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US Secret Service worldwide spying

After weeks of revelation, new information leaked about the Prism program:

'NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet'

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its "widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet.

The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian's earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisa surveillance court oversight.

The files shed light on one of Snowden's most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.

"I, sitting at my desk," said Snowden, could "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email".

US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden's assertion: "He's lying. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do."

But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed.

XKeyscore, the documents boast, is the NSA's "widest reaching" system developing intelligence from computer networks – what the agency calls Digital Network Intelligence (DNI). One presentation claims the program covers "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet", including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata.

Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing "real-time" interception of an individual's internet activity.

Under US law, the NSA is required to obtain an individualized Fisa warrant only if the target of their surveillance is a 'US person', though no such warrant is required for intercepting the communications of Americans with foreign targets. But XKeyscore provides the technological capability, if not the legal authority, to target even US persons for extensive electronic surveillance without a warrant provided that some identifying information, such as their email or IP address, is known to the analyst.

The purpose of XKeyscore is to allow analysts to search the metadata as well as the content of emails and other internet activity, such as browser history, even when there is no known email account (a "selector" in NSA parlance) associated with the individual being targeted.

Analysts can also search by name, telephone number, IP address, keywords, the language in which the internet activity was conducted or the type of browser used.

One document notes that this is because "strong selection [search by email address] itself gives us only a very limited capability" because "a large amount of time spent on the web is performing actions that are anonymous."

The NSA documents assert that by 2008, 300 terrorists had been captured using intelligence from XKeyscore.

Analysts are warned that searching the full database for content will yield too many results to sift through. Instead they are advised to use the metadata also stored in the databases to narrow down what to review.

A slide entitled "plug-ins" in a December 2012 document describes the various fields of information that can be searched. It includes "every email address seen in a session by both username and domain", "every phone number seen in a session (eg address book entries or signature block)" and user activity – "the webmail and chat activity to include username, buddylist, machine specific cookies etc".


Quotes added by Vanilla.
Well let's start here:

NSA Paid Millions To Cover Prism Compliance Costs For Tech Companies

"*Top-secret files show first evidence of financial relationship
*The material provides the first evidence of a financial relationship between the tech companies and the NSA.
*The National Security Agency paid millions of dollars to cover the costs of major internet companies involved in the Prism surveillance program after a court ruled that some of the agency's activities were unconstitutional, according to top-secret material passed to the Guardian."

Opinion: This is the latest in revelations from Mr. Snowden; top secret documents show that taxpayers are footing the bill for compliance costs; millions paid to Google and Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook even after a court ruled that some of the agency's activities were unconstitutional. Documents passed to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden describe the problems the decision created for the agency and the efforts required to bring operations into compliance. The material provides the first evidence of a financial relationship between the tech companies and the NSA. The article lncludes photos of some top secret documents; of course, most of the companies deny that they are cooperating, deny knowledge of Prism, some of them refuse to provide any statement. The responses further show the disparity between how the NSA describes the
operation of its data collection program and what the companies themselves say. Additionally, it appears that the destruction of The Gaurdians hardrives were only symbolic, as they have documents they have not released. The Guardian informed the White House, the NSA and the ODNI
that it planned to publish the documents and asked further questions.

The NSA declined to comment beyond requesting the redaction of the name of an individual staffer in one of the documents.

But they want us all to believe that no one is spying on you.
yes, that is true. Here in the Philippines the use Drones. MANILA, Philippines—While a mayor rejected the basing of United States drones in his city, Malacañang on Friday defended the use in the country of the unmanned aerial vehicle in “special cases.”

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte declined to comment on the rejection by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of the US government’s request to use the city’s old airport as a base for the launch of drones.

“I am not very cognizant of what went on in that particular conversation,” Valte said in a news briefing.

But otherwise, Valte said the Philippines and the United States shared intelligence information gathered by the drones in joint exercises. She said the drones were also used for humanitarian missions.

“I understand that they are used in special cases,” she said, referring to statements by the secretary of foreign affairs.

Valte deferred to the defense officials to respond to questions on whether Philippine laws are clear on the operation of drones in the archipelago.

Duterte said he rejected the request, made since his daughter was the city mayor, because he didn’t want “trouble and killings.”

The US Embassy explained that the US military deployed drones to assist in aerial surveillance for humanitarian and search-and-rescue operations, and only at the request of the Philippine government.

For instance, drones were deployed for an aerial survey of the devastation wrought by Typhoon “Pablo” in Mindanao in December last year, and in the search for the missing plane of then Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo in the waters off Masbate a year ago.

Several countries have raised concerns about the US deployment of drones in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan to target suspected terrorists, arguing that some strikes have resulted in civilian deaths and collateral damage.

In the United States, at least eight states have enacted legislation to control domestic use of drones, citing privacy and safety concerns.

If used for combat operations in the country, the drones would violate the country’s Constitution, analyst Bobby Tuazon said.

“The VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) does not allow combat operations by US forces,” Tuazon, director for policy studies of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance said in an interview.

In March 2012, President Aquino said the Philippines allowed US drones to conduct reconnaissance flights over the country, but banned drone strikes.

Mr. Aquino said any drone attack would violate the ban on American troops taking part in combat operations.

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