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Edward Snowden Is Exposing His Own Secrets This Time

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 16:47

Edward Snowden Is Exposing His Own Secrets This TimeBarton GellmanEdward Snowden doesn’t share new state secrets in his memoir, Permanent Record, which The Daily Beast obtained a copy of ahead of its release Tuesday. But he does offer some personal ones, from his transformation into America’s most famous secret-spiller, to the news that he was married, two years ago, to Lindsay Mills, the girlfriend he left behind when he fled the U.S. for Hong Kong with a virtual library of top secret files detailing America’s global electronic spying apparatus.After enlisting in the Army at 21, Snowden writes that he was on a track called “18 X-Ray”, with a chance to come out of training as a Special Forces sergeant, before breaking his leg at Fort Benning and receiving an administrative separation. “I had hoped to serve my country,” he writes, as his family had before him, “but instead I went to work for it” as a contractor for the intelligence community. That was effectively a cover, in his telling, as “the agencies were hiring tech companies to hire kids, and then giving them the keys to the kingdom because… no one else knew how the keys, or the kingdom worked.” He elaborates: “Here is one thing that the disorganized CIA didn’t quite understand at the time, and that no major American employed outside of Silicon Valley understood, either: The computer guy knows everything, or rather can know everything.”Eventually, Snowden, having attained the security clearances necessary for his tech work, “went govvy” and signed up for a straight CIA job. He joined class 6-06 of the BTTP, or the Basic Telecommunications Training Program that “disguises one of the most classified and unusual curricula in existence… to train TISOs (Technical Information Security Officers),” who work under State Department cover to “manage the technical infrastructure for CIA operations, most commonly hidden at stations inside American missions, consulates, and embassies.” “[T]he worst-kept secret in modern diplomacy is that the primary function of an embassy nowadays is to serve as a platform for espionage,” he writes.After being stationed in Vienna, Snowden moved to Tokyo in 2009 to work as a systems analyst for the NSA, he writes, though nominally as an employee of Dell. “Two things about the NSA stunned me right off the bat: how technologically sophisticated it was compared with the CIA, and how much less vigilant it was about security in its every iteration,” he writes, noting that the NSA “hardly bothered to encrypt anything.”While working there on a project called EPICSHELTER—“a backup and storage system that would act as a shadow NSA: a complete, automated, and constantly updating copy of all the agency’s most important material, which would allow the agency to reboot and be up and running again, with all its archives intact, even if Fort Meade were reduced to smoldering rubble”—Snowden began researching China’s domestic surveillance system, which led to his first inkling that if such systems were possible, the U.S. might be using them too, given “perhaps the fundamental rule of technological progress:. if something can be done, it probably will be done, and possibly already has been.”That same summer, the U.S. released its Unclassified Report on the President’s Surveillance Program, following the New York Times’ reporting on the Bush-era warrantless wiretapping program. Eventually, Snowden writes, he found the classified version, “filed in an Exceptionally Controlled Information (ECI) compartment, an extremely rare classification used to make sure something would remain hidden even from those holding top secret clearance… The report’s full classification designation was TOP SECRET//STLW//HCS//COMINT//ORCORN//NOFORN, which translates to: pretty much only a few dozen people in the world are allowed the read this.”Snowden found it only because the STLW classification—for STELLARWIND—had raised a red flag for him as a system administrator, meaning he had to examine the file to determine what it was and how best to scrub it from the system where it wasn’t supposed to have been placed.   “It was clear that the unclassified version I was already familiar with wasn’t a redaction of the classified report, as would usually be the practice,” he writes. “Rather, it was a wholly different document, which the classified version immediately exposed as an outright and carefully concocted lie” to hide the transformation of the NSA’s mission “from using technology to defend America to using technology to control it by redefining citizens’ private Internet communications as potential signals intelligence.”STELLARWIND, the classified report revealed, had been collecting communications in the U.S. since 2001, and continued even after Justice Department lawyers secretly objected to it in 2004. It’s longevity owed everything to a kafkaesque legal position adopted by the Bush administration, “that the NSA could collect whatever communication records it wanted to, without having to get a warrant, because it could only be said to have acquired or obtained them, in the legal sense, if and when the agency ‘searched and retrieved’ them from its database.”Having found the big secret, set up so that no one else knew it was there to even start asking questions, Snowden writes, he began using his access as a systems engineer and administrator to ask those questions, while keeping the knowledge a secret from his girlfriend and his family, and considering what to do about it. Back in the US in 2011, Snowden experienced his first epileptic seizure. The following year on a contract with Dell again, he returned to the NSA, at its Kunia Regional Security Operations Center in Hawaii. There, he writes, “my active searching out of NSA abuses began not with the copying of documents, but with the reading of them.” As the sole employee of the Office of Information Sharing, he was developing an automated “readboard” to scan the IC’s own internal internet and create a custom digital magazine for each employee, based on his or her interests and security clearances. He called the system Heartbeat, and its servers stored a copy of each scanned document, “making it easy for me to perform the kind of deep interagency searches that the heads of most agencies could only dream of.” Heartbeat, he writes, “was the source of nearly all of the documents that I later disclosed to journalists.”Snowden mentions a rare public speech Ira “Gus” Hunt, the CIA’s chief technology officer, delivered a week after then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had lied to Congress about the NSA’s collection of bulk communications. In the speech, covered only by the Huffington Post, Hunt flatly declared that we “try to collect everything and hang on to it forever.” “You’re already a walking sensor platform,” he said. “It is nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information”). As Snowden notes, a video of the talk has less than 1,000 views. After that, Snowden recounts his efforts to reach out to journalists, and to carefully hide his digital breadcrumbs by encrypting data and distributing the keys to it, while perhaps hiding his findings on SD cards inside of Rubik’s Cube cubes to get them out of the NSA’s underground tunnel in Hawaii.He then took what he saw as a less prestigious new position to gain access to the XKEYSCORE system, which he’d learned about but not used himself, and, he writes, is “perhaps best understood as a search engine that lets an analyst search through the records of your life.”“It was, simply put, the closest thing to science fiction I’ve ever seen in science fact,” he writes, allowing users to put in someone’s basic information and then go through their online history, even playing back recordings of their online settings and watching people as they searched, character by character. “Everyone’s communications were in the system—everyone’s,” including the president’s, he writes. The potential for abuse was obvious. NSA workers even had a word, “LOVEINT” for “love intelligence,” to describe analysts cyber-stalking current, former and prospective lovers, while among male analysts “intercepted nudes were a kind of informal office currency,” Snowden writes. “This was how you knew you could trust each other: you had shared in one another’s crimes.”Finally, Snowden recounts his trip to Hong Kong, after taking a medical leave, his efforts to reach Ecuador, and his exile in Russia, where he was finally reunited with Lindsay (whose diary entries recounting his disappearance, and the pressure then placed on her by U.S. authorities are given a full, moving chapter. Snowden speaks well of a very different leaker, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, writing that while “people have long ascribed selfish motives to Assange’s desire to give me aid, I believe he was genuinely motivated in one thing above all—helping me evade capture… It’s true that Assange can be self-interested and vain, moody, and even bullying—after a sharp disagreement just a month after our first, text-based communication, I never communicated with him again—but he also sincerely conceives of himself as a fighter in a historic battle for the public’s right to know, a battle he will do anything to win.” “Most important to [Assange],” writes Snowden, ”was the opportunity to establish a counter-example to the case of the organization’s most famous source, US Army Private Chelsea Manning, whose thirty-five-year prison sentence was historically unprecedented and a monstrous deterrent to whistleblowers everywhere.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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Elon Musk claims 'pedo guy' tweet did not suggest British diver was paedophile

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 16:18

Elon Musk claims 'pedo guy' tweet did not suggest British diver was paedophileElon Musk has claimed a tweet in which he labelled a British diver “pedo guy” was not meant to suggest he was a paedophile.The Tesla founder insisted the remark was a “common insult,” according to a US court filing lodged in response to a defamation lawsuit.


U.S. farmers receive $4.07 billion of latest government trade aid

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 16:13

U.S. farmers receive $4.07 billion of latest government trade aidThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has paid $4.07 billion of its latest round of compensation for farmers suffering from the trade war with China as of Monday, Communications Director Michawn Rich said in an email to Reuters. The Trump administration in July announced $16 billion to compensate farmers for lost sales due to China's retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, on top of $12 billion pledged in last year's aid package. USDA has received 302,397 applications for the program since enrollment opened, Rich said.


Netanyahu's Dangerous Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against HBO Show 'Our Boys'

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 16:06

Netanyahu's Dangerous Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against HBO Show 'Our Boys'Israel's Prime Minister turned on HBO show 'Our Boys' in his hunt for enemies. That's bad for real efforts against anti-Semitism.


'A serial killer off the streets': Florida man charged in woman's death linked to slayings of three others

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 16:00

 Florida man charged in woman's death linked to slayings of three othersA man arrested in the 2016 death of a woman in Palm Beach has also been genetically linked to the slayings of three women in Daytona Beach.


UPDATE 1-China signals veto in standoff with U.S. over Afghanistan U.N. mission -diplomats

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 15:59

UPDATE 1-China signals veto in standoff with U.S. over Afghanistan U.N. mission -diplomatsChina and the United States are deadlocked over a U.N. Security Council resolution to extend the world body's political mission in Afghanistan, with Beijing signaling it will cast a veto because there is no reference to its global Belt and Road infrastructure project, diplomats said on Monday. A planned vote on Monday by the 15-member Security Council to renew the mission, known as UNAMA, was delayed to Tuesday to allow for further negotiations.


Wisconsin man accused of making THC cartridges charged

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 15:55

Wisconsin man accused of making THC cartridges chargedA Wisconsin man suspected of running an illegal operation to manufacture vaping cartridges flew to California last month to get THC oil in bulk to fill thousands of cartridges to sell, prosecutors said Monday in charging documents. Authorities in Kenosha, Wisconsin, arrested 20-year-old Tyler Huffhines on Sept. 5 after parents tipped off police when they saw their teenage son with one of the cartridges. Prosecutors say Huffhines employed 10 people to fill the cartridges with THC oil at a condo he rented with a stolen identity.


The Latest: GOP stands by Kavanaugh, rips NY Times

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 15:35

 GOP stands by Kavanaugh, rips NY TimesThe chairman of the Senate committee that hosted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings is ripping The New York Times for publishing "unsubstantiated" allegations. Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley on Monday said the paper's publication of a new, uninvestigated allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh is a "shameful" and "irresponsible" move that undermines the paper's credibility.


Detroit mayor wants to wipe out residential blight with bonds

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 15:32

Detroit mayor wants to wipe out residential blight with bondsDetroit Mayor Mike Duggan unveiled a plan on Monday to sell up to $250 million of bonds to tackle the city's remaining blighted and abandoned houses over the next five years. If approved by the Detroit City Council, a bond measure would be placed on the March ballot, marking the first vote by residents on bonds since the city exited municipal bankruptcy in 2014. Proceeds from the 30-year bonds, along with annual appropriations from the city's budget, would be used to accelerate the demolition of 19,000 structures and the rehabbing of 8,000 others, according to a statement from Duggan's office.


Democrats are calling for Brett Kavanaugh to be impeached. How would that work?

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 15:14

Democrats are calling for Brett Kavanaugh to be impeached. How would that work?The battered copy of the Constitution that Kavanaugh carried to his confirmation hearings makes clear that federal judges, like other officials, can be impeached.


AP Explains: Why auto workers went on strike against GM

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 15:11

 Why auto workers went on strike against GMMore than 49,000 union auto workers at General Motors are walking picket lines, silencing more than 50 company factories and parts depots in a strike over contract negotiations. The dispute boils down to this: GM has been highly profitable since emerging from the Great Recession, and now that the company is healthy, workers want a bigger slice. GM, though, wants to protect profits as it faces a global sales slowdown, tariff threats and another possible recession.


Conservative group known for hardball tactics leads charge in Kavanaugh defense

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 15:08

Conservative group known for hardball tactics leads charge in Kavanaugh defenseA conservative group that has aided the confirmation of President Trump’s judicial nominees is now leading the GOP's charge against the most recent allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.


Trump coming to California to raise money, but keeping details secret

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 15:06

Trump coming to California to raise money, but keeping details secretPrevious visits to the San Francisco Bay area ended with physical confrontations between supporters and demonstratorsDonald Trump steps off Air Force One in San Diego, California, on 13 March 2018. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty ImagesDonald Trump’s past visits to California have been marked by chaotic protests, violent clashes and arrests.But his return this week may be different. That’s because no one knows where he’s going.Trump’s planned trip to the liberal Bay Area on Tuesday – his first as president – has been shrouded in secrecy, with officials declining to reveal the city where he’s holding a high-priced fundraiser. The visit to California, his fourth time traveling to the state since taking office, comes at a time in which the political and legal battles between the Trump administration and Democrats in the Golden State are dramatically escalating.The president, who has recently criticized California’s cities over the growing homelessness crisis, is expected to raise millions at a lunch somewhere in the Bay Area on Tuesday, followed by visits to Los Angeles and San Diego. Initial rumors suggested he would be going to Atherton, a Silicon Valley suburb that is home to the country’s wealthiest zip code, but city officials there said it appeared plans had changed.Regardless of location, Trump’s visit is a reminder that even though California remains a reliable Democratic stronghold and the state is seen as the leader of the “resistance” to the president’s agenda, there are pockets of the state that vote Republican and continue to back the president. And some of them are opening up their wallets.“He’s coming here because he wants money,” said Jessica Levinson, a Loyola law school professor. “California is the nation’s ATM. There’s a lot of wealth here … It’s smart fundraising.”Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican National Committee member from San Francisco and co-host of the Bay Area fundraiser, declined to share the location and other details with the Guardian, but said several hundred would be attending, some donating as much as $100,000.“I hope he sees that there are many Californians who are strongly supporting what he’s doing nationally,” she said.In California, which has formally sued the Trump administration dozens of times, residents have donated more money to the Trump 2020 campaign than to most Democratic candidates, according to an analysis in July. At the time, the president had raised $3.2m in California, which was more than the Democratic frontrunners, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, had received from Golden State supporters.It’s likely there will be intense backlash and calls for boycotts when information does emerge about the California donors supporting the president this time around. Some northern California anti-Trump groups have been organizing protest efforts, though they have struggled to make specific plans given the unknown location, the East Bay Times reported.Dhillon said she and others were not disclosing details out of safety concerns surrounding the potential for “violent protesters”, adding that she feared local police would not properly protect the president’s guests.His last trip to the region was a June 2016 San Jose rally, which erupted into physical confrontations between demonstrators and Trump fans.In recent years, pro-Trump rallies and far-right events in the state have repeatedly devolved into violence, but police and prosecutors have repeatedly targeted leftwing activists for arrest and prosecution even when they were victims of attacks.Last week, the Trump administration also sparked fears in Los Angeles with a visit to the city’s Skid Row, the epicenter of the homeless crisis, which came amid rumors that the president was seeking to push some kind of crackdown on people living on the street. There are growing concerns that the administration could seek ways to relocate people out of encampments, and some reports have suggested that Ben Carson, Trump’s housing and urban development secretary, will also be visiting Los Angeles this week.The administration also secretly toured an abandoned Federal Aviation Administration facility in the region as a potential place to move people, according to the Washington Post.“We have a humanitarian crisis,” said Levinson. “[Trump] rightly knows that it makes California and Los Angeles look terrible. The goal is bad publicity for Democrats.”Local advocates for the homeless told the Guardian last week that they would welcome federal funding for housing and other social services, which the Trump administration has cut. But they said they were concerned about any efforts to forcibly remove people or further criminalize the homeless – whether by the US government or local authorities.“You’re the US government. Treat it like a state of emergency,” said Stephen “Cue” Jn-Marie, a Los Angeles pastor who works with Skid Row residents. “Give us resources we need to build housing.”It’s unclear if the president would have any legal authority relating to the placement of homeless people on the streets, an issue which is typically handled by municipal governments.Dhillon, of the RNC, said she was grateful he was talking about the subject, but added, “What can the president do about it? That’s an open question. This is really a quintessentially local issue.”


FiveThirtyEight breaks down latest Dem. presidential candidate poll

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 14:45

FiveThirtyEight breaks down latest Dem. presidential candidate pollFiveThirtyEight elections analyst Nathaniel Rakich explains the latest polls for the Democratic presidential candidates following the ABC News primary debate in Houston.


Low-tier candidates could threaten Sanders in New Hampshire

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 14:45

Low-tier candidates could threaten Sanders in New HampshireBernie Sanders turned his outsider credentials and call for political revolution into a commanding victory in the 2016 New Hampshire primary. On their own, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson sit near the bottom of the New Hampshire polls. "There could be six points there that Bernie loses," said veteran Democratic operative Mark Longabaugh, who previously worked for Sanders.


A look at the revived allegations against Justice Kavanaugh

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 14:11

A look at the revived allegations against Justice KavanaughA new claim of decades-old sexual impropriety by Justice Brett Kavanaugh is rekindling the controversy that nearly derailed his confirmation to the Supreme Court last year. The allegation was unearthed by two New York Times reporters in their research for a book about the Kavanaugh confirmation. The book says the FBI was made aware of but did not investigate the incident, purported to take place when Kavanaugh was a Yale University student in the 1980s.


Manhattan District Attorney Issues Subpoena for Trump’s Tax Returns

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 14:06

Manhattan District Attorney Issues Subpoena for Trump’s Tax ReturnsNew York state prosecutors, led by Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., have subpoenaed President Trump's accounting firm for records of his tax returns for the last eight years, according to a report from the New York Times.The subpoena is part of an investigation into hush-money payments made by the president to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump's lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, was convicted in federal court of breaking campaign-finance laws after paying $130,000 to Daniels, and received a three-year prison sentence.Daniels claims that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 shortly after the birth of his son, Barron Trump, and received the payment in exchange for her silence on the matter.The Manhattan D.A.'s office is looking into the possibility that the hush-money payments broke New York state law in addition to federal law. It was unclear, however, why prosecutors subpoenaed documents from as far back as 2011.The subpoenaed tax returns include Trump's personal returns as well as those of his company, the Trump Organization.Congressional Democrats have been trying for years to force Trump to reveal his tax returns, and have subpoenaed six years of those documents from the Treasury Department. The president has fought back by challenging the subpoena in federal court, effectively tying up the release of the documents.


Ex-PM Cameron says Johnson believed Brexit would be 'crushed'

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 13:53

Ex-PM Cameron says Johnson believed Brexit would be 'crushed'Former prime minister David Cameron, who quit after calling Britain's EU membership referendum in 2016 -- said Boris Johnson had told him he was sure Brexit would be "crushed like a toad". Cameron has broken a long spell of silence that followed his resignation to promote a tell-all book about who said what as Britain approached the historic vote. "He thought that the Brexit vote would be lost but he didn't want to give up the chance of being on the romantic, patriotic nationalistic side of Brexit," said Cameron.


Qatar announces new residency scheme for investors

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 13:50

Qatar announces new residency scheme for investorsQatar announced Monday it will grant residency to foreign investors for the first time, state media reported, the latest in a series of measures designed to diversify the economy. Foreigners investing an unspecified level of "non-Qatari capital" in the economy will be eligible for renewable five-year residency permits, the state-run Qatar News Agency reported. Real estate developers active in Qatar's property market will also be eligible for the scheme, under the new law.


Dutch court to hear case against Israel's Gantz

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 13:47

Dutch court to hear case against Israel's GantzA Dutch court will consider on Tuesday a request to hear a civil suit seeking damages from former Israeli armed forces chief Benny Gantz, who is standing against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a parliamentary election. The hearing on admissibility will be held in a Dutch district court as voting gets under way in Israel. The case has been brought by a Dutch national of Palestinian descent using Dutch universal jurisdiction laws.


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