NSA and Brits – APPs on your Computer Gaming, etc.?

Editor’s Note – The question now is, what do the spy agencies not have access to, and then why when it comes to games that you play on the internet like Angry Birds what are they doing, what are they getting access to? Well, its not just the USA as well.

It was revealed recently that the British were also spying on Facebook and YouTube and wanted to show the NSA how they did it as well:

The British government can tap into the cables carrying the world’s web traffic at will and spy on what people are doing on some of the world’s most popular social media sites, including YouTube, all without the knowledge or consent of the companies.

Documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and obtained by NBC News detail how British cyber spies demonstrated a pilot program to their U.S. partners in 2012 in which they were able to monitor YouTube in real time and collect addresses from the billions of videos watched daily, as well as some user information, for analysis. At the time the documents were printed, they were also able to spy on Facebook and Twitter.

Remember that user interface you have with gaming devices, and what are your kids playing on the computer that allows access to all other files on your computer?

Spy Agencies Probe Angry Birds and Other Apps for Personal Data

By Jeff Larson, ProPublica, and James Glanz and Andrew W. Lehren

Note: The story is not subject to our Creative Commons license. This story was co-produced with The New York Times and The Guardian.

When a smartphone user opens Angry Birds, the popular game application, and starts slinging birds at chortling green pigs, spy agencies have plotted how to lurk in the background to snatch data revealing the player’s location, age, sex and other personal information, according to secret British intelligence documents.

In their globe-spanning surveillance for terrorism suspects and other targets, the National Security Agency and its British counterpart have been trying to exploit a basic byproduct of modern telecommunications: With each new generation of mobile phone technology, ever greater amounts of personal data pour onto networks where spies can pick it up.angrybirds_630x420

According to dozens of previously undisclosed classified documents, among the most valuable of those unintended intelligence tools are so-called leaky apps that spew everything from users’ smartphone identification codes to where they have been that day.

The N.S.A. and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters were working together on how to collect and store data from dozens of smartphone apps by 2007, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Since then, the agencies have traded recipes for grabbing location and planning data when a target uses Google Maps, and for vacuuming up address books, buddy lists, phone logs and the geographic data embedded in photos when someone sends a post to the mobile versions of Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other services.

The eavesdroppers’ pursuit of mobile networks has been outlined in earlier reports, but the secret documents, shared by The New York Times, The Guardian and ProPublica, offer far more details of their ambitions for smartphones and the apps that run on them. The efforts were part of an initiative called “the mobile surge,” according to a 2011 British document, an analogy to the troop surges in Iraq and Afghanistan. One N.S.A. analyst’s enthusiasm was evident in the breathless title — “Golden Nugget!” — given to one slide for a top-secret 2010 talk describing iPhones and Android phones as rich resources, one document notes.

The scale and the specifics of the data haul are not clear. The documents show that the N.S.A. and the British agency routinely obtain information from certain apps, particularly some of those introduced earliest to cellphones. With some newer apps, including Angry Birds, the agencies have a similar capability, the documents show, but they do not make explicit whether the spies have put that into practice. Some personal data, developed in profiles by advertising companies, could be particularly sensitive: A secret 2012 British intelligence document says that spies can scrub smartphone apps that contain details like a user’s “political alignment” and sexual orientation.

President Obama announced new restrictions this month to better protect the privacy of ordinary Americans and foreigners from government surveillance, including limits on how the N.S.A. can view “metadata” of Americans’ phone calls — the routing information, time stamps and other data associated with calls. But he did not address the avalanche of information that the intelligence agencies get from leaky apps and other smartphone functions.

And while he expressed concern about advertising companies that collect information on people to send tailored ads to their mobile phones, he offered no hint that American spies routinely seize that data. Nothing in the secret reports indicates that the companies cooperate with the spy agencies to share the information; the topic is not addressed.

The agencies have long been intercepting earlier generations of cellphone traffic like text messages and metadata from nearly every segment of the mobile network — and, more recently, mobile traffic running on Internet pipelines. Because those same networks carry the rush of data from leaky apps, the agencies have a ready-made way to collect and store this new resource. The documents do not address how many users might be affected, whether they include Americans, or how often, with so much information collected automatically, analysts would see personal data.

This cartoon of a fairy accompanies a “top secret” NSA documentabout smartphones. The drawing seems to suggest that phones, and the data they transmit, are a magical intelligence gift to the agency.

Twitter Facebook Link

“N.S.A. does not profile everyday Americans as it carries out its foreign intelligence mission,” the agency said in a written response to questions about the program. “Because some data of U.S. persons may at times be incidentally collected in N.S.A.’s lawful foreign intelligence mission, privacy protections for U.S. persons exist across the entire process.” Similar protections, the agency said, are in place for “innocent foreign citizens.”

The British spy agency declined to comment on any specific program, but said all its activities complied with British law.

Two top-secret flow charts produced by the British agency in 2012 show incoming streams of information skimmed from smartphone traffic by the Americans and the British. The streams are divided into “traditional telephony” — metadata — and others marked “social apps,” “geo apps,” “http linking,” webmail, MMS and traffic associated with mobile ads, among others. (MMS refers to the mobile system for sending pictures and other multimedia, and http is the protocol for linking to websites.)

In charts showing how information flows from smartphones into the agency’s computers, analysts included questions to be answered by the data, including “Where was my target when they did this?” and “Where is my target going?”

As the program accelerated, the N.S.A. nearly quadrupled its budget in a single year, to $767 million in 2007 from $204 million, according to a top-secret Canadian analysis written around the same time.

Even sophisticated users are often unaware of how smartphones offer a unique opportunity for one-stop shopping for information about them. “By having these devices in our pockets and using them more and more,” said Philippe Langlois, who has studied the vulnerabilities of mobile phone networks and is the founder of the Paris-based company Priority One Security, “you’re somehow becoming a sensor for the world intelligence community.”

Detailed Profiles

Smartphones almost seem to make things too easy. Functioning as phones — making calls and sending texts — and as computers — surfing the web and sending emails — they generate and also rely on data. One secret report shows that just by updating Android software, a user sent more than 500 printed lines of data about the phone’s history and use onto the network.

Such information helps mobile ad companies, for example, create detailed profiles of people based on how they use their mobile device, where they travel, what apps and websites they open, and other factors. Advertising firms might triangulate web shopping data and browsing history to guess whether someone is wealthy or has children, for example.

The N.S.A. and the British agency busily scoop up this data, mining it for new information and comparing it with their lists of intelligence targets.

A portion of the computer code in Burstly’s Software Development Kit — used by Angry Birds. This software was studied by GCHQ for intelligence value.
A portion of the computer code in Burstly’s Software Development Kit — used by Angry Birds. This software was studied by GCHQ for intelligence value.

One secret 2010 British document suggests that the agencies collect such a huge volume of “cookies” — the digital traces left on a mobile device or a computer when a target visits a website — that classified computers were having trouble storing it all.

“They are gathered in bulk, and are currently our single largest type of events,” the document says.

The two agencies displayed a particular interest in Google Maps, which is accurate to within a few yards or better in some locations. Intelligence agencies collect so much data from the app that “you’ll be able to clone Google’s database” of global searches for directions, according to a top-secret N.S.A. report from 2007.

“It effectively means that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a G.C.H.Q. system,” a secret 2008 report by the British agency says.

(In December, The Washington Post, citing the Snowden documents, reported that the N.S.A. was using metadata to track cellphone locations outside the United States and was using ad cookies to connect Internet addresses with physical locations.)

In another example, a secret 20-page British report dated 2012 includes the computer code needed for plucking the profiles generated when Android users play Angry Birds. The app was created by Rovio Entertainment, of Finland, and has been downloaded more than a billion times, the company has said.

Rovio drew public criticism in 2012 when researchers claimed that the app was tracking users’ locations and gathering other data and passing it to mobile ad companies. In a statement on its website, Rovio says that it may collect its users’ personal data, but that it abides by some restrictions. For example, the statement says, “Rovio does not knowingly collect personal information from children under 13 years of age.”

The secret report noted that the profiles vary depending on which of the ad companies — which include Burstly and Google’s ad services, two of the largest online advertising businesses — compiles them. Most profiles contain a string of characters that identifies the phone, along with basic data on the user like age, sex and location. One profile notes whether the user is currently listening to music or making a call, and another has an entry for household income.

Google declined to comment for this article, and Burstly did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Saara Bergstrom, a Rovio spokeswoman, said that the company had no knowledge of the intelligence programs. “Nor do we have any involvement with the organizations you mentioned,” Ms. Bergstrom said, referring to the N.S.A. and the British spy agency.

Another ad company creates far more intrusive profiles that the agencies can retrieve, the report says. The apps that generate those profiles are not identified, but the company is named as Millennial Media, which has its headquarters in Baltimore.

In securities filings, Millennial documented how it began working with Rovio in 2011 to embed ad services in Angry Birds apps running on iPhones, Android phones and other devices.

According to the report, the Millennial profiles contain much of the same information as the others, but several categories listed as “optional,” including ethnicity, marital status and sexual orientation, suggest that much wider sweeps of personal data may take place.

A portion of the computer code in Burstly’s Software Development Kit — used by Angry Birds. This software was studied by GCHQ for intelligence value.

Twitter Facebook Link

Possible categories for marital status, the report says, include single, married, divorced, engaged and “swinger”; those for sexual orientation are straight, gay, bisexual and “not sure.” It is unclear whether the “not sure” category exists because so many phone apps are used by children, or because insufficient data may be available.

There is no explanation of precisely how the ad company defined the categories or how accurate the information is. Nor is there any discussion of why all that information would be useful for marketing — or intelligence.

Unwieldy Heaps

The agencies have had occasional success — at least by their own reckoning — when they start with something closer to a traditional investigative tip or lead. The spies say that tracking smartphone traffic helped break up a bomb plot by Al Qaeda in Germany in 2007, and the N.S.A. bragged that to crack the plot, it wove together mobile data with emails, log-ins and web traffic. Similarly, mining smartphone data helped lead to arrests of members of a drug cartel hit squad for the 2010 murder of an employee of an American Consulate in Mexico.

But the data, whose volume is soaring as mobile devices have begun to dominate the technological landscape, is a crushing amount of information for the spies to sift through. As smartphone data builds up in N.S.A. and British databases, the agencies sometimes seem a bit at a loss on what to do with it all, the documents show. A few isolated experiments provide hints as to how unwieldy it can be.

In 2009, the American and British spy agencies each undertook a brute-force analysis of a tiny sliver of their cellphone databases. Crunching just one month of N.S.A. cellphone data, a secret report said, required 120 computers and turned up 8,615,650 “actors” — apparently callers of interest. A similar run using three months of British data came up with 24,760,289 actors.

“Not necessarily straightforward,” the report said of the analysis. The agencies’ extensive computer operations had trouble sorting through the slice of data. Analysts were “dealing with immaturity,” the report said, encountering computer memory and processing problems. The report made no mention of anything suspicious in the enormous lumps of data.

Ginger Thompson contributed reporting.

Watch Words – Big Brother is watching at DHS

By SUA Staff – Again we see the razor thin edge between keeping America safe and spying on her citizens. Speech is being monitored, and the article below and our own previous reporting prove it. We also tested it, successfully; or rather they were successful, we just witnessed their handi-work.

Anyone who uses Facebook on a regular basis as does SUA, has seen the ‘anomalies’ first hand, or heard about them. It is common to see ‘posts’ disappear, or to have your conversation stopped amid stream, or to be cut-off from using your ‘wall’ altogether for some unknown reason. It is widely known or suspected that Facebook and other social networking sites collect tons of data, and if you use certain words too often, you too will witness the obvious monitoring.

With the reported 900,000,000 users of Facebook talking on-line, the numbers would tell you it’s impossible for humans to monitor every conversation, so how is it that a completely innocuous conversation gets stopped?

In a recent discussion witnessed by SUA, several ‘friends’ were discussing Islam and its history. There were no threats, no secrets, just a historical discussion of facts and opinions, some not so flattering to Islam…then, bingo, the conversation was cut-off.

We know, and can prove it; we performed screen captures.

Algorithms; formulas that are crawling across the sites spot these word usages, and bingo…they find them. These are not technical glitches, they are examples of proactive monitoring. How First Amendment compliant is that? How is that living up to the law that was created to protect you, and DHS’s image?

To the public, the surface explanation is two-fold, one to keep you safe, the other to monitor how the public perceives DHS and its activities. Why point two? Because DHS has credibility issues, it is perceived as ‘big brother’, it knows it has failed miserably on many occasions, so it needs to practice CYA. It knows there are tons of data they are not privy to, so they scan to see what citizen journalists have found.

Ostensibly, reading the actual words printed, it sounds like a great way for DHS to stay abreast of the mountains of information available from open sources that should be known by its staff and management. As public servants, its wise to be more conversant in all aspects of all events to make sure that the proper resources are being allocated, dangers are mitigated, and life-saving efforts can be maximized. Sounds great – our tax dollars going to a good thing; our government being wise and efficient.

To the more astute citizen, it is clearly watching what people say or do. It is then using and/or storing that data for future use in prosecutions, and more nefariously, for political gains. Like most government and political endeavors, there is ‘plausible deniability’ but the ‘adults in the room’ know and see through these thinly veiled excuses.

At what point are we sacrificing liberty for security?

_______________________

Revealed: Hundreds of words to avoid using online if you don’t want the government spying on you

  • (and they include ‘pork’, ‘cloud’ and ‘Mexico’)
  • Department of Homeland Security forced to release list following freedom of information request
  • Agency insists it only looks for evidence of genuine threats to the U.S. and not for signs of general dissent

By DANIEL MILLER – Daily Mail UK

The Department of Homeland Security has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.

Revealing: A list of keywords used by government analysts to scour the internet for evidence of threats to the U.S. has been released under the Freedom of Information Act

The intriguing the list includes obvious choices such as ‘attack’, ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘dirty bomb’ alongside dozens of seemingly innocent words like ‘pork’, ‘cloud’, ‘team’ and ‘Mexico’.

Released under a freedom of information request, the information sheds new light on how government analysts are instructed to patrol the internet searching for domestic and external threats.

The words are included in the department’s 2011 Analyst’s Desktop Binder‘ used by workers at their National Operations Center which instructs workers to identify ‘media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities’.

Department chiefs were forced to release the manual following a House hearing over documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit which revealed how analysts monitor social networks and media organisations for comments that ‘reflect adversely’ on the government.

However they insisted the practice was aimed not at policing the internet for disparaging remarks about the government and signs of general dissent, but to provide awareness of any potential threats.

As well as terrorism, analysts are instructed to search for evidence of unfolding natural disasters, public health threats and serious crimes such as mall/school shootings, major drug busts, illegal immigrant busts.

The list has been posted online by the Electronic Privacy Information Center – a privacy watchdog group who filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act before suing to obtain the release of the documents.

In a letter to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counter-terrorism and Intelligence, the centre described the choice of words as ‘broad, vague and ambiguous’.

They point out that it includes ‘vast amounts of First Amendment protected speech that is entirely unrelated to the Department of Homeland Security mission to protect the public against terrorism and disasters.’

A senior Homeland Security official told the Huffington Post that the manual ‘is a starting point, not the endgame’ in maintaining situational awareness of natural and man-made threats and denied that the government was monitoring signs of dissent.

However the agency admitted that the language used was vague and in need of updating.

Spokesman Matthew Chandler told website: ‘To ensure clarity, as part of … routine compliance review, DHS will review the language contained in all materials to clearly and accurately convey the parameters and intention of the program.’

Proof: DHS is monitoring social media, bloggers, and…why?

By Scott W. Winchell

Its official; the Department of Homeland Security did award the HS HODC-10-00080 contract to General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Division as the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) for DHS. What does that mean?

It means that the DHS project – Media Monitoring Capability Mission – is actually underway as we all suspected. What the project should be called is the “Cover our asses, identify our enemies, and spin baby, spin, capability mission.”

Its similar to the system for data collection that the Obama 2012 Campaign is doing on Facebook now:

Barack Obama‘s re-election team are building a vast digital data operation that for the first time combines a unified database on millions of Americans with the power of Facebook to target individual voters to a degree never achieved before…

For the past nine months a crack team of some of America’s top data wonks has occupied an entire floor of the Prudential building in Chicago devising a digital campaign from the bottom up. The team draws much of its style and inspiration from the corporate sector, with its driving ambition to create a vote-garnering machine that is smooth, unobtrusive and ruthlessly efficient. (Read the rest here.)

MMCM Contract Documents – On December 15, 2010, the contract was awarded. Two links below show documents related to the project:

  1. Raw Story posted the FOIA request fulfillment document here on the actual contract. (Names redacted, 285 pages)
  2. DHS Analysts’s desktop binder that details the project. (40 pages)

What the MMC Mission purports to do:

First – to continually update existing National Situation Summaries (NSS) and International Situation Summaries (ISS) with the most recent, relevant, and actionable open source media information.

Second – to constantly monitor all available open source information with the goal of expeditiously alerting the NOC Watch Team and other key Department personnel of emergent situations.

Third – to receive, process, and distribute media captured by DHS Situational Awareness Teams (DSAT) or other streaming media available to the NOC such as Northern Command’s (NORTHCOM) Full Motion Video (FMV) and via open sources.

What does it mean to the public?

Ostensibly, reading the actual words printed, it sounds like a great way for DHS to stay abreast of the mountains of information available from open sources that should be known by its staff and management. As public servants, its wise to be more conversant in all aspects of all events to make sure that the proper resources are being allocated, dangers are mitigated, and life-saving efforts can be maximized. Sounds great – our tax dollars going to a good thing; our government being wise and efficient.

Well, enough of that bilge. What it more likely means are one or all of the following scenarios:

  1. Making sure that any DHS spokesperson, whether from FEMA, or any other agency, does not have a James Clapper moment. The Director of National Intelligence was blind-sided by the media about a major story he did not get briefed on, but definitely should have known;
  2. Covering their collective posteriors because the intelligence gathering and analysis performed in recent years has been eclipsed by open-source investigators who are much less constrained in acquiring important information;
  3. Allowing appointees and other politicians a way to spin information to misdirect, change the focus of, or just plain old twist the facts for a given incident;
  4. Protect the reputation and image of the department and its requisite divisions and leaders;
  5. Monitor those of us who monitor them, and identify political adversaries, assign strong negative names and labels to political movements, collect the names of all “subversive” individuals as defined by political forces, and control baby, control…the imagination just carries you away, does it not?

Those summaries above need to be looked at in more detail, the following shows what information is actually being studied and monitored and why:

Leverage Operationally Relevant Data

Leveraging news stories, media reports and postings on social media sites concerning HomelandSecurity, Emergency Management, and National Health for operationally relevant data, information, analysis, and imagery is the first mission component. The traditional and social media teams review a story or posting from every direction and interest, utilizing thousands of reporters, sources, still/video cameramen, analysts, bloggers and ordinary individuals on scene. Traditional Media outlets provide unmatched insight into the depth and breadth of the situation, worsening issues, federal preparations, response activities, and critical timelines. At the sametime, Social Media outlets provide instant feedback and alert capabilities to rapidly changing or newly occurring situations. The MMC works to summarize the extensive information from these resources to provide a well rounded operational picture for the Department of Homeland Security.

Support NOC in Identifying Relevant Operational Media

Supporting the NOC by ensuring they have a timely appreciation for evolving Homeland Security news stories and media reports of interest to the public and DHS/other federal agencies involved in preparations and response activities is the second key component. DHS and other federal agencies conducting joint operations may be affected by other evolving situations in that area. These situations may be related; have a cause and effect relationship; or be unrelated but have a detrimental effect. Through coordination with the NOC Duty Director (NDD), Senior Watch Officer (SWO) the MMC works to ensure the NOC Watch Team is aware of such stories and news events and has time to analyze any effect on operations.

Timely reporting of current information is an integral element in maintaining complete operational awareness by Homeland Security Personnel. The MMC understand it is vital that critical information is relayed to key Department decision makers in as expeditious a manner aspossible.

Increase Situational Awareness of the DHS Secretary

Mitigating the likelihood that the Secretary and DHS Executive staffs are unaware of a breaking Homeland Security news story or media report is the third component. The Secretary and executive staff members are subject to press questions regarding domestic and international events and may or may not be informed of the most current media coverage. The MMC understands critical information requirements and monitors news coverage with the perspective of how the breaking story may be related to current and other important ongoing situations and DHS activities. The on-duty MMC analyst alerts DHS personnel and related federal agencies of updated news stories through distributed Items of Interest (see section 3.9.6). Recognizing that local media coverage is potentially sensationalizing an incident, the MMC strives to comprehend the media’s message and identify sensitive situations that must be brought to the attention of the Secretary.

Facebook

It is clear to many Facebook aficionados that the DHS work has been more than just gleaning information.

There are reliable reports where:

  • If you type certain words on your wall, it will automatically “friend” you on the DHS page, without permission, and you cannot “un-friend” yourself;
  • If you type anything that has the word DHS or a few other key words, your post will show up on the DHS FB page;
  • Politicians are using it as well, ask the Romney people. If you post “I love Mitt Romney” on your wall, that post will appear on Romney’s FB page;
  • Then there are other weird anomalies, and many FB folks are “pruning” their friends lists for these very reasons, no privacy!

Wake up America, DHS and others may be watching you and gleaning information from you, and as we have seen repeatedly with the current administration, it will or could be used against you. Remember, the Defense Authorization Act of 2012 has reset a lot of the rules on detention for American citizens. The pieces and parts for total control are coming into place.

_______________

Denise Simon contributed to this article. She is the Director of Research at SUA.

Beware of your social networking – someone is watching

Editor’s Note – Many people think of Facebook in a love/hate manner. It is a common theme among many posts that Facebook is saving all your data, or is mining data, or is collecting personal information to be used by marketers, law enforcement, and who knows. Now we see by the following report that its not just the Facebook people who are watching, its our own CIA and other intelligence agencies.

On its own website, the CIA answers frequently asked questions, and specifically in this case it posts the following:

Does the CIA spy on Americans? Does it keep a file on you?

CIA’s mission is to collect information related to foreign intelligence and foreign counterintelligence. By law, the CIA is specifically prohibited from collecting intelligence concerning the domestic activities of U.S. citizens. By direction of the President in Executive Order 12333, as amended, and in accordance with procedures approved by the Attorney General, the CIA is restricted in the collection of intelligence information directed against U.S. citizens. Collection is allowed only for an authorized intelligence purpose; for example, if there is a reason to believe that an individual is involved in espionage or international terrorist activities. The CIA’s procedures require senior approval for any such collection that is allowed, and, depending on the collection technique employed, the sanction of the Director of National Intelligence and Attorney General may be required. These restrictions on the CIA, or similar ones, have been in effect since the 1970s.

Whether monitoring the social networks transgresses this law is a question only a court could answer. Perhaps our own Department of Justice should look into this, oh, we forgot, Eric Holder is in charge of that department so don’t expect any checks and balances. Nor should we expect this Congress to look into it either, they are too busy dealing with obvious fraud and lying like the Solyndra, Beacon Power, and the Fast & Furious debacles. Congress would need to add about 10 hours to each day just to keep up, let alone ensuring your right to privacy.

CIA monitors 5 million tweets a day.

Jewish News

Twitter and Facebook are enabling the Central Intelligence Agency to get reliable, real-time assessments of public sentiment during rapidly changing events around the world.

According to the Associated Press, the CIA is monitoring up to 5 million tweets a day, poring over Facebook and blog posts, and watching other social networks from a nondescript facility in a Virginia industrial park.

A CIA spokesman did not immediately respond to a request today for comment on the report.

A CIA team known internally as the “vengeful librarians” that numbers in the hundreds gathers information in multiple languages to build a real-time picture of the mood in various regions of the world.

The analysis is “sought by the highest levels at the White House” and ends up in the President’s intelligence briefing almost daily, the AP quoted Doug Naquin, director of the CIA’s Open Source Center, as saying.

When a U.S. Navy SEAL team killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan earlier this year, for instance, analysts at the CIA’s center in Virginia monitored Twitter to give the White House a quick view of world reaction to the event, the story said. The tweets were broken down and analyzed by language and quickly showed that a majority of the tweets in Urdu, the official language in Pakistan, were negative, it added.

A similar analysis of Arabic and Turkish Twitter traffic after the president gave a speech on Mideast issues a few weeks after the raid showed that a majority in the region thought that Obama favored Israel while Hebrew tweets expressed the opposite sentiments, the AP said.

Twitter and Facebook were key resources for following unfolding events in Egypt, Bangok and Iran recently, according to the AP.

The CIA facility was set up in response to recommendations by the 9/11 Commission and is focused on counterterrorism operations, the story said.

News of the CIA operation comes just days the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it is working on guidelines for protecting the privacy rights of U.S. citizens while it monitors social media sites.