Thursday, October 22, 2015

Someone Should Find Something Useful For Trey Gowdy To Investigate


Today, while Trey Gawdy's absurd and failing witch-hunt was playing out on TV-- all eleven gruesome hours of it-- Alan Grayson sent out a message to his supporters that says, in part
"I’m on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. I’ve read every classified document regarding Benghazi. Take it from me: Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong. This is the 'scandal' that never was. So it must be utterly mortifying to her to see the Republicans wasting taxpayer money to conduct this political vendetta against her.

"But there are some people who do deserve a heaping helping of blame. Like the three Democrats in the House today (among 188 of us) who voted for the Benghazi Committee show trial. Trey Gowdy referred to them in his opening statement today, pointing out that they had voted for his anti-Hillary witch-hunt.

"One of those three is my Senate Democratic primary in Florida, Patrick Murphy.

"He ignored warnings at the time, from everyone from Nancy Pelosi on down. He voted with the Republicans to authorize this evil farce. Because that’s what he really is: a Republican.

"And listen to Patrick Murphy’s incredible post hoc rationalization: He was sure that the Benghazi Committee-- run by a former GOP prosecutor-- would exonerate Hillary Clinton."
I don't think anyone who watched the televised hearings can possibly think anyone could be either so stupid or so naive as to think Try Gowdy had any intention of "exonerating" Hillary Clinton. The fact the Murphy-- along with the two other corrupt Blue Dogs who voted to authorize the witch hunt (Kyrsten Sinema and Collin Peterson)-- consistently voted with the Republicans and are always there so that right-wingers like Gowdy can  say, "but it was bipartisan," says a lot more about Murphy's motivations than his claims about vindication and exoneration.

If Congress needs a serious topic to investigate, rather than Gowdy's disgraceful partisan show trial, they should look into how the NSA skirts U.S. law-- the ones that prohibit U.S. intelligence agencies from spying on American citizens-- by paying the British-- the U.K.'s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), their version of "our" NSA-- to do it. This is from Michael Gurnow's book, The Edward Snowden Affair: Exposing the Politics and Media Behind the NSA Scandal:
The day Snowden was granted asylum, The Guardian celebrated with another exclusive: "NSA pays £100m in secret funding for GCHQ." It proudly proclaims “Secret payments revealed in leaks by Edward Snowden.” The article answers the question left from the June 21 Tempora report of which intelligence agency calls the shots.

Largely because Britain’s comparatively lax surveillance laws are a "selling point," the U.S. government started financially supporting many of GCHQ’s intelligence stations and programs after GCHQ suffered substantial domestic budget cuts. One such British spy project hopes to ultimately "exploit any phone, anywhere, any time." Having poured over 100 million pounds into contracted British intelligence services from 2010-2013, the NSA is allowed to prioritize surveillance affairs at some of Britain’s spy stations. Half the cost of GCHQ’s Cyprus station is paid by U.S. taxpayers. But Washington is not always happy with what it gets for its citizens’ money. Internal, classified documents comment, "GCHQ must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight" because the U.S. government had "raised a number of issues with regards to meeting NSA’s minimum expectations." This is perhaps because 60 percent of Britain’s filtered data still comes from American intelligence. It is obvious a portion of the nine-figure paycheck, revealed in GCHQ’s "investment portfolios," was for foreign surveillance of U.S. citizens and subsequent data-swapping services. One classified review brags of how GCHQ made "unique contributions" to the NSA investigation of the American citizen behind the failed 2010 Times Square car bomb attack. The plot by Faizal Shahzad was foiled by a T-shirt vendor who noticed that a suspiciously parked car happened to be smoking.

A companion article titled,"GCHQ: inside the top secret world of Britain’s biggest spy agency," appeared the same day. Its focus is largely on the daily life within GCHQ, its history, but also its plans. The report admits, "Of all the highly classified documents about GCHQ revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, this has to be one of the least sensitive." The exposé discusses the nuances of working inside the world’s largest surveillance facility whose annual budget is one billion pounds. (The NSA’s yearly allotment is 17 times greater.) Employees have bake sales, annual in-house sporting events, team vacations and chat using an internal networking site sardonically named "SpySpace," a titular mockup of Facebook’s predecessor, MySpace.

But the article moves to more substantial matters by grabbing the loose thread of cellular phone surveillance that its bookend report left dangling. The British intelligence agency seeks to "[collect] voice and SMS and geo-locating phone" data and "intelligence from all the extra functionality that iPhones and BlackBerrys offer." A classified document recognizes the technological climate and sets the agenda: "Google Apps already has over 30 million users. This is good news. It allows us to exploit the mobile advantage." As with telecommunications providers’ government compliance, on February 8, 2011, it was noted that "Legal assurances [by cell phone manufacturers were] now believed to be good."

In its conclusion-- a review of GCHQ’s contribution to American intelligence-- the report states that the British intelligence agency "had given the NSA 36% of all the raw information the British had intercepted from computers the agency was monitoring. A confidential document declares new technological advances permit the British to "interchange 100% of GCHQ End Point Projects with NSA." Also on August 1, NGB expanded on British communication providers’ roles in government surveillance. It was another joint feature with Süddeutsche Zeitung, which would release "Snowden revealed names of spying telecom companies" the next day.

Together the news sources report that not two but seven major domestic telecoms, alongside their respective code names, provided GCHQ with access to their fiber-optic cables in 2010: Verizon Business ("Dacron"), British Telecommunications ("Remedy"), Vodafone Cable ("Gerontic"), Global Crossing ("Pinnage"), Level 3 ("Little"), Viatel ("Vitreous") and Interoute ("Streetcar"). The British spy agency used Tempora to hack the various data backbones across Europe. GCHQ has 102 "points of presence" over Europe, 15 of which are in Germany.

The British communication companies’ involvement with GCHQ is of particular interest to Germany, because Level 3 owns data centers in Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich. Global Crossing and Interoute are also major German communication distributors. For readers familiar with the American surveillance story, Viatel’s response was predictable as well as somewhat laughable: "We do not cooperate with the GCHQ or grant access to our infrastructure or customer data." The company representative continues, "Like all telecommunications providers in Europe, we are obliged to comply with European and national laws including those regarding privacy and data retention. From time to time, we receive inquiries from authorities, [which are] checked by our legal and security departments, and if they are legal, [they] will be processed accordingly." The reports also reveal that the Five Eyes, whose acronym is revealed as "FVEY," operate a "ring of satellite monitoring systems around the globe." The group project is code-named "Echelon."
How about if Sherlock Gowdy turn his investigative talents in that direction instead? And, please, take your little Florida pal, Patrick Murphy, along for the ride. As for keeping Murphy out of the U.S. Senate and sending him back to work with Daddy Murphy and Trump... you can do that right here on the Alan Grayson for Senate contribution page.

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At 4:34 AM, Blogger Mf Lehman said...

In keeping with yesterday's item here, I say let's have him look into the high cost of makeup and cosmetic surgery.

At 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about an investigation into "malpractice in plastic surgery" or, more likely, "the intractable biological constraints on the successful practice of plastic surgery"?

John Puma


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