Search engine company has a history of involvement with intelligence agencies
Thursday, Feb 4th, 2010
Google is set to establish a working relationship with the National Security Agency, the government spy force responsible for warrantless monitoring of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails in the wake of 9/11.
The announcement comes in response to recent cyber attacks on the search engine company, which it says emanated from China.
Anonymous sources tell the Washington Post that “the alliance is being designed to allow the two organizations to share critical information”, adding that the agreement will not allow the NSA access to users’ search details or e-mails.
The sources also said that the NSA, the largest intelligence agency in the country, may also involve the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in the project.
“The critical question is: At what level will the American public be comfortable with Google sharing information with NSA?” said Ellen McCarthy, president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, an organization of current and former intelligence and national security officials that seeks ways to foster greater sharing of information between government and industry.
Greg Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy & Technology, a privacy advocacy group, told the Post that companies have statutory authority to share information with the government to protect their rights and property.
In 2008, Google denied that it had any role in the NSA’s “terrorist” surveillance program, after first refusing to say if they have provided users private data to the federal government under the warrantless wiretapping initiative.
However, it is clear where Google’s interests lie given that the company is supplying the software, hardware and tech support to US intelligence agencies in the process of creating a vast closed source database for global spy networks to share information.
The government supply arm of Google has also reportedly entered into a number of other contracts, details of which it says it cannot share.
Google’s partnership with the intelligence network is not new. As we reported in late 2006, An ex-CIA agent Robert David Steele has claimed sources told him that CIA seed money helped get the company off the ground
Speaking to the Alex Jones Show, Steele elaborated on previous revelations by making it known that the CIA helped bankroll Google at its very inception. Steele named Google’s CIA point man as Dr. Rick Steinheiser, of the Office of Research and Development.
“I think Google took money from the CIA when it was poor and it was starting up and unfortunately our system right now floods money into spying and other illegal and largely unethical activities, and it doesn’t fund what I call the open source world,” said Steele, citing “trusted individuals” as his sources for the claim.
“They’ve been together for quite a while,” added Steele.
Recent disclosures under the Freedom Of Information Act have also revealed that the federal government has several contracts with social media outlets, including Youtube which is owned by Google. The contracts are said to waive rules on monitoring users and permit companies to track visitors to government web sites for advertising purposes.
The NSA’s involvement with Google should be treated as highly suspect, given the agency’s recent track record and its blatant disregard for the Fourth Amendment.
A set of documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in June 2007 showed that US telco AT&T allowed the NSA to set up a ‘secret room’ in its offices to monitor internet traffic.
The discovering prompted a lawyer for an AT&T engineer to allege that “within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans” That is BEFORE 9/11, before the nation was embroiled in the freedom stripping exercise commonly known as the “war on terror” had even begun.
In late 2007, reports circulated that the NSA has increasing control over SSL, now called Transport Layer Security, the cryptographic protocol that provides secure communications on the internet for web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging, and other data transfers.
In other words the agency is capable of intercepting and reading your emails and instant messages in real time. It is now beyond doubt that the NSA’s “terrorist surveillance program” now extends to this.
In 2008, the ACLU also uncovered details pertaining to a secret Justice Department memo from October 2001 that reveals the Bush administration effectively suspended the Fourth Amendment where domestic counter terrorism operations are concerned.
It is almost certain that the memo was written to provide a legal basis for the NSA to begin its warrantless wiretapping program, which was initiated in the same month.
Two years ago, the US National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell announced that plans were been drawn up for a cyberspace spying program that would make the current debate on warrantless wiretaps look like a “walk in the park”.
The plan involved giving the government the authority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search. The message is clear – government spies want unfettered access to the web searches and emails of Americans. Any relationship between the government and Google must be considered with this in mind.
After 9/11 the work of 16 different intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the giant National Security Agency, which eavesdrops on international communications, as well as the Energy Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration was centralized under the office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Over decades we have witnessed the evolution of Government surveillance programs and information databases targeting citizens. We are now witnessing the centralization of this vast control grid Panopticon.
The latest marriage between Google and the intelligence community also comes in the wake of increased calls to introduce a global licensing system to police the Internet in the name of preventing cyber warfare.
This article was posted: Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 1:37 pm