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Excerpts from "THE NATIONAL GUARDS"

(C) 1987 OMNI MAGAZINE, MAY 1987

 Subject: the national guards (military consolidating control of info and comm)
Keywords: we don't appreciate how quickly our society is being locked up.
 

  the U.S. military is the lens focusing the agendas of the corporate states
of `murka.  the following article is already four and a half YEARS old.
this piece is staggering in its implications.  the high-tech gulf war show
provided us with just a hint of what is coming.  you can be sure the progs
described below have only become MUCH more endemic, *regardless* of the
current "the cold war's over" mantra we are daily being subjected to.  it
certainly doesn't help to have a state press obediently parroting the latest
official mythologies daily being dished up.  so honestly, what's it going to
take for people to stand up and put themselves on the line to stop this
brand of spreading totalitarian democracy?  their own complete enslavement?
by that time it'll be just too damn late.  (and people balk at the idea
that Kennedy was killed by a military coup d'etat...)      --ratitor

       These attempts to keep unclassified data out of the hands of
scientists, researchers, the news media, and the public at large are a
part of an alarming trend that has seen the military take an ever-
increasing role in controlling the flow of information and
communications through American society, a role traditionally -- and
almost exclusively -- left to civilians. Under the approving gaze of
the Reagan administration, Department of Defense (DoD) officials have
quietly implemented a number of policies, decisions, and orders that
give the military unprecedented control over both the content and
public use of data and communications. . . .
Mead Data Central -- which runs some of the nation's largest
computer databases, such as Lexis and Nexis, and has nearly 200,000
users -- says it has already been approached by a team of agents from
the Air Force and officials from the CIA and the FBI who asked for the
names of subscribers and inquired what Mead officials might do if
information restrictions were imposed. In response to government
pressure, Mead Data Central in effect censured itself. It purged all
unclassified government-supplied technical data from its system and
completely dropped the National Technical Information System from its
database rather than risk a confrontation.
Representative Jack Brooks, a Texas Democrat who chairs the House
Government Operations Committee, is an outspoken critic of the NSA's
role in restricting civilian information. He notes that in 1985 the
NSA -- under the authority granted by NSDD 145 -- investigated a
computer program that was widely used in both local and federal
elections in 1984. The computer system was used to count more than one
third of all votes cast in the United States. While probing the
system's vulnerability to outside manipulation, the NSA obtained a
detailed knowledge of that computer program. "In my view," Brooks
says, "this is an unprecedented and ill-advised expansion of the
military's influence in our society."

========================================================
ORIGIN: ParaNet Information Service BBS
CONTRIBUTED TO PARANET BY: Donald Goldberg
========================================================

                            THE NATIONAL GUARDS
(C) 1987 OMNI MAGAZINE, MAY 1987
(Reprinted with permission and license to
ParaNet Information Service and its affiliates.)

                             By Donald Goldberg

       The mountains bend as the fjord and the sea beyond stretch out
before the viewer's eyes. First over the water, then a sharp left
turn, then a bank to the right between the peaks, and the secret naval
base unfolds upon the screen.
The scene is of a Soviet military installation on the Kola
Peninsula in the icy Barents Sea, a place usually off-limits to the
gaze of the Western world. It was captured by a small French satellite
called SPOT Image, orbiting at an altitude of 517 miles above the
hidden Russian outpost. On each of several passes -- made over a two-
week period last fall -- the satellite's high-resolution lens took
its pictures at a different angle; the images were then blended into a
three-dimensional, computer-generated video. Buildings, docks,
vessels, and details of the Arctic landscape are all clearly visible.
Half a world away and thousands of feet under the sea, sparkling-
clear images are being made of the ocean floor. Using the latest
bathymetric technology and state-of-the-art systems known as Seam Beam
and Hydrochart, researchers are for the first time assembling detailed
underwater maps of the continental shelves and the depths of the
world's oceans. These scenes of the sea are as sophisticated as the
photographs taken from the satellite.
From the three-dimensional images taken far above the earth to the
charts of the bottom of the oceans, these photographic systems have
three things in common: They both rely on the latest technology to
create accurate pictures never dreamed of even 25 years ago; they are
being made widely available by commercial, nongovernmental
enterprises; and the Pentagon is trying desperately to keep them from
the general public.
In 1985 the Navy classified the underwater charts, making them
available only to approved researchers whose needs are evaluated on a
case-by-case basis. Under a 1984 law the military has been given a say
in what cameras can be licensed to be used on American satellites; and
officials have already announced they plan to limit the quality and
resolution of photos made available. The National Security Agency
(NSA) -- the secret arm of the Pentagon in charge of gathering
electronic intelligence as well as protecting sensitive U.S.
communications -- has defeated a move to keep it away from civilian
and commercial computers and databases.
That attitude has outraged those concerned with the military's
increasing efforts to keep information not only from the public but
from industry experts, scientists, and even other government officials
as well. "That's like classifying a road map for fear of invasion,"
says Paul Wolff, assistant administrator for the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, of the attempted restrictions.
These attempts to keep unclassified data out of the hands of
scientists, researchers, the news media, and the public at large are a
part of an alarming trend that has seen the military take an ever-
increasing role in controlling the flow of information and
communications through American society, a role traditionally -- and
almost exclusively -- left to civilians. Under the approving gaze of
the Reagan administration, Department of Defense (DoD) officials have
quietly implemented a number of policies, decisions, and orders that
give the military unprecedented control over both the content and
public use of data and communications. For example:

          * The Pentagon has created a new category of
"sensitive" but unclassified information that allows
it to keep from public access huge quantities of data
that were once widely accessible.

          * Defense Department officials have attempted to
rewrite key laws that spell out when the president can
and cannot appropriate private communications
facilities.

          * The Pentagon has installed a system that enables it
to seize control of the nation's entire communications
network -- the phone system, data transmissions, and
satellite transmissions of all kinds -- in the event
of what it deems a "national emergency." As yet there
is no single, universally agreed-upon definition of
what constitutes such a state. Usually such an
emergency is restricted to times of natural disaster,
war, or when national security is specifically
threatened. Now the military has attempted to redefine
emergency.

       The point man in the Pentagon's onslaught on communications is
Assistant Defense Secretary Donald C. Latham, a former NSA deputy
chief. Latham now heads up an interagency committee in charge of
writing and implementing many of the policies that have put the
military in charge of the flow of civilian information and
communication. He is also the architect of National Security Decision
Directive 145 (NSDD 145), signed by Defense Secretary Caspar
Weinberger in 1984, which sets out the national policy on
telecommunications and computer-systems security.
First NSDD 145 set up a steering group of top-level administration
officials. Their job is to recommend ways to protect information that
is unclassified but has been designated sensitive.  Such information
is held not only by government agencies but by private companies as
well. And last October the steering group issued a memorandum that
defined sensitive information and gave federal agencies broad new
powers to keep it from the public.
According to Latham, this new category includes such data as all
medical records on government databases -- from the files of the
National Cancer Institute to information on every veteran who has ever
applied for medical aid from the Veterans Administration -- and all
the information on corporate and personal taxpayers in the Internal
Revenue Service's computers. Even agricultural statistics, he argues,
can be used by a foreign power against the United States.
In his oversize yet Spartan Pentagon office, Latham cuts anything
but an intimidating figure. Articulate and friendly, he could pass for
a network anchorman or a television game show host. When asked how the
government's new definition of sensitive information will be used, he
defends the necessity for it and tries to put to rest concerns about a
new restrictiveness.
"The debate that somehow the DoD and NSA are going to monitor or
get into private databases isn't the case at all," Latham insists.
"The definition is just a guideline, just an advisory. It does not
give the DoD the right to go into private records."
Yet the Defense Department invoked the NSDD 145 guidelines when it
told the information industry it intends to restrict the sale of data
that are now unclassified and publicly available from privately owned
computer systems. The excuse if offered was that these data often
include technical information that might be valuable to a foreign
adversary like the Soviet Union.
Mead Data Central -- which runs some of the nation's largest
computer databases, such as Lexis and Nexis, and has nearly 200,000
users -- says it has already been approached by a team of agents from
the Air Force and officials from the CIA and the FBI who asked for the
names of subscribers and inquired what Mead officials might do if
information restrictions were imposed. In response to government
pressure, Mead Data Central in effect censured itself. It purged all
unclassified government-supplied technical data from its system and
completely dropped the National Technical Information System from its
database rather than risk a confrontation.
Representative Jack Brooks, a Texas Democrat who chairs the House
Government Operations Committee, is an outspoken critic of the NSA's
role in restricting civilian information. He notes that in 1985 the
NSA -- under the authority granted by NSDD 145 -- investigated a
computer program that was widely used in both local and federal
elections in 1984. The computer system was used to count more than one
third of all votes cast in the United States. While probing the
system's vulnerability to outside manipulation, the NSA obtained a
detailed knowledge of that computer program. "In my view," Brooks
says, "this is an unprecedented and ill-advised expansion of the
military's influence in our society."
There are other NSA critics. "The computer systems used by counties
to collect and process votes have nothing to do with national
security, and I'm really concerned about the NSA's involvement," says
Democratic congressman Dan Glickman of Kansas, chairman of the House
science and technology subcommittee concerned with computer security.
Also, under NSDD 145 the Pentagon has issued an order, virtually
unknown to all but a few industry executives, that affects commercial
communications satellites. The policy was made official by Defense
Secretary Weinberger in June of 1985 and requires that all commercial
satellite operators that carry such unclassified government data
traffic as routine Pentagon supply information and payroll data (and
that compete for lucrative government contracts) install costly
protective systems on all satellites launched after 1990. The policy
does not directly affect the data over satellite channels, but it does
make the NSA privy to vital information about the essential signals
needed to operate a satellite. With this information it could take
control of any satellite it chooses.
Latham insists this, too, is a voluntary policy and that only
companies that wish to install protection will have their systems
evaluated by the NSA. He also says industry officials are wholly
behind the move, and argues that the protective systems are necessary.
With just a few thousand dollars' worth of equipment, a disgruntled
employee could interfere with a satellite's control signals and
disable or even wipe out a hundred-million-dollar satellite carrying
government information.
At best, his comments are misleading. First, the policy is not
voluntary. The NSA can cut off lucrative government contracts to
companies that do not comply with the plan. The Pentagon alone spent
more than a billion dollars leasing commercial satellite channels last
year; that's a powerful incentive for business to cooperate.
Second, the industry's support is anything but total.  According to
the minutes of one closed-door meeting between NSA officials -- along
with representatives of other federal agencies -- and executives from
AT&T, Comsat, GTE Sprint, and MCI, the executives neither supported
the move nor believed it was necessary. The NSA defended the policy by
arguing that a satellite could be held for ransom if the command and
control links weren't protected. But experts at the meeting were
skeptical.
"Why is the threat limited to accessing the satellite rather than
destroying it with lasers or high-powered signals?" one industry
executive wanted to know.
Most of the officials present objected to the high cost of
protecting the satellites. According to a 1983 study made at the
request of the Pentagon, the protection demanded by the NSA could add
as much as $3 million to the price of a satellite and $1 million more
to annual operating costs. Costs like these, they argue, could cripple
a company competing against less expensive communications networks.
Americans get much of their information through forms of electronic
communications, from the telephone, television and radio, and
information printed in many newspapers. Banks send important financial
data, businesses their spreadsheets, and stockbrokers their investment
portfolios, all over the same channels, from satellite signals to
computer hookups carried on long distance telephone lines. To make
sure that the federal government helped to promote and protect the
efficient use of this advancing technology, Congress passed the
massive Communications Act of of 1934. It outlined the role and laws
of the communications structure in the United States.
The powers of the president are set out in Section 606 of that law;
basically it states that he has the authority to take control of any
communications facilities that he believes "essential to the national
defense." In the language of the trade this is known as a 606
emergency.
There have been a number of attempts in recent years by Defense
Department officials to redefine what qualifies as a 606 emergency and
make it easier for the military to take over national communications.
In 1981 the Senate considered amendments to the 1934 act that would
allow the president, on Defense Department recommendation, to require
any communications company to provide services, facilities, or
equipment "to promote the national defense and security or the
emergency preparedness of the nation," even in peacetime and without a
declared state of emergency. The general language had been drafted by
Defense Department officials. (The bill failed to pass the House for
unrelated reasons.)
"I think it is quite clear that they have snuck in there some
powers that are dangerous for us as a company and for the public at
large," said MCI vice president Kenneth Cox before the Senate vote.
Since President Reagan took office, the Pentagon has stepped up its
efforts to rewrite the definition of national emergency and give the
military expanded powers in the United States. "The declaration of
'emergency' has always been vague," says one former administration
official who left the government in 1982 after ten years in top policy
posts. "Different presidents have invoked it differently. This
administration would declare a convenient 'emergency.'" In other
words, what is a nuisance to one administration might qualify as a
burgeoning crisis to another. For example, the Reagan administration
might decide that a series of protests on or near military bases
constituted a national emergency.
Should the Pentagon ever be given the green light, its base for
taking over the nation's communications system would be a nondescript
yellow brick building within the maze of high rises, government
buildings, and apartment complexes that make up the Washington suburb
of Arlington, Virginia. Headquartered in a dusty and aging structure
surrounded by a barbed-wire fence is an obscure branch of the military
known as the Defense Communications Agency (DCA). It does not have the
spit and polish of the National Security Agency or the dozens of other
government facilities that make up the nation's capital. But its lack
of shine belies its critical mission: to make sure all of America's
far-flung military units can communicate with one another. It is in
certain ways the nerve center of our nation's defense system.
On the second floor of the DCA's four-story headquarters is a new
addition called the National Coordinating Center (NCC).  Operated by
the Pentagon, it is virtually unknown outside of a handful of industry
and government officials. The NCC is staffed around the clock by
representatives of a dozen of the nation's largest commercial
communications companies -- the so-called "common carriers" --
including AT&T, MCI, GTE, Comsat, and ITT.  Also on hand are officials
from the State Department, the CIA, the Federal Aviation
Administration, and a number of other federal agencies. During a 606
emergency the Pentagon can order the companies that make up the
National Coordinating Center to turn over their satellite, fiberoptic,
and land-line facilities to the government.
On a long corridor in the front of the building is a series of
offices, each outfitted with a private phone, a telex machine, and a
combination safe. It's known as "logo row" because each office is
occupied by an employee from one of the companies that staff the NCC
and because their corporate logos hand on the wall outside. Each
employee is on permanent standby, ready to activate his company's
system should the Pentagon require it.
The National Coordinating Center's mission is as grand as its title
is obscure: to make available to the Defense Department all the
facilities of the civilian communications network in this country --
the phone lines, the long-distance satellite hookups, the data
transmission lines -- in times of national emergency. If war breaks
out and communications to a key military base are cut, the Pentagon
wants to make sure that an alternate link can be set up as fast as
possible. Company employees assigned to the center are on call 24
hours a day; they wear beepers outside the office, and when on
vacation they must be replaced by qualified colleagues.
The center formally opened on New Year's Day, 1984, the same day Ma
Bell's monopoly over the telephone network of the entire United States
was finally broken. The timing was no coincidence.  Pentagon officials
had argued for years along with AT&T against the divestiture of Ma
Bell, on grounds of national security.  Defense Secretary Weinberger
personally urged the attorney general to block the lawsuit that
resulted in the breakup, as had his predecessor, Harold Brown. The
reason was that rather than construct its own communications network,
the Pentagon had come to rely extensively on the phone company. After
the breakup the dependence continued. The Pentagon still used
commercial companies to carry more than 90 percent of its
communications within the continental United States.
The 1984 divestiture put an end to AT&T's monopoly over the
nation's telephone service and increased the Pentagon's obsession with
having its own nerve center. Now the brass had to contend with several
competing companies to acquire phone lines, and communications was
more than a matter of running a line from one telephone to another.
Satellites, microwave towers, fiberoptics, and other technological
breakthroughs never dreamed of by Alexander Graham Bell were in
extensive use, and not just for phone conversations. Digital data
streams for computers flowed on the same networks.
These facts were not lost on the Defense Department or the White
House. According to documents obtained by "Omni," beginning on December
14, 1982, a number of secret meetings were held between high-level
administration officials and executives of the commercial
communications companies whose employees would later staff the
National Coordinating Center. The meetings, which continued over the
next three years, were held at the White House, the State Department,
the Strategic Air Command (SAC) headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base
in Nebraska, and at the North American Aerospace Defense Command
(NORAD) in Colorado Springs.
The industry officials attending constituted the National Security
Telecommunications Advisory Committee -- called NSTAC (pronounced N-
stack) -- set up by President Reagan to address those same problems
that worried the Pentagon. It was at these secret meetings, according
to the minutes, that the idea of a communications watch center for
national emergencies -- the NCC -- was born. Along with it came a
whole set of plans that would allow the military to take over
commercial communications "assets" -- everything from ground stations
and satellite dishes to fiberoptic cables -- across the country.
At a 1983 Federal Communications Commission meeting, a ranking
Defense Department official offered the following explanation for the
founding of the National Coordinating Center:  "We are looking at
trying to make communications endurable for a protracted conflict."
The phrase protracted conflict is a military euphemism for nuclear
war.
But could the NCC survive even the first volley in such a conflict?
Not likely. It's located within a mile of the Pentagon, itself an
obvious early target of a Soviet nuclear barrage (or a conventional
strike, for that matter). And the Kremlin undoubtedly knows its
location and importance, and presumably has included it on its
priority target list. In sum, according to one Pentagon official, "The
NCC itself is not viewed as a survivable facility."
Furthermore, the NCC's "Implementation Plan," obtained by "Omni,"
lists four phases of emergencies and how the center should respond to
each. The first, Phase 0, is Peacetime, for which there would be
little to do outside of a handful of routine tasks and exercises.
Phase 1 is Pre Attack, in which alternate NCC sites are alerted. Phase
2 is Post Attack, in which other NCC locations are instructed to take
over the center's functions.  Phase 3 is known as Last Ditch, and in
this phase whatever facility survives becomes the de facto NCC.
So far there is no alternate National Coordinating Center to which
NCC officials could retreat to survive an attack.  According to NCC
deputy director William Belford, no physical sites have yet been
chosen for a substitute NCC, and even whether the NCC itself will
survive a nuclear attack is still under study.
Of what use is a communications center that is not expected to
outlast even the first shots of a war and has no backup?
The answer appears to be that because of the Pentagon's concerns
about the AT&T divestiture and the disruptive effects it might have on
national security, the NCC was to serve as the military's peacetime
communications center.
The center is a powerful and unprecedented tool to assume control
over the nation's vast communications and information network. For
years the Pentagon has been studying how to take over the common
carriers' facilities. That research was prepared by NSTAC at the DoD's
request and is contained in a series of internal Pentagon documents
obtained by "Omni." Collectively this series is known as the Satellite
Survivability Report. Completed in 1984, it is the only detailed
analysis to date of the vulnerabilities of the commercial satellite
network. It was begun as a way of examining how to protect the network
of communications facilities from attack and how to keep it intact for
the DoD.
A major part of the report also contains an analysis of how to make
commercial satellites "interoperable" with Defense Department systems.
While the report notes that current technical differences such as
varying frequencies make it difficult for the Pentagon to use
commercial satellites, it recommends ways to resolve those problems.
Much of the report is a veritable blueprint for the government on how
to take over satellites in orbit above the United States. This
information, plus NSDD 145's demand that satellite operators tell the
NSA how their satellites are controlled, guarantees the military ample
knowledge about operating commercial satellites.
The Pentagon now has an unprecedented access to the civilian
communications network: commercial databases, computer networks,
electronic links, telephone lines. All it needs is the legal authority
to use them. Then it could totally dominate the flow of all
information in the United States. As one high-ranking White House
communications official put it: "Whoever controls communications,
controls the country." His remark was made after our State Department
could not communicate directly with our embassy in Manila during the
anti-Marcos revolution last year.  To get through, the State
Department had to relay all its messages through the Philippine
government.
Government officials have offered all kinds of scenarios to justify
the National Coordinating Center, the Satellite Survivability Report,
new domains of authority for the Pentagon and the NSA, and the
creation of top-level government steering groups to think of even more
policies for the military. Most can be reduced to the rationale that
inspired NSDD 145: that our enemies (presumably the Soviets) have to
be prevented from getting too much information from unclassified
sources. And the only way to do that is to step in and take control of
those sources.
Remarkably, the communications industry as a whole has not been
concerned about the overall scope of the Pentagon's threat to its
freedom of operation. Most protests have been to individual government
actions. For example, a media coalition that includes the Radio-
Television Society of Newspaper Editors, and the Turner Broadcasting
System has been lobbying that before the government can restrict the
use of satellites, it must demonstrate why such restrictions protect
against a "threat to distinct and compelling national security and
foreign policy interests." But the whole policy of restrictiveness has
not been examined. That may change sometime this year, when the Office
of Technology Assessment issues a report on how the Pentagon's policy
will affect communications in the United States. In the meantime the
military keeps trying to encroach on national communications.
While it may seem unlikely that the Pentagon will ever get total
control of our information and communications systems, the truth is
that it can happen all too easily. The official mechanisms are already
in place; and few barriers remain to guarantee that what we hear, see,
and read will come to us courtesy of our being members of a free and
open society and not courtesy of the Pentagon.