23 June 2013

Secularism in danger

By Meghnad Desai 
Jun 23 2013 


*While Gandhiji was fighting the British Empire for khilafat, Kemal Pasha abolished it. He also insisted that the Turkish language be written in the Roman script* 

I don't dabble in social media but I gather they are full of alarmist predictions about what might happen if and when Narendra Modi becomes prime minister. The answer is: look at Turkey. It was made into a secular Republic by its founder Kemal Pasha who had no time for the mullahs. While Gandhiji was fighting the British Empire for khilafat, Kemal Pasha abolished it. He also insisted that the Turkish language be written in the Roman script. Turkey was modernised, secularised and its women were emancipated, unlike in other Islamic countries (or India). 

Over the decades, it is the Army which has been the guarantor of Turkish secularism. Like Pakistan, Turkey had an intermittent democratic system. But more recently, the Army has kept away and there have been a succession of democratic governments. It was a great shock for the system when AKP (Justice and Development Party with Islamist origins but says it stands for 'conservative democracy') was formed in 2002 and won a landslide victory in 2003. This was because the other parties, which were nominally secular, proved corrupt and inefficient. 

AKP has now been elected thrice, each time with a large majority. While it was cautious about proceeding along its desired lines initially, it has been bolder since. When it first insisted that women cover their heads, this raised alarm among modern Turkish women. Along the way, the government reformed the system, boosted the economy and made Turkey prosperous. 

Let’s talk of real things

By Tavleen Singh 
Jun 23 2013


*India's biggest problem is bad governance and one reason why we always fail to address it is because we get distracted much too often by useless debates * 

Spend the next five minutes examining why floods in other countries do not kill thousands of people. Then think of the horrible disaster in Uttarakhand and ask yourself why civilian authorities needed to call the Army for help and you may correctly conclude that the real reason for the disaster was bad governance. Hysterical environmental groups have already started shrieking about builders' lobbies and dams without noticing that there are cities and highways built in the Alps that have done no environmental harm. 

India's biggest problem is bad governance and one reason why we always fail to address it is because we get distracted much too often by useless debates on things such as secularism. We are in such a situation yet again because of the Chief Minister of Bihar, who has once more raised the flag of secularism to hide under when he is really only playing politics. This time his antics are ironic and slightly pathetic since he does it ostensibly to restore the glory of the man who invented the term 'pseudo-secularism' and led the mightiest Hindutva movement of all. His chariot ride from Somnath to Ayodhya left hundreds of dead Muslims in its wake and ended with the demolition of a fine 16th-century mosque. Today he 
has become a secular icon! 

The fraudulence of Nitish Kumar's 'secular' reasons for leaving the NDA got exposed in his most recent speech in the Bihar legislature, made during the vote of confidence debate. Instead of extolling secularism, the chief minister denounced Modi's achievements in Gujarat. Among other things, he said that Modi's only success was that he had bewitched corporate India. He added that it was no achievement to bring development to a developed state, but to bring it to a desperately poor and backward state like Bihar was a huge achievement. Aha, Mr Nitish Kumar, that mask of modesty and humility is beginning to slip, is it not? And, if you detest corporate India so much, why do you seek to lure private investors to your wretchedly poor state? The 'Bihar model' is not a new economic vision but a bundle of socialist contradictions. 

Toward a Successful Outcome in Afghanistan

By Michèle Flournoy , Dr. Michael O’Hanlon
05/31/2013 

[image: application/pdf icon]Download the full report (PDF)<http://www.cnas.org/files/documents/publications/CNAS_Afghanistan_Flournoy_Voices.pdf


Former ISAF commander, General John Allen, USMC (Ret.), former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy and Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O'Hanlon challenge the perception that Afghanistan is a lost cause and urge Washington to "adequately resource" its current policy toward the country in *Toward a Successful Outcome in Afghanistan*. Basedon their recent experiences and observations in Afghanistan, the authors say they were buoyed by "the impressive progress” of the Afghan security forces and the “significant strides” made in many other areas. They caution the Obama Administration and its international partners against accelerating disengagement prior to 2014 and under-resourcing their commitment to Afghanistan after 2014.

The Price of Loyalty in Syria

By ROBERT F. WORTH
June 19, 2013 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/magazine/the-price-of-loyalty-in-syria.html?partner=socialflow&smid=tw-nytmag&_r=1&pagewanted=all&&pagewanted=print

The Damascus neighborhood known as Mezze 86 is a dense, dilapidated warren of narrow hillside streets adorned with posters bearing the face of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. The presidential palace is nearby, and the area is crawling with well-armed guards and soldiers. It is next to impossible to enter unless you are accompanied by government officials or well-known locals, almost all of them members of Assad’s Alawite sect. I drove there on a quiet Friday morning in May, and we were stopped several times at checkpoints by young soldiers who examined our documents carefully before waving us on. When we arrived at our destination, in a small parking lot hemmed in by cinder-block towers, I emerged from the car to the suspicious glares of several middle-aged men in fatigues. “They are not expecting foreigners here,” one of the men who accompanied me said. “The rebels are trying constantly to hit this place, because they know who lives here.” He pointed to a damaged roof not far away. “A mortar struck very close the other day. A lady was killed just above us, and another just below.” 

To many Syrians, Mezze 86 is a terrifying place, a stronghold for regime officers and the ruthless paramilitary gunmen known as *shabiha*, or “ghosts.” These are the men accused of carrying out much of the torture and killing that has left more than 90,000 people dead since the Syrian uprising began two years ago. Some of the older men living in the neighborhood are veterans of the notorious defense brigades, which helped carry out the 1982 massacre of Hama, where between 10,000 and 30,000 people were killed in less than a month. Yet Mezze 86 now emanates a sense of aggrieved martyrdom. The streets are lined with colorful portraits of dead soldiers; every household proclaims the fallen and the wounded and the vanished. 

I went there to meet a woman named Ibtisam Ali Aboud, who had fled her home after her husband — a retired Alawite officer named Muhsin — was killed in February by rebels. Ibtisam is a woman of 50, but she looked 20 years older, her face a pale canvas of anxious lines over her long, black mourning cloak. Her son was with her, a timid-looking 17-year-old named Jafar. We spoke in a dingy, sparsely furnished room, with a picture of a bearded Alawite saint on the wall. “We never used to feel any distinction between people of different sects,” Ibtisam told me. “Now they are ready to slaughter us.” Her husband’s killer was a car mechanic named Ayham, she said, who had eaten at their table and casually borrowed money from her husband only 10 days earlier, promising to pay it back soon. Someone had been slipping notes under their door — “Die, Alawite scum,” “Get out, regime thugs” — and sectarian killings and kidnappings were growing more common; even Muhsin had narrowly escaped being taken captive by armed men. 

But he refused to listen to his wife’s warnings when she told him that Ayham was working with Sunni rebel gunmen. “Ayham is my friend,” he had told her. “This is Syria, not Iraq.” One night he went out to run an errand and never came home. They found his body in the family car the next day, a bullet hole in his head. The family’s small auto-repair shop was burned to the ground days later. Jafar said that he was on his way home from there when five men surrounded him. “We will cut you all to pieces if you don’t get out,” the men said. “You will follow your father to the grave.” 

The family fled their home on the capital’s outskirts to Mezze 86, where they would be surrounded by other Alawites. “We are the ones who are being targeted,” Ibtisam told me. “My husband did nothing. He was a retired officer volunteering at a hospital.” Now, she said, she could barely afford to rent two cramped rooms with her four children. A dull artillery boom shook the coffee cups on the table where we sat. The men who took me to her, also Alawite, began to reel off their own stories of murdered friends and relatives, and of neighbors abducted by rebels. “You will find stories like this in every house, people killed, people kidnapped, and all because of their sect,” one of them said. “They think all Alawites are rich, because we are the same sect as Bashar al-Assad. They think we can talk to the president whenever we like. But look how we are living!” 

Russian Roulette

Obama's plan for nuclear reductions is letting Moscow get away with murder. 

BY JOHN R. BOLTON, PAULA A. DESUTTER
JUNE 21, 2013 

When Winston Churchill became prime minister at Britain's point of greatest peril, one commentator observed, "the hour has arrived, and the man is here." The danger to freedom in 1940 emanated from Berlin, site of the iconic Brandenburg Gate. When President John F. Kennedy came to a Berlin divided by the Cold War in 1963 to proclaim America's continuing defense of freedom against Soviet threats, his venue was universally understood. And when President Ronald Reagan came to the Brandenburg Gate in 1987 to say, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," no one missed the symbolism. 

For both Kennedy and Reagan, one could easily say that their hour had also arrived, and that they were prepared for the challenges they faced protecting the Free World. But President Barack Obama's June 19 speech at the Brandenburg Gate was not in the same league. Obama's use of the phrase "peace with justicewas clearly intended as a contrast to Reagan's "peace through strength" doctrine, but it simply highlights the president's inadequacies. Reagan (and Kennedy, who coined "peace with justice") stood squarely against Moscow, refused to be intimidated, and demanded that the Soviets reverse their aggressive policies. 

Reagan repeatedly insisted that bilateral arms-control agreements must actually enhance U.S. national security and contain effective verification mechanisms, and he refused to tolerate Russian violations. By contrast, Obama argued last week for further reductions of deployed U.S. nuclear weapons of up to one-third below the ill-advised New START agreement's already dangerously low levels. The Senate should have rejected New START, and it seems highly unlikely that senators already disillusioned by Obama's failure to honor his commitments to maintain the reliability and security of the nuclear stockpile will fall once again for glib promises. 

Obama's motivation for further substantial reductions is the ideological belief that lower levels of U.S. nuclear weapons will make a safer world. His philosophy is thus the polar opposite of Reagan's -- one more appropriately labeled "peace through weakness," a doctrine Churchill 
emphatically rejected in his time. 

But beyond the policy arguments and historical evidence already under intense debate, Obama's decision to seek further reductions flatly ignores reported Russian violations of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The INF prohibits both the United States and Russia (but only these two powers) from developing, testing, or possessing ballistic or cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (intermediate range ballistic missiles, or IRBM's). Russia may well be taking steps* *to mask its INF violations, pretending, for example, that all their new missiles are longer-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM's), which are not prohibited under any existing agreement. It may sound bizarre that shorter-range missiles are banned while longer-range missiles are not, but that is symptomatic of the upside-down world of arms control. 

Last week, the House of Representatives passed the 2014 National Defense Authorization Actwhich included a provision based on classified and unclassified information concerning significant Russian arms-control violations. The House bill urged Obama to demand Moscow stop its violations, and sought the president's commitment against further reductions in the U.S. nuclear deterrent until "this Russian behavior is corrected." Responding to Obama's speech, House Armed Service Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) said

"The President's desire to negotiate a new round of arms control with the Russians, while Russia is cheating on a major existing nuclear arms control treaty, strains credulity." Instead, Obama threatened to veto the authorization bill if it contained the language about Russian treaty violations. 

While neither Congress nor the administration have publicly identified Moscow's violations, Russian statements and press reports give strong indications of two of them. First, Russia is developing and testing, and may be ready to deploythe R-500 cruise missile, which appears to violate the INF Treaty. Based on 
Russian official and unofficial statements going back to 2007, the R-500 cruise missile falls within the INF's prohibited range. 


Second, on June 6, Moscow announced another flight test of the new "Rubezh" ICBM from a mobile launcher, the fourth since testing began in Sept. 2011. All these successful flight tests were within the INF-prohibited range, thereby expanding Russia's ability to threaten Europe, even with missile defenses, which is precisely what INF was intended to prevent. 

The Obama administration's failures to report these likely violations form a pattern of willful blindness. Further evidence of Russia's dangerous intentions lies in its rejection of basic elements of the 20-year-old Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program (often known as "Nunn-Lugar" after its authors). CTR provided billions of dollars of U.S. assistance for eliminating Soviet-era missile, nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs. Under the program's new umbrella agreement
effective this month, Russia clearly rejected the central element of transparency that allowed U.S. access to its weapons sites. When Moscow needed aid to destroy weapons it no longer wanted, it accepted transparency. Now Moscow stills wants the aid, but transparency is out, which tells us all we need to know. 

Russia's apparent INF violations as well as continuing violations of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, among others, demonstrate its disregard for treaty commitments. Even today, well after the Cold War, Russia still repeatedly threatens to use nuclear weapons to defeat U.S. and European missile defenses and to develop and deploy new systems to do so. Yet despite Russia's circumvention and violation of existing treaties -- and efforts at intimidation -- President Obama sees no stumbling blocks to new agreements, or even unilateral U.S. reductions. Moreover, the White House responds to Russian programs and threats to overwhelm our missile-defense systems in a nuclear attack with offers to 
share classified technical data about these systems that would enhance Russia's ability to defeat them. 

While Russia's belligerent nuclear rhetoric and policies are outrageous, it is even worse that the Obama administration is blissfully determined to further weaken our own nuclear deterrent and missile defenses in an effort to placate Moscow. There needs to be a reckoning about the pervasive history of material Russian violations of major arms-control agreements. 

And the time for that reckoning is well before any serious negotiations begin on any new agreement, and certainly well before congressional consideration of the implications of any agreement that might result. 

*John R. Bolton served as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations from Aug. 2005 to Dec. 2006. He is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.* 

*Paula A. DeSutter** **was United States **assistant secretary of state for verification, compliance, and implementation ** **from 2002 to 2009.* 

Obama's Drone-MasterJohn Brennan, the CIA director and the man largely responsible for the U.S.'s drone strategy, is so influential that some Pentagon officials have taken to calling him the "Deputy President." In an exclusive interview, *GQ'*s Reid Cherlin talks to Brennan about the ethics of targeted killing, the next global arms race (get ready for everybody to have their own drones), and what it feels like to be the guy the president turns to when he wants a bad guy blown away

*By *Reid Cherlin 
June 17, 2013 


"I'm going up to Jersey tomorrow, to try to escape." John O. Brennan, President Obama's top counterterrorism advisor and his soon-to-be new CIA director, leans back in his chair. Brennan is a proud son of Hudson County, a baseball player at his Catholic high school, a commuter student at Fordham. It's a common-touch backstory that, a tad predictably, Brennan's fans bring up all the time, and that he himself seems to cling to. He points to a photograph on the wall behind my head, a black and white shot of George H.W. Bush, surrounded by aides. 

"The guy walking through the door actually is me, with hair," he says. "That was the first time I went into the Oval Office. I remember almost pinching myself, saying, 'What's a guy from Jersey doing in here? And why does the president really care about what I say?' Now, since then, I've been in the Oval Office I guess hundreds of times, and there are still a lot of times I say to myself, 'What's a guy from Jersey—you know, doing in this?'" 

Brennan is 57, his broad, creased face framed by a cropped fringe of gray hair. He's wearing a blue dress shirt and a red tie; there are two pens clipped into his breast pocket. He seems to be thinking for a moment. Bolted to the ceiling above us, a flat-screen TV loops Al Jazeera, on mute. "One, it shows that this is truly a land of opportunity, that someone like me can work his way up through the ranks. And can have a, uh"—he looks over his shoulder, at a workspace as cramped and synthetic as a ship captain's quarters—"a windowless office in the West Wing. With a low ceiling." 

It is February, shortly after his raucous confirmation hearings for the top job at Langley, and he has agreed to a rare interview—so far as I can tell, still his only one this year—to talk about America's drone campaign, a program he'd helped to steer. Outside estimates of the death toll range as high as 4,000 (numbers the administration scoffs at), including at least four American citizens. And though you and I are probably never going to join Al Qaeda or hang out with militants in Yemen, our government definitely thinks it could kill you if it thought you had joined up with Al Qaeda or *were* hanging out with militants in Yemen. It is a worrying indication of where things are headed that in his May counterterrorism speech, the president actually had to reassure people, "For the record: I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen—with a drone, or with a shotgun—without due process, nor should any president deploy armed drones over U.S. soil." 

"I don't think going in, a lot of people thought that President Obama would be more aggressive, more on the offense than President Bush was, in that region, and he has been," says Michael Leiter, a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. "And a big reason he has been, in my view, is because John made him comfortable that those were the means necessary to accomplish the goal." In his previous job as Assistant to the 

President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Brennan would often make the final recommendation to the president, and receive the go or no-go for high-stakes strikes. He was, reportedly, the primary supervisor of a new "playbook," a set of rules that will govern our drone program going forward. 

What it means for public confidence that there should be non-public rules—for non-public drone strikes—is unclear. For Brennan, the question is more personal, and one that he has grappled with for years now: is there a moral way to do something that may be inherently immoral? It is a question that has followed him across the river to CIA headquarters—and that has already put enormous power into his hands. As one military official told me over the winter: "We call him 'Deputy President.'" 
··· 

U.S. Defense Industry Flees the Country

In search of greener pastures, Lockheed and friends venture abroad. But competition is stiff. 

BY GORDON ADAMS
JUNE 21, 2013 


The defense drawdown is now well underway, and the defense industry is starting to pack up, if one is to believe what is being said this week at the Paris Air Show. 

Defense budgets peaked in FY 2010, including war funding, and have been down about 10 percent in constant dollars. Factor in the budget sequester for this year, which looks like it will hang on through the rest of the fiscal year (and maybe make a repeat appearance next January), and the defense budget will have fallen 24 percent in constant dollars from their height. 

The future does not look different. If the sequester remains, one can expect another roughly $500 billion to disappear from projected defense budgets over the next nine years. 

Oddly, defense contractors seem to be doing OK, so far. Sales had declined a bit even before sequestration set in, but profit margins are holding strong for the big guys -- Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, L3. 

This apparent fiscal health is actually an economic Potemkin village. Profit margins may hold, but U.S. sales are clearly headed down. The illusion stems from the reality that the major defense contractors are still working on programs funded in previous years, when budgets were higher. 

But as the U.S. defense budget heads down, DOD's dollars to buy stuff will drop more quickly than the overall budget, as they have in every drawdown since the Korean War. Between FY 1985 and FY 1998, for example, the defense budget declined 31 percent in constant dollars, while funding for research and purchases of hardware fell 53 percent. 

This reality is already apparent today -- budgets for weapons research and acquisition, before the sequester, were already down nearly 20 percent in constant dollars since FY 2010, and, with the sequester, could decline nearly 30 percent. 

I like to see the major defense contractors as the canaries in the budgetary coal mine -- they get the earliest signal of a change in fiscal direction, and they start to react well ahead of the policymakers and elected officials, many of whom think that the party is going to last forever. 

The industry response to the coming decline began several years ago. Major contractors sold or consolidated business units, entered new markets (largely through acquisitions), and trimmed the workforce. Northrop Grumman, for example, sold its Newport News shipyard in 2011, leading to the creation of an independent business -- Huntington Shipyards. 

The Brits Are Spying On Us -- They've Got "More Access" Than NSA

By John Reed
June 21, 2013


We already knew that the U.S. spy agencies collect all kinds on Americans,thanks to leaked documents from NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Now, in a fresh leak, we're learning that Brits are snooping on us, too -- tapping the world's telephone and Internet traffic, and sharing that info with the United States. 

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain's version of the NSA, is allowed to tap more than 200 fiber-optic data cables running through British territory, giving the organization access massive amounts of telephone and Internet data, according to the *Guardian*, who revealed today that Snowden provided it with a document detailing the UK spy agencies efforts to collect phone and web data. 

GCHQ cable taps allow it to gather recordings of phone calls, email content, Facebook entries and any Internet users web browsing history -- not exactly the anonymous metadata that we've been hearing about on the U.S. side of the Atlantic. 

What's not surprising is that the UK shares this information with NSA. 

Remember, the two nations have their 70-year old "special relationshipand are the founding members of the Five-Eyes intelligence sharing agreement, formally known as the UKUSA agreement (pronounced you-kooza). 

The Five-Eyes are members of a special club of former British colonies that gather and share super secret signals intelligence with each other -- exactly the type of information gathered by NSA and GCHQ. 

Australia, Canada and New Zealand are the other three members of this little club that was established by secret treaty during World War II. 

How sensitive is the information shared between members? Rumor has it that until 1973, Australian prime ministers weren't even told about the program. 

According to the *Guardian*, Britain's ability to tap these fiber-optic cables makes it the web eavesdropping powerhouse of the Five-Eyes, with the documents saying that of the five, Britain has "the biggest Internet access." 

UK officials insists that the information is collected legally and hint that analyst access to content of collected communication is extremely limited, with most of what is seen by spies being metadata, the basic information of which telephone and internet users are talking to which, rather than the content of their messages. 

U.K. system churns out more ‘metadata than NSA’

By Ewen MacAskill, Julian Borger, Nick Hopkins, Nick Davies, James Ball 
June 23, 2013 


[image: Writing on the wall: A banner supporting Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programmes, is displayed at Central, Hong Kong's business district.] 

AP Writing on the wall: A banner supporting Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programmes, is displayed at Central, Hong Kong's business district. British spy agency collects, stores, shares data with NSA 

Britain’s spy agency GCHQ — the Government Communications Headquarters — has secretly gained access to the network of cables which carry the world’s phone calls and internet traffic and has started to process vast streams of sensitive personal information which it is sharing with its American partner, the National Security Agency (NSA). 

The sheer scale of the agency’s ambition is reflected in the titles of its two principal components: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much online and telephone traffic as possible. This is all being carried out without any form of public acknowledgement or debate. 

One key innovation has been GCHQ’s ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. 

That operation, codenamed Tempora, has been running for some 18 months. 

GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects. 

This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of e-mail messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user’s access to websites — all of which is deemed legal, even though the warrant system was supposed to limit interception to a specified range of targets. 

Home seeks system to intercept Net chatter

By Amitav Ranjan 
Jun 23 2013


Going beyond tapping of landline and mobile calls, the Ministry of Home Affairs wants another NETRA or NEtwork Traffic Analysis system exclusively for law enforcement agencies to intercept Internet chatter because the only machine with the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) is fully deployed to tap global messages, especially from neighbouring countries. 

The NETRA is a software developed by Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a laboratory under the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), to intercept emails, forum messages, blogs, social networks, images but has recently shown limited success in intercepting voice traffic as well. 

During a demonstration in January 2012, only 3 Gbps of traffic out of 28 Gbps could pass through NETRA's probes but an inter-ministerial committee chose it as the Internet monitoring system as it was the only system which could capture Internet data traffic without stalling. 

The one with the RAW analyses large amount of international posts crossing through Indian networks and is committed to using specific keywords that seldom match the ones that are of interest to law enforcement agencies who are on the lookout for offenders other than terrorists. 

The RAW, therefore, intercept messages with keywords passing through emails, web forums, blogs, social networks and even images that are continuously modified over a period of time until the desired intelligence is achieved. 

In contrast, the law enforcement agencies need to capture large packets of voice traffic passing through Skype, Google Talk etc, while using it to scan tweets, messages, emails, blogs and forums with trigger words within the shortest time. 

The Ministry has, therefore, recommended that the existing NETRA facility with RAW be retained and another NETRA unit from CAIR be installed for exclusive use of law enforcement agencies. 

Booz Allen, the World's Most Profitable Spy Organization

By Drake Bennett and Michael Riley 
June 20, 2013 

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-20/booz-allen-the-worlds-most-profitable-spy-organization 

1940, a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy began to think about what a war with Germany would look like. The admirals worried in particular about the Kriegsmarine’s fleet of U-boats, which were preying on Allied shipping and proving impossible to find, much less sink. Stymied, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox turned to Booz, Fry, Allen & Hamilton, a consulting firm in Chicago whose best-known clients were Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT) and Montgomery Ward. The firm had effectively invented management consulting, deploying whiz kids from top schools as analysts and acumen-for-hire to corporate clients. Working with the Navy’s own planners, Booz consultants developed a special sensor system that could track the U-boats’ brief-burst radio communications and helped design an attack strategy around it. With its aid, the Allies by war’s end had sunk or crippled most of the German submarine fleet. 

That project was the start of a long collaboration. As the Cold War set in, intensified, thawed, and was supplanted by global terrorism in the minds of national security strategists, the firm, now called Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), focused more and more on government work. In 2008 it split off its less lucrative commercial consulting arm—under the name Booz & Co.—and became a pure government contractor, publicly traded and majority-owned by private equity firm Carlyle Group (CG). 

In the fiscal year ended in March 2013, Booz Allen Hamilton reported $5.76 billion in revenue, 99 percent of which came from government contracts, and $219 million in net income. Almost a quarter of its revenue—$1.3 billion—was from major U.S. intelligence agencies. Along with competitors such as Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), CACI, and BAE Systems (BAESY), the McLean (Va.)-based firm is a prime beneficiary of an explosion in government spending on intelligence contractors over the past decade. About 70 percent of the 2013 U.S. intelligence budget is contracted out, according to a Bloomberg Industries analysis; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) says almost a fifth of intelligence personnel work in the private sector. 

It’s safe to say that most Americans, if they’d heard of Booz Allen at all, had no idea how huge a role it plays in the U.S. intelligence infrastructure. They do now. On June 9, a 29-year-old Booz Allen computer technician, Edward Snowden, revealed himself to be the source of news stories showing the extent of phone and Internet eavesdropping by the National Security Agency. Snowden leaked classified documents he loaded onto a thumb drive while working for Booz Allen at an NSA listening post in Hawaii, and he’s promised to leak many more. After fleeing to Hong Kong, he’s been in hiding. (He didn’t respond to a request for comment relayed by an intermediary.) 

Annals of SurveillanceThe PrismPrivacy in an age of publicity

By Jill Lepore
June 24, 2013

  

The defense of privacy always follows the emergence of technologies for breaching it. Illustration by Nishant Choksi. 

An extraordinary fuss about eavesdropping started in the spring of 1844, when Giuseppe Mazzini, an Italian exile in London, became convinced that the British government was opening his mail. Mazzini, a revolutionary who’d been thrown in jail in Genoa, imprisoned in Savona, sentenced to death in absentia, and arrested in Paris, was plotting the unification of the kingdoms of Italy and the founding of an Italian republic. He suspected that, in London, he’d been the victim of what he called “post-office espionage”: he believed that the Home Secretary, Sir James Graham, had ordered his mail to be opened, at the request of the Austrian Ambassador, who, like many people, feared what Mazzini hoped—that an insurrection in Italy would spark a series of revolutions across Europe. Mazzini knew how to find out: he put poppy seeds, strands of hair, and grains of sand into envelopes, sealed the envelopes with wax, and sent them, by post, to himself. When the letters arrived—still sealed—they contained no poppy 
seeds, no hair, and no grains of sand. Mazzini then had his friend Thomas Duncombe, a Member of Parliament, submit a petition to the House of Commons. Duncombe wanted to know if Graham really had ordered the opening of Mazzini’s mail. Was the British government in the business of prying into people’s private correspondence? Graham said the answer to that question was a secret. 

Questions raised this month about surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency have been met, so far, with much the same response that Duncombe got from Graham in 1844: the program is classified. (This, a secret secret, is known as a double secret.) Luckily, old secrets aren’t secret; old secrets are history. The Mazzini affair, as the historian David Vincent argued in “The Culture of Secrecy,” led to “the first modern attack on official secrecy.” It stirred a public uproar, and eventually the House of Commons appointed a Committee of Secrecy “to inquire into the State of the Law in respect of the Detaining and Opening of Letters at the General Post-office, and into the Mode under which the Authority given for such Detaining and Opening has been exercised.” In August of 1844, the committee issued a hundred-and-sixteen-page report on the goings on at the post office. Fascinating to historians, it must have bored Parliament silly. It includes a history of the delivery of the mail, back to the sixteenth century. (The committee members had “showed so much antiquarian research,” 

Lord John Russell remarked, that he was surprised they hadn’t gone all the way back to “the case of *Hamlet*, Prince of Denmark, who opened the letters which had been committed to his charge, and got *Rosencrantz* and * Guildenstern* put to death instead of himself.”) 

The report revealed that Mazzini’s mail had indeed been opened and that there existed something called the Secret Department of the Post Office. Warrants had been issued for reading the mail of the king’s subjects for centuries. Before Mazzini and the poppy seeds, the practice was scarcely questioned. It was not, however, widespread. “The general average of Warrants issued during the present century, does not much exceed 8 a-year,” the investigation revealed. “This number would comprehend, on an average, the Letters of about 16 persons annually.” The Committee of Secrecy was relieved to report that rumors that the Secret Department of the Post Office had, at times, sent “entire mail-bags” to the Home Office were false: “None but separate Letters or Packets are ever sent.” 

The entire episode was closely watched in the United States, where the *New-York Tribune *condemned the opening of Mazzini’s mail as “a barbarian breach of honor and decency.” After the Committee of Secrecy issued its report, Mazzini published an essay called “Letter-Opening at the Post-Office.” Two months after the Mazzini affair began, the Secret Department of the Post Office was abolished. What replaced it, in the long run, was even sneakier: better-kept secrets. 

Obama's pick to lead the FBI tried to put the brakes on the NSA's surveillance dragnet.

BY MARC AMBINDER
JUNE 18, 2013 

It was not until Attorney General John Ashcroft was hospitalized with pancreatitis in early 2004 that his deputy, James Comey, first learned the extent of the Bush administration's surveillance programs. Reluctantly, the White House had agreed to "read him in." What Comey found out -- about both the government's warrantless domestic telephone interceptions and the bulk collection of data processed on American servers -- stunned him.* *Relying on an extreme interpretation of executive authority, the Bush legal team had established a set of war powers that broke precedent and concentrated power in the White House. Together with Jack Goldsmith, the Justice Department's head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Comey realized these efforts were based on legal opinions that should never have been signed. 

Of particular concern was the fact that telecom companies, Internet companies, credit-rating agencies, and the like had been providing the National Security Agency (NSA) with any customer records that the agency asked to see -- who called whom, who bought what, who rented a car where. 

As many as 50 companies were providing the NSA with un-sifted bulk data on a regular basis without a court order. There was no discrimination at all; Americans and non-Americans alike were swept up by this surveillance dragnet. Faced with a White House request to reauthorize these activities, as Ashcroft had done, Comey balked. 

Comey, who is said to be President Obama's choice to be the next director of the FBI, has never publicly disclosed exactly what he refused to sanction * *when he was briefly acting attorney general during Ashcroft's hospital stay, but people briefed on the program who have spoken to Comey say it was the legal rationale giving the NSA quick access to un-sifted telecom and service provider-collected metadata that "drove him bonkers," not the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. There was just no way, Comey thought,* *to justify an effort that simply turned over such a large amount of data on American citizens to one of America's foreign-intelligence agencies. It contravened a number of laws with which he, as a former federal prosecutor of terrorism cases, was intimately familiar. 

With recent revelations that the NSA has undertaken a huge effort to collect telephonic metadata -- information about a phone call, such as the originating and receiving numbers, the time and duration of the call, and technical information about the call and the phone used -- the Bush administration's intelligence collection efforts have reclaimed a central place in the debate over the balance between national security and privacy. 

To understand the current controversy, one has to return to the origin of the government's post-9/11 expansion of intelligence gathering, an effort that set off a vicious internal debate. For critics of the recently revealed NSA programs, the bitter irony is that they are now in all likelihood fully legal. This is the story of how Congress made them lawful. 

To acquire communications inside the United States before 9/11, the NSA needed the cooperation of the courts and U.S. telecommunications companies. The Stored Communications Act of 1986 (SCA) would not allow the provision of historical data without an order or warrant, and the Electronic Crimes and Privacy Act (ECPA) banned real-time monitoring without an order or warrant. Furthermore, because the types of communications the NSA wanted were considered "consumer proprietary information," telecom companies couldn't just turn them over at the government's request. This latter point was rejected by the NSA's lawyers, who said that the Federal Communications Commission, which enforces the relevant laws, misread the statute. But the SCA's language seemed pretty clear to Comey: "[A] provider of remote computing service or electronic communication service to the public shall not knowingly divulge a record or other information pertaining to a subscriber to or customer of such service... to any governmental entity" -- unless the government obtains a warrant. 

So, assuming that citizens of the United States counted as customers, telecom companies were forbidden from voluntarily turning over records to the federal government. In the fight to maintain privacy rights in the face of expanding national security prerogatives, few fights were more consequential than the one Comey was starting. Anything a telecom company kept in storage and anything involving the customer's past communications counted as a "record." In other words, these business records included everything the telecom companies knew about their customers. 

In its pursuit of greater intelligence capacities, the Bush administration discarded those legal protections. The activities authorized by President Bush provided a get-out-of-jail-free card to telecom companies, authorizing them to ignore the Stored Communications Act and Electronic Crimes and Privacy Act. The card came in the form of a certification signed by the attorney general attesting that the government would not criminally prosecute the telecoms for their cooperation. There was no court involvement whatsoever. The initial justification for this seems to have been based -- the legal opinion itself remains classified -- on both an assertion of presidential powers and an interpretation of the USA Patriot Act's "business records provision," which allowed the government to collect "tangible things" from U.S. businesses so long as they related to terrorism. There was no statutory definition of "tangible thing" and no real sense of what it meant. Interpreted broadly, it would essentially give the entire government license to collect anything, at any time, without a warrant or order. 

(The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence would later conclude that "we have seen no evidence that Congress intended the AUMF" -- the Authorization for Use of Military Force, the post-9/11 law that inaugurated the Bush administration's war on terror -- "to authorize a widespread effort to collect the content of Americans' phone and e-mail communications," implying that the NSA had used that law as justification as well. And, according to the *Washington Post*the White House also advanced an interpretation of an obscure 1982 Department of Defense rule that defined "collection" in a way whereby the Fourth Amendment would not apply until a human being actually *used* the collected material.) 

So what did the telecoms turn over to the NSA? Millions of transaction records, which included millions of instances of domestic telephones dialing other domestic telephones. Other companies sent over tranches of e-mail messages. The NSA would ask for telephone logs from a certain time at a certain place (that is, a company, a neighborhood, a mosque), and telecoms would transmit those records. The NSA could scan the metadata that attached itself to anything digital, whether a call or an e-mail, but actually listening to a call or reading an e-mail required probable cause. 

The agency used several computer programs to scan the pen register logs (the lists of phone numbers that called other numbers) and the metadata associated with e-mails (for example, the to, from, and subject lines; IP addresses; lengths; frequencies; and so on). If a group of people associated with an entity (like an Islamic charity) had (or appeared to have) a connection with an entity connected to foreign terrorism, all three were subject to interception protocols. 

When Ashcroft temporarily transferred power to Comey during his hospitalization in March 2004, the lanky former prosecutor would not sign a new certification for the collection of bulk metadata. There* *was no sound legal basis for the bulk transmission of data to the NSA, he believed, especially if the NSA meant to store it for future use. He was uncomfortable that the judicial branch was not involved at any step in the process. The Stored Communications Act and the Electronic Crimes and Privacy Act had exceptions, but Comey didn't think they applied. And the Patriot Act's provisions required a specific target. 

The NSA's potential uses for the data only added to Comey's concerns. The agency could have taken telephone records and correlated them with the bulk intercepted data from, say, Yemen, to see which calls overlapped. Then it could (and would) task an analyst to either listen to the U.S. end of a call if the whole call had been recorded somewhere outside the United States, or to listen to future calls emanating from the U.S. terminus. 

Mike McConnell, a former director of the NSA and the second director of national intelligence during the Bush administration, would later describe what happened next to a group of intelligence industry professionals: "If the U.S. end of the call was Grandma, and they were talking about cakes, we would minimize it. If it was operationally significant, we would keep it. If that U.S. number were to call another U.S. number, we would have to get a FISA warrant," he said, referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which regulated the monitoring of calls between the United States and abroad. 

Initially, the White House was ready to have the president's counsel, Alberto Gonzales, affix his own name to the certification authorizing bulk metadata collection that Comey had sent back without a signature. But with Ashcroft in the hospital on the night of March 10, the White House first *tried to bully* the barely conscious attorney general into signing the orders from his hospital bed. Comey got wind of the plan and raced to the hospital to intercept Gonzales and White House Chief of Staff Andy Card. In a now-legendary show of defiance against the Bush White House, a nearly delirious Ashcroft refused to sign. Card and Gonzales left empty-handed. 

Then, to force Comey's hand, the White House tried to use Congress as a lever. 

In a hastily organized briefing a few weeks later in the White House Situation Room with Comey and the so-called Gang of Eight -- the speaker and minority leader of the House, the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, and the chairs and ranking members of the intelligence committees -- a member of Congress asked White House officials* *whether any ongoing operations would be jeopardized if the telecoms refused to hand over data without a warrant. A senior official from the National Security Council brought up a major counterterrorism investigation code-named CREVICE. The United States, British MI5, and German intelligence were working closely together on the case, which involved al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in Europe who were communicating with Americans. One was caught on a wire musing about blowing up an airplane. At least some of their communication was transiting through the United States. Without the program, the White House insisted, the ability to disrupt CREVICE would be significantly reduced. But the FBI and the Justice Department representatives in the room who had been working CREVICE for months knew that wasn't true. FISA warrants had already been issued, and MI5 had its own technical surveillance operation under way. The bulk provision of data was just not necessary. 

Since late 2001, the special NSA programs had been briefed to the Gang of Eight. Other members of the intelligence committees and some members of the armed services committees were given partial briefings. But Congress was an observer at this point, rather than a participant. From the secret programs' earliest days, the White House had never asked Congress to explicitly authorize bulk data collection or to update FISA, and Congress, not wanting to get its hands dirty, never volunteered to. In the Situation Room meeting, Comey got the impression that the legislative branch was brought in for show, to intimidate him. 

The White House advanced a practical argument to Congress, arguing that the lawyers who handled the bulk data collection programs for the telecom companies would panic if after months of seeing executive branch authorizations bearing the signature of the attorney general -- the nation's top law enforcement officer -- they saw instead the scribble of Alberto Gonzales, the president's in-house guy. 

Gonzales believed that without Comey's signature, without the signature of the attorney general, the telecoms and other content providers would not only have questioned any past cooperation with the NSA, but would probably also significantly curtail their cooperation in the *future*, raising the prospect that Comey's objections to bulk metadata collection might jeopardize the warrantless wiretapping program. Though Comey *had* signed off on that part of the program -- certifying that it was legal to intercept the U.S. side of an international communication connected with terrorism -- he refused to sign off on bulk metadata collection. Without his signature on that second program, the White House feared the companies might balk at providing any assistance. 

But congressional leaders didn't want -- and didn't think they had an obligation -- to publicly rewrite a surveillance law to account for a secret program. This was the president's program. He initiated it, so he owned it. 

It was because of these practical considerations that the White House changed course after the hospital room confrontation. With no help forthcoming in Congress, the White House had to. It simply could not send a document to the telecoms with *anyone else's signature.* It took six months before the NSA was able to develop procedures that fit the interpretation of the metadata provisions promulgated by Jack Goldsmith and his successor, Daniel Levin. 

As the main obstacle to continuing the bulk metadata collection program, Comey became a hated figure in the White House. Dick Cheney in particular was not a fan. Comey first met the vice president the same day he appointed Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the Valerie Plame leak -- an investigation that would culminate with the indictment of Cheney's chief of staff for perjury. When Comey introduced himself that day, Cheney replied, without looking back, "Oh, I know you from television." He wasn't smiling. 

The scene at the hospital marked a turning point for the data collection program but did so in a way that may well have hastened the day that Congress would officially deem it sound and legitimate. Immediately after he became attorney general in early 2005, Alberto Gonzales asked the new head of the OLC, Steve Bradbury, to reexamine whether there might be a different legal approach to the NSA activities authorized by the president -- one that would put those activities on a stronger legal footing. So, Bradbury crafted a novel legal analysis that, if approved by the FISA court, would permit much of the NSA program to be based on section 702 of the FISA statute, which allowed the NSA to acquire communications on foreign entities that happened to use U.S.-based content providers. In essence, the FBI would take a first pass at the data collection to make sure it did not contain information about U.S. persons. Then, and only then, would it be provided to the NSA. The attorney general would have to certify to the FISA court that the data was needed for foreign intelligence purposes. 

Bradbury presented his new approach to the White House in the late spring of 2005, and the White House approved it without hesitation, provided that the director of national intelligence and the NSA were confident that the new approach would not materially compromise the value and effectiveness of the program. The DNI and the NSA expressed support, and over the next 
several months, the OLC, working with the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the Justice Department, developed a detailed analysis and proposal intended to be submitted to the FISA court in late 2005 or early 2006. 

But in December 2005, the *New York Times* scuttled the effort to build a new legal basis for the metadata program by reporting on the OLC's attempt to draft a new justification under FISA. Bradbury and others in DOJ spent much of their time and attention in 2006 explaining to the public (and to Congress) the legal basis for the NSA activities, which were now publicly acknowledged by the president following the *Times* article, as well as addressing other alleged activities and rumors swirling around those charges. As a consequence of the distraction, it wasn't until January 2007 that Gonzales told Congress that DOJ had succeeded in obtaining a court order authorizing foreign collection using bulk data under a novel interpretation of FISA. What he did not say in open session was that bulk data collection had resumed under the Patriot Act's business-records provision. The main difference: The FISA court was reviewing and certifying all of the government's data requests. 

Then, just as quickly, that legal authorization was taken away. A FISA judge found problems with the collection. (We don't know exactly what the issues were.) It was then, and only then, that those in Congress read in to the program felt compelled to act. Congress passed stopgap legislation in 2007 and, in 2008, a permanent and fundamental restructuring of FISA. 

In essence, the new FISA laws legalized bulk data collection for foreign intelligence gathered from wires passing through the United States, prohibited the collection of any content (audio of telephone calls, the body text of e-mails) on U.S. persons anywhere in the world without a warrant, and allowed the government to use FISA for collecting information to fight terrorism, proliferation, and espionage. 

Today, the NSA's special programs are larger than they were when they first existed as a presidentially authorized intelligence collection tool. Inside the government there is a consensus that the NSA's intelligence-gathering activities -- both those recently revealed and those still classified -- are critical to national security. This consensus did not come easily, and from a civil libertarian standpoint the checks and balances are insufficient. It could be that the Justice Department, the courts, and Congress previously objected to the program only because they weren't let in on the secret. Now that they're in on it, they're willing participants in its perpetuation and expansion, one fully sanctioned by the law. 

Congress has reauthorized the Patriot Act and rewritten FISA to allow for all of the activities that Comey found objectionable, although they are subject to a significantly higher level of oversight and auditing. But the legal interpretation and operational realities of what these reauthorizations meant were secret to all but a very small number of members. 

That is, until just a few days ago. 


*Marc Ambinder is editor-at-large for *The Week* and a contributing editor at *GQ*. He is the co-author of *Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry 

*, from which this article was adapted. You can follow him on Twitter at 

@marcambinder .* 





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