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NorthStar - NSA Poised to Control the Internet

 Date:   96-05-27 03:14:00 EDT
From: (El Tiburon)

A Guiding Light on Internet Issues

Newsletter of the Internet Users Consortium
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NorthStar is a guiding light to help you focus on the primary issues
which threaten our Internet Freedom. In this Newsletter we let Internet
Users know what the necessary issues and actions are to defend the Internet.
We sincerely invite your participation at all levels, from discussion to
Rethink what Activism means - Isn't it just participation?

NorthStar #18   Sunday 5/26/96

NEVER SAY NEVER . . . but . . . We at NorthStar
believe so strongly in these principles that we make the
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The National Security Administration is Poised to Control the Internet

The oppressive atmosphere of Orwell's 1984 arises from the omnipresence of
Big Brother, the symbol of the government's concern for the individual. Big
Brother controls the language, outlawing words he dislikes and creating new
words for his favorite concepts. He can see and hear nearly everything -
public or private. Thus he enforces a rigid code of speech and action that
erodes the potential for resistance and reduces the need for force. As Noam
Chomsky says, propaganda is to democracy what violence is to
totalitarianism. Control thoughts, and you can easily control behavior.

U.S. history affords a prime example in the era named after Senator Joseph
McCarthy, though he had many supporters in his attack on freedom of thought
and speech. Perhaps his most powerful friend was J. Edgar Hoover, who fed
him material from FBI files (some of it true) which he used to attack
individuals for their supposed political leanings. By the time of
Watergate, the CIA had become at least as notorious as the FBI, due largely
to its assassinations of foreign leaders and support for military coups
around the world.

Now its the 90's. A computer revolution seems to be happening and with it a
dramatic increase in people using the Internet, as well as people watching
what the people use it for. Ever heard of the NSA? This could very well be
the NSA decade for the Internet. Conspiracy, power struggles and
survellience of the citizenry may be what is remembered about the NSA
during this period of time. I used to think democracy meant people keeping
a watchful eye on its government, not its government keeping a watchful eye
on its people. Today we can now see comparisons being drawn between the FBI
of the 50s and the CIA of the 60s, the obvious government corruption in the
70s, Reagan in the 80s (sorry - that was just incompetence), and the
emerging role of the NSA in the 90s.

Is NSA Sniffing the Internet? Do they have the jurisdiction? Lets take a
look back and see what they are all about and make an educated hypothesis.

Budgetary authority for the National Security Agency (NSA) apparently comes
from the Central Intelligence Act of 1949. This act provides the basis for
the secret spending program known as the black budget by allowing any arm
of the government to transfer money to the CIA "without regard to any
provisions of the law," and allowing the CIA to spend its funds as it sees
fit, with no need to account for them.

Congress passed the C.I.A. Act despite the fact that only the ranking
members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees knew anything
about its contents; the remaining members of Congress were told that open
discussion, or even clear explanation, of the bill would be
counterproductive. There were complaints about the secrecy; but in the end
the bill passed the House by a vote of 348-4, and the Senate by a majority
voice vote. Hmmmm, it seems several legislative disasters have occurred by
landslides. Anyone remember the Telecommunication Attack of 1996?

The NSA's estimated $10 billion annual allocation (as of 1990) is funded
entirely through the black budget. Thus Congress appropriates funds for the
NSA not only without information on the agency's plans, but without even a
clear idea of the amount it appropriates; and it receives no accounting of
the uses to which the funds were put. This naturally precludes any debate
about the direction or management of such agencies, effectively avoiding
public oversight while spending public funds. Weiner notes the analogy to
"Taxation without representation." In any respect, it seems to be
unconstitutional - a major point that has failed to stop them.

"The NSA has also spent a great deal of time and money spying on American
citizens. For 21 years after its inception it tracked every telegram and
telex in and out of the United States, and monitored the telephone
conversations of the politically suspect." (Weiner, Blank Check)

Due to its unique ability to monitor communications within the U.S. without
a warrant, which the FBI and CIA cannot legally do, NSA becomes the center
of attempts to spy on U.S. citizens. Nominally this involves only
communications in which at least one terminal is outside the U.S., but in
practice target lists have often grown to include communications between
U.S. citizens within the country. And political considerations have
sometimes become important. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that in the NSA's
Charter they claim to be unable to spy on US citizens. Apparently, the real
charter is as elusive as what they do with taxpayer money.

The Huston Plan, formally known as "Domestic Intelligence Gathering Plan:
Analysis and Strategy," was submitted in July 1970 to President Nixon. The
goal of the plan was to relax some restrictions on intelligence gathering,
apparently those of NSCID No. 6. Some parts of the intelligence community
felt that these relaxations would assist their efforts.

Like most intelligence agencies, the NSA uses words such as "interrupt" and
"target" in a technical sense with a precise but often classified
definition. This specialized language makes it difficult to legislate or
oversee the activities involved. For instance, in NSA terms a conversation
that is captured, decoded if necessary, and distributed to the requesting
agency is not considered to be the product of eavesdropping unless one of
the parties to the conversation is explicitly targeted. However, the NSA
does not depend on semantic defences; it can also produce some legal
arguments for exempting itself from normal requirements. How convenient.

For those who feel your lives are too flawless to be affected, or for those
of you who actually vote Republican or Democrat thinking the change will
come from within (nice try), and for the lowest common denominator -
dittoheads, this is not a good thing. Complete control over a secret agency
with at least 60,000 direct employees, a $10 billion budget, direct command
of some military units, and the ability to read all communications would be
an enormous weapon with which to maintain tyranny were it to arise. A
President with a Napoleonic or Stalinistic delusion would find the perfect
tool for the constant supervision of the individual by the state in the
NSA; not unlike scenarios depicted in novels such as Orwell's 1984.

1) NSA Homepage

2) NSA Can Break PGP Encryption

3) Houston Chronicle Interview

4) Original Charter of the National Security Agency

5) CFP'92 - Who Holds the Keys?


Americans would not have any privacy left, such is the capability to
monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, or in our case
email, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide. If this
government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this
country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has
given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny. There would
be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together
in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is,
and would continue to be, within the reach of the government to know. Such
is the capability of this technology ...

I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the
capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see
to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology
operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross
over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return...

So, is the NSA 'sniffing' on the Internet? Does their reputation seem
worthy of our trust and respect? Lets take a look at some of their recent
plans for Internet communication. Then you can decide for yourself if you
want to watch the magic act....the "now you see you don't" act
starring Freedom, of course.

Puzzle Palace co-author Wayne Madsen, in an article written for the June
1995 issue of Computer Fraud & Security Bulletin (Elsevier Advanced
Technology Publications), wrote that "according to well-placed sources
within the Federal Government and the Internet service provider industry,
the National Security Agency (NSA) is actively sniffing several key
Internet router and gateway hosts."

Madsen says the NSA concentrates its surveillance on destination and
origination hosts, as well as "sniffing" for specific key words and
phrases. He claims his sources have confirmed that the NSA has contracted
with an unnamed private company to develop the software needed to capture
Internet data of interest to the agency.

According to Madsen, the NSA monitors traffic primarily at two Internet
routers controlled by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA), one in College Park, MD (dubbed "Fix East") and another at NASA
Ames Research Center in Sunnyvale, CA ("Fix West").

Other NSA Internet sniffers, he said, operate at busy routers known as Mae
East (an East Coast hub), Mae West (a West Coast hub), CIX reportedly based
in San Jose), and SWAB (a northern Virginia router operated by Bell

Madsen continues on to say the NSA may also be monitoring traffic at
network access points (NAPs), the large Internet gateways operated by
regional and long-distance service providers. The NAPs allegedly under
surveillance are in Pennsauken, NJ (operated by Sprint), Chicago (run by
AmeriTech and Bell Communications Research), and San Francisco (Pacific

Madsen claims the NSA has deals with Microsoft, Lotus, and Netscape to
prevent anonymous email. "One senior Federal Government source has reported
that NSA has been particularly successful in convincing key members of the
US software industry to cooperate with it in producing software that makes
Internet messages easier for NSA to intercept, and if they are encrypted,
to decode," Madsen wrote. "A knowledgeable government source claims that
the NSA has concluded agreements with Microsoft, Lotus and Netscape to
permit the introduction of the means to prevent the anonymity of Internet
electronic mail, the use of cryptographic key-escrow, as well as software
industry acceptance of the NSA-developed Digital Signature Standard (DSS)."

Similarly, according to reports in several trade magazines, the Defense
Messaging System (DMS) developed by the Pentagon is nearly ready for
implementation, but prospective users are threatening to shun the universal
e-mail platform unless Pentagon officials eliminate cumbersome security
procedures designed by the NSA.

DOD designed DMS a decade ago to replace the aging AUTODIN message system
and to serve as the armed services' global e-mail infrastructure. Officials
familiar with DMS' security features, which rely on the National Security
Agency's Fortezza encryption card, said the system's slowness is likely to
alienate users who send mostly unclassified messages over commercial e-mail
systems. Users of wireless systems are also complaining about the high

The DMS adopted the Fortezza card and is expected to implement over 450,000
cards in the next few years. Inside sources note that the NSA is using the
DMS as a justification for paying companies such as Microsoft and Netscape
to adopt the Fortezza card as a standard for their products. NSA has pushed
agencies such as the CIA, NASA, IRS and the Federal Reserve to adopt
Fortezza without success.

Cost is also a major factor. Fortezza's PCMCIA cards cost nearly $100 each
and all computers must be equipped with a card reader that costs an
additional $150. (Would you like to have to buy a modem or pre-assembled
computer system that would make it easier for the NSA to monitor your
communications? Not me!)

Is the NSA really snooping on the Net? If they are, would that violate the
agency's charter, which specifically prohibits it from spying within the
US? "Well, Net traffic is routed from God knows where to God knows where
around the world," says George Washington University Professor Lance
Hoffman, a professor of Communications and Telecommunications Systems
Policy at George Washington University. "So if the NSA is doing this, they
could say they are not violating their charter not to spy in the US. That's
the thing. Intelligent routers send stuff any which way."

What can be done? - you say. There is a solution. Encryption. Next issue
will discuss trap doors and your right to encryption as strong as you can
make it.

6) The Agency That Came in from the Cold

7) The Codex Surveillance & Privacy Page

8) Profiles of the U.S. Intelligence Community

9) Intelligence and CounterIntelligence

10) The National Security Administration

*** PLEASE send us any other relevant URLs you may
find ***

NorthStar is an Internet Distribution List provided by the Internet Users
a fiercely independent Grass Roots organization founded by Martin Thompson
and Kenneth Koldys, Jr, to inform and coordinate Internet Users concerning
political and government actions against the complete self-actualization
of the Internet and our Constitutional Rights in Cyberspace.
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Rethink what activism means - Isnt it just participation?