Putin slams U.S. national security strategy as ‘aggressive’

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday called President Trump's new national security strategy "aggressive" and claimed the United States and NATO are engaged in a major military buildup on Russia's borders. "The U.S. has recently unveiled its new defense strategy. Speaking the diplomatic language, it is obviously offensive, and, if we switch to the military language, it is certainly aggressive," he said, according to the state-owned TASS news agency."We must take this into account in our practical work," he said.Trump on Monday announced the new National Security Strategy, which singles out China and Russia as two countries that "challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity." In his speech, the president referred to both countries as "rival powers."Putin, speaking at a Russian defense ministry meeting outside Moscow. criticized what he called the creation of of "offensive infrastructures" in Europe, and pointed to what he called violations of the 1987 treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles. The INF treaty was signed by Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and President Reagan.Putin said Russia's Defense Ministry "should take into account" Western military strategies,  adding that "Russia has a sovereign right and all possibilities to adequately and in due time react to such potential threats.""Any change in the balance of power and military and political environment in the world should be monitored very carefully, namely near Russia’s borders and also in the strategically important regions for our security," he said.He said Russia's current nuclear forces provides reliable strategic deterrence, but added, "we need to further develop them."Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told the gathering that NATO had doubled the number of its military drills since 2012 near Russian borders and said the number of Continue Reading

Oliver Stone calls National Security Agency secret-leaker Edward Snowden ‘a hero’

Controversial filmmaker Oliver Stone is looking to get in on the fracas surrounding Edward Snowden, calling the fugitive secret-leaker a “hero.” “It's a disgrace that (President) Obama is more concerned with hunting down Snowden than reforming these George Bush-style eavesdropping techniques," the outspoken director said Thursday at a Czech film festival, according to entertainment website TheWrap.com. Stone, no stranger to making contentious statements, was appearing at a July Fourth appearance at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, where he was scheduled to show two episodes of his new TV series, “The Untold History of the United States.” Stone went on to encourage foreign countries to offer asylum to Snowden, who is reportedly holed up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after fleeing Hong Kong following his disclosure of confidential cellphone and Internet usage data surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency. "To me, Snowden is a hero, because he revealed secrets that we should all know, that the United States has repeatedly violated the Fourth Amendment," Stone said. "He should be welcomed, and offered asylum, but he has no place to hide because every country is intimidated by the United States,” he added. Snowden has applied for asylum in 21 countries and has been rejected by at least 12 of them, including Austria, Brazil, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Spain and Switzerland. Bolivia and Venezuela remain possible landing places for the fugitive 30-year-old, who faces espionage charges in the U.S. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

British adviser: release of seized data from partner of journalist would endanger national security

Files seized from the partner of a British journalist endanger national security and could endanger the lives of intelligence agents, a senior government adviser testified Friday. Oliver Robbins, a senior deputy national security analyst, told judges in London that data taken from David Miranda, the partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, who’s worked with U.S. whistleblower David Snowden on a series of stories, contains “misappropriated” information and “highly classified UK intelligence documents.” Miranda, who was detained earlier this month at Heathrow Airport, denies any wrongdoing. After being held for nine hours at London’s main airport, police confiscated a laptop, mobile phone and an extra hard drive he was carrying. After Friday’s hearing on a temporary injunction that limits how police investigators may review the information, the Guardian’s top editor criticized Robbins’ assertions. “Mr. Robbins makes a number of unsubstantiated and in innaccurate claims in his witness statements,” said Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media, according to Britain’s The Independent. Robbins said one seized file contained 58,000 “highly classified UK intelligence documents.” “I can confirm that the disclosure of this information would cause harm to UK national security,” he told the court. The data also identifies intelligence staff, thereby endangering them in Britain and overseas, Robbins said. Miranda’s partner, Glenn Greenwald, has colloborated with U.S. intelligence contractor Snowden on investigative stories chronicling American and British surveillance programs. Snowden fled the U.S. in May after passing intelligence information to reporters and others that accused the U.S. National Security Agency of “data mining” millions of telephone, Facebook andGoogle Continue Reading

Whistle-blower behind National Security Agency leaks checks out of Hong Kong hotel

The man behind the leaks of top secret National Security Agency documents has gone back underground. Edward Snowden, 29, checked out of the luxury Mira hotel in Hong Kong around noon Monday, Reuters reported. The IT contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton and former CIA employee revealed himself Sunday in a passionate interview with the Guardian. He said he could not sit idly by, earning $200,000 at his cozy gig in Hawaii, while the government built an immense surveillance system in secret. "I can't in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building," Snowden said. His whereabouts following his departure from the hotel - which he noted was near a CIA office in the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong - were unknown. He said he was comfortable with his decision to become a whistleblower, and realized he could face life in prison - or worse. "Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA," he said. "I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets." Snowden's series of leaks last week revealed that Verizon was transmitting call data on its networks to the government on an ongoing basis. Subsequent reports revealed that other phone carriers were doing the same, and that the data is being stored in a massive government database. Another leak reported that the government had direct access to the servers on nine major Internet companies, which they used to spy communications of foreigners. And a subsequent leak revealed the stunning scale of the surveillance: Over a 30-day period ending in March 2013 the NSA processed 3 billion pieces of intelligence from U.S. computer networks. Snowden sought refuge in Hong Kong because he believed the semiautonomous city Continue Reading

U.S allies fume as new National Security Agency snooping allegations reveal agency collected data on their citizens

Angry French officials on Monday summoned the U.S. ambassador to the Foreign Ministry in Paris, the latest example of new snooping allegations by the National Security Agency infuriating American allies. Records provided by NSA contractor-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden to French newspaper Le Monde revealed that the NSA collected 70.3 million French telephone records over a 30-day period that began last Dec. 10. The French government called the surveillance "totally unacceptable" and asked U.S. Ambassador Charles Rivkin for an explanation. “This sort of practice between partners that invades privacy is totally unacceptable and we have to make sure, very quickly, that this no longer happens,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. Rivkin's boss, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, is scheduled to meet Tuesday in France with Fabius. The meeting was scheduled to address the Syrian civil war, but is now also expected to address the snooping allegations. France is not the only U.S. ally upset by surveillance allegations. Mexico on Sunday blasted a report in a German magazine that in 2010 the U.S. snooped on communications by then-Mexican president Felipe Calderon. The report spurred German Chancellor Angela Merkel to cancel a program dating to the Cold War under which her government monitors individuals in the country at the request of the U.S. and Britain in order to protect American and British troops stationed there. Snowden has released a flood of NSA surveillance records since June, including the U.S. government's wholesale collection of phone call logs, and the NSA's ability to tap into the central servers of major U.S. tech and Internet firms. Snowden, 30, now enjoys asylum in Russia but is under indictment at home for theft and disclosure of government secrets. Earlier, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that in 2012 the NSA read Continue Reading

Global profits at stake as Apple, tech fight U.S. on security

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple's refusal to help the FBI break into the iPhone of San Bernardino, Calif., shooter Syed Rizwan Farook is not just about principles. It's about profits, too.At stake are the sweeping international ambitions of the entire U.S. technology industry, billions of dollars in potential global growth that hinges on customers entrusting the most intimate details of their lives to Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook, especially in areas of the world where people have far greater qualms about the government gaining unfettered access to their personal information.None of these tech giants with sprawling overseas operations can afford the perception they are cooperating with U.S. intelligence or forking over customer data. Damaging revelations from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 undercut tech companies around the globe, leaving them to reassure users that their personal communications were safe from the prying eyes of U.S. intelligence agencies."American tech companies, in general, face a much higher bar in every single country around the world to demonstrate that they are trustworthy suppliers of technology that respect their users," says David Kirkpatrick, a long-time tech journalist and founder of the Techonomy tech conference business. "All of those tech companies that build consumer products and operate globally have to be watching this with intense concern."IBM, Cisco, Microsoft and others reported declines in business in China  after the NSA surveillance program was exposed in 2013. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation estimated the NSA imbroglio would cost U.S. businesses $22 billion through the end of this year.Apple, whose second largest market is China, has positioned itself as a model global citizen whose devices command a premium because of the lengths it Continue Reading

Petya cyberattack spreads, hitting U.S. and European businesses

SAN FRANCISCO — A virulent new strain of ransomware named Petya wreaked havoc on some of the most-established companies in Europe and North America on Tuesday, capitalizing on the same vulnerabilities that froze hundreds of thousands of computers a month ago. .Computer-security company Kaspersky Lab said about 2,000 systems worldwide were affected.The cyberattack appeared to target Ukraine, where government officials and businesses reported intrusions to the power grid, government offices, banks and stores.It also spread through the digital operations of some of the planet's biggest companies. Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk, the world's largest overseas cargo carrier, and Russian oil behemoth Rosneft were among the high-profile corporate victims in at least six countries.Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, and British media company WPP tweeted they had been hit by Petya, as did Rosneft.Global law firm DLA Piper said it "experienced issues with some of its systems due to suspected malware" and was working on a solution, company spokesman Josh Epstein said in an emailed statement.By late Tuesday, the cyberattack had spread to North American divisions of European companies, said Justin Harvey, managing director of global incident response at Accenture. Petya is "really preying on organizations without proper patching hygiene" of the Windows operating system, he said.Container ship terminals in Rotterdam run by a unit of Maersk were affected, the company confirmed. “The hacking attack could have led to serious consequences but neither the oil production nor the processing has been affected thanks to the fact that the company has switched to a reserve control system,” the company said.Petya is a ransomware attack that renders files and data inaccessible until the user pays a ransom. In this case, those behind Petya demanded $300 via bitcoin. They Continue Reading

One dead, two injured in gunfight as men use stolen SUV to ram gates at National Security Agency headquarters outside D.C.

Two people including a transgender woman used a stolen SUV used a stolen SUV to ram a set of gates at the National Security Agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Md., but at least one of the apparent attackers was shot and killed in a firefight with on-base police, according to officials. The FBI says the shooting is not believed to be terrorism. A photo from the scene showed a uniformed man being loaded into an ambulance after the 9:30 a.m. gunfight at the secure campus some 22 miles northeast of Washington, D.C. Other images show the damaged, dark-colored SUV and a damaged white NSA police SUV, alongside an ambulance. NSA police are on scene investigating, WTTG-TV reported. One photo shows a white sheet covering a body lying on the roadway next to the damaged, dark-colored SUV. Two men, ages 20 and 44, were injured and flown by medical helicopter to the Shock Trauma unit in Baltimore, according to the Fox affiliate. Cops found a gun and drugs inside the stolen SUV, NBC News reported. One official said the incident was “a local criminal matter,” according to NBC. A dark haired wig was visible on the ground at the scene. "The shooting scene is contained and we do not believe it is related to terrorism," FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said in a statement. "We are working with the US Attorney's Office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted." Earlier this month, a former corrections officer was arrested for shooting at the NSA building at Fort Meade among several other buildings he fired on, police said. The massive Army campus hosts the NSA, U.S Cyber Command and the Defense Information Systems Agency and houses offices for some 40,000 combined military personnel and civilian employees. THIS IS BREAKING NEWS. CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES ON A MOBILE DEVICE? CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO. Continue Reading

French officials furious, order meeting with U.S. ambassador following report of NSA eavesdropping on presidential phone calls

PARIS — Angry and embarrassed, France summoned the U.S. ambassador Wednesday to respond to the revelations by WikiLeaks that the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on three successive French presidents and other top officials. The release of the spying revelations appeared to be timed to coincide with a final vote Wednesday in the French Parliament on a bill allowing broad new surveillance powers, in particular to counter terrorism threats. French President Hollande, calling the U.S. spying an “unacceptable” security breach, convened two emergency meetings as a result of the disclosures about the NSA’s spying. The first was with France’s top security officials, the second with leading legislators, many of whom have already voted for the new surveillance measure. Hollande was to speak Wednesday with President Barack Obama on the issue. The documents appear to capture top French officials in Paris between 2006 and 2012 talking candidly about Greece’s economy, relations with Germany, and American spying on allies. While there were no huge surprises, the release of the documents late Tuesday angered and embarrassed French officialdom. The top floor of the U.S. Embassy, visible from France’s presidential Elysee Palace, reportedly was filled with spying equipment hidden behind trompe l’oeil paintings of windows, according to the Liberation newspaper, which partnered with WikiLeaks and the website Mediapart on the documents. U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley was summoned to the French Foreign Ministry. Hollande is also sending France’s top intelligence coordinator to the U.S. shortly, to ensure that promises made after earlier NSA spying revelations in 2013 and 2014 have been kept, the spokesman said. Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the U.S. must do everything it can, and quickly, to “repair the damage” to U.S.-French relations from the revelations, which he called “a Continue Reading

House votes to end National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records

http://video.nydailynews.com/?vcid=29075013&freewheel=90051&sitesection=nydailynewsWASHINGTON — The House voted by a wide margin Wednesday to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records and replace it with a system to search the data held by telephone companies on a case-by-case basis. The 338-to-88 vote set the stage for a Senate showdown just weeks before the Patriot Act provisions authorizing the program are due to expire. If the House bill becomes law, it will represent one of the most significant changes stemming from the unauthorized disclosures of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. But many Senate Republicans don’t like the measure, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a separate version that would keep the program as is. Yet, he also faces opposition from within his party and has said he is open to compromise. President Obama supports the House legislation, known as the USA Freedom Act, which is in line with a proposal he made last March. The House passed a similar bill last year, but it failed in the Senate. Most House members would rather see the Patriot Act provisions expire altogether than re-authorize NSA bulk collection, said Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee. “I think the Senate is ultimately going to pass something like the USA Freedom Act,” he said. The issue, which exploded into public view two years ago, has implications for the 2016 presidential contest, with Republican candidates staking out different positions. The revelation that the NSA had for years been secretly collecting all records of U.S. landline phone calls was among the most controversial disclosures by Snowden, a former NSA systems administrator who in 2013 leaked thousands of secret documents to journalists. The program collects the number called, along with the date, time and duration of call, but not the content Continue Reading