Posts Tagged ‘NSA’

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“You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is violated”. Those were the words out of the mouth of Mike Rogers, the chairmen of the House Oversight Committee of the United States Intelligence agencies. This ridiculous and frightening quote was said during a hearing about concerns American University College of Law professor Stephen Vladeck had over the NSA surveillance program. Mike Rogers has made it clear on many occasions how he supports the NSA surveillance program and feels the American people are on a need to know basis.

Thanks to Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked several top secret NSA documents to various media outlets. American citizens now know that their privacy is being violated. This has infuriated the Congressman, who has implied that Snowden may have been helped by the Russian Government. Saying “I believe there’s questions to be answered there. I don’t think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB” when asked by David Gregory if he thought the Russians helped Edward Snowden. Rogers has done everything in his power to label Snowden as a traitor, who’s “acts of betrayal place America’s military men and women at greater risk” and will have “lethal consequences for out troops in the field”. All of this is fear mongering at it’s best, as there is no evidence, what so ever that Snowden was or has been working with Russia, and that any of out troops are at greater risk.

Mike Rogers has a way of ginning up fear so he can continue his agenda. Which makes him very dangerous to American citizens and their rights. One example of this was a short exchange I had with him on Twitter the other day:
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The “changes” that Rogers is talking about in Obama’s Drone Policy was just lip service for those who are opposed to the drone program. There was no actual policy change for targeted strikes. On December 11th of 2013 a wedding party in Yemen was struck by a drone, killing 12 civilians. Yet Rep. Mike Rogers still thinks that so called “self-imposed red tape” is limiting drone strikes, and making The United States less safe. What the Congressmen doesn’t understand is that drone strikes are creating more individuals looking to attack and plot against U.S. interests. In a report by The Washington Post it shows that “U.S. drone strikes is stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesman to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States”. In the article a businessman whose two brothers were killed in a U.S. strike in March is quoted saying “These attacks are making people say, ‘We believe now that al-Qaedea is on the right side’”.

Just the other day on February 10th, two new revelations became known about the U.S. Drone policy. Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill released a report about “The NSA’s Secret Role in The U.S. Assassination Program” on their new news website The Intercept (Firstlook.org/theintercept/). In the report:

“a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.”

The former drone operator goes into further detail about how these strikes are conducted, using “the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone” to “geolocate” a suspected terrorist. He makes it clear that “that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.”. “But he also states that innocent people have “absolutely” been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic” Yet, Rep. Mike Rogers is furious over the fact that the American people know now what the government is doing in their name, with their tax dollars.

The other news on the U.S. Drone program that broke the other day by the Associated Press, was that the Obama Administration is weighing the decision if they should launch a drone attack on a U.S. citizen. The target is an “American citizen and suspected member of al-Qaida who is allegedly planning attacks on U.S. targets overseas” If the Obama Administration goes through with this attack, this would be the fifth U.S. Citizen killed by a drone strike under President Obama’s term. Under Obama’s new “policy”, American’s suspected of terrorism overseas can only be killed by the military and not the C.I.A.. This is the “red-tape” the Mike Rogers is referring to when he Tweeted me. The new policy isn’t about how it is legal/constitutional to kill a U.S. citizen, without trial. The new policy and “red tape” is about the method we kill a U.S. citizen.

Yet, Mike Rogers continues to spout out lies, and spin the truth. In the Academy Award nominated documentary “Dirty Wars”, Jeremy Scahill shows first hand what the effects of U.S. drone strikes have on the people of Yemen. Graphic images of women and children who have been killed by U.S drone strikes is disturbing, and eye opening. The effects it has on the villagers left in the destruction is heart breaking. One of the villagers says to Scahill “If children are terrorist we are all terrorist” while showing him photos of the aftermath of a drone strike, which killed women and children.

Mike Rogers is the Chairman of the committee that is suppose to over see all the U.S. intelligence committees, and says the U.S Drone Policy has too much “red tape”. Since becoming Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in 2011, Mike Rogers has received over $162,000 in campaign contributions from drone manufacturers (opensecrets.org). Any reasonable person would consider this a conflict of interest, but not in U.S. politics. Mike Rogers has a history of defending policies in the sake of campaign contributions. Back in March of 2013 Rogers was the biggest supporter of CISPA, a bill that would make American’s personal data accessible to the U.S. Government by setting up a knowledge-sharing agreement with private companies. Rogers tweeted, and then deleted a link to a story about how CISPA supporters, had received 15 times more cash from pro-CISPA groups compared to the opposition had received from anti-CISPA groups.

Mike Rogers’ wife Kristi Clemens Rogers, who is a former CEO of Aegis LLC, a security defense contractor company. Aegis would of benefited from CISPA, but it was voted down in the Senate, and threaten to be vetoed by President Obama. As CEO of Aegis, Mrs. Rogers was “focused on business development and new-market-entry relationship building for Aegis LLC and the worldwide Aegis Group, drawing on her established global network of relationships with key stakeholders in U.S. federal civilian, defense and intelligence agencies, foreign governments and leading private sector companies to pursue and secure new business opportunities in Latin and South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa, and to land U.S. defense and intelligence contracts.” Mrs. Rogers now works for Manatt, a lobbying firm were she is focused on “executive-level problem solving in the defense and homeland security sectors”. So you can safely say, Mr and Mrs. Rogers have a lot of stock invested in defense contractors success. Once again, any reasonable person would consider this a conflict of interest for Mike Rogers.

On February 4th, Mike Rogers finally went off the deep end, by accusing Glenn Greenwald of “selling his access to information” and calling him a “thief” and an “accomplice” to Snowden. Glenn Greenwald is the journalist who broke the story on the NSA snooping program based on the documents leaked by the whistle blower Edward Snowden. Mike Rogers is once again trying to protect his cronies in the defense and intelligence community, by threatening to imprison a journalist who has exposed them. Rogers is also sending a message to other journalist that he will not let The Constitution get in his way. Greenwald has not broken any laws by reporting on the NSA’s unconstitutional program, but he has angered those who benefit from it.

Mike Rogers is a very dangerous man, and his actions put American’s safety and liberties at risk. By calling for more Drone Strikes, which create blow back and new enemies toward the U.S.. Saying “red tape” let’s individuals who want to harm U.S. interest remain free, when the drone program is already responsible for countless civilian deaths. He does not argue the fact that we are killing our own citizens, he is arguing the fact that there is too much “red tape” preventing us killing our own citizens. He wants to keep American’s in the dark about their privacy being violated, labels journalist as criminals, who should be prosecuted. His campaign contributions mold his policies and his voting record. Mike Rogers puts his personal gain over the well being of the American people by supporting programs which are unpopular and dangerous to our country. Mike Rogers is the man who is in charge of overseeing the Intelligence Committees, when he should be the one being overseen. Mike Rogers is a man who gets angry at the fact that there is “red-tape” preventing the United States from killing one of it’s own citizens, without trial, whenever it feels someone is guilty. That kind of mindset, and ideology is what makes Mike Rogers The Most Dangerous Man in Congress.

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Only July 24th, The Amash Amendment to the annual defense appropriations bill was voted down 217 to 205. The amendment would of revoked authority “for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. It would also bar the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215” of the Patriot Act.

A very simple amendment which should of passed by a large margin, but we now live in a time when defense contractors own our elected officials. A report came out late last week by MapLight “voting to continue the NSA’s dragnet surveillance programs received on average 122 percent more money ($41,635) from defense contractors and other defense industry interests than did representatives who voted to end the programs (18,765).”

I live in NJ, so I took a look at the 12 Representatives from my state to see how they voted, and who from the defense industry donated to their campaigns.

Robert Andrews (D) (1st District) voted against The Amash Amendment 

Northrop Grumman $11,000, Lockheed Martin $10,200, Honeywell International $10,000, Boeing Co. $8,500, BAE Systems $7,000, Raytheon Co. $6,000

Frank LoBiondo (R) (2nd District) voted against The Amash Amendment 

Northrop Grumman $12,000, Boeing Co. $10,000, Honeywell International $10,000, Raytheon Co. $10,000, General Dynamics $9,000, BAE Systems $8,000, Lockheed Martin $8,000

Jon Runyan (R) (3rd District) voted against The Amash Amendment 

Northrop Grumman $20,000 , Honeywell International $13,498, Lockheed Martin $10,300, Boeing Co. $10,000, General Dynamics $5,000

Chris Smith (R) (4th District) voted for The Amash Amendment 

Lockheed Martin $2,000

Scott Garrett (R) (5th District) voted for The Amash Amendment 

Honeywell International $5,000

Frank Pallone (D) (6th District) did not vote

Honeywell International $7,500

Leonard Lance (R) (7th District) voted against The Amash Amendment

Honeywell International $5,000

Albio Sires (D) (8th District) voted against The Amash Amendment 

Honeywell International $10,000, Lockheed Martin $2,000

Bill Pascrell Jr. (D) (9th District) voted for The Amash Amendment 

BAE Systems $1,000, Boeing Co. $1,000, Honeywell International $1,000

Donald Payne Jr. (D) (10th District) voted against The Amash Amendment 

Honeywell International $4,500, 

Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) (11th District) voted against The Amash Amendment 

Northrup Grumman $20,000, Honeywell International $13,900, BAE Systems $10,500, Boeing Co. $10,000, Lockheed Martin $10,000, Raytheon Co. $10,000, General Atomics $8,500, General Dynamics $8,000, SAIC Inc. $8,000, 

Rush Holt (D) (12th District) voted for The Amash Amendment 

Honeywell International $12,750, Lockheed Martin $4,000, General Atomics $4,000

 

In total 7 out of 12 Reps.  voted against the Amash Amendment in NJ, four voted for it, and one did not vote. Out of the four who voted to end Unconstitutional NSA program that collects US Citizens Emails, Text, Phones Calls etc. they received a TOTAL of $30,750 from the top defense contractors in the country. That is only 32% of what Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R/NJ-11th) received on his own ($98,900). The seven Reps. who voted against The Amash Amendment received a total of $298,898 from defense contractors, an average of $42,700 for each Representative. The four men who voted for The Amash Amendment received a total of $30,750 from defense contractors, an average of  $7,688 for each Representative. Seems pretty clear who these men are looking out for, and it is not their constituents. 

 

 

 

Back in March when National Intelligence Director James Clapper appeared before the Senate, he was asked directly, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper responded, “No, sir. … Not wittingly.” We now know that he was lying under oath to congress and the American people. What actions will you take against James Clapper for committing a serious felony of perjury? Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI3) has already gone on record saying: “It now appears clear that the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, lied under oath to Congress and the American people. Members of Congress can’t make informed decisions on intelligence issues when the head of the intelligence community willfully makes false statements. Perjury is a serious crime. Mr. Clapper should resign immediately.”

Since now we know he has lied, he has come out and apologized saying “Thus my response was clearly erroneous — for which I apologize.” Is that acceptable for committing perjury and lying under oath. If it is acceptable for the National Intelligence Director to lie under oath and just apologize, what kind of precedent are you setting by not taking legal action towards him? Will it be acceptable for future heads of government agencies to lie to Members of Congress and the American people? Will there be an investigation of James Clapper? I hope to hear back from you soon.

On June 18th 2013 The House Intelligence Committee held hearings on the recent leaks by Edward Snowden, a former employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. The “point” of this hearing was to get to the bottom of the what was “true'” and “lies” about the leaks. Also Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, was going to explain how important it is to have these “tools” to spy and collect data from every American Citizen. I was looking forward to seeing the members of the committee pressing Gen. Alexander on the legality and Constitutionality of these programs. Well, that did not happen, not even close.

The hearing began with Mike Rogers, head of the committee saying the people of the U.S. have heard a “drumbeat” of misinformation about NSA programs. “All of them, wrong. The misperceptions have been great.” along with calleing Snowden’s leaks “fragmentary and distorted illegal disclosures”. But this was a bipartisan attack on Snowden, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat from Maryland said Snowden’s leaks “put our country and our allies in danger.” “The terrorists now know many of our sources and methods.”.

This continued for the two plus hours, along with each member of the committee slobbing all over Gen. Alexander and his buddies from FBI, DOJ etc. Thanking them for being so open, and explaining the legality behind these spy programs. So I was let down by this whole hearing, So I start wondering, I wonder why these members are being so easy on the NSA, why are they pretty much defending the NSA and all these defense contractors who work for the NSA and U.S. Government. Well I start doing a little research to find out who got these members elected to congress in the first place. Who bankrolled their campaigns and gave them the funds to win their elections. Well once I started digging I start finding a pattern. Here is a list of the 21 members of the House Committee on Intelligence, and contributions they received from defense contractors in the last elections cycle. These are just out of the TOP 100 Donors:

Mike Rogers-Michigan (R) (Chairman) $13,000 Mantech International/$11,250 BAE Systems/ $10,250 Boeing Co./ $10,250 General Dynamics /$10,000 SAIC Inc./$10,000 Northrop Grumman /  $10,000 Honeywell International/ $10,000 Lockheed Martin/ Raytheon $10,000 

Mac Thornberry-Texas (R) $18,000 Northrop Grumman/$10,250 General Dynamics/$10,000 Boeing Co/$10,000 General Atomics/$10,000 Lockheed Martin/$10,000 Honeywell International/$10,000 Raytheon

Jeff Miller-Florida (R) $15,000 Northrop Grumman/$11,000 BAE Systems/$10,500 Lockheed Martin/$10,000 European Aeronautic Defence & Space/$9,000 General Atomics/$8,000 General Dynamic

Mike Conaway-Texas (R) $15,000 Northrop Grumman/$10,000 General Dynamics/$10,000 Raytheon Co/$9,000 Lockheed Martin

Peter King-New York (R) $13,500 Northrop Grumman/$13,000 General Dynamics/$11,000 Raytheon Co/$10,00 Boeing Co/$10,000 Honeywell International/$10,000 Lockheed Martin/$6,000 BAE Systems

Frank A. LoBiondo– New Jersey (R) $12,000 Northrop Grumman/$10,000 Boeing Co/$10,000 Honeywell International/$10,000 Raytheon Co/$9,000 General Dynamics/$8,000 BAE Systems/$8,000 Lockheed Martin 

Devin Nunes– California (R) $8,000 Honeywell International/$7,500 Lockheed Martin/$7,000 Northrop Grumman

Lynn Westmoreland– Georgia (R) $10,000 General Dynamics/$7,000 Raytheon Co/$6,000 Lockheed Martin/$5,500 Honeywell International

Michele Bachmann– Minnesota (R) $6,150 Northrop Grumman

Tom Rooney– Florida (R) $6,000 Northrop Grumman

Joe Heck– Nevada (R) $12,000 Northrop Grumman/$10,000 Boeing Co/$9,999 Honeywell International/$8,000 Lockheed Martin/$5,000 General Atomics

Mike Pompeo– Kansas (R) $3,000 Lockheed Martin/$2,500 Honeywell International

Dutch Ruppersberger– Maryland (D) (Ranking Member) $38,400 Northrop Grumman/$15,000 Mantech International/$10,750 Raytheon Co/$10,500 Boeing Co/$10,500 SAIC Inc/$10,000 General Dynamics/$10,000 Honeywell International/$10,000 Lockheed Martin/$8,000 BAE Systems/$5,000 General Atomics

Mike Thompson– Californa (D) $7,500 Raytheon Co/$7,000 Lockheed Martin

Jan Schakowsky– Illinois (D) $4,000 Lockheed Martin

James Langevin– Rhode Island (D) $24,850 General Dynamics/$15,150 Raytheon Co/$15,000 Northrop Grumman/$10,000 Boeing Co/$10,000 Honeywell International/$10,000 SAIC Inc/$8,000 Lockheed Martin

Adam Schiff– California (D) $12,000 Northrop Grumman/$10,000 Raytheon Co/$8,000 Boeing Co/$7,500 Honeywell International/$7,000 Lockheed Martin

Luis Gutiérrez– Illinois (D) $2,000 Lockheed Martin

Ed Pastor – Arizona (D) $12,500 General Dynamics/$10,000 BAE Systems/$10,000 Boeing/$10,000 Lockheed Martin/$10,000 Raytheon Co

Jim Himes– Connecticut (D) $10,000 Honeywell International

Terri Sewell– Alabama (D) $2,00 0 Lockheed Martin

See any similarities there? According the BusinessInsider.com the Top 5 Defense Contractors in the world are

  1. Lockheed Martin
  2. Boeing
  3. Northrop Grumman
  4. General Dynamics
  5. Raytheon

All those companies are well accounted for with money invested in members of the oversight committee. War, Spying, and Drones are a big money business, so why would these members question or call out illegal activities of the corporations that got them elected? They won’t, why would they fight the programs that are lining their campaign war chests. They won’t. Don’t even begin to think the Senate Oversight Committee is any better. Here is a list of the members and their donors in the defense contractor industry.

Dianne Feinstein (Chair) California (D)
$56,750 General Atomics/$43,500 General Dynamics/$40,000 BAE Systems/$30,800 Northrop Grumman/$10,000 Boeing Co/$10,000 Honeywell International/$10,000 Lockheed Martin/$10,000 Raytheon Co

Ron Wyden – Oregon (D)
$14,500 Honeywell International/$12,000 Boeing Co/$10,000 Lockheed Martin/$10,000 Raytheon

Barbara Mikulski – Maryland (D)
$47,400 Northrop Grumman/$19,500 SAIC Inc/$16,500 Raytheon Co/$15,000 Lockheed Martin/$13,500 European Aeronautic Defence & Space /$11,000 Boeing Co

Mark Udall – Colorado (D)
$19,000 Lockheed Martin/$18,000 Honeywell International/$15,750 Northrop Grumman/$14,000 Raytheon Co

Mark Warner – Virgina (D)
$64,150 Northrop Grumman/$28,600 SAIC Inc/$20,800 Boeing Co/$16,000 Honeywell International

Martin Heinrich – New Mexico (D)
$23,000 Lockheed Martin/$10,000 Honeywell International/$7,250 Boeing Co

Jay Rockefeller – West Virginia (D) (Retiring in 2014)

$0 from Defense Contractors in TOP 100 Donors

Angus King – Maine (I)
$6,000 Raytheon Co/$5,250 Lockheed Martin/$5,000 Boeing Co/$5,000 Honeywell International

Saxby Chambliss (Vice Chair) Georgia (R)
$59,600 Lockheed Martin/$25,000 Northrop Grumman/$19,750 Honeywell International/$19,300 Raytheon Co/$16,500 Boeing Co/$15,000 General Dynamics

Richard Burr – North Carolina (R)
TOP 100 Donors $0

Jim Risch – Idaho (R) $10,000 Honeywell International/$5,000 Boeing Co

Dan Coats – Indiana (R)
$13,500 SAIC Inc/$13,00 Raytheon Co/$12,500 Lockheed Martin/$12,000 Boeing Co/$11,000 Northrop Grumman/$8,000 European Aeronautic Defence & Space/$7,000 BAE Systems/$6,550 Honeywell International

Marco Rubio – Florida (R)
$11,500 Honeywell International

Susan Collins – Maine (R)
$59,750 General Dynamics/$35,801 Raytheon Co/$18,500 Northrop Grumman/$18,000 Boeing Co/$16,750 Lockheed Martin/$15,550 Honeywell International/$14,500 BAE Systems/$14,000 SAIC Inc

Tom Coburn – Oklahoma (R)
$10,000 Honeywell International/$10,000 Lockheed Martin

 

Sources BusinessInsider.com OpenSecrets.org 

 

I am a Republican, but I am not your typical Republican. I grew up in the blue state of New Jersey. I am 27 years old, and I have been a Republican for as long as I can remember. I am not your typical Republican, I am what I would like to call a “Progressive Republican” or “Classic Republican”. I believe in defending civil liberties, I believe in The Constitution, I believe in due process. I believe in Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of the Press. These are basic rights, but many in my party have thrown them out the window. I believe in the 4th Amendment and that no President is above the Constitution. I believe the Government shouldn’t tell you who you can marry, or what you can put into your body or what you can take out. It is not up the Government to decide and run our lives. I oppose nation building, and invading foreign countries, if it be with troops or unmanned drones.

I have always been let down by my party when it comes to these basic rights and freedoms, but I have always had my allies to the left. The Democrats, Liberals, Progressive; whatever you would like to call them. When we didn’t agree on other issues, I knew I could always count on them for having my back on these issues. When George W. Bush was President we stood up in a bipartisan voice and spoke out against the policies, and destruction of our rights and freedoms. We were not Republicans or Democrats, we were Americans. My Republican friends defended Bush, and I did not understand why, or how they could. We would argue, and they would just say the same old talking points. “He is protecting us for terrorist” “Do you want the terrorist to win” blah blah blah

Flash forward to 2013, Drones killing innocent civilians (4 Americans), torture still being practiced by the United States, Those who speak out against the Government being labeled “traitors”, Illegal wars being waged, The NSA illegally spying on every American, The President with a Kill List. Me a Republican who spoke out against my Republican President now speaking out against a Democratic President who has taken Bush’s policies and shot them up with steroids. The difference now is, I look around and all my former Democratic allies have fell in line with this President. They are delivering the same talking points that my Republican friends dished out when defending President Bush.

George W. Bush killed the Republican Party, and Barack Obama has killed the Democratic party. Together since 9/11 these two men have disregarded The Constitution. The have made it legal to detain and/or kill US Citizens without Due Process, They have made it legal to spy on every US Citizen without a warrant, They have made it legal to torture, They have made lying under oath acceptable, They have made OK to be the Policemen of the World and to wage wars as the see fit. When you don’t stand up to elected officials just because they have a certain letter next to their name, prepare to lose everything those before us fought for.