Here Today, Gone tomorrow: The Fox News Memory Hole
You should know by now that the government can easily access your personal voice and data communications. But, are you aware that individuals outside of your country have the same capability? Are these foreign entities listening to your most intimate conversations? Do you think the only one listening is the trusted recipient on the other line?
The United States has outsourced the tasks of maintaining telephone hardware and providing wiretapping software to a foreign nation with a history of spying. Could this foreign government have obtained sensitive information through voice data networks and used it against the United States? The Mainstream Media has consciously chosen to evade the issue, and reporting on the matter is virtually non-existent, with one notable exception.
In mid-December of 2001, Brit Hume, anchor of “Special Report” on Fox News, ran a 4-part special detailing the involvement of two Israeli communication-support firms that had contracts in the United States. The broadcast also exposed the exploits of 140 Israeli individuals who were arrested in what the government described as “an organized intelligence gathering operation,” designed to “penetrate government facilities.” The information came from a sensitive Drug Enforcement Agency document that was leaked to an investigative journalist. The paper contained a summary of reports from numerous U.S. Government installations regarding suspicious activities involving “art students” claiming to have studied in Israel. Many of these detained “art students” admitted that they had “served in military intelligence, electronic surveillance intercept, and/or explosive ordinance units.”
The two Israeli firms provided high-tech telephone equipment and eavesdropping software designed to spy on domestic calls. Amdocs Ltd., “generates the computerized billing records and billing data for nearly every phone call made in America.” The firm has been investigated repeatedly by the FBI and the NSA for potential security breaches. The NSA issued a top secret sensitive compartmentalized information report (TS/SCI) warning that records of calls made in the U.S. were getting into Israeli hands.
An internal Amdocs memo indicated that the company used “widespread data mining techniques and algorithms combining both the properties of the customer and properties of the specific behavior.” In other words, a foreign corporate entity admitted to analyzing individual-specific data of U.S. callers, and how they were using the phone (i.e., who they were calling). U.S. counterintelligence sources have warned that the “systems are vulnerable” and “major breaches are possible.”
The other firm, Comverse Infosys, is an Israeli-run telecommunications subsidiary that provides wiretapping equipment for law enforcement operations in the United States. Comverse Infosys is heavily subsidized by the Israeli government. FBI investigations into Comverse software and equipment were halted by superiors before they were able to undergo security breach analysis. A FCC document revealed that several federal agencies were concerned that “unauthorized non-law enforcement personnel had access through the wiretap system.” Under the Fourth Amendment, the government must obtain a warrant to tap an American’s telephone. Foreign governments do not seem to be constrained by this Constitutional privacy protection.
The information contained in the 4-part series is shocking, but what is also intriguing is what happened to it. Evidence of the 4-part series on the Internet is virtually non-existent. The clips have been pulled from the Fox News website, with no explanation. The previously existing link to the story indicates that the “page cannot be found.” The broadcast transcripts are unavailable on the website as well. Who would want this information to disappear and why? Where did it go?
It seems that the story ruffled more than a few feathers. Immediately after the report ran, the investigative reporter on the story, Carl Cameron, stated that individuals from the group CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting) “peppered the shit out of us.” CAMERA is affiliated with the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) and AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). Both of these groups are staunch defenders of the state of Israel and are extremely powerful in influencing public, congressional, and executive branch opinion (as compared to other foreign, religious, and ethnic special interest groups). Individuals in the DEA, INS, and FBI questioned about the use of Comverse software for domestic spying in the U.S. stressed that even the suggestion of Israeli spying would be “considered career suicide.”
Information can be extremely dangerous, especially to those who are threatened by its revelation. When a journalist’s work-product can be scrubbed from the information landscape, how are we to assess the current and historical record? When mainstream networks, and their reporters, are retroactively gagged through coercion and pressure-tactics, how will we get the truth? Due to the emergence of the Internet, the memory hole is not as powerful as it once was. The scrubbed record is able to be corrected for those who seek the full story.
Here is the transcript of the 4-part Fox News Special Report series.
Get a good night’s sleep and don’t bug anybody without asking me – Richard Milhous Nixon