Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ex- DIRNSA Michael Hayden: "Congress Plays a Legitimate Oversight Role in Our Business."

Or at least it did when Michael Hayden was DIRNSA in the Clinton Administration, as show by his July 1999 memo to the NSA staff regarding the issue congressional notification. When employed by the Bush administration, there were a few lapses in his zeal for Congressional notification, most notably the 2005 destruction of CIA interrogation videos.  His dislike of Congressional oversight didn't stop there. In 2006, Russ Feingold laid out Hayden's failures in this regard in a press release announcing Feingold's opposition to Hayden becoming confirmed as Director of the CIA:
General Hayden's conduct and testimony also raise serious questions about his willingness to respect congressional oversight. He was complicit in the Administration's failure to inform the full congressional intelligence committees about the warrantless surveillance program, even though this notification is required by law. In his testimony, he repeatedly failed to explain or criticize the Administration's failure to inform the full committees about the program. And he declined to commit to notifying the full committees about all intelligence activities, as is required by law.
Ultimately, Michael Hayden is a man, as James Bamford described him, "who "spent his life tacking whichever way the political winds happened to be blowing".(1)

James Bamford, The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, (New York: Anchor Books, 2009), 111

7.23.1999 DIRNSA Hayden Memo on Congressional Notification

Friday, June 22, 2012

The NSA's Missing Documents: The Reemployed Annuitant Program Study

My FOIA expert and I have noticed that the NSA has been coming up empty in response to an ordinate number of FOIA requests that seek specific documents cited in other NSA publications and reports.

One such document was a report on the Reemployed Annuitant Program as used by the NSA's Archives (T54). The report has vanished and, seeking to placate me, the NSA gave me an outline of the report. Given that it has zero information about the (REA) or the NSA's archives, the outline is worthless to me and other scholars. However, in the hopes of finding a copy of the report, I have decided to post the outline here for public consumption
Reemployed Annuitant (REA) Program Report Outline

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pop Culture and the NSA #2 Kevin Mitnick Taps the NSA

Back in my misguided youth, I followed the case of Kevin Mitnick with some interest. While I was always more partial to Kevin Poulsen and his free-wheeling hi-jinx. I do recall the concern over whether or not Mitnick was capable of hacking the National Security Agency. I doubt the stories at the time and was right to do so according to Mitnick. However, it seems Mitnick was able to tap the NSA's phones as he recalled in his memoir:
The National Security Agency temptation was an itch I couldn't resist. NSA's  telephone service was provided through a phone company switch in Laurel, Maryland, which we had already gained access to, Directory assistance listed the agency's public phone number as 301 688-6311. After randomly checking out several numbers with the same prefix, Using a test function for switch technicians called "Talk & Monitor," I was able to set up circuit to listen to random calls in progress. I popped in on one line and heard a man and a woman talking. Hardly able to believe I was actually listening in on the NSA, I was thrilled and nervous at the same time. The irony was great- I was wiretapping the world's biggest wiretappers."
Ultimately, Mitnick panics and bugs out, never to  return. The truth is, however, had he fixated on hacking the NSA rather than private companies, he would have been better. As shown by Vice President Joe Biden, the NSA and the rest of the American Intelligence Community has a history of covering severe crimes in the names of "national security."