President Trump has changed nothing for the good of America…(cont.)

The FBI’s Secret Rules

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President Trump has inherited a vast domestic intelligence agency with extraordinary secret powers. A cache of documents offers a rare window into the FBI’s quiet expansion since 9/11.

terrorists-won

Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide

The rulebook governing all FBI agents’ activities, in unredacted form for the first time. This is the 2011 edition, which remains the baseline document today, although the FBI recently released some updates from 2013.

SEE DOCUMENT

Hidden Loopholes Allow FBI Agents to Infiltrate Political and Religious Groups

Cora Currier
Beneath the FBI’s redaction marks are exceptions to rules on “undisclosed participation.”

National Security Letters Demand Data Companies Aren’t Obligated to Provide

Jenna McLaughlin, and Cora Currier
Internal documents suggest the FBI uses the secret orders to pursue sensitive customer data like internet browsing records.

Despite Anti-Profiling Rules, the FBI Uses Race and Religion When Deciding Who to Target

Cora Currier
The bureau still claims considerable latitude to use race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion in deciding which people and communities to investigate.

In Secret Battle, Surveillance Court Reined in FBI Use of Information Obtained From Phone Calls

Jenna McLaughlin

Secret Rules Make It Pretty Easy for the FBI to Spy on Journalists

Cora Currier
Rules governing the use of national security letters allow the FBI to obtain information about journalists’ calls without going to a judge or informing the targeted news organization.

Annotation Sets

  • Bureau Hid Doubts About Reliability of Stingray Evidence Behind Redaction Marks


  • CIA and NSA Dossiers Are Available to the FBI in the Absence of Any Crime, Raising Privacy Questions


  • FBI Spy Planes Must Abide Rules When Looking Into Homes


  • On Campus, the FBI Sometimes Operates Outside Restrictions


  • To Probe the Digital Defenses of Targets, the FBI Turns To a Special Program


Confidential Human Source Policy Guide

Detailed rules for how the FBI handles informants. Classified secret. This unreleased September 2015 document is a major expansion and update of a manual from 2007 on the same topic.

SEE DOCUMENT

The FBI Gives Itself Lots of Rope to Pull in Informants

Trevor Aaronson
Agents have the authority to aggressively investigate anyone they believe could be a valuable source for the bureau.

When Informants Are No Longer Useful, the FBI Can Help Deport Them

Trevor Aaronson
The FBI coordinates with immigration authorities to locate informants who are no longer of value to the bureau.

How the FBI Conceals Its Payments to Confidential Sources

Trevor Aaronson
A classified policy guide creates opportunities for agents to disguise payments as reimbursements or offer informants a cut of seized assets.

Annotation Sets

  • How the FBI Recruits and Handles Its Army of Informants


Counterterrorism Policy Guide

Excerpts from a guide for agents working on counterterrorism cases, which functions as a supplement to the FBI’s main rulebook, the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide. Classified secret. Not previously released. Dates to April 2015.

SEE DOCUMENT

Undercover FBI Agents Swarm the Internet Seeking Contact With Terrorists

Cora Currier
The FBI’s online activities are so pervasive that the bureau sometimes finds itself investigating its own people.

Based on a Vague Tip, the Feds Can Surveil Anyone

Cora Currier
Low-level “assessments” allow the FBI to follow people with planes, examine travel records, and run subjects’ names through the CIA and NSA.

The FBI Has Quietly Investigated White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement

Alice Speri
Bureau policies have been crafted to take into account the active presence of domestic extremists in U.S. police departments.

Annotation Sets

  • Disruptions: How the FBI Handles People Without Bringing Them To Court


Confidential Human Source Assessing Aid

A document bearing the seal of the FBI’s Anchorage field office that gives tips for agents cultivating informants. It is classified secret, and dates from 2011.

SEE DOCUMENT

DIOG Profiling Rules 2016

A 2016 update to the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide’s policy on profiling by race, gender, and other factors.

SEE DOCUMENT

Guidance on Guardian Assessments 2013

A 2013 unclassified communique from the FBI’s counterterrorism division explaining the database checks and other steps to be taken as part of low-level investigations.

SEE DOCUMENT

National Security Letters Redacted

An unclassified internal FBI document explaining the rules for national security letters, orders that the bureau uses to obtain certain information without a warrant. The document is undated but contains references to another document from November 2015.

SEE DOCUMENT

Throwing Paul Ryan Under The Bus

Throwing Paul Ryan Under The Bus

“A Practical Guide To Political Revenge” -By Donald Trump

Paul Ryan realizes he is being thrown under the bus

Step 1

Ask Paul Ryan to draft a new healthcare plan because he has been itching to do this for 7 years. In your heart, you know that he already should have one up his sleeve, which you, by all means, already know is shitty. Also, since you just realized that healthcare is such a complicated f****$g business, you have no better alternative in any case, other than asking someone like Paul Ryan.

Step 2

Let him own the plan and float it to his fellow GOP house members and GOP senators like a tipsy clown. All the while, you keep talking about “Repealing Obamacare” to your voters, because they have no f****$g idea that ACA and Obamacare are the same and that without ACA, they may just die soon, even though they love hearing “Repeal Obama-anything”.

Step 3

If many conservatives react the way you are hoping they would, don’t associate your name with the plan. Just stand away from it, till the house takes up a vote on this. In other words, it’s not Trumpcare but Obamacare Replacement. That’s all. Wait and Watch.

Step 4

Have your cronies at Breitbart start a smear campaign on Ryan. Old audio tapes, interview scripts, pretty much anything that they can find where he was found talking ill of you. Because you know, your supporters will piss on Ryan if you just point fingers at him. Oops! Wrong analogy. Your supporters will take Paul Ryan to task if you just tweet about it (not piss..not at all..that happens only in Russia).

Step 4

If the house doesn’t vote in favor of the bill because of CBO’s alarming forecast or media attack or people’s anger or anything like that, just distance yourself from the f****$g plan. Like 100s of miles way. Like you can’t f****$g see Washington DC from wherever you are. Like Mar-a-Lago, perhaps. It’s Paul Ryan’s plan. Not yours. Change the script and send a tweet saying something to this effect. If not the house, the senate will eventually kick the plan out of DC before you send your next tweet.

Step 5

Congratulations!! The world will take care of the rest.
Paul f****$g Ryan has successfully been thrown under the political bus.

[Warning: The ambitious, heartless and Ayn Rand loving smart cookie he is, you bet Ryan is going to be hatching his own revenge plan to get back at you. But don’t you worry! Your Russian friends will come handy when needed.]

report-trump-picks-mattis-for-defense-secretary

WikiLeaks, the CIA and the sad reality of our world

The release by WikiLeaks of Vault 7, a file with more than eight thousand documents detailing some of the techniques that the CIA uses to access information on iOS or Android devices, on our computers, as well as the use of smart TVs to listen to conversations and other equally chilling practices is undoubtedly worrying and revives tensions between technology companies and government spy agencies… but it is hardly surprising.

In reality, it is simply further evidence that spy agencies adapt to the surrounding ecosystem which now consists of devices permanently connected through networks. Today’s “spy kit” no longer consists of a magnifying glass, a flashlight, a pistol or a fake beard, but a computer and an internet connection.

The role of a government espionage agency is to spy. That this espionage is carried out to guarantee the security of a nation or to preserve a certain tyrannical regime is another question that depends on the concept of politics, liberties or ethics of the government of each country. In other words, being scandalized because there are spies or because the spies are engaged in spying is at best naive and at worst a sign of idiocy, and wondering why these spies adapt their methods to the times we live is absurd: Given that we are supposed to accept — although no one asked us — that governments have to have spies and that we have to pay for them with our taxpayers’ money, would we prefer them to continue using outdated tools and methods? Do you want to fight modern spies with sophisticated online tools from a foreign country with agents equipped with magnifying glasses and fake beards?

Obviously, the answer to that question is a very big “it depends”. In the first place, because we would obviously prefer a world without spies. But since since that isn’t going to happen, we will have to consider the different scenarios. If in a country we understand that spies are used to catch terrorists, drug traffickers, criminals or other threats, we will surely want these spies to have the best tools available, and to possess the expertise to invent any they need. If, on the contrary, we think that spies are used to control us, to detect protests or insurgency, to persecute those who think differently and to ignore our most basic human rights, the idea that these spies have the best tools is deeply worrying. It is not the same to live in a democracy where we expect spies to be able to detect a terrorist cell preparing an attack in the center of the city, as to be a homosexual in an Islamic country, or a pro-human rights activist living in a dictatorship, or a non-believer living in a theocracy.

The only thing that the latest WikiLeaks revelations show is that the world is as complex as it was twenty years ago, or probably even more. Twenty years ago government agencies were eavesdropping on our phones and our conversations with microphones, by reading our lips, our letters or tracking our trips: now they tap into our connected electronic devices, which will soon be all devices. As much as we may be concerned or outraged, this is the reality of our world. Things have moved on since the Cold War, and as technology companies strive to use ever more advanced technologies to protect their users, spies will, in turn, find more and better techniques to keep spying on them. Like it or not, spies gonna spy.

Are these leaks good or evil? On the one hand, they lead us to a more transparent society, to understand much better what happens to our privacy and to our data, to put pressure on both the spies and the tech companies (thus leading to further innovation), and to help clarify if there were any wrongdoings (such as spying on innocent citizens without a warrant, as it clearly seems to be the case). On the other hand, they contribute to generate a collective state of psychosis that could collide with our freedom to do ordinary things, and could serve as an example, even a guide, to spies in less developed countries, with all the consequences to citizens in those countries that this possibility may entail. The leaks are not good or evil: they just happen. But if you ask me, I rather live in a world where WikiLeaks exists and plays a significant role in controlling certain behaviors.

Furthermore, we must appreciate the efforts of technology companies to fix the security holes that have allowed spies to spy, and try to be pragmatic and, above all, see things in perspective: most of us, average Joes or Janes who live in democracies, are probably not spied on. What’s more, despite of what was being implied or said yesterday, the CIA has not been able to crack Signal’s encryption, nor WhatsApp’s, or Telegram’s, nor many others. Instead, what they have found are methods to access the devices that originate or receive messages, which can allow them to read those messages at the point of origin or destination. So we don’t yet have to delete apps we thought were safe, and besides, most of us are using them for things that are of no interest whatsoever for the spies of our governments. If you are being spied on and haven’t done anything wrong, then be worried. But not about the spies… about your government! As ever, the problem lies not in technology, but in who uses it and why.


(En español, aquí)

Why are US Forces in Yemen at All?

A tribesman loyal to Houthi rebels, right, chants slogans during a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters into battlefronts to fight pro-government forces in several Yemeni cities, in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

‘The truth of the matter is that America is killing people — terrorists and others — because its leaders don’t know what else to do.’

Several days ago, press reports revealed that U.S. special-operations troops had conducted a raid in Yemen. Impoverished, violent, and bitterly divided, Yemen has hitherto had a place on the roster of countries that the United States periodically bombs without being graced with the presence of U.S. forces on the ground. As long as this arrangement persisted, few Americans paid attention to events in this far corner of the “war on terror.” After all: Whoever was killed and maimed by U.S. ordnance falling from the skies, it wasn’t our guys.

Now with one Navy SEAL dead, several others injured, and a $75-million aircraft destroyed, the calculus has changed. However briefly, Yemen is in the headlines, with the press even taking note of the civilian bystanders killed and wounded as the Americans fought to extricate themselves from an operation gone awry. Here for our novice commander-in-chief who has promised “we’re gonna win so much people will say we can’t take it any more” was a vicarious baptism of fire.

Those who speak on behalf of Donald Trump categorize the outcome as his first win, and an impressive one at that. According to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, the raid was “a successful operation by all standards,” not to mention, “very, very well thought out and executed.” Few other outside Trump’s inner circle share that assessment. By any objective measure, the raid was an embarrassing and costly failure—so much so that the Yemeni government has reportedly forbidden any further such intrusions.

But let’s not rush to judgment, Andrew Exum suggests. Don’t hold Trump accountable for the outcome, when the real problem is bureaucratic constipation.

In Exum’s defense of the raid and the decisionmaking process that guided it, he complains that discussion at the upper levels of the national-security apparatus has become too “slow and ponderous.” Constraints imposed from above negate “one of the primary advantages the U.S. military enjoys, which is a highly trained and capable officer corps in the field that can exercise independent judgment.” Allowing the officer corps greater freedom of action will, by implication, yield more effective outcomes. Meddling civilians, therefore, need to butt out, allowing field commanders “to be aggressive [and] to take risks,” even if on occasion they may “fall short.”

Coming from a former senior Department of Defense official, this strikes me as a radical misdiagnosis of the problem—a bit like a physician prescribing soda pop and chocolate bars as an antidote to ketoacidosis.

My own reading of recent U.S. policy suggests that an absence of aggressiveness or an aversion to risk do not number among the explanations for why the World’s Greatest Military has accomplished so little of late. Indeed, I would submit that since 9/11, the U.S. military has demonstrated both qualities in spades. What’s been lacking is sobriety and clarity of thought.

In Afghanistan, a campaign of astonishing boldness enabled U.S. forces in 2001 to overthrow the Taliban in remarkably short order. Commanders congratulated themselves on their brilliance, and without bothering to stabilize that country, immediately moved on to fresh challenges. What had been gained was soon lost. Fifteen-plus years later, the war in Afghanistan grinds on.

In Iraq, a lightning thrust by U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, resulting in what was advertised at the time as an epic victory. Alas, the commanders responsible had given little thought to what might happen next. The independent judgment that they exercised turned out to be monumentally defective. In short order, an epic victory transformed itself into an epic quagmire.

Libya in 2011? Same story: Bold action, illusory success, then a first-class mess, albeit one that Libyans rather than U.S. troops were let to deal with.

It would be wrong to saddle the officer corps with exclusive responsibility for these serial disappointments. A fairer verdict would be this: Collaboration between senior Department of Defense officials, Republican and Democratic alike, and senior military officers from all services, resulted in deeply defective plans based on erroneous assumptions leading to unforeseen consequences that field commanders then struggled to contain, while expending lives and treasure with abandon.

Apportioning responsibility for military failure is not necessarily easy. Who, for example, squandered the “victory” won in Iraq in 2003? President George W. Bush? Donald Rumsfeld and the senior Department of Defense officials who fancied that it would all be easy? The now-suitably forgotten members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time? CENTCOM commander General Tommy Franks, once upon a time heralded as a Great Captain? Answer: all of the above. (And, if only for reasons of gender balance, throw in the likes of Private Lynndie England, who rocketed to fame humiliating detainees at Abu Ghraib.)

Killing people and bombing things has become a substitute for policy and indeed for thinking.

What explains the exceedingly modest payoff that America gets for the $600 billion-plus dollars that congress annually funnels to the Pentagon? It’s ludicrous to suggest, as Exum does, that the problem lies with timid and slow-moving civilian officials who have “denied subordinate commanders the flexibility to exploit opportunities they saw on the battlefield.” No, the real problem is that the senior civilian officials aided and abetted by the military professionals to whom they look for professional advice have jointly failed in the formulation of a coherent strategy—a concrete plan to achieve U.S. policy objectives at a reasonable cost.

Senior civilians and senior military officers today engage in their tug of war over military minutiae—when, how, and whether to conduct a raid—because doing so enables them to sustain the pretense that the United States is engaged in a strategically purposeful enterprise: that America is killing people pursuant to some plausible political outcome. The truth of the matter is that America is killing people—terrorists and others—because its leaders don’t know what else to do.

Killing people and bombing things has become a substitute for policy and indeed for thinking. Where there should be strategy, there is a void. Will a president who looks to the likes of Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn for advice fill that void? I don’t think so.

The operative question is not: Why did last week’s raid in Yemen fail? Instead, it is: What are U.S. forces doing there in the first place? How, at this stage of the game, is further expansion of the conflict once known as the Global War on Terrorism advancing the basic security interests of the United States? All that Mr. Trump is doing is to embrace the legacy of his predecessors: perpetuating what has become an open-ended war of attrition.

“Slow and ponderous”? Me, I’ll take it any day of the week, especially if the sole alternative on offer is “hasty and stupid,” as it appears to be.

CONDUCTING MILITARY OPERATIONS IN YEMEN BECOMES MORE COMPLICATED FOR US

 

After the recent raid of the US Special Forces in Yemen, it will be more difficult to conduct ground operations on the territory of the country for the US.

UPD: Yemen did not issue an outright ban on future American-led missions, though the country has called for a ‘reassessment’ of a raid, conducted by the US Special Forces on January 28, the Washington Post newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing a Yemen’s top diplomat.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdul-Malik al-Mekhlafi also told the AP news agency that “Yemen continues to cooperate with the United States and continues to abide by all the agreements,” adding that the Yemeni government “is involved in talks with the US administration on the latest raid.”

“It’s not true what’s being said,” a senior Yemeni official said, talking about the Yemeni ban on operations of the US Special Forces. “We and the international community are working side-by-side to fight terrorism,” he said.

In addition, the US Central Command has not stopped its operations on the territory of the country.

“We have not been directed to stop any operations against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” US mil CENTCOM spox about end to Yemen raids

US President Donald Trump, who announced the fight against international terrorism as one of his main priorities, met with the first failure – after the recent raid of the US Special Forces on Al-Qaeda headquarters in Yemen led to the deaths of civilians, the authorities of the Arab country have expressed a strong protest against such special operations of Washington, the Kommersant newspaper reported.

The problem of the US is worsened by the fact that the current Yemeni government are completely dependent on Saudi Arabia that means that the demarche, taken by them against the White House, could be sanctioned by one of the most influential countries in the Arab world.

The immediate occasion of the tough statement of the Yemeni authorities was results of the US SEAL’s raid on the headquarters of the Al-Qaeda group in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), carried out on January 29, during which 14 terrorists, one US soldier and at least ten civilians, including women and children, were killed.

According to an official version of the Pentagon, the operation had “purely a reconnaissance nature”: the aim was to seize computers and mobile phones of terrorists, as well as data on activities of the AQAP. But in fact, the special forces’ soldiers had one more task – to capture or kill AQAP commander Qasim al-Rimi, who is considered by the US as one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world. However, the US Special Forces did not manage to capture or kill him. Last Sunday, al-Rimi published online a video, in which he said that the “madman from the White House received a slap in the very beginning of his way.”

At the moment, Yemen actually is a divided state. Its northern regions, including the capital of Sanaa, are controlled by the pro-Iranian Shiite movement of Ansar Allah. An Arab coalition, created by Saudi Arabia, which supports President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, recognized by the world community, has been fighting against the movement.

The government of Hadi came to power virtually as a result of a military operation, organized by Riyadh and its allies. Given this circumstance, it is difficult to imagine that the loud demarche against the new US administration was taken without an approval of Saudi Arabia. Consequently, the Donald Trump’s team runs the risk to get not only a traditional partner and ally in the face of Riyadh, as it usually was, but also a tough opponent.

At the same time, an advisor to the director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Elena Suponina, told the newspaper that there also could be another reason for such a statement of the Yemeni government – the Yemeni authorities were forced to react to the actions of the US Special Forces “under pressure of people.”

She reminded that Yemen was among the seven countries with predominantly Muslim population, for which Trump tried to impose a ban on entry into the US. On the other hand, according to Suponina, the Yemeni authorities would not be able to stay without military and technical assistance of Washington in the fight against terrorism. In this way, the expert suggested that there would be “backroom bargaining” between the Trump’s administration and the Yemeni government.

Iran war rhetoric and the ‘Trump-ordered’ dawn raid in Yemen: WWIII isn’t ‘coming’ – It’s happening NOW

Iran war rhetoric and the 'Trump-ordered' dawn raid in Yemen: WWIII isn't 'coming' - It's happening NOW

US government rhetoric against Iran has lately hit levels not seen since the Bush administration, and a string of events over the last couple of weeks in and around Yemen appears to be the reason for it. US drone strikes and airstrikes against targets in Yemen took place before, during and after Trump’s inauguration, but it was the US Special Forces (Navy Seals 6) raid in central Yemen on January 28th that got the US media’s attention. Two…

Misrepresenting Russia Promo (very interesting project)

Dear Pres. Trump,

4th February 2017 Remains of a Nusra Front-led extemist militant centre in Hanano, East Aleppo after liberation by the SAA and allies, December 2016. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley) 21st Century Wire says… Since 2011 the United States government, led by President Barack Obama, has adopted an open policy of supporting an armed opposition in Syria. While […]

via Dear America: Stop Supporting Terrorism in Syria and Globally — The Wall Will Fall