We begin today’s collection of events in the realms of espionage, militarism, and deep politics with an ominous warning via the Honolulu Star Advertiser:
Internments can happen again, Scalia warns
- The longest-serving member of the U.S. Supreme Court talks at two isle schools
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told law students at the University of Hawaii law school Monday that the nation’s highest court was wrong to uphold the internment of Japa-nese-Americans during World War II but that he wouldn’t be surprised if the court issued a similar ruling during a future conflict.
Scalia was responding to a question about the court’s 1944 decision in Kore-ma-tsu v. United States, which upheld the convictions of Gordon Hira-ba-ya-shi and Fred Kore-ma-tsu for violating an order to report to an internment camp.
“Well, of course, Kore-ma-tsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” Scalia told students and faculty during a lunchtime question-and-answer session.
Scalia cited a Latin expression meaning “In times of war, the laws fall silent.”
And that Latin phrase in question? Inter arma enim silent leges.
Techdirt calls out the posse:
Mike Rogers Tries To Make The Case That Glenn Greenwald Should Be Prosecuted For ‘Selling Stolen Material’
- from the is-he-insane? dept
Rep. Mike Rogers apparently just can’t help but spin wild and ridiculous conspiracy theories. Fresh off his latest attempt to argue that Ed Snowden is a Russian spy — an argument debunked by just about everyone, including his Senatorial counterpart Dianne Feinstein — it appears he’s now decided to pick up the ridiculously insane thread kicked off (purposefully) last week by Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, hinting that journalists who reported on Ed Snowden are somehow “accomplices” who can be prosecuted.
During a House Intelligence Committee in which many members (from both parties) angrily criticized the intelligence community, Rogers continued to do everything possible to defend them, including pushing the bogus argument that Glenn Greenwald “sold stolen goods” in questions to FBI director James Comey.
From the Dept of D’oh! via Nextgov:
Feds: NSA ‘Probably’ Spies on Members of Congress
The National Security Agency “probably” collects phone records of members of Congress and their staffs, a senior Justice Department official conceded Tuesday.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole buckled under questioning from multiple lawmakers during a House Judiciary Committee hearing reviewing proposals to reform the NSA’s surveillance activity.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, began by asking Peter Swire, a member of the president’s handpicked surveillance review board, whether lawmakers’ numbers are included in the agency’s phone-records sweeps. Swire protested that he was not a government official and couldn’t best answer the question, but said he was unaware of any mechanism that “scrubbed out” member phone numbers from the agency’s data haul.
TheLocal.de listens in:
NSA ‘tapped phone of ex-Chancellor Schröder’
The US National Security Agency (NSA) reportedly tapped the phone of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder over his opposition to the Iraq War, according to reports on Tuesday.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung and broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel was not the first German leader to be targeted by the NSA.
Schröder’s phone was allegedly tapped from 2002, while he was Chancellor, to find out his position on the Iraq War.
Schröder, who led Germany from 1998 to 2005, greeted the news with resignation rather than shock or anger. “At the time I wouldn’t have thought American security services were listening in on me, but it doesn’t surprise me now,” he said.
The Copenhagen Post makes an ornamental denial:
Intelligence officials deny NSA spying against Denmark
Intelligence agency FE rejects allegations that NSA spied on Denmark during COP15, but won’t rule out the option that other nations were bugged
The US intelligence agency NSA did not spy on Danish diplomats and politicians during the 2009 COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen, according to the Danish external intelligence agency Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE).
A NSA document revealing the agency obtained information from key countries ahead of the conference was leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and published in Information newspaper last week.
The disclosure also revealed that the agency obtained a secret discussion paper from a Danish official, but the government has continually shot down NSA spying allegations against Denmark.
The Guardian encourages:
House committee urges US government to get behind NSA reform bill
- Judiciary committee warns Obama administration to back USA Freedom Act or risk losing its counter-terrorism powers
Members of Congress who want to end the National Security Agency’s mass collection of Americans’ phone data sharply warned the Obama administration on Tuesday to get behind a bill to end the controversial practice, or risk losing the counter-terrorism powers provided by the post-9/11 Patriot Act.
Deriding the paucity of legislative alternatives after President Obama’s announcement last month that he wants to transfer the responsibility for bulk collection out of the NSA, congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, the co-sponsor of the USA Freedom Act, told deputy attorney general James Cole at a House judiciary committee hearing that “you will get nothing” if the administration does not endorse the bill.
Asked why the Justice Department had not taken a position on the bill, Cole said: “The Department of Justice is a big place.”
A-maize-ing intel from the New York Times:
Chinese Implicated in Agricultural Espionage Efforts
The case of the missing corn seeds first broke in May 2011 when a manager at a DuPont research farm in east-central Iowa noticed a man on his knees, digging up the field. When confronted, the man, Mo Hailong, who was with his colleague Wang Lei, appeared flushed. Mr. Mo told the manager that he worked for the University of Iowa and was traveling to a conference nearby. When the manager paused to answered his cellphone, the two men sped off in a car, racing through a ditch to get away, federal authorities said.
What ensued was about a year of F.B.I. surveillance of Mr. Mo and his associates, all but one of whom worked for the Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group or its subsidiary Kings Nower Seed. The result was the arrest of Mr. Mo last December and the indictment of five other Chinese citizens on charges of stealing trade secrets in what the authorities and agriculture experts have called an unusual and brazen scheme to undercut expensive, time-consuming research.
China has long been implicated in economic espionage efforts involving aviation technology, paint formulas and financial data. Chinese knockoffs of fashion accessories have long held a place in the mainstream. But the case of Mr. Mo, and a separate one in Kansas last year suggest that the agriculture sector is becoming a greater target, something that industry analysts fear could hurt the competitive advantage of farmers and big agriculture alike.
From USA TODAY, another cause for insecurity:
Navy nukes come under scrutiny in cheating probe
The Navy is investigating allegations of cheating among about 30 enlisted sailors who work on nuclear power systems on ships and submarines, top Navy officials said Tuesday.
The naval investigation follows weeks of bad news from the Air Force about rampant, “systemic” cheating on proficiency tests among airmen who handle nuclear weapons.
An enlisted sailor alerted superiors Monday about an offer to exchange answers to one of several tests needed to qualify to operate nuclear propulsion systems, said Adm. John Richardson, leader of the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program.
Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, and Richardson spelled out details of the investigation. “To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement,” Greenert said.
And another cause for insecurity, via Nextgov:
Despite Spending $65 Billion on Cybersecurity, Agencies Neglect Basic Protections
After spending at least $65 billion since 2006 to protect federal computers and networks from hackers, government agencies remain vulnerable, often because officials have neglected to perform basic security steps such as updating software, according to a report released Tuesday by a key Republican senator.
The study cites lapses at the very agencies responsible for protecting U.S. networks and sensitive data, including the Homeland Security Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Although it has steadily improved its overall cybersecurity performance, DHS is by no means a standard-setter,” states the assessment by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Snowden Leaks Spark Defense Firms to Change Security Practices: Survey
- Survey: 75% of Defense Contractors Say Leaks by Edward Snowden Have Made Them Change Their Security Practices
According to the results of a survey conducted by ThreatTrack Security, the leaking of classified NSA documents by Edward Snowden has resulted in defense contractors changing their companies’ cybersecurity practices.
ThreatTrack Security published the study looking to shed light on the attitudes of IT and security managers working at U.S. defense contractors in the wake of the Edward Snowden’s leaking of classified documents related to some the NSA’s spying tactics.
From Colombia, yet another case of spookery run amok from the Miami Herald:
President Santos calls for investigation into alleged army spying on peace negotiators
President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday called for an investigation to see “what dark forces” might be behind an alleged army-run spy ring that targeted negotiators in Havana who are trying to broker a peace deal with the country’s largest guerrilla group.
Santos’ announcement comes after Semana.com, one of the country’s most respected media outlets, reported late Monday that the army recruited civilian hackers to break into the email and text-message accounts of government peace negotiators, including chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle.
If the allegations are true, Santos said they would be “totally unacceptable.”
And from International Business Times, another leak icon and another leak:
Text Messages from Victim of Alleged Rape, Molestation Prove Assange Innocent: Wikileak Affidavit
Even as members of Sweden’s parliament have been stepping up pressure on prosecutors to question Julian Assange on the sexual allegations he faces in the country, Assange in a Wikileaks affidavit has claimed that text messages between the two alleged victims prove his innocence.
In the affidavit, which has been published on the WikiLeaks website, Assange tries to prove his innocence, citing the text message sent by the alleged victims.
Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has been living at Ecuador’s embassy in London since the Latin American country granted him political asylum in the summer of 2012. He was arrested in the UK in December 2010 on a European Union-wide warrant requested by Sweden, over the rape and molestation allegations.
The allegation is that Assange raped one woman and molested another, during a visit to Stockholm in 2010. However, the affidavit has one alleged victim saying in a text message that “it was the police who made up the charges”. The text message further adds that she “did not want to put any charges on JA but that the police were keen on getting a grip on him”.
After the jump, the latest rounds of rhetorical and legislative escalations and zonal boundary provocations from Asia, major Israeli and German arms sales, British Big Brother busted by British Big Brother, the New York Times does undercover edits, DEA courtroom duplicity, and more. . . Continue reading