Fifth Dimension Warfare: Cyber Merc’s


The Growing Threat of Cyber Mercenaries

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Guns For Hire exist wherever there is a need.

The brave new world of information and cyber warfare are no different.

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

Surveillance State: The F.B.I.’s Growing Surveillance Gap


There are more homegrown jihadists than the feds can actually watch. And not everyone likes what the FBI is doing instead.

A day after Omar Mateen killed 49 and wounded 53 in an Orlando nightclub, purportedly under the banner of the Islamic State or other terrorist groups, the FBI announced that it had repeatedly scrutinized the shooter in recent years. As shocking as that news might have appeared, it fits a disturbing pattern: Many of the so-called “lone wolves” who have carried out terror attacks in the United States have been previously known by the FBI. Among others, the FBI had investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev years before the Boston Marathon bombings, Nidal Hasan before he opened fire at Fort Hood and Carlos Bledsoe before he opened fire on a Little Rock military recruiting station in 2009.

Particularly in the wake of the Edward Snowden scandals, we tend to think of the FBI and the sprawling homeland security apparatus as a giant surveillance machine—an all-seeing government eye reading emails, tapping phones, tracking purchases and sitting in vans outside homes as undercover agents infiltrate terror cells. But the circumstances behind the Orlando shooting, counterterrorism experts say, underscore the very different reality: The FBI actually isn’t big enough to tackle the new era of online radicalization and independent-acting lone wolves. It’s not that the FBI didn’t recognize Mateen as a threat; it’s that there are too many people like Mateen and Tsarnaev and Hasan across America today for the FBI to track them all—leaving the vast majority of people who the FBI suspects might harbor terrorist aspirations to go about their daily lives without any regular government surveillance. Experts say it’s a big problem—one that’s been brewing for more than two years as the Bureau has struggled to keep up with a wave of aspirational homegrown jihadists, who act faster and leave fewer clues than would-be terrorists a decade or two ago.

 And the resource crunch—as well as the obvious risk of being wrong about leaving someone like Mateen on the streets—has been pushing the Bureau to expand use of its controversial undercover terror stings, which help speed up the road to radicalization, but which also raise deep concerns among civil liberty advocates that the FBI is engaging in entrapment.

The Bureau has repeatedly said over the last six months that it has had more than 1,000 active probes related to the Islamic State. But, of these 1,000 or so suspected terrorists, the FBI only has the resources to thoroughly monitor a select few. The precise number of round-the-clock FBI surveillance teams is classified—and additional teams can be readied in an emergency—but sources familiar with Bureau resources say that the number is “shockingly” low, only in the dozens. At one point last year, sources reported that the Bureau was watching 48 people intensely, a number that is towards the upper limit of the FBI’s regular surveillance resources.

Read the Remainder at Politico

Military Defense News: Women to be Included in Draft

And the Hits just keep on coming… Stupid, Stupid, Stupid. First off, initiating another draft would be a COLOSSAL mistake, one of the things that makes the U.S. superior is that we are a 100% VOLUNTEER MILITARY FORCE. Now you want to throw women into that mix just for the sake of inclusion and “Equality”.  DUMB. -SF


The Senate on Tuesday passed a sweeping defense policy bill that includes among its many Pentagon reforms a provision requiring women to register for the draft.

The Senate approved the National Defense Authorization Act 85-13, but some Republicans voted against it because it contained the requirement to register women with the Selective Service System. The proposal was not considered on the Senate floor, since it was included in the bill that emerged from the Armed Services Committee.

 But the issue loomed large over the final vote. Heritage Action, the conservative advocacy arm of The Heritage Foundation, deemed the defense policy bill a “key vote” that would count on its annual lawmaker scorecards because of the draft language.

“It is a radical change that is attempting to be foisted on the American people,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said. “The idea that we should forcibly conscript young girls into combat, to my mind, makes little or no sense. It is at a minimum a radical proposition. I could not vote for a bill that did so, particularly that did so without public debate.”

In all, Republicans voted 48-6 on the bill, which authorizes $602 billion in defense spending for the new 2017 fiscal year. Democrats voted 37-7.

Some Republicans, however, supported the inclusion of women in the draft Service, now only required of men ages 18 to 26. Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) backed it during closed committee markup, where a vote to strip the provision failed 7-19 and split Republicans 7-7.

“Every uniform leader of the United States military seemed to have a different opinion from the senator from Texas whose military background is not extensive,” McCain said on the floor. “After months of rigorous oversight, a large bipartisan majority on the Armed Services Committee agreed that there is simply no further justification to limit Selective Service registration to men.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) had proposed an amendment, co-sponsored by Cruz, to strip the women-in-the-draft provision from the bill. But it didn’t receive a vote — although McCain contended that he gave Lee a chance to offer his amendment and the senator declined.

In fact, Lee blocked numerous amendments from being considered on the bill because he wanted a chance for his other amendment on indefinite detention of U.S. citizens to get a vote. And that particularly steamed McCain when an amendment to reauthorize the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program was blocked.

Read the Remainder at Politico

The Surveillance State: Twitter Lawsuit and FISC Court Updates


A federal judge delivered a blow Monday to Twitter’s drive to release more details on surveillance orders it receives, but the tech firm won a chance to try to reformulate its case.

U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Rogers said the government has the power to prohibit the release of classified information, barring claims Twitter made in a lawsuit filed two years ago challenging as unconstitutional the limits federal officials have placed on publication of some statistics about surveillance demands.

“The First Amendment does not permit a person subject to secrecy obligations to disclose classified national security information,” Rogers wrote, citing a 1980 Supreme Court case about a former CIA analyst publishing the names of CIA personnel overseas. “Twitter has conceded that the aggregate data is classified. In the absence of a challenge to the decisions classifying that information, Twitter’s Constitutional challenges simply do not allege viable claims.”

However, the Oakland, California-based judge’s order went on to essentially invite Twitter to re-file its case, incorporating a claim that government has not “properly classified” the statistics at issue.

Read the Remainder at Politico


U.S. spy court rejected zero surveillance orders in 2015

The court received 1,457 requests last year on behalf of the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for authority to intercept communications, including email and phone calls, according to a Justice Department memo sent to leaders of relevant congressional committees on Friday and seen by Reuters. The court did not reject any of the applications in whole or in part, the memo showed.

The total represented a slight uptick from 2014, when the court received 1,379 applications and rejected none.

The court, which acts behind closed doors, was established in 1978 to handle applications for surveillance warrants against foreign suspects by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies and grew more controversial after 2013 leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Read The Remainder at Reuters

The Surveillance State: FISC Court Rejects Challenge to Warrantless Email Searches


In a just-released court opinion, a federal court judge overseeing government surveillance programs said he was “extremely concerned” about a series of incidents in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency deviated from court-approved limits on their snooping activities.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Thomas Hogan sharply criticized the two agencies over the episodes, referred to by intelligence gatherers as “compliance incidents.” He also raised concerns that the government had taken years to bring the NSA-related issues to the court’s attention and he said that delay might have run afoul of the government’s duty of candor to the court.

“The court was extremely concerned about NSA’s failure to comply with its minimization procedures—and potentially” a provision in federal law, Hogan wrote. The NSA violations appeared to involve preserving surveillance data in its systems beyond the two or five years after which it was supposed to be deleted.

“Perhaps more disappointing than the NSA’s failure to purge this information for more than four years, was the Government’s failure to convey to the Court explicitly during that time that the NSA was continuing to retain this information,” the judge wrote in the Nov. 6, 2015, opinion made public Tuesday.

In a statement, the Office of Director of National Intelligence said officials did not mean to be misleading. “The Government has informed the Court that there was no intent to leave the FISC with a misimpression or misunderstanding, and it has acknowledged that its prior representations could have been clearer,” the statement posted on ODNI’s Tumblr site said.

The NSA said in some cases it needed the data to prevent future incidents where data was accidentally collected without legal authority, like when a surveillance target enters the U.S. (At that point, officials are supposed to seek a more specific court order to continue the surveillance.) However, that wasn’t the case with all of the old data NSA was hanging onto.

The FBI’s troubles involved failing to use the required procedures when conducting surveillance of suspects overseas who are facing criminal charges in U.S. courts. In order to preserve attorney-client privilege, the FBI is supposed to have such surveillance reviewed by a “taint team” that can excise any legal communications, but that was not happening in all cases, the FBI reported.

Hogan said the FBI revealed some such incidents in 2014, but the number was redacted from the opinion made public Tuesday. “The government generally attributed those instances to individual failures or confusion, rather than a ‘systematic issue,’ ” Hogan wrote. However, more incidents occurred from mid-2014 and through 2015, although again the precise number was not released. In some instances, FBI agents believed, incorrectly, that they didn’t need to set up a review team if the indictment was under seal or outside the U.S.

“The Court was extremely concerned about these additional incidents of non-compliance,” wrote Hogan, who also serves as a federal district court judge in Washington. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan.

At a closed hearing last October, the FBI detailed some procedures set up to remedy the problem, including additional training and a system to remind agents when such reviews are needed. Hogan said he was “satisfied” that the FBI was “taking appropriate measures” to address the issue. However, he said he “strongly encourages” the government to find any other such mistakes and he said he wanted a briefing on those efforts earlier this year.

The FBI declined to comment, and spokespeople for the NSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the court ruling.

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