The CIA Even Spies On The Senate; Here's How To Take Back Your Digital Privacy

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Simon Black at Sovereign Man blog,

Back in March serious allegations came out of the Senate that the CIA was monitoring and even hacking Senate computers. They were denied vehemently at the time by CIA director John Brennan, who went so far as to say “that’s just beyond the scope of reason.”

Unsurprisingly, of course, the CIA has now come out saying that, yes, they did in fact spy on Senate aides’ computers. Oh, and that they’re sorry. Very sorry.

This is stuff that would have been a major scandal not too long ago, causing a public outcry for the heads of those responsible.

Today, it seems par for the course. It’s taken for granted that governments around the world, spearheaded by Uncle Sam, monitor communication via email, phone, social networks, webcam etc. en masse.

And nothing happens.

Despite Edward Snowden’s decision last year to basically condemn his life to that of a fugitive and branded “traitor” by shedding a major spotlight on just exactly how brazenly and extensively the US government invades the privacy of people all around the world, the reaction, at least in the US, was muted.

As the saying goes, ‘The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.’

Even though government surveillance is becoming more and more invasive, there are ways to shield yourself from prying eyes.

If you agree with the premise that every person has the right to protect their personal matters and privacy from the Big Brother, there are free options to use out there that can ensure your communications, your digital presence and activity, and your data remain secure and private.

For calls, for example, the company Open Whisper Systems has developed apps that protect the privacy of your voice conversations.

If you’re an Android user, Red Phone is an open source app that secures your calls with end-to-end encryption. It uses your normal phone number and default dialer so you make calls just as you normally would, with no additional layers or steps necessary to protect your privacy.

To secure your text messages, the same company also has an app TextSecure that does just that.

If you’re an iPhone user, the developers of Red Phone and TextSecure took care of you too.

You can achieve the same result by using a free app called Signal – Private Messenger. Just as Red Phone, Signal makes end-to-end encrypted calls through Wi-Fi or mobile data, instead of your phone network.

Protecting your calls and texts from prying eyes and ears is just one piece of the puzzle if you want to take back your privacy.

There are so many different layers that you can protect—from your internet browsing to online searches, email, your data storage, payments etc.

We cover all these different aspects and options in our free Digital Privacy Black Paper.

I encourage you not only to implement the stuff we talk about in the Black Paper in order to take back your privacy, but to also share it with your friends and loved ones.

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Australian Economist's picture

The CIA is there to protect our freedom, so they should be spying on the Senate.

Joe Tierney's picture

The CIA is there to protect our freedom...


Uh, no!


The CIA is there to protect the govt from us trying to use our freedoms.

Skateboarder's picture

Sad or silly, this is the recurrent "Breaking News" of our time: "Spies spying on spies get spied on!"

There is no concept of privacy in the networking systems we currently use. Please accept the fact that the Internet Protocol does not offer 'privacy.' You need another networking architecture in which security and privacy are inherent and prized components. That can only exist in a 'civilization' where people care about each other and "the children" forreals.

AssFire's picture
Here's How To Take Back Your Digital Privacy:

Defund the government- Go Gualt

ZerOhead's picture

CIA and NSA have just alerted Congress that terrorists are now using the US mail system to arrange imminent deadly attacks on the homeland.

Obama Administration to prepare laws to require all mail now be sent in clear plastic ziplock baggies.

GLAD bag industry spokesperson say he couldn't be gladder....

Gief Gold Plox's picture

Is this the same Simon Black who said: "...passwords I had been using for more than ten years."?

aVileRat's picture

Password strength, simplified.

On another note, National Intelligence has a legit reason to spy on Gov. given the large and well documented history of bent Congressmen selling state secrets, being Honeypot targets and seeking cash donations from China/Soviet slush funds for their votes. Does it suck ? yes. So does having Bill from Housekeeping follow you to the Hooker Hotel.

Does it suck even more when you learn your Havah'd intern is a Sino-plant, yes. But you are damn glad when Ching is shipped back to Bejing BEFORE you join a DARPA pannel. Which is why CIA senate spying is no more an issue than having your compliance department read/monitor your corporate email.

Focusing on the What vs. the Why is a key method of media message dilution/discrediting.

The more you know.





seek's picture

Domestic counterintelligence is the FBI's jurisdiction, not CIA.

And no agency should ever be spyng on the comittee in charge of their oversight. If it's a concern, create a different committee with a different agency in charge of spying on them.

CH1's picture

Fuck the CIA and the Senate!

conspicio's picture

Nice one except Glad only makes trash bags and food storage let's go with Ziploc for the win. In that context, this must be the same Ziploc salesforce behind TSA's 311 quart bag rule...and too bad it is a privately held company, cause I woulda liked a piece of that kabuki security TSA wave of profit...

philipat's picture

I thought they also made "Handbags and GLADrags"?

SoberOne's picture

*over the load speaker £


"Golfer in chief, red phone line 1... golfer in chief, red phone line 1."

Bendromeda Strain's picture

No doubt - the reason the CIA supposedly hacked the staffers PCs was to look for evidence that they had absconded with some documents that they were supposed to "looky only, no takey". They found said evidence btw, so obviously Sandy Berger is remembered at more than just beach cookouts. bada boom

cooky puss's picture

"Please accept the fact that the Internet Protocol does not offer 'privacy.'"

Boy, I can tell you my VPN (aka internet condom) is on!

knukles's picture

1.) The moment you encrypt, you have raised your hands and asked to be examined.
2.) If it in any way is connected to the etherspace, it is vulnerable, 100%
3.) Read LawsofPhysics post below.... if you want secure, don't use electronic media.
4.) End of Conversation


we keep going over and over this same shit to no avail

Excursionist's picture

Wish I could disagree, but I can't.

For anyone interested, here are some points of vulnerability (not arrogant enough to suggest the list is exhaustive) that an app layer on a device cannot address:

- Device manufacturer mistakenly introduced chip-level, firmware bugs / weaknesses

- Device manufacturer purposely introduced chip-level, firmware bugs / weaknesses

- Device manufacturer purposely introduced chip-level, firmware backdoors

- Device manufacturer unknowingly had chip-level, firmware backdoors inserted

- Chip manufacturer (think Broadcom, Qualcomm, etc.) that sells to device manufacturers introduced a chip-level, firmware bug, weakness and / or backdoor

- Firmware developer that sells software to chip manufacturers introduced a bug, weakness and / or backdoor

- Operating system developer (i.e., Google, Microsoft and Apple) willfully and / or accidentally introduced a vulnerability

- Miscellaneous low-level apps that have access to plain text (e.g., app for typing text on a smartphone's digital keyboard) have bugs, weaknesses and / or backdoors

- App layer relies on an allegedly safe encryption standard such as AES

- User is of high interest, and someone incurred the expense of physically compromising his or her device without user's knowledge


allgoodmen's picture

What is needed is some collective "white noise." This could be done by designing browsers, plug-ins and apps to generate random encrypted traffic for security agencies to waste their time trying to break.

1) Firstly, as much traffic has to be encrypted as possible. There is nothing suspicious about HTTPS for instance.

Then we need general deployment of:

2) A browser or plug in that browses random pages and search results, from a pre-selected subset of topics, thru a workplace type filter of course. This smears your "fingerprint", dilutes your actual interests, as well as alibis your presence.

3) App or program to send random email, 1024 bit encrypted (each with one-time random keys, not stored since it is not intended to be actually opened), empty containers or containers containing above pages, of random size, to other users of the app or program which would automatically delete it.

4) App to send sporadic SMS with encrypted attachments same as #2.

Remember they know who you are. They have 1) Your IP address doesn't change much and your phone number rarely if at all. The only way to get privacy is to bury the agencies in a snowstorm of white noise.

If enough people did #3 and 4, the NSA storage farm would have to expand noticeably and they would have to hire an obvious number of crypto experts and techs to try to examine the captured messages.

shouldvekilledthem's picture


Maybe this reaction is their goal.

The internet is the only remaining medium of freedom.

There is TOR, Bitcoin, VPNs, I2P, TAILS (and other linux distros) and many more ever evolving tools at our disposal. 

Bloppy's picture

US Consulate in Karachi's bizarre promotion of hippie era:


Glad they have their priorities straight: sex, drugs, rock & roll in the Islamic world

LawsofPhysics's picture

Really?  Try this Simon, get the fuck off all digital media and the internet.  I promise, you will be secure, no one will find you.

sessinpo's picture

I agree with you.

Even with cell phones you can limit your exposure with a prepaid or no contract plan. Any information they require such as a name, you give them a false name.

CheapBastard's picture

I've reverted to the "two cans and a string method" ... seems ok so far.

813kml's picture

And you probably have better coverage than AT&T.

fallout11's picture

Don't laugh, but the Soviet Union continued to use field phones for semi-static battlefield communication long after western militaries moved to radios, as late as the late 1980's. Besides being cheaper and generally more rugged/reliable, communciations could not be interecepted (without literally sitting on the wire) nor could it be disrupted/jammed.

Spastica Rex's picture

His recommendations aren't bad, but are far too cumbersome to be widely implemented.

Plus, people don't give a shit - the game's already lost.

LawsofPhysics's picture

If the government has access to all the information on your phone, then there is no such thing as the ability to "encript" anything.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

If you have a rule based firewall that can block all outgoing traffic wireless, voice, sms, etc. you've essentially lockied down the phone. It is secure if it can't transmit period. It don't matter what malware gets snuck on as an app since they all need access to the antenna(s).

They can't use silent SMS pings to locate your phone for starters. Encryption is another issue but for starters you just don't use sms if you need to securely text message.

LawsofPhysics's picture

ah yes, I miss the days of "trianglation"...

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Here is the problem with apps like this.

Yes, TextSecure keeps your messages safe in two ways:

  1. It protects your messages using end-to-end encryption when you are communicating with other TextSecure users. You can read more about TextSecure's security here.
  2. It protects your messages on your phone using local encryption if you have a passphrase enabled. This keeps them away from prying eyes if your phone is lost or stolen.

App based encryption security like this requires other users to be using the same app.

The other issue is the storage of the keys, I haven't really checked this particular product but the keys are stored unencrypted on the phone. More robust solutions will use an encrypted SD card to store the keys and app on so if the popo asks to see your phone or confiscate it they still need to crack that first before they even get to your keys. Also if someone manages to slip in a trojan it is resistant to tapping into the line since it can't get at the key.

The encryption part of this program is not the problem it is the implementation which is lacking here. You are better off with a hardened vpn tunnel since that will attract less attention in the first place and is more widely implemented.


vulcanraven's picture

In recent weeks, I have been reading the complaints of sheeple all across the internet about the new Facebook messenger app and its abilities to manipulate the camera and microphone on your cellphone.

In protest, they have vowed "not to install the new Facebook Messenger app" because they believe it is an intrusion of their privacy.

Way to be ahead of the curve, schmucks.

conspicio's picture

I recently went back and reread the Ted Kaczinsky writings. Still a lot of crazy in there, but damn, some of that pro-Luddite stuff resonates a helluva lot more now than a number of years ago. Plus, the old Mad Magazine Spy versus Spy looks a lot more like a documentary rather than funny cartoons.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

For those who take their Privacy seriously, there's the Analog Real World.  Tradecraft 101.

For everyone else, there's the Black Report Or fancier versions of it.

Suggest you maximize your time in the Real World, and reduce time in the Cyber World (of the Matrix). 

But, while Online and plugged into the Matrix...

   1. Watch your choice of words:  replace danger-words or flame-words with weasel-words, or more precise words than generic slurs. 

   2. Start changing your habits, and adopt a Dual Persona:  A vanilla Public Persona while Online, and the real persona when Offline.  That's exactly what shills and agents of TPTB do:  Dual Personas.  Sheeple can't help but wear their "One Hats Fits All", of course.

p.s. As Common Courtesy: Thanks Simon.  The Report is great for 95% of the readers, and the price is right.  :-)

pakled's picture

Ki-rak! I think you got it pretty close.

ragemachinest's picture is also a good resource for solid software. Also, I like the Telegram app, which uses end to end encryption when you use a "Secret Chat".

Jorgen's picture (hosted in Iceland) - back to back encrypted email, instant messaging and videoconferencing for Windows, Mac, Linux and smartphones.

ragemachinest's picture

Hadn't heard of that one. Great to know! is one capable of doing encrypted emails that I like.

seek's picture

"If you’re an Android user, Red Phone is an open source app that secures your calls with end-to-end encryption. It uses your normal phone number and default dialer so you make calls just as you normally would, with no additional layers or steps necessary to protect your privacy."

LOL, using an app on a phone where the phone company has direct access to the entire contents of the phone (including encryption keys used by the app) is not what I would call secure.

MsCreant's picture

I'm with you this post is a joke. If you are someone who has a lot of knowldege and experience in this area, then maybe you can find loops and end runs. Someone like me, no way. I just have to know everything I say and do electronically is stored and can or even will be used against me at the time of their choosing.

I am developing some cognitive dissonance I think. Long ago we slept in caves and huts together. Privacy was an alien idea. I am internalizing the mind set that privacy is a cultural contruct. It was real for a while, and now it isn't again.

Of course what we dispise is the ONE WAY NATURE of the beast. They can know what we do, but we don't get transparency from them. That is the real crime here, the asymetrical power.

Oh yeah, I forgot to say "NSA you are limp dicked, sad, pathetic, power hungry twats. You hunker over your keyboards and spy on folks because you have nothing else to offer anyone."

Sorry seek, you were saying?....

Dr. Richard Head's picture

I like to take pictures of my bare ass, send them to myself in a text message with the words "Eat my ass TSA" on a regular basis.  It makes me smile at least.

Skateboarder's picture

Yo Ms., to add some distinction to this concept of privacy, there's "public" privacy, and "private" privacy. The public kind is the one where you provided the example of sleeping in caves and huts together for millennia - that is a social contract. The private kind is the one that the cosmos gave you - it is the doorway to your brain, and permission of entry is entirely selective by your mind. "They" grant themselves permission by tricking you, and it's a cosmic injustice.

JuliaS's picture

I was into electronics from a very young age. Lived in an areas where there was no telephone service whatsoever. I soldered my own communication devices from scrap (even wound speakers and microphones out of insulated wire, magnet shards and PVC pipe). I ran phone lines to friends' houses. I dug trenches, scaled rooftops for that. I was my own phone company and it felt great! Through, because the telephone service was only available between friends, those who weren't in the club didn't like it and would regularly cut lines and sabotage communications.

I bet those same kids grew up working for the NSA. Or maybe they became those "service is a right" ObamaCare people.

I wasn't a monopoly. I never prevented others from doing what I did, but that wasn't good enough for some.

Skateboarder's picture

You're fucking awesome as fuck. Keep doing what you've always done.

doctor10's picture

"Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."


Ayn Rand

DaveyJones's picture

"a reasonable expectation of privacy" is a springboard of Fourth Amendment law and I always wonder when they will finally stop pretending and just announce there is no more. 

css1971's picture

Which is why you should take a look at Jolla.

Atomizer's picture

Banking handlers blew the Dog Whistle. Obama has to break his vacation and comeback home.

We have a new twist for Turd in Chief to read from the Teleprompter. 

optimator's picture

And NSA spies on the CIA (Petraeus).

MarsInScorpio's picture

I've never plugged a business on ZH, but for ths topic I'm going to stick my neck out and make an exception. If that sends you ballistic, I ask for your pardon in advance . . .


Certified Expert Witnesses in Florida Circuit Court system as computer crimes experts - used by Public Defender's Office and private attorneys - the only non-law enforcement officers who are certified expert witnesses in the FL Panhandle circuit - Reciprocal states' agreements makes certification valid in any state or federal court:


Kenneth E. Lamb / Glenn Obert

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