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Friday, August 29, 2014

'Paranoid' CIA conspiracy theorist
was right about red pull at the top
The CIA's counterintelligence chief, James Jesus Angelton, had been discredited as a "paranoid schizophrenic" toward the end of his career. The mole-hunter had been forced aside before his death in 1987.

However, a CIA inspector general later found that CIA directors under Presidents Reagan, Bush (the elder) and Clinton had been under strong KGB influence and had been passing Communist disinformation to the White House. Bush had been CIA chief under President Ford, and had also been Reagan's "co-president" for national security (at least until the Iran-Contra scandal flared).

This bit of history comes from the writer Edward Jay Epstein, as posted on Cryptome.

The purpose of the first excerpt on the Cryptome site is to pave the way for the second piece, which suggests that Edward Snowden's thefts involve far more than data on surveillance of Americans and that those public revelations may have been meant as a smokescreen for espionage. I don't necessarily agree with that. Why bother with the elaborate deception? Had he been a typical defecting spy, one would expect that he and his masters would have arranged a sensible escape plan in advance.

But the point I wish to make concerns the CIA inspector general verifying a major part of what many had suspected.

In a recent biography, James Jesus Angleton; Was He Right?, Epstein writes:

'In 1995, however , the CIA Inspector General found that in the 1980s and early 1990s the KGB had dispatched at least a half-dozen double agents who provided disinformation cooked up in Moscow to their CIA case officers. It further discovered that this concoction of bogus and factually true information had routinely been passed between 1986 and 1994 to three Presidents– President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton. The disinformation, according to the Inspector General, became part of one of the CIA's most highly classified products, with each report signed personally by the CIA director, provided with a distinctive blue stripe to signify their importance , and sent directly to the President, Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State. When the CIA Inspector General retrospectively traced out the path of this disinformation in the blue border reports, he found that the “senior CIA officers responsible for these reports had known that some of their sources were controlled by Russian intelligence.” These CIA officials apparently continued to forward the Russian disinformation to the White House because it would be too embarrassing for them to admit that they had been so badly deceived. Whatever their motive, the CIA officers who had been gulled by the KGB found a common interest with the KGB in not revealing on-going deception. The CIA Director John Deutch, who had received these blue border reports when he was deputy director of the Department of Defense, told Congress that the CIA’s failure to disclose that the intelligence was from KGB-controlled agents was "an inexcusable lapse in elementary intelligence practice."'

An insightful retrospective on Epstein:

It should be noted that Epstein has often been embroiled in controversy, especially with respect to his analyses of the assassination of President Kennedy.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Within 2 hours of 9/11 attacks,
CIA 'knew' al Qaeda was guilty

Ex-CIA chief counsel John Rizzo told Spiegel magazine:

"I actually wrote the first list [of potential covert actions] the day of 9/11, literally two hours after the attack. Like everyone else, I was in a state of shock and bewilderment, but I knew that we were going to undertake counteractions that were unprecedented in my career. I scribbled down on my yellow legal pad conceivable options, including lethal operations against al-Qaida -- not just the al-Qaida elements who carried out the 9/11 attack, but also those who would be planning future attacks. The list included, for the first time in the history of the CIA, a program to detain and interrogate senior al-Qaida leaders."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Press faces computer control
under proposed federal rule 

If the Guardian U.S. edition has leaked NSA files in its computer, a proposed new U.S. rule permits the government to remotely enter the computer and seize or copy the data of interest, according to a document published by Cryptome.

A court could approve raiding an overseas computer to confiscate data, the proposal says. That might mean Germany's Der Spiegel, which has published a number of NSA stories, could have its computer system raided by operatives interested in erasing data thought to be relevant to U.S. national security.

The proposed rule change draws no distinction between press computers and non-press computers.

From the proposed change in federal rules on criminal procedures:

"The amendment provides that
in two specific circumstances a magistrate judge in a
district where activities related to a crime may have
occurred has authority to issue a warrant to use remote
access to search electronic storage media and seize or copy
electronically stored information even when that media or
information is or may be located outside of the district."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Military trying to intimidate general reader? 

It sounds like the usual tortured military rinky dink: Military people may not read The Intercept, where Glenn Greenwald is a staff writer, because it is the military's responsibility to safeguard classified documents.

The problem is, the documents are public. Doesn't matter, says the military. You may endanger your security clearance if you read a classified document on a news site via an "unclassified" computer.

This "reasoning" is associated with the idea that, in addition to Edward Snowden, there may be a second leaker. It is not explained why this possibility is relevant.

Aside from silly bureaucratism, we may have a case here of the military trying to send a psyops message that there is some inherent wrong in Americans reading documents that have not been declassified. The securocrats, I speculate, wish to get the message out via the outraged media that the government takes a very dim view of any American reading a classified document without its permission -- even if it is published in the press.

This suspicion is bolstered by the curious phrasing found in the military prohibition, as quoted by The Intercept:

Viewing potentially classified material (even material already wrongfully released in the public domain) from unclassified equipment will cause you long term security issues.  This is considered a security violation.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Obama policy buffets Times reporters 
The Justice Department's pressure to force the N.Y. Times reporter James Risen to identify a source certainly makes it difficult for the State Department to lobby on behalf of American reporters who conceal sources overseas.

Similarly, the CIA's contacts among Afghan officials may not be all that helpful, considering that Risen's unwelcome story concerned the CIA.

Afghans pressure Times reporter to reveal source

Saturday, August 16, 2014

FBI spy meddled with hated reporter

An FBI spy opened mail of a Los Angeles Times reporter and turned the contents over to J. Edgar Hoover's FBI without informing the newsman, according to a book by Betty Medsger, who, as a Washington Post reporter first broke the story of the bureau's bizarre surveillance priorities.

In The Burglary -- The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI, Medsger relates that years after the sensational 1971 reports on files stolen by activists from a bureau office in Media, Pa., she found via the Freedom of Information Act that copies of the files sent to L.A. Times investigative reporter Jack Nelson had been intercepted by someone in his office and turned over to the FBI.

Nelson was astounded when he learned of the interception, telling Medsger that, upon learning of their existence, he had eagerly tried to get hold of copies. Medsger writes that Nelson's editors in Los Angeles also appear to have been kept in the dark.

Nelson's unflattering coverage of the FBI -- which under Hoover was accustomed to friendly coverage -- had earned Nelson the bureau's wrath, Medsger says. When the Times was the only major news organization left unaware that agents were poised to arrest Angela Davis, a fiery West Coast radical, the Times' Washington chief, David Kraslow, asked why.

Medsger writes that Tom Bishop, a top FBI press liaison, shouted into the telephone: "When you get rid of that son of a bitch" Nelson, the bureau would cooperate.

Intimidation in the newsroom
Medsger writes that one day as she started reading a new batch of just-arrived Media documents, "a tall white-haired man I had never seen before appeared at my desk," claiming he worked in the mailroom. The man remarked on the FBI files and then mentioned that he knew she was from Johnstown, Pa.

Thinking that an odd thing to say, Medsger relates that she asked how he knew that. His response: "I see all the letters your mother sends you." Yet her mother had never written her at the Post. She viewed the incident as a "ham-handed" attempt to intimidate her.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Hey Mom! Guess what? They ARE out to get us!
According to journalist Betty Medsger, the burglars who carted off files from the Media, Pa., FBI office in 1971 encountered an internal FBI document that urged agents monitoring anti-war and civil rights activists to "enhance [their] paranoia" by getting the "point across that there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox."

Medsger adds that Susan Smith, one of the burglars, said she realized the document, once it became public, would vindicate many people who had been ridiculed for suspecting the FBI was spying on them; they would want to say, "Hey Mom, everybody, I'm not mentally ill! They really are after me, you, lots of people."

It must be understood that the great majority of activists were nonviolent and went no further than acts of open civil disobedience at protest events, though some nonviolent activists had been burglarizing draft boards to try to impede their operation. Still, it was shocking to many that the FBI would advocate use of such "paranoia" tactics against ALL activists.

The effect of Congressional reforms of the 1970s was at best temporary. This is because the CIA had also been engaging in "countermeasures" against domestic critics, especially the more effective ones, though its unethical activities tended to be written off as covert war against Soviet agents. The CIA conveys the fiction that it does not operate domestically, but the exceptions to that policy are big enough to drive a very large truck through -- in fact, quite a few convoys through.

Sy Hersh's 1974 bombshell on massive domestic spying

Supposedly, the Church committee fixed all that. Reality: CIA contemptuously ignored controls. Journalists were among those under surveillance by spooks.