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August 28, 2016 / 24 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Edward Snowden’

Clinton in Tough Spot Over Attending Bibi’s Speech

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Emergency Committee for Israel released a letter to Hillary Clinton, urging her to attend the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech to Congress, scheduled for March 3.  She may have to, given a new poll and pro-Israel competition from an unlikely source.

ECI, chaired by the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol, is a staunchly pro-Israel educational organization, which sees its goal as educating the public about “the serious challenges to Israel’s security and about what elected officials in this country are doing and should do in order to meet those challenges.”

Clinton is scheduled to be in Washington on March 3, the same date as Bibi’s speech, as ECI noted.

CLINTON COULD HAVE BEEN EXPECTED TO BEG OFF THE HIGHLY-POLITICIZED SPEECH

The former Secretary of State, New York Senator, and putative Democratic candidate for U.S. President, is being honored on March 3 by Emily’s List, a Washington-based advocacy group for pro-reproductive rights female Democratic candidates. It is the 30th anniversary event for the organization. Clinton will deliver the keynote address at the gala and will receive the “We are EMILY Award.”

Clinton’s Emily List event will be held at the Washington Hilton, just four miles from Capitol Hill. The gala program begins at 7:00 p.m. Netanyahu’s address to the joint session of Congress is likely to begin at 9:00 p.m., in order to reach the west coast after normal business hours.

Clinton is in a pickle.

Ordinarily she could have waved off the invitation by explaining the geographic confluence actually made it impossible for her to attend Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session of Congress – much as of course she would love to see her good friend Bibi. She could have said that the timing does not make it convenient, it makes it impossible, as both events are in the evening and after all, she can’t duck out of an event at which she is both being honored and is giving the keynote address.

She would be expected to beg off at least in part because the Netanyahu speech has become a hot potato. It became highly politicized by the White House rouse that it was “blindsided” and “slapped in the face” because Bibi had not “informed” them about his plans to visit – something we all learned later was exactly the opposite of the truth.

And now the Congressional Black Caucus has chosen to turn the speech into a racial issue, claiming Netanyahu coming to speak despite President Obama’s opposition is a form of racial “disrespect.”

But there is an additional factor. It’s called Elizabeth Warren.

Warren, the former Harvard Law Professor and current Democratic U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, has been promoted by the far left as the “only” real progressive Democrat. She’s pro-Occupy Wall Street and anti-banks. Warren is considered the darling of the populist movement, and she’s also the “other woman” Democratic candidate, which makes her a bit of a nightmare for Hillary Clinton.

Warren has denied she is running for president, but so did President Obama two years before his first run, and a brand-new poll shows Warren pulling ahead of Clinton.

ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) STRONGLY SUPPORTS ISRAEL’S SELF-DEFENSE

And, in what may come as a shock to many, Warren is very pro-Israel, and says so even in home state events when confronted by anti-Israel constituents.

One such event took place on Cape Cod several days before the  Aug. 26 ceasefire ending Israel’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

Everyone expected that local issues would dominate Warren’s “office hours” meeting at the colorful Barnstable Town Hall. But several times constituents sharply criticized Warren’s support for Israel.

Warren was asked to defend her vote in favor of  additional U.S. funding for the Israeli missile defense system known as Iron Dome, she was asked to condemn Israel for civilian casualties resulting from its operations in Gaza and she was asked to support cutting off funds to Israel if there is any more building in the “settlements.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

The Internet’s Mussar

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

An associate professor of sociology at Princeton University, Janet Vertesi, recently made news when she publicized her nine-month long efforts to keep her pregnancy entirely secret from marketers. She fastidiously kept all mention off of social media and made all pregnancy-related purchases with cash rather than credit cards. In today’s age, that was quite a feat. She even used an anonymizing web browsing service so her identifying IP address would not register her expecting interests. She had learned the Internet’s ethics lesson, its mussar.

Edward Snowden is the infamous computer consultant who revealed countless documents from the NSA’s clandestine surveillance program. Currently an international fugitive residing in Russia beyond the reach of US extradition, Snowden continues to leak confidential information about the vast extent of technological spying. Story after story, headline after headline, he throws the Internet’s mussar lesson at us so hard that we can only ignore it through the unbearable force of inertia. Yet sometimes we must remind ourselves of the obvious.

I take no position on the political and legal implications of Snowden’s revelations. Whether he violated the law or the NSA did, or both; whether he was right to tell the world about these activities or he jeopardized national security by doing so; whether the US government should pursue him with the full power of its robust law enforcement capabilities or should let him be. These are all questions for debate by people with greater expertise than I possess.

But I have learned one lesson from the ongoing spectacle, what I call the Internet’s mussar.

Someone is watching. Whenever you use technology, your activity is registered in a database that will be mined for information. Hopefully, your data will only be used for marketing purposes. Unwanted e-mail is no more than a nuisance. However, in theory, someone with enough access and expertise can piece together your activity and interests. Every time you cross a bridge and pay with EZ-Pass, your travel can be tracked. When you got on a bus or train and pay by card, your movements are registered. Whenever you buy anything electronically or even just view a website, your interests are recorded. All this data is maintained. Someone is watching.

I am not encouraging paranoia. The likelihood of someone piecing this data together in anything other than an innocuous way is low. I doubt the average citizen has much to worry about. However, criminals should be wary. When you commit a crime, your past activity can be dug up and analyzed. This is the Internet’s mussar.

As Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai lay on his deathbed, some of his students asked for his blessing (Berachos 28b). He said to them: “May your fear of Heaven be like your fear of other people.” Surprised, they asked him why it should not be greater. He replied, “If only. When a person sins, he is only concerned that no one see him.”

Our Creator, our Father and Judge, is often hard to see in this world. In our busy routines we neglect anything that is not immediately apparent. But we are embarrassed in front of our boss, our spouse, our neighbors, whom we see every day. If only we could channel that same embarrassment to God, we would be much better people and much better Jews. We would act properly whenever in His presence, which is all times and places.

If we can learn to fear the surveillance of the Internet, we can learn to fear God’s constant watching. I remember my first online purchase. I quickly checked to make sure my credit card was charged properly and monitored my account regularly to ensure the information was not stolen and misused. A year later, I was so used to buying online that I didn’t think twice about it. I had lost my fear of the Internet through habit.

As recent news reports rekindle our interest in protecting our personal data, as we become more aware of our electronic activity, we remember to fear even what is not immediately apparent. If only we could channel that same amount of care to our religious activity.

Fear of Heaven does not mean social paralysis. It means being careful to do what is right, to treat others properly, to fulfill our obligations without cutting corners. The unexamined life is often said to be not worth living. Perhaps social media was created to uphold that sad, lonely worldview. Judaism teaches that every life, created by the Almighty and endowed with His image, is worth living. However, the un-self-examined life is destined for disappointment, failing to live up to its full potential due to dulling force of habit. Fear of God should inspire us, keep us on our toes, make sure we are always careful to do our best.

Just as maintaining our cyber-security requires constant vigilance, keeping our religious standards always demands constant care. Someone is always watching our electronic activity. Some One – a kind and caring but demanding God – is always watching our every move and thought.

Rabbi Gil Student

Obama Should Free Pollard Immediately

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

As Obama permits himself to spy on longtime US allies, instead of focusing all of his energies on surveillance of the Iranian nuclear program and the human rights abuses occurring in Syria as we speak, Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard remains in prison for committing less grievous sins.

According to Edward Snowden, the United States has spied not only on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Mexican government, and tens of millions of French citizens, but also on the Israel Defense Forces, Jerusalem Online reported. In other words, instead of the US government putting 100 percent of its energies into spying on Iran’s nuclear facilities and engaging in the surveillance of the human rights abuses occurring in Syria as we speak, the US government permitted itself to be sidetracked by ease-dropping on US allies. Meanwhile, as the US government spied on friendly countries, Obama to date refuses to pardon Jonathan Pollard for committing lesser sins.

Given this, as a dual Israeli-American citizen, I demand the immediate release of Jonathan Pollard as compensation for the US government’s unethical behavior. A government that spies on long-time US allies cannot justifiably continue to punish a man for doing the same thing at a significantly lower level. Between 1983 and 1984, Jonathan Pollard, a civilian naval intelligence analyst, discovered classified information related to Iranian, Syrian, Libyan and Iraqi nuclear, biological and chemical warfare capabilities that was crucial to Israel’s security. This information was legally supposed to be passed onto Israel via the 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel, yet Pollard’s superiors refused to pass it onwards. For this reason, Pollard decided to act alone and relayed the information to Israel.

In 1985, the U.S. government discovered Pollard’s actions. At the request of both the Israeli and American governments, Pollard entered into a plea bargain agreement. He cooperated fully with the prosecution and was never convicted of harming the United States, compromising American agents or committing treason (which is legally defined as spying for an enemy state). Pollard was merely charged with passing on classified information to an allied country on one occasion.

Even though the average sentence for spying for an allied country is merely several years, Pollard was given life imprisonment. For example, Abdul Khader Helmy, who spied for Egypt, served only four years in prison after passing on information that assisted Iraq with improving the accuracy of their ballistic missiles. Michael Schwartz, who spied for Saudi Arabia, never served a day in prison out of consideration for Saudi sensitivities. He was merely reprimanded and given a dishonorable discharge. There are many such examples.

Given all of these facts, Pollard should be released regardless. However, in the wake of the US spying on 35 different world leaders and on the Israel Defense Forces, it would be hypocritical for the United States not to free him immediately at this stage. Unlike the information that Pollard passed onto Israel, which was supposed to be passed onto Israel any ways, the United States never under any agreement received authorization to access the information they obtained on the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli weapons systems. If some of this information gets leaked to countries that the United States has diplomatic relations with but not Israel, it could greatly jeopardize Israeli national security.

In recent times, the U.S. administration has been known to speak on matters without Israel’s authorization, such as confessing that the recent raid on a Syrian Air Force base near Latakia was orchestrated by Israel when the IDF was silent on the matter. The least that the United States could do in return for jeopardizing Israeli national security is to free Jonathan Pollard immediately! If they don’t do so, I call upon the Israeli government to end this charade of a peace process that has only one aim in mind: to appease the pride of an American administration that has zero respect for Israeli sovereignty.

Rachel Avraham

Snowden Leak: NSA Gave Israel Data on US Citizens

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

The National Security Agency provides raw data to Israeli intelligence services, according to a secret document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

A memorandum of understanding between the NSA and the Israeli Signals Intelligence Unit (ISNU), leaked by Edward Snowden to the London Guardian, states that the NSA will provide data to the ISNU without first reviewing the documents to remove sensitive information.

The process of removing U.S. residents’ personal information is called “minimization.” According to the report, the information provided to Israeli intelligence could include phone and email records of U.S. citizens.

The leaked document states that the information “includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence (DNI) metadata and content.”

JTA

‘Snowden Leak Reveals Hamas, Hezbollah Try to Infiltrate CIA

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Approximately 20 percent of applicants for work at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were affiliated with Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda, according to a document released by Edward Snowden, who worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) before fleeing the United States.

The document said the applicants had “significant terrorist and/or hostile intelligence connections and the NSA         launched at least 4,000 investigations of suspected staff members.

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

US Counterintelligence Targets Israel, Secret Budget Reveals

Friday, August 30th, 2013

U.S. spy agencies target their counterintelligence operations on Israel along with Iran and China, among other countries, a budget summary for the secret National Intelligence Program reveals.

The $52.6 billion “black budget” for fiscal 2013 for the 16 U.S. spy agencies was obtained by The Washington Post from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, the newspaper reported Thursday.

The budget summary, formally known as the Congressional Budget Justification for the National Intelligence Program, revealed that counterintelligence operations “are strategically focused against [the] priority targets of China, Russia, Iran, Cuba and Israel,” according to The Washington Post.

Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, was a former technical contractor for the National Security Agency and employee of the Central Intelligence Agency who revealed the existence of mass surveillance programs by the United States and Britain against their own citizens and citizens of other countries.

The budget summary also revealed that the CIA and NSA became more aggressive in efforts to hack into the computer networks of other countries to steal information or to sabotage the computer systems of enemy countries.

It also showed that the NSA planned to investigate at least 4,000 personnel with high security clearance suspected of compromising sensitive information. In addition, terrorism is shown in the budget to be considered the most serious threat to U.S. national security.

JTA

Who Deleted an NSA Thread from a UFO Online Discussion?

Monday, August 26th, 2013

A thread in which posters explored the National Security Agency, Edward Snowden and similar subjects just up and disappeared without any explanation last Saturday at UFO Casebook, an online discussion forum, the Orlando Paranormal Examiner reports. The thread, containing more than 500 entries and an estimated 3,700 page views, was restored later, on Sunday afternoon, but website moderators and administrators could not explain why the discussion thread of highly sensitive issues was temporarily deleted.

“No one associated with the forum removed the thread,” UFO Casebook administrator B.J. Booth informed the OP Examiner on Sunday, adding: “We are trying to find out what happened.”

Booth tends to blame the strange disappearance on a server glitch, a common malfunction on Internet message boards and publishing sites, but considering the context of the removed discussion, and the fact that some forum members had become seriously invested in the thread, there is increased suspicion in the ranks regarding an intervention from big brother, the American intelligence community.

“This thread was not deleted by anyone,” an administrator from Conforums insisted, “but for some reason, and I can’t fathom how it happened, it ‘dropped’ out.”

 

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

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