There are two bills in Congress that would grant the Pentagon greater rights to spy on Americans in the U.S.:
The Pentagon would be granted new powers to conduct undercover intelligence gathering inside the United States—and then withhold any information about it from the public—under a series of little noticed provisions now winding their way through Congress.
Citing in part the need for “greater latitude” in the war on terror, the Senate Intelligence Committee recently approved broad-ranging legislation that gives the Defense Department a long sought and potentially crucial waiver: it would permit its intelligence agents, such as those working for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), to covertly approach and cultivate “U.S. persons” and even recruit them as informants—without disclosing they are doing so on behalf of the U.S. government.
At the same time, the Senate intelligence panel also included in the bill two other potentially controversial amendments—one that would allow the Pentagon and other U.S. intelligence agencies greater access to federal government databases on U.S. citizens, and another granting the DIA new exemptions from disclosing any “operational files” under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Posted on October 13, 2005 at 11:47 AM •
From the Washington Post:
Web sites in China are being used heavily to target computer networks in the Defense Department and other U.S. agencies, successfully breaching hundreds of unclassified networks, according to several U.S. officials.
Classified systems have not been compromised, the officials added. But U.S. authorities remain concerned because, as one official said, even seemingly innocuous information, when pulled together from various sources, can yield useful intelligence to an adversary….
“The scope of this thing is surprisingly big,” said one of four government officials who spoke separately about the incidents, which stretch back as far as two or three years and have been code-named Titan Rain by U.S. investigators. All officials insisted on anonymity, given the sensitivity of the matter.
Whether the attacks constitute a coordinated Chinese government campaign to penetrate U.S. networks and spy on government databanks has divided U.S. analysts. Some in the Pentagon are said to be convinced of official Chinese involvement; others see the electronic probing as the work of other hackers simply using Chinese networks to disguise the origins of the attacks.
Posted on August 26, 2005 at 7:59 AM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.