NYT

Why So Surprised? CIA, U.S. Military Knew Chinese Hackers Expected Since 1999

Cover, Unrestricted Warfare via Wikimedia

Cover, Unrestricted Warfare via Wikimedia

The breathless reporting about the alleged Chinese hacking at The New York Times is truly annoying because of the shock it displays. The surprise any major government or private corporate entity shows at this point about any network-based security breach that appears to originate from China should be treated as propaganda, or a display of gross ignorance.

In 1999, the CIA’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service published a white paper entitled Unrestricted Warfare, written by the PRC’s Col. Qiao Liang and Col. Wang Xiansui. The publication outlined the methodologies a nation-state could deploy as part of an asymmetric war. Further, the same work outlined the U.S.’s weaknesses at that time were it to confront such asymmetric warfare. It did not focus any other nation-state, just the U.S.*

The colonels acknowledged that the U.S.—at the time of the paper—had considered using a range of tools in response to conflicts:

“…There’s no getting around the opinions of the Americans when it comes to discussing what means and methods will be used to fight future wars. This is not simply because the U.S. is the latest lord of the mountain in the world. It is more because the opinions of the Americans on this question really are superior compared to the prevailing opinions among the military people of other nations. The Americans have summed up the four main forms that warfighting will take in the future as: 1) Information warfare; 2) Precision warfare [see Endnote 8]; 3) Joint operations [see Endnote 9]; and 4) Military operations other than war (MOOTW) [see Endnote 10]. This last sentence is a mouthful. From this sentence alone we can see the highly imaginative, and yet highly practical, approach of the Americans, and we can also gain a sound understanding of the warfare of the future as seen through the eyes of the Americans. Aside from joint operations, which evolved from traditional cooperative operations and coordinated operations, and even Air- Land operations, the other three of the four forms of warfighting can all be considered products of new military thinking. General Gordon R. Sullivan, the former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, maintained that information warfare will be the basic form of warfighting in future warfare. For this reason, he set up the best digitized force in the U.S. military, and in the world. Moreover, he proposed the concept of precision warfare, based on the perception that “there will be an overall swing towards information processing and stealthy long-range attacks as the main foundations of future warfare.” For the Americans, the advent of new, high-tech weaponry, such as precision-guided weapons, the Global Positioning System (GPS), C4I systems and stealth airplanes, will possibly allow soldiers to dispense with the nightmare of attrition warfare. …”

The rise of military tools like drones for precision-guided stealth attacks was predicted; quite honestly, the PRC’s current cyber warfare could be a pointed response to Gen. Sullivan’s statement about information warfare.

But in acknowledging the U.S.’s future use of MOOTW, the colonels also offered up the most likely approaches in an asymmetric assault or response: trade war, financial war, new terror war in contrast to traditional terror war, ecological war. Of these, they cited a specific example of new terror war entity and attacks: Continue reading

Judge Invokes Alice in Wonderland in Denying NYT and ACLU Targeted Killing FOIAs

“YOU’D better not talk!’ said Five. ‘I heard the Queen say only yesterday you deserved to be beheaded!’

‘What for?’ said the one who had spoken first.

‘That’s none of YOUR business, Two!’ said Seven.

[snip]

‘And who are THESE?’ said the Queen, pointing to the three gardeners who were lying round the rosetree; for, you see, as they were lying on their faces, and the pattern on their backs was the same as the rest of the pack, she could not tell whether they were gardeners, or soldiers, or courtiers, or three of her own children.

‘How should I know?’ said Alice, surprised at her own courage. ‘It’s no business of MINE.’

The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, screamed ‘Off with her head! Off—’

Alice in Wonderland

 

The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules–a veritable Catch-22. I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping reasons for their conclusion a secret.

Judge Colleen McMahon’s decision denying ACLU and NYT FOIA for targeted killing rationale NYT already published and government repeatedly discussed

 

 

Why Won’t the NYT Report on Ray Kelly’s Spooks?

On the NYT’s homepage, the story of the ongoing protests in reaction to the burning of Korans at Parwan prison occupies a fairly prominent position.

What you won’t find anywhere on the NYT homepage, though, is the story of how the NYPD monitored local response to Dutch cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, culled from informants at mosques across the metro area and summarized in a report for Ray Kelly. It’s a similar story–the Muslim reaction to perceived blasphemy–but it’s local. The NYT’s own city. Yet the NYT doesn’t consider it news.

Nor will you find a report on the NYPD’s press conference yesterday, an effort to insist all this surveillance of First Amendment speech is perfectly legal. Both the NYPost and the NYDN reported on that. (Admittedly, the WSJ is silent on the story today, though they have reported on it before.)

The New Jersey press was reporting on the NYPD’s spying in their own neighborhoods, both Newark–in the AP’s latest installment, Paterson.

Has the NYT moved to FL for the winter? Because every newspaper in the NY area seems to think this is news.

I’ve noted before the contortions the NYT went through to downplay (or even dismiss) this spy program in a profile of Ray Kelly. That almost felt like petulance over being beat–except for a few stories from Michael Powell–on a big story in its own backyard.

But the NYT’s silence on the story is beginning to get creepy.

The Gray Lady Calls the GOP Candidates Gray

The NYT had a hysterical editorial calling out the GOP candidates for claiming that waterboarding is not torture.

As hard as it is to believe, the Republican candidates for president seem to have learned very little from the moral calamities of the administration of George W. Bush. Three of the contenders for the party’s nomination have now come out in favor of the torture known as waterboarding. Only two have said it is illegal, and the rest don’t seem to have the backbone to even voice an opinion on the subject.

At Saturday night’s debate in South Carolina, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann said they would approve waterboarding of prisoners to extract information. They denied, of course, that waterboarding is torture, even though it’s been classified as such since the Spanish Inquisition. “Very disappointed by statements at S.C. GOP debate supporting waterboarding,” Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, wrote on Twitter. “Waterboarding is torture.”

[snip]

As empty as Mr. Romney’s remarks were about Iran, his refusal to renounce waterboarding is disturbing. There are few issues that more clearly define a candidate’s national security policy in the 21st century than a position on torture. A few candidates will fight terrorism using the rule of law, honoring the nation’s moral standards to encourage other countries to do the same. Others will defend the United States by promising to extract information from captives using pain and simulating death, degrading the nation’s reputation. That group now includes Mr. Cain, Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Romney.  [my emphasis]

Oh, I agree with the sentiment. On this issue (aside from Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul) the GOPers are a bunch of immoral thugs.

But I’m rather amused that the editorial page of the NYT–the NYT!!!–is attacking others for refusing to call waterboarding torture.

As Glenn Greenwald noted, here’s what two of the then-editors have had to say about whether waterboarding is torture or not.

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller explaining why his newspaper won’t describe Bush interrogation techniques as “torture”:

[D]efenders of the practice of water-boarding, including senior officials of the Bush administration, insisted that it did not constitute torture.

New York Times Washington Bureau Editor Douglas Jehl on why his paper refuses to describe Bush’s waterboarding program as “torture”:

I have resisted using torture without qualification or to describe all the techniques. Exactly what constitutes torture continues to be a matter of debate and hasn’t been resolved by a court. This president and this attorney general say waterboarding is torture, but the previous president and attorney general said it is not. On what basis should a newspaper render its own verdict, short of charges being filed or a legal judgment rendered?

And here’s what the NYT’s spokesperson said in response to a study showing that they had changed their language on waterboarding once the US embraced using it.

“As the debate over interrogation of terror suspects grew post-9/11, defenders of the practice (including senior officials of the Bush administration) insisted that it did not constitute torture,” a Times spokesman said in a statement. Continue reading

Did NYT’s Editors Alert the Government to Risen’s Source?

Let me start by pointing to two data points about the case of Jeffrey Alexander Sterling–the apparent (and alleged) source for James Risen’s reporting on MERLIN.

First, as DOJ’s press release alleges, Sterling first contacted Risen in February or March of 2003. The press release later reveals he first became aware that the FBI was investigating him for leaking classified information in June 2003.

The indictment alleges that beginning a few weeks later, in February and March 2003, Sterling made various telephone calls to the author’s residence, and e-mailed the author a newspaper article about the weapons capabilities of Country A. According to the indictment, while the possible newspaper article containing the classified information Sterling allegedly provided ultimately was not published in 2003, Sterling and the author remained in touch from December 2003 through November 2005 via telephone and e-mail.

[snip]

According to the indictment, Sterling was aware by June 2003 of an FBI investigation into his disclosure of national defense information, and was aware of a grand jury investigation into the matter by June 2006, when he was served a grand jury subpoena for documents relating to the author’s book.

In other words, Sterling allegedly contacted Risen in early 2003, the NYT never published an article at that point (which would have been just as the Iraq war was starting). But by June 2003, the FBI was already investigating the alleged leak.

Couple that information with the battle between Risen and the NYT over the contents of his book (which I first noted back in 2006).

Through several months in late 2005, Mr. Risen and bureau chief Phil Taubman had clashed over whether Times editors would get a preview of the book’s closely guarded contents, sources said. It was not until Dec. 27—11 days after the wiretapping story had run—that Mr. Risen relented and allowed Mr. Taubman to see the manuscript. Mr. Risen insisted that senior editors who viewed the pre-publication copy sign nondisclosure agreements and agree not to discuss the book’s contents.

[snip]

A Times spokesperson responded to questions about the Risen book by deferring to the paper’s Ethical Journalism Guidebook, which says reporters “must notify The Times in advance” when writing books related to their beats, “so The Times can decide whether to make a competitive bid to publish the work.”

[snip]

In October 2004, Mr. Risen first presented editors with a story about the secret N.S.A. wiretapping program, the sources said. Late that same year, Mr. Risen also proposed writing a piece about an alleged foiled C.I.A. plot to deliver bogus atomic-bomb plans to Iran—another story that appears in State of War.

Mr. Risen left on book leave in January 2005. According to multiple sources, he told editors he was writing a book about former C.I.A. chief George Tenet—and did not reveal that he would be using previously reported Times material about the N.S.A. wiretapping in the book. [my emphasis]

So, according to DOJ, Risen first tried to publish a story on MERLIN in 2003. He tried again in late 2004 (after, it should be said, the NYT started protecting Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby in the Plame case). After that didn’t work, he went on book leave, saying he was writing about George Tenet and refusing to tell them it included the NSA story and the MERLIN story. Continue reading

The NYT Does Penance?

I just got finished with a long day of politicking (to answer the question bmaz sent by email, at least in my CD, the "uncommitted" delegates were all Obama supporters though there were about 8-12 Hillary supporters trying to pick up some extra delegates by claiming that "uncommitted" delegates could not say who they would support in Denver). So I’m going to have to return to the NYT article on the Pentagon’s rent-a-general propaganda.

But for the moment, I just want to look at the circumstances of it. This was not, say, Mother Jones, exposing the extent to which the Pentagon mobilizes the military-industrial complex to (potentially illegally) spread propaganda to the American people. This is the NYT–one of the most important tools of the Bush propaganda machine, certainly at least during the lead-up to the Iraq war. So I wonder–did no one from the NYT recognize the irony of including this sentence in the NYT?

These records reveal a symbiotic relationship where the usual dividing lines between government and journalism have been obliterated.

For that reason, it’s a very weird article. The article, after all, states clearly that there was no quid pro quo to the "analysts."

The documents released by the Pentagon do not show any quid pro quo between commentary and contracts. But some analysts said they had used the special access as a marketing and networking opportunity or as a window into future business possibilities.

Continue reading

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