Institute of Ethics & Emerging Technologies, June 10, 2013
It should be self-evident that recent NSA revelations bring up some grave concerns about civil liberties. But they also raise other profound and troubling questions – about the privatization of our military, our inflated expectations for digital technology, and the increasingly cozy relationship between Big Corporations (including Wall Street) and Big Defense.
Are these corporations perverting our political process? The campaign war chest for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who today said NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden committed “treason,” is heavily subsidized by defense and intelligence contractors that include General Dynamics, General Atomic, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, and Bechtel. One might argue that a politician with that kind of backing is in no moral position to lecture others about “treason.”
But Feinstein’s funders are decidedly old-school Military/Industrial Complex types. What about the new crowd? This confluence of forces hasn’t been named yet, so for the time being we’ll use a cumbersome label: the “Security/Digital Complex.” With computers and communications encompassing an ever-larger portion of human activity, we may someday learn that this new force dwarfs even its predecessors in the Feinstein camp when it comes to its impact on our democracy, our economy and our values.
There’s much we don’t know yet, so it’s wise to be cautious in describing this new force. But Edward Snowden’s revelations, and the reactions to them, are offering us a glimpse into rarely-seen intersections of Wall Street wealth, information technology, and the national security state.
by Jon Rappoport
June 11, 2013
Ed Snowden, NSA leaker. Honest man. Doing what was right. Bravo.
That still doesn’t preclude the possibility that, unknown to him, he was managed by people to put him the right place to expose NSA secrets.
Snowden’s exposure of NSA was a righteous act, because that agency is a RICO criminal. But that doesn’t mean we have the whole story.
How many people work in classified jobs for the NSA? And here is one man, Snowden, who is working for Booz Allen, an outside contractor, but is assigned to NSA, and he can get access to, and copy, documents that expose the spying collaboration between NSA and the biggest tech companies in the world—and he can get away with it.
If so, then NSA is a sieve leaking out of all holes. Because that means a whole lot of other, higher NSA employees can likewise steal these documents. Many, many other people can copy them and take them. Poof.
If the NSA is not a sieve, it’s quite correct to suspect Snowden, a relatively low-level man, was guided and helped.
Does that diminish what Snowden accomplished? No. But it casts it in a different light.
Or you can believe a scenario like this:
“Mr. Snowden, I’m closing up now for the day. Do you need anything before I go?”
“No thanks, Sarah, I’ll be staying late tonight.”
NSA isn’t a little community bank or a liquor store. We aren’t talking about an employee with a printer and a file folder to hold top-secret pieces of paper he carries in a briefcase out of the office on his way home.
If there are people who arranged Snowden’s access to NSA secrets, without him knowing it, they’ll be obscured by the maze of partisan political squabbling and Congressional idiots holding hearings.
Between these morons and the press, the public will be treated, night and day, to the following: Can Snowden be extradited back here? Is he a terrorist? Should those giant tech companies have agreed to supply the government with information on private citizens? If so, how much information? Etc., etc. Diversions. False trails.
To understand who might have been behind Snowden, we first need to understand the real reach of the Surveillance State.
The Surveillance State has created an apparatus whose implications are staggering. It’s a different world now. And sometimes it takes a writer of fiction to flesh out the larger landscape.
Brad Thor’s novel, Black List, posits the existence of a monster corporation, ATS, that stands along side the NSA in collecting information on every move we make. ATS’ intelligence-gathering capability is unmatched anywhere in the world.
At his site, www.BradThor.com, the author lists some of the open-source material he discovered that formed the basis for Black List. The material, as well as the novel, is worth reading.
On pages 117-118 of Black List, Thor makes a stunning inference that, on reflection, is as obvious as the fingers on your hand:
“For years ATS [substitute NSA] had been using its technological superiority to conduct massive insider trading. Since the early 1980s, the company had spied on anyone and everyone in the financial world. They listened in on phone calls, intercepted faxes, and evolved right along with the technology, hacking internal computer networks and e-mail accounts. They created mountains of ‘black dollars’ for themselves, which they washed through various programs they were running under secret contract, far from the prying eyes of financial regulators.
“Those black dollars were invested into hard assets around the world, as well as in the stock market, through sham, offshore corporations. They also funneled the money into reams of promising R&D projects, which eventually would be turned around and sold to the Pentagon or the CIA.
“In short, ATS had created its own license to print money and had assured itself a place beyond examination or reproach.”
In real life, whether the prime criminal source is one monster corporation or the NSA itself, the outcome would be the same.
Total surveillance has unlimited payoffs when it targets financial markets and the people who have intimate knowledge of them.
“Total security awareness” programs of surveillance are ideal spying ops in the financial arena, designed to grab millions of bits of inside information, and then utilize them to make investments and suck up billions (trillions?) of dollars.
It gives new meaning to “the rich get richer.”
Taking the overall scheme to another level, consider this: those same heavy hitters (NSA) who have unfettered access to financial information can also choose, at opportune moments, to expose certain scandals and crimes.
In this way, they can, at their whim, cripple governments, banks, and corporations. They can cripple investment houses, insurance companies, and hedge funds. Or, alternatively, they can merely blackmail these organizations.
It’s likely that the probe Ron Paul has been pushing—audit the Federal Reserve—has already been done by those who control unlimited global surveillance. They already know far more than any Congressional investigation will uncover. If they know the deepest truths, they can use them to blackmail, manipulate, and control the Fed itself.
Corruption on top of corruption.
In this global-surveillance world, we need to ask new questions and think along different lines now.
For example, how long before the mortgage-derivative crisis hit did the Masters of Surveillance know, from spying on bank records, that insupportable debt was accumulating at a lethal pace? What did they do with that information?
When did they know that at least a trillion dollars was missing from Pentagon accounting books (as Donald Rumsfeld eventually admitted), and what did they do with that information?
Did they discover precisely where the trillion dollars went? Did they discover where billions of dollars, in cash, shipped to post-war Iraq, disappeared to?
When did they know the details of the Libor rate-fixing scandal? Press reports indicate that Barclays was trying to rig interest rates as early as January 2005.
Have they tracked, in detail, the men responsible for recruiting hired mercenaries and terrorists, who eventually wound up in Syria pretending to be an authentic rebel force?
Have they discovered the truth about how close or how far away Iran is from producing a nuclear weapon?
Have they collected detailed accounts of the most private plans of Bilderberg, CFR, and Trilateral Commission leaders?
For global surveillance kings, what we think of as the future is, in many respects the present and the past.
It’s a new world. These overseers of universal information-detection can enter and probe the most secret caches of data, collect, collate, cross reference, and assemble them into vital bottom-lines. By comparison, an operation like Wikileaks is an old Model-T Ford puttering down a country road, and Julian Assange is a mere piker.
Previously, we thought we needed to look over the shoulders of the men who were committing major crimes out of public view. But now, if we want to be up to date, we also have to factor in the men who are spying on those criminals, who are gathering up those secrets and using them to commit their own brand of meta-crime.
And in the financial arena, that means we think of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan as perpetrators, yes, but we also think about the men who already know everything about GS and Morgan, and are using this knowledge to steal sums that might make GS and Morgan blush with envy.
Therefore….when looking for who might have helped Ed Snowden punch a hole in NSA, we should think about who the NSA has been spying on. Not the little guy, not the medium-sized guy, but a very big guy. Perhaps a Goldman Sachs or a JP Morgan.
At the highest levels of criminal power, the players don’t always agree. It’s not always a smooth conspiracy. There is fierce in-fighting as well.
Goldman Sachs, Chase, and Morgan consider trillion-dollar trading markets their own private golden-egg farm. They run it, they own it, they manipulate it for their own ends.
If NSA has been looking over their shoulders for the past 30 years, discovering all their knowledge, and operating a meta invasion, siphoning off enormous profits, NSA would rate as Enemy Number One.
And would need to be torpedoed.
Enter Ed Snowden.
Looking elsewhere, consider this. Snowden worked for the CIA. He was pushed up the ranks quickly, from an IT position in the US to a posting in Geneva, under diplomatic cover, to run security on the CIA’s computer systems there.
Then, Snowden quit the CIA and eventually ended up at Booz Allen, a private contractor. He was assigned to NSA, where he stole the secrets and exposed the NSA.
The CIA and NSA have a long contentious relationship. The major issue is, who is king of US intelligence? We’re talking about an internal war.
Snowden could have been the CIA’s man at NSA, where certain CIA players helped him access files he wouldn’t have been able to tap otherwise.
You can bet your bottom dollar that NSA analysts are looking into this possibility right now.
Phi Beta Iota: US political and religious criminals have always lives “impunity” rather than security. Unlike tradtional transnational organized crime, which knows how to avoid all US intelligence collection systems, the “elite” assume they are beyond the law. As public interest rises in holding them accountable and using every instrument available to catalog their treason and high crimes, it is completely possible that they have suddenly recognized how vulnerable they are to NSA capabilities applied to domestic traitors, not just loosely aligned against alleged activist “terrorists.” There is much that is good in NSA (and CIA). This possibility is especially interesting to anyone who is a patriot and believes in America the Beautiful, the Constitution, and the Republic.