Carl Levin

Washington's Blog, High-Level NSA Whistleblower Says Blackmail Is a Huge – Unreported – Part of Mass Surveillance, Washington's Blog contributor, July 21, 2014. The Untold Story In the NSA Spying Scandal: Blackmail. It is well-documented that governments use information to blackmail and control people. The Express reported last month: "British security services infiltrated and funded the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange in a covert operation to identify and possibly blackmail establishment figures, a Home Office whistleblower alleges." FBI head Hoover was famous for blackmailing everyone … including politicians.  The New York Times reports: J. Edgar Hoover compiled secret dossiers on the sexual peccadillos and private misbehavior of those he labeled as enemies — really dangerous people like … President John F. Kennedy, for example. Alfred McCoy – Professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison – provides details: Upon taking office on Roosevelt’s death in early 1945, Harry Truman soon learned the extraordinary extent of FBI surveillance. “We want no Gestapo or Secret Police,” Truman wrote in his diary that May. “FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail.” “The moment [Hoover] would get something on a senator,” recalled William Sullivan, the FBI’s chief of domestic intelligence during the 1960s, “he’d send one of the errand boys up and advise the senator that ‘we’re in the course of an investigation, and we by chance happened to come up with this data on your daughter…’ From that time on, the senator’s right in his pocket.” After his death, an official tally found Hoover had 883 such files on senators and 722 more on congressmen. With a few hundred cable probes and computerized decryption, the NSA can now capture the kind of gritty details of private life that J. Edgar Hoover so treasured and provide the sort of comprehensive coverage of populations once epitomized by secret police like East Germany’s Stasi. And yet, such comparisons only go so far.  In  the Obama years, the first signs have appeared that NSA surveillance will use the information gathered to traffic in scandal, much as Hoover’s FBI once did. In September 2013, the New York Times reported that the NSA has, since 2010, applied sophisticated software to create “social network diagrams…, unlock as many secrets about individuals as possible…, and pick up sensitive information like regular calls to a psychiatrist’s office, late-night messages to an extramarital partner.”  By collecting knowledge — routine, intimate, or scandalous — about foreign leaders, imperial proconsuls from ancient Rome to modern America have gained both the intelligence and aura of authority necessary for dominion over alien societies. The importance, and challenge, of controlling these local elites cannot be overstated. During its pacification of the Philippines after 1898, for instance, the U.S. colonial regime subdued contentious Filipino leaders via pervasive policing that swept up both political intelligence and personal scandal. And that, of course, was just what J. Edgar Hoover was doing in Washington during the 1950s and 1960s. According to James Bamford, author of two authoritative books on the agency, “The NSA’s operation is eerily similar to the FBI’s operations under J. Edgar Hoover in the 1960s where the bureau used wiretapping to discover vulnerabilities, such as sexual activity, to ‘neutralize’ their targets.” The ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer has warned that a president might “ask the NSA to use the fruits of surveillance to discredit a political opponent, journalist, or human rights activist. The NSA has used its power that way in the past and it would be naïve to think it couldn’t use its power that way in the future.” Even President Obama’s recently convened executive review of the NSA admitted: “[I]n light of the lessons of our own history… at some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking.”

Indeed, whistleblower Edward Snowden has accused the NSA of actually conducting such surveillance. In a December 2013 letter to the Brazilian people, he wrote, “They even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target’s reputation.” If Snowden is right, then one key goal of NSA surveillance of world leaders is not U.S. national security but political blackmail — as it has been since 1898. Today, the NSA tracks people’s porn-viewing habits in order to discredit activists.  The NSA also gathers and keeps nude and suggestive photos of people in order to blackmail them


U.S. Naval Institute, Naval War College President Tapped to Lead Naval Academy, Sam LaGrone, June 6, 2014. The current president of the U.S. Naval War College has been nominated to lead the U.S. Naval Academy. Rear Adm. Walter E. “Ted” Carter Jr. — if approved by the Senate — will be promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral and replace the current Naval Academy superintendent Vice Adm. Michael H. Miller. Carter — a career naval aviator — led the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert’s 21st Century Sailor office before his post at the Naval War College. The office oversees the Navy’s attempt to curb sexual assault in the service and came out last year with a new plan that increased the number of counselors in the service and placed new restrictions on alcohol. Carter led the changes that were implemented shortly after he took over the War College in July. “A lot of this is about education but it’s also about trying to change their personal behavior,” he told the Navy Times in July. A 1981 Naval Academy and 1985 Fighter Weapons School graduate, Carter served as a flight officer aboard F-4, F-14 and F-18 tactical fighters, accumulated more than 6,000 flight hours and made more than 2,016 carrier landings, according to information from the Navy. He commanded USS Camden (AOE-2), carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG 12). If confirmed, Carter will become the 62nd superintendent of the Naval Academy.

Rear Adm. Walter E. “Ted” Carter Jr., president of the U.S. Naval War College stands in front of a portrait of Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale on Dec. 13, 2013. Rear Adm. Walter E. “Ted” Carter Jr., president of the U.S. Naval War College stands in front of a portrait of Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale on Dec. 13, 2013.

Sam LaGrone is the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. In his role he covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Sam is a 2003 graduate of Virginia Military Institute.

Daily Beast, Too Late To 'Pologize For NSA Revenge Porn Leak, Lizzie Crocker, June 28, 2014. A former NSA officer was shamed by his anonymous mistress on Twitter—and her lame apology doesn't hide the fact that this is classic revenge porn. Defenders of NSA leaker Edward Snowden insist there’s no evidence his revelations have weakened America’s intelligence capabilities or harmed agents in the field. Well, they’ve certainly been detrimental to John Schindler, a former NSA officer, academic, intelligence specialist, and stalwart Snowden critic. Schindler, better known by his Twitter handle @20committee, has seen his life and career upended—not because of his past affiliation with the NSA, but because of a leaked picture of his slumbering penis. Earlier this week, screenshots of suggestive text and Twitter messages—including a dick pic—between Schindler and an online paramour circulated on social media before being republished by Gawker. Schindler, who has legions of critics on Twitter—where he has described Snowden as possessing a “sense of self-importance mixed with delusion” and claimed that the leaker is “very likely” a Russian intelligence agent—was initially accused of sending an unsolicited penis photo and harassing messages. He was suspended from his job as a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, which launched an investigation into his creation of “inappropriate content.” His online critics shamed him into shutting down his Twitter account and taking a hiatus from his blog.

    This is Clinton-era outrage: political motivations masquerading as moral opprobrium.

While his critics gleefully proclaimed that the messages Schindler sent were predatory, his unnamed correspondent later apologized for disseminating them, admitting she had “wanted to inform his wife & embarrass him.”

“I’m not a victim,” the woman, known only as Leslie, tweeted, clarifying that she was a “willing participant” in their exchanges “even after I found out that he was married.” After clarifying that she wasn’t involved in a “Greenwald/Putin/Snowden conspiracy,” she offered a shame-faced apology: “To Dr. Schindler & his Wife, I am truly sorry. If I could go back and change this, I would do so immediately.”

Too late for that. And there can be no public shaming for the unnamed. But Schindler too apologized, issuing a mea culpa on his blog (this is expected of all public and semi-public figures, regardless of whether or not they did something “wrong”). This despite having done nothing illegal. His only offense was a moral one, though none of his critics could possibly know the terms and nuances of his marriage. (Schindler claimed in one message to his online paramour that his relationship with his wife is “not a marriage in a ‘normal’ or conventional sense.”)

But the inevitable cult of apology is of course provoked by the cult of outrage. Schindler’s persecutors have been relentless, accusing him of wanting to violate the privacy of others through his support of NSA snooping programs while objecting to having his intimate digital secrets shared with the world. As his allies formed a Twitter mob, Glenn Greenwald took to the social media platform to agitate in Schindler’s defense: “I'm 100 percent against punishing—or judging—adults for private, consensual sexual behavior.”

As we all should be. But this is Clinton-era outrage: political motivations masquerading as moral opprobrium. Try to find someone on Twitter shocked, outraged, appalled by Schindler’s behavior—enough to devote multiple tweets to the “scandal”—who shares the former NSA-man’s politics.

And the methods of shaming—revenge porn, though the media has largely avoided calling it that—are vicious. If we are so ready to attack men for disseminating nude photos of ex-girlfriends, why should women be held to a different standard? Indeed, Schindler’s online mistress acknowledged that she did so to hurt him, enlisting his political enemies to stoke the outrage. It wasn’t just revenge porn, but political revenge porn.

Schindler might be advised to keep his dick in his pants, but he should keep his apology between him and his wife. Because his enemies—and his online mistress—don't deserve one.

John R. Schindler, Ph.D., is a professor at the U.S. Navy War College who has used the nation's news and social media to rally fellow super-patriots against those government officials, journalists, whistleblowers and citizen dissenters who criticize the government's right to mount secret surveillance targeting Americans.

John SchindlerSeparately, the War College last week suspended the married Dr. Schindler on suspicion that he sent a photo of his penis to a woman as part of a crude come-on describing his romantic urges for her. She posted via an intermediary what purported also to be his convoluted explanation that he was in a marriage of convenience and that his personal values were more religious and more conservative than commonly portrayed by the media. 

Missing from a week's news coverage of this tawdry spectacle has been sufficient focus on why the Navy has so long empowered Schindler as propagandist who has been smearing with impunity such varied targets as his commander-in-chief, President Obama, along with Catholics, French-Canadians, gays, whistleblowers, journalists and many others he has been attacking in what appears to be a vicious, secretive and well-orchestrated campaign using both mainstream media and social media.

More simply, those who have watched his shenanigans with alarm for many months are entitled to wonder whether the Navy's probe of Schindler will focus simply on a sex scandal that can be whitewashed, or whether it will encompass serious allegations that he has been running a propaganda operation arguably in violation of such rules, traditions and law as the Hatch Act, which restricts partisan political advocacy. 

A thorough investigative, however, might implicate or at least embarrass the government hierarchy at the War College, the National Security Agency and elsewhere in the Military-Intelligence Complex that seeks maximum surveillance, manipulation of public opinion via the media and other policies exemplified by Schindler. Furthermore, any such scrutiny is unlikely to be generated by the media, whose representatives have frequently hosted Schindler on such networks as CNN and MSNBC.

The Association of Opinion Journalists, an organization editorial writes and other pundits, last fall took the step of conferring their highest award on Schindler's boss, War College President Ted Carter. a Navy admiral. The award was for Carter's announced lans




onnecticut's tradition of a vigorous civic institutions and a concerned citizenry remains intact as a force for reform, I can report following my lecture tour there last week. 

This is good news for the rest of the country. Given the decline if not decay in the nation's capital and its largely captive watchdog institutions, vitally needed remedial action can only come "bottom up" from true grassroots, not the phony "grasstop" organizations DC lobbyists create to manipulate public opinion.

Roger Stone's Living Room via TwitterToday, I'll try to show signs of hope by reporting developments during my trip and related occurrences. The events included my lectures at a library in the historic town of Litchfield and at the Hartford Club in the state capital.

Beyond that, I attended the annual awards luncheon of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information and saw up close how dedicated volunteers are using their expertise in the difficult fight against secrecy in government. Among them are council Chairman James Herbert Smith, shown at right in presenting to columnist Andy Thibault the group's annual award to a journalist whose work best fostered open government. 

Reported below also is a major sex scandal this week involving a Naval War College professor who for the past year has led a national propaganda campaign to justify surveillance, privacy violations and other elements of a police state. The scandal apparently involving at least Weiner-like from the married professor seems, based on information so far, to show the arrogance, hypocrisy and presumptions to power of those who fight against freedom of information in the name of the national security.  

On a lighter note, I'll share several personal encounters that illustrate my theme that we should try to be happy warriors in this battle. We can only do so by remaining willing to explore new information and alliances with a minimum of preconceptions as we pursue the larger goal of preserving a free and just society.

In that spirit, I learned this weekend that Roger Stone, one of the nation's leading political insiders, black arts operatives and strategists for the more than four decades on behalf of Republicans, prominently showed my recent book Presidential Puppetry on his Twitter feed, as illustrated in his photo.

Subtitled Obama, Romney and Their Masters, my book can be seen at the top of a small stack of books in a section of Stone's living room focused on his late mentor, President Richard Nixon. I do not yet know why Stone acquired it placed it in this display. But based on everything else going on and Stone's recently expressed desire to expose what he knows, we can speculate on likely reasons why even such a wildly successful politico might find interest in comparing notes on revelations.

My main focus today, however, is what I saw working in Connecticut and how the procedures can be helpful elsewhere. The work of the freedom of information council, CCFOI, is a great place to start.

CCFOI is a private group that advocates in support of the state's 1975 Freedom of Information law and similar initiatives. Its annual budget the past year was just over $11,000 primarily raised from dues provided by the state's newspapers.


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Related News Coverage

Navy War College Professor John Schindler

John SchindlerForbes, Did Gawker Just Break Hawaiian State Law? Sarah Jeong, June 24, 2014. John Schindler, a professor at the Naval War College and prolific tweeter under the handle @20committee, sent a nude photo to a woman on Twitter. She screencapped the text he sent her, along with awkwardly amorous e-mails he had written her. Schindler, shown in his Twitter photo, has since deleted his Twitter account, gone silent on his blog, and has been placed on leave from the Naval War College. It’s unclear whether the woman actually wanted to humiliate him, but the ways in which it’s been tweeted and retweeted are a little more straightforward in intent and effect. People are glad that Schindler, who often went out of his way to bully others in the course of defending the NSA and its spying programs, has been taken down a peg. It feels karmic. A just retribution. Maybe even something like revenge? Hawaii is the tenth state to enact revenge porn legislation. The new statute criminalizes the “unlawful distribution of sexual representation.”  The statutory language contains a number of troubling defects, including the lack of an intent requirement. But the one to note this week is that the law lacks an exception for “newsworthy nudity.” In other words, John Schindler’s status as a public figure is no defense to publishing the screencaps on Gawker.

Atlantic, How Surveillance-State Insiders Try to Discredit NSA Critics, Conor Friedersdorf, Dec. 3 2013. Who has done more than anyone else to increase public understanding of what the National Security Agency does? A top-10 list would have to include James Bamford, its first and most prolific journalistic chronicler, and Glenn Greenwald, a primary recipient of classified documents leaked months ago by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Over the weekend, I engaged in a back-and-forth with a former NSA employee who harshly criticized both (and me, too) with words that illuminate how some insiders view the press and the national-security state. His name is John R. Schindler. In his own words, he is a "professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, where he’s been since 2005, and where he teaches courses on security, strategy, intelligence, terrorism, and occasionally military history." He previously spent "nearly a decade with the National Security Agency as an intelligence analyst and counterintelligence officer," and he is "a senior fellow of the International History Institute at Boston University and is chairman of the Partnership for Peace Consortium's Combating Terrorism Working Group, a unique body which brings together scholars and practitioners from more than two dozen countries across Eurasia to tackle problems of terrorism, extremism, and political violence." In addition, his blog has some smart commentary on it. As Schindler and I interacted on Twitter, a predictable divide opened up between his followers, who are generally supportive of the surveillance state, and mine, who are more skeptical of it. Highlighting parts of our exchange* will permit me to better explain what it is that many of us "outsiders" find so frustrating about how "insiders" treat this subject.


Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Consortium News, Who Violated Ukraine’s Sovereignty? Ray McGovern, June 28, 2014.Ray McGovernThe West has accused Russia of violating a 1994 pledge to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty in exchange for its surrender of Soviet-era nuclear weapons. But the West’s political and economic interference might also represent a violation, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, shown in a file photo.

Washington Post, Former BBC celebrity Jimmy Savile accused of scores of sexual assaults in hospitals, Fred Barbash, June 26, 2014. An official report released this morning accused the late BBC celebrity DJ Jimmy Savile of sexually assaulting hundreds of people age 5 to 75 over several decades in British health facilities, according to news reports. The abuse allegedly occurred, among other places, at National Health Service hospitals that gave Savile unrestricted access because of his charitable work and his appointment to a task force overseeing medical facilities. He reportedly had the keys to some of the hospitals and came and went as he pleased. Editor's Note: Sir James Wilson Vincent "Jimmy" Savile, OBE, KCSG (31 October 1926 – 29 October 2011) was an English DJ, television presenter, media personality and charity fundraiser. He hosted the BBC television show Jim'll Fix It, was the first and last presenter of the long-running BBC music chart show "Top of the Pops," and raised an estimated £40 million for charities. He is shown in a file photo from a BBC appearance. We report the allegations above because, in our experience, claims of pedophilia are far more common against celebrities (including major politicians) than commonly reported. This week's report thus constitutes an exception to that pattern, but in a sense illustrates it also because the report comes only after the suspect's death after many decades of public life and alleged crimes.  

WebProNews, Will Policy Changes Make Wikipedia More Trustworthy? Chris Crum, June 16, 2014. The Wikimedia Foundation announced changes to its terms of service to address the problem of black hat paid editing of content such as Wikipedia articles. With half a billion people using Wikipedia every month, and the major search engines drawing from its information for quick answers to users’ queries, it’s pretty important that the content remains unbiased and factual, and not tainted by the influence of money in an undisclosed manner. “This new change will empower Wikipedia’s editor community to address the issue of paid editing in an informed way by helping identify edits that should receive additional scrutiny,” a spokesperson for the foundation tells WebProNews. “In addition, the change will help educate good-faith editors as to how they can continue editing in the spirit of the Foundation’s mission and provide additional tools in enforcing existing rules about conflicts of interest and paid editing.” Those who are being paid to edit will need to disclose the paid editing to comply with the new ToS, and add their affiliation to their edit summary, user page, or talk page, and “fairly disclose” their perspective. There’s an FAQ about this here. Those who edit Wikipedia as volunteers and “for fun” don’t have to worry about anything changing with the new terms. Those employed by galleries, libraries, museums, etc. that pay employees to make “good faith” contributions are considered “welcome to edit” as long as the contributions aren’t about the actual institutions themselves.