NSA's Plan to Use Porn Habits to Discredit 'Radicalizers'By monitoring online activity of suspected terrorists and foreign agitators, agency reveals lengths it will go
Jon Queally, staff writer
New documents obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and leaked to journalist Glenn Greenwald and the Huffington Post show that the spy agency made plans to use the online activities, including visits to pornographic sites and other habits, of so-called Muslim "radicalizers" in order to discredit their standing.
According to the reporting:
The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target's credibility, reputation and authority.And Greenwald subsequently made note:
The NSA document, dated Oct. 3, 2012, repeatedly refers to the power of charges of hypocrisy to undermine such a messenger. “A previous SIGINT" -- or signals intelligence, the interception of communications -- "assessment report on radicalization indicated that radicalizers appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their private and public behaviors are not consistent,” the document argues.
Though both current and former NSA officials said such a program would make sense in order to thwart terrorist activity, others told the HuffPo that the secret program is just another example of just how much the agency is collecting and what they're able to do with the data they collect.
As the ACLU's Ben Wizner tweeted:
"It's important to remember that the NSA’s surveillance activities are anything but narrowly focused -- the agency is collecting massive amounts of sensitive information about virtually everyone," Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the ACLUE, told the HuffPo, warning that abuses of a program like this were easy to see.
"Wherever you are, the NSA's databases store information about your political views, your medical history, your intimate relationships and your activities online," he said. "The NSA says this personal information won't be abused, but these documents show that the NSA probably defines 'abuse' very narrowly."
Though all documented targets of this program appeared to be outside the United States, at least one was indicated to be a U.S. national. And the idea that such programs will only be used to target suspected terrorists runs into the problematic history of government surveillance on U.S. dissidents, political activists, and labor organizers.
As the Huffington Posts explains:
Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI harassed activists and compiled secret files on political leaders, most notably Martin Luther King, Jr. The extent of the FBI's surveillance of political figures is still being revealed to this day, as the bureau releases the long dossiers it compiled on certain people in response to Freedom of Information Act requests following their deaths. The information collected by the FBI often centered on sex -- homosexuality was an ongoing obsession on Hoover's watch -- and information about extramarital affairs was reportedly used to blackmail politicians into fulfilling the bureau's needs. As ACLU's Jaffer commented, "The NSA has used its power [to discredit domestic political opponents] in the past and it would be naïve to think it couldn't use its power that way in the future," he said.
Current FBI Director James Comey recently ordered new FBI agents to visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington to understand "the dangers in becoming untethered to oversight and accountability."
James Bamford, a journalist who has been covering the NSA since the early 1980s, said the use of surveillance to exploit embarrassing private behavior is precisely what led to past U.S. surveillance scandals. "The NSA's operation is eerily similar to the FBI's operations under J. Edgar Hoover in the 1960s where the bureau used wiretapping to discover vulnerabilities, such as sexual activity, to 'neutralize' their targets," he said. "Back then, the idea was developed by the longest serving FBI chief in U.S. history, today it was suggested by the longest serving NSA chief in U.S. history."
Latest Big Brother/Orwellian
- Revealed: Canadian Spy Program Illustrates "Giant X-Ray Machine Over All Our Digital Lives"
- US Engaged in Massive Car Spying Program
- France Announces Plans To Hold The Internet Responsible For Terrorism
- Je Suis Disappoint: French Court Convicts Idiots For Homophobic Stupidity
- The Many Problems with the DEA's Bulk Phone Records Collection Program
- Bakery Under Government Investigation For Refusing To Write Anti-Gay Message On A Cake
- How Hollywood Plans to Seize Pirate Site Domain Names
- New Snowden Leak Reveals GCHQ Collected Emails Of Journalists At NYT, WaPo, Guardian, BBC And Elsewhere
FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.