Report Suggests NSA Engaged In Financial Manipulation, Changing Money In Bank Accounts

from the that-would-be-big dept

Matt Blaze has been pointing out that when you read the new White House intelligence task force report and its recommendations on how to reform the NSA and the wider intelligence community, that there may be hints to other excesses not yet revealed by the Snowden documents. Trevor Timm may have spotted a big one. In the recommendation concerning increasing security in online communications, the second sub-point sticks out like a sore thumb:
If you can't read that, it says:
Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial system.
While there have been plenty of reports about the US running hundreds of offensive cyberattacks on others, outside of things like Stuxnet, not many have been directly identified. And I'm unaware of any claims suggesting attempts to "manipulate the financial system" of any particular country and/or to "change the amounts held in financial accounts." It seems a bit odd to come out of the blue like that, and certainly suggests that this particular bullet point likely came as a result of a rather specific thing that came up during the task force's review.

So, now we wait for the inevitable news of what sort of financial shenanigans the NSA was up to.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 6:11am

    And here I thought

    It was my better half who spent all the money in my checking account... now she can blame the NSA and I can't prove it.

    Well, if they need a place to hide money, they can put some in my account...I can promise to spend it more wisely than the government would...

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 7:32am

    NO ONE EXPECTS it to "come out of the blue like that"!!!

    But at the least, Paypal works with NSA:

    BFP Breaking News- Omidyar’s PayPal Corporation Said To Be Implicated in Withheld NSA Documents

    http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/12/11/bfp-breaking-news-omidyars-paypal-corporation-sa id-to-be-implicated-in-withheld-nsa-documents/

    And so don't forget that Paypal cut off Wikileaks. That was wondered about at the time, NOW we KNOW that ALL the big "internet" corporations are in cahoots with NSA (including first and foremost, Google) -- And note the FEW, that are effectively monopolies in their areas. HOW can that be on an open internet with such simple requirements, high profits, and no regulations?

    The phony deal that evil people (and gullible fools) try to force on us: You can't have the benefits of technology unless give up all privacy.

    03:32:32[d-025-5]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 7:36am

    So they're not only liars, they're also thieves? There's nothing worse than a lying thief.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 7:56am

    Cyber Capabilities?

    You know back when my dad was doing it in the 80's it was called bank robbing.

     

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      Michael, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 9:50am

      Re: Cyber Capabilities?

      This is so different that it could qualify for patent protection.

      This is Bank robbing on the internet

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 4:59pm

        Re: Re: Cyber Capabilities?

        ... a system for increasing the bit count of specified bank account balance information while simultaneously decreasing the bit count of a specified NSA slush fund account ON THE INTERNET....

        patent pending /s

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 8:02am

    There were suggestions that the Snowden stuff revealed so far wasn't even the biggest news, that there was something even bigger in the offing. Maybe news of redirecting suspected terrorist funds into an NSA slush?

     

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      GEMont, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:01am

      Re:

      Or rather, Snowden's captured intel might reveal that the NSA/ETC is diverting American Tax Payer Funds into known terrorists'/CIAssets' bank accounts to insure the problem (Terrorism) maintains the solution (Global Surveillance).

      After all, if the Terrorist Threat disappears, so too does the "excuse" for global surveillance which would end the ability of US Federal Agencies to blackball, blackmail and manipulate anyone, anywhere, anytime.

      Can you even imagine the amount of capital and raw power that is invloved in these new secret US operations and how far the members of the Federal Tri-Letter Agencies are willing to go to prevent the public from choking their golden goose?

      I see a new big war on the horizon.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 8:11am

    if this was an individual who had done this 'financial manipulation' in any way, shape or form, there would have been hell to pay! why should those in any government agency be allowed to? whoever it was that gave the instructions should be held accountable. one of these agencies, be it NSA, DoJ, whichever, would have been on to the person outside of the industries, like a fly on a turd!!

     

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      GEMont, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:09am

      Re:

      "why should those in any government agency be allowed to?"

      Occupying Governments can never be held accountable for their crimes while in the Occupied Territory.

      They are the conquerors and you are the conquered.

      You have no legal recourse against those who now hold your country hostage - who use your labor for their own enrichment.

      Just because your conquerors are your own countrymen, makes them no less your masters and no less above the laws of your land, because it is they who now make those laws.

       

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    Mr. Applegate, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 8:28am

    So now I know...

    ... where my $500,000,000 went! NSA kindly restore these funds to my account.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 8:29am

    For point number one I think we should have an amendment.

    Governments should not concern itself with industry interests so much and they should concern themselves more with the public interest instead. It is a contradiction for patent law to exist alongside trade secret law since patent law is allegedly supposed to promote openness by protecting those that disclose their secrets yet those that don't disclose their secrets are still protected by trade secret law anyways. One or the other should be abolished.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 8:44am

      Re:

      The only thing patents protect against that trade secrets don't are independent inventions. But patents shouldn't be intended to protect against independent inventors they should promote the disclosure of non-obvious ideas that no one else would independently come up with (instead of obvious ones that someone else will come up with). But instead trade secret laws are what protects against non-obvious ideas and patent laws only protect against obvious ideas that someone feels someone else will independently come up with.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 8:37am

    I don't think that bullet point necessarily "hints to other excesses not yet revealed by the Snowden documents".

    By that same logic the bullet point above or any other bullet point anywhere would also be telling. I wouldn't put anything past the NSA at this point but let's be consistent here.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 8:51am

      Re:

      well, for bullet point 1, the US governmental agencies have been been caught in the past doing industrial espionage, so that one isn't telling anything new

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 9:03am

        Re: Re:

        "caught in the past doing industrial espionage"

        I'm aware of NSA doing surveillance on Petrobras for example, but are there any cases where they then passed along that intelligence to domestic companies? Government agencies try to hold their cards pretty close to their vests. Again, It's not that I don't believe they wouldn't do that but it would be as noteworthy a point as the topic of this article. (If there are historical examples of US intelligence agencies sharing data with US companies, please correct my ignorance)

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    This is old, old news though. The CIA has been doing essentially just that for years with their involvement in the drug trade.

     

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    Sketch, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 9:21am

    prison time...

    Most of us simply won't start trusting the gov't or the banking system until these people and all of the ilk are sent to jail. That's the only way, but it will never happen.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 9:33am

    Swordfish

    Maybe the movie was based more on fact that fiction.

     

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    Crusty the Ex-Clown, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 9:40am

    Ummm,

    Am I the only one here who suspects NSA involvement in BitCoin? Mayhaps this is evidence of such shenanigans.

     

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    RyanNerd (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 9:44am

    You would think with the NSA transferring funds that..

    The national debt would be at near zero by now.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 12:02pm

    Ha you said " out of the blue"

     

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    nope, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    How long...

    are the citizens of the U.S. going to sit idly by and watch as our civil liberties and privacy are taken away piece by piece by our government? 1984, here we...

    OH LOOK! Something shiney!

    What were we talking about again???

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 12:45pm

    look at me...

    ...I'm against everything but especially mike...

     

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    doge, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 1:56pm

    to da moon?

    ░░░░░░░░░▄░░░░&# 9617;░░░░░░░░░▄░░░` 17;
    ░░░░░░░░▌▒█░░░ ;░░░░░░░░▄▀▒░░░
    & #9617;░░░░░░░▌▒▒█░░ 617;░░░░░▄▀▒▒▒▐░░ρ 7;
    ░░░░░░░▐▄▀▒▒▀▀ ▀▀▄▄▄▀▒▒▒▒▒▐░░&# 9617;
    ░░░░░▄▄▀▒░▒▒▒` 18;▒▒▒▒▒█▒▒▄█▒▐░░ ;░
    ░░░▄▀▒▒▒░░░▒▒& #9618;░░░▒▒▒▀██▀▒▌░ 617;░
    ░░▐▒▒▒▄▄▒▒▒▒ρ 7;░░▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▀▄▒▒▌ ░░
    ░░▌░░▌█▀▒▒▒▒&# 9618;▄▀█▄▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█▒` 16;░░
    ░▐░░░▒▒▒▒▒▒▒ ;▒▌██▀▒▒░░░▒▒▒▀& #9604;▌░
    ░▌░▒▄██▄▒▒▒ 618;▒▒▒▒▒░░░░░░▒▒ρ 8;▒▌░
    ▀▒▀▐▄█▄█▌▄░ ▀▒▒░░░░░░░░░░▒&# 9618;▒▐░
    ▐▒▒▐▀▐▀▒░▄` 04;▒▄▒▒▒▒▒▒░▒░▒░▒ ;▒▒▒▌
    ▐▒▒▒▀▀▄▄▒▒& #9618;▄▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒░▒░▒ 617;▒▒▐░
    ░▌▒▒▒▒▒▒▀π 0;▀▒▒▒▒▒▒░▒░▒░▒░ ▒▒▒▌░
    ░▐▒▒▒▒▒▒▒&# 9618;▒▒▒▒▒▒░▒░▒░▒▒` 04;▒▒▐░░
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    ░░░░▀▄▒▒ 618;▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▄▄▄▀▒▒ρ 8;▒▄▀░░░
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    yeh-nah-yeh, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    Bitcoin users not affected.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 3:44pm

    I want my 5 million back

     

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    FM Hilton, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 3:59pm

    Money matters

    It's funny how in the recent few years we've had some major stock market manipulations going on, and it was world wide..such as the Libor in London:

    "Libor, which is used to price $300tn (£192tn) of financial products around the world, has been overseen until now by the British Bankers' Association (BBA). But its integrity has been questioned after banks and other financial firms were found to have rigged the rate." From the Guardian- http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/jul/09/nyse-body-libor-city-scandal

    Would that also include the NSA?

    I just wonder how much they were actually doing in not only accessing telephone records, but also financial records. Remember, they do and can have almost any data record available anywhere with the push of a button, so Snowden said a very long time ago:

    "I, sitting at my desk," said Snowden, could "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email."

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/nsa-top-secret-program-online-data

    The program he was in reference to is XKeyscore, and it's capabilities are limited to the internet-but how many banks are connected, anyway?

    I bet a whole lot of them-and they're all vulnerable.

     

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      William Payne (profile), Dec 20th, 2013 @ 7:10am

      Re: Money matters

      Well, if the NSA targeted the traders & fund managers at any one of the major institutional investors, they could set up a nicely profitable side business in front-running.

      On a totally unrelated note, how's your 401K doing?

       

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    William Payne (profile), Dec 20th, 2013 @ 7:07am

    419

    Can anyone else see a whole new slew of 419 scams coming?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    The Republicans hate big government right?

     

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    Richard Hack (profile), Dec 20th, 2013 @ 7:26pm

    Check out the Asia Times interview with Thomas Drake

    Recently Asia Times printed an interview with NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/GECON-02-231213.html

    In it, there is this exchange...

    LS: I have a couple of questions regarding the use of legendary software PROMIS [Prosecutor's Management Information System], which was developed by my friend William A Hamilton, the founder of the US information technology company Inslaw Inc, and he was also a programer for NSA. Do you know anything about NSA's use of unauthorized copyright infringing copies of Inslaw's PROMIS software for at least 25 years as the software it sold to banks in support of its "follow the money" SIGINT mission?

    TD: I don't have any specific knowledge of it. I am certainly aware of the program. I was not part of it. I have heard about it and am aware, had become aware of it over the years, and ... I've had people who've had the history of that program who have actually contacted me over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, it is an example - though I don't have, I can't validate or verify it - not any of the allegations or assertions, any of the history that's been revealed and disclosed regarding PROMIS, none of it surprises me and here's why. It's unfortunate but it is, and I had the direct experience at NSA that NSA would either abscond with or would cast aside really powerful technology and then use it for their own purposes.

    LS: Understood, but I would like to ask you, nevertheless one more question related to this. This would be, once NSA controlled the software used by banks to process wire transfers or money and letters of credit it could in theory add, delete and/or modify the amounts of funds in accounts because the funds are just data like any other kind of data. Have you ever heard that NSA or other intelligence agency exploited the banks surveillance version of PROMIS towards such an end?

    TD: I've certainly heard of it, I just don't have any proof nor can I verify or validate, but I will tell you one of the aspects that has not been fully disclosed although I blew the whistle on it early on when I, within the system, had gone to key people within the government particularly congressional intelligence committees regarding Stellar Wind. One of the things that Stellar Wind did was actually without, again, without warrants, was gain direct access to financial transaction information at the bank level, credit card level, and this is extraordinary - these secret agreements were put into place regarding the flow of money.

    This is shrouded in all kinds of secrecy ... but I was well aware what would that mean if there were those within the system who chose to abuse it, you know far beyond the purpose of tracking money laundering and things of that nature because this is all hidden; ... the life blood of any economy is the money, the money flows, the money deposits, the investments. I can't speak specifically to the allegations or assertions that you mentioned, but I can tell you that I would not be surprised at all that it was used in that manner given my knowledge of other abuses of information and systems that people in secret would use or have access to.

     

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    lanet, Dec 21st, 2013 @ 4:15am

    Why not the CIA??!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2013 @ 6:22am

    Is anyone REALLY that suprised?

     

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    William A. Hamilton, Dec 21st, 2013 @ 7:27am

    NSA, PROMIS Bank Surveillance

    Michael Thomas, a former partner at a Wall Street investment bank, published a novel entitled "Black Money" in the 1990s in which he depicts the U.S. Intelligence community having strong -armed banks to install sophisticated tracking software for intelligence needs such as combatting terrorism but then exploiting the same bank surveillance software to enable insiders to profit from insider trading, while kicking back a portion of the illicit profits as "off-the-books" political contributions to the Administration in power.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:16am

      Re: NSA, PROMIS Bank Surveillance

      Ah... business as usual...

       

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      GEMont, Dec 26th, 2013 @ 3:04am

      Re: NSA, PROMIS Bank Surveillance

      To blackmail an organization like the Banking Industry, one must possess some evidence of very obvious very-wrong-doing by the organization - that the organization really does not want made public.

      For the IntelComm to strong-arm the banks into anything and for the banks to not cry foul, it is absolutley necessary that the banks must be guilty of something they really do not want the public to discover.

      Or is it more likely that; rather than strong-arm the banks - a one-sided attack - US Intel simply made a deal with the banks that they could not refuse - such that the banksters would be allowed to get their take on the deal, in cash, by simply playing bad-accountant and as a bonus, they were guaranteed both total unnaccountability under law for their crimes and bail-out cash provided by the US taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of billions, to restock their stolen/lost cash reserves - kick-backs delivered with smiles in all directions, whenever needed.

      How much of that spending spree by the Fed, could the Intelligence Community siphon off for agency and private use with nobody ever becoming the wiser, in the chaos that accompanied the federal actions during the Bail-Out?

      No "Bail-out" tally has ever been offered the public as to who got what, when, where, or how much, or how often, of the billions and billions of tax-payer's dollars that were being delivered apparently to the very banks who nearly bankrupted the planet.

      Considering the timing, I cannot imagine the Intell Community, (puffed up by their immunity from scrutiny and guarantee of non-accountability by the Fed), NOT grabbing fistfuls of these skids of cash being sent to banksters month after month, or more likely diverting accounted numbers electronically to off-shore banks through their proprietary back-doors in the US banks' computer software.

      Sounds more like the perfect heist setup for skimming a ton of cash from the tax-payer's pockets while the tax-payers are staring at the banksters, who; getting raises in pay, promotions, and making millions on the side legally, for their efforts, could care less.

       

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    Christina @ KleinHall CPA, Dec 26th, 2013 @ 8:55am

    Great stuff. However a lot of this stuff has already been made public years and years ago.

     

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    Frank, Dec 31st, 2013 @ 8:38am

    setup

    As far I see this snowden is employed to leak the stuff and the NSA top structures report to same employer of snowden with goal to desensitise society internationally to accept no more privacy as norm....thats why snowden told NSA...im doing ur work for u now and u will thank me later...he is like an MKUltra handler for NSA breaking society in for 666 #its a setup. ..they all have same Boss.

     

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    Frank, Dec 31st, 2013 @ 8:38am

    setup

    As far I see this snowden is employed to leak the stuff and the NSA top structures report to same employer of snowden with goal to desensitise society internationally to accept no more privacy as norm....thats why snowden told NSA...im doing ur work for u now and u will thank me later...he is like an MKUltra handler for NSA breaking society in for 666 #its a setup. ..they all have same Boss.

     

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    verydead (profile), Jan 12th, 2014 @ 11:28am

    so what are the odds that nsa had something to do with the missing trillions mentioned the day before 9/11?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU4GdHLUHwU

     

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    Anthony Alfidi, Jan 13th, 2014 @ 11:05pm

    Forget about Bitcoin and NSA

    Forget using Bitcoin to avoid the NSA. It's useless. It is so insecure that it is easily stolen. It's not nearly as anonymous as its advocates claim. Here's proof: http://alfidicapitalblog.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-serious-disadvantages-of-bitcoin.html

     

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