In the middle of October, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told reporters that the Brazilian government would be developing a customized, secure email system in an effort to secure and shield official government communications from spying efforts. The announcement follows Rousseff’s condemnation of U.S. spying efforts conducted by U.S. intelligence agencies against foreign government officials. She was so furious about the revelations that she cancelled a state meeting to Washington, and she plans to host an international conference on Internet governance in April of 2014 (1). President Rousseff’s initial fury stemmed from revelations within documents from Edward Snowden, 30-year-old former NSA contractor, which revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) specifically spied on Rousseff’s own official communications, as well as those of her associates and the state-controlled oil company Petrobras. Earlier in the month, we reported the creation of the private Flagger app – an effort by U.S. citizens to flood the Internet with “red flag” words that the NSA would be monitoring for. Brazil’s efforts to develop its own secure email system marks the beginning of what will likely become an international shift toward customized software and Internet security to defend against NSA surveillance efforts.
Browsing Government Intelligence
The recent release of classified documents concerning the CIA’s secret reconnaissance project, the U-2, has rekindled a fascination with the program. However, it is not just the program that has caught the public’s eye. The amount of disinformation that surrounded the U-2 is just as interesting as the project itself. One aspect of that disinformation was discussed in a previous article about when the government noticed an increased number of UFO reports and did little to dispel the UFO myth. Another disinformation campaign concerning the U-2 occurred in 1960 and a major participant was NASA. The U-2 program began in 1954 in an effort to build a high altitude reconnaissance plane. When the U-2 began flying covert missions, President Eisenhower began laying the foundation for a cover story. In case the plane was seen, or captured, the President wanted people to believe that the U-2 was not anything more than a research plane used for weather research domestically and abroad. In an attempt to give the story some sense of validity, the President had the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, NASA ‘s predecessor, issue a press release claiming that the aircraft was theirs and that all it was studying was weather. Even though the press release officially came from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, many (including foreign governments) did not buy the cover story.
During five days in May 1970, DARPA and the U.S. Navy participated in a workshop to explore the idea of using bistatic and/or monostatic radar to detect and track aircraft, missiles, ships and even submarines at over-the-horizon distances. The two agencies were exploring these ideas in an effort to create an ocean-focused surveillance and early warning system. The workshop focus was on the feasibility of using a bistatic radar system to create the surveillance and early warning system and to determine if a bistatic system would be more successful than a monostatic system.
Following Edward Snowden’s revelations about the US bugging and spying on European embassies and harvesting foreign e-mails, relations between Europe and the US are fragile, to say the least. However, as much as Europe has a renewed sense of paranoia that their online activities and phone calls are being monitored by their transatlantic neighbors, apparently it’s not surveillance and data protection that Europeans are primarily worried about. According to a new report, it’s America’s use of armed drones that is causing the most concern to Europeans and heightening transatlantic tension. Anthony Dworkin, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, wrote about Europe’s stance on US drones in a CNN blog. According to Dworkin, it is America’s use of armed drones to kill terrorist suspects away from the battlefield that is producing the most complications for relations between Europe and the US. (1) Dworkin talks of how European governments have shown a “curiously passive approach to America’s drone strikes”. The report goes on to state that many Europeans view that such strikes are unlawful but their governments have maintained an “uneasy silence on the issue”.
What is flying over Quincy, Massachusetts and why? During the past several weeks aircraft have been flying low and slow circling over Quincy, Massachusetts. However, no one knows why. No one except the federal government, that is, and they are not divulging any details about the recent aerial activity. However, the recent activity has local residents concerned if their safety is at risk. Has the government heightened its domestic aerial surveillance and if so, why over Quincy, MA specifically? Unfortunately, the few facts derived from eyewitness accounts leave more questions than answers. The aircraft have been flying nearly every night for the past few weeks except on nights when it has been extremely cloudy or rainy. It has been reported by witnesses that the aircraft begin their flights around dusk and continue throughout the night until dawn. All the while the aircraft steadily loop from one end of the area to the other. However, no one is saying why. Local officials, such as the City Councilman and the Mayor, are in the dark as to what is going. Both men state when they posed their questions to the FAA the only answers they received in return was, “I can’t tell you that.” (1) So it seems the FAA is well aware, but is being tight-lipped.
If you ask a ten-year-old boy what he wants to be when he grows up, the chances that he’ll say “James Bond” are relatively high. Working for top secret agencies and traveling the world spying on dangerous criminals is portrayed through Hollywood as a glamorous job, so it’s no wonder much of the younger generation aspire to work for the likes of MI5 and the CIA when they grow up. Although contrary to the rather adolescent surmise, predisposed by Hollywood somewhat, that the CIA stands for “Coolness In Action”, working for the CIA isn’t glamorous or dangerous all the time, and for the majority of officers, as the CIA states on its website, “it’s more like a normal 9-to-5 job.” Keen to dispel the myth that all CIA officers drive luxury sports cars, are armed with “Q-type” gadgets and jet off around the world on secret missions, the CIA website has devoted a fair amount of literature on its website aimed at debunking the popular glamor myths surrounding the agency, created predominantly by Hollywood.
There are a number of technologies being explored by the U.S. government for the sake of national security. One of the best documents to review those proposed technologies is the 2012 budget request from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This document not only reveals technologies and activities given the highest priority by DHS, but it also hints at a focus on development of future technologies and gives a glimpse of the direction the government is headed in strengthening the nation’s borders and bolstering the nation’s security. It’s important to stay aware of these activities, because while the legitimate and appropriate use of such technologies would certainly lead to more secure borders and a safer nation, the inappropriate use of many of these same technologies could potentially conflict with the liberties of American citizens that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The following are some of the more interesting technologies revealed in this budget request document from DHS.
Whenever you actively participate in any activity involving “secrets” of any sort, you’re bound to draw in people that are a little bit…unstable. When I first got started here at Top Secret Writers, I dug into the history surrounding the Bavarian professor Adam Weishaupt and his student group at the University of Ingolstadt known as the Perfectibilists. This was the group that later became known as the “Illuminati”, integrated with secret societies through Europe, and even helped fuel the French Revolution. Unfortunately, even when you are doing legitimate historical research, you get inundated with nutcases asking you how they can join the Illuminati. Did they even read the articles? Probably not. Apparently, the CIA faces the same issue constantly. This occurred so much during the 40s and 50s that, in 1965, David McLean wrote a CIA paper titled “Cranks, Nuts and Screwballs”, detailing just how extensive this problem was. In his paper, internally classified as “Confidential” at the time, David described how every time the CIA makes the news, the “flow of oddball letters and phone calls increases perceptibly.” I thought that his descriptions of the sorts of “screwballs” they came in contact with over the years was more than worthy of an article right here at TSW. This confidential paper was finally released to the public on September 18, 1995. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s an entertaining read.
News about an Iranian court sentencing an alleged American spy to death is now hitting the mainstream media like a storm. However, the blog IntelNews.org covered the story weeks ago, when writer Joseph Fitsanakis reported on the release of the video tape by the Iranians of Amir Mirzaei Hekmati admitting that he was a CIA spy. According to the IntelNews report, Amir disappeared in September while traveling to visit his family in Iran,a nd his parents back in Michigan did not hear anything about his whereabouts until December 18th. According to Amir’s father, Ali Hekmati, his son did work as a translator during his time in the US Marine Core in Iraq, and subsequently worked as a private contractor after his military service, still doing translation work for the Marines.
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What does NSA mean?” – this article is a brief history of how the agency came into being shortly after WWII. In 1949, after World War II, there was a recognized need for greater coordination and cooperation between the various branches of the armed forces who had often worked alone on code breaking and intelligence gathering during the war. As such, the Armed Forces Security Agency was established in May of 1949 within the Department of Defence to facilitate greater signals communication and to make any intelligence information completely secure from enemy eyes. Despite good intentions, the AFSA was largely ineffective and inefficient and was often limited by what it could do as it was difficult for them to operate with a degree of autonomy outside the military. As such, at the beginning of the 50s the National Security Agency (NSA) was formed and tasked with intelligence security duties, coordination with foreign intelligence agencies and using technological innovation to gather information on other countries such as the USSR and Cuba.