Abrisslinie

“Tear line,” used in encrypted NSA emails that contained information acquired by the NSA’s ~2001 to ~2011 bulk internet and telephony surveillance (technically possible but considered unethical in the 1990’s but then authorized by the Bush administration on 04 Oct 2001 as what became the “President’s Surveillance Program,” later “Stellar Wind”). The NSA’s Inspector General wrote in a draft 2009 report that at first the NSA merely responded to FBI and CIA questions by emailing answers that used PSP-obtained information but didn’t say where they’d learned it, and thus the program was “hidden in plain sight.” Later, the FBI and CIA wondered where this information was coming from, so the NSA used a so-called “tear line” to send bulk-surveillance info and “sanitized” info in the same email.

Why only the FBI and CIA are mentioned in this NSA report, over and over, is unclear to me because the US has more such agencies than that. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s website currently lists 17 “agencies and organizations,” for example, and those appear to be umbrella organizations as well. During the Bush administration attempts were made by powerful bureaucrats such as Donald Rumsfeld to move intelligence work away from the CIA to the Pentagon. What was created at Defense and how did it morph as the years passed? How was it outsourced beyond government into private contractor companies? And what about “public-private” combinations such as the industry-funded INSA (Intelligence and National Security Alliance), “one of the only business associations in Washington that include current government officials on their board of directors” according to Tim Shorrock in Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing (2008).

(Ob riss LIEN ee eh.)

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