TwitterFacebook

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

Human traffickers rejoice
US News • Views: 28,217

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.

Jump to top

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!

Contact Us 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: 2015-08-02 10:58 am PDT

LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds
Recent Pages
Great White Snark
Jewelry Industry Shrinkage Trend Continues
This news looks awful as if the economy including the spending habits of the 1% and 1/10th% are steeply trending down. By implication, this flies in the face of the improving economy as described elsewhere. Well that hasty conclusion would ...

6 hours, 34 minutes ago
Views: 106 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
I Stand With Planned Parenthood
Jimmy Carter: America Is Not a Democracy Anymore (AUDIO)
Former President Jimmy Carter called the United States an "oligarchy" with "unlimited political bribery," on a radio program this week. More: Jimmy Carter: America Is Not a Democracy Anymore (AUDIO)

11 hours, 12 minutes ago
Views: 145 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Thanos
Police: James Blair Shot Neighbor Linda Ciotto in Face, Ran Her Over With Mower
A man who became agitated about his next-door neighbor mowing her lawn at night shot her and then ran a push mower over her body, authorities said Friday. Newsnet5 reported on Wednesday that Linda Ciotto, 62, was shot in ...

1 day, 9 hours ago
Views: 470 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 2 • Rating: 2
Cheechako
Iditarod Champ Dallas Seavey Adds Dog Treadmill to Training Repertoire
Suzanna CaldwellAlaska Dispatch NewsAugust 1, 2015 WILLOW -- Forget the gentle swoosh of sled runners over snow. Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey's summer training offers a stark contrast to his winter routine: more than a dozen dogs yapping manically in a ...

1 day, 20 hours ago
Views: 528 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 10 • Rating: 1
Eclectic Cyborg
MS GOP rep campaigns on pro Confederate Flag platform
So this showed up at my house today, it's an election mailer from one Jeffrey Guice who is running for re-election to the Mississippi State Senate. As you can see, it included an interesting detail... So basically he's taking pride ...

3 days, 23 hours ago
Views: 734 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 56 • Rating: 3
EiMitch
Cracked: 5 Sworn Enemies Who Formed Inspiring Friendships
I was catching-up with Cracked articles. I found an obvious click-bait article, "4 Sexual Preferences That Only Recently Became Taboo": cracked.com Knowing that, I read it anyway. From there, I read a depressing article, "5 Ways College Screws Over Poor ...

4 days, 5 hours ago
Views: 551 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
Skip Intro
Windows 10 is out. Help a guy out, please.
So I downloaded the Win 10 ISO image today, and started the install. The first thing I come across is a screen asking what I want to keep, my apps, data, and program settings, my data and program settings, or ...

5 days, 8 hours ago
Views: 816 • Comments: 7
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Iwouldprefernotto
More Edited PP Videos
NYT -- More Edited PP Videos in the Pipeline The activist behind the videos, David Daleiden, has said he has enough covertly recorded footage for perhaps a dozen videos that he could release, one a week, for the next few ...

1 week ago
Views: 477 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
Predaka
Swedish Right Plans Gay Pride March Through Muslim Areas Of Stockholm
haaretz.com From the article: Swedish nationalists are planning a gay 'pride' march through Muslim-majority districts in the country's capital, according to media reports and a dedicated Facebook page. The march, called 'Pride Järva,' is scheduled to take place on July ...

1 week ago
Views: 825 • Comments: 14
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Lumberhead
#BlackLivesMatter Shows There Are Problems in American Life That Can’t Be Blamed on the Rich
Democratic presidential candidates should take heed. They need to come up with a way to speak to this issue. Otherwise, in an Obama-less election, part of the Obama coalition may not be motivated to show up. Obviously, you can be ...

1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 601 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 3
 Frank says:

Did everyone hear the great news today? Jimmy Swaggart, under investigation. One day every one of those cocksuckers will get caught.