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US Mining Data Directly From 9 Silicon Valley Companies 404

Rick Zeman writes "Hot on the heels of Verizon's massive data dump to NSA comes news of 'PRISM' where The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person's movements and contacts over time. This program, established in 2007, includes major companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook...and more."

Submission + - Retraction of story about NSA and Trailblazer ( 1

decora writes: "The previous story I wrote that was posted to the slashdot front page is wrong. The memo that NSA declassified is actually about the Turbulence project, not about the Trailblazer project. This mistake also makes the two extra links in the story wrong as they applied mostly to Trailblazer and not to Turbulence. I apologize for the error and the confusion. They are similar projects, both criticized by congress, but they are distinct and happened under different NSA directors."

Submission + - NSA declassifies memo about failed TRAILBLAZER project (

decora writes: "Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post reports that the NSA has just declassified one of the 5 documents NSA whistleblower Thomas Andrews Drake was charged under the Espionage Act for retaining in his basement. The document, which Drake previously faced years in prison for posessing, is essentially a cheerleading memo, complimenting the Trailblazer project team for a great presentation and demo. It stands in stark contrast to numerous other reports that described the NSA IT project as an overbudget, ineffective, billion dollar seven year boondoggle."

Submission + - Government releases DoD report critical of NSA ( 1

decora writes: "Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project has a summary of the newly released DoD Inspector General report (pdf) on NSA's Thinthread and Trailblazer programs. The DoD found that NSA "disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs" and that "TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive". NSA contractors had a "fear of management reprisal" for cooperating with the DoD audit. The FBI later raided the homes of several people involved with the report, and Thomas Drake faced Espionage Act charges for retaining information from it. Those charges were dropped two weeks ago. Radack and GAP represent Drake on whistleblower issues."

Submission + - Thomas Drake innocent of all ten original charges ( 2

decora writes: "NPR, and dozens of other media sources, are reporting that NSA IT Whistleblower Thomas Andrews Drake is innocent of all 10 original charges against him; including the 5 Espionage Act charges for 'retention' of 'national defense information'. Drake stared down the government to the last minute, rejecting deal after deal, because he "refused to plea bargain with the truth". The judge had even recently ruled that there was no evidence that Drake passed classified information to a reporter. In the end, he has agreed that he committed a misdemeanor: "unauthorized access to a computer". It is unknown what this means for the other non-spy Espionage cases that Obama's DOJ currently has pending (Kim, Sterling, Manning), or the Grand Jury that is currently meeting to discuss Espionage Act charges related to Wikileaks. "

Submission + - Refs to "a telecom technology" removed from trial (

decora writes: "In the trial of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, (scheduled to begin June 13), the government wanted to introduce evidence about "NSA's targeting of a particular telecommunications technology". To hide details of the NSA's operations from the public, the government wanted to 'substitute' keywords in the evidence at trial. Judge Richard Bennett has just ruled that the 'substitution' for this particular evidence would violate Drake's rights. In response, the government has "decided to excise all reference to that technology from its case", including eliminating 4 exhibits and redacting two others."

Submission + - NSA trial evidence 'riddled with boxes and arrows' (

decora writes: "In the Espionage Act trial of NSA IT Whistleblower Thomas Drake, the main evidence against him are 5 documents he allegedly 'willfully retained' in his basement. The government, for the first time, is using the Silent Witness Rule to 'substitute' words in this evidence so that the public will not be able to see the allegedly sensitive information. The result of this 'substitution' process has been described by the defense as a tangled mess of boxes, arrows, and code words that will impossibly confuse the facts of the case. "Two weeks before trial, Mr. Drake and his counsel still do not know what evidence the jury will see""

Cray Unveils Its First GPU Supercomputer 76

An anonymous reader writes "Supercomputer giant Cray has lifted the lid on its first GPU offering, bringing it into the realm of top supers like the Chinese Tianhe-1A" The machine consists of racks of blades, each with eight GPU and CPU pairs (that can even be installed into older machines). It looks like Cray delayed the release of hardware using GPUs to work on a higher level programming environment than is available from other vendors.

IBM Now Officially Worth More Than Microsoft 295

liqs8143 writes with news that IBM's market cap has surpassed Microsoft's, making it the second most valuable tech company. When the market closed on Friday, IBM was valued at $207.52B, while Microsoft was valued at $206.52B. "At one point during the PC era, Microsoft's value climbed three times higher than IBM's. Apparently, this has been a long two decades in Armonk, N.Y., but Microsoft also is no longer the beast it once was. The guard is changing. Besides Apple, there is also Google. While Google is valued at about $170.59 billion, less than the other three, its $31 billion in annual revenue is half of Microsoft's $69 billion and less than a third of IBM's $101 billion. Waiting in the wings is Facebook, which has been valued in the private market for as much as $50 billion, on negligible revenue."

Submission + - Domestic surveillance: much worse than we thought (

decora writes: "Charges against NSA whistleblower Thomas Tamm have been dropped, but the case against Thomas Drake has not. An article in the New Yorker reveals that the Drake case is actually related to the warantless surveillance program; and it is much worse than we thought. Former NSA IT expert Bill Binney says he "believes that the agency now stores copies of all e-mails transmitted in America" and was told by others that "They’re putting pen registers on everyone in the country!’" Kathleen McClellan of the Government Accountability Project sums it up in a thread at Daily Kos as folows: "Simultaneous armed raids on the homes of four Inspector General complainants, criminal prosecution of a whistleblower exercising his first amendment right to speak to the press, evisceration of separation of powers with an executive branch official "calling" votes on the Supreme Court" — these are the hallmarks of tyranny, not Democracy. ""

Submission + - Govt wants to redact unclassified info in court (

decora writes: "The government prosecutors in the case of NSA IT whistleblower Thomas Drake are attempting to use the Classified Information Procedures Act to redact evidence in court; evidence that is clearly "UNCLASSIFIED". The defense has responded, pointing out that Congress named it the Classified Information Procedures Act for a reason — it is only supposed to apply to classified information. The government's argument? It can redact anything it wants to, because the material relates to the NSA."

Does China's Cyber Offense Obscure Woeful Defense? 132

Gunkerty Jeb writes "The official line in Washington D.C. is that there's a new Cold War brewing, with an ascendant China in the place of the old Soviet Union, and cyberspace as the new theater of war. But work done by an independent security researcher suggests that the Chinese government is woefully unprepared to fend off cyber attacks on its own infrastructure."

Submission + - Ex-NSA officer decries government abuses (

decora writes: "Thomas Drake, Air Force vet and former NSA IT officer, has given a speech at the Ridenhour Prize ceremony in which he decries the abuses committed by the government since 9/11, and the lengths it has gone to to cover them up. To quote: "unaccountable and unnecessary power and secrecy on the part of the government are the hallmark of tyranny and contradict the very founding principles of this Nation." Drake is facing decades in prison for allegedly having "national defense" information in his basement regarding the failed, abandoned Trailblazer project that NSA stopped working on circa 2003, after a reporter at the Baltimore Sun exposed the project in 2006 and 2007."

Submission + - IT guy makes stirring speech to human rights group ( 2

decora writes: "Thomas Drake, an IT expert and NSA official indicted under Espionage law for whistleblowing on the failed Trailblazer project, has made a stirring speech after receiving the Ridenhour Prize. A quote: "Unaccountable and unnecessary power and secrecy on the part of the government are the hallmark of tyranny and contradict the very founding principles of this Nation — and ultimately make us less safe and secure""

Submission + - Taking one for the team (

decora writes: What would you do if you knew your employer was breaking the law? What would you do if you knew it was costing taxpayers a billion dollars? Would you talk to a reporter? That is exactly what Thomas Drake did. But since his employer was the NSA, he is now looking at possibly spending the next several decades in prison. He has been waiting 3 years for a trial, wondering what will happen to his family. Today, though, in Washington, he is honored with the Ridenhour Prize for Truth Telling.

Radioactive cats have 18 half-lives.