John Kerry concedes Obama’s spy team ‘reached too far’

31049_large_jp-nsa2-superJumboSecretary of State John Kerry surprised many reporters, as well as intelligence, law enforcement and military officials, when he conceded on Friday that some of the U.S. surveillance has gone “too far.” The Obama administration has come under intense criticism from many world leaders including some heads of state from NATO allies, according to Josh Hollander, a former intelligence-division police detective.

Responding to increased questioning by major news organizations, Secretary Kerry admitted that at times the technological surveillance by the super-secret National Security Agency (NSA) “have reached too far.”

However, Kerry quickly alluded to the Obama claim of ignorance when he added, “There is no question that the president and I have actually learned of some things that had been happening, in many ways, on an automatic pilot because the technology is there,” Kerry was quoted as saying.

John Kerry, who replaced Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, found himself confronting reports that the U.S. spies had eavesdropped on cell phone calls by world leaders, including Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. In Merkel’s case, there are allegations that her office telephone was also “bugged” by U.S. spies and that the NSA collected data on tens of millions of phone calls in European countries.

In a direct contrast to statements he made while he served as a Senator during the Bush administration, Kerry actually defended the NSA’s operations during the Obama administration, claiming that U.S. surveillance programs are an “effective counterterrorism tool” that has prevented Islamic and domestic terrorists from bombing buildings, hijacking or bombing passenger airliners, assassinating leaders, and murdering people since the NSA was able to “learn ahead time of the [terrorists'] plans.”

President Barack Obama and members of his administration are being pressured by the international community since June after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed the spy agency’s massive surveillance program which monitors worldwide phone calls and Internet communications as part of the U.S. counterterrorism strategy.

The Obama White House promised it will conduct a full investigation of its global intelligence-gathering operations, but many expect a continuation of most of the intelligence operations in spite of criticism, said Josh Hollander.

Invasive view into American’s data too easy at the NSA

the-nsa-trained-edward-snowden-to-be-an-elite-hackerIn an interview with ABCNews, the reporter that initially made public information about the National Security Agency’s true surveillance powers said that even the lowest-level NSA analyst at the data collection agency has virtually unrestricted access to trillions of telephone calls and emails from the American people.

Guardian Reporter Glenn Greenwald said that analysts use very simple “supermarket-like” screens that perform powerful and wide-reaching searches based on telephone numbers, email or IP addresses for any data that the NSA has managed to collect.  “It searches that database and lets them listen to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future.”

Greenwald mentioned that although so-called FISA legal restrictions supposedly constrain what analysts search for, no real technical mechanism exists that would prevent any search.  “And it’s all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst,” he said.

Although the NSA strongly denies such easy availability of data – and even the tracking of some of it – top secret security documents revealed (read: Snowden) last week suggest that the NSA not only tracks telephone calls and emails, but tracks absolutely everything sent over the wires of the Internet’s transnational fiber optic lines.

Greenwald wants the NSA to respond to these accusations when they testify before the Senate on Wednesday and flatly deny the existence of these described programs in front of Congress and the American people.