Tags: Freedom of Information Act

Document Reveals Official NSA Talking Points: Use 9/11 Attacks as a “Sound Bite”

Al Jazeera America has some great work in obtaining the official NSA talking points via a Freedom of Information Act request. As might be expected, the agency tells its people to use the attacks on September 11, 2001 to manipulate public opinion into accepting unacceptable levels of surveillance. As I have maintained over and over again for years, our overreaction to 9/11 has done exponentially more damage to the nation than any terrorist attack ever could. I penned my latest thoughts on the attacks last month in my piece: How I Remember September 11, 2001.

One of the highlights, actually lowlights, of the document is what the NSA refers to as a “soundbite that resonates.” Here it is:

I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.

More from Al Jazeera America:

The National Security Agency advised its officials to cite the 9/11 attacks as justification for its mass surveillance activities, according to a master list of NSA talking points.

The document, obtained by Al Jazeera through a Freedom of Information Act request, contains talking points and suggested statements for NSA officials (PDF) responding to the fallout from media revelations that originated with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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U.S. Government’s Secret Move to Hide Files on the Osama Bin Laden Raid

The Osama Bin Laden raid was suspect from the very beginning.  Not only were key initial descriptions of the assault completely incorrect (such as him being armed and his wife being killed), but the manner in which his body was rapidly tossed into the ocean was beyond bizarre.  I mean, Tony Soprano keeps a body longer than that.

Well it seems the “most transparent administration ever” has made sure that the American public never receives any information beyond the propaganda of Zero Dark Thirty. From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s top special operations commander ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public.

The secret move, described briefly in a draft report by the Pentagon’s inspector general, set off no alarms within the Obama administration even though it appears to have sidestepped federal rules and perhaps also the Freedom of Information Act. 

But secretly moving the records allowed the Pentagon to tell The Associated Press that it couldn’t find any documents inside the Defense Department that AP had requested more than two years ago, and could represent a new strategy for the U.S. government to shield even its most sensitive activities from public scrutiny.

McRaven’s directive sent the only copies of the military’s records about its daring raid to the CIA, which has special authority to prevent the release of “operational files” in ways that can’t effectively be challenged in federal court. The Defense Department can prevent the release of its own military files, too, citing risks to national security. But that can be contested in court, and a judge can compel the Pentagon to turn over non-sensitive portions of records.

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Remember Zero Dark Thirty? Turns Out it was a CIA Propaganda Film After All

In 1977, Carl Bernstein, famed for his Watergate reporting, disclosed that more than 400 journalists and executives of mostly liberal US media organisations had worked for the CIA in the past 25 years. They included journalists from the New York Times, Time and the big TV broadcasters.

- John Pilger in his powerful article, The New Propaganda is Liberal

This isn’t the first time I’ve used the above quote to kick off a post. I also used it in late March for the article:  How Hollywood Became “Propagandist in Chief” by John Pilger.  How right he was in that scathing critique of the artistic joke that has become big budget performing arts in America these days.  Now, courtesy of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act regarding the CIA’s influence on Hollywood blockbuster Zero Dark Thirty, we discover what a total propaganda joke this film really is.  What an utter embarrassment to cinema.  From Gawker:

Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden revenge-porn flick Zero Dark Thirty was the biggest publicity coup for the CIA this century outside of the actual killing of Osama bin Laden. But the extent to which the CIA shaped the film has remained unclear. Now, a memo obtained by Gawker shows that the CIA actively, and apparently successfully, pressured Mark Boal to remove scenes that made them look bad from the Zero Dark Thirty script.

The documents include a 2012 memo—initially classified “SECRET”—summarizing five conference calls between Boal and the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs in late 2011. “The purpose for these discussions was for OPA officers to help promote an appropriate portrayal of the Agency and the Bin Ladin operation,” according to the memo.

During these calls, Boal “verbally shared the screenplay” for Zero Dark Thirty in order to get the CIA’s feedback, and the CIA’s public affairs department verbally asked Boal to take out parts that they objected to. According to the memo, he did.

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“It’s National Security”…Government Transparency Hits Record Low in 2012 Under Obama

Surprise, surprise…the “most transparent administration ever” is, well, the least transparent.  Not that any of you are shocked by this revelation, but a new report by the Associated Press demonstrates just how secret our government and intelligence agencies have become.  Not only did they claim “national security” over and over like a bunch of drunk parrots, they also claimed the need to protect “internal deliberations.”  Specifically, the number of times the government withheld or censored reports in 2012 was 479,000 times, up 22% from 2011.  The CIA denied 60% of requests, up from 49% in 2011.  From the Associated Press:

The AP examined more than 5,600 data elements measuring the administration’s performance on government transparency since Obama’s election.

When the government withheld or censored records, it cited exceptions built into the law to avoid turning over materials more than 479,000 times, a roughly 22 percent increase over the previous year.

In a year of intense public interest over deadly U.S. drones, the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, terror threats and more, the government cited national security to withhold information at least 5,223 times — a jump over 4,243 such cases in 2011 and 3,805 cases in Obama’s first year in office. The secretive CIA last year became even more secretive: Nearly 60 percent of 3,586 requests for files were withheld or censored for that reason last year, compared with 49 percent a year earlier.

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Most Transparent President? Obama Cabinet Refuses to Release Info on Cost of Travel

Just another lie amongst an impressive and ever growing list.  The worst part is he completely understands that his supporters have no idea what day of the week it is, let alone that he is funneling the remaining wealth of the nation upward to the oligarch class.

From Bloomberg:

More than half of President Barack Obama’s cabinet agencies continue to defy open-government rules by not disclosing the cost of travel by top officials.

Above. The. Law.

Nine of 15 cabinet offices have yet to release details of their out-of-town travel records six months after Bloomberg News filed requests for those documents under the Freedom of Information Act. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services are among those who haven’t complied.

The law requires agencies to respond to requests within 20 working days. Watchdogs say the delays show that the president hasn’t fulfilled his promise of greater transparency, and one group found that more than half of 99 federal offices ignored a directive to overhaul the way they respond to filings.

The lowest rate of response — 40 percent — has come from Obama’s cabinet. Among executive departments, only Treasury, Homeland Security, Labor, Commerce, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs released travel details.

Now here’s the money line…

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Ever Heard of the National Counterterrorism Center? Didn’t Think So

It’s very interesting that in recent weeks the mainstream press seems to be unveiling the surveillance state to the American sheeple.  I was shocked when I read the Wired article about how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was funding the placement of microphones and cameras on public buses to monitor innocent citizens’ behavior.  Now we have this information published yesterday in the Wall Street Journal:

Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime.

Not everyone was on board. “This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public,” Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.

A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect.

Thanks for the justice Holder.

The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.

Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited.

The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own. In effect, U.S. and foreign governments would be using the information to look for clues that people might commit future crimes.

The National Counterterrorism Center’s ideas faced no similar public resistance. For one thing, the debate happened behind closed doors.

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Documents Show the U.S. Military Sprayed Radioactive Zinc Cadmium Sulfide on Poor People in St. Louis

Another story that is so insane it is almost impossible to believe.  Channel 5 KDSK in St. Louis reports:

The I-Team independently verified that the spraying of zinc cadmium sulfide did take place in St. Louis on thousands of unsuspecting citizens. What is unclear is whether the Army added a radioactive material to the compound as Martino-Taylor’s research implies.

“The study was secretive for reason. They didn’t have volunteers stepping up and saying yeah, I’ll breathe zinc cadmium sulfide with radioactive particles,” said Martino-Taylor.

“There is a lot of evidence that shows people in St. Louis and the city, in particular minority communities, were subjected to military testing that was connected to a larger radiological weapons testing project,” she said.

While the Army admits it added a florescent substance to the zinc cadmium compound, details of whether it was radioactive remains secret.

How much would you like to bet that anyone that raised issues with this back then would be labeled a “conspiracy theorist.”  But that was the 1950′s and 60′s.  The government definitely loves us now.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike