Torture quote of the day

The military judge in the USS Cole bombing case has ordered the CIA to give defense lawyers details — names, dates and places — of its secret overseas detention and interrogation of the man accused of planning the bombing, two people who have read the still-secret order said Thursday.

Army Col. James L. Pohl issued the five-page order Monday. It was sealed as document 120C on the war court website Thursday morning and, according to those who have read it, orders the agency to provide a chronology of the overseas odyssey of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, 49, from his capture in Dubai in 2002 to his arrival at Guantánamo four years later.

The order sets the stage for a showdown between the CIA and a military judge, if the agency refuses to turn over the information to the prosecution for the defense teams. The order comes while the CIA fights a bitter, public battle with the Senate on its black site torture investigation.

The judge’s order instructs prosecutors to provide nine categories of closely guarded classified CIA information to the lawyers — including the names of agents, interrogators and medical personnel who worked at the so-called black sites. The order covers “locations, personnel and communications,” interrogation notes and cables between the black sites and headquarters that sought and approved so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, the two sources said.

Carol Rosenberg, reporting for the Miami Herald. This could get very, very interesting.

Financial crimes quote of the day

AMY GOODMAN: Who was tougher on corporate America, President Obama or President Bush?

MATT TAIBBI: Oh, Bush, hands down. And this is an important point to make, because if you go back to the early 2000s, think about all these high-profile cases: Adelphia, Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen. All of these companies were swept up by the Bush Justice Department. And what’s interesting about this is that you can see a progression. If you go back to the savings and loan crisis in the late ’80s, which was an enormous fraud problem, but it paled in comparison to the subprime mortgage crisis, we put about 800 people in jail during—in the aftermath of that crisis. You fast-forward 10 or 15 years to the accounting scandals, like Enron and Adelphia and Tyco, we went after the heads of some of those companies. It wasn’t as vigorous as the S&L prosecutions, but we at least did it. At least George Bush recognized the symbolic importance of showing ordinary Americans that justice is blind, right?

Fast-forward again to the next big crisis, and how many people have we got—have we actually put in jail? Zero. And this was a crisis that was much huger in scope than the S&L crisis or the accounting crisis. I mean, it wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth, and nobody went to jail, so that we’re now in a place where we don’t even recognize the importance of keeping up appearances when it comes to making things look equal.

– Source: TPM

The Guardian and Washington Post win Pulitzer

From The Guardian:

The Pulitzer Prize for public service was awarded Monday to The Washington Post and The Guardian, which broke the story of National Security Agency surveillance programs leaked by Edward Snowden.

In giving U.S. journalism’s top prize to the Guardian and the Post, the Pulitzer committee delivered support for Snowden and Glenn Greenwald, the former Guardian journalist most associated with the story, while offering a rebuke of the government.

Obama allows NSA to keep security “backdoors” open

According to the New York Times, Obama has specifically allowed the NSA to keep Internet “backdoors” open so they can be exploited by the agency, without disclosure to outsiders that could reduce the risk to everyone. Such breaches are often referred to as “0-days,” in that they are breaches not known to software companies. The White House tries to downplay the dangers and costs of such an approach by claiming that they will generally try to disclose the breaches.

. . . elements of the decision became evident on Friday, when the White House denied that it had any prior knowledge of the Heartbleed bug, a newly known hole in Internet security that sent Americans scrambling last week to change their online passwords. The White House statement said that when such flaws are discovered, there is now a “bias” in the government to share that knowledge with computer and software manufacturers so a remedy can be created and distributed to industry and consumers.

Caitlin Hayden, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said the review of the recommendations was now complete, and it had resulted in a “reinvigorated” process to weigh the value of disclosure when a security flaw is discovered, against the value of keeping the discovery secret for later use by the intelligence community.

“This process is biased toward responsibly disclosing such vulnerabilities,” she said.

This is a total outrage. The NSA is supposed to protect Americans. It is not supposed to destroy the Internet or allow it to be destroyed.

Selected Tweets:

 

 

The NSA knew about Heartbleed (updated)

According to Bloomberg, the NSA has known about the Heartbleed bug that destroys encrypted Internet communications for about 2 years and the NSA has exploited the bug. The NSA never reported that it knew about the problem because it doesn’t give a damn about users, including US citizens that it is supposed to be protecting. The biggest security problem ever, and the NSA stayed mum despite its knowledge.

Update: The New York Times is reporting that the Obama administration and the NSA are denying the government knew about the Heartbleed security hole.

. . . Caitlin Hayden, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said in a statement: “Reports that N.S.A. or any other part of the government were aware of the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability before April 2014 are wrong. The federal government was not aware of the recently identified vulnerability in OpenSSL” — the freely available encryption methodology — “until it was made public in a private sector cybersecurity report.”

In my view, this story is not over yet. It would be quite interesting if Glenn Greenwald and the other reporters who have access to the Edward Snowden documents would search the files to see if there is any evidence that the NSA accessed problems with OpenSSL.

It sucks to be Android

And it sucks particularly if your Android device is running version 4.1.1 of the operating system. If so, you are fully exposed to Heartbleed.

Millions of smartphones and tablets running Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system have the Heartbleed software bug, in a sign of how broadly the flaw extends beyond the Internet and into consumer devices.

While Google said in a blog post on April 9 that all versions of Android are immune to the flaw, it added that the “limited exception” was one version dubbed 4.1.1, which was released in 2012.

Security researchers said that version of Android is still used in millions of smartphones and tablets, including popular models made by Samsung Electronics Co., HTC Corp. and other manufacturers. Google statistics show that 34 percent of Android devices use variations of the 4.1 software and the company has said more than 900 million Android devices have been activated worldwide.

The Senate Intelligence Committee torture report is beginning to leak

Finally. It appears that someone is leaking at least portions of the Senate Intelligence Report on the brutal torture program carried out by the CIA during the George W. Bush administration. McClatchy has some details:

A still-secret Senate Intelligence Committee report calls into question the legal foundation of the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists, a finding that challenges the key defense on which the agency and the Bush administration relied in arguing that the methods didn’t constitute torture.

The report also found that the spy agency failed to keep an accurate account of the number of individuals it held, and that it issued erroneous claims about how many it detained and subjected to the controversial interrogation methods. The CIA has said that about 30 detainees underwent the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

The CIA’s claim “is BS,” said a former U.S. official familiar with evidence underpinning the report, who asked not to be identified because the matter is still classified. “They are trying to minimize the damage. They are trying to say it was a very targeted program, but that’s not the case.”

The findings are among the report’s 20 main conclusions. Taken together, they paint a picture of an intelligence agency that seemed intent on evading or misleading nearly all of its oversight mechanisms throughout the program, which was launched under the Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and ran until 2006.

Surveillance state quote of the day

. . . the flip side of representation is surveillance: by 1851, the French political theorist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon could observe that “to be governed is to be noted, registered, enumerated, accounted for, stamped, measured, classified, audited, patented, licensed, authorized, endorsed, reprimanded, prevented, reformed, rectified, and corrected, in every operation, every transaction, every movement.”

Kathryn Schulz, writing in The New Yorker.