From the Institute for Public Accuracy:

A billboard challenging Amazon to fully disclose the terms of its $600 million contract to provide cloud computing services for the Central Intelligence Agency has been unveiled at a busy intersection near Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.

The billboard’s launch — asking “the $600 million question: What’s the CIA Doing on Amazon’s Cloud?” — marks the escalation of a campaign by the online activist organizations and The groups are calling for accountability from Amazon in an effort to inform the public of serious privacy implications of the Amazon-CIA collaboration. ( is a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)

The positioning of the 48-foot-wide billboard on Amazon’s doorstep at Fairview Avenue and Valley Street in Seattle follows a RootsAction petition calling for Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos to make a legally binding commitment to Amazon’s commercial customers that it will not provide customer data to the CIA.

Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer. “The same company that stores vast quantities of customer records and even provides cloud storage services also stores the CIA’s surveillance data — yet the actual terms of the Amazon-CIA agreement are secret,” said Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and a co-founder of



The White House has announced today that a long-standing plan to roll out a federal “Internet ID” authentication scheme that would be used to log in to all websites across the Internet will move forward, and the service will launch in six to twelve months.

“We simply have to kill off the password,” insisted White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel. The initiative began in 2011, with an eye toward public-private plans, but seems now to be centering on wearable authentication bracelets that Americans would apparently get instead of passwords.

Private multiple site authentication systems like OpenID have been around for years, and logging in to websites with a Facebook or Twitter account is also becoming popular. The downside to this, from the administration’s perspective, seems to be that they don’t have direct control over the backbone of such a system.

Given the huge privacy implications of such a federally-run scheme, it’s hard to imagine eager adoption. Distrust in the wake of the NSA surveillance leaks, along with the federal government’s other fiascos in the webspace, like the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website, make this a recipe for monumental failure.

Details are scant, and in the past the administration insisted the program would be “purely voluntary,” though if the goal is really to “kill off the password” nationwide, it clearly will not remain voluntary for long, and full-scale government control over your ability to log in to websites seems to be the ultimate goal.

The following is being released by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy:

A federal lawsuit seeks immediate release of a closely held government report about how American branches of Israeli charitable and educational institutes fund secret nuclear weapons research and development programs.

An unclassified 1987 study conducted for the Department of Defense titled "Current Technology Issues in Israel" discovered Technion University technicians developing nuclear missile re-entry vehicles and working at the Dimona nuclear weapons production facility. Hebrew University computer scientists working at the Soreq nuclear facilities were "developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs." Israel’s Weizmann Institute "studied high energy physics and hydrodynamics needed for nuclear bomb design, and worked on lasers to enrich uranium, the most advanced method for making the material dropped on Hiroshima in 1945" say sources attributed to the report cited in the lawsuit.

IRmep filed suit for the report in the DC District Court as part of a public-interest drive to obtain long overdue enforcement of the Symington and Glenn Amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act. The laws prohibit U.S. foreign aid to nuclear weapons states such as Israel that are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

A recent Google Consumer Survey (PDF) reveals that despite longstanding Israeli and US government gag orders on publicly discussing the arsenal, 63.9 percent of Americans now believe Israel possesses nuclear weapons. 60.7 percent of Americans oppose sending the largest share (9 percent) of the US foreign aid budget to Israel.

Israel’s Weizmann Institute, Technion, and Hebrew University raise substantial tax-exempt charitable funding through affiliates in the United States creating a "tax gap" that must be financed by individual American taxpayers. According to their most recent IRS filings, American branches of the three organizations raise a combined $172 million in annual US tax-exempt funding. IRmep’s "request for determination" filings with the IRS reveal that secret foreign nuclear weapons development has no recognized US tax-deductible "social welfare" purpose.

Defendants Department of Defense, the DC US Attorney Office and Attorney General have until October 30 to respond to IRmep’s public interest lawsuit demanding release of the explosive report. The Center for Policy and Law Enforcement is a unit of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington. Inquiries about the lawsuit or opinion poll results may be directed to Grant F. Smith at or 202-342-7325.

Citing “law enforcement and intelligence sources who have been briefed on the case,” Michael Isikoff reports that the government has identified “the second leaker” – a source of information on drone targeting and terrorist watchlisting for The Intercept.

The FBI has identified an employee of a federal contracting firm suspected of being the so-called second leaker who turned over sensitive documents about the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list to a journalist closely associated with ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, according to law enforcement and intelligence sources who have been briefed on the case.

The FBI recently executed a search of the suspect’s home, and federal prosecutors in Northern Virginia have opened up a criminal investigation into the matter, the sources said.

Because it raises questions about whether the Administration has the “appetite” to prosecute another source for journalists, the article seems designed to generate pressure to do just that – to get Congress (among others) to demand that the Justice Department prosecute this source.

But the case has also generated concerns among some within the USintelligence community that top Justice Department officials – stung by criticism that they have been overzealous in pursuing leak cases – may now be more reluctant to bring criminal charges involving unauthorized disclosures to the news media, the sources said. One source, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, said there was concern “there is no longer an appetite at Justice for these cases.”


The Sundance Now Doc Club is making My Country My Country, the Iraq documentary by Laura Poitras (of Edward Snowden fame, and director of the acclaimed new film, Citzenfour), available to watch for free online until November 24. Watch it here.

A week and a half ago, I blogged about an ongoing story in Oakley, Michigan, which is not that far from here and which I’ve been keeping an eye on. People are apparently picking up the story now outside of the local news, and it’s getting some new info.

For those who don’t remember, the village has 290 people and a massive police department that is funded through secret “donations.” The names of the police are a secret, including from the village government, and when they approved the release of the names, police claimed ISIS might kill the police if they knew who they were.

Vocativ has a great piece on it now, which includes an admission from the village’s part-time police chief Robert Reznick that the ISIS threat might be “far-fetched,” but that that “doesn’t matter” and that the names should remain secret.

Reznick all but admits that he’s selling badges in a money-making scheme, but insists that it’s not illegal, and that the village needs the money. The Vocativ report includes claims that not only are people buying badges for the higher-end gun permit, but because they can use it to access police records in a way that civilians could not. The number of police is still unknown, but is believed to be at least 100.

The village council has shut the police down, and the courts have finally ordered them to stay shut down, at least until next week’s election installs a new council which could restore them. The council has also requested the police to return all their equipment, which they’ve refused to do, and which has led the council to asking the Michigan State Police to try to recover the property “stolen” by former police.

Yet the village has no record of what all that property consists of, let alone who these former police are, so the request to recover the gear is an exercise in futility, and will likely remain unresolved while the state investigates the department for selling badges and decides whether or not that’s actually something anyone can just do.