioneer
RIP. The hazards and challenges of combat flying in World War II are almost beyond comprehension today. So were the challenges of being a black man in the 1940s, Now imagine what kind of human being it took to meet ...

3 days ago
Views: 536 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 27 • Rating: 5
Cheechako
Wood Bison Bulls en Route to Newly-Wild Female Herd, as Part of Conservation Effort
Associated Press May 26, 2015 This May 2013 file photo shows wood bison at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage. A herd of female bison bred at the center were re-introduced into the wild in Alaska's Interior earlier ...

3 days, 5 hours ago
Views: 277 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
#FergusonFireside
IDignity - Restoring Dignity and Hope by Providing Identification
IDignity is the organization my Brother works for & my Mother volunteers for. It is a model organization, and hoping to expand. Without an ID, you do not exist. idignity.orgfacebook.com IDignity was created to help the disadvantaged in Central Florida ...

1 week ago
Views: 440 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 3 • Rating: 3
jhncsy
How America’s First Female Detective Helped Foil An Assassination Plot
If reading The Bourne Identity and watching Burn Notice has taught me anything, it's that spies need to blend in. Kate Warne was a master at this: The novelty of a female detective in those days meant Warne was able ...

1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 725 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 19 • Rating: 4
CriticalDragon1177
The Independent - New health minister opposed to abortion urged to reconsider stance
The United States isn't the only western nation where some people want to restrict access to abortion. It sounds like certain British politicians would want to limit when, where, and how a women can get one, assuming they wouldn't like ...

2 weeks ago
Views: 875 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 6 • Rating: 2
 Frank says:

Heaven would be a place where bullshit existed only on television. (Hallelujah! We's halfway there!) -- Television. Sometime probably in 1988. The Real Frank Zappa Book p. 234