Just when you thought you knew what the government's spy state was up to - thanks to Ed Snowden's heroics - along comes the National Security Analysis Cneter (NSAC). As PhaseZero exposes, they are not who you think they are. They are not the NSA or the CIA. The NSAC is an obscure element of the Justice Department that has grown from its creation in 2008 into a sprawling 400-person, $150 million-a-year multi-agency organization employing almost 300 analysts "for the purpose of monitoring the electronic footprints of terrorists and their supporters, identifying their behaviors, and providing actionable intelligence." Read that again "and their supporters." As PhaseZero concludes, this shadow government agency is considerably scarier than the NSA.
A week ago, Russian "crime syndicates" were blamed when the IRS announced that a "major cyber breach allowed criminals to steal the tax returns of more than 100,000 people." Today, it is China's turn to be blamed following a report that the FBI is probing what has been described as "one of the largest thefts of government data ever seen."
“A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy.”
Our general rule of thumb when it comes to legislation is that the more high-sounding the name, the more insidious the law.
Exhibit A: the just-passed USA FREEDOM Act.
There's Always Been Some Corruption in the U.S. ... But Never Like THIS
As the Senate scrambled to pass the USA Freedom Act this evening, reinstating the agency’s ability to spy on Americans, Ron Paul points out that US intelligence organizations have always – and will continue – to operate outside the law; with Daniel McAdams noting the CIA "is sort of the President’s own Praetorian Guard." As Sputnik News reports, before Americans applaud a minor step toward transparency, Paul warns that they should recognize the corrosive nature of the CIA, "They are a secret government," operating way above the law, and are "way out of control."
While one should remain skeptical of just exactly what will happen, the Senate voted in the majority on Tuesday in favor of the USA Freedom Act, adopting the same version of the bill that had overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last month by 338-88. The USA Freedom Act (theoretically) ends the NSA’s bulk collection of phone metadata, it allows that information to be stored instead by telecommunications providers, which could then be accessed by intelligence agencies with a warrant. While sold as reigning in the agency’s surveillance powers, the bill allows the NSA to resume collecting intelligence... Realistically it appears nothing more than a great PR effort to bury the spy state even deeper
"US authorities need to take serious actions to show some sincerity, and to prove that they are not bad guys. Perhaps letting one of the most controversial intelligence-related acts expire is an acceptable solution."
With signs of cracks in the Equal-Weight S&P 500?s relative performance, we have more evidence that all is not necessarily as rosy as it may seem with the major averages near all-time highs.
- Senate lets NSA spy program lapse, at least for now (Reuters)
- Draghi Deflation Relief Means Little With Greek Threat Unsolved (BBG)
- Tepid factory data add to Asian gloom (FT)
- Citigroup Likely to Close Banamex USA (WSJ)
- Frugality of High Earners in U.S. Shows Long Shadow of Recession (BBG)
- Greece’s Tsipras Warns Bell May Toll for Europe (BBG)
- Carnegie Mellon Reels After Uber Lures Away Researchers (WSJ)
- Romário leads drive for Brazilian probe into Fifa (FT)
- Faster than China? India's road, rail drive could lay doubts to rest (Reuters)
Remember China's 6% crash last week? It is now a distant memory made even more remote thanks to the latest batch of ugly data out of China, coupled with hints of even more liquidity injections, which led to the latest surge in the Shcomp, an index that has put most pennystocks to shame. In Europe, the big story remains Greece, and as everyone expected, the doomed country and its creditors failed to make a deal on Sunday. This is after Greek Officials were said to have prepared a draft agreement, which was expected to be announced on Sunday. Not helping things, Greek PM Tsipras came out in fully defiant mode and accused bailout monitors of making “absurd” demands and seeking to impose “harsh punishment” on Athens. A bunch of final PMI number showed a modest improvement in the periphery at the expense of Germany whose deterioration is starting to be a concern.
It took 31 years, but it appears that the origins of 1984 are finally upon us. It’s happening all across the West at an alarming pace, and people are willing to allow it. That’s the funny thing about freedom. True freedom means that you are free to be an idiot. Unfortunately most people in the West are caged birds. It might be a nice cage with plenty of Starbucks and Bed, Bath, and Beyond megastores. But it’s a cage... filled with clueless birds chirping away about how free they are.
"U.S. surveillance imagery shows China has positioned weaponry on one of the artificial islands it is developing in the South China Sea," WSJ reports. US Defense Secretary says the US will "fly, sail, and operate" wherever it wants.
The Clinton Foundation Paid Sidney Blumenthal $10K/Month As He Gave Horrible Libya Advice To State DeptSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/28/2015 22:15 -0400
"While advising Mrs. Clinton on Libya, Mr. Blumenthal, who had been barred from a State Department job by aides to President Obama, was also employed by her family’s philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation, to help with research, “message guidance” and the planning of commemorative events, according to foundation officials... Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government."