Back to more workers’ comp meat and potatoes this week.. but first a few items lingering around the drawer….
Coming back from my Croatia vacation last week, I picked up a book I’ve been meaning to read.
It’s “The Shadow Factory”, by James Bamford. Bamford’s career has focused on the ultra-secret National Security Agency. Prior books on the NSA were “The Puzzle Palace” and “Body of Secrets”.
In the past week we’ve seen arrests in several alleged terrorism cases:
a Jordanian immigrant who intended to blow up a Dallas skyscraper, an Afghan immigrant who is alleged to have been involved in a plot to
set off bombs, and an Illinois man intent on blowing up a federal building.
Chances are good that the NSA was heavily involved in these cases. The threat from terrorists seems to be real, and continuing. It’s not a Cindy Sheehan world we live in.
Bamford’s tale of the NSA’s reach is stunning.
A key data mining point has been at the AT&T facility on Folsom Street in San Francisco. Earlier today tens of thousands of revelers marched down Folsom Street, some naked, some half naked, participating in San Francisco’s bawdy Folsom Street Fair, which celebrates all kinds of sensual and some kinky persuasions. Those revelers, wearing chains, chaps, loincloths (or not) were just a stone’s throw from that AT&T facility where the NSA installed Naurus technology to monitor digital communications.
Once word became public that digital communications of Americans were being monitored at Folsom Street, a legislative and legal battle ensued over the Bush administration’s attempts to circumvent FISA. The ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation became deeply involved. Both the Bush and Obama administration have claimed a state secrets privilege in those lawsuits.
Some readers will come away from Bamford’s book chilled by the extent of the Orwellian surveillance structure that already in place. Others may find comfort in the notion that the surveillance described may already have broken up plots that, had they succeeded, led to even more dismantling of the civil liberties we still enjoy.
Bamford will educate you on Naurus, Verint, the Morro Bay cable crossing, Total Information Awareness, PatternTracer, Agility, Anchory, ArcView, fastscope, Hightide, Octave, Dishfire, Pinwale, Osis, Puzzlecube, Tuningfork, Xkeyscrore, Edge, PerSay, Unit 8200, VANTAGE, DEEPVIEW, the Protect America Act, Comverse, IARPA, Aquaint, Trailblazer, the Black Widow, Cascade, Roadrunner, TIDE, Quantum Leap and Railhead.
You’ll learn about petaflop barriers.
Pick up a copy. You’ll be glad you did.
Category: Political developments