TBR News June 24, 2013

Jun 24 2013

The Voice of the White House




Washington, D.C. June 12, 2013: “The Guardian has caused an unholy uproar in the halls of Congress, the plush offices of not only the White House but the directors of the FBI, the NSA and the CIA, with their revelations of massive spying on millions of Americans, and foreigners. If this is being done to detect terrorists, then there must be tens of millions of terrorists loose in the United States or the agencies are looking for more power and the Obama people are trying to find a way to stifle any criticism of their endless wars. We have heard loud claims from the agencies that their actions have saved American from terrorist attacks. These claims were quickly squashed and now the spooks are trying to come up with some other lie that will take off the heat. It is rather interesting to note that the Russians warned the FBI about the senior Boston marathon bomber three years before he blew three people up and ripped the legs off of many more. There are two distinct possibilities here. The first one is that they turned him, as once source says promising him American citizenship in exchange for his cooperation and then promptly lost track of him and the second is that they simply forgot about him. Tell that one to the legless ones. And recall the ludicrous story about the friend of the bomber who was shot six times by an FBI agent during a midnight interview. It was claimed he pulled a knife but none ever surfaced. One wonders what the dead one knew and, perhaps, threatened to expose.”



Mason on the UK


by Chris Mason

June 12, 2013


By his actions in revealing top secret data about personal information of American, and foreign, citizens, , young Mr. Snowden has done irreparable damage to America’s national defense and protection programs.


Until he violated his oath of secrecy, we were able to watch, and track not only the all-pervasive and deadly Muslim terrorists world-wide but also keep a close watch on domestic American trouble-makers such as infested this country during the Vietnam war. Now, his actions have severely compromised various American computer companies who, until this week, were able and willing to assist our protective measures.


These companies are now being attacked by their millions of users and I am assured that many of them are losing customers at an alarming rate.


One of our most important resources for compiling files on any person expressing negative or anti-government views, Facebook, is having serious troubles.


When the FBI became involved in that project, they could clearly see how valuable an intelligence asset it could be. Their control of Internet II and their strong, on-going relationship with search engine Google paled into insignificance beside the trove of valuable data that Facebook was able to provide them.


Now, all of this valuable sourcing is destroyed, due solely to the misguided youth who, quite literally, stabbed all of us in the intelligence community in the back.


But we also suffered even worse damage when it was revealed that many other countries eagerly assisted our NSA (and the CIA, the FBI and the DHS) in allowing us to also keep records, and conduct discreet surveillance, on citizens of other countries, such at the UK, France, Germany, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sweden, Switzerland, China and Russia.


Just recently, Snowden surfaced documents to the effect that the United States had hacked many hundreds of targets in outwardly neutral Hong Kong, to include state officials, many businesses and schools and students both in that city as well as identical targets on the PRC mainland. He made the claim that these were only part of the annual 60,000 NSA interdiction operations.


One of the worst hit countries was our long-time ally, Great Britain.


The British face domestic problems even more accentuated than those of the United States. They have a large and very restive black population as well as a larger Muslim one (approximately 1.6 million) and many of these are the young, dissatisfied types so easily recruited by the imams bent on furthering religious attacks on Christian communities that are perceived as “oppressing” Muslim countries. And in the black population, many of the younger members are also targets for Muslim fanaticism.  The Muslim population percentages in larger UK cities, for example are: Greater London – 17% (1.3 million of 7.5 million) and the industrial city of Birmingham 14.3% (139,771)


Their authorities are absolutely in full cooperation with American identification projects and we have had the total support of the following UK internet providers:


 BT Group: operates the BT Total Broadband brand and has 4.6 million customers.The company has broadband to other ISPs through the Openreach brand. It also operates under the Plusnet brand. Plusnet was founded in 1997..

Sky Broadband: a digital TV provider that also provides broadband and home phone services. Launched in 2006, it has its headquarters in London, UK. It offers bundle services with TV, home phone and broadband services. It has operated the Be Unlimited brand since February 2013. In 2013 it acquired O2’s home broadband business

Virgin Media: offers consumers a quadruple play bundle of TV, broadband, home phone and mobile. The UK ISP has approximately 10 million customers.The company also provides fibre optic broadband of up to 100Mb, with 120Mb

TalkTalk: TalkTalk offers broadband service to consumers in the UK. Launched in 2004, the ISP has a customer base of 4.12 million. The ISP offers broadband and landline phone services, primarily through LLU. TalkTalk also operates the AOL Broadband brand.

            Updata : – Updata Infrastructure UK is a broadband provider focusing on public sector markets with a customer base covering schools, local authorities and primary care trusts.

EE: Operates home broadband under the EE brand, previously operated as Orange Broadband.


Also working closely with U.S. identification/interdiction programs are several top UK domestic intelligence agencies. These are: The British government’s eavesdropping agency GCHQ. GCHQ, has had access to the system since June, 2010. The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6), which  is the agency which supplies Her Majesty’s Government with foreign intelligence.


Prism programme allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to obtain personal material, such as emails, photographs and videos, from internet companies based outside the UK.


The JTLS (Joint Technical Language Service) is a small department and cross-government resource responsible for mainly technical language support and translation and interpreting services across government departments. It is co-located with GCHQ for administrative purposes.


GCHQ has contacted the PRISM program of the National Security Agency (NSA) more than 19,785 times with requests for information on the citizens of the UK since 2007 and cross-government resource responsible for mainly technical language support and translation and interpreting services across government departments. It is co-located with GCHQ for administrative purposes.


 The FBI and the NSA can tap directly into the central servers of nine leading internet companies and, in addition, there is high-tech computer system that captures images of “every mail piece that is processed” by the United State Postal Service .Postal Service computer system that incorporates a Mail Isolation Control and Tracking (MICT) program which photographs and captures an image of every mail piece that is processed.


The Director of US National Intelligence has officially stated that American law ensures that only ‘non-US persons outside the US are targeted’


Mr. Snowden’s untimely revelations have caused political upheaval in the upper governmental levels of the UK and these agencies are now making extraodinary efforts to distance themselves from American intelligence gathering efforts.


Mr. Snowden has, in fact, done terrible damage, not only to UK relations but threatened additional revelations stand well to create even more serious problems with the governments of both Germany and France.


While the intelligence agencies of these countries are involved, heavily, in mutually satisfactory exchanges of information, like the political figures in the UK, they fear the Snowden revelations would cause serious problems with their electorates and are making efforts to terminate their hitherto very successful, complete assistance in the matter of observing all of their populations.


While many countries are eager to identify potential, and actual, Muslim terrorists in their own country, political constraints will prevent them from either acknowledging or participating in further such interdictions of their own people.


For this reason, bringing Mr. Snowden to public trial, with a conviction and a subsequently long prison sentence would certainly be in order, and one must weigh the deterrent factor with the probable adverse publicity attendant upon such a trial. And, as has been discussed, simply terminating him with extreme prejudice might prove to be the most effective course, but again, public perceptions must be taken into consideration.


Further, we have reason to believe that Mr. Snowden in all probability has taken out an “insurance policy” against termination by removing many sensitive and potentially highly damaging documents and again, this must be taken into consideration.


It is to be regretted that many of our most secret computer programs are staffed by young techinical experts who do not have the world-outlook that our older agents possess and often involve themselves with so-called ethical problems that, in point of fact, are none of their business.



Chris Mason  Крис Мазон

Chris.mason@ c4ads.org

Mason, Christopher , P.O. Box 25765, Arlington, VA 22313





 The Turkish media are rife with speculation that a former U.S. Navy and State Department officer who is married to Yasemin Çongar, once the Washington bureau chief of the Turkish newspaper Milliyet and now affiliated with Taraf, is a C.I.A. agent. The main evidence linking the two has been provided by an April 2002 article that Çonger published in the Foreign Service Journal, in which she identified herself as being “married to FSO Chris Mason”.


Mr. Mason has  written to the Evening Gazette  , categorically denying the allegations made in the original 2 Feb 2010 article about him by Oray Egin. In particular, Mr. Mason reportedly has denied ever being associated with, or having received compensation from, the C.I.A. or the RAND Corporation, as alleged in the article. He states that he is a retired diplomat with an academic interest in Afghanistan, and has demanded that the Evening Gazette retract their false and unfounded allegations, while reserving the right to further legal actions against the paper.


This may well be true but as his public curriculum vitae shows, he seems to have had and continues to have close working relationships with the U.S. intelligence community. He claims to lecture regularly at the Joint Special Operations University, the Naval Postgraduate School, the National Defense University, and to teach at the Fort Bragg Special Operations Center, Fort Carson, Fort Drum, and other military posts.


Although his curriculum vitae no longer appears on the Naval Graduate School website, Chris Mason’s research, publication, and advisory work is still amply documented on it. For example, “NPS Senior Research Fellow and retired Foreign Service Officer Chris Mason” addressed the Conference on Culture and Counterinsurgency in Southern Afghanistan, Aug. 25-27, 2009, which was attended by U.S. Lt. Gen. McChrystal and Canadian Brig. Gen. Daniel Menard and a dozen top officers of his Joint Task Force-Afghanistan; Mason reportedly made a presentation on “using Pashtun culture for strategic advantage”.


 M. Chris Mason is a Senior Research Fellow with the Program for Culture & Conflict Studies, focusing on the history and ethnography of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.   Mr. Mason is a retired Foreign Service Officer who served as the Afghanistan Policy Officer for the Bureau of Political Military Affairs at the State Department for four years beginning in June 2001, developing U.S. security policy on Afghanistan, ranging from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), to the Disarmament Program (DDR) and the Afghan National Army (ANA).


While at the State Department, he worked closely with the intelligence community on a number of classified projects involving tribal mapping and the tribes of Afghanistan.  He was considered the State Department’s expert on the history, culture and ethnography of the country and served on the CIA’s Pashtun Red Cell.


In 2005, he served as the Political Officer on the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Paktika Province on the Pakistan border.  As the senior US government civilian in the province, he traveled widely with the provincial governor and U.S. Army maneuver elements, engaging thousands of Afghans at speeches and Shura (elders) meetings across the province.  Prior to that tour, Mr. Mason had previously traveled frequently to Afghanistan, beginning in January, 2002 on a variety of security-related projects.


He is currently also a Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies in Washington, DC, and serves as the South Asia Desk Officer for the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Culture Learning (CAOCL) in Quantico, Virginia, where he developed the Marine Corps’ classroom program and distance-learning training programs for Afghanistan, wrote the Afghanistan Deployer’s Cultural Guide, and trains Marines deploying to Afghanistan.


Mr. Mason served 23 years in the U.S. government as a Naval Officer and Foreign Service Officer. From 2001 to 2005, he was a policy officer on the Afghanistan Interagency Operations Group at the State Department and most recently served as the political officer on the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Paktika Province. He lectures regularly on Afghanistan and Counterinsurgency at Joint Special Operations University, the Naval Postgraduate School and the National Defense University, and teaches Afghan history, culture, and ethnography to military personnel deploying to Afghanistan at the Fort Bragg Special Operations Center, Fort Carson, Fort Drum, and other military posts. He holds a Master’s Degree in Military Studies, and is a PhD candidate in History at The George Washington University


 Earlier Mr. Mason had been a Senior Research Fellow with the Program for Culture & Conflict Studies, at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.


 Mr. Mason currently lectures on ethnography and counterinsurgency in Afghanistan at the National Defense University, the Joint Special Operations University, Fort Bragg, RAND, DynCorps, and the Naval Postgraduate School.


 In addition, he teaches a course on Counterinsurgency for the Master of Security Studies (MSS) program at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and lectures on Afghanistan history, culture and the Taliban for the U.S. Army’s traveling Leadership Development and Education for Sustained Peacekeeping (LDESP) program which trains military personnel deploying to Afghanistan.


 Prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1990, Mr. Mason served as a Peace Corps volunteer in South America from 1977-1979 and naval officer on active duty from 1981-1986, with tours as a gunnery officer (USS John Young, DD973), a forward observer (2d Battalion 12th Marines) and a naval gunfire officer (2d ANGLICO Airborne).  He earned Navy Master Parachutist wings, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Korea Defense Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, Zimbabwean Army parachute wings, the State Department Superior Honor Medal, and other awards.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Carnegie Mellon University, a Master’s Degree in Military Studies from Marine Corps University, and is currently a PhD candidate in South Asian History at the George Washington University in Washington, DC.


The fact that Mr. Mason “served on the CIA’s Pashtun Red Cell” is of interest. In a long (11-page) article in U.S. News and World Report.David Kaplan had reported on the “Red Cell” as follows:  Twice each week, a top-secret report with distinctive red stripes lands on the desks of select policymakers in Washington. Called the “Red Cell,” it is the work of a CIA unit by the same name, set up after the 9/11 attacks to think “outside the box.” “Some of it is really wacky, even scary,” says an insider. “Like bombing Iran.” The “Red Cell,” in a very real sense, is emblematic of the trouble the U.S. intelligence community finds itself in today. Its reports, in-house critics say, are getting stale. “There’s not a lot of young blood,” an analyst says, “and there’s not enough turnover.”


In the light of this background the fact that Mr. Mason admits to having “served on” the C.I.A. Red Cell is not without significance. Further, the revelation that there was a “Pashtun Red Cell” raises questions about what kind of “outside the box” thinking Mr. Mason and his friends have been engaged in on the Pashtuns? If bombing Iran was not off the table for Red Cell thinkers, then certainly creating Pashtunistan (or balkanising Pakistan) would not be off the agenda either.


Mr. Mason’s close links to the intelligence community are plainly spelt out in his speaker’s introduction at a Jamestown Foundation event (on “Waziristan and the Uzbeks”) held on 6 June 2007:


While at the State Department, he worked closely with the intelligence community on a number of classified projects involving tribal mapping and the tribes of Afghanistan and the FATA, and served on the CIA’s Pashtun Red Cell.


The introduction also states that in March 2007 Mr. Mason had visited Quetta, Peshawar and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan.


Finally, there seems to be more to the Turkish press coverage—especially in scandalising Çonger’s marriage to an American, with alleged C.I.A. links, on the one hand, and her position at the controversial Taraf newspaper, on the other; Taraf is (1) suspected of being funded by Fethullah Gülen (a moderate observant Muslim living in self-exile in the United States), and (2) accused of being staunchly pro-AKP (Adalet ve Kalk?nma Partisi, or Justice and Development Party, of the President  and the Prime Minister), and (3) of being anti-military.


Prism: Just how much do the spooks know?

June 7, 2013

by Jane Wakefield Technology reporter

BBC News


News that the US government’s national security agency has been allegedly tapping into the phone records of Verizon customers quickly escalated into reports that it also had backdoor access to the major technology companies, including Apple, Google and Facebook.

The so-called Prism programme tapped into the servers of nine internet firms, according to leaked documents obtained by the Washington Post.

The leaked documents, supposedly supplied by a discontented spy, claim that the project gives the NSA access to email, chat logs, any stored data, voice traffic, file transfers and social networking data.

While it was primarily aimed at counter-terrorism, the scale of it meant huge swathes of citizen data were also sucked up, according to the Washington Post.

The newspaper claimed that the NSA can even conduct live surveillance of someone doing a Google search.

  The companies were very quick to deny that they offered “direct access” to their servers, leading many commentators to ask whether that actually meant that they offered indirect access or whether the NSA was perhaps filtering traffic independently.

For digital forensics expert Prof Peter Sommer, the seeming clash between what the leaked documents suggest and the denials of the firms indicate the access was limited in scale.

“It may be more of a catflap than a backdoor,” he said.

“The spooks may be allowed to use these firms’ servers but only in respect of a named target. Or they may get a court order and the firm will provide them with material on a hard-drive or similar.”

The idea that the authorities acted independently is unlikely, he thinks.

“They can’t just put a magic box over the internet wire,” he said. “Gmail and Facebook traffic is encrypted to thwart the cyber-crooks and in order to get hold of material they would need the co-operation of the firms.”

Even if the intelligence service had access to a piece of software that could automatically filter traffic and identify the bad guys, it would throw up hundreds of false positives.

“We don’t even understand how a domestic terrorist born in this country to a middle-class family becomes a radical. How can we expect a piece of software to know that?” he said.

Traffic cameras

For security expert Prof Alan Woodward, the idea that the authorities can routinely snoop on internet traffic is nothing new.

“The security services have a mandate to intercept foreign communications and signals to look for intelligence and analysis about threats to the security of the country. They have been doing it for years.” he said.

“Lots of internet traffic is routed through Europe and the US so it is not altogether surprising that they are taking the opportunity to look at this traffic.”

What is important to note, he said, is that the authorities are interested in communications from foreigners rather than the emails of its own citizens – something backed up by a statement from the US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

“There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect [citizen data] but not wittingly,” he said in congressional testimony.

General analysis of traffic on the networks is not necessarily a privacy scandal, thinks Prof Woodward.

“It is no different from the cameras routinely looking at the traffic road network. If you see a problem, for example an accident, you may want to zoom in but you need to get a court order in order to access the registration of a particular vehicle,” he said.

Weaken security

Governments around the world are keen to increase the access that the police, as well as the intelligence services, have to internet communications.

New laws are needed as internet communication changes, they argue.

But getting the wording of such legislation right can be a minefield.

In the UK, the draft Communications Data Bill was recently dropped because the Liberal Democrats considered it far too wide in scope, and similar legislation in the US is facing controversy.

Security expert Brue Schneier notes in his blog that the ongoing push from the authorities to increase the amount of information to which they have access has a downside.

“It’s impossible to build a communications system that allows the FBI surreptitious access but doesn’t allow similar access by others,” he said. “When it comes to security, we have two options: We can build our systems to be as secure as possible from eavesdropping, or we can deliberately weaken their security. We have to choose one or the other.”

Privacy v Security

And while the authorities may have a bird’s eye view of internet traffic, they may not be as clever as we think, points out Prof Woodward.

Military-grade encryption is now routinely available rendering emails unreadable. And steganography,* the method of hiding information within other information, is also giving the authorities a real headache.

“There are big concerns about how much is being sent using this method. Because it hides itself we don’t even know if it is being widely used,” he said.

“People may have got their knickers in a twist about something that is not as dark or devious as they think.”

He also has niggling doubts that Prism is even genuine.

“For something of that level of security to be leaked is highly unusual. I have never seen that before and that seems a bit odd to me,” he said.

Whether Prism turns out to be a bit of a sideshow or the biggest data collection scandal of its time remains to be seen. But before the privacy witch-hunt begins, people need to decide their priorities, thinks Prof Sommer.

“If something goes wrong everyone will ask why didn’t the spooks do something to stop it,” he said. “But on the other hand there is a belief that society is based on an element of privacy so that the spooks can only do things under correct judicial process. That clash has been with us for a long time and is difficult to reconcile.”

* Steganography is the art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one, apart from the sender and intended recipient, suspects the existence of the message, a form of security through obscurity. The word steganography is of Greek origin and means “concealed writing” from the Greek words steganos (στεγανός) meaning “covered or protected”, and graphei (γραφή) meaning “writing”. The first recorded use of the term was in 1499 by Johannes Trithemius in his Steganographia, a treatise on cryptography and steganography disguised as a book on magic. Generally, messages will appear to be something else: images, articles, shopping lists, or some other covertext and, classically, the hidden message may be in invisible ink between the visible lines of a private letter.

The advantage of steganography over cryptography alone is that messages do not attract attention to themselves. Plainly visible encrypted messages—no matter how unbreakable—will arouse suspicion, and may in themselves be incriminating in countries where encryption is illegal. Therefore, whereas cryptography protects the contents of a message, steganography can be said to protect both messages and communicating parties.

Steganography includes the concealment of information within computer files. In digital steganography, electronic communications may include steganographic coding inside of a transport layer, such as a document file, image file, program or protocol. Media files are ideal for steganographic transmission because of their large size. As a simple example, a sender might start with an innocuous image file and adjust the color of every 100th pixel to correspond to a letter in the alphabet, a change so subtle that someone not specifically looking for it is unlikely to notice it.




Disclosures on NSA spying alarm lawmakers, tech companies


June 10, 2013

by Joseph Menn and Jonathan Weber



SAN FRANCISCO – Recent revelations about the National Security Agency’s expansive data-collection efforts have underscored the power of electronic surveillance in the Internet era and renewed an historic debate over how far the government should go in spying on its own people.


A disillusioned former CIA computer technician named Edward Snowden, who had worked as a contactor at the NSA, identified himself on Sunday as the source of multiple disclosures on the government’s surveillance that were published by the Guardian and the Washington Post last week.


The information included a secret court order directing Verizon Communications Inc to turn over all its calling records for a three-month period, and details about an NSA program code-named PRISM, which collected emails, chat logs and other types of data from Internet companies. These included Google Inc, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp, Yahoo Inc, AOL Inc and Apple Inc.


Snowden cast himself as a whistleblower alarmed about overreaching by the U.S. intelligence establishment, which was given broad powers after the September 11 attacks in 2001 and can take now take advantage of the huge growth in digital data.


President Barack Obama and congressional leaders have vigorously defended the NSA’s efforts as both legal and necessary. U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper took the rare step of responding in detail to stories about PRISM.


U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department has launched a new round of investigations into media leaks, the very issue that consumed his department for the last month and led to renewed calls for Holder’s resignation.


Intelligence officials and the technology companies say PRISM is much less invasive than initially suggested by stories in the Guardian and the Post. Several people familiar with negotiations between the Silicon Valley giants and intelligence officials said the NSA could not rummage at will through company servers and that requests for data had to be about specific accounts believed to be overseas.


Still, the revelations alarmed civil liberties advocates and some lawmakers who had supported the Patriot Act, which gave intelligence agencies new powers after 9/11, and another law granting telecommunication carriers immunity for eavesdropping at the request of the government.


“This is the law, but the way the law is being interpreted has really concerned me,” Democratic Senator Mark Udall said on ABC on Sunday. “It’s just to me a violation of our privacy, particularly if it’s done in ways that we don’t know about.”


Of primary concern for Udall and others was that millions of Americans have had their phone habits and other records perused by computer programs and analysts hunting for connections to terrorists or foreign governments – even though the NSA is generally barred from spying on U.S. citizens.


One former high-ranking NSA official told Reuters that such broad assembly of records was essential to investigations.


If “a known terrorist in Yemen calls someone in the U.S., why did he call them and what happened when the person in U.S. starts making calls elsewhere in the U.S.?” he asked. “On the surface it looks like the emergence of a terrorism cell.”


Data-mining programs map such connections and provide grounds for further inquiry, potentially including the contents of calls, according to former operatives and Justice Department officials.


Among the remaining unknowns, even after four days of media coverage, is how much data beyond phone numbers is collected from U.S. residents, how that data is “minimized” to prevent excess scrutiny, how it is analyzed and how long it is kept.


The NSA “keeps the emails essentially forever. I don’t think there is any question about it,” said Mark Rossini, a former FBI supervisor who was assigned to a CIA counter-terrorism unit and who said he was briefed on PRISM.


“They are not reading our data, they are storing it in bits and bytes that can be searched,” Rossini said. The same is likely true of the mass of phone calls copied from AT&T Inc offices to facilities controlled by the NSA, as disclosed by an AT&T whistleblower in 2006, he added.




The revelations began on Wednesday with a Guardian report on a secret court order demanding all Verizon phone records over a three-month period. The scope of the request appeared to undermine the government’s contention that its surveillance efforts are highly targeted and do not involve large numbers of U.S. citizens.


On Thursday, the Guardian and the Washington Post published slides from an internal NSA presentation asserting that PRISM gathered emails, documents and other information “directly from the servers” of nine U.S. Internet companies.


The companies quickly disputed the claim that they offered “direct access” to “bulk” data and insisted that they responded only to requests for specific information as required by law.


Still, the scope of the program, the secrecy surrounding it, and its emergence as a lynchpin of U.S. espionage operations created an uproar on Capitol Hill and in Silicon Valley. The NSA slides stated that more than 1,400 items in Obama’s intelligence briefings last year came from PRISM.


It remains unclear exactly how the Internet companies provide information to the government, in part because virtually everything about PRISM is considered a national security secret. It was also not clear why some companies, notably Twitter, said they were able to resist and were absent from the PRISM slides.


Several of the companies said a human being had to approve each tracking request. Government and industry sources said some of the companies appear to have installed special equipment to facilitate intelligence requests.


In addition, tracking all the Internet activities of a specific person or group over a period of time, for example, could yield a great deal of data and require special systems to track and retrieve it. Americans will still have some of their data sucked up, stored and digested in multiple ways, former intelligence operatives said.


Rossini said he believed intelligence analysts could perform searches, such as someone within two connections of a terrorism suspect mentioning “bomb” in an international email. The searches would only be used for terrorism or foreign intelligence, not ordinary crime, he said.


However, protections for Americans give little comfort to foreign governments and the hundreds of millions of overseas customers of U.S. Internet firms.


Indeed, PRISM appears to be an effective tool for the NSA precisely because U.S. companies dominate the Internet, and global communications even among people overseas often pass through the United States. That is galling to those in Europe who have argued that local technology companies need to be nurtured to combat U.S. economic and political domination.


(Additional reporting by Peter Henderson.; Editing by Tiffany Wu and Christopher Wilson)


NSA spying scandal: what we have learned

Key players and programmes in the National Security Agency’s secret operation mining phone and internet data


June 10, 2013

by Ian Black





The US National Security Agency (NSA) has been empowered by a secret order issued by the foreign intelligence court directing Verizon Communications, a mobile phone provider with 98.9 million wireless customers, to turn over all its call records for a three-month period.


The order is untargeted, meaning that the NSA can snoop on calls without suspecting anyone of wrongdoing. It was made on 25 April, days after the Boston Marathon bombing.


Under the order, the NSA only gains access to the “metadata” around calls – when they were made, what numbers they were made to, where they were made from and how long the calls lasted.


Obtaining the content of the calls, or the names or addresses of the callers would make the surveillance wiretapping, which would count as a separate issue legally. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the data collection of mobile phone records extends to AT&T (107 million users) and Sprint (55 million). Verizon’s advertising catchphrase “Can you hear me now?” has become the butt of instant jokes on Twitter and other social media.




The top secret data-mining programme run by the NSA gives the US government access to a vast quanity of emails, chat logs and other data directly from the servers of nine Internet companies. These include Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and Apple. The companies mentioned have all denied knowledge of or participation in the programme.


It is unknown how Prism actually works. A 41-slide PowerPoint presentation obtained by the Guardian – and classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the programme. Unlike the collection of Verizon and other phone records, Prism surveillance can include the content of communications – not just metadata.


President Barack Obama described the programmes as vital to keeping Americans safe and said the US was “going to have to make some choices between balancing privacy and security to protect against terror”. The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President George Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012.


Boundless Informant


Prism is involved in the collection of data, but Boundless Informant organises and indexes metadata. The tool categorises communications records rather than the content of a message itself. A fact sheet leaked to the Guardian explains that almost 3bn pieces of intelligence had been collected from US computer networks in the 30-day period ending in March this year, as well as indexing almost 100bn pieces worldwide. Countries are ranked according to how much information has been taken from mobile and online networks, and colour-coded depending on the extent of the NSA’s spying operation.


Users are able to select a country on Boundless Informant’s “heat map” to view details including metadata volume and different kinds of NSA information collection. Iran, at odds with the US and Israel over its nuclear programme and other policies, is top of the surveillance list, with more than 14bn data reports in March. Pakistan came in a close second at 13.5bn reports. Jordan, a close US ally, as well as Egypt and India are also near the top.


The UK connection


Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping centre has had access to the Prism system since at least June 2010, and generated 197 intelligence reports from it last year, it claims, prompting controversy and questions about the legality of it. The prime minister, David Cameron, insisted that the UK’s intelligence services operated within the law and were subject to proper scrutiny. The foreign secretary, William Hague, told the BBC that “law-abiding citizens” in Britain would “never be aware of all the things … agencies are doing to stop your identity being stolen or to stop a terrorist blowing you up”.


GCHQ and the NSA have a relationship dating back to the second world war and have personnel stationed in each others’ headquarters – Fort Meade in Maryland and Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.


What is the fundamental issue here?


For many observers the key question is the exposure of a troubling imbalance between security and privacy, against a background of rapid technological change that now permits clandestine surveillance on a massive and Orwellian scale. Legal safeguards and political oversight appear to be lagging behind. The Guardian revelations have underlined the sheer power of electronic snooping in the internet era and have injected new urgency into the old debate about how far a government can legitimately go in spying on its own people on the grounds that it is trying to protect them.


Edward Snowden


The leaks have led the NSA to ask the US justice department to conduct a criminal investigation. The department has said it is in the initial stages of an inquiry. Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former CIA employee, outed himself as the Guardian’s source for its series of leaks on the NSA and cyber-surveillance. He is now in Hong Kong. “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded,” he told the Guardian.



Russia says it has no authority to expel Snowden; Kerry: deeply troubling


June 24, 2013

by Kathy Lally, Anthony Faiola and Karen DeYoung

Washington Post


MOSCOW — Despite a direct request from the United States to return Edward Snowden to U.S. soil to face charges of leaking government secrets, Russian officials said Monday that they had no legal authority to detain the fugitive former government contractor, who arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on Sunday and was seeking asylum in Ecuador, reportedly by way of Havana.


A frustrated Secretary of State John F. Kerry he was troubled by the apparent refusal of fellow world powers China and Russia to respond to espionage charges the U.S. had filed against Snowden, who leaked top-secret documents about U.S. surveillance programs.


“It is a very serious question for all of us in all our relationships,” Kerry said. “There is no small irony here,” Kerry added, posing the hypothetical question of whether Snowden sought refuge in China and Russia “because they’re such powerful bastions of Internet freedom.”


News services said Snowden was expected to board an Aeroflot flight to Havana, scheduled to depart Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport at 6:05 a.m. Eastern time Monday. But reporters on board the flight said on Twitter that he had not been spotted among the passengers.


“They’ve just locked the doors of the plane, #Snowden is NOT on this plane!!!” tweeted Egor Piskunov, a reporter with Russia’s government-financed RT.


There was no official confirmation of Snowden’s wehreabouts, however, meanign that it was still possible that he was on board — out of sight of the journalists, perhaps, or wearing a disguise.


Vladimir Lukin, Russia’s human rights ombudsman and a former ambassador to the United States, told the Interfax news agency that Russia had no authority to expel Snowden, as Washington was asking it to do. Russian officials said travelers who never leave a secure transit zone inside an airport —which means not crossing passport control–are not officially on Russian soil. Snowden did not have a Russia visa, several officials said, and therefore could not leave the transit zone.


In addition, Russia and the United States do not have a bilateral extradition treaty, although Kerry said Moscow was obligated to cooperate under international law.


“The Americans can’t demand anything,” Lukin said, referring to the saga dismissively. “Detective stories are good bedtime reading.”


Kerry said the United States has extradited seven Russian prisoners in the past two years, and noted: “Reciprocity is pretty important.”


“It would be very disappointing if he was willfully allowed to board an airplane,” said Kerry, who was traveling in New Delhi. “There would be without any doubt . . . consequences.”


Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said


Noting that law enforcement agencies in the two countries have worked closely together in the wake of the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said, “we expect the Russian Government to look at all options available” for returnign Snowden to U.S. jurisdiction.


Kerry said “all appropriate countries” in Latin America had been notified with respect to Snowden’s legal status. “That is the appropriate step to take, to put them on notice that he is an indicted individual, three felony counts, wanted by the legal process of the United States.”


Snowden, who leaked top-secret documents about U.S. surveillance programs, has been charged with espionage in the United States. He flew into Moscow from Hong Kong Sunday with the help of the WikiLeaks organization and stayed out of sight overnight, apparently hidden away either in a VIP room or a small hotel.


The Associated Press reported that he was expected to fly to Havana and then to continue on to Ecuador, perhaps by way of Venezuela.


The Aeroflot flight to Havana usually crosses U.S. air space, but a check of recent flights showed the route can vary, apparently with the weather, and sometimes steers well clear of the United States.


Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador’s foreign minister, tweeted Sunday afternoon that his government had received a request for asylum from Snowden. WikiLeaks released a statement saying Snowden was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum.”


Despite U.S. officials’ insistence that Snowden’s passport was revoked Saturday, the Hong Kong government said Sunday that he left “on his own accord for a third country.” Aeroflot told the Associated Press that Snowden registered for the flight on Sunday using his U.S. passport. Ecuadoran diplomats were at the airport Sunday when Snowden landed. It was not clear whether they were meeting with Snowden or with others who accompanied him.


WikiLeaks, which has published hundreds of thousands of classified documents over the past several years, said it is aiding Snowden in his bid to avoid a return to the United States. Snowden, 30, had fled to Hong Kong, where he revealed two weeks ago that he was the source of leaked National Security Agency documents. Federal prosecutors in Virginia filed espionage charges against him June 14 and had asked Hong Kong to detain him.


WikiLeaks said Snowden was accompanied on his flight to Moscow by Sarah Harrison, who the organization said is a British citizen, journalist and researcher working with the WikiLeaks legal defense team.


Kristinn Hrafnsson, an Icelandic investigative journalist and spokesman for WikiLeaks, said in a phone interview that Snowden would stay overnight in Moscow, but said the city was “not a final destination.” He declined to say when Snowden would be departing or where his final stop would be.


Hrafnsson said he established contact with Snowden last week while the American was in Hong Kong. Arrangements were made for Harrison to meet Snowden in Hong Kong and accompany him out. Harrison was still with Snowden in Moscow, Hrafnsson said.


“The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr. Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person,” said Baltasar Garzón, legal director of WikiLeaks and attorney for Julian Assange, the group’s founder, who has spent the past year holed up in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London. “What is being done to Mr. Snowden and to Mr. Julian Assange — for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest — is an assault against the people.”


A State Department spokeswoman said privacy laws prevented her from commenting specifically on the status of Snowden’s passport. But U.S. officials speaking anonymously said his passport had been revoked before he left Hong Kong.


“As is routine and consistent with U.S. regulations, persons with felony arrest warrants are subject to having their passport revoked,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “. . . Persons wanted on felony charges, such as Mr. Snowden, should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States.”


But the Interfax news agency, quoting a Russian law enforcement source, said Snowden could continue on his journey from Moscow without a U.S. passport if the country where he was seeking asylum provided him with travel documents. Those documents could include affirmation of refugee status, Interfax reported, or even a passport from the destination country.


“We are disappointed by the decision of the authorities in Hong Kong to permit Mr. Snowden to flee despite the legally valid U.S. request to arrest him for purposes of his extradition under the U.S.-Hong Kong Surrender Agreement,” Hayden said. “We have registered our strong objections to the authorities in Hong Kong as well as to the Chinese government through diplomatic channels and noted that such behavior is detrimental to U.S.-Hong Kong and U.S.-China bilateral relations.”


Russia’s role under fire


The apparent cooperation of the Russian government in Snowden’s attempt to avoid extradition to the United States outraged some members of Congress.


“What’s infuriating here is [President Vladimir] Putin of Russia aiding and abetting Snowden’s escape,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”


“The bottom line is very simple,” Schumer said. “Allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways, and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States, whether it is Syria, Iran and now, of course, with Snowden. That’s not how allies should treat one another, and I think it will have serious consequences for the United States-Russia relationship.”


Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) agreed that Sunday’s events call “into question what kind of relationship we ever have had with China and Russia. We pretend that everything is hunky-dory when it is not. It isn’t with China. It isn’t with Russia. It certainly isn’t with Cuba, with Venezuela nor with Ecuador.”


She added: “These are countries that violate press freedoms every day. And yet [Snowden]’s seeking political asylum in those very countries where . . . if he were to pull a Snowden in these countries, they’d jail him immediately.”


The heated rhetoric comes as the Obama administration is making a strong effort to build better ties with both China and Russia, with Kerry investing considerable effort in developing a personal relationship with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov that might help him in tackling thorny issues such as how to respond to the ongoing civil war in Syria.


“Our hope is that we can work with the Russians very closely” on Syria, Kerry said Saturday in Qatar, before Snowden fled Hong Kong on a Russian flight. “I take at face value President Putin’s and Foreign Minister Lavrov’s willingness to try to work with us in good faith.”


Hong Kong’s government said that the U.S. request for a warrant for Snowden’s arrest “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law” and that it had asked for “additional information.”


“As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong,” the statement said.


A senior Justice Department official disputed that claim. “The request met the requirements of the agreement,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “They came back to us late Friday with additional questions, and we were in the process of responding. Obviously, this raises concerns for us, and we will continue to discuss this with the authorities there.”


The United States had asked Hong Kong to issue a provisional arrest warrant and filed charges against Snowden, including theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.”


Patiño, the Ecuadoran foreign minister, recently said Quito would be willing to consider an asylum claim by Snowden. Speaking at a news conference in London after visiting Assange last Monday, Patiño suggested that his nation would approve such a request.



On Monday, Patiño was in Vietnam and said that the nation is “in touch with the highest authorities of Russia” about an asylum claim from Snowden, according to the Associated Press. He said that the request “has to do with freedom of expression and with the security of citizens around the world,” and that Ecuador will not make its decision based on its relationship with the United States.


“There are some governments that act more upon their own interests, but we do not,” Patiño said, according to the Associated Press. “We act upon our principles.”


He added, “We take care of the human rights of the people.”


Assange has been unable to leave the Ecuadoran Embassy in London because Britain has refused to provide him safe passage while he is sought by Sweden for questioning about sexual-assault allegations.


U.S. relations with Ecuador


Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa has emerged as one of the most vehement critics of U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere. In 2011, his administration expelled the American ambassador in Quito to protest a cable released by WikiLeaks that alleged the Ecuadoran police force was rife with corruption.


The extradition treaty between the United States and Ecuador, signed in 1872, states that offenses of “a political character” do not warrant extradition — much like the United States’ agreement with Hong Kong.


It’s unclear whether the Chinese leadership in Beijing had any role in Hong Kong’s decision to let Snowden leave. Hong Kong is a semiautonomous region that prides itself on its independent legal system, but the government ultimately answers to the mainland, whose influence can be difficult to discern. Residents in Hong Kong are deeply resistant to any overt sign of interference from the Communist Party.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing said in a statement Sunday that it had seen the reports of Snowden’s departure and would continue to pay attention to developments but did not have “specific details.” The government added that it was “deeply concerned” about reports of U.S. government cyberattacks on China, saying they “proved that China is a victim of cyberattacks.”





Faiola reported from London and DeYoung reported from New Delhi. Jia Lynn Yang in Hong Kong, Juan Forero in Bogota, Colombia, Ernesto Londoño in Kabul, Lenny Bernstein, Sari Horwitz and David Nakamura in Washington, and Liu Liu in Beijing contributed to this report.



The F.B.I. Deemed Agents Faultless in 150 Shootings


June 18, 2013

by Charlie Savage and Michael S. Schmidt 

New York Times



WASHINGTON — After contradictory stories emerged about an F.B.I. agent’s killing last month of a Chechen man in Orlando, Fla., who was being questioned over ties to the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, the bureau reassured the public that it would clear up the murky episode.


“The F.B.I. takes very seriously any shooting incidents involving our agents, and as such we have an effective, time-tested process for addressing them internally,” a bureau spokesman said.


But if such internal investigations are time-tested, their outcomes are also predictable: from 1993 to early 2011, F.B.I. agents fatally shot about 70 “subjects” and wounded about 80 others — and every one of those episodes was deemed justified, according to interviews and internal F.B.I. records obtained by The New York Times through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.


The last two years have followed the same pattern: an F.B.I. spokesman said that since 2011, there had been no findings of improper intentional shootings.


In most of the shootings, the F.B.I.’s internal investigation was the only official inquiry. In the Orlando case, for example, there have been conflicting accounts about basic facts like whether the Chechen man, Ibragim Todashev, attacked an agent with a knife, was unarmed or was brandishing a metal pole. But Orlando homicide detectives are not independently investigating what happened.


“We had nothing to do with it,” said Sgt. Jim Young, an Orlando police spokesman. “It’s a federal matter, and we’re deferring everything to the F.B.I.”


Occasionally, the F.B.I. does discipline an agent. Out of 289 deliberate shootings covered by the documents, many of which left no one wounded, five were deemed to be “bad shoots,” in agents’ parlance — encounters that did not comply with the bureau’s policy, which allows deadly force if agents fear that their lives or those of fellow agents are in danger. A typical punishment involved adding letters of censure to agents’ files. But in none of the five cases did a bullet hit anyone.


Critics say the fact that for at least two decades no agent has been disciplined for any instance of deliberately shooting someone raises questions about the credibility of the bureau’s internal investigations. Samuel Walker, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska Omaha who studies internal law enforcement investigations, called the bureau’s conclusions about cases of improper shootings “suspiciously low.”


Current and former F.B.I. officials defended the bureau’s handling of shootings, arguing that the scant findings of improper behavior were attributable to several factors. Agents tend to be older, more experienced and better trained than city police officers. And they generally are involved only in planned operations and tend to go in with “overwhelming presence,” minimizing the chaos that can lead to shooting the wrong people, said Tim Murphy, a former deputy director of the F.B.I. who conducted some investigations of shootings over his 23-year career.


The F.B.I.’s shootings range from episodes so obscure that they attract no news media attention to high-profile cases like the 2009 killing of an imam in a Detroit-area warehouse that is the subject of a lawsuit alleging a cover-up, and a 2002 shooting in Maryland in which the bureau paid $1.3 million to a victim and yet, the records show, deemed the shooting to have been justified.


With rare exceptions — like suicides — whenever an agent fires his weapon outside of training, a team of agents from the F.B.I.’s Inspection Division, sometimes with a liaison from the local police, compiles a report reconstructing what happened. This “shooting incident review team” interviews witnesses and studies medical, ballistics and autopsy reports, eventually producing a narrative. Such reports typically do not include whether an agent had been involved in any previous shootings, because they focus only on the episode in question, officials said.


That narrative, along with binders of supporting information, is then submitted to a “shooting incident review group” — a panel of high-level F.B.I. officials in Washington. The panel produces its own narrative as part of a report saying whether the shooting complied with bureau policy — and recommends what discipline to mete out if it did not — along with any broader observations about “lessons learned” to change training or procedures.


F.B.I. officials stressed that their shooting reviews were carried out under the oversight of both the Justice Department’s inspector general and the Civil Rights Division, and that local prosecutors have the authority to bring charges.


The 2,200 pages of records obtained by The Times include an internal F.B.I. study that compiled shooting episode statistics over a 17-year period, as well as a collection of individual narratives of intentional shootings from 1993 to early 2011. Gunfire was exchanged in 58 such episodes; 9 law enforcement officials died, and 38 were wounded.


The five “bad shoots” included cases in which an agent fired a warning shot after feeling threatened by a group of men, an agent fired at a weapon lying on the ground to disable it during an arrest, and two agents fired their weapons while chasing fugitives but hit no one. In another case, an agent fired at a safe during a demonstration, and ricocheting material caused minor cuts in a crowd of onlookers.


Four of the cases were in the mid-1990s, and the fifth was in 2003.


In many cases, the accuracy of the F.B.I. narrative is difficult to evaluate because no independent alternative report has been produced. As part of the reporting for this article, the F.B.I. voluntarily made available a list of shootings since 2007 that gave rise to lawsuits, but it was rare for any such case to have led to a full report by an independent authority.


Occasionally, however, there were alternative reviews. One, involving a March 2002 episode in which an agent shot an innocent Maryland man in the head after mistaking him for a bank robbery suspect, offers a case study in how the nuances of an F.B.I. official narrative can come under scrutiny.


In that episode, agents thought that the suspect would be riding in a car driven by his sister and wearing a white baseball cap. An innocent man, Joseph Schultz, then 20, happened to cross their path, wearing a white cap and being driven by his girlfriend. Moments after F.B.I. agents carrying rifles pulled their car over and surrounded it, Agent Christopher Braga shot Mr. Schultz in the jaw. He later underwent facial reconstruction surgery, and in 2007 the bureau paid $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit.


The internal review, however, deemed it a good shoot. In the F.B.I.’s narrative, Agent Braga says that he shouted “show me your hands,” but that Mr. Schultz instead reached toward his waist, so Agent Braga fired “to eliminate the threat.” While one member of the review group said that “after reading the materials provided, he could not visualize the presence of ‘imminent danger’ to law enforcement officers,” the rest of the group voted to find the shooting justified, citing the “totality of the circumstances surrounding the incident,” including that it involved a “high-risk stop.”


But an Anne Arundel County police detective prepared an independent report about the episode, and a lawyer for Mr. Schultz, Arnold Weiner, conducted a further investigation for the lawsuit. Both raised several subtle but important differences.


For example, the F.B.I. narrative describes a lengthy chase of Mr. Schultz’s car after agents turned on their siren at an intersection, bolstering an impression that it was reasonable for Agent Braga to fear that Mr. Schultz was a dangerous fugitive. The narrative spends a full page describing this moment in great detail, saying that the car “rapidly accelerated” and that one agent shouted for it to stop “over and over again.” It cites another agent as estimating that the car stopped “approximately 100 yards” from the intersection.


By contrast, the police report describes this moment in a short, skeptical paragraph. Noting that agents said they had thought the car was fleeing, it points out that the car “was, however, in a merge lane and would need to accelerate to enter traffic.” Moreover, a crash reconstruction specialist hired for the lawsuit estimated that the car had reached a maximum speed of 12 miles per hour, and an F.B.I. sketch, obtained in the lawsuit, put broken glass from a car window 142 feet 8 inches from the intersection.


The F.B.I. narrative does not cite Mr. Schultz’s statement and omits that a crucial fact was disputed: how Mr. Schultz had moved in the car. In a 2003 sworn statement, Agent Braga said that Mr. Schultz “turned to his left, towards the middle of the car, and reached down.” But Mr. Schultz insisted that he had instead reached toward the car door on his right because he had been listening to another agent who was simultaneously shouting “open the door.”


A former F.B.I. agent, hired to write a report analyzing the episode for the plaintiffs, concluded that “no reasonable F.B.I. agent in Braga’s position would reasonably have believed that deadly force was justified.” He also noted pointedly that Agent Braga had been involved in a previous shooting episode in 2000 that he portrayed as questionable, although it had been found to be justified by the F.B.I.’s internal review process.


Asked to comment on the case, a lawyer for Agent Braga, Andrew White, noted last week that a grand jury had declined to indict his client in the shooting.


In some cases, alternative official accounts for several other shootings dovetailed with internal F.B.I. narratives.


One involved the October 2009 death of Luqman Ameen Abdullah, a prayer leader at a Detroit-area mosque who was suspected of conspiring to sell stolen goods and was shot during a raid on a warehouse. The F.B.I. report says that Mr. Abdullah got down on the ground but kept his hands hidden, so a dog was unleashed to pull his arms into view. He then pulled out a gun and shot the dog, the report says, and he was in turn shot by four agents.


The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit against the F.B.I. The group was concerned in part because the handgun had no recoverable fingerprints and because of facial injuries to Mr. Abdullah. It also contends that the dog may have been shot instead by the F.B.I. agents and the gun thrown down in a cover-up.


A report by the Michigan attorney general’s office, however, detailed an array of evidence that it says “corroborates the statements of the agents as to the sequence of events,” including that bullet fragments in the dog’s corpse were consistent with the handgun, not the rifles used by the F.B.I. agents. Such an independent account of an F.B.I. shooting is rare. After the recent killing of Mr. Todashev in Orlando, both the Florida chapter of the same group and his father have called for investigators outside the F.B.I. to scrutinize the episode.


James J. Wedick, who spent 34 years at the bureau, said the F.B.I. should change its procedures for its own good.


“At the least, it is a perception issue, and over the years the bureau has had a deaf ear to it,” he said. “But if you have a shooting that has a few more complicated factors and an ethnic issue, the bureau’s image goes down the toilet if it doesn’t investigate itself properly.”

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