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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 44402 times)
Swamprat
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« Reply #8610 on: Jun 6th, 2013, 5:19pm »

New York Times

President Obama’s Dragnet


By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Published: June 6, 2013

Within hours of the disclosure that the federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.

Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability. The administration has now lost all credibility. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the 9/11 attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.

Based on an article in The Guardian published Wednesday night, we now know the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency used the Patriot Act to obtain a secret warrant to compel Verizon’s business services division to turn over data on every single call that went through its system. We know that this particular order was a routine extension of surveillance that has been going on for years, and it seems very likely that it extends beyond Verizon’s business division. There is every reason to believe the federal government has been collecting every bit of information about every American’s phone calls except the words actually exchanged in those calls.

A senior administration official quoted in The Times offered the lame observation that the information does not include the name of any caller, as though there would be the slightest difficulty in matching numbers to names. He said the information “has been a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats,” because it allows the government “to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States.”

That is a vital goal, but how is it served by collecting everyone’s call data? The government can easily collect phone records (including the actual content of those calls) on “known or suspected terrorists” without logging every call made. In fact, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was expanded in 2008 for that very purpose. Essentially, the administration is saying that without any individual suspicion of wrongdoing, the government is allowed to know who Americans are calling every time they make a phone call, for how long they talk and from where.

This sort of tracking can reveal a lot of personal and intimate information about an individual. To casually permit this surveillance — with the American public having no idea that the executive branch is now exercising this power — fundamentally shifts power between the individual and the state, and repudiates constitutional principles governing search, seizure and privacy.

The defense of this practice offered by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is supposed to be preventing this sort of overreaching, was absurd. She said today that the authorities need this information in case someone might become a terrorist in the future.
Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the vice chairman of the committee, said the surveillance has “proved meritorious, because we have gathered significant information on bad guys and only on bad guys over the years.”

But what assurance do we have of that, especially since Ms. Feinstein went on to say that she actually did not know how the data being collected was used?

The senior administration official quoted in The Times said the executive branch internally reviews surveillance programs to ensure that they “comply with the Constitution and laws of the United States and appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties.”

That’s no longer good enough. Mr. Obama clearly had no intention of revealing this eavesdropping, just as he would not have acknowledged the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, had it not been reported in the press. Even then, it took him more than a year and a half to acknowledge the killing, and he is still keeping secret the protocol by which he makes such decisions.

We are not questioning the legality under the Patriot Act of the court order disclosed by The Guardian. But we strongly object to using that power in this manner. It is the very sort of thing against which Mr. Obama once railed, when he said in 2007 that the Bush administration’s surveillance policy “puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide.”

Two Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, have raised warnings about the government’s overbroad interpretation of its surveillance powers. “We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted Section 215 of the Patriot Act,” they wrote last year in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. “As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows. This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn’t know what its government thinks the law says.”

On Thursday, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, who introduced the Patriot Act in 2001, said that the National Security Agency overstepped its bounds by issuing a secret order to collect phone log records from millions of Americans. “As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the F.B.I.’s interpretation of this legislation,” he said in a statement. “While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses.” He added: “Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.”

This stunning use of the act shows, once again, why it needs to be sharply curtailed if not repealed.

The New York Times Editorial Board
The editorial board is composed of 18 journalists with wide-ranging areas of expertise. Their primary responsibility is to write The Times's editorials, which represent the voice of the board, its editor and the publisher. The board is part of the Times's editorial department, which is operated separately from the Times newsroom, and includes the Letters to the Editor and Op-Ed sections.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/opinion/president-obamas-dragnet.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&smid=fb-share
« Last Edit: Jun 6th, 2013, 5:20pm by Swamprat » User IP Logged

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« Reply #8611 on: Jun 6th, 2013, 7:12pm »

on Jun 6th, 2013, 5:02pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Washington Post

U.S. intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program


on Jun 6th, 2013, 5:19pm, Swamprat wrote:
New York Times

President Obama’s Dragnet


By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Published: June 6, 2013

Within hours of the disclosure that the federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation...


I concede. He out-Bushed Bush. Let's just hope the next one doesn't again set a whole new standard...
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« Reply #8612 on: Jun 7th, 2013, 09:32am »

Good morning Swamprat cheesy

Thanks for that article. I was shocked that the New York Times actually criticized Obama. It won't last.

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« Reply #8613 on: Jun 7th, 2013, 09:39am »

on Jun 6th, 2013, 7:12pm, jjflash wrote:
I concede. He out-Bushed Bush. Let's just hope the next one doesn't again set a whole new standard...


Good morning Jjflash cheesy

I'm afraid Big Brother is here to stay. I don't see how you can get rid of this huge spying system. Once the gov. gets their fingers in the pie you can't get them out. I feel bad for the twenty-somethings that will spend their whole lives in a fish bowl.

I remember when we had one phone in the house and if you were out and about you missed those calls. It was nice. You actually had to drive to someone's house and talk to them face to face. No constant gadget chirping in your ear. Don't get me wrong, I love having that cell phone but it was a nice time.

Crystal

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« Reply #8614 on: Jun 7th, 2013, 09:45am »

This is an old article but a good one.

Crystal



Wired

Babies See Pure Color, but Adults Peer Through Prism of Language

By Brandon Keim
03.03.08
2:00 PM

When infant eyes absorb a world of virgin visions, colors are processed purely, in a pre-linguistic parts of the brain. As adults, colors are processed in the brain’s language centers, refracted by the concepts we have for them.

How does that switch take place? And does it affect our subjective experience of color? Such tantalizing questions, their answers still unknown, are raised by this developmental shift in color categorization, described today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To test the phenomenon, a team of British and English researchers asked adults and infants to focus on a briefly flashing target circle.

Sometimes the target appeared in the subjects’ right visual fields

– roughly speaking, the right half of a person’s field of vision, which is transmitted from the eyes to the brain’s left hemisphere, where language processing also takes place. Sometimes the targets appeared in the left visual field, which connects to the pre-linguistic right hemisphere.

When asked to pick out a target against a similarly-colored background

– a more mentally demanding task than distinguishing between different colors — infants performed better when the target appeared in their left visual fields. Adults, by contrast, had an easier time with targets in their right visual fields.

Over the course of our lives, it appears that an unfiltered perception of color gives way to one mediated by the constructs of language.

Does this mean that adults and infants see the same colors differently?

"We don’t know," said study co-author Paul Kay.

But might adults see colors differently? That seems plausible.

"As an adult, color categorization is influenced by linguistic categories. It differs as the language differs," said Kay, who is renowned for his studies on the ways that different cultures classify colors. He cited recent research on the ability of Russian speakers to
detect shades of blue that English speakers classify as a single color.

How does the switch to a language-bound perception of color take place?

"That’s the $64,000 question," said Kay. "We have every reason to believe that learning a language has a lot to do with it — but [as for] how that works, it’s early."

Categorical perception of color is lateralized to the right hemisphere in infants, but to the left hemisphere in adults [PNAS]


http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/03/babies-see-pure/

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« Reply #8615 on: Jun 7th, 2013, 09:51am »

Defense News

Video Haystacks: Boston Attacks Highlight Need For Modern Visualization Tools

Jun. 7, 2013 - 09:51AM
By BEN IANNOTTA

Desperate for clues in the wake of the Boston bombings, law enforcement officials asked the public to deluge them with videos and cellphone photos taken near the Boston Marathon finish line.

“We would like to review any kind of media that you have out there,” Gene Marquez of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told a press conference the day after the attacks.

It didn’t matter, the authorities said, whether it was obviously suspicious or not. Anything might contain useful evidence.

Images immediately began pouring in, from race participants, from bystanders, from various security cameras at stores and businesses. All told, the flood epitomized “big data”: a wash of uncorrelated images and information.

The FBI isn’t saying exactly how it combed through hours of surveillance video and all the public’s digital media to find the suspects. Efficient forensic and intelligence work, however, would require more then just special agents staring at images on screens; it would need visualization tools to display all this in geographic and temporal context.

And on that point, industry officials say, the techniques used in Boston were probably far less advanced than they could have been.

Much of the cutting-edge video analytics, 3-D situational awareness, and tactical terrain visualization software available on the market today was developed for counterinsurgency missions in Afghanistan or Iraq, where success depended on making sense of video and intelligence from a variety of unrelated sources.

Even before the April bombings, the makers of such software — spurred in part by the U.S. drawdown and the need to find new markets — had been pitching their tools to domestic law-enforcement agencies. Their argument, delivered with mixed results, was that their software could make authorities a lot smarter in responding to threats, crises and emergencies in the U.S.

VIDEO ANALYTICS

The Boston attacks and subsequent manhunt unfolded on the home turf of a small company called Cognika.

more after the jump:
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130607/C4ISR02/306070006/Video-Haystacks-Boston-Attacks-Highlight-Need-Modern-Visualization-Tools

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« Reply #8616 on: Jun 7th, 2013, 09:54am »

Telegraph

'Top Secret' D-Day orders emerge - 69 years after they should have been destroyed

Top secret orders issued to naval captains involved in the D-Day landings have emerged after spending decades hidden in a chest in a loft, where they were discovered following a house fire.

By Jasper Copping
2:17PM BST 07 Jun 2013

The inch-thick document – which should have been destroyed at the end of the Normandy invasion – gives a detailed account of the navy’s role in the landings.

The orders were issued to Royal Navy officers who were involved in Operation Neptune – the code-name for the initial phase of the D-Day mission.

The newly-emerged copy was issued to Lieutenant Alexander North Hardy, the skipper of HMS Valena, a minesweeper, which operated off the French coast on June 6th 1944.

Hardy, who died in 1978 at the age of 70, held on to them after the war and they ended up in a chest of old family documents in the loft of one of his daughter’s home. They were only discovered after the property caught fire and the box was recovered and its contents checked for damage. The family have now agreed to release some pages of the documents, to mark this week’s 69th anniversary of D-Day.

His son-in-law, who has asked not to be named, said: “The front page says it should be ‘destroyed by fire on completion of the operation’. But it seems my father in law didn’t have a fire available at the time.”

As well as charts of the routes across the channel that the Allied fleet was to take, it contains around 50 photographs, presumably taken from a submarine lying off the coast, of the enemy shoreline onto which the invasion force was to land.

The images were not to be used as navigational aides, but to help sailors to identify different areas of the beaches.

The document also instructed ships as to what their particular role was to be. For minesweepers like HMS Valena, they were to clear designated areas of any mines, and then act in a “communication” role.

The book also contains details of what the fleet should do, if German patrol boats, submarines or heavy battleships were to arrive on the scene and disrupt the landings – and also what to do in the event of the invasion failing and the Allied forces needing to withdraw.

“They were basically, to go back the way they came,” Hardy’s son-in-law said.

“There is also lots of technical stuff in there, instructions about call signs and how to verify and authenticate things.

“But there are also some beautifully drawn charts and, amid all the military detail, what I think is a magnificently concise description of what D-Day was all about: ‘The object of Operation Neptune is to carry out a joint Anglo-American operation from the United Kingdom to secure a lodgement on the Continent from which further offensive operations can be developed’.”

Hardy’s daughter said that, as a child, she had played with the documents, not knowing what they were.

Hardy, from Whitehead, in Northern Ireland, had worked for a shipping company in Birmingham before the war.

Earlier in the conflict, he had served on escort duty during the Battle of the Atlantic.

At the end of the war, he and the crew of HMS Valena found themselves in the Low Countries, where he took part in a VE-Day parade with Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.

The ship itself was a converted private yacht, rather than a purpose-built warship and had on board, among other luxuries, a four poster bed and a Royal Doulton bath.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/britain-at-war/10105879/Top-Secret-D-Day-orders-emerge-69-years-after-they-should-have-been-destroyed.html

Crystal

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« Reply #8617 on: Jun 7th, 2013, 10:00am »






Published on Jun 6, 2013

June 06, 2013 - COLOMBIA - This video was recorded from the Cauca Valley dry forests, a tropical dry broadleaf forest ecoregion in Colombia, on the 2nd of June 2013 and features strange UFO lights hovering and flying in the skies over the town of Pradera.

posted by Andre Heath

~

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« Reply #8618 on: Jun 7th, 2013, 10:04am »




Please be an angel



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http://www.soldiersangels.org/




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« Reply #8619 on: Jun 7th, 2013, 10:08pm »

on Jun 7th, 2013, 09:39am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Good morning Jjflash cheesy

I'm afraid Big Brother is here to stay. I don't see how you can get rid of this huge spying system.


Hi, Crystal. I'd have to agree. It's pretty much to the point that if a person is in public, they should assume they are being recorded somehow or other.

Like you, I enjoy my mobile devices and whatnot, but I am indeed old enough to feel like the future arrived. Ha... sometimes I think about stuff like that while watching people sit around coffee shops chattering into the air via bluetooth and all. It would have indeed seemed bizarre 20 years ago.
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« Reply #8620 on: Jun 8th, 2013, 08:08am »

on Jun 7th, 2013, 10:08pm, jjflash wrote:
Hi, Crystal. I'd have to agree. It's pretty much to the point that if a person is in public, they should assume they are being recorded somehow or other.

Like you, I enjoy my mobile devices and whatnot, but I am indeed old enough to feel like the future arrived. Ha... sometimes I think about stuff like that while watching people sit around coffee shops chattering into the air via bluetooth and all. It would have indeed seemed bizarre 20 years ago.


Good morning Jjflash cheesy

I like the fact that they are talking into the air only because everyone in my family talks to themselves, out loud. So we always looked like the lunatics until now. Now no one notices. grin

Crystal

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« Reply #8621 on: Jun 8th, 2013, 08:10am »






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« Reply #8622 on: Jun 9th, 2013, 09:16am »

Guardian

NSA surveillance: lawmakers urge disclosure as Obama 'welcomes' debate

Ron Wyden – who for years sought disclosure of surveillance practices – says president should assure Americans of privacy

by Spencer Ackerman in Washington and Dan Roberts in Rancho Mirage

Sunday 9 June 2013 09.47 EDT

A key senator responsible for the oversight US intelligence programs has questioned the Obama administration's truthfulness about its widespread spying on Americans' communications, as the White House continued to insist it "welcomed" debate on the issue.

In the wake of the Guardian's newest surveillance revelations. Ron Wyden, a Democratic member of the Senate intelligence committee, said the administration had an obligation to explain to the public whether its previous assurances were true.

On Saturday, the Guardian reported the existence of an NSA datamining program called Boundless Informant that helps analysts track and sort the voluminous electronic surveillance the agency collects, including by country. Top secret information published by the Guardian detailed that NSA harvested nearly 3bn pieces of intelligence from US computer networks in just 30 days.

The ability of the NSA to track such data by country appeared to undermine assurances given to Wyden and his committee colleague, Mark Udall, that the NSA was unable to even estimate how many Americans its surveillance dragnets had swallowed up.

"Since government officials have repeatedly told the public and Congress that Patriot Act authorities are simply analogous to a grand jury subpoena, and that intelligence agencies do not collect information or dossiers on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans, I think the executive branch has an obligation to explain whether or not these statements are actually true," Wyden said.

In Wyden's written statement, prepared for the Guardian after the publication of Boundless Informant, he stopped short of calling the administration dishonest. "I don't know whether this document is authentic, and I think details about overseas intelligence collection should be kept secret," Wyden said.

Wyden has been trying to detail the extent of government surveillance on American citizens for years. In 2011, he and Udall warned cryptically that the government possessed a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act that amounted to a broader authorization for domestic surveillance than Congress approved. Their warnings were vindicated by the Guardian's disclosure Wednesday that the NSA received a secret court order to collect from Verizon phone records on millions of Americans.

Throughout 2011 and 2012, Wyden and Udall also warned that the government's implementation of the 2008 expansions of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as the Fisa Amendments Act, had led to massive surveillance on Americans. They sought repeatedly to quantify the extent of the eavesdropping, only to be stonewalled by the intelligence community. They hinted, vaguely, that they thought "millions" of Americans had their communications data collected.

"The intelligence community has stated repeatedly that it is not possible to provide even a rough estimate of how many American communications have been collected under the Fisa Amendments Act, and has even declined to estimate the scale of this collection," they wrote in an October 2012 letter to NSA director, general Keith Alexander.

Among the answers Wyden and Udall received from the intelligence agencies was that the agencies, principally the NSA, lacked the technical capabilities to quantify how much data it took from Americans. Doing so would risk diverting time and money from surveillance, "likely imped[ing] the NSA's mission," I Charles McCullough, the inspector general of the intelligence community, wrote to Wyden and Udall in June 2012. Sifting through the data to find out how much of it came from Americans "would itself violate the privacy of U.S. persons," McCullough continued.

Yet that is what Boundless Informant appears designed to do. "The tool allows users to select a country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collections against that country," according to an NSA factsheet obtained and published by the Guardian. The volume of surveillance occurring within a given country can be visualized and plotted on a map of the globe; America is one of those countries.

During a 30-day period in March 2013, the documents indicate, the NSA collected nearly 3 billion pieces of intelligence from within the United States. During that month, at a Senate hearing, Wyden asked James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

Clapper replied: "No, sir." He continued: "Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect – but not wittingly."

In December 2012, Wyden and Udall tried to amend a key surveillance law to compel the government to disclose how many Americans the NSA had spied upon. Their effort to amend the Fisa Amendments Act was ultimately unsuccessful – something they warned would hobble Congress' oversight functions. "It is not real oversight when the United States Congress cannot get a yes or no answer to the question of whether an estimate currently exists as to whether law abiding Americans have had their phone calls and emails swept up under the Fisa law," Wyden said on December 28.

"The questions I raised in December about the impact of Fisa Amendments Act collection on Americans' privacy still need to be answered," Wyden told the Guardian in his statement.

At a presidential summit in California on Saturday, White House officials said the administration welcomed media interest in US surveillance practices, despite confirming that the Department of Justice is in the early stages of a leak investigation that may lead to criminal prosecutions of whistleblowers who revealed them.

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said: "The debate that's been sparked by these revelations – while we do not think that the revelation of secret programmes is in the national security interest of the US – the broader debate about privacy and civil liberties [is something Obama] went out of his way to identify as one of the trade-offs we have to wrestle with."

"We'll have that debate," he added. "We welcome congressional interest in these issues, we welcome the interest of the American people and of course the media in these issues but we feel confident we have done what we need to do strike a balance between privacy and security by building in rigorous oversight mechanisms."

His comments follow a decision late on Saturday by the intelligence community to declassify parts of its Prism program – revealed by the Guardian and the Washington Post on Thursday – so it could explain how its collection of data from internet companies was supervised by Congress.

The statement confirmed that Prism was "an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government's statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision".

Director of national intelligence James Clapper said the Guardian and Washington Post had failed to adequately convey how much constitutional oversight the programme received.

"Over the last week we have seen reckless disclosures of intelligence community measures used to keep Americans safe," he said in a separate statement. "In a rush to publish, media outlets have not given the full context including the extent to which these programs are overseen by all three branches of government to these effective tools."

Officials in Washington have yet to make their mind up to how to respond to the leaks to the Guardian and other newspapers, particularly after a storm of protest followed the surveillance of phone records belonging to Associated Press reporters in pursuit of other leaks.

"What we are focused on [now] is doing an assessment of the damage that is being done to US national security by the revelation of this information which is necessarily secret because we need to be able to conduct intelligence activities without those methods being revealed to the world," said Rhodes.

"As relates to any potential investigations, we are still in the early stages of this. This is something that will be addressed by the justice department and intelligence community in the coming days in consultation with the agencies that have been affected by these very disturbing leaks of national security."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/nsa-surveillance-lawmakers-disclosure-debate?guni=Network

Crystal

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« Reply #8623 on: Jun 9th, 2013, 09:21am »

Wired

CIA Releases Analyst’s Fascinating Tale of Cracking the Kryptos Sculpture

By Kim Zetter
06.05.13
6:30 AM

It took eight years after artist Jim Sanborn unveiled his cryptographic sculpture at the CIA’s headquarters for someone to succeed at cracking Kryptos’s enigmatic messages.

In 1998, CIA analyst David Stein cracked three of the sculpture’s four coded messages after spending 400 hours diddling over the problem with paper and pencil during many lunch breaks.

Though many people, on and off the CIA campus in Langley, Virginia, had tried to break the 865-character coded puzzle, Stein, a member of the agency’s Directorate of Intelligence, was the first to succeed.

Only his CIA colleagues knew about his achievement at the time, however, because he wasn’t allowed to go public with the news. A year later, California computer scientist Jim Gillogly stole the spotlight when he announced that he’d cracked the same three messages, only he used a Pentium II to do it.

In 1999, Stein wrote a fascinating account of how he cracked the messages. The suspenseful 11-page tale, which appeared in the CIA’s classified journal Studies in Intelligence, is one of perseverance and pluck, not unlike the epic story of Captain Ahab pursuing Moby Dick (Stein himself references the literary tale in his entertaining piece).

This week, the National Security Archive published the now-unclassified document after receiving it from the CIA. Though the article has been published publicly before, it’s never been widely disseminated.

An amateur cryptographer, Stein described how suddenly his breakthrough occurred after seven years of labor:

I was hit by that sweetly ecstatic, rare experience that I have heard described as a ‘moment of clarity.’ All the doubts and speculations about the thousands of possible alternate paths simply melted away, and I clearly saw the one correct course laid out in front of me. Taking a fresh sheet of paper, I slowly and deliberately wrote out a new column of letters, followed by another, and then another. I continued this for several pages, then computed mathematically which rows were most likely to represent the correct plaintext letters, and searched for logical combinations between adjacent letters. I tried to contain my excitement as I witnessed the miracle of letters slowly forming together into words, one after the other. Within the next few hours, I had finished. After more than seven years encompassing some 400 hours of laboring over piles and piles of paper covered with gibberish, I was at last looking down at a paragraph of clear English text. I had broken out the first part of the Kryptos code.

Like Ishmael, the narrator in Moby Dick, Stein waxed philosophical at the end of his journey — and took a slight dig at Gillogly for reaching the same destination using his Pentium II shortcut.

Professional cryptographers almost certainly could have broken these codes much faster, and would have used superior methods. But I doubt that they would have derived as much satisfaction as I have. I didn’t use any computers to decrypt the Kryptos codes — just pencil and paper, some common sense, and a lot of perseverance. Using a computer would have cheated me out of the feeling of accomplishment that I obtained, because l’ve found that often in life the journey itself can be more gratifying than arriving at the final destination. Mountains are not climbed nor marathons run merely to reach a geographical location — there are much easier ways to accomplish these feats — but as personal and spiritual challenges to the participants.

When confronted with a puzzle or problem, we sometimes can lose sight of the fact that we have issued a challenge to ourselves–not to our tools. And before we automatically reach for our computers, we sometimes need to remember that we already possess the most essential and powerful problem-solving tool within our own minds.

Not all of Kryptos has been solved. The last coded section, consisting of 97 characters, still awaits Ahab’s harpoon.


OBKR
UOXOGHULBSOLIFBBWFLRVQQPRNGKSSO
TWTQSJQSSEKZZWATJKLUDIAWINFBNYP
VTTMZFPKWGDKZXTJCDIGKUHUAUEKCAR

Enjoy the full article below. For an unredacted version of it (including missing images and figures) see Elonka Dunin’s comprehensive Kryptos page: http://www.elonka.com/kryptos/mirrors/daw/steinarticle.html

more after the jump:
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/06/analyst-who-cracked-kryptos/

Crystal



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« Reply #8624 on: Jun 9th, 2013, 09:23am »

Reuters

Despite the politics, Chinese investment in U.S. grows

By Paul Eckert

RALEIGH, North Carolina
Sun Jun 9, 2013 9:40am EDT

(Reuters) - The biggest-ever Chinese acquisition of a U.S. company faces hurdles in Washington from lawmakers and regulators, but in much of America, Chinese investment is quietly booming.

With over $10.5 billion of deals by Chinese companies in the United States so far this year, 2013 is on pace to be the largest year ever for mergers and acquisitions of U.S. firms by Chinese companies, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Almost every week, the North Carolina state government receives a "a wonderfully overwhelming amount of inquiries" from Chinese companies looking to set up shop, says April Kappler, the state official in charge of drawing investment from Asia.

Home to one of the headquarters of Chinese-owned personal computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd, North Carolina is fighting hard to draw computer component and software companies, machinery makers and pharmaceutical firms from China.

To promote trade and investment, the state has offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai, and its mayors and governor travel to China frequently to meet potential investors.

The Chinese businessmen who come "always joke about trees, tees and PhDs for all the greenery, golf courses and all the higher education institutions," said Jean Davis, the state's director of international trade.

North Carolina universities - Duke, the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State - tap the connections of professors and graduate students from China. UNC does a joint degree with Tsinghua University, known as "the MIT of China."

North Carolina State University meteorology professor Lian Xie set up the Carolina China Council 10 years ago to link local economic development boards to investors back home.

He is now raising funds to build the first Chinatown in North Carolina, a complex of restaurants, shops and hotels. His group hopes to break ground in September on a 25-acre (10-hectare) site near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

North Carolina is fifth in the ranks of U.S. states receiving Chinese investment, following California, New York, Texas and Illinois, according to the New York-based Rhodium Group, an advisory firm that runs a database that tracks investments.

'ONE OF THE FEW BRIGHT SPOTS'

Figures on total Chinese business investment in the United States differ. According to Rhodium's database, which covers only direct investments, the accumulative total is $23 billion, most of it since 2008.

Another much broader measurement by Washington think tank Heritage Foundation includes big portfolio investments by Chinese sovereign wealth funds and reckons Chinese investments in the United States between 2005 and 2012 were worth $50 billion.

"No matter whose data you use, the two-year period of 2012-13 is very, very strong for Chinese investment in the U.S.," said Derek Scissors, an economist who compiles the Heritage Foundation figures.

The Chinese stake in U.S. businesses is small compared with leader Britain with more than $440 billion and second-place Japan's roughly $300 billion.

But with the American economy still pulling itself out of the 2008-2009 slump and crisis-hit Europe reluctant to buy into the United States, "China was one of the few bright spots" in 2012, Rhodium Group researcher Thilo Hanemann told a U.S. congressional panel last month.

Raymond Cheng, chief executive of Hong Kong-based SoZo Group, a matchmaking firm that brought a $100 million Chinese plant to rural Alabama that will employ 300 people making copper tubes, said Southern states were "really open and welcoming."

Pockets of the South "need jobs more than anybody else," said Cheng, who is also trying to bring Chinese manufacturers to other nearby states like Mississippi.

'LEVEL OF ANXIETY'

In Virginia, China's Shuanghui International Holdings wants to buy Smithfield, the world's biggest hog producer. At nearly $5 billion, it would be the biggest Chinese acquisition in the United States if it goes ahead.

But a few U.S. lawmakers have aired concerns about the Chinese meat company's safety record, and the deal will be scrutinized by the Treasury's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews deals for national security concerns.

While the purchase is expected to go through eventually, that kind of political and regulatory fuss turns off other Chinese companies.

Despite aggressive efforts by mayors and governors to court them, Chinese companies often seem wary of promoting themselves too loudly.

"A lot of these companies want to invest in the U.S., but they want to stay under the radar because there's a level of anxiety related to Chinese investment," said North Carolina state official Kappler.

She said she had to keep mum about an impending $40 million investment that would create 200 jobs because the wary firm did not want it known that it was from China.

Many Chinese firms recall the uproar that sank the 2005 rejection of China National Offshore Oil Corp's $18.5 billion attempt to buy U.S. energy company Unocal. That chilled Chinese investment in the United States for two years.

"There is absolutely this view among Chinese companies that the U.S. is a difficult environment to operate in and there's anti-Chinese prejudice. It's not well-founded," said Scissors.

Chinese firms in the United States employ at least 30,000 Americans, says Hanemann. That is a far cry from the 800,000 U.S. workers employed by Japanese companies or the 1.8 million Chinese who work for U.S.-invested firms in China.

Chinese direct investment is small compared with the $3 trillion invested by foreigners in the U.S. economy overall. The country also holds about $1.25 trillion in U.S. government bonds, according to the Treasury Department.

Investment matters have been a long-standing issue ahead of the summit that President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping held in California this weekend. Cyber attacks and intellectual property theft are two other big issues for business.

State officials say North Carolina is not oblivious to the issue of cyber theft.

"When you hear about Chinese hackers and all this stuff, clearly there are some national issues that need to be addressed, but when it gets down to the local level, our experience has been good, stable jobs, with local managers, and it's meant a lot for our community," said trade official Davis.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/09/us-usa-china-investment-idUSBRE95805X20130609

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