What you and Carter Page and Donald Trump have in common.

Any American Citizen File

Who allowed FISA surveillance abuse? New attorney general must find out

BY: FRANCEY HAKES, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR, The Hill

When I worked at the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the Department of Justice (DOJ), the procedure for obtaining a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant was an object lesson in checks and balances. Given the near-daily revelations about the underpinnings of the various investigations into President Trump and his inner circle, those checks and balances weren’t just ignored — they were thrown permanently out the window in the name of securing his election defeat or later removal from office.

We are privileged to live in a country where the rule of law and our tradition of professional law enforcement protect us from the kind of corruption rife in many other countries. But the conduct of the FBI and the Department of Justice in opening multiple investigations into President Trump and his inner circle calls that professionalism into question in a way that should concern us all, regardless of our political leanings.

In 1975, the Church Committee was formed by Congress to investigate whether the intelligence community was using its various surveillance technologies to target political enemies. Three major agencies — National Security Agency (NSA), CIA, and FBI — were all found to be illegally targeting Americans such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali without court supervision, permission or warrants as required by the Constitution. In response to this shocking finding, Congress in 1978 passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was designed to impose strict controls on the use of clandestine surveillance tools against Americans to ensure they were never again used for political purposes.

There were strict guidelines and procedures in place for obtaining a FISA surveillance warrant when I was on special detail to the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review inside the Department of Justice in 2004 and 2005. Before the FBI brought an application to me as the department attorney who would swear to it and present it to the FISA Court, the application went through a series of reviews inside the FBI. These reviews are designed to ensure that a neutral person agrees there is sufficient evidence that the target of the warrant is an agent of a foreign power engaging in espionage or terrorism.

Generally, these warrants are never intended for use in criminal courts. They largely are used to gather intelligence that will aid in protecting national security. They also mostly are used to target foreign nationals in this country. If the target is a U.S. person, the department attorney must establish in the application for a warrant that the person is acting as the agent of a foreign power and, additionally, that he or she likely engaged in conduct that violates U.S. criminal statutes. As with criminal warrants, the factual assertions made to support the allegation that the target is an agent of a foreign power engaged in possible criminal activity must be reliable. That is, a bare assertion is not enough; it must be supported by reliable information and evidence.

Once the review is complete at the FBI, the agent presents the application to a department attorney for review and submission to the FISA Court. At this stage, the attorney must verify every paragraph of the application. This is done in consultation with the agent. I was trained to ask the agent how he or she knew each “fact” asserted in every paragraph. Importantly, I would be swearing to the application’s accuracy before the court, so I had a critical incentive to ensure the facts were accurately portrayed. My license, my reputation were on the line.

But, I had to rely upon the representation of the agent, and the FBI, CIA or NSA, to give me accurate information. I certainly couldn’t go out and verify the assertions myself. Once I was confident that each paragraph was accurate, and that the requirements of the statute were met, that application then went through several more people above me, supervisors who also were professional DOJ career attorneys, before it reached the final level of approval by the deputy attorney general. Only then, after purportedly neutral review inside the FBI and DOJ, would a FISA application be submitted to the court for approval.

We now know that the unverified allegations in the so-called Steele dossier were asserted as reliable facts in the original FISA warrant and three renewals against former Trump campaign volunteer adviser Carter Page. Former FBI director James Comey admitted as much in testimony long after the FISA warrant was issued. How could this happen? That is what the new attorney general must find out.

How could all the controls in place to protect Americans from clandestine surveillance fail so miserably? It is important to note that many more Americans beyond Carter Page likely were surveilled by the FBI. Every person with whom Page communicated had their emails or text messages captured and reviewed, potentially going back years.

The Obama administration was unveiling the names of Americans captured in FISA surveillance at record rates. This spider web of captures and potential invasion of privacy is exactly why it is so serious to utilize clandestine surveillance tools against Americans. And, it is why there are so many steps required to surveil Americans using those tools. Regular criminal warrants against criminal suspects have disclosure requirements so targets eventually know they have been surveilled. In contrast, clandestine surveillance may go undisclosed forever. So, many Americans may never know — and likely don’t to this day in the case of those with whom Page communicated — that they have been surveilled by government agents.


Why do we care that Page and many other Americans had their emails or other messages intercepted and reviewed based upon unverified allegations? If you think President Trump and his associates are dangerous, evil, stupid, or unqualified, then you might not care. The ends justify the means to you. But what if this supposedly dangerous, evil, stupid, unqualified president uses those same failures to his advantage and against his own enemies?

The new attorney general must investigate how this happened by tracing each person in the chain of the Page FISA warrants. Each must be asked about the factual assertions made under oath.  Someone is accountable. Someone inside the Justice Department must answer for the abuse of our surveillance assets and sworn misrepresentations to the FISA Court. If they don’t, it will happen again. And again.


Francey Hakes was a prosecutor for 16 years and now consults on national security and the protection of children. As a former assistant U.S. attorney, she appeared before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, presenting applications for counterterrorism and counterespionage warrants on a special detail to the Department of Justice Office of Intelligence Policy and Review. She served as the first National Coordinator for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction from January 2010 to March 2012. Follow her on Twitter @FranceyHakes.

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/425913-who-allowed-fisa-surveillance-abuse-new-attorney-general-must-find-out

NSA Speech – Kick the can, change a number, Podesta to Counsel

Editor’s Note – The NSA speech was today! The big reveal, long awaited from the President on his plans for the future of the NSA. He had 17 days in Hawaii to mull it over, and today, we heard what he is going to do – “kick the ball down the road”! But wait, he did make an assignment to handle it though last Friday – you guessed it, political hack extraordinaire, John Podesta.

The newly appointed…errr, named “Counselor” to the President, John Podesta, the man named to head up many of Obama’s political ambitions and long time counselor to his previous boss, Bill Clinton as well, was chosen to head the NSA review. Here is a reminder/primer on Podesta:

President Barack Obama speaks about college education, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. The event which is to promote opportunities for students to attend and finish college and university, was attended by college and university presidents and leaders from nonprofits, foundations, governments and businesses. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama speaks about college education, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. The event which is to promote opportunities for students to attend and finish college and university, was attended by college and university presidents and leaders from nonprofits, foundations, governments and businesses. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama on 10th December named John Podesta as counselor to the president.  Podesta has reportedly agreed to help the President in his time of troubles for a year.  The White House announced that Podesta would advise the President on a range of issues, but specifically mentioned climate and energy.

Podesta was a co-chair of the Obama-Biden transition team in 2009 and has been an unofficial but highly influential outside adviser to the Obama Administration for the past five years.  In 2003, he founded and became president of the Center for American Progress, the leftist think tank and advocacy organization that provided much of the ammunition to oppose the policies of the George W. Bush Administration.

Yes, you heard that correctly, a “political counselor,” his transition head and fromer Clinton advisor on politics, is going to counsel the President on what he should do to handle the massive issue with the NSA; the deepest issue over your liberty and privacy EVER. So now, our security apparatus is in the hands of a political “operative.” Here is the report:

President Barack Obama announced Friday that John Podesta, his new “counselor” and the political operative responsible for creating the institutional left in Washington, will be the appointed “to lead a comprehensive review of big data and privacy” in the aftermath of revelations about the National Security Agency’s electronic spying programs. When he joined the White House last month, Podesta’s focus was said to be “climate change.”

So the man named to handle “Climate Change” issues is qualified for the “NSA” issues as well? He is going to “counsel” the president on what the changes to the NSA should be; yes, we are shaking our heads as well. Do you see a new campaign of whistle stops, or a cogent look at such a primal and basic issue regarding our liberty?

The Breitbart report goes on to say:

The president’s speech contained little news. It was a classic Obama set-piece, designed to demonstrate that he understands both sides of a complex argument, while delegating responsibility to third parties and taking steps that reinforce the interests and goals of the hard left. In this instance, Obama left final decisions about where to store NSA data to Congress, while making sure that Podesta is in charge of the consultative process as a whole.

Of course, it’s another case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” and politicize everything! We all know that is the case in light of the former Secretary of Defense Gate’s new book, “Duty” where it was exposed in stark clarity that in the Obama Administration, politics trumps policy.

Of course, the right had its opinions on today’s “dog and pony show,” but here is something from a Democrat as well (From UT Documents):

U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12), a former member of the Intelligence Committee who has introduced legislation that would repeal the PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act, released the following statement on the President’s remarks today about reforming the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs:
“The President’s speech offered far less than meets the eye.
“His proposals continue to allow surveillance of Americans without requiring a Fourth Amendment determination of probable cause.  They continue to regard Americans as suspects first and citizens second.  They continue to allow the government to build backdoors into computer software and hardware.  They fail to strengthen protections for whistleblowers who uncover abusive spying.
“The President spoke about navigating ‘the balance between security and liberty.’  But this is a faulty and false choice.  As Barack Obama himself urged in his first inaugural address, we must ‘reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.’
“The Fourth Amendment and other civil liberty protections do not exist to impede police or intelligence agencies.  To the contrary, they exist to hold to hold government agents to a high standard – to ensure that they act on the basis of evidence, rather than wasting time and resources on wild goose chases.
“Even the modest improvements announced today are subject to reversal at a stroke of the President’s pen.  A standard of ‘trust my good intentions’ isn’t good enough.  Congress should reject these practices and repeal the laws that made the NSA’s abuses possible.”

Hmmm, national security versus total loss of liberty, privacy and human rights…God help the Republic! He did however worry about what foreign nations would think, especially over industrial spying, read what he is doing regarding Brazil. Meanwhile all your texts belong to the NSA, despite the President telling us it was only meta data. Also, read more on signals intelligence issues here.

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It’s up to you to decide, but let’s make sure we see all the angles before we decide. We hope we were able to point out a couple here, and also in the story below. Yes, it is from RT.com, but often, a viewpoint from overseas helps us focus and see through the fog:

Obama announces NSA programs overhaul

By RT.com

President Barack Obama announced as expected on Friday a major overhaul to some of the National Security Agency’s most disputed surveillance operations seven months after they was first exposed, reining in the metadata collection program among others.

Effective immediately, the president said, NSA officials must obtain court permission in order to access the government’s archive of telephone metadata — a trove of intelligence that has been regularly collected by the government through a program that its proponents say is a legally sound and crucial counterterrorism tool justified under Section 215 of the United States Patriot Act.

Evidence of that program was exposed last June through classified documents disclosed to the media by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and spurred an immediate and ongoing international discussion that cumulated with the president’s endorsement of reform during a Friday morning speech inside the Justice Department building in downtown Washington, DC.

“I believe we need a new approach,” Mr. Obama said. “I am therefore ordering a transition that will end the Section 215 bulk metadata collection program as it currently exists, and establishes a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk metadata.”

Exactly who will be in charge of holding onto the phone records pertaining to millions of Americans has yet to be decided, however, and Mr. Obama says he’s tasked United States Attorney General Eric Holder, the intelligence community and Congress with finding a solution.

Among the first of top-secret documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden since June is evidence that revealed the US government has regularly compelled the nation’s telecommunication companies for so-called metadata, in turn receiving on routine basis the primitive details about each and every phone call dialed. But while Mr. Obama and his administration has largely defended the program up to and during Friday’s speech, critics have condemned that program and others like it exposed by Mr. Snowden and have accused the government of violating the civil liberties and rights to privacy of not just Americans, but millions around the globe.

The president said during his address that he wouldn’t “dwell on Mr. Snowden’s actions or his motivations,” citing the ongoing investigation into the leaks, but insisted that when individuals who oppose government policy take it upon themselves to publically disclose classified information as the former contractor did, then the US government “will not be able to keep our people safe or conduct foreign policy.” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an ally of Snowden, told CNN that the leaker will respond to the new NSA reforms next week.

Other documents disclosed by Mr. Snowden since June have revealed NSA programs that target the communications of foreign persons, including average citizens and allied leaders alike. As expected, Obama announced his intent to reform some of those operations during Friday’s address as well.

Revelations that the NSA had tapped the personal phones of foreign leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel caused outrage around the world last year, but on Friday’s speech Mr. Obama said that the US is the “world’s only superpower” and must continue to conduct operations allies are not able to accomplish on their own.

“We will not apologize simply because our services may be more effective,” the president said, “but heads of state and governments with whom we work closely . . . should feel confident that we are treating them as real partners.”

The US government “will continue to gather information about the intentions” of foreign governments, the president said. On the contrary, though, he also promised the NSA “will not monitor the communications of heads of state” atop the ranks of allied partners unless there are compelling national security purposes at stake. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) will be subjected to new reform as well, he said, allowing the government to intercept the communications of overseas targets with important information without putting as many Americans and foreign persons incidentally targeted under the looking glass.

More of the president’s new plans involve activity at home, however, including reformations meant to address concerns with how the government collects an array of intelligence gathering operations that may at times turn up the details pertaining to US persons.

Some of the issues touched upon by Mr. Obama during Friday’s address are included in a presidential policy directive published earlier that morning:

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In announcing changes to metadata program carried out through Sec. 215, Mr. Obama said, “I believe critics are right to point out that without proper safeguards, this type of program could be used to yield more information about our private lives and open the door to more intrusive bulk collection programs in the future.” His administration will begin immediately working towards transferring possession of those records away from the NSA, the president added, while at the same time significantly cutting down the number of persons whose information is collected.

“Effective immediately,” he added, “we will only pursue phone calls that are two steps removed from a number associated with a terrorist association.” Until now the US government has given itself the authority to investigate the conduct of people separated by three steps, or “hops,” from a targeted number. Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union claimed that a person with 40 contacts in their mobile phone address book could be connected to roughly 2.5 million others using the “three hops” rule.

Last month, a five-person review group handpicked by Pres. Obama after the dawn of the Snowden leaks released their findings with regards to how they believe the federal government should reform the NSA’s programs. Although the president heeded only a fraction of those, according to promises made during Friday’s address, he did also endorse significant changes to other surveillance programs that have struck a chord among civil libertarians.

National Security Letters, or NSLs, for instance, can be sent by federal agents to private businesses in order to compel them to provide specific information about certain customers without that targeted person ever being told they are under investigation. “We can and should be more transparent as to how the government uses this authority,” the president said from the DoJ headquarters, and in an effort to do as much he has directed Attorney General Holder to amend how NSLs are currently used.

Mr. Obama also announced that he’s asked Congress to establish a panel of advocate from outside of government to provide an independent voice before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC, which authorizes in secret wiretaps and similar spy operations under what critics call little-to-no oversight.

U.S. forces Net firms to cooperate – act or NSA will

Editor’s Note – Once again we have to ask, do you believe what Washington tells you or do you need a new, more reliable source to understand what is taking place affecting our liberties and privacy? Then ask, why does our government need such widespread investigative tools when it clearly crosses the line on our freedoms?

How the U.S. forces Net firms to cooperate on surveillance

Officially, Uncle Sam says it doesn’t interfere.

But behind the scenes, the feds have been trying to browbeat Internet firms into helping with surveillance demands.

By wielding a potent legal threat, the U.S. government is often able to force Internet companies to aid its surveillance demands. The threat? Comply or we’ll implant our own eavesdropping devices on your network.nsa-square

Under federal law, the National Security Agency can serve real-time “electronic surveillance” orders on Internet companies for investigations related to terrorism or national security.

These orders, authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, are used to feed data into the NSA’s PRISM software program that was revealed last month by former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden. PRISM documents indicate that the NSA can receive “real-time notifications” of user log-ins.

Some Internet companies have reluctantly agreed to work with the government to conduct legally authorized surveillance on the theory that negotiations are less objectionable than the alternative — federal agents showing up unannounced with a court order to install their own surveillance device on a sensitive internal network. Those devices, the companies fear, could disrupt operations, introduce security vulnerabilities, or intercept more than is legally permitted.

“Nobody wants it on-premises,” said a representative of a large Internet company who has negotiated surveillance requests with government officials. “Nobody wants a box in their network…[Companies often] find ways to give tools to minimize disclosures, to protect users, to keep the government off the premises, and to come to some reasonable compromise on the capabilities.”

Precedents were established a decade or so ago when the government obtained legal orders compelling companies to install custom eavesdropping hardware on their networks.

One example, which has not been previously disclosed, arose out of a criminal investigation in which the Drug Enforcement Administration suspected a woman of trafficking in 1,4-Butanediol. The butane-derived chemical is used industrially as a solvent and recreationally as a date rape drug or sedative.

The DEA’s Special Operations Division, which includes FBI representatives, obtained a real-time intercept order — sometimes called a Title III order — against EarthLink and WorldCom, a network provider that’s now part of Verizon Business. Both companies were targeted by the order because EarthLink routed outgoing e-mail messages through equipment leased from WorldCom.

WorldCom technicians were required to help the DEA install surveillance equipment that the agency had purchased and provided. Over the course of the wiretap, the government’s hardware vacuumed up over 1,200 e-mail messages from the targeted account. EarthLink did not respond to a request for comment this week.

TECH-articleLargeFISA gives the government a powerful club to wield against Internet companies. The law requires the firms to “furnish all information, facilities, or technical assistance necessary to accomplish the electronic surveillance” as long as it can be done with a “minimum of interference” with other users.

In another case that was closely watched within the industry, the FBI invoked similar language to force EarthLink to install a Carnivore network monitoring device, over the company’s strenuous objections. EarthLink challenged the surveillance order in court because it was concerned that Carnivore would vacuum up more user metadata than the court order authorized.

It lost. A federal magistrate judge sided with the government, despite the fact that “Carnivore would enable remote access to the ISP’s network and would be under the exclusive control of government agents,” Robert Corn-Revere, an attorney for EarthLink, told Congress at the time.

Those legal victories allowed the government to strong-arm Internet companies into reworking their systems to aid in surveillance — under the threat of having the FBI install NarusInsight or similar devices on their networks. “The government has a lot of leverage,” including contracts and licenses, said a representative for an Internet company. “There is a lot of pressure from them. Nobody is willingly going into this.”

Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, said, referring to the government’s pressure tactics:

They can install equipment on the system. And I think that’s why companies are motivated to cooperate [and] use their own equipment to collect for the government. They would rather help than let any government equipment on their service, because then they lose oversight and control.

In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton signed into law the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, which required telephone companies to configure their systems to perform court-authorized lawful intercepts in a standard way. In 2004, that requirement was extended to cover broadband providers, but not Web companies.

A survey of earlier litigation shows, however, that the Justice Department was able to convince courts to force companies to take steps to permit surveillance through their networks long before CALEA became law.

In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that surveillance law is a “direct command to federal courts to compel, upon request, any assistance necessary to accomplish an electronic interception.”

Other courts followed suit. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit concluded in 1979 that the Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania must comply with a surveillance order because it would cause only “a minimal disruption of normal operations.” The Ninth Circuit ruled against Mountain Bell a year later, saying a surveillance order “recognized the practical fact that the actions ordered were technical ones which only that company could perform.”

If an Internet company offers encryption designed in such a way that even its engineers can’t access users’ files or communications, it would be unable to comply with a FISA or other surveillance order.

But with a few exceptions, such as SpiderOak and Fogpad, nearly all companies use encryption only in transit, meaning data stored on servers remains unencrypted.

That’s why Microsoft could be compelled to work with the NSA and the FBI’s Data Intercept Technology Unit to aid in surveillance of Outlook.com and Hotmail messages, a situation the Guardian disclosed yesterday, citing documents provided by Snowden.

Internet companies have, on occasion, created “teams of in-house experts” to figure out how to respond to FISA surveillance orders, The New York Times reported last month.

Microsoft’s engineers have quietly designed a system to comply with government orders, which manages to avoid having a surveillance device implanted on a internal network. (Microsoft declined to comment for this article.)

One case that used it arose out of a probe into illegal drug sales in Philadelphia. As part of that investigation, the government obtained a court order for a real-time wiretap against a Hotmail account.

Microsoft’s wiretap compliance system worked by forwarding a copy of two suspects’ e-mail messages to a “shadow account” located elsewhere on Hotmail’s servers. Each address under surveillance had a separate “shadow account” associated with it.

Every 15 minutes, an automated process logged in to these shadow accounts and transferred the retrieved e-mails into “case folders” on computers at a DEA office in Lorton, Va.

Homeland Security agents separately obtained a real-time wiretap of a Hotmail account used by a man suspected of possessing pornography involving minors. A case associated with that criminal prosecution, which might reveal more about surveillance techniques used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, remains under seal in a New Jersey federal court.

A Google spokesman declined to say this week whether the company could comply with a wiretap order targeting a Google Hangout or Google Talk conversation.

The government’s ability to perform surveillance even when armed with a court order depends in large part on the decisions engineers made when designing a product. “Many implementations include an ability to monitor sessions as a debugging tool,” one government official said this week. “Depending on how things have been built, a real-time wiretap may be nothing more than turning that on. As an example, all enterprise-grade Ethernet switches include a monitor port — not because the FBI demands it, but because sysadmins need it.”

Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said the PRISM disclosures show Internet companies should embrace strong encryption for their users. “This is a place where the companies have an opportunity to do something that doesn’t hurt their ability to make money and [that wins] them praise,” he said.

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.