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As Long as We Remember...

June 17, 2013

Surrogates, Spies, and Third Party Espionage

Steven R. Berryman

Believe nothing that you hear, and only half of what you see. Agents claiming to act on behalf of your best interests are positioned to dominate your privacy, with the willing complicity of trusted “corporate partners.”


It also goes without saying that you should beware the words on this page, too, as the technology exists to alter them – in real time – between the time I write them, and when you, perhaps, may read them.


As this white-paper about the National Security Agency (NSA) scandal and speculation surrounding spy capabilities becomes a column, and eventually a blog post, I also know that any audience searching for it by Google can easily be manipulated via keyword, shutting down readership, which we can also term censorship. What appears in Google search results is always manipulated, or hidden. Those in charge at Google did an amazing job for Campaign Obama just a year ago.


I scribe this column because I inherently know that technology has outpaced laws and rights of personal protection once enumerated; and that citizen-solvency is being undermined by a paranoid intelligence establishment that serves itself first, with the excuse that what they do is for you. Well, part of that is true, but the other part is a self-serving “cover story.”


The topic of an overreaching government security apparatus is amazingly hot right now. At Sheetz I overheard a group of redneck lawn service guys, filling up mowers, argue about what exactly was safe to put on the Internet. At work, long lost friends show up to do business with me, and randomly blurt out their fears about this intrusiveness scandal.


In a late night texting session with my political friend, Hayden Duke, he observed that “What I find interesting is that the government demands privacy for what they do, but we are not able to expect the same. I have far more to fear and distrust from the government than I do my fellow citizen.”


Not that “spies gone wild” hasn’t been with us for many administrations, but when President Barack Obama ran on a platform of unparalleled transparency for us all, and then became the captain of “more of the same,” even the most well indoctrinated seem to be losing the faith.


Witness the whistleblower Edward Snowden. He was raised a patriot, in the shadow of Fort Meade, and still turned into a leaker.


What we don’t know about the secret agencies is necessarily enormously larger than what we do know; so, an opportunity to peek in as voyeur under Snowden can be a valuable lesson in terms of learning of our vulnerabilities, despite that the act of leaking itself is fully criminal.


The secrecy culture is such that the agents operating the agencies themselves had to turn to a book, “The Puzzle Palace,” and then to “Body of Secrets,” by James Bamford to glean understanding of the scope of our self-spying. Mr. Bamford explained much of the techniques technically.


But the blanket information vacuuming itself means that protected innocents themselves were at risk of accidental targeting.


How can this happen, with legal constraints?


Telecommunication and engineering giants are routinely enlisted with and partner with our government. ATT, for example, might route a digital switching center off shore and then back into THIS country in a needless loop that would allow for collecting data out of our nation, thus avoiding our privacy laws. This is but a small facet.


False flag operations and unsavory cooperation exist inside many American corporations. A facility for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) resides inside a masqueraded engineering facility near Chantilly, VA....Facebook willingly allows facial recognition software...


Other corporations known to trade customer data for favors include Verizon, Google, Booz Allen, Hamilton, Scitor, NGC, Bechtel, McAfee, and many more.


Was Microsoft released from a Department of Justice suit involving billions in return for access and codes? Certainly favors are traded.


The insidious third-party contractor spying is impossible to monitor, so forget the power of oversight to protect us. Should the spy kingdom run amok, and conduct political favors as did the Internal Revenue Service, we can become a police state in very short order.


Black operational budgets and an ability to self-generate funds by technical means also contribute to the absence of knowing the extent of overreaching. Covert spy technology could mine Wall Street and banking to siphon-off cash quite easily, especially in the all electronic NASDAQ trading servers. You would never know....unless your portfolio dwindled.


So, we have sacrificed trust in government for protection, and do not expect disclosure. We rely on insider patriots leaks for our checks and balances? Not good.


“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”


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