NSA Journalist Glenn Greenwald’s Partner Reportedly Detained at Airport for 9 Hours, Questioned Under Terrorism Act

The Guardian, Greenwald’s employer, reports the journalist’s partner, David Miranda, was held for nearly nine hours and questioned under the Terrorism Act at the UK’s Heathrow airport. Officials also confiscated Miranda’s electronics, including his cell phone, laptop, camera, and memory sticks, according to The Guardian, without saying when they would return the items.

Miranda was reportedly released without being officially charged with anything. Authorities had detained him for the maximum amount of time allowed under the law before they would have had to issue a formal arrest, according to The Guardian.

“This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism,” he wrote. “It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic.”

via NSA Journalist Glenn Greenwald’s Partner Reportedly Detained at Airport for 9 Hours, Questioned Under Terrorism Act | TheBlaze.com.

NSA, Gen X, and Gen Y

the NSA and their fellow swimmers in the acronym soup of the intelligence-industrial complex are increasingly reliant on nomadic contractor employees, and increasingly subject to staff churn. There is an emerging need to security-clear vast numbers of temporary/transient workers … and workers with no intrinsic sense of loyalty to the organization. For the time being, security clearance is carried out by other contractor organizations that specialize in human resource management, but even they are subject to the same problem: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

via Snowden leaks: the real take-home – Charlie’s Diary.

Holder seeks to avert mandatory minimum sentences for some low-level drug offenders

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is set to announce Monday that low-level, nonviolent drug offenders with no ties to gangs or large-scale drug organizations will no longer be charged with offenses that impose severe mandatory sentences.

The new Justice Department policy is part of a comprehensive prison reform package that Holder will reveal in a speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco, according to senior department officials. He is also expected to introduce a policy to reduce sentences for elderly, nonviolent inmates and find alternatives to prison for nonviolent criminals.

Good. Better if they end the drug war entirely, but I’m happy for baby steps in that direction. (Credit where credit is due.) Via Holder seeks to avert mandatory minimum sentences for some low-level drug offenders – The Washington Post.

Silent Circle Preemptively Shuts Down Encrypted Email Service To Prevent NSA Spying

“We knew USG would come after us”. That’s why Silent Circle CEO Michael Janke tells TechCrunch his company shut down its Silent Mail encrypted email service. It hadn’t been told to provide data to the government, but after Lavabit shut down today rather than be “complicit” with NSA spying, Silent Circle told customers it has killed off Silent Mail rather than risk their privacy.

The Silent Circle blog posts explains “We see the writing the wall, and we have decided that it is best for us to shut down Silent Mail now.” It’s especially damning considering Silent Circle’s co-founder and president is Phil Zimmermann, the inventor of widely-used email encryption program Pretty Good Privacy.

Silent Circle’s other secure services including Silent Phone and Silent Text will continue to operate as they do all the encryption on the client side within users’ devices. But it explained that “Email that uses standard Internet protocols cannot have the same security guarantees that real-time communications has.” With too many opportunities for information and metadata leaks in the SMTP, POP3, and IMAP email protocols, the company believes there was no way to live up to its promise of total privacy.

“We wanted to be proactive because we knew USG would come after us due to the sheer amount of people who use us- let alone the “highly targeted high profile people”. They are completely secure and clean on Silent Phone, Silent Text and Silent Eyes, but email is broken because govt can force us to turn over what we have. So to protect everyone and to drive them to use the other three peer to peer products- we made the decision to do this before men on [SIC] suits show up. Now- they are completely shut down- nothing they can get from us or try and force from us- we literally have nothing anywhere.”

The Feds don’t like it when you try to keep your communications private. The police state is here. Via Silent Circle Preemptively Shuts Down Encrypted Email Service To Prevent NSA Spying | TechCrunch.

T.S.A. Expands Duties Beyond Airport Security

With little fanfare, the agency best known for airport screenings has vastly expanded its reach to sporting events, music festivals, rodeos, highway weigh stations and train terminals. Not everyone is happy.

T.S.A. and local law enforcement officials say the teams are a critical component of the nation’s counterterrorism efforts, but some members of Congress, auditors at the Department of Homeland Security and civil liberties groups are sounding alarms. The teams are also raising hackles among passengers who call them unnecessary and intrusive.

A free man, unaccused of any crime, without any articulable suspicion against him, should be free to travel unmolested in his own country. This is the authoritarianism of a police state, and it is here now. Via T.S.A. Expands Duties Beyond Airport Security – NYTimes.com.

There Is No Private Mortgage Market in the US

The government currently backs about 90 percent of newly issued mortgages, through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs. To all intents and purposes, except for very large loans to very affluent people, there is no private mortgage market in the U.S.

More socialism. Or is it fascism? Via How’s Obama Going to Get U.S. Out of the Mortgage Market? – Bloomberg.

Your Help Is Hurting: How Church Foreign Aid Programs Make Things Worse

When you try to help, you try to give things, you start to have the consequences. There’s an author Bob Lupton, who really nails it when he says that when he gave something the first time, there was gratitude; and when he gave something a second time to that same community, there was anticipation; the third time, there was expectation; the fourth time, there was entitlement; and the fifth time, there was dependency. That is what we’ve all experienced when we’ve wanted to do good. Something changes the more we just give hand-out after hand-out. Something that is designed to be a help actually causes harm.

via Your Help Is Hurting: How Church Foreign Aid Programs Make Things Worse – Forbes.