Monday, February 10, 2014

Investigative Reports: U.S. Drone Hits Based on Flimsy "Geolocation" Intel

U.S. drone assassinations are often based on flimsy and unreliable intelligence, such as the location of a cell phone SIM card, according to this interesting investigative report by former Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald and journalist Jeremy Scahill, who both specialize in intelligence issues.

The SIM card "geolocation" intelligence is rarely confirmed by a human source on the ground to make sure the possessor of the SIM card is actually the intended target, they write on Greenwald's new investigative reporting website, The Intercept.

The target is often selected simply because of "metadata" activity deemed to be suspicious--such as repeated contact with other suspected militants--and isn't verified through other methods, says the story, citing an anonymous former drone operator who is troubled by the assassination program.

Unintended Deaths

The imprecise targeting has led to the killing of unintended and unknown people, the story says.

While a Guardian columnist, Greenwald reported extensively on whistleblower Edward Snowden's unprecedented revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency's massive dragnet spying operations on Americans and non-citizens alike.

The Intercept promises "aggressive and independent adversarial journalism" on a range of issues.

It has also posted a second piece featuring never-before-seen aerial photos of NSA and other U.S. intelligence facilities.

Read more about the latest NSA revelations in this Democracy Now! interview with Greenwald and Scahill.

State Lawmakers Seek to Cut Off NSA

In related news, state legislators in Maryland, Arizona, Tennessee, Washington and California have proposed bills to deny water and electricity to NSA headquarters in Ft. Meade, Maryland, and other facilities of the agency, this news item says. The moves are in protest over the NSA's sweeping spying programs.

One bill now before the Maryland state legislature also bans the use of NSA-derived evidence in state courts and prevents state universities from partnering with the agency on research.

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