• Le patron de la NSA défend la « mission noble » de son agence

    Le général Keith Alexander, patron de l’Agence américaine de sécurité nationale (NSA) a estimé, mercredi 25 septembre lors d’une conférence à Washington sur la sécurité informatique, le Billington Cybersecurity Summit, que les révélations sur ses programmes de surveillance par l’ancien consultant Edward Snowden, avaient été « dramatisées et exacerbées dans la plupart des médias ».

    « Ce qui a été mis en avant dans la plupart des médias, c’est que nous écoutons vos conversations, que nous lisons vos e-mails. Ce n’est pas vrai. Nous savons que notre travail est de défendre ce pays. C’est une mission noble.

    L’avenir de ce pays dépend de notre capacité à nous défendre contre les attaques informatiques et les menaces terroristes, et nous avons besoin d’outils pour le faire ».

    Le général Alexander a assuré qu’il y avait eu très peu d’attentats aux Etats-Unis depuis ceux du 11 septembre 2001, au regard de la croissance des menaces dans le monde. « Ce n’est pas un hasard, c’est dû à un gros travail », a-t-il souligné, en rappelant que plus de 50 menaces terroristes dans le monde avaient été contrecarrées grâce aux renseignements recueillis à l’aide des programmes de surveillance, qui ont été très critiqués par l’Allemagne et le Brésil.

  • Meet the Microsoft Billionaire Who’s Trying to Reboot U.S. Counterterrorism - By Shane Harris | Foreign Policy

    Add to Nathan Myhrvold’s already eclectic résumé — which includes ex-chief technology officer of Microsoft, co-founder of one of the world’s largest patent-holding firms, and author of a $625 cookbook — a new credit: terrorism expert.

    Myhrvold, a famous autodidact, recently published a 33-page paper that he rousingly calls, “Strategic Terrorism: A Call to Action.” The core of his argument is easy enough to understand, and probably true: The United States is more focused on stopping a guy who blows up an airplane and kills 300 people than on a guy who intentionally spreads smallpox and kills 300,000.

    “In my estimation, the U.S. government, although well-meaning, is unable to protect us from the greatest threats we face,” Myhrvold writes. “[M]odern technology can provide small groups of people with much greater lethality than ever before. We now have to worry that private parties might gain access to weapons that are as destructive as — or possibly even more destructive than — those held by any nation-state.”

    #anti-terrorisme #silicon_army #peur

  • Exclusive: Does Israel Have Chemical Weapons Too? - By Matthew M. Aid | Foreign Policy

    A newly discovered CIA document indicates that Israel likely built up a chemical arsenal of its own.


    Reports have circulated in arms control circles for almost 20 years that Israel secretly manufactured a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons to complement its nuclear arsenal. Much of the attention has been focused on the research and development work being conducted at the Israeli government’s secretive Israel Institute for Biological Research at Ness Ziona, located 20 kilometers south of Tel Aviv.

    But little, if any, hard evidence has ever been published to indicate that Israel possesses a stockpile of chemical or biological weapons. This secret 1983 CIA intelligence estimate may be the strongest indication yet.

    • But what makes the single page found at the Reagan Library so explosive is that it contains the complete and unredacted portion of the intelligence estimate that details what the CIA thought it knew back in 1983 about Israel’s work on chemical weapons, which the CIA’s censors had carefully excised from the version released to the National Archives in 2009.
      The estimate shows that in 1983 the CIA had hard evidence that Israel possessed a chemical weapons stockpile of indeterminate size, including, according to the report, “persistent and non-persistent nerve agents.” The persistent nerve agent referred to in the document is not known, but the non-persistent nerve agent in question was almost certainly sarin.
      But the CIA assessment suggests that the Israelis accelerated their research and development work on chemical weapons following the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. According to the report, U.S. intelligence detected “possible tests” of Israeli chemical weapons in January 1976, which, again, almost certainly took place somewhere in the Negev Desert. A former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer whom I interviewed recalled that at about this time, the National Security Agency captured communications showing that Israeli air force fighter-bombers operating from Hatzerim Air Base outside the city of Beersheba in southern Israel had been detected conducting simulated low-level chemical weapons delivery missions at a bombing range in the Negev Desert.
      (…)To complicate things further, in January 1976 the long-simmering civil war in Lebanon was beginning to heat up. And the CIA was increasingly concerned about the growing volume of evidence, much of it coming from human intelligence sources inside Israel, indicating that the Israeli nuclear weapons stockpile was growing both in size and raw megatonnage. At the same time that all this was happening, the Israeli “chemical weapons” test mentioned in CIA document occurred. It increased the already-heightened level of concern within the U.S. intelligence community about what the Israelis were up to.
      At some point in late 1982, as the Reagan administration strove with minimal success to get the Israeli government to withdraw its forces from Lebanon, American spy satellites discovered what the 1983 CIA intelligence described as “a probable CW nerve agent production facility and a storage facility ... at the Dimona Sensitive Storage Area in the Negev Desert.”

      The CIA report, however, provides no further elucidation about the size or production capacity of the newly discovered Israeli nerve agent production facility near Dimona, or even where the so-called “Dimona Sensitive Storage Area” was located.

      At my request, a friend of mine who retired years ago from the U.S. intelligence community began systematically scanning the available cache of commercial satellite imagery found on the Google Maps website, looking for the mysterious and elusive Israeli nerve agent production facility and weapons storage bunker complex near the city of Dimona where Israel stores its stockpile of chemical weapons.

      It took a little while, but the imagery search found what I believe is the location of the Israeli nerve agent production facility and its associated chemical weapons storage area in a desolate and virtually uninhabited area of the Negev Desert just east of the village of al-Kilab, which is only 10 miles west of the outskirts of the city of Dimona. The satellite imagery shows that the heavily protected weapons storage area at al-Kilab currently consists of almost 50 buried bunkers surrounded by a double barbed-wire-topped fence and facilities for a large permanent security force. I believe this extensive bunker complex is the location of what the 1983 CIA intelligence estimate referred to as the Dimona Sensitive Storage Area.

      If you drive two miles to the northeast past the weapons storage area, the satellite imagery shows that you run into another heavily guarded complex of about 40 or 50 acres. Surrounded again by a double chain-link fence topped with barbed wire, the complex appears to consist of an administrative and support area on the western side of facility. The eastern side of the base, which is surrounded by its own security fence, appears to consist of three large storage bunkers and a buried production and/or maintenance facility. Although not confirmed, the author believes that this may, in fact, be the location of the Israeli nerve agent production facility mentioned in the 1983 CIA report.

  • Questioning Credibility - By Shibley Telhami | Foreign Policy

    What the Middle East really thinks about chemical weapons and U.S. intervention in Syria.

    The common denominators of regional perceptions of CW use and U.S. intervention are the mistrust of American policy and the ranking of the U.S. and Israel as the two “biggest threats” facing the Middle East. (...)

    Similarly, most Arabs have opposed U.S. action in Syria in large part because they see every American move as intended to serve suspicious interests. (Indeed, Arab public attitudes toward the U.S. role in Syria have not coincided nicely with the region’s strong anti-Assad mood.) Even if the U.S. intervenes in Syria under humanitarian auspices, it will be seen as nefarious.

  • La NSA a commis"des milliers" d’infractions aux lois sur la vie privée - ÉTATS-UNIS - FRANCE 24


    Le Washington Post a révélé jeudi, que des « milliers » d’infractions avaient été commises par l’Agence nationale de la sécurité (#NSA) américaine, en s’appuyant des documents secrets livrés au journal par Edward #Snowden.

    Des « milliers » d’infractions aux lois sur le respect de la #vie_privée ont été commises par l’Agence nationale de la sécurité (NSA), a rapporté jeudi 16 août le Washington Post sur son site internet. Des violations observés depuis que l’agence américaine du renseignement a été dotée de nouveaux pouvoirs, il y a cinq ans.

    Ces infractions ont été révélées par une analyse d’un audit interne et d’autres documents secrets, qui ont été livrés au journal par l’ancien consultant américain du renseignement Edward Snowden.

    L’un des documents cité par le Washington Post montre que la NSA avait ordonné à ses équipes de falsifier des rapports adressés au département de la Justice et au Bureau du directeur du Renseignement national, en remplaçant certains détails, selon l’article.

    Selon le journal, la NSA a également caché la surveillance non intentionnelle de plusieurs Américains. Ainsi, en 2008, un « grand nombre » d’appels téléphoniques en provenance de Washington ont été surveillés après une erreur de programmation qui a interverti le préfixe de la zone de la capitale américaine (202) avec celui de l’Égypte (20). L’erreur n’avait pas été révélée à l’équipe de surveillance de la NSA, indique l’article du Post.

    Selon la même source, l’audit sur la NSA, daté de mai 2012, a dénombré 2 776 incidents au cours des 12 mois précédents, concernant des « collectes, stockages, accès et communication de données protégées légalement, sans autorisation ».

    La plupart de ces incidents n’étaient pas intentionnels, mais nombre d’entre eux sont dus à des défaillances, ou à la violation des procédures normales.

    « Nous sommes une agence conduite par des humains et agissant dans un environnement complexe avec un grand nombre de régimes de régulation différents, c’est pourquoi nous nous retrouvons parfois du mauvais côté de la barrière », a déclaré un haut responsable de la NSA s’exprimant sous couvert de l’anonymat, en réponse aux questions du journal.

    Latest Leak: NSA Abused Rules To Spy On Americans ’Thousands Of Times Each Year’ - http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130815/18185824196/latest-leak-nsa-abused-rules-to-spy-americans-thousands-times-each-year.sh

    Even worse, this report only covers the NSA’s activities in the DC area. Other NSA locations are not covered.

    Three government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters, said the number would be substantially higher if it included other NSA operating units and regional collection centers.

    White House Tried To Interfere With Washington Post’s Report, And To Change Quotes From NSA | Techdirt


    Among the many, many incredible revelations from the Washington Post report on the abuses by the NSA is a tidbit about an interview that the Post was able to do with the NSA’s director of compliance, John DeLong, followed by the White House’s attempt to completely whitewash the interview and block his quotes from being used, despite being told otherwise initially:

    The Obama administration referred all questions for this article to John DeLong, the NSA’s director of compliance, who answered questions freely in a 90-minute interview. DeLong and members of the NSA communications staff said he could be quoted “by name and title” on some of his answers after an unspecified internal review. The Post said it would not permit the editing of quotes. Two days later, White House and NSA spokesmen said that none of DeLong’s comments could be quoted on the record and sent instead a prepared statement in his name. The Post declines to accept the substitute language as quotations from DeLong.

    Read that again. This is the same White House that has been saying that they want to be as transparent as possible and to rebuild trust. And yet, here they are trying to block the Post from using an interview — an interview they suggested in the first place — and then to replace it with a bland and bogus “statement.”

    #surveillance #mensonges

    • NSA’s Defense Of All Those Abuses: ’Well, Compared To All The Spying We Do, We Don’t Abuse It That Often’ | Techdirt

      In our initial report about the Washington Post’s astounding revelations about NSA abuses of surveillance, we posted part of the NSA’s “defense” to these abuses, but we left out the truly crazy part, which came right after the part we initially quoted:

      You can look at it as a percentage of our total activity that occurs each day,” he said. “You look at a number in absolute terms that looks big, and when you look at it in relative terms, it looks a little different.

      This was a senior NSA official, almost certainly the NSA’s “compliance director” arguing, in effect, “we do so much spying, that a few thousand mistakes per year is really no big deal.” Except, remember, throughout all of this, all of the NSA’s defenders, from President Obama to James Clapper to Keith Alexander to Mike Rogers, keep insisting that abuse is next to impossible.

      Yet, now even the NSA is admitting that “in absolute terms” there’s a lot of abuse, but we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about it, because in relative terms, it’s not that much. This is the point at which anyone who understands the difference between absolute and relative numbers, and when each is the appropriate measure to use, starts coughing up a lung. The relative amount is meaningless here. The absolute number means everything, because it shows that abuse is widespread and happens daily — something that the program’s defenders have been trying to deny for months.

    • NSA revelations of privacy breaches ’the tip of the iceberg’ – Senate duo | World news | theguardian.com

      Two US senators on the intelligence committee said on Friday that thousands of annual violations by the National Security Agency on its own restrictions were “the tip of the iceberg.”

      “The executive branch has now confirmed that the rules, regulations and court-imposed standards for protecting the privacy of Americans’ have been violated thousands of times each year,” said senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, two leading critics of bulk surveillance, who responded Friday to a Washington Post story based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      “We have previously said that the violations of these laws and rules were more serious than had been acknowledged, and we believe Americans should know that this confirmation is just the tip of a larger iceberg.”

      On July 31, Wyden, backed by Udall, vaguely warned other senators in a floor speech that the NSA and the director of national intelligence were substantively misleading legislators by describing improperly collected data as a matter of innocent and anodyne human or technical errors.

      In keeping with their typically cautious pattern when discussing classified information, Wyden and Udall did not provide details about their claimed “iceberg” of surveillance malfeasance. But they hinted that the public still lacks an adequate understanding of the NSA’s powers to collect data on Americans under its controversial interpretation of the Patriot Act.

    • Argh, Free article limit . On peut récupérer le code source et lire, mais c’est moins confortable…

      He said at one point that a lot of things aren’t clearly legal, but that doesn’t make them illegal” says a former military
      intelligence officer who served under Alexander at INSCOM.