Two Overlooked Aspects Of Those Leaks About NSA Spying On French Presidents

US Intelligence Community Seal

US Intelligence Community Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

from the reasons-to-be-cheerful dept

There’s been quite a lot of excitement in the press about the latest leaks that the NSA has been spying on not just one French President, but (at least) three of them. As Mike pointed out, this isn’t such a big deal, because it is precisely the kind of thing that you would expect the NSA to do — as opposed to spying on the entire US public, which isn’t. There is, though, an aspect that most people have overlooked: the fact that these NSA leaks don’t appear to originate from Snowden’s stash.

Of course, Mr Crypto himself, Bruce Schneier, did spot it, and pointed out it could be one of his “other” US intelligence community leakers, listed a couple of months ago, or even a completely new one. As that post shows, there are now a few people around that are leaking secret documents, and that’s a pretty significant trend, since you might expect enhanced security measures taken in the wake of Snowden’s leaks would have discouraged or caught anyone who attempted to follow suit. Continue reading

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Big Brother is watching EU

U.S. Embassy at focus of NSA Germany Spy scandal. Getty

As the US moves towards privacy reform, Europe enacts sweeping new spying powers.

A strange — and strangely unnoticed — trend is emerging in the evolving global response to massive 2013 leaks about US surveillance activities. While our European cousins talk privacy reform, the United States is actually moving ahead with it, albeit more slowly than many would like. As the American side of the Atlantic inches toward self-restraint, many European governments are seeking sweeping new spying powers. Europe is at risk of falling behind the US in privacy reform. 

Following two post-Snowden reviews of US surveillance activities, the United States announced new limitations to its electronic surveillance activities, including additional privacy protections for Europeans and other non-US citizens, which few European countries currently afford Americans. Much-criticized US surveillance activities, including the bulk telephone metadata program, are set to expire in days unless Congress intervenes. Meanwhile, the bipartisan Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Overseas (LEADS) Act and similar draft laws are moving through Congress and garnering broad support from technology companies, business organizations, and privacy and civil liberties advocacy groups. Continue reading

Strategic Insights: Would a Post-2011 Residual U.S. Force in Iraq Have Changed Anything?

English: Major ethno-religious groups in Iraq ...

English: Major ethno-religious groups in Iraq Shiite Arabs Sunni Arabs Kurds Assyrians Yazidis Turkmen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

February 9, 2015 | Dr. W. Andrew Terrill

Currently, U.S. policy analysts and governmental leaders are examining the rise of the Islamic State (IS) organization, particularly its seizure of vast expanses of Iraqi territory in the summer of 2014. People legitimately ask what could have been done and would a residual U.S. force in Iraq have prevented the spread of IS from Syria to Iraq or at least its seizure of northern Iraq? Opponents of the decision to withdraw all U.S. forces often contend that a U.S. residual force could have prevented or mitigated the IS offensive in northern Iraq. Supporters of the decision to withdraw usually point out that the Iraqi government would not agree to a Status of Forces agreement (SOFA) that allowed U.S. forces to remain in that country without being subordinate to Iraqi domestic law. The second argument seems to accept the views of the critics, while suggesting that the withdrawal was required as part of an effort to respect Iraqi sovereignty. Both sides seem to agree that a residual force in Iraq was a good idea. They disagree on why it did not occur. Continue reading

U.S. Energy Exports

Author: Mohammed Aly Sergie, Senior Online Writer/Editor
October 2, 2014

U.S. Energy Exports
Introduction

Rising production of U.S. shale gas and tight oil is sparking a debate about energy exports. But getting crude oil and natural gas out of the United States is complicated by regulatory, economic, environmental, and political concerns. Constraints on exports need to be relaxed, and costly infrastructure to liquefy natural gas and transport crude oil out of the United States must be expanded before exports can reach foreign buyers. Proponents of allowing U.S. oil and gas exports appear to be winning the argument, and some advocates predict significant impact on prices and international relations, especially by reducing reliance on Middle Eastern oil and freeing Europe from its dependence on Russian energy. Many experts, however, caution that while the United States will benefit from exports, the overall market and geopolitical effects will be less dramatic than expected. Continue reading

State Department combats Islamic State recruitment via social media

Islamic StateU.S. Department of StateTerrorism
State Department relies upon YouTube, Twitter campaigns to combat Islamic State recruitment
An uptick in English-language terrorism propaganda leads State Department to new social media strategies

The U.S. State Department continues to ratchet up anti-terrorism efforts for an English-speaking audience, with its latest YouTube video satirizing recruitment efforts for the Islamic State. Continue reading

Security roundup reveals cybercriminals’ advanced attack methods

SECURITY

By BiztechAfrica – May 15, 2014, 7:15 a.m.

Image: By BiztechAfrica

Security roundup reveals cybercriminals’ advanced attack methods

Cybercriminals continuously discover more ways to successfully target new outlets for financial theft as revealed in Trend Micro Incorporated’s first quarter security roundup for 2014, “Cybercrime Hits the Unexpected.” Greed is motivating cybercriminals to take a non-traditional approach in the selection of unlikely targets, such as advanced threats to Point-of-Sale (PoS) terminals and the exploitation of disasters. Though well protected, these new targets are in the crosshairs of emboldened cybercriminals around the world.

Trend Micro threat researchers also found that online banking malware continued to thrive with the emergence and modification of new malware families, each with different targets and varying anti-detection techniques. And continuing to grow for the past five years is the number of mobile malware and high-risk apps, which has hit 2 million since the introduction of the Android platform.

“This year’s first quarterly report sheds light into the cyber underground where creative cybercriminals continue to find new opportunities to commit their crimes,” said Raimund Genes, CTO, Trend Micro. “To remain protected against these ever-evolving cyber threats, users must be diligent in using best practices when surfing the Web, especially when conducting online financial transactions.” Continue reading

How Putin Is Reinventing Warfare

Though some deride Russia for backward thinking, Putin’s strategy in Ukraine betrays a nuanced understanding of 21st century geopolitics.

BY Peter Pomerantsev MAY 5, 2014

The Kremlin, according to Barack Obama, is stuck in the “old ways,” trapped in Cold War or even 19th century mindsets. But look closer at the Kremlin‘s actions during the crisis in Ukraine and you begin to see a very 21st century mentality, manipulating transnational financial interconnections, spinning global media, and reconfiguring geo-political alliances. Could it be that the West is the one caught up in the “old ways,” while the Kremlin is the geopolitical avant-garde, informed by a dark, subversive reading of globalization?

The Kremlin’s approach might be called “non-linear war,” a term used in a short story written by one of Putin’s closest political advisors, Vladislav Surkov, which was published under his pseudonym, Nathan Dubovitsky, just a few days before the annexation of Crimea. Surkov is credited with inventing the system of “managed democracy” that has dominated Russia in the 21st century, and his new portfolio focuses on foreign policy. This time, he sets his new story in a dystopian future, after the “fifth world war.”

Surkov writes: “It was the first non-linear war. In the primitive wars of the 19th and 20th centuries it was common for just two sides to fight. Two countries, two blocks of allies. Now four coalitions collided. Not two against two, or three against one. All against all.” Continue reading