Ed’s Daily Notes for August 16th   Leave a comment

Washington Post: NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Read the whole article.

The NSA’s defense?

“We’re a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line,” a senior NSA official said in an interview, speaking with White House permission on the condition of anonymity.

So their excuse for violating the 4th Amendment is “we’re only human”? Great…

As for Edward Snowden…

Reuters: Snowden downloaded NSA secrets while working for Dell, sources say

Say what?

Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden began downloading documents describing the U.S. government’s electronic spying programs while he was working for Dell Inc in April 2012, almost a year earlier than previously reported, according to U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the matter.

Snowden, who was granted a year’s asylum by Russia on Aug. 1, worked for Dell from 2009 until earlier this year, assigned as a contractor to U.S. National Security Agency facilities in the United States and Japan.

Snowden downloaded information while employed by Dell about eavesdropping programs run by the NSA and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, and left an electronic footprint indicating when he accessed the documents, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

David Frink, a spokesman for Round Rock, Texas-based Dell, declined to comment on any aspect of Snowden’s employment with the company, saying Dell’s “customer” – presumably the NSA – had asked Dell not to talk publicly about him.

…Snowden has said he left Dell for a job at Booz Allen Hamilton in Hawaii around March of this year, specifically to gain access to additional top-secret documents that could be leaked to the media.

What the heck is going on?

We knew a lot of companies were involved with the NSA, but Dell? This is a head-scratcher.

CNBC: Soros takes a bite out of Apple after ditching gold

If you want to know why gold dropped like it did last Spring, look no further than this story:

Billionaire investor George Soros has been busy stocking up on hedge fund favorites as he joined others in dumping gold exchange traded fund (ETF) holdings in the second quarter, SEC regulatory filings revealed.

Soros Fund Management picked up 66,800 shares in Apple, the filings showed, just a day after fellow billionaire investor Carl Icahn revealed that he had built up a “large stake” in the tech giant.

It came after the Soros family office ditched its holdings in the world’s biggest gold ETF, SPDR Gold Trust, which were valued at $82 million at the end of March, and its holdings in Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF, worth $100.9 million.

A number of other hedge funds have also cut their stakes in gold ETFs in the second quarter — despite the jump in demand for the physical metal.

Paulson & Co has more than halved its stake in SPDR Gold Trust to 10.2 million shares, and JP Morgan Chase has cut its holding in the fund by 1.6 million shares to 8.6 million.

In addition, Wells Fargo sold 738,039 shares, taking its stake to 1.4 million shares, while Northern Trust Corporation lowered its investment by 72 percent, to 1.9 million shares.

Myfoxny: Three cases of dengue fever in Florida

Bear with me on this story:

Health officials say they’ve confirmed three cases of dengue fever contracted in central Florida.

Dengue fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Millions of cases are reported worldwide each year, but it’s rare for anyone to contract it in the United States.

The Florida Department of Health says the three patients are residents of Martin and St. Lucie counties. Officials say the patients acquired dengue from mosquitoes in Rio, near Jensen Beach. None have traveled internationally recently.

Officials say St. Lucie County hasn’t had any cases of locally acquired dengue until now. There was one case in Martin County in 2011.

Dengue is sometimes called “break bone fever” because of the severe joint pain it causes in extreme cases. Other symptoms include high fever, severe headache and a rash.

So why do I care about this? As a NanoViricides (NNVC) investor, a dengue outbreak could be huge, since they just received orphan drug status for treating dengue from the FDA.

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Posted August 16, 2013 by edmcgon in Market Analysis, News, Politics, Precious Metals

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