The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program

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Featured photo - The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press.

The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.

The drone operator, who agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of anonymity, was a member of JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force, which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

His account is bolstered by top-secret NSA documents previously provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. It is also supported by a former drone sensor operator with the U.S. Air Force, Brandon Bryant, who has become an outspoken critic of the lethal operations in which he was directly involved in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

In one tactic, the NSA “geolocates” the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device.

The former JSOC drone operator is adamant that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But he also states that innocent people have “absolutely” been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic.

One problem, he explains, is that targets are increasingly aware of the NSA’s reliance on geolocating, and have moved to thwart the tactic. Some have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system. Others, unaware that their mobile phone is being targeted, lend their phone, with the SIM card in it, to friends, children, spouses and family members.

Some top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA’s targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers. “They would do things like go to meetings, take all their SIM cards out, put them in a bag, mix them up, and everybody gets a different SIM card when they leave,” the former drone operator says. “That’s how they confuse us.”

As a result, even when the agency correctly identifies and targets a SIM card belonging to a terror suspect, the phone may actually be carried by someone else, who is then killed in a strike. According to the former drone operator, the geolocation cells at the NSA that run the tracking program – known as Geo Cell –sometimes facilitate strikes without knowing whether the individual in possession of a tracked cell phone or SIM card is in fact the intended target of the strike.

“Once the bomb lands or a night raid happens, you know that phone is there,” he says. “But we don’t know who’s behind it, who’s holding it. It’s of course assumed that the phone belongs to a human being who is nefarious and considered an ‘unlawful enemy combatant.’ This is where it gets very shady.”

The former drone operator also says that he personally participated in drone strikes where the identity of the target was known, but other unknown people nearby were also killed.

“They might have been terrorists,” he says. “Or they could have been family members who have nothing to do with the target’s activities.”

What’s more, he adds, the NSA often locates drone targets by analyzing the activity of a SIM card, rather than the actual content of the calls. Based on his experience, he has come to believe that the drone program amounts to little more than death by unreliable metadata.

“People get hung up that there’s a targeted list of people,” he says. “It’s really like we’re targeting a cell phone. We’re not going after people – we’re going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.”

The Obama administration has repeatedly insisted that its operations kill terrorists with the utmost precision.

In his speech at the National Defense University last May, President Obama declared that “before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set.” He added that, “by narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life.”

But the increased reliance on phone tracking and other fallible surveillance tactics suggests that the opposite is true. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which uses a conservative methodology to track drone strikes, estimates that at least 273 civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have been killed by unmanned aerial assaults under the Obama administration. A recent study conducted by a U.S. military adviser found that, during a single year in Afghanistan – where the majority of drone strikes have taken place – unmanned vehicles were 10 times more likely than conventional aircraft to cause civilian casualties.

The NSA declined to respond to questions for this article. Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, also refused to discuss “the type of operational detail that, in our view, should not be published.”

In describing the administration’s policy on targeted killings, Hayden would not say whether strikes are ever ordered without the use of human intelligence. She emphasized that “our assessments are not based on a single piece of information. We gather and scrutinize information from a variety of sources and methods before we draw conclusions.”

Hayden felt free, however, to note the role that human intelligence plays after a deadly strike occurs. “After any use of targeted lethal force, when there are indications that civilian deaths may have occurred, intelligence analysts draw on a large body of information – including human intelligence, signals intelligence, media reports, and surveillance footage – to help us make informed determinations about whether civilians were in fact killed or injured.”

The government does not appear to apply the same standard of care in selecting whom to target for assassination. The former JSOC drone operator estimates that the overwhelming majority of high-value target operations he worked on in Afghanistan relied on signals intelligence, known as SIGINT, based on the NSA’s phone-tracking technology.

“Everything they turned into a kinetic strike or a night raid was almost 90 percent that,” he says. “You could tell, because you’d go back to the mission reports and it will say ‘this mission was triggered by SIGINT,’ which means it was triggered by a geolocation cell.”

In July, the Washington Post relied exclusively on former senior U.S. intelligence officials and anonymous sources to herald the NSA’s claims about its effectiveness at geolocating terror suspects.

Within the NSA, the paper reported, “A motto quickly caught on at Geo Cell: ‘We Track ’Em, You Whack ’Em.’”

But the Post article included virtually no skepticism about the NSA’s claims, and no discussion at all about how the unreliability of the agency’s targeting methods results in the killing of innocents.

In fact, as the former JSOC drone operator recounts, tracking people by metadata and then killing them by SIM card is inherently flawed. The NSA “will develop a pattern,” he says, “where they understand that this is what this person’s voice sounds like, this is who his friends are, this is who his commander is, this is who his subordinates are. And they put them into a matrix. But it’s not always correct. There’s a lot of human error in that.”

The JSOC operator’s account is supported by another insider who was directly involved in the drone program. Brandon Bryant spent six years as a “stick monkey” – a drone sensor operator who controls the “eyes” of the U.S. military’s unmanned aerial vehicles. By the time he left the Air Force in 2011, Bryant’s squadron, which included a small crew of veteran drone operators, had been credited with killing 1,626 “enemies” in action.

Bryant says he has come forward because he is tormented by the loss of civilian life he believes that he and his squadron may have caused. Today he is committed to informing the public about lethal flaws in the U.S. drone program.

Bryant describes the program as highly compartmentalized: Drone operators taking shots at targets on the ground have little idea where the intelligence is coming from.

“I don’t know who we worked with,” Bryant says. “We were never privy to that sort of information. If the NSA did work with us, like, I have no clue.”

During the course of his career, Bryant says, many targets of U.S. drone strikes evolved their tactics, particularly in the handling of cell phones. “They’ve gotten really smart now and they don’t make the same mistakes as they used to,” he says. “They’d get rid of the SIM card and they’d get a new phone, or they’d put the SIM card in the new phone.”

As the former JSOC drone operator describes – and as classified documents obtained from Snowden confirm – the NSA doesn’t just locate the cell phones of terror suspects by intercepting communications from cell phone towers and Internet service providers. The agency also equips drones and other aircraft with devices known as “virtual base-tower transceivers” – creating, in effect, a fake cell phone tower that can force a targeted person’s device to lock onto the NSA’s receiver without their knowledge.

That, in turn, allows the military to track the cell phone to within 30 feet of its actual location, feeding the real-time data to teams of drone operators who conduct missile strikes or facilitate night raids.

The NSA geolocation system used by JSOC is known by the code name GILGAMESH. Under the program, a specially constructed device is attached to the drone. As the drone circles, the device locates the SIM card or handset that the military believes is used by the target.

DT 1

Relying on this method, says the former JSOC drone operator, means that the “wrong people” could be killed due to metadata errors, particularly in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. “We don’t have people on the ground – we don’t have the same forces, informants, or information coming in from those areas – as we do where we have a strong foothold, like we do in Afghanistan. I would say that it’s even more likely that mistakes are made in places such as Yemen or Somalia, and especially Pakistan.”

As of May 2013, according to the former drone operator, President Obama had cleared 16 people in Yemen and five in Somalia for targeting in strikes. Before a strike is green-lit, he says, there must be at least two sources of intelligence. The problem is that both of those sources often involve NSA-supplied data, rather than human intelligence (HUMINT).

As the former drone operator explains, the process of tracking and ultimately killing a targeted person is known within the military as F3: Find, Fix, Finish. “Since there’s almost zero HUMINT operations in Yemen – at least involving JSOC – every one of their strikes relies on signals and imagery for confirmation: signals being the cell phone lock, which is the ‘find’ and imagery being the ‘unblinking eye’ which is the ‘fix.’” The “finish” is the strike itself.

“JSOC acknowledges that it would be completely helpless without the NSA conducting mass surveillance on an industrial level,” the former drone operator says. “That is what creates those baseball cards you hear about,” featuring potential targets for drone strikes or raids.

President Obama signs authorizations for “hits” that remain valid for 60 days. If a target cannot be located within that period, it must be reviewed and renewed. According to the former drone operator, it can take 18 months or longer to move from intelligence gathering to getting approval to actually carrying out a strike in Yemen. “What that tells me,” he says, “is that commanders, once given the authorization needed to strike, are more likely to strike when they see an opportunity – even if there’s a high chance of civilians being killed, too – because in their mind they might never get the chance to strike that target again.”

While drones are not the only method used to kill targets, they have become so prolific that they are now a standard part of U.S. military culture. Remotely piloted Reaper and Predator vehicles are often given nicknames. Among those used in Afghanistan, says the former JSOC drone operator, were “Lightning” and “Sky Raider.”

The latter drone, he adds, was also referred to as “Sky Raper,” for a simple reason – “because it killed a lot of people.” When operators were assigned to “Sky Raper,” he adds, it meant that “somebody was going to die. It was always set to the most high-priority missions.”

In addition to the GILGAMESH system used by JSOC, the CIA uses a similar NSA platform known as SHENANIGANS. The operation – previously undisclosed – utilizes a pod on aircraft that vacuums up massive amounts of data from any wireless routers, computers, smart phones or other electronic devices that are within range.

One top-secret NSA document provided by Snowden is written by a SHENANIGANS operator who documents his March 2012 deployment to Oman, where the CIA has established a drone base. The operator describes how, from almost four miles in the air, he searched for communications devices believed to be used by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in neighboring Yemen.The mission was code named VICTORYDANCE.

“The VICTORYDANCE mission was a great experience,” the operator writes. “It was truly a joint interagency effort between CIA and NSA. Flights and targets were coordinated with both CIAers and NSAers. The mission lasted 6 months, during which 43 flights were flown.”

VICTORYDANCE, he adds, “mapped the Wi-Fi fingerprint of nearly every major town in Yemen.”

DT 5

DT 6

The NSA has played an increasingly central role in drone killings over the past five years. In one top-secret NSA document from 2010, the head of the agency’s Strategic Planning and Policy Division of the Counterterrorism Mission Management Center recounts the history of the NSA’s involvement in Yemen. Shortly before President Obama took office, the document reveals, the agency began to “shift analytic resources to focus on Yemen.”

In 2008, the NSA had only three analysts dedicated to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen. By the fall of 2009, it had 45 analysts, and the agency was producing “high quality” signal intelligence for the CIA and JSOC.

In December 2009, utilizing the NSA’s metadata collection programs, the Obama administration dramatically escalated U.S. drone and cruise missile strikes in Yemen.

The first strike in the country known to be authorized by Obama targeted an alleged Al Qaeda camp in the southern village of al-Majala.

The strike, which included the use of cluster bombs, resulted in the deaths of 14 women and 21 children. It is not clear whether the strike was based on metadata collection; the White House has never publicly explained the strike or the source of the faulty intelligence that led to the civilian fatalities.

Another top-secret NSA document confirms that the agency “played a key supporting role” in the drone strike in September 2011 that killed U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as another American, Samir Khan. According to the 2013 Congressional Budget Justification, “The CIA tracked [Awlaki] for three weeks before a joint operation with the U.S. military killed” the two Americans in Yemen, along with two other people.

When Brandon Bryant left his Air Force squadron in April 2011, the unit was aiding JSOC in its hunt for the American-born cleric. The CIA took the lead in the hunt for Awlaki after JSOC tried and failed to kill him in the spring of 2011.

DT 4

According to Bryant, the NSA’s expanded role in Yemen has only added to what he sees as the risk of fatal errors already evident in CIA operations. “They’re very non-discriminate with how they do things, as far as you can see their actions over in Pakistan and the devastation that they’ve had there,” Bryant says about the CIA. “It feels like they tried to bring those same tactics they used over in Pakistan down to Yemen. It’s a repeat of tactical thinking, instead of intelligent thinking.”


hose within the system understand that the government’s targeting tactics are fundamentally flawed. According to the former JSOC drone operator, instructors who oversee GILGAMESH training emphasize: “‘This isn’t a science. This is an art.’ It’s kind of a way of saying that it’s not perfect.”

Yet the tracking “pods” mounted on the bottom of drones have facilitated thousands of “capture or kill” operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan since September 11. One top-secret NSA document provided by Snowden notes that by 2009, “for the first time in the history of the U.S. Air Force, more pilots were trained to fly drones … than conventional fighter aircraft,” leading to a “‘tipping point’ in U.S. military combat behavior in resorting to air strikes in areas of undeclared wars,” such as Yemen and Pakistan.

The document continues: “Did you ever think you would see the day when the U.S. would be conducting combat operations in a country equipped with nuclear weapons without a boot on the ground or a pilot in the air?”

Even NSA operatives seem to recognize how profoundly the agency’s tracking technology deviates from standard operating methods of war.

One NSA document from 2005 poses this question: “What resembles ‘LITTLE BOY’ (one of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II) and as LITTLE BOY did, represents the dawn of a new era (at least in SIGINT and precision geolocation)?”

Its reply: “If you answered a pod mounted on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that is currently flying in support of the Global War on Terrorism, you would be correct.”

DT 3

Another document boasts that geolocation technology has “cued and compressed numerous ‘kill chains’ (i.e. all of the steps taken to find, track, target, and engage the enemy), resulting in untold numbers of enemy killed and captured in Afghanistan as well as the saving of U.S. and Coalition lives.”

The former JSOC drone operator, however, remains highly disturbed by the unreliability of such methods. Like other whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, he says that his efforts to alert his superiors to the problems were brushed off. “The system continues to work because, like most things in the military, the people who use it trust it unconditionally,” he says.

When he would raise objections about intelligence that was “rushed” or “inaccurate” or “outright wrong,” he adds, “the most common response I would get was ‘JSOC wouldn’t spend millions and millions of dollars, and man hours, to go after someone if they weren’t certain that they were the right person.’ There is a saying at the NSA: ‘SIGINT never lies.’ It may be true that SIGINT never lies, but it’s subject to human error.”

The government’s assassination program is actually constructed, he adds, to avoid self-correction. “They make rushed decisions and are often wrong in their assessments. They jump to conclusions and there is no going back to correct mistakes.” Because there is an ever-increasing demand for more targets to be added to the kill list, he says, the mentality is “just keep feeding the beast.”

For Bryant, the killing of Awlaki – followed two weeks later by the killing of his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al Awlaki, also an American citizen – motivated him to speak out. Last October, Bryant appeared before a panel of experts at the United Nations – including the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, Ben Emmerson, who is currently conducting an investigation into civilians killed by drone strikes.

Dressed in hiking boots and brown cargo pants, Bryant called for “independent investigations” into the Obama administration’s drone program. “At the end of our pledge of allegiance, we say ‘with liberty and justice for all,’” he told the panel. “I believe that should be applied to not only American citizens, but everyone that we interact with as well, to put them on an equal level and to treat them with respect.”

Unlike those who oversee the drone program, Bryant also took personal responsibility for his actions in the killing of Awlaki. “I was a drone operator for six years, active duty for six years in the U.S. Air Force, and I was party to the violations of constitutional rights of an American citizen who should have been tried under a jury,” he said. “And because I violated that constitutional right, I became an enemy of the American people.”

Bryant later told The Intercept, “I had to get out because we were told that the president wanted Awlaki dead. And I wanted him dead. I was told that he was a traitor to our country…. I didn’t really understand that our Constitution covers people, American citizens, who have betrayed our country. They still deserve a trial.”

The killing of Awlaki and his son still haunt Bryant. The younger Awlaki, Abdulrahman, had run away from home to try to find his dad, whom he had not seen in three years. But his father was killed before Abdulrahman could locate him. Abdulrahman was then killed in a separate strike two weeks later as he ate dinner with his teenage cousin and some friends. The White House has never explained the strike.

“I don’t think there’s any day that goes by when I don’t think about those two, to be honest,” Bryant says. “The kid doesn’t seem like someone who would be a suicide bomber or want to die or something like that. He honestly seems like a kid who missed his dad and went there to go see his dad.”

Last May, President Obama acknowledged that “the necessary secrecy” involved in lethal strikes “can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny that a troop deployment invites. It can also lead a president and his team to view drone strikes as a cure-all for terrorism.”

But that, says the former JSOC operator, is precisely what has happened. Given how much the government now relies on drone strikes – and given how many of those strikes are now dependent on metadata rather than human intelligence – the operator warns that political officials may view the geolocation program as more dependable than it really is.

“I don’t know whether or not President Obama would be comfortable approving the drone strikes if he knew the potential for mistakes that are there,” he says. “All he knows is what he’s told.”

Whether or not Obama is fully aware of the errors built into the program of targeted assassination, he and his top advisors have repeatedly made clear that the president himself directly oversees the drone operation and takes full responsibility for it. Obama once reportedly told his aides that it “turns out I’m really good at killing people.”

The president added, “Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.”

Ryan Devereaux contributed to this article.

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  1. The nsa feeds fabricated data to the monkey clown in the white house and they murder anyone they want.
    I’m surprised more ex-wives haven’t been bombed.

  2. I just watched Dirty Wars and am still in shock about the killing af the 16 year old boy. I am a foreigner and the mother of a 17 year old son, an American citizen. I believe Obama’s daughter is my son’s age. How can he joke about this? I feel the US has become a dark and sinister place. I don’t want to be here anymore. Every time I pick up my phone to speak to my friends and relatives abroad I say F$&@ u NSA. Go ahead and waste the taxes extorted from your diminishing middle class to pay for murdering teenagers and listening into our conversations. My son graduates from your lousy school system and I will be out of here. You are doomed.

  3. It appears those responsible feel certain they will never be held responsible. Time will tell.

  4. Excellent
    Jeremy + Glenn = awesome
    I’m starting to wonder if it might actually be possible to get the murderous psychopaths out of power and reclaim our hijacked government.

    • How is that even a valid option? Are you suggesting that human life in the middle east is less valuable than yours? The killing of innocent people should always be one of the highest matters of concern, especially in war time. Look at it like this, you’re neighbor is an active member in a domestic terrorism unit and the NSA and CIA have pinpointed him. Based on their intelligence gathering methods that pinpoint location based on SIM cards they know he’s home. You’re at work so they think that it’s the safest time to attack, they may not get another chance. However, you’re family who for whatever reason don’t have phones are located in your house when the attack is made. They took out the terrorist but in the process also destroyed your home and severely injured or killed members of your family thinking no one was in your house because you’re SIM card wasn’t picked up. How do you feel now? Was justice served? Do you feel like a patriot because of what you sacrificed? Or do you want revenge and feel like you;ve been robbed and mistreated and unfairly robbed of your loved ones?

      • I’ll say it! I ain’t worried about “THOSE” worthless people over there. The POS gives other people his SIM knowing that’s how he is targeted, and his people take them? Oh well, shame on them. Tag you’re it. Maybe then these people think twice about lifting their finger in anger towards Americans or associating with the people that do. It took the fire bombing and dropping of 2 atom bombs on Japan to finally get the Japs to tell their war lord leaders, WE HAD ENOUGH! Surrender!! Maybe that’s what “THOSE” people over there need to do, because I for 1 never ever want to hear about another target on US soil being hit where thousands of Americans who were just going to work that day are killed. If I sound callous? Too bad. I am!

    • I hear this “pussy” term often.
      As far as I can tell, it means any person who isn’t a violent retard.
      I’m thinking of getting a ‘Proud To Be A Pussy’ T-shirt.

      • I have to agree with MIchael and Cam, and to add to call others pussies for respecting human life shows that individual to obviously love and enjoy the murder of others who have done no wrong. must read the article and understand that anwar al alwaki originally wasnt a radicle muslim, turned that was after the illegal invasion of Iraq and having a muslim woman half beaten to death with a baseball bat crawl into his mosque.

  5. the best we can do is be amused…living in the most evil police state to have ever existed demands a comedic sensibility. rather than despair, i see our decline coming in 5-10 decades….a little benjamin tainted marx, a smidgeon of gibbon and an incompetent, myopic and culturally crude elite suggests to me that we no longer have the chops to adapt to the modern world of rising economic powers, climate change, etc…. hell, the wall street puppets, obama and kerry, just caused transfer of $100 billion from US banks in 1 week, in the wake of threats to freeze russian assets… putin plays chess while obama masturbates on his checkerboard

  6. Lets reveal the TTPs of our military and intelligence services, that way those who did not already know them now do. I understand the need for a debate on these topics but much of the information revealed by Snowden are simply tactics that can be analyzed.

  7. “What’s more, he adds, the NSA often locates drone targets by analyzing the activity of a SIM card, rather than the actual content of the calls. Based on his experience, he has come to believe that the drone program amounts to little more than death by unreliable metadata.”

    So failing to examine the content of calls gets innocent people killed. But at least their privacy is protected!

  8. “One problem, he explains, is that targets are increasingly aware of the NSA’s reliance on geolocating, and have moved to thwart the tactic… Some top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA’s targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers.”
    Hmm, how are targets increasingly aware of NSA’s sources and methods? Anybody know? Bueller? Bueller? Traitor?

    • Transparency on targets, oversight and eliminating fascist domestic espionage would have made the Snowden discoveries moot… instead we had Clapper lying like the lying liar he is.

  9. OT: Reply/Post seem to be closed for story: How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

    Whistle blowing in the UK

    14. We took evidence from two civil servants who had leaked material to the media, Katharine Gun and Derek Pasquill. Ms Gun was working at GCHQ in 2003 when she leaked an email from the US National Security Agency. She did so because she felt that it contradicted the public line being taken by the UK and US governments at the time and because she felt the request made in the email was “immoral, illegal and completely against humanity”.

    Ev 46 Public Administration Committee: Evidence

    Q296 Paul Rowen: Could I ask either of you who whistleblew, why did you not go to your superior officer and raise your concerns? Why did you go straight to the media?

    Ms Gun: Personally, for me, once again, it was a time issue.

    Q297 Paul Rowen: How did you know it was a time issue?

    Ms Gun: As I said, because of the rhetoric. The media was practically having a field day with the ‘shock and awe’ campaign that the US was displaying for the world to see. I felt that really going to my line manager, as efficient and lovely a woman as she was, subsequently upon my revealing that it was me, all GCHQ would have done would have been to have taken a sort of, “Oh, yes, dear. Thank you for telling us, dear. We will bear this in mind”, and just drawn it out and swept it under the carpet and, on top of that, put me on the top watch-list of most dangerous persons in the organisation. It would not have gone outside GCHQ and certainly would not have made any difference whatsoever.

    interseting also:
    q251 ev39
    q172 ev26

  10. I’m a terrorist. I really am. Shoot me. Common, shoot me, obummer. I’m the expert. I know I am your top terrorist target cuz I say I am. So shoot me where I stand. I’m your man. The joke’s in your hand, you goddam puppet. Go back to your homeland. Look back over your shoulder, kinda grand, huh? What you and boy bush did to Afghanistan, Iraq…

  11. Everyone has a mobile microphone in their pocket, along with a camera and video recorder all of which can be activated remotely, without the user knowing. if you wanted the truth it’s easy to find.

  12. “The National Security Agency’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A. could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.”—Senator Frank Church, 1975
    Because Freedom can’t protect itself…

  13. When I was a postdoc at Los Alamos, one of the guys from X division used to try to freak out the newbies by telling them that he really liked to listen to Megadeath while designing nuclear weapons, and that his favorite song was “Killing is my business, and business is good.”

    I got out as fast as I could.

    • A fashionable magazine had an interview in 2013 with a female engineer of drones. She justified her actions like this: “It is really a compliment when people call you evil”
      I put the magazine down as fast as I could.

      • Wow and we wonder whats wrong with this world it’s people like this willing to kill and then reason it away .

      • It’s a compliment when terrorists and their sympathizers call you evil, because we are their worst enemy. Most Americans are in favor of using drones because they’re safer, more precise, and cheaper than alternatives like combat aircraft, and they leave terrorists with no place to hide.

  14. Thank you Glenn and Jeremy for posting this. What I appreciate most about your work is the timing. Since last year the majority of your disclosures have been about how the NSA seeks to end privacy worldwide. This article connects the dots and shows the logical next step of that data collection – military application – in chilling transparency. Had this been the first article you published the public would not be able to stomach it, but you’ve timed it such a way that this is not an issue. Releasing documents little by little keeps the ruling elite on their toes, and on the defensive. Keep up the good work, it’s articles like these that make me believe in journalism again.

  15. I really enjoyed the article. I’m not American and feel that I can not really judge Obama, NSA, CIA’s etc actions because I am not routed into the history of your country, i.e what it felt to watch as many as my fellow citizens died in a needless act of terrorism in 11/09/01. It is scary however to think that they can carry out all these attacks based on metadata analysis and cell phone tracking, if a threat to America was hiding out in a first world country like Ireland (where I’m from), will it get to a point where JSOC/NSA will convince the president that it may be there only chance to get him and drone a town without on the ground confirmation ???

    Anyway thank you Glenn and Jeremy, was very informative and I wish you all the best for the Oscar Jeremy, it would be very well deserved for a brilliant documentary.


  16. Could a link to a video or transcript of the Obama speech have been included? By linking to — for example — the Bureau of Investigative Journalism report on drone strike casualties of innocents but for example Obama’s speech, you open yourself up to criticism that you are not accurately portraying both sides of the debate. I happen to agree with your side, Mr. Greenwald, but the point remains that the president has a side too — and seemingly one that the majority of Americans agree with, if the two most recent elections are any indication.

  17. Facebook is used by the NSA and CIA to spy. Facebook now buys whatapp and now the NSA will be privy to even more information of personal conversations and lives of billions around the world.

  18. It is easy for any of us to be drawn into presenting our point of view in
    response to an alternative point of view. I think this is what you have been
    drawn into inadvertantly.

    If I may be a bit bold: Drones are (1) immoral, this is murder pure and simple
    no matter who dies. (2) Drones are illegal, regardless of who is killed or where.
    If you use international law as your yard stick, because Drone attacks are
    initiated by the US and occur, so far, on foreign soil we are attacking &
    invading sovereign air space without provocation (no matter the claim of
    fighting terrorism). In addition, is the question of proportionality … this needs
    no explanation it is so obvious. (3) Drone use is in violation of the
    US constitution as congress has not authorized going ‘to war’ wherever
    drones may go.(3) and then there is the issue of guilty without due process,
    charged, not tried, convicted and sentenced to death – all without due

    It is not necessary to talk about anything but the fact that Obama is now
    among the illustrious war criminals who have held the office of President
    of the U.S. All those who are part and parcel of this are complicit and
    are also war criminals.

    The sooner all of this is brought back to the bare bones of the matter, and
    these people charged and brought before the ICC the better off the
    world will be.

    To follow this with the Bush entourage: Powell, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice
    and whomever would further serve the interests of the common good.
    No wonder Obama did not want to ‘look back’ and bring these people
    before the court.

    While the details may support the framework, it is the essentials that must
    be emphasized. And, some of the details simply draw us and our
    attention away from the harsh truth: these people are committing war

  19. @ Greenwald and Scahill.

    Afaik, drone killings and targeted killing ‘abroad’ of any type are prohibited under international law, and many country’s laws. Besides that, from a common sense pov, they are immoral, dastardous, terroristic, and of course ineffective.

    I thought Glenn was a lawyer?

    This apparently has escaped your attention and you prefer to focus on details such as Afghanis exhanging SIM cards so that they may share, or spread around, the risks. Or the dodgy thing about not getting the right target…

    What if drone killings were done in the US by China? Sorry for this basic comparison, but apparently you feel insulated as working for the Superpower.

    Would your position then be different?

    If, say, David, was attacked and killed by a drone? And not just held up for a bit at Heathrow, giving you opposition creds?

    Glenn and Jeremy, good luck with the riches and fame. For some the price to be paid is heavy, others just scoot along protected by various interests. You belong to the latter category.

    • A little harsh but a point well made , i wonder if the money will bring them a chance to do good with it , lets hope . And to the PTB …. we see you . lol


      You are right, the link above is a government website conducting DNS spoofing, Certificate manipulation and one would have to assume a MITM or MOTS attack !!

      They are clearly using Foxacid servers to hack the PC’s of those who visit this news story and click that link ! HOLYCOW !!


      THE ANSWER TO 1984 IS 1776 !!!!!!

      *****WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, BE A LEADER !!*******

  20. thank you Glenn and Jeremy for this sobering, horrific tale…..knowing all these details makes it even WORSE….and then to see some of the commentators here just buying and promoting the standard Americkan Military gung ho propaganda, hook line and sinker, is truly appalling….

    nice to see you back online Glenn….i was referred to this story from the Digital Journal….

    thanks for speaking out the truth to power….what you guys and others like Chris Hedges, do is important, and necessary work….heroic in my view…i am thankful for your willingness to take the risks of being an open dissident, telling us what is really going on vis-a-vis the NSA, CSEC and GCHQ and other important political and human rights issues, when your home country, the US has become such a National Security Police State….

  21. These attacks are murder in any case, regardless whether they get the “right” phone or not. The suspects were never brought to justice, and that makes it a crime. Not a single bit better than the people they actually kill! There is a lot of people who know that the current U.S. government is simply a bunch of killers, hoping they were brought to justice themselves the very same day with the other terrorists.
    One single nation believing they were superior to all other nations, above any international law and breaking every single convention … and in the same time telling others how to behave … ridiculous. To end with slightly changed recent words from an U.S. diplomat: “F*ck the U.S.!”

  22. I wish I had the strength to read all of the comments, but I stopped drinking as “self-medication” for the U.S. government’s terrorism in March of 1989. Since then, there has been much more observable, verifiable evil, wouldn’t you say?

  23. Pres. Obama has been seduced by a fantasy involving power, intrigue, & death. It’s a real life James Bond scenario but played out in a Walter Mitty fashion. But the problem with this fantasy is the real life consequences. Our post constitutional America no longer adheres to flighty concepts of “due process” making it easy to allow the drone program to continue to kill indiscriminately based on unreliable SIGINT. What is most disturbing is that based on the justification for implementing this program in foreign countries, nothing prevents it from being used domestically against “domestic terror threats” which as we know anything considered a “threat to national security” can be included in this definition.

  24. Wonderful depiction of just what has/is happening with our government. It does appear that everything fell apart due to the government`s “take” dealing with 9-11.

  25. I realize I’m sidestepping the very serious nature of this piece – the inevitability of “justifiable” collateral damage – because I simply cannot wrap my head around the notion that souls are expendable based on geographic proximity, compromised intelligence, or human error. I believe drones and artificial intelligence simply have no place in warfare when the existence of real, living, breathing human beings hang in the balance. So I’d like to present another argument. First, why might our government and military be moving in this direction in the first place? I mean, yeah – technology is amazing and robots are cool – blah blah blah … but besides that, what are the more practical motivations? Technology is relatively cheap when built and applied on a massive scale. Sure, the original prototypes are expensive – but in time the cost vs. convenience pays for itself, eventually. And en-masse the multitude of applications for tasks and systems to work in concert reduce the expenditure quantifiably for human management and oversight even further – to the point it becomes intervention solely to maintenance, repair and replacement. Of course integrated defenses are required against hacking to protect against sabotage or industrial espionage, but that’s just software and downloading, right? This brings me back to my question – what is the true motivation behind the fixation towards drones, electronic surveillance, SIGNET, and robots in warfare? It’s so simple and it’s biggest threat to our democracy – it’s money. Given the fact the our military is the most expensive line item of our countries budget, and it’s political achilles heel, it stands to reason that once in place the necessity for the burden of warm bodies to do the heavy lifting is greatly diminished when replaced by technology. I mean, it’s easier and cheaper to repair or replace a computer than say, an arm or a leg, or a death benefit. Computers can kill and kill and kill and they’ll never suffer from PTSD, agent orange syndrome, or require any dubious and experimental inoculations. And hey, if a drone short circuits and crashes or “kills” itself or another drone – it’s not like any black car is going to drive up to it’s parent’s or spouses home with a flag and deliver the bad news. But more importantly – computers don’t even have a conscience – so the government will never have to worry about them deciding to sell their motherboards to a foreign adversary. With no conscience computers are unencumbered of any pesky morals, character or integrity – so they’ll never be a whistle-blowing threat, as if the other computers give two $hits about their rights being comprised – computers have no rights, right? You don’t even have to indefinitely detain or falsely incarcerate a computer for treason – you just collect their data via phone, internet or rado waves and analyze it – thereby freeing up more prison cells to house the “real” criminals … yeah! And those embarrassing little sexual misconduct incidents? Problem solved. Let’s face it – computers don’t complain, expect raises or promotions, require any training whatsoever – and they sure as hell don’t trade their sacrifice in exchange for a paid, college education, affordable home loans, a pension, or foodstamps when their families are struggling – because computers are inanimate objects … and even when landfills were rife with their dead and buried plastic “pieces”, recycling centers were invented to relieve our collective conscience so their parts won’t all be for naught. Whew! Another bullet dodged, so to speak. So, my point is this, I contend that human, military servicemen are more expensive and dangerous to our government than the cost of the technology to replace them, or clean up after them, as the case may be. The traditional model for our military is obsolete. Human soldiers just aren’t feasible in the cost analysis when compared to computers and technology. I bet there’s even a spreadsheet out there, somewhere in the anals of the pentagon (don’t you dare correct my spelling.) I believe the only purpose for future “ground soldiers” will be to protect the government and it’s facilities from its civilians, to protect border crossings, and to physically capture and detain federal dissidents and homegrown terrorists. So there it is – I said it all. And as the daughter or a Navy man (who was a jerk and asshat) and step-daughter of a Marine (who is the most honorable man I have even known), I say this with the heaviest of hearts – I would rather put my faith and gratitude in the hearts and minds of men who fight honestly and selflessly in the name of justice, freedom and democracy (even when some of them suffer from the worst of human frailties), knowing full well that how many will sacrifice, be sacrificed, and die in the name of protecting me and my loved ones … rather than trust, for even one second, the morally bankrupt and treacherous instincts of a bunch of petulant, corrupt little boys driven by money, pooling natural resources, paranoia, spite, revenge, megalomania, unbridled competitiveness and a desperate, obsessive need to operate a joystick and press buttons at a screen – with no shame or consequence for the real people who die at their filthy hands.

  26. Mr. Greenwald and Mr. Scahill

    “……..But the increased reliance on phone tracking and other fallible surveillance tactics suggests that the opposite is true. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which uses a conservative methodology to track drone strikes, estimates that at least 273 civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have been killed by unmanned aerial assaults under the Obama administration……”

    “……A recent study conducted by a U.S. military adviser found that, during a single year in Afghanistan – where the majority of drone strikes have taken place – unmanned vehicles were 10 times more likely than conventional aircraft to cause civilian casualties……”

    In an average year since Obama was elected (five years), about 55 civilians were killed by drone strikes – so war planes only killed five civilians in that year in Afghanistan? That’s truly amazing. Have you thought about writing an article in support of the US military record concerning civilians? A drunk driver takes out that many in a single outing – and about 10,000 per year in all in the US. My guess is that the Taliban murder more little girls in an average weekend.

    I didn’t notice anything reported in your article about IEDs – or their indiscriminate use by the Taliban. The Taliban according to the UN account for 75% of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Indeed, I also didn’t notice anything in your article about terrorists hiding within civilian populations or refusing to wear uniforms – both in violation of the Geneva Convention. Their disregard for the rules of war put civilians at risk. This is especially true in Pakistan where government support for the Taliban has brought the war to Pakistan.

    These are the kinds of articles I expected at your new site. Good to see that you have begun to publish. Good luck.

    • That might be a good slogan for the US to take up: “We only kill 55 civilians a year these days.”

      The information on the study about manned vs. unmanned aircraft comes from this report:

      It was done by the Center for Naval Analyses, and it’s based on classified data. Undoubtedly, the US military has more complete data on which strikes they’ve carried out and their outcome than the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can gather from press reports and their investigations. The figures from the BIJ should be taken as a bare minimum.

      And BTW, any deaths that occur as a result of the occupation of Afghanistan (deaths that would not have occurred otherwise, or excess deaths) are the responsibility of the US. It doesn’t matter if they are deaths from heart attacks or disease or anything else. I don’t know if anyone has estimated excess deaths for the whole of the occupation of Afghanistan, but in Iraq the figure was at least half a million.

      • “…….The figures from the BIJ should be taken as a bare minimum…..”

        I guess this is your point? Since they are the reported figures, then that’s all I can quote – or would you like me to make up some deaths? In addition, the article reports 1626 deaths to the militants by drones. That’s a nearly 8:1 ratio. In fact, considering the Taliban hide within civilian populations and don’t wear uniforms, the accuracy is fairly astounding. Of course, this is a war zone and civilians are going to be killed – most of them by the Taliban.

        “……And BTW, any deaths that occur as a result of the occupation of Afghanistan (deaths that would not have occurred otherwise, or excess deaths) are the responsibility of the US. It doesn’t matter if they are deaths from heart attacks or disease or anything else…..”

        Sorry to disagree. The Taliban could have avoided the invasion by turning over Bin Laden – which they refused. In fact, as I stated above, the Taliban – principally by the use of IEDs – account for 75% of the civilian casualties according to the UN. They are armed and funded by the Pakistan government. Indeed, the Pakistan government has been ice enough to grant the seventh century loving Taliban a safe haven in Pakistan bringing the war to that country.

        You really need to put the blame where it belongs. Thanks for your response.

          • “…….Even better slogan for the US “we kill the right people by an 8 to 1 ratio”……”

            We’ve come a long ways since Hiroshima….baby.

    • So your logic here is that since the Taliban violate international law, that gives the U.S. the right to violate international law? Should we not try to distinguish ourselves from the Taliban, and thus, obey international law?

  27. I am French but I think too much detail on these operations is a disaster for national security.

    Denounced the errors of targets, OK, but indicated how the terrorists spot is a bad idea.

    The enemies of the Western world look as internet …

    • Il est effectivement tres etrange qu’envahir illegalement un pays, tuer des tonnes de civiliens n’est pas genere une plus grande amitie avec les enemis de l’ouest. Franchement, ce commentaire est hilarant.

  28. I agree with an earlier poster- your journalistic team is a breath of fresh air and guys, girls, don’t fuck it up. Don’t let your respective egos get in the way of dogged journalism. I read all the articles and each one was a gem. Balanced, researched, well thought out with poignant historical references; news quality that, alas, one does not find anymore in American MSM.

    Congratulations on a wonderful first ‘printing’. Good luck!!

  29. It’s absolutely disgusting – and a terrorist act itself! – that a so-called democratic government kills people instead of bringing suspects to fair trials.

  30. Maybe if people focused on things like this instead of protesting Walmart and McDonald’s there might be a greater price for government to pay when they engage in activities like this.

    • The real problem is that most people do NOT protest anything. There is nothing wrong with protesting Walmart and when it comes to the NSA and the drones , if only a republican was in office we might have some half hearted liberals in the streets about this.

  31. I have the upmost support for this site and hope others like it spring up. I’ve followed you guys (Scahill and Greenwald) for the last two years, and honestly it’s a breath of fresh air. I say this with all the love in the world, PLEASE don’t fuck this up guys. This may be the last shred of powerhouse journalism left in the U.S.

  32. “What goes around comes around”

    Sooner or later The Hague Court will have to deal with this. War crimes need to be publicly addressed.

  33. why should be obama allowed to decide who has to die? is he the ruler of the world? should not some kinde of court decide who is guilty?

  34. what’s a democracy?

    here in this asian country it’s clearly not a democracy yet the targeting of citizens (for whatever reason), isn’t too dissimilar from the actions of the white house approved US gov’t. when will we wake up as a species and accept the fact that governments on this planet are not as interested in keeping the masses safe, free from fear, and promoting the human experience as they are in controlling them? when will we wake up and demand these institutions that subvert human potential be dissolved so we may actually begin to sustain our species? when will there really be any semblance of life that allows humanity to function without oppression from government?

    what’s a democracy and is it even a realistic concept?

    • Democracy: 2 wolves and a rabbit taking a vote on what’s for dinner. I won’t fight for “democracy” run by and for psychopaths. I won’t fight to impose a Western democratic framework of elections on people who are happy to be ruled by a strongman and the religious police. Trade is the best we can do.

      My rights are not subject to a vote of the majority. Rights are inherent in sentient beings, enforced as possible, but never lost.
      The “veto” of combat-effective disgruntled minorities can be long and painful. Best example in 20th century was a few hundred (at any time) IRA men giving the British a chance to drain the treasury while looking foolish for bombs going off in London.

  35. Be so careful on this path; stay alive, and walk in the knowledge that you are loved. And our children are watching you with us. Thanks for the lessons in Liberty.

  36. General Hercules does offer an excellent observation about targeting the lower level enemy instead of the top level enablers residing in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. I wish I could offer a realistic means to make the top level guys with nukes and oil wells cease and desist. We are stuck in a very morally compromised proxy war that is also distracting us from important issues at home. And, are not the distraction factor and the profitability of war for arms manufacturers leading motivations behind American actions?

  37. To Jeremy Scahill – a personal favorite and soon-to-be Oscar winner, I hope, for “Dirty Wars.” I still mourn for humanity after that confrontation..Having confirmation of what I suspected to be true and verification as to the extent of that truth; and Glenn Greenwald -another burr under he saddle of corrupted-by-power exceptionalists..Those exceptionalists who would love nothing more than to create a complacent and compliant citizenry never questioning the corruption by power done in our name: I thank you for the continued reporting.. Too many still refuse to hear truth but, as the self-absorbed humans we are, we will eventually get a glimmer as long as you both – and others dedicated to truth – hammer away at the paradigm of hubris and denial we build in order to feel safe from boogeymen – that never existed or are created by our own stupidity – and the perpetuation of the myth in order to justify slaughter and theft of human rights for power, control. and wealth.

    Everyone is not just failed attempts at being us but the US government proves time and time again that WE are failed attempts at being “us”

  38. I’m very happy to see this website up and running! Good luck and shine a bright light on them!

  39. Ever since the fake Presidency began on or around Dec.20th,2000 (along with its accompanying Sept.11,2001 attack), I’ve suffered the fallout. As I got towards the end of this article, I felt myself have a welling-up twinge. God bless you Glenn .

  40. We all need note the linkage of atom bomb “Little Boy” to these pods vacuuming up our info indiscriminately as one of these moments of quantum leaps, game changers, in warfare. Where there is no “front,” we all live on the battlefield. We are being assimilated into a database, geo-located coordinates, all processed into an “information field” that exists inside this metacomputer. God help us.

  41. This is a great piece of journalism. Nearly everything stated here it spot on and well worth debate. However, it is also factually incomplete regarding the process for green-lighting targeting operations.

  42. This tactic used by Americans is nothing short of killing of the innocents! it is mass murder approved and sanctioned by the President himself. He and his government have just gone down a dozen notches in my opinion. This activity is blatant evil and cannot be rationalized from any point of view. It is disgusting, demented and perverse and a whole lot more. I just shake my head at the wickedness that emanates from Washington!

  43. Frightening and disgusting, what happens if we in Norway, some day happened to displease the US, will we be targets???

    • I would assume that every country is now a target.

      The US global surveillance program is obviously a reflection of the paranoia that pervades the US government and its agencies, and their corporate directors.

      Thus, all people, including the US public, are potential enemies, and are included in the process of planning for eventual counter-strikes and pre-emptive threat removal. Its all computer driven remember.

      Unchecked and unrepentive, the people involved in the global spy programs will feel more and more isolated and persecuted as the public learns more and more about their activities, such as their part in the drone attacks and other atrocities that Snowden chose to leave out of the Guardian expose.

      This will only serve to make them feel even more paranoid and create a We VS Them attitude throughout the agencies.

      The plan is to insure that the US can kill anyone they perceive as a threat, anywhere on earth, almost instantly, thereby creating a global fear of the US that is intended to prevent hostile threats in future, especially since the US corporate arm of government intends to steal resources from almost everywhere on earth eventually and expects retaliation.

      It is of course, a pipe dream, but one that can, and likely will, lead to another great-war eventually, as the rest of the planet becomes more and more afraid of the USA and plans to defeat its global dictatorship.

      Because one thing is obvious.
      At least to me.
      Having started down this road, it is now impossible for the US to stop and turn around.
      It is a one way street.

  44. This is crazy.

    Last year, Tobias Linde Schanz, was rejected entry to the USA, because his cellphone-number at some point in time, had belonged to a suspect and all he did, was buying a new cellphone from Telia.

  45. Ever since Glenn Greenwald left The Guardian, the newspaper that broke the Snowden story has become another establishment-loving outlet like CNN, very circumspect, very politically correct.

    • You try running a newspaper with a D notice stuck in your back! Glenn HAD to go elsewhere. Cameron and GCHQ are suppressing the UK press so successfully, they lost several notches on their press freedom belt! UK dropped 3, but we lost 13, and that’s NOT going in the right direction.

      David Cameron’s email in Rebekah Brooks’ BlackBerry imaged without any of its content. Brooks explained to the Leveson Inquiry, so this is public record, that it was “compressed” and she had no idea how that came to pass. It occurred after that devise was in police custody for three weeks when her legal team downloaded the images. No one the press questioned about it could understand how only one email in a set might come out like that.

      But now we know GCHQ bragged to NSA that they’d cracked the BlackBerry’s compression techonolgy only three months after this display, or could that just be a Tempora metadata file of its former selfie?

      I liken this to Nixon’s missing minutes of tape, but Cameron can’t blame the Secretary this time!! They are in charge of the spooks!

      Seriously, this is rather disturbing. the UK has some ‘splainin” to do, but they don’t have to if the US won’t corner them on this failure to secure their spook powers. SOMEONE tampered with that evidence, and it wasn’t any ordinary hack. Who cares what it said, it’s the tampering that counts!!

      The UK will let this lay until Cameron’s left the building. Why won’t the US asked the question? Who squished the PM”s content out of that BlackBerry? Don’t tell me metadata isn’t dangerous! Ask Cameron!! He’s terrified of it!!

  46. Why does this website want us to type our (made-up) email addresses in before accepting a comment? Better to just stop asking, unless that’s illegal. But if The Intercept is interested in distinguishing itself, as I strongly believe it is, they might do very well to stop asking for info they don’t need, don’t want, and won’t know when to believe and when not to. I for one choose to on record now and state that I do not, and never will, either use my real name nor enter my real email address. AND I WISH I DIDN’T HAVE TO LIE SO BLOODY MUCH JUST TO GET THIS READ! Please?

    A Question, for everyone, readers and staff alike: Is it enough to merely report the news, in this day of increasing individual powerlessness, and apathy? In order to add useful perspective, it is necessary to know who one’s target readership is. Might I suggest you DECIDE (sorry for shouting, but bold-ing etc. doesn’t work here yet) who your target readership is, so that you can then know WHAT perspectives to add, and (of course) wisely choose NOT to try and include everyone?

    And might I further suggest that the correct target readership of your writing should: those who can afford to read them at the present price of Nothing at all? That way, the rich and powerful will never know what we’re saying. IYKWIM.

  47. As long as well-off Americans think THEY are not being killed, they won’t care about anyone else.

    • Most Americans believe in democratic principals and The U.S. Constitution, even the “well-off”. Most people, in general, do not go out of their comfort zone to show it and that is exactly how the elite likes it Superbowl, basketball, the Olympic games, Hollywood, TV game shows, parties, alcohol and drugs, just like the Roman Circus to keep the public entertained while Rome burns always works.

  48. The method may be crude and approximate, but the target the enemy does not mind really. They are usually happy to blow themselves up anyway. I wonder what is preventing the drone attack on ex-General Musharraf, who was actually the person hiding Osama Bin Laden for years. Also, why is Aiyam Ali Zawahirry not being targeted along with the big rascals in Pakistan who are running the whole terror racket? What about the entire Saudi ruling clan that are funding the terror network? NSA needs to answer all this. Their drones are directed at the less innocent and not the real culprits. The problem is not the method but the fact that the real targets are getting away.

    • The problem is not the method but the fact that the real targets are getting away.
      Did you even read the article?
      Killing human beings based on the proximity of a SIM card is an appropriate method?
      And that’s not even addressing the issue of killing human beings without any form of process.
      But hey, the US “has a list”, so that makes it ok, right?

  49. I have great concern about the whole drone program, especially with the announcement of all these new drone manufacturers (literally dozens, or hundreds). Once it becomes an INDUSTRY then there is pressure to ‘test the product.’ We have to remember we are affecting other actual human beings. I’m not yet convinced that making entire populations of people live in fear of a potential mistaken drone strike a different form of terrorism. The word terrorism is to inflict a constant state of fear.

  50. Word on the stilted street is the 1% are NOW getting frightenned by the populism they can’t seem to put down. Well, they should have thought about that when they made Beckensian syllogistic rhetoric a cottage industry to put down the natural cycle of progress that follows decades of debauchery. They started it. They also fired that clown for nearly giving away their corporate store.

    When you send out someone to go after the poor like Anabaptists because you screwed up, you’re gonna pizz off a few haystacks, idiots. STOP POKING the POOR!

  51. The Guardian seemed surprised about the swift goating of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board before Congress yesterday, but the UK is used to their government bothering to make a good showing of giving a rat’s even if they don’t.

    What’s that you said, Privacy and Civil Rights Oversight Board?


    That’s why no one’s pressing it.

    I’m gonna go watch the UK show the US how to live press a former spook. The Dutch kept their live bug under the eye glass for HOURS!! Wouldn’t let him go without pulling on his legs! Tell me we shouldn’t be great at that!!

    • I am SO OVER that Congressional clown from SNL! He’s trying to wool us down by saying HIS bill will COUNT the times our rights have been violated instead of STOP IT so we canget some sleep! What about this idiocy does that not as fat as Rush man not get?

      AL FRANKEN, you will never make me laugh again, unless you are expelled from Congress for caving to cowards. I don’t like you anymore, Smalley Man!


      • I find most Americans are great at relentlessly kicking dead horses. I’m not picky when it comes to bone picking. I’m suggesting that if anyone needs a good braising, we are the toast masters. Shouldn’t we be envious of such a deep grilling makrs? Aren’t we up to it?

        Congress can’t sit for five minutes without rushing out for another “vote.” I think they are getting high on green dye. Can’t go for long without needing a money bump. It’s sadly their job and they aren’t willing to do it. I email mine regularly to tell them someone needs a expulsion hearing, and if they won’t call for it, they shouldn’t have gone to school either.

  52. Seems the good bad news is in these magazine site while the big box news is empty of these hot topics. DON’T miss the work at NBC’s Investigations online with Glenn and crew because NBC News misses it Nightly.

    What a spill, the Dutch spied on themselves and gave it to NSA, too, Scoobie Doo. They nearly lost control of their grippers, but escaped the MP ghost busters by “that much.” I’m getting a little Glee out of RT because the US press have been such lousy guests. I bet they brought bedbugs to Sochi.

    REALLY disturbing to read Obama is “debating” using drones to kill another American in Pakistan without a trail and conviction when we NOW know O’s only ordering a hit on a cell phone. Should I “hope” he doesn’t missdial?

    Wouldn’t that make me a criminal, too? Or is it the US mainstream press who are failing to inform us of this cellphone targeting for the purpose of indiscriminate and unlawful executions?

    I understand how this happened. While codifying the treatment of Jews in Europe during the 1600s to bring them under economic control of the loose monarchical iceholes, what seemed to evidence civility was debased decades long witch hunting leaving 60K dead. 30 to 1 witches burned alongside heretics who were at least afforded a clerical hearing. Freaking was all the rage.

    The others were subjects of whim and fear and manipulation of same by bullies who were losing their grip on the words slipping easily from hand to hand between literate souls. About forty years into this insanity, someone began to question if they might not be violating the law in these matters, and a “new” thinking began to re-emerge. Lawful deaths based upon trials, even for witches, not whims of fancy and evil encouraged by the ministering monsters.

    This could take a few more years because the manipulators have an advantage we’ve yet to suss out, but we peasants have the upper hand.

    We are the Hay. Don’t be afraid to give it a rest.

    What, me sleeping? I’m just waiting for the VanWinkles to wake up. We’re freaking British , AGAIN! Hit the snooze button.

    • Of course, I meant “without TRIAL and conviction.” They do have a faulty “trail” they would like to use to death. Convictions are sacred, and those who kill others without proving their deeds were done by evil connections are evil incarnate themselves. What about the inquisitions have we forgotten? First the bloody trial, THEN the bonfire, weather vanes!

  53. False flag of 9/11, murder of all those people, invasion, torture, assassination, and now we accept the killing of children. The only
    thing that explains this inexorable decline is addiction – Obama accepts himself as “good at killing”. Do most Americans find this abhorrent? Or, do most of us accept this? I’m scared, now.

  54. From Obama’s perspective, killing innocent civilians could be a feature, not a bug. How many “terrorists” can be created by decimating a wedding?

    I’m guessing more than a few.

    Such tactics can easily provide continuing justification for his war on terror. Because, hey, without an endless supply of terrorists, how can one justify an endless war on terror?

  55. I would point out to those who are afraid of using the word “assassination” in this context, that the military doctrine of decapitation– cutting off the head of an enemy force– has been one of the accepted uses of assassination for centuries. We are using it in this manner. These terrorists purportedly have followers in an enemy organization. We take out them out with stealth and surprise, while having dinner with friends and family… that’s assassination. Let’s stop mincing words.

    • Here’s a word for you ,you prancing ,mincing word mincer : Murder. President drone murder and his “team” of ignorant, mal-educated, low IQ, young order -followers (“warriors” ? don’t make me puke: “I didn’t know the constitution applied to people the president has accused of crimes”) Have no legal, moral or historical right to commit murder in the name of American citizens.

  56. What if the “enemy” knows about the SIM cards. What if they gave it to someone in a “wedding party”. What if they gave it to a political rival. What if they placed it with a dummy in a building. What if they used this to attract attacks that they knew would come so they could do something else somewhere else. Pride, arrogance, egotism, and a long distance from ground zero can make anyone think they are “right” and most of all justified. No act of kindness will ever be forgotten, and the same goes for thoughtlessness, cruelty, and the belief we have the right to take lives just because we can from the warm comfort of our office via a drone. Don’t forget what we do will not be forgotten.

    • What if the NSA and JSOC KNOW this and STILL proceeded to kill that phone? Then aren’t they ALL drones? Who was comfortable knowing they were doing that? Not even a rat would find that comforting.

        • Probability hasn’t anything to do with what they are up to. It’s been expressly expelled from their concept of justice. They like “articulable suspicion” which anyone is capable of fabricating. I suspect they are doing so, right now, probably.


  58. Playing devil’s advocate for a moment, wouldn’t even the unintended civilian casualties of drone attacks still be better than conventional warfare?

    • Rationalizations can justify any horror man does to man or to the Earth. It is as if there are but two options with this thinking. My friend … wake up ….. there are a million options to any situation if you are open to new possibilities and you are sincerely looking for a real win win solution. But the unfortunate truth is that the war machine does not like to look for options that don’t involve more war machines winning. Guess what folks the trans-humanists are selling hard a future where you or you kids or grandkids are happy cyborgs and you know how “cool” endless war would be with mindless cyborgs. Look around you and the cyborg generation is being cultivated right now. Rationalizations can convince people of doing what is the worst for them. Once a cyborg there is no turning back to being human again. Drones are the first wave of justification and also fear so that the heartless dark war machine from hell can continue to expand their domination and control over humanity. Rationalizations are their ticket to ride. Are you buying? I sure as hell am not!

    • Find an example of warfare in all of human history where the bad guys were the only casualties. No military force ever has tried harder to avoid collateral death than the U.S. The Germans destroyed large portions of Great Britain with no care whether the dead were civilians, innocents, or not. China, Russia, Somalia, Turkey, Japan, Great Britain, Iran, Iraq, South Africa, Spain, France, etc. When a nation invades another nation in bloody conquest, they don’t confine their aim to those in uniform. That’s the historical fact. Now, that said, that we have this supremely antiseptic method of attacking our enemies, one which is exceptionally flawed, should be demonized for the innocent deaths it brings, would be humorous if it weren’t so tragic. Are we being unfair to kill non-combatants while destroying those who would destroy us? Has anyone else ever taken such a thought into consideration of their warfighting? Please. I don’t applaud innocent collateral damage, I don’t approve of conducting strikes based purely on cell signal locations. But let’s not pretend that the U.S. is the worst actor in war history for these choices.

      • “No military force ever has tried harder to avoid collateral death than the U.S.”

        I guess you forgot the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima but hey, that’s just details ha.

        • If the government wanted to go into Yemen to get the guys in person rather than use a drone, which of YOU folks will sign up to go with ??

          • The government should not be there in the first place. But to answer your question, I would rather shoot myself then go on a mission killing for the interest of US corporations.

    • It’s already been documented that we are far more efficient in killing the enemy without suffering unsustainable losses ourselves, look at how we wring the life out of our soldiers!! So what about winning don’t we ever seem to GET? We just won’t stop gaming the globe for a better angle on a kill shot. I’m disgusted. We are such sore winners.

  59. Thank you Glen and Jeremy for the excellent article. I’m glad to see your new venture with such high caliber journalists take off, its really amazing. I think now that you have resources though I suggest you implement some type of moderating or self moderating system similar to slashdot or some of the Greasy Monkey scripts that allow people to filter the article coments. I would rather have to whitelist or blacklist every author than to scroll through jibberish to get to insightful comments. I expect there are government agents whole sole jobs are to troll your forums to encourage people not to comment or discuss these critical issues. Such filtering could be done client side (I might just do that myself), but it would leave the vast majority of readers to the mercy of the trolls.
    Thanks guys, and good luck.

  60. Wake up US citizens. Go demonstrate. The enemy is The corrupt democrats/republicans— they are Thema marionettes Hof Thema weapon/oil/ finance Mafia lobby. Why do owners of funds/capit. Markets companies (like warren buffet/ mick romney / Soros…) pay only 15% income tax AND Thema employee pays 25-50% income tax?? Rich people gets Richer….

  61. The Drone program kills without conscious and needs to be overhauled. The indiscriminate killing of innocents gives our enemies a weapon of mass destruction. Pictures of dead children.

  62. Whoever orders or associate conspiracies killed innocent human beings around the world, particularly Muslims, surely, will paid its price for hell. no one will be spared any due owed to him! so let devils chant, the day will come soonest.

    • I don’t know if Cyrus would agree to your dictates, but he certainly would not have REWARDED those who caused disunity in his kingdom. on the basis of disparate beliefs. Even the bible praises his Persian wisdom. I read his cylindars are PUMPIN!!

    • Why am I afraid to pull the trigger? I’d like a bit more intel on this site before I go there. I’m particularly spooked by Google these days. I have Gmail. WHEN will the blindmail email nightmare drop so I can OPT OUT?

  63. Warning: !!!
    Be sure you know your neighbors and start to store things up so You will be able to live independently when you been cut off from supply like : food, water, electricity etc. so you can help Your neighbors out when they come knocking on Your door.- American time is gadding relay BAD.

  64. ==>“I don’t know whether or not President Obama would be comfortable approving the drone strikes if he knew the potential for mistakes that are there,” he says. “All he knows is what he’s told.”<==

    he has to know. No one could be so shielded from what is going on. Suppressed knowledge, perhaps, but he knows.

    • Obama, I’d guess, has the kind of knowledge and power that a big CEO has. Briefed and prepped by people on big-picture outlines. Briefed by people who manage people, who manage people, who manage the mangers of the folks who do the dirty work.

      His role is not be be digging into rumors and lifting rocks like a reporter-in-chief. He is presented with results that match the projected outcome by self-interested bureaucrats, until such time as those outcomes are exposed by a leaker as false. Then it’s crisis management time.

      Obama might personally sign off on controversial measures, but that does not mean he is exposed to the low-level concerns of solders, drone operators, or surveillance state employees. Until they are in the newspapers, that is. At which point, hundreds of media yes-men will line up to bolster the party line and attack the leaker.

      So I wouldn’t be surprised that Obama gets his news just like we do – only he then views it through the lens of authority and security, with no actual personal principles on such matters.

  65. “Inter arma enim silent leges” -”For among times of arms, the laws fall mute,”

    Victoria nuland has just given the deepstate (DS) fuckyou to the EU.
    DS (GLADIO) agents provocateur stalk the divisions of Ukraine, fresh blood from the Children of Latakia on their teeth.
    Behind them, Obama gives the fuckyou to each and everyone of us through the drone program. Thru NSA. CIA, FBI terror false flags at home and abroad.
    Biden, Clinton..Chertoff, Sunstein, Power – Cheney, all wander the golf courses of the insane creatioNIST fuckyou 911conspiracy .
    ‘Morality’; the ‘War behaviour protocols’ – having taken centuries of bloodshed to agree, have been stripped to the bone and drawn through the little monster BUSH’s hot Manhattan DUST cloud a LIE so big, it destroyed our ability to see it: including here; allowing murder to become the new social construct. A RANDian snuff box of ‘legal’ torture, assassination, police state bullshit all acceptable collateral to the need of the neocon new amercian century.
    This article tells me nothing I haven’t already read.
    There are meatier questions being asked of ‘journalism’ and Edward Snowden, over at Boilingfrogspost .

  66. Humorous that all the groveling over this blinds the blaring fact that the two drone operators completely contradict each other.

    More (on) crack ‘reporting’ coming soon..

  67. This site is better:

    There we can access the source material ourselves, journalists can still do their jobs by contextualizing it, and there’s no money there for billionaires to buy themselves bigger yachts with.

    What on Earth possessed Snowden to go the Guardian?

    • Really? A pizzing match? Speaking of yachts, the guy who handed Lenin that million dollar check to grease AIC’s skids to Baku beat out JP in the biggest toy contest when he died, which is when that bell tolls. Alder, a few feet longer, Jolly Roger. Jack Morgan sent him the wire so he could write the cheka! Jack’s Daddy would have be so proud!

      Let’s not fight over the right to fight for right, commrades!! Let’s not make that mistake all over again, too, Menshes. There’s a Lenin backed by corporatisits just waiting to make hay of our division. The corporatists used the communists to fuel the fascists’ fury! What a spin cycle!!

      Chrome, learn to spell or go home. Corporatist is most assuredly a word.

      • “…What would you think if the people you knew…
        …were the plastic that melts and the chromium, too?…”

        Frank Zappa warning of the Brain Police.

        Was it not hilarious to learn during the Privacy and Civil Rights Oversight Board that there is a schism between the immunized telecoms and the internet firms with their arses swinging in the breeze?

        Telcoms don’t care if we ever learn the depth of their depravity, they are doubly down with it, while internet companies are terrified of the class actions telecoms need never fear. it’s great to be rats, right telecoms?

    • Have faith brother Joe Blow and all you other brothers and sisters who doubt the effort of good men and women to make real change for the better. I really believe the times they are a changing. Don’t give up. In fact do something to help. You decide what is worthy, but do something, even something small right where you are. Do it with love, and hope and faith that humanity and beat these control freak$ and war lover$. If you do nothing you will get nothing in return. Do it from your heart and your compassion for humanity and the good for life on this planet. Have courage and break through the barriers one by one.

  68. The news is full of stories about how Al Qaeda is in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan all places that America has imposed regime changes. While Al Qaeda is discrediting some they still exist and are definitely anti-America forces. It appears that it doesn’t matter how many terrorists America kills the instability they have created in the middle east has produced more terrorists or enemies. It’s not just about Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the original targets, it’s growing into something so big all the drones and special forces in the world won’t be able to control it. So the question is: Who is winning the war on terror?

    • The war on terror is not meant to be won. It is a perpetual war that produces perpetual profits. That is the genius of it.

    • Two pertinent statements on the current state of affairs:

      “But we can’t kill our way out of this mess.”
      —Mitt Romney, Final debate against Barack Obama; Lynn University (22 October 2012).

      “Using the Predator is a tactic, not a strategy.”
      —General Stanley McChrystal, Interview with Jane Mayer

  69. This point needs to be emphasized: barring a change in policy, they’ve got your cellphone meta-data. Cellphone meta-data is what they’re using to target for destruction those they consider enemies . Better stay on their good side forever, huh? Or better yet, prohibit them from having that meta-data. That’s the struggle we’re engaged in currently: The Day We Fight Back!

  70. Astounding, both legally and technologically. This story does not at all square with the statements made by officials in the public-facing debates, not to mention our principles as a nation. The fact that it does not even work adds a final layer of insanity to the whole program.

    If these powers are allowed to pass to the next president, they might never be rolled back. This wrongheaded robotic murder program (which does not fit any known definition of warfare) might not lead to a comic-book dystopian state of affairs, but halfway there isn’t exactly a great place to be either.

  71. why dont all of you move to all these 3rd world countries so you can live among your own kind. and for these traitors hope they end up dealing with some of the dark stuff we are accused of and hope we keep doin to shit people like this.

    • Learn some critical thinking -although that might be a contra-indication for blinkered belligerents. Your post is a classic false dilemma logical fallacy. Those who control you though will be pleased with your unquestioning, unconditional obedience.

    • Which 3rd world country? The one where everyone’s house is under foreclosure and all are under the threat of constant surveillance? Or the one where the income gap and ratio of rich and poor is becoming more and more and less and less even.

    • It’s funny how you make yourself believe this is a 3rd world country problem. There’s only one country that lives enslaved and controlled by it’s own government and that’s the U.S., not to mention how much do we spend on weapons and surveilance while we have cities going bankrupt and the whole country heading to a catastrophic default.

    • If you aren’t a BRAT, then you are so new to your duty you can’t see the truth for the forest of lame commanders. My dad was a stellar jock, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have qualms about dropping napalm, sir. I suggest you think on this some more before you go pulling any triggers.

  72. To all of those talking about Edward Snowden as a traitor (assuming you are not on the payroll of the US government): Edward Snowden kept his oath to uphold the constitution of the United States of America. This makes him a patriot, not a traitor. Get your definitions correct. The treasonous ones are those who are committing illegal acts in the name of the constitution.

  73. In response to: Anon 11 Feb 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Easy to say when it doesn’t happen to one of your family members or in your backyard, even easier when the attacks are all carried out on poor people who don’t speak the same language or share our culture.

    Remember your statement if a foreign country ever commits drone attacks here on American soil using the same justification of ‘making the world a better place’. The world is changing, and parity will be a good thing.

  74. President Obama’s drone strike are murder. There is nothing in Article II of the constitution which gives him the power to kill Citizens of America or any other country. He should surrender to the nearest District Atttorney and be tried for murder for each of the drone strikes he authorized as should the group that helps him decide whom to kill. Also Cheny and Bush should be tried for their torture regime. If we just enforced the criminal law these sick people wouldn’t be around to cause harm.

  75. Quite apart from wondering about the actual attack, I’ve always wondered why no one made any effort to rescue those office workers who’d made it to the roof-top of one of the buildings and were anxiously scanning the sky hoping that someone would come to try to pick them up. Helicopters flew over to take pictures of them all standing up there, but none made any attempt to rescue them–I mean by lowering ladders from the helicopters for example. They all died when the building collapsed. Even now, years later, when I think back on the film showing them anxiously pacing, watching and waiting, it makes me sick to my stomach.

    • throw that phone away. get a used one, an old Sanyo, on eBay. a couple dozen of them, depending upon how badly you intend to alienate Big Bro. Do not use a smart phone, or one with GPS hardware, or one capable of running GPS in software. ciao. – dave

  76. The traitors leaking this stuff will cost lives, they are not heroic. The techniques used save countless lives, those targeted are murderers and worse. Mistakes happen but on balance the world is much better place for dedicated individuals working for the common good, they don’t want praise just leave them to do their jobs.

    • I am sorry Anon, I think you are mistaken. With these “techniques” they are only producing more terrorists and are poring oil into the fire. So this will cost lifes! I think you didnt read the article, nor have you seen the docu “Dirty Wars”. Inform yourself and come back later…

    • Hi Anon,

      “The techniques used save countless lives, those targeted are murderers and worse. ”

      Could you describe those that are worse than murderers? This murder word you fling around is a pretty serious allegation. If they are indeed murdering murderers, then I guess it’s all okay. But who murders the murdered murderer when murdering is murdered?

    • Seriously, even if we use to drones to kill terrorists and at the same time killing innocent people, we will succeed in fighting terrorism. You don’t win wars that way. Go ask the Israeli helicopter pilot who is about to shoot a missile into a high-target terroist who happens to be a much of school children or with his family, he knows he is killing innocent bystanders. He himself also becomes a terrorist. You don’t win war by terrorizing your enemy.

  77. O’Bama might remember “live by the sword, die by the sword”. Perhaps “turns out I’m really good at killing people” might not be the “strong suit” he had in mind. Hope the reverse is true, as in “do good things and get good things in return”. Maybe that will happen instead.

  78. the muthafu%%ers of NSA shoul Burg in hell. scam of the humyns-this surveillance maniacs and paranoid US politicians/military, Wie donot want a corrupt police State of terror.

  79. As the first commenter of this article, it is disappointing to see soo many conspiracy-theory buffs distracted by their pet projects. We have verifiable, actual reality here that needs to be challenged and changed. Let everyone opposed to unchecked power of US domestic/foreign surveillance-security state voice their opposition!

    • Here’s what I guess happened to the BB. Someone stupidly wiped its memory. But an empty memory would be hard to buy from a woman said to be surgically attached to this thing. NO contacts in the months leading up to her firing?

      So, I think, someone tried to put back what was wiped with Tempora files. But Cameron’s email, having been sent in June, was out of print after 30 days and all they could put back was his metadata file.

      It’s great to be American at a non UK website and be able to speculate rationally as to likely reason the PM’s email had no content. Poor UK, can’t even whisper campaign about it, but Tony and Wendi? SHOUT ABOUT IT so no one hears about the berry!

    • Sorry, this was meant to follow another comment, but your suggestion we all stay behind some prescribed line suggests we can’t think and walk at the same time. I appreciate other PsOV AND topics regarding the issues.

      Congrats on winning the space race, but you can’t tell others how to run without sounding like a hurdler. I’m not fond of hurdles. they hurt when we collide.

  80. Here is a copy of a letter I sent to the Justice Department’s
    Department of Justice Civil-Rights Complaint
    I am contacting you regarding what I believe is a crime. I had been a victim of your surveillance program. My life has been destroyed and someone needs to be held accountable for this!, I was watching T V. on Channel 4 January 14th it was about your policy of government spying on personal computers without being connected to the Internet. I am a victim of this policy. This was supposed to be taking place outside of the United States. That is a lie!!! If you have some out of control agents or contractors that are operating without your knowledge you should definitely do something about that? Because what is happening to me it is a violation of my civil-rights and also criminal activity in the form of copyright theft. I discovered years ago that my computer was being hacked. I contacted computer specialists about someone breaking into my computer and downloading materials such as my screenplay and novel. They told me that if I was not connected to the internet it would be impossible. because of the secrecy of your surveillance program. I took the information I was given from the computer experts as being factual. The story that ran on Channel 4 on January 14th stated that the government was using radio waves to access computers that was not online. Just so happens a week before this, window washers were spring my windows in my apartment. You could clearly see on the window a perfect circle where the water would not penetrate no matter how much water was sprayed on it. I tried to video tape this strange occurrence. as I was video taping this my memory card was fried! Also my microwave oven was on at the time it immediately cut off. I do not know if it was related to the radio waves. I am not a scientist. I talked to some people that are smarter than me they told me that to destroy a memory card and microwave oven it was probably something stronger than a radio wave. Other strange occurrences. Like people sitting in their cars in front of my apartment window for two hours in 100 degree weather. I am not a criminal or do I know any terrorist. I am a citizen of the United States. These radio waves as cost me loss of vision in my left eye and constant headaches and muscle spasms. I had contacted the FBI three times in the past regarding individuals breaking into my computer and cell phone. It became so bad, I cutoff my computer internet service and I cannot use my cell phone I have it in a drawer in my apartment. Nothing was ever done about my complaint. With all the identity theft that is going on in the country. I would think this would be one of your top priorities. It is hard to prove any thing about what’s happening to me because of your secrecy in your surveillance program! One thing for sure this was not done by a ordinary hacker some government agency is involved. This was really sophisticated. There is still evidence on my computer and my flash drive.

    • NSA, CIA and JSOC seem to be running quite the gong show. I can see why it’s confusing. They are trying by multiple mechanisms to kill people without being held accountable. It’s gets kinda sticky when the blood won’t dry. Keep on those spots, NSA!! Eventually, they will out.

      Not to add to your burden, but if you watch Dirty Wars, Jeremy’s film, you will have a foundation on these drone strikes and a serious case of the US Blues. Then it is not difficult to detect the deflectors and ignore cross-inhibiting BS.

  81. This is a preview of how the human race ends. We are moving from robots that kill people, to robots that also decide whom to kill.

    Sure, Obama can still turn it off by saying No. But will this last forever? And how much does it really mean today?

    The old sci-fi theme of a program taking over some day is not really how it will happen. Instead, the takeover is by human/computer hybrids — institutions, usually corporations and/or governments. And meanwhile, more and more humans are being forced out. Mechanisms not people already dominate today.

    Just like the Western powers have long specialized in stopping Arab unity by getting Arabs to kill each other, these trans-human machines will get people to kill each other for the time being. Ultimately no humans will be required — and humanity will be too dangerous to leave around.

    Machines will conquer space and the stars. And there will be no humans left.

  82. Interesting dialogue re. comment policy . . . Anytime you interject “judgment,” you risk censorship. But since that may be inevitable, may I suggest beginning by culling w/re to pertinence?

  83. All war is dirty and involves civilian casualties.

    What are the unintended casualties using drones, compared with conventional warfare or air strikes?

    Or is your point that terrorists should not be fought?

    Just what is your point?

    • It is true there are always innocent casualties in war. Which is why the bar for launching wars should be set as high as possible i.e. it should only be a last resort. That is why the US Constitution places the power to declare wars with the Congress, to ensure that such actions are scrutinized and debated by the representatives of the people and not undertaken without full consideration of the consequences. By contrast, drone strikes are conducted in secret, with no debate regarding their justification or consequences and no obvious process of oversight or accountability. Yet these drone campaigns have enormous impact on many innocent civilians in the targeted area, and also have many longer term consequences on the US and its allies which do not appear, from the perspective of an outside observer, to have been carefully considered.

      I realize it may seem bizarre to speak of accountability in the context of the US political system, but if people were held accountable for their actions, there would be both many fewer wars and drone strikes.

      If someone wished to foment hatred against the US, one obvious stratagem would be to induce the US into launching attacks on innocent people. So extremists lend their cellphone to unsuspecting civilians, and then when they are targeted, use the occasion to proselytize against the US and recruit more people to fight. The US government undoubtedly knows this, but appears to be cynically proceeding with the strikes since they can persuade the voters that they are acting to counter terrorism. Making this information public means voters must directly confront the consequences of the actions of their government. Some may prefer to remain ignorant, since the choices are difficult. But it is always better to confront the truth.

    • “Or is your point that terrorists should not be fought?”

      Please justify fighting them, rather than just taking reasonable defensive precautions where necessary.

  84. Better this than sending our troops into harms way. To do what these drones do would take several squads to get the same results, which would in turn put our people at risk. Maybe with enough collateral damage those people will start giving up the bad guys.

    • Actually, I don’t think it would be that much risk to have our people go in and kill civilians at a wedding. It would actually be quite easy. That sort of thing going on anywhere else by any other country would be considered a terrorist attack. Maybe we find some insulation from the fact that we’re using drones and not actual people and can just cushion the blow by claiming it was an accident.

  85. Since the US Military is invading the air space of Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, and since it has been proven that they killed many innocent men, women and children, then there can be no doubt that the US Military is the terrorist.


    • This is known as the anger phase of Grief and Loss.

      Don’t cry, wooly man! We can actually REVIVE this righteousness! Justice is NOT DEAD!!

      But I get your goat and raise you a few bales. Have you nagged your Congressvolk yet? Don’t say, “Neigh!” Get them entangled in your two-steps!!

      Have we forgetton? Sheep Eat Men!

      Today that may read, “Haystacks collapse of their own stupid marketers.”

  87. I find myself wanting to participate in this debate, but I have some concerns. Mostly, I don’t want to waste my time. My worries are related to (1) censorship (in effect?) and (2) volume of comments.

    As a matter of convention, let’s agree that comments in a forum can be either “moderated”, “curated”, or “censored”. Consider moderation. An *un*-moderated forum would merely duplicate all input (as long as the input included the “Required Fields”). Clearly, then, this forum is *at least* moderated. If it weren’t moderated, we would see spam, for instance. Also, moderation is indicated by the *relative* lack of highly abusive, ad hominem remarks. In my personal opinion (few people will disagree), having some degree of moderation is a good thing, even necessary in the days of automated spamming of web-based articles.

    By “curated”, I mean that the site is moderated *and* that the comments are also culled for “quality” (in some sense of that term). As an example of a *criterion* for “quality”, if a comment is *purely* abusive, then the comment could be struck. Now, clearly this criterion isn’t being applied to this forum or, at any rate, not consistently. As of this writing, there are several purely abusive comments / replies above. Possibly, the authors want to allow some degree of abuse, for example as a reply to a comment that is particularly insipid, stupid or witless.

    Now, there is some evidence that the comments are being curated. Ms. Elaine Ossipov claims (in a comment visible as of this writing) that some of her comments have been struck. She is a respected journalist having opinions opposed (to *some* but not *all* degree) to the authors. She is surely not guilty of being merely abusive. Did she make remarks that merely repeated others that she had made…? Or was it just a technological snafoo of some sort?

    You see my worry, I hope. The worry is censorship. Before I bother spending time giving public feedback to the authors and participating in the public debate over these matters, I would like to know that my comments are going to be *posted*, as long as they are of reasonable quality.

    You may understand my worry, I hope, vis-a-vis the concept of “adversarial journalism”. I understand the “muck-raking” concept — we aren’t afraid to “name names,” etc. But I am trying to understand what “adversarial” shall mean. Does it mean that, if I am perceived to be an adversary, then my comments shall be struck, “censored”, in order to put down disagreement? If this were so, I could hardly see the difference between “adversarial journalism” and “propagandizing”.

    Obviously, you are not obliged to host *lengthy* rebuttals of your work. Perhaps you should encourage link backs of lengthy rebuttals, if that is a worry.

    Finally, a brief word on volume of comments. The volume may go down, as time goes on, but it may take some time, inasmuch as the source material is so historic (the Snowden materials). Alas, some cranks (IMHO) have already been attracted. IMHO, all 9/11 “truther” comments ought to be struck. The quality of the forum is significantly reduced by allowing long digressions on such “controversies”. The existence of a controversy is no indication of its worth (witness the Creation vs Evolution “controversy”).

    Any feedback would be appreciated. (Silence will also be interpreted.)

    Congratulations on the highly provocative launch of your medium.

      • I hope we can have a sense of humor about this depravity, or I’m gonna lose my mind. Like I don’t let it wander around unsupervised, already. But I’ve a gut sense there’s a place where everybody knows our names.

        Duplicity is my stock and trade. Once I got started, I couldn’t even take my own shite seriously. Learn something, NSA.

        “Double the pleasure, double the fun! Chew, don’t wallow, ’cause that isn’t gum.”

        Can you home in on Grandpa Gumshoes when he gets lost, NSA? He’s one of my favorite demented sigint sources. I’m always spilling his shite all over myself.

        My present dream state is to have Watson blow chips all over himself! My duplicity takes more than a three step to untangle, Jeopardizer! Keep up!

    • Hi Jason,

      if this forum follows the pattern for other places that Greenwald has written then the moderation will be light and for very explicitly stated reasons. At this point in time, my understanding is that there is no moderation in effect yet, that they wanted to get the writing started but have not yet reached the final product as they envision it. The comment section is still “under construction” but I have no details to share on what the final product will look like. I think your suggestions have merit and hope that you, and others, will remain patient while things evolve.

      Folks can follow The Intercept on twitter and post concerns here:

  88. Imagine if the US Civil War had been conducted via high tech drones and GPS locations…..we could have murdered all of Washington, Richmond, San Francisco, and New York instead of shooting up a bunch of wilderness and killing all our farmers and workers to the tune of 600,000 lives.

    • Canada still would have sheltered Lincoln’s assassins. And we would still have ignored it so as to avoid going to war with the UK.

  89. Here are some ideas to solve the “problem”: 1. Spend more money to get assets “on the ground” in these areas. 2. Expand human intelligence (HUMINT) through developing informers, defectors, etc. 3. Put special operations people in the field to ID the target and precisely determine target location and direct the air strike. $. “Suck it up” and understand that civilians and noncombatants are going to get killed. That has been the history of warfare since the 20th Century and the best we can do in the 21st is to try and minimize it. The enemy hides among noncombatants, does not wear a clearly identifiable uniform, etc. Due to the nature of this war, there will be unavoidable civilian casualties resulting from the behavior and tactics of the enemy.

  90. Using terminology such as ‘We Track ’Em, You Whack ’Em,’” Bugsplat, etc. is so illustrative of the indifference, or even glee with which the deaths of those folks ‘over there’ is approached by those involved in the killing. Obama’s pretty words implying concern about civilian deaths are meaningless. He truly doesn’t give a sh*t.

  91. Matt Holck

    >unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

    Killing Guilty people is Not OK

    • Totally agree. The US has absolutely no right to execute anybody without trial and outside of its jurisdiction. If any other country in the world engaged in such criminal activity, there would be a huge outcry and serious consequences – in fact, the US would probably bomb it!

  92. Not that I’m in favor of Obama’s drone program, but this article is seriously flawed on multiple levels.

    1) The article relies heavily on the testimony of two individuals– one which is anonymous. There is no evidence provided that The Intercept actually talked to these two individuals (video interview?), or that what these two individuals were saying is true.

    2) There are repeated mentions of “… backed up by Snowden’s articles” or “… his testimony is confirmed by these documents,” yet strangely enough these so-called documents never seem to be cited. Where exactly are the documents confirming this story? Why has The Intercept chosen to leave them out from the story? Do they really believe apparent images of these documents is sufficient evidence to back up their claims?

    There are ~3950 words in this article yet only 4 links; 2 of the sources aren’t even confirmed, they’re merely “reports.” I would be wary of taking this article at face value.

    • As someone who was in the “kill chain” the comments quoted are fact and truth—many know it and yet few say anything as there is a common saying “silence is golden”.

      • I think you missed my point. I was claiming that testimony *isn’t* a reliable source of evidence in this case. I have no more reason to believe your claims than I do this article’s.

        • I’m glad to see you demand proof before convicting and executing your beliefs. But the NSA files, themselves, are the foundation upon which we stand. Are you calling NSA a LIAR?!

          You need to read the WORDS before you presume what they say, much less make an argument based on absense of data within when you haven’t even confirmed it yourself.

          This story is bigger than Tea Pot Dome. We can’t start the epic over again just because you won’t do your homework. This is not a Beckensian comedy show. However, several good media outlets have summaries available if you really want to assure yourself of your beliefs.

          • I was very careful in my original comment not to make any claims nor put forth any arguments. I merely reject the claims made by the article.

  93. The tactic of swapping out SIM cards or swapping out the entire cellphone at the local market in exchange for a new one was a standard AQI tactic in 2005/2006.

    I had detainees tell me during interrogations they knew were being monitored and had any number of techniques as part of their opsec .

    So why does this not sink in at the NSA?

    Why is it that we “white people” seem to think no other ethnic group is capable of thinking?

    By the way this also applies to IED bomb makers who at times in Iraq displayed engineering awareness that we never seemed to quite believe they had.

    • “Why is it that we “white people” seem to think no other ethnic group is capable of thinking?

      By the way this also applies to IED bomb makers who at times in Iraq displayed engineering awareness that we never seemed to quite believe they had.”

      Great points and so true. I worked for 10 years in the MIC as both a soldier and a contractor and witnessed this without fail everywhere I went. Greed, hubris, xenophibia, and egotism all run rampant in the MIC.

  94. Thanks for you’re fearless journalism. I’ve been anxiously waiting the launch of this new project and if this first story is any indication we might be looking at the birth of the new journalism that our country and world need to start making the systemic changes necessary for our survival. Keep it up! The way you stare down government intimidation is so inspiring I know its going to make a huge difference!

  95. I’m afghan feel bad for my afghan brothers, I remember that the last time I was there, which was August, I saw the effects these killers have. Kids as young as 7 start to scream when they see or realize a drone is coming. The worst thing of it all is the long term psychological effects. One girl I knew, she was 10 was scared of anything that was white and in the air….birds,kites, football. She would run home and hide under her table. Fuck the us gov

    • We did this to kids in Central America, too. I used to welcome them here as a teacher, though I knew they feared discovery and deportation. I’d often apologize for their misery, too, Amy. But I did not authorize it. Some secret ghoul did. I showed those kids, here, we can call an evil evil without fear. Dirty Wars make US sick.

  96. This isn’t news. It’s already widely known. Hardly a new revelation, and not even worth the time it took to read the article. In fact , pretty much nothing that you (glenwald) has revealed has been of any surprise or revelation. Snowden was a lowly sharepoint admin, not some “genius hacker”. He did a great thing for his country and got a debate started and some reforms underway. However he didn’t do any actual system cracking and he didn’t reveal anything truly secret/classified/evil. He just revealed official source material for well known practices/programs.

    Also SHARE THE SOURCE DOCUMENTS from the NSA leak.

  97. Its unfortunate that “journalists” put such effort in helping countries that they wouldn’t be allowed to work in. That is exactly what the consequences are in these disclosures. Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and other repressive regimes are the ones who are truly learning and benefiting from all of this–not to mention terrorists and extremists the world over. This whole Snowden affair smacks of naivete.

    • Naivete? You are right of course. It is very niave to believe tha the political powers in the US would take the constitution seriously when the entire system is a corrupt joke.

      Your assertion that these disclosures are helping terrorists is disgusting. It is the same fear mongering bullshit that the country is drowning in and has us fighting a never ending war without a purpose.

      If you are getting paid to make these comments I want you to do me a favor. Go to the nearest mirror, take a long deep look at yourself and behold a traitorous douchebag. If you’re doing this for free and actually believe what you’re saying, please shut the fuck up and let the rest of us work this out.

      You are doing more harm than good.

  98. No matter what form American imperialism appears in, it is, from its inception, immoral, hence it is wrong, no matter how History is spun. History textbooks proffered (let’s face it – FORCED) upon students reflect, not the discourse of a Howard Zinn, but a tangled web of disinformation through the use of propaganda – the precise method used to keep citizens confused –> in the dark. I have hope in humanity in its struggle to shine light wherever it can.

  99. During the past administrations, beginning with lil bush’s first, I have heard the saying ‘saves american lives’ , and within the above article, its a justification for using murder as a tool. And its not about the ‘american lives’, its about not looking at where the rabbit just came from. We seem to have bought into Magician Government in place of Rule of Law. Its like the magician getting people interested in the ‘wrong thing’.

    Are US Citizens’ life the only lives that matter? If a man in DC SETS OFF THE KILLING OF A man on the other side of the world, that can only be the murder of another man!

  100. For me those killings are real murders. What the difference between Mafia and the Obama Administration. On day people in other countries will kill US citizen … Just because they are american.

  101. The Big Brother regime under Obama has gotten out of hand. They are spying on everyone and causing distrust among our allies. The greatest threat to the world is this Big Brother mentality that Obama embraces. This egotistical Stalinist Dictator has no respect for the Constitution of the United States, the sovereignty of America or that of any other country. The people of the United States ask the world to help in getting the NSA spy machine under control as it is the greatest threat to everyones freedom. This is a tool of a totalitarian regime in the way it is being used and not that of a freedom loving nation !

  102. * Any technologies and methodologies perfected “over there” WILL be used in the US.

    * There are many ways to destroy a persons life short of causing death.

    The real risk is assuming that the concern is “over there” and having little awareness of what is currently going on and few ways to counter what is already here…not what is coming.

  103. Pardon my ignorance, but can you explain or point me to the legend for your included docs/quotes/references, such as TS//SI//REL (and the others). I assume first part is top secret, and I have found on an internet search that this is part of a classification system, but so far have not found anywhere a simplified legend for all markings. Thanks.

    • You’re right about TS (“top secret”). SI is “signals intelligence” (sometimes rendered as “SIGINT” as opposed to “HUMINT”). I’m still searching for REL. There are also some other frequently-occurring acronyms.

      • I’m going with my gut to guess R stands for Reconnaissance, the original mission of drones before we started using them to indiscriminately kill people. Now they will become wave form vacuum cleaners, but I’ll STILL have to do my own mopping,

  104. You got fed dis-info. I don’t think they target their cell phones. Anyone knows that if you are going to do something that would get you in trouble, you never use the phone and certainly don’t carry one. Besides sim cards can be bought by the dozens. It is obviously official policy to demoralize the families and communities. Harbor a “terrorist” or a “person of interest,” and a dozens of people in your village will get blown up. It is obviously an official policy kind of like The Phoenix Program and has nothing to do with “cell phones.” This is spin calculated to downplay their slash and burn policy. You got played Greenwald, or you are playing us.

  105. I much applaude you guys for publishing and doing real grass roots journalism, not just for the US population but for the “Western” world, where many “intellectuals” just do not understand the concept of critical thinking. Where you speak of the US government, we also learn that Trojan horse governments like the British government are just as complicit and behave not in the interests of their population, but in the interests of the US goernment. In Poland, the level of American cultural colonialism is unbelievable. The CIA black prisons here are just an example of how far these “new” democracies are willing to go to appease the rich uncles in America. I hope you carry on with more revelations not just to expose your government, but help us expose our governments which are more totalitarian in nature than we’d like to think and that do as they are told, with a media that just turns a blind eye and ignores it.

  106. Excellent article. Only thing I find disconcerting is Pierre Omidyar’s connection to PayPal. PayPal’s record of having purposely closed it’s account on Wikileaks is significant, and something that Greenwlad wrote about at the time. That said, I want to clarify that I don’t bring up this point to slander this site as with such constant examples as those claiming Greenwald is using the new site to profit off of Snowden’s secrets, or that eBay has connections with the NSA that are going to go undisclosed etc. Again, excellent article, I just wish this Paypal issue could somehow be clarified.

  107. May 16th, 2014 – The non-violent swarming of DC for Spring Cleaning. At least 3 of the 6 branches of the blatantly rogue US Federal government. Once it begins, all citizen volunteers have voluntarily committed to remaining in DC until a constitutional government is again in charge. Volunteer to be the hero of your own story and BE THERE!

    The 6 branches are:

    1. The Judiciary

    2. The Legislative

    3. The Executive

    4. The DHS

    5. The NSA

    6. The CIA

    At least half of them are going to experience a 99+% turnover of their decision makers. Who if smart, will either surrender or skip the country.

  108. Military drone operations as acts of warfare murdering foreign citizens in foreign countries if done without the express consent of said countries is surely a declaration of war against these countries.

  109. Others works are by Dr. Martin Sklar on the Corporate State and the founding of it in the period 1890 to 1916. Or Dr. Alex Carey and his Taking the Risk Out of Democarcy or Corporate Propaganda vs. Freedom 1995 Foward by Dr. Noam Chomsky.

  110. Read Edward Bernays works the founded of the Public Relations Industry and his book Propaganda 1928 published in New York City. It outlines how the current Propaganda System works.

    My view is that the power System in the US tested all These methods on the native peoples and black americans and other minorities read history and be fearful the powerful in the US the corporate class want to make the entire Population on earth their personal slaves both house slaves and feild slaves. Make no mistake either the native peoples will be healed and given their Nature Rights as human beings or no one ever will be free. Read Dr. Howard Zinn and William Wells Brown Woks they Show the true history of US power. Also the works of Cotton Mather in his horrid work The Wonders of The Invisable World 1693 to justify mass murder in the Name of Christ against women and the outcasts is the Standard policy of US Power.

  111. A salute of respect to Mr Scahill, Ms Poitras and Mr Greenwald for their dedicated efforts to bring awareness despite the numerous obstacles and the difficult challenges they probably face on a daily basis. I am a British citizen and even though I know my own country is quite corrupt, I still have a keen interest in American politics simply because they seem to have a lot more foreign influence, even in my country.
    Hearing about these senseless killings of innocent civilians in multiple countries by the US forces has reinforced my belief that, rather then eliminating terrorism and providing stability, the ‘war on terror’ has done the exact opposite. Violence, after all, begets violence. However, I’m optimistic about our future because I’m a firm believer in people power (not to be confused with democracy). The power and influence excercised by our western governments lies in our hands and it’s high time we recognize this power and use it to restore some real sense and stability in our countries first before boldly attempting to do the same in other countries.

  112. Reading the comments of this story its clear that we need to declare war on our corrupt Government!
    I wish Jeremy and Glenn much success,and luck,but we must now sound out loud our support for truth
    the powers that control our media,financial markets along with the military ind complex have been building their NWO since they assassinated Kennedy Mossad,CIA,NWO are one in the same

    • Please read about Kennedy from the source data he was Amoral and this is what it always was the rich and powerful wanting more then they have a right to have.

  113. Welcome to the Disposition Matrix.

    A computer analyzes your metadata (or at least that of the person using your phone), computes your threat score and if it passes the threshold, dispatches a drone. At present, humans still the operate drones, but that is only a stopgap measure until fully autonomous drones are developed. The President still signs the death order, but that is only a stopgap measure until the algorithms are certified to be fully reliable. So the US may become the first nation in the world to totally automate the dispensation of death. A significant accomplishment, but a dubious one.

    As death rains down from the sky, a last agonized scream will be heard …’it was a wrong number!’.

    Methinks this will put a damper on the sale of iPhones.

  114. Assasinating people simply by connections to terrorist event, according to the “six degrees of separation” concept, “which posits that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart,” we will all be dead sooner or later…

  115. How do they track the international unlocked phones that don’t need a sim card to connect to wifi? And if you use a vpn???? I feel the need to ask because the boss of my state isn’t Bruce Springsteen anymore.

  116. The US used the world’s most advanced weapon to kill innocents in Japan during WWII when it killed via nuke bombs, and now the US is using another of its most advanced weapons to kill some more innocents.

    Moslem countries learned the lesson from Buddhist Japan of how not to react: Stand by and make friends with those who bomb them. Islam is fighting back. I am afraid that the US has aroused the dormant scimitar, and now its irritating it with drone strikes. Not good unless, of course, if you are an End Timer who is actually looking forward to escaping via the Rapture after his group sets the world ablaze.

  117. while I don’t support the intelligence industrie’s grip on freedom, I do support the anti-terrorism uses of sigint and judge it to be a more precise and useful tool in the war on terror than carpet bombing and boots on the ground. Deaths of civilians is an acceptable casualty of war and I believe this use of sigint to target potential terrorists is justified with as much emphasis on minimizing civilian casualties as possible. To insist that the government is either corrupt or inhumane for using this intel in what is essentially a combat environment goes to far.

  118. There are few heroes today, and far too many villains. Thanks, Glenn, Laura, and Jeremy, for your courage and unstinting devotion to telling the truth, and the willingness to go up against The Evil Empire. Someone has to do it; it might as well be you.

  119. I guess we now know why the NSA considers it so important to keep access to meta data here in the US. They may have a need in the future to use the techniques they are learning overseas here in the US.

  120. Reporting why the September 11, 2001 attack was perpetrated by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, and the other conspirators such as Mohammed Atta, the leader of the mission and terrorist pilot who crashed into World Trade Center 1, and Marwan al Shehhi, the terrorist pilot who crashed into WTC 2 , could help clarify things for some of the confused commenters I see here:
    (My video “What motivated the 9/11 hijackers? See testimony most didn’t” exposes what very few in the media were willing to.)

    There are scandals regarding 9/11 and government officials but not what several people commenting here realize:

  121. Yes, “innocent” people unfortunately do die and it called collateral damage. That being said, have you taken a second look at some of those “innocent” black widows or children filled with hatred towards the USA? — Mind you, these are barbarians who behead others in public and rape women and children. So do the editors have a better idea on how to deal with this constant, dishonorable enemy hiding behind innocent people? Should we all just let things be and let our cherished American way of family life get destroyed by these animals?

    • > Yes, “innocent” people unfortunately do die and it called collateral damage.

      Exactly. If they were so “innocent” why would they be dead! Spot on analysis.

      > That being said, have you taken a second look at some of those “innocent” black widows or children filled with hatred towards the USA?

      Yes, we all need to take a second look at the widows and children that are filled with hatred towards the USA. Especially the black ones.

      > Mind you, these are barbarians who behead others in public and rape women and children.

      Yes, much classier to murder in private. That way you don’t have to take any credit for your contribution to humanity. They rape women and children as well. Dreadful.

      > So do the editors have a better idea on how to deal with this constant, dishonorable enemy hiding behind innocent people?

      Make it plain.

      > Should we all just let things be and let our cherished American way of family life get destroyed by these animals?

      I say hell no! Your riveting speech has me ready to go to war.

  122. This was a very well written and evenly paced article. I already knew about Abduhlaraman(spell?) but I had no idea about them basically sucking up metadata and using it to target people. Without being a jerk, I’d like to find out a little more information. I mean, where are they getting the numbers that they are deciding to target in on? Did I miss that?

  123. Does it bother anyone else how successful the campaign to divide people as much as possible? Divide and conquer has been used throughout human history again and again. I’m sure it must feel great to believe that you and you alone know what’s really going on and everyone else has been duped. Cable news and talk radio know how to manipulate people with surgical precision, especially the ego maniacs with a inferiority complex. Left, right, center, Commercial branding whatever the PR campaign is I refuse to be manipulated. I’m far from being immune but I try to stay vigilant….I will Not let some allow someone to manipulate my free will.

  124. When are we ever going to hear about Russia? Why is Russia never mentioned in any leaks – EVER? It’s always the exact countries that Russia would benefit most from if they had a weaker trade deal with the US like Brazil and Germany.

  125. “A recent study conducted by a U.S. military adviser found that, during a single year in Afghanistan – where the majority of drone strikes have taken place – unmanned vehicles were 10 times more likely than conventional aircraft to cause civilian casualties.” Who did the study, what was it called, and when and how was it released? I genuinely want to know. Otherwise, great article.

  126. We’re “led” by a bunch of sociopathic criminals. Unless we all wake up and fight back we’re doomed.

  127. President Obama should be tried for murder in the killing of this American teenager, Abdulrahman Awlaki. The Republicans come up with all kinds of crazy reasons to impeach him but this murder, out in plain sight, seems to elude them.

    • How many of you have actually watched Edward Snowdens’ interview on German television from a week or so ago ? Doubt it is on You Tube/Google….keeps being removed from there.
      If you haven’t – you missed an intelligent man discussing why he did what he did – if you even want to hear his side ? I understand that the truth is not for all…..very few really.
      AND if he a CIA stooge – he is one brilliant actor !

  128. The technology being used by the military and the NSA will some day be extremely valuable for peaceful purposes. Small blip in human progress is what we’re seeing. While tragic, these deaths support a growing call for permanent change, change that will enable a better human civilization based on gratitude for one another. A new upward spiral (positive feedback loop) is building. Still imperceptible, it will result in momentous shifts that will make the American Revolution pale in comparison.

    The internet as well as brave people such as Snowden are increasing the feedback loop’s momentum. Alternative “operating systems” for human civilization, such as Copiosis, will repurpose much of the technology reported here to benefit humankind instead of ensnare and destroy it. It is not a matter of if, but when.

  129. I’m so angry … this whole NSA / Cia all criminals .. that must all appear before a military court …. and private companies provide this meta data .. each of there voluntarily Works is one shot

  130. Our country seem to be gripped by the supremacist disease and can’t see the weapons they are using today will be turned against us in the future. Those who invented the cannon had temporary superiority which was quickly recognized by others and used against them. The same will happen with our murder by drone.
    How surprised will we be when a remotely guided missile makes almost “surgical” strike against those considered terrorists by our enemies.
    Will our government understand the “collateral damage” done when eliminating one of our “terrorists”. Will we understand it is another “Chickens coming home to roost”?

  131. Thank you guys for your efforts to protect the US constitution, the freedoms of all Americans and the people of the world from what amounts to crimes against humanity currently being perpetrated by the United States government. I wish you success in your new venture.

  132. Far as I’m concerned, every single person we’ve blown up with a drone was innocent, because that is our legal tradition. Innocent until proven guilty. If the U.S. government believes someone deserves to die, let them apprehend that person and bring them into the legal system, and present their case. Our government did not do that. So it’s killed nothing but innocent people. Even people we might have caught on camera or on a website exhorting others to wage jihad against us. Absent a court case that rules in favor of it, we’ve no business administering the death penalty to private citizens.

  133. All this from an unnamed source who used to work in the drone program? How do we know its not all simply made up in Glenn’s head?

  134. So First Look wii be a blo network?

    What a letdown! There’s no impact in a bunch of separate blogs. You only have a short window of opportunity to capture attention, and you’re wasting it!

    I was expecting something more along the lines of a Daily Beast, but with serious content.

    And I suspect Greenwald is beyond being controlled in any fashion, but he seriously needs an editor. Think 3,000 words per post, tops, and make sure the structure and flow is organized and not stream-of-consciousness. Put in enough sub-headings and bullet lists and the like to allow scanning.

  135. Is the US-Mexican border so hard to patrol with all this technology? Typical blind eye to the supply of cheap labor, as long as they don’t practice medicine in the US and bring down health costs.

  136. For your viewing pleasure. A new “media” outlet that continues to create blind spots and ignore the real facts. Just another Tufts University Zionist influenced media outlet….

  137. If SIM cards are passed on to very weakly related individuals then you have a point; they will have very different usage patterns. If SIM cards are being passed around between tribesmen who are all in close contact with one another and who live near each other, the usage pattern diagnostics are probably less valuable. However, I’ll bet they get passed on to strangers after a fairly short period of time. Burner cards, essentially.

  138. Never comment, but long time reader of Glenn and Jeremy. Will start reading more Laura Poitras! Just want to throw meaningless internet comment support at you guys. Thanks for all the fantastic journalism, your voices have been huge in shaping my world view. So much love for the intercept. Go get after those murdering bastards and their criminal power structures!

  139. What ever happened to DUE PROCESS? What is going on now are assassinations based on “I don’t like the way they look, or who they socialize with”, so they must be guilty. How many innocent people have died at the hands of our Government with their WAR ON TERROR. Our illegal actions only aide the terrorists in recruitment. Those who did support the U.S. initially have gone over to join the terrorists after having family members killed accidentally. Continuing to disregard “DUE PROCESS OF LAW” will only assure that the war on terror will last FOREVER.

  140. “would a terrorist purposefully leave their cell phone at a school full of children to make us like blood thirsty killers…”

    Thanks for making this obvious observation. According to the article, Taliban men have been shuffling and switching SIM cards for a few years now. We have likely snuffed quite a few innocent men who were happy with their gift phone…………until a 1/10th of a second before they became pink mist.

  141. To all those who think this is a grand idea, remember, what goes round comes around. We will ultimately weaken, fade then no longer be the super power we once were. History is littered with great powers, empires that have become distant history. The same will apply to us. I know we keep telling ourselves how exceptional we are. Exceptional people do not express exceptionism. Self praise is no recommendation..

  142. This is why the Feds forced the US cell phone industry to do away with SIM cards. There is no way to switch SIMS available anymore, unless the phone is an old one. Same reason they pushed to convert EVERY television to digital, even gave away free converters. They store all digital, not analog.

  143. “Secret”?

    “The use of satellite and cellular transmissions to determine a subject’s location was relatively new a decade ago, when I was in Grozny. Tracking phone transmissions to hunt down targets began in earnest with a covert unit of U.S. intelligence officers from the National Security Agency (NSA), CIA, Navy, Air Force, and special operations called “The Activity.” This snooping unit was also called the Army of Northern Virginia, Grey Fox, and even Task Force Orange. We see much of this technology used to inform modern drone and U.S. Joint Special Operations Command strikes. My decade covering U.S. spec ops, intelligence gathering, and their contractors highlighted the impressive ability of various countries to monitor, locate, network, and act on what is called SIGINT, or signals intelligence.”

  144. Drone murders are an expression of the war on terror.

    The war on terror is justified by the presumed existence of Al Queda.

    Can ‘anyone’ prove the existence of Al Queda ‘prior’ to 9/11 from a source not connected to the CIA. The point here is that despite the nature of Al Queda post 9/11 It was in its entirety a construct of the CIA at the time of the event.

    So, any takers with real evidence by real named people that Al Queda existed prior to 9/11?


  145. Just a tip for posters–put the name of whomever you’re responding to in your post, as this site doesn’t do it automatically.

    It’s annoying to not know who the “moran” is that you’re referring to.

  146. Oh so nice to see you all again and all in one place now. A great start , too. Fantastic!
    TI now occupies the #1 spot on my bookmarks. I think I may stay awhile.

  147. If the United States Congress had five self-respecting members in either house, this would be identified as treason, and charges would initiated and hearings publicly demanded.

      • I’m a difficult read, but you are just a bore with that attitude.

        Expulsions are the equivalent of impeachment for failures of Congress, folks! Impeachment seems natural to me, but it will take us a while for the truth to sink in. We re-elected Nixon knowing he was a crook, too.

        Hay! I read Nixon was the last pres to expand Medicaid so massively, but no one seems to recall THAT. Any idea why?

        No way we get impeachment without expulsions in Congress first, and I’m up for BOTH! We won’t even throw parallel constructions at them!! No one is dictating they be convicted,expelled or shot down. We aren’t BARBARIANS. They failed to do their jobs, they must resign or face the music.

        Dianne Feinstein and Mike Rogers, COME ON DOWN!!

  148. Bullet headed cowards who slink around behind the safety of their computers, coming up with catchy jingles to create the illusion of propriety. They all will burn in hell.

  149. Be real, $250,000,000 went into this new media enterprise, and there’s no way they want to offend their pet cash cow/benefactor/eBay founder. But if history is indicator, you’re correct, they’re trying to sell us some poo-poo here. Now if he put up all that money over a fraud (he did, probably because he’s in on it), and you told him that, he might get offended…..

    No way Super-Snowden single handily, with the aid of one or more thumbdrives, acquired the treasure trove of documents that’s been claimed, didn’t happen, not with his background and experience.

    If that reality isn’t glaringly obvious enough, there’s no way he successfully hid out from the NSA in China while claiming to be right down the road from a CIA substation or station. Of course how has he made it in Russia so long?

    Won’t get into that aspect more, someone finally had the common sense to write a well thought article on the topic that hit’s much more detail of the inconsistencies;

    What Edward Snowden’s operation happens to be; further acclimating us to the police state, normalizing it for us, moving the Overton Window, he’s feeding into our collective egos and pipe dreams of resistance, and the self aggrandizing notion that just one person, who knows potentially YOU in the future, could take on Goliath and lay him down so easily, but probably most importantly, he’s become more of a distraction offering the perfect fantasy for malcontents to get wrapped up and waste their time in.

    This whole dog and pony show has been the most carefully orchestrated fiction we’ve ever seen. Sorry nothing yet revealed has been of much consequence, and allot of it technical crap nobody cares about so much as the ramifications.

    Oh almost forgot; “Investigate 9/11, 9/11 was perpetrated by people within our own government.”

    Might add if it weren’t for 9/11 you guys would have NO STORY, that was the catalyst for the police/surveillance state expansion that got Snow-job hired…..

    Other than that we’d like to know about NSA financial crimes, and extortion. Could also address how you’re cherry picking comments, or otherwise disallowing some to post.

  150. Bravo! Congratulations on a feat of unsurpassed courage and integrity. ‘Thank you’ and ‘Un-Frackin Believable’ barely begins to convey the level of gratitude and sense of awakening I feel for the raw and honest journalism you and the Team at The Intercept are bringing forward. Awaken us… awaken the people… expose the challenges we must inevitably face.
    May the honors, the satisfaction and the pride your Team must feel continue to expand.
    You are Herculean, You are Colossal! May you remain Tough and Vigorous!

  151. Excellent read. All the best to Glenn, Laura, Jeremy and Pierre. You’re doing a vital service for the public :)

    PS – Don’t let the intimidation tactics get to you, sleep well.

  152. I’ll amend the first line of this article to show what I find very disappointing about it:

    A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes INSIDE THE USA – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people….”

    Please explain under what conditions it is legal, never mind moral, for foreign governments to perpetrate executions in the USA?

    • Ba ba but we’re the USA and that’s different.

      Negotiation and solutions are most effectively arrived at by those that have empathy and are able to understand and see things through the eyes of others. Walk a mile in others shoes and then you have a flavor for the solutions and problems.

      We’ve permitted the leadership culture in the USA to become too arrogant and self centered, and unfortunately for we the people, we are required to pay, while pols and profiteers are getting richer and more powerful.

  153. “a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.”

    Gawd! I barely get a ridiculous prediction out of my mouth and it shows up in the news.

  154. I was looking in the story for confirmation from the drone operator that al Awlaki’s son was either killed on purpose or by accident. Unless I missed something, this seems unclear. If the drone operator is saying that the kid was targeted intentionally and that it was not an accident, then the Administration has not only been caught in yet another lie, they have reached a new low.

    Yes, it turns out that Obama is quite good at killing people. Why is no one screaming for impeachment (as should also have been done with W and Cheney)?

  155. Thanks for making it possible to look into the eyes of goliath without flinching.

    Peace & Understanding


  156. Are those who would purposely hide facts from the citizen owners of the USA acting in the citizen’s and Constitutional interests, or of those who would want to control America and the citizens?

  157. Extremely happy & impressed by the new venture. Without question the most ambitious & important journalistic mission in my lifetime (6 decades, give or take).

    Love & Support.

  158. I’ve been waiting for this for awhile!!
    Here’s a scary idea: “We see, then, an executive branch (with the help of the judiciary) trying to find ways to sweep away traditional lines of sovereignty to enable an American act of war to take place in a land that is neither engaged in official conflict with the U.S., nor willing to allow U.S. military action within its borders. For the U.S. this is a “conundrum” to work around, not a set of legal and geopolitical boundaries to respect.”
    That’s the problem, International Law be damned.
    Congrats on the new site, hope there is some moderation as Mr. Greenwald & his writing seems to attract mor crazies than an NRA convention.

  159. Onward and upward Glenn. Are your people involved in “White House urged to open up review into big data and privacy threats” story today’s Guardian.

  160. Isn’t it interesting that “metadata” has virtually taken over all of the conversation about NSA spying, when metadata pales in comparison to the fact that they are collecting EVERYTHING about us including the Content of all those calls? Odd no?

  161. The ongoing controversy surrounding the uses of drone attack are sympotic of the problems in international relations ;characterised by a US unilateral dominance; ever since collapse of Bi Polar cold war rival there is no constraints in US behaviour; it demonstrates that power corrupts and givn that USA usually does not sign up to any conventions which would bind it and constrain its behaviour; which is why USA continues in its interventionist policies international policing yet is not obliged to adhere to international conventions; In my opinion it is unreasonable for a Government such as USA ;who ought to be a rational player in international relations ; for its sub agencies who regularly deride other states for undemocratic accountability ; to resort to same tactics of being economical with the truth by refusing and ; NSA declining to respond to questions raised by the author of this article; shows massive contradiction and to me it illustrates that US military power has gone to its head ; power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely; whoever coined phrase was right
    Given the human error factor whereby; “wrong people” could be killed due to metadata errors, particularly in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia and in absence of people on the ground to verify targets precision this must mean as your article infers “say that it’s even more likely that mistakes are made in places such as Yemen or Somalia, and especially Pakistan.” Under such circumstances should we not hold USA accountable even if it is not a signatory of conventions ; I think US exceptionalism international law should be abolished and all states when they commit war crimes must be prosecuted otherwise international law in the pre Judeo Christian era of Justice is that which is in the interest of stronger will continue to prevail; that is why USA evaded accountability during Cold War and continues to be allowed to dictate terms of reference.

  162. There is no way to switch your logical SIM, once you start monitoring a SIM on anybody’s cell phone, you can easily establish a “pattern” of phone calls, call duration, numbers called, etc. Once, that pattern is determined, you can switch as many SIM’s as you want and you will be identified anyway very fast on your new SIM, under some conditions in seconds, ie. calling rarely called numbers. Avoiding this identification technique is practically impossible for anybody not highly skilled in encryption techniques.

  163. “Another document boasts that geolocation technology has “cued and compressed numerous ‘kill chains’ (i.e. all of the steps taken to find, track, target, and engage the enemy), resulting in untold numbers..”

    Lossy compression, applied to life and death. The 21st Century ladies and gentlemen.

  164. Lets see, would a terrorist purposefully leave their cell phone at a school full of children to make us like blood thirsty killers and turn world opinion against us ??? No, no way, that could only be the musings of a blood thirsty “Tea Party” radical terrorist, arsonist, child killer, rapist, necrophiliac.

  165. As I have saying before it is pure journalism and is creating a different sense of realitly with accuracy of the facts.

  166. Thank goodness you guys are finally in business and giving us some truth with our news for a change.

  167. Mr Clapper of the NSA and Mr. Alexander of the NSA saw fit to testify to Congress that they were stopping terrorists and preventing attacks (about 60 such events). Upon questioning they could not point to or claim even 1. They are guilty of perjury. Moreover they testified to Congress that they had actionable intelligence intercepts of Assad in Syria (a really bad guy) ordering the gassing of his own people. We now know from Snowden releases that their stream of intel had dried up a year before. We also have definite data that the serin gas was actually from an Al Qaeda Cell. Their actions would had they been successful have brought the US Armed Forces into Syria as air force for Al Qaeda. Treason is giving aid and comfort to an enemy in time of war. Clapper and Alexander have done exactly that. What they have done is also a war crime and should be prosecuted at the Haige. People need to know that these guys went off with a fancy gun and started shooting up the neighborhood without consideration of what they shot. This is a crime of reckless endangerment on a world scale. They have also damaged the business and good name of the USA to the extent that we are losing multiple billions of dollars of business every day. The NSA deserves no credibility. We should not listen to its fan boys and other sycophants who think it can do no wrong. It daily endangers our liberty and freedom.

    Bluntly the NSA is a big gun. The biggest ever built. It technically doesn’t do the shooting but it spots for the shooters. Simply stated one never aims a gun at something they want to keep! The NSA is in court right now demanding that judges continue to allow it to be indiscriminately aimed at American Citizens. It is used to prosecute and bring into trial persons who cannot answer their accusers because of “National Security Grounds.” It is a complete and total fraud and should be dismantled and its leaders jailed.

  168. What shenanigans! It’s almost as though an intelligence agency has a pulse on the common parlance of the populace and uses these terms to coin names for their operations! What a coincidence. Looking forward to the day when interagency cooperation allows us to track and drone the confused adolescent threatening to do something violent to their bully! Perhaps even the mere thought, measured in radiation! Possibilities be endless

    By the way, let us never forget to never remember GWB’s glorious contribution to this monumental catastrophe. What were his initials again?

  169. So in other words, the terrorists are having other people hold their cell phones for them and those are the people actually being killed.

    • Alessandro Cima is not the so call “terrorist” is the USA government itself how we will know that people killed by USA are terrorist anyways. How the world will knows that the “terrorists” handle their phones to others who later are kill by “mistake” ? or they have been killed terrorists to prevented attack? Where are the evidences, the hard copy of evidence, the proofs that such target were terrorists? USA is trying to justify its nazi fascit extrajudicial and unlawful operation.

    • FWIW, that was a flawed competition. The winners exploited what are called “leaks” in the data, which had very little to do with anything that would make a good predictive model in real life.

  170. My very best wishes to you all on this historic achievement which auguers for a ribith of journalism and and vooice for humanity.

  171. Do the publishers of First Look or The Intercept read these comments or ever give any feedback? If not, I am not sure I see the point of these comments. But more power to those who do. However, for what it’s worth, I am one who has tried to implement Edward Snowden’s ‘and Mr. Greenwald’s advice to protect my privacy through devices like tor and pgp encryption. However, while tor is relatively easy to download the cautions that have been published about it’s vulnerabilities leave me with little confidence that I have really accomplished anything. PGP encryption’s site purported to provide free downloads for its software, but after listing the versions appropriate to various operating systems provided no version available for my operating system (although it did identify it). This seemed strange since my operating system is very common and very current. I have tried to find information about these issues, but the discussions are so arcane as to be over my head. I am just a casual internet user. I have sent emails to people I thought could provide useful information or point me in the right direction but never gotten a reply. Therefore, it was with great interest that I read a comment here today by a person who simply stated that he was conducting a trial of tor by connecting to this web site. It seemed like he was feeling his way just as I had tried to do. He may have asked some questions, but, in any event, there was a reply by another commenter who discussed the issue and included a link to a discussion of some of the techniques used by NSA to exploit various vulnerabilities related to tor. I read it, but it was totally over my head. I was going to just give up but, by chance, went back to review the comments that had triggered my interest. They were gone. I have read through all the comments several times. I don’t see them. So, I have 2 questions (just in case the publishers do read this stuff): 1. Unless one is a computer whiz, how does an average user implement your suggestions to use tor and/or pgp encryption (assuming he finds the right pgp download) with any degree of confidence? and 2. What happened to those comments?

  172. Thanks Glenn and Jeremy, This finally sheds light on the egregous use of drones that violate our constitution while killing innocent(until convicted in a court of law) and civilians in other countries. It should be a first step toward impeachment and eventually war crime trials for elected officials and others perpetrating the drone events.

  173. “Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.”

    Has it never occurred to these geniuses that said “terrorist” –who may or may not be one– might hand the phone off to the resident toddler –a real one– to talk to grandma?

  174. To know this, and not be outraged, takes a truly herculean effort. How do these people sleep at night?
    What is the matter with us? How did it come to this?

  175. They will be using that technology when they escalate the war on the 95%…..awake you lazy americans, you’re give away your life and liberty for generations to come, forever. The militarization of our local police forces is they’re doing. Look how art pope has purchased north carolina…keep an eye on them. It’s just a matter of time.

    NSA, The new Gestapo. Hiel , and all the 1% and all their storm troopers.

  176. Profound tribalistic hypocrisy: President Obama and his apologists decry the due process-laden death penalty whilst praising the due process-free drone assassinations of fellow citizens and the worldwide murder of innocent civilians of all ages.

  177. Dear Sir, Madam,
    one question – there is your new web page in German language? -
    I wish you courage – confidence – and success. -

    Best regards

    Günther Konradi

  178. Just a few of many possible questions:

    Every type of military operation in Afghanistan may cause “deaths of innocent people”. Short of a readable photograph of a known face people killed by a drone strike or for that matter, artillery, are “unidentified people”. So the only meaningful question is “are drone strikes more effective at killing bad guys with less damage to innocents or not-so-bad guys compared to other strategies”. This question is not addressed in this article.

    How does “the former drone operator ” know “Some top Taliban leaders….have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers”? If true they are all enemy so what is the difference?

    When the article states that “unmanned vehicles were 10 times more likely than conventional aircraft to cause civilian casualties” does that mean anything at all? Why would sending conventional aircraft to the same strikes cause less civilian casualties? The pilots can’t see faces. This is apples to oranges logic.

  179. In his speech at the National Defense University last May, President Obama declared that “before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set.” He added that, “by narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life.”
    The criminal gall of that man. I dare him to go into the Afghan, Pakistani, and Iraqi villages where innocents have been droned, and read that fine little speech aloud while looking into the eyes of people who’ve lost family members to those “high standards.”

  180. The fact that some victims are “innocent” or “guilty” in the eyes of someone somewhere seems irrelevant. It looks to me that in every breath we should insist on the fact that Obama is liable for every amount of destruction by drone and guilty of first-degree, premeditated murder, no mitigating circumstances, for each death.

  181. If you’re interested in an extensive history of this whole program, including the rivalry between the CIA and the Pentagon back in Rumsfeld’s days as Sec of Defence, read the book The Way of the Knife by Mark Mazzetti. It explains the in-fighting, the differences in the legal permissions for drone use between the two groups, the expansion of use around the world, and the number of stuff-ups that have been going on since the 1990s in “intelligence” based operations, including hunts for bin Laden back then and through to his eventual demise.

    The geopolitics of Pakistan, Iran, east Africa, the middle east, and the overlay with American shifts in policy are real eye-openers. The Snowden documents are just more revelations of problems and intrusions that have been known for a rather long time.

    Congrats on the new venture, Glenn et al. Keep up the in-depth reporting and essays.

  182. The media silence in this country is deafening. We no longer live in a Free Nation. Perhaps we never really did. The disparity of treatment by the media of Bush and Obama is disturbing. Not every liberal can be so intellectually dishonest to suddenly not have a problem with the same war(s), the worsening corruption, the increasing violations of our constitutional rights, and the most deceptive government in history, not only spying on innocent American citizens, but spying on citizens, corporations, and friendly governments around the world. This makes Nixon look like a child in comparison, and major US newspapers and talking heads only seem to find Charlie Christ scandalous and gay activism newsworthy. We’ve got a problem.

  183. Would love to, but Big Bro, JSOC, NSA, CIA, FBI and NSA and Christ knows how many other Nazis are watching us. Keep up the good work and let’s get the Obomber gang hauled before the Nuremberg Tribunal. Comrade B

  184. I like the premise of this publication. I have to say, I find myself disappointing that virtually all of the people involved with this project are hardcore liberals. Another party line publication like MSN/FOX would be such a disappointment. There are real issues that demand thinking across the lines. The NSA police state in America is the single largest story of the last decade, IMHO along with the IRS targeting. Not because of who was targeted, that is actually not relevant. Anyway, best of luck. I hope to be reading this site often.


    Not a good way to kick off your opening days guys:
    The Intercept is made available for your personal, noncommercial use only. All content and other material on this Service is the property of First Look Productions or its licensors and is protected by U.S. copyright laws, other copyright laws, and international conventions. Except as explicitly provided in these Terms of Use, you may not reproduce, distribute, display, perform, create derivative works from, or otherwise exploit any of the content or other material on this Service. You may display and occasionally print or store single copies of individual pages of the Service for your personal use, provided that you keep intact all credits and copyright and other proprietary notices, but you may not otherwise reproduce, store, or distribute copies of any content or other material found on this Service, in any form (including electronic form), or exploit any of the content you find here for any commercial purpose, without prior written permission from the copyright owner.
    “create derivative works from” Really? You think through this “EULA” you can do away with fair use? You can’t. – Glenn, Jeremy… this may not be the place for you. Find a more user friendly outlet.

  186. Even if the targeting was 100% accurate, it’d still be wrong, and counterproductive.
    “in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.” … as if we’re all 5 yr-olds, watching a cartoon. Even the critics cited in this article are buying in to the assumption that we own the world, and have the right to summarily execute anyone that opposes us. How is anyone in their own country, opposing a foreign military presence, a “bad” guy? They may be opponents, or even enemies, but “bad guys”? That is so childish and entitled, in the worst way.

  187. This sends a warning to all of those people who associate with the terrorists. If you are even close to them, you could be killed.

  188. Congratulations on your inaugural “issue” and best wishes for the future. If I may submit a request: please retire the words “terrorist”, “terrorism”, etc. One of the things I am hoping that FirstLook will do is to re-frame public discourse, and part of that is altering the vocabulary in which public discourse is conducted. It’s one thing to quote a source who uses the T-word but it’s quite another for Jeremy Scahill or Laura Poitras or Glenn Greenwald et al to use the T-word in their own voice. Indeed, I’d hope for an early piece discussing the usages of the various terms and the establishment of a clear editorial policy on this. As my teacher used to say: “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” — and I’d like First Look’s first impression to be as re-definitional as possible — from the words up.

    • Why are you defending people who would like nothing more than to chop your head off on camera and put it on YouTube?

      My money’s on post-colonial white guilt.

      • You sound like Luther going after the Anabaptists! Did the Romans suffer same guilt? Or did they just contract themselves into oblivion, nationalist?

  189. Both major Parties are “all in” on these extra-judicial killing of Americans without due process. The analogy, that they are not protected any more than a sniper, ignores the FACT that they’re not in the process of murdering people. A sniper in the planning stage is not killed without due process; nor should American targets of JSOC and the CIA.

    This will go on forever, though, because Congress is in on it, both parties. Obama should be impeached instead.

  190. NSA is trying to whack terrorists. Glenn Greenwald is trying to save them.

    Good work, Glenn. You’re a terrific human being. I hope each new terrorist attack fills you with a sense of accomplishment. You’ve earned it.

    • I know, no one should feed the trolls. But but what a terrible point of view! You correspond to the desired pattern! Congratulations!

  191. What really alarms me is the idea that Pres. Obama actually BELIEVES what the Pentagon and the alphabet agencies are telling him. That means the Generals et al are in charge of our foreign policy, and that is a truly frightening possibility. Has anyone seen the movie “Seven Days in May” lately?

  192. no pueden poner una en español? un poco de ingles puedo leer pero es demasiado y el traductor de google crome es muy malo

  193. Refreshing austere. Congratulations!

    There is something inescapably, fundamentally and horribly wrong with the concept of using assassination drones for the sake of expediency. The wholesale destruction of sovereignty and its protocols finds its ultimate target right where it begins by the same manner and madness we’re rapidly running of liberties to concede for the sake of “being free.”

  194. Esto de la NSA se esta haciendo un círculo vicioso, a la final que podemos hacer nosotros los seres humanos antes esta situación, lo único es preocuparnos por hacer bien las cosas.

  195. Excellent article. I am looking forward to more of these. Best of luck with your new adventure.

  196. Congrats to First Look Media for a successful launch of what could, and most likely will, become one of the most important sources of independent and investigative journalism. My hat also goes off to Democracy Now, which focused today’s program on the launch and the above article. For a look at how the mainstream media has weighed in, check out my Blog for a partial list of links to related articles:

  197. “You could tell, because you’d go back to the mission reports and it will say ‘this mission was triggered by SIGINT,’ which means it was triggered by a geolocation cell.”
    “Triggered by SIGINT” does not necessarily mean that SIGINT was the sole source of intelligence, it merely means it was the last, and triggering, source of intelligence.

    “Before a strike is green-lit, he says, there must be at least two sources of intelligence. The problem is that both of those sources often involve NSA-supplied data, rather than human intelligence (HUMINT).”
    Although both sources may be SIGINT, they are probably different types of SIGINT, and therefore act as cross-references to each other. One shouldn’t assume that HUMINT is necessarily any more reliable a source, and therefore essential to making a correct decision based on all known intelligence.

    In the weeks prior to the D-Day invasion of Normandy, 13,000 French civilians were killed in the pre-invasion bombing. Although regrettable, their deaths were considered necessary for the success of the invasion because of the militarily useful nature of the strikes. Today, because we have weapons so accurate that we can target a single person, and because we do take as much care as can reasonably be expected while still meeting mission requirements (killing enemy leaders), it creates the mistaken impression that we can do so without harming others, or that we should only conduct strikes when there is no chance whatsoever of killing innocent people. This is very unreasonable, and unfair, given the great strides we have made since WWII in reducing civilian casualties. How many critics of drone strikes would support the development of weapons capable of killing single individuals, with zero collateral damage, each and every time? Probably none. I’d like to suggest that it’s probably best that we don’t develop such weapons, because targeted killing would become too easy and too tempting to use in situations in which it would be unlawful.

  198. Bastantes verdades estarán ocultas, pero solo hay un motivo del porque las ocultan: “No hacer la voluntad de Dios”.

  199. Those innocent people should “choose” their family better, right Obama? Not your fault kids are dead, right Obama? You didnt know what your admin was doing, right Obama?

  200. The US is using terrorist tactics to frighten and intimidate the peoples of third world countries. Drone attacks are terrorist attacks using the standard definition of the term, terrorism. Drones destabilize, murder and create chaos for a political purpose. What more do you need to know about the biggest terrorist nation on Earth, the US?

  201. “Some top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA’s targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers. “They would do things like go to meetings, take all their SIM cards out, put them in a bag, mix them up, and everybody gets a different SIM card when they leave,” the former drone operator says. “That’s how they confuse us.”

    I’m sorry, but I’m not seeing any downside in this. So we’re killing random terrorists, instead of specific terrorists? Who cares?

  202. From the page of the Nobel Peace Prize:
    … Obama had advocated dialogue and cooperation across national, ethnic, religious and political dividing lines. As President, he called for a new start to relations between the Muslim world and the West based on common interests and mutual understanding and respect.
    Hmmm…this doesn’t sound like the same man.

  203. Mr. Greenwald, you sir are a member of a dying breed and you have my undying respect and gratitude for what you are doing. Thank you. Please continue to release more information so that we (the thousands of Americans and other freedom loving individuals) can use it as reference to put down the lies coming from this administration, the last administration and the next administration.

    Peace to you and to Mr. Snowden.

  204. Very disturbing to read those who presume they are being targeted then put their SIM cards into a sack and take one back to show they share the threat and intend to make the blood blow back on the killers for their indiscretion. That’s a much less expensive mobile massada messenger service.

    Slides we were shown about cell phones surveillance made mention of this SIM switching syndrome and it was recorded in the millions a month if I recall correctly. That’s a lot of switches to miss.

    What don’t NSA and GCHQ get about martyrs’ blood? Can’t they get enough of it?

  205. WOW!..Love the story! I saw you guys on today and came online here to share. Thanks so much keep up the good work..I love getting REAL news so when parts of my family start on about a subject they have learned from Fox news::>

  206. It’s not much of a stretch to envision Obama dropping drones in Omaha on Grandpa, who was caught on Verizon “Metadata” criticizing The Dear Leader.

  207. I’m sure this technique is used for domestic harassment also, probably before the 1st Patriot Act
    or since cell towers and geo location was implemented.

  208. This is great reporting, but why did I have to read it here? Why are David Gregory, Charlie Rose, and the rest of our mainstream media being such pussies on these issues?

    Gregory’s softball treatment of Mike Rogers and DiFi on MtP was particularly offensive … made me think of Joseph McCarthy risen from the dead.

    When the US actually does act like a ‘Great Satan’, it just confirms our enemies’ claims. Over time it just makes us all less safe because they are able to recruit so many more to their crazy violent ideology. Why isn’t it patriotic to argue this point?

    Thanks Omidyar for getting this going.

  209. In just a few short years we’ve transitioned from conventional warfare to Star Wars (the use of drones) and all because of the ongoing War on Terror? Just how long will this War on Terror last? The use of drones is still difficult for me to comprehend. Several things bother me about the U.S. drone program and one is that the drone operators have incomplete or the wrong information on the “target.” Second is that some of these people are Americans and are entitled to their day in court under the U.S. Constitution. Lastly, what really bothers me is all the info we’ve come to know by way of Edward Snowden regarding the massive ongoing effort by the NSA in collecting metadata and other information on Americans through cell phones, internet, Wi Fi, etc. What makes us think that the NSA would not turn its drone operation on the United States in pursuit of “would be” terrorists that are hiding, working among us?

    • *In just a few short years we’ve transitioned from conventional warfare to Star Wars (the use of drones) and all because of the ongoing War on Terror? Just how long will this War on Terror last? *

      The day Bush announced that this is “war,” my father, a history teacher with an interest in war, called me and said, “We’re doomed. That criminal ass just committed us to an un-winnable, unending, catastrophically expensive boondoggle that will be the ruination of this country and whichever ones we attack.” Nothing that has transpired since has proven him wrong. And it isn’t over. By a long shot…

    • Says the Tory who’s leader leaves contentless email on news exec’s BlackBerry. Or was that just a Tempora metadata file of its former selfie? I thought it sounded just like him.

      We’re getting pretty close to knowing who blew the Stuxnet story, but you’ll never see one of them get Espionage Charges.

    • I agree! I mean, you have to know who you’re dealing with, right? “Who” said “what”? Otherwise, how can we believe, I mean really believe, the someone is who he says he is? You’re in the dark, lashing out, feeling your punches connect but never knowing who’s on the other end.

      Wait, were we talking about faceless sources or faceless targets? I think I got confused.

  210. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I have been expecting this publication for several months and want you to know that you are indeed catapulting the enlightenment of humankind and with it a healing for Planet Earth. Count me as an avid reader of this magnificent endeavor. I have been in your camp for several years now and believe that you have captured the hearts of many and the minds of those that are still able reason. I commend your courage, ask for your safety, and wish you the most benevolent outcome on this and all future endeavors. In freedom and justice for all.

    • Off topic, but I named my now 8 year old daughter Lyra. She was born in August and that’s when the constellation Lyra appears in the night sky in this hemisphere (but you probably knew that). Beautiful name.

  211. I’d ad a coherent Here here Atta Boy and maybe even a few Wake-up’s, but my comments are disappearing, twice now.

  212. It is horrible when anyone dies in war, be they an “enemy combatant” (do you think his family does not suffer from his loss?) or one of our soldiers.
    That said, I think that people have forgotten what war is.
    It is said that war should be terrible, so it will be short and infrequent. TERRIBLE.
    In WW2 if an American, in an American Unit, became unreliable to the point of endangering his combat platoon in the field he could be shot, by his own men, and everyone understood it was what was required in the circumstance. Don’t believe me? Talk to some Vets that are alive that served in front line combat units in that war, especially in the Pacific. Ask about life and death on a battle field. You could also pick up Eugene Sledge’s book, which is one of four books that the HBO followup to Band of Brothers, The Pacific, was based upon – and he frankly talks about one such incident in his own platoon when he was there – they had to shot an otherwise healthy American who was having a panic attack in the head and kill him.
    That’s war.

  213. Have you ever read the Bible? The last book of Revelation means to reveal in the Greek. I’ve read and studied the Letter for thousands of hours and I understand the back of the book. Before the Second Advent, the world is thrust into a one world government system (Multi- headed beast always represents governments). Three nations attempt to pull out of the new world order (the deadly wound). This is God’s ending plan and nobody is going to change it. What is the plan about? It’s a test to find out who has read, studied and stands with God. Three nations attempt to pull out of the beast system (One world government) and who does God send to heal the wound after the great raiser of taxes (barack Obama) in Daniel 11:20? Daniel 11:21 (the vile one) God orders Michael to kick satan out of Heaven Rev. 12 to the earth at 666 and satan arrives to the earth playing his role as antichrist and he will be here peaceably and prosperously (chicken in every pot) slaying souls for anyone he can deceive into worshiping him as Christ. The ultimate test in the flesh! These little children we have governing are God’s doing, Isaiah 3:4,5,6 and princes/babes (our gov’t. with the minds of little children shall rule). And when does this happen? To find the subject of the time frame you have to go back to Isaiah 2:2, IN THE LAST DAYS! We are not going to alter or change the course the Morons in Washington are taking, we (all nations) are going into captivity but all will be well with you. The lesson’s from the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah. Have you read it? It’s going to happen exactly as it’s written and don’t worry, these wicked, evil people get their asses handed to them and we will see it…

  214. “Thermate” and “thermite” are not the same thing — thermate is a modified version of thermite.

    From Wikipedia:

    “Thermate composition is a thermite one enriched with a salt-based oxidizer (usually nitrates, e.g. barium nitrate, or peroxides). In contrast with thermites, thermates burn with evolution of flame and gases. The presence of the oxidizer makes the mixture easier to ignite and improves penetration of target by the burning composition, as the evolved gas is projecting the molten slag and providing mechanical agitation.”

  215. The Orwellian world has gotten a bit brighter by this coverage.. and darker from the reality that TheIntercept is reporting. Thank You.. I linked to this article under critical news and events at

  216. Glad your up and running. Your courage, commitment, and intelligence inspire me and give me hope.

  217. In May 2013, Barack Obama told us “before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured—the highest standard we can set.” That was a ludicrous lie at the time, and doubly ludicrous today.

  218. I have something to say about why there are drones leaving chemtrails over my address in Jacksonville, FL. About why there are things that look like stars over my home each night and over no one else’s on the small cul-de-sac where I live. About why I look far different than I did seven months ago. My email and phones are compromised. Trying to shed some light on this before it happens to you and those you love.. Will try to figure out this PGP key manner of communication (technology is not my wheelhouse). Just understand that this is very real, very serious and lives are in jeopardy.

  219. How long before other countries start using drones? What’s the US position on drones going to be when other countries start attacking each other with drones?

  220. How exciting to see First Look Media up and running! May you long continue! Thank you so much, Glenn, Laura, Jeremy, and other members of the team. We are desperately in need of this kind of analysis at a time when the focus of the mainstream media becomes ever more removed from reality. I’ll be spreading the word.

  221. I don’t agree with much of what the government does, but to be honest most of the people that are associated to these people are not innocent. So, if they do happen to hit the wrong person due to swapping of SIM cards, fuck it, they were most likely up to no good in the first place. I mean, how did they get that SIM car anyways? At the damn meeting.

  222. So “metadata” is being used in an algorithm to identify “threats” and then automatically being fed to a drone operator to direct strike???? The same moronic outlaw regime that couldn’t get a healthcare website up and running or produce a passable counterfeit birth certificate? Not long after Obama’s NDAA removed the ban on the assassination of US citizens we found out that the NSA is collecting our metadata like there’s no tomorrow. Looks like a fully automated, remote control, robotic assassination “security program” is coming soon to a neighborhood near you! Thanks Obama but remember, he couldn’t’ have done it without so many of his supporters begging to be duped and manipulated.

  223. Thorough, researched, long-form journalism.

    Great to see you filling an all-too-often vacant niche in the media landscape.

  224. Here in Germany when we learnt about Holocaust in Nazi Germany, we couldn’t believe how regular family fathers, the typical friedly guy in your neigborhood, could go “to work” killing innocent men, women and children and returning home after a “hard” day, playing with their children, going to church, without any guiltiness or even 2nd thoughts on what he did. Is anybody really asking, why we (the western civilizations) are so hated? We are feeding the extremsists, we support harmful things and we all know it…

  225. Why would anyone believe Obama when he says we do not do this. I suspect this is how he will go after Americans when he is ready to kill them.

  226. Thank you for the enlightening article. Now, aside from simply pointing out that “this exists”, what is the broader point?

    As a citizen, if I abhor the marginalized concepts of assassination and wholesale slaughter of children and other innocents, what am I to do about it?

    How do I go about demanded a reboot? How do I do that in a way that will yield actual positive results?

    It isn’t simply the out of control nature of our institutions that troubles me, but also that it seems there is no real way to influence their action.

  227. Dear NSA,

    We know you are watching this web site. I am seeking employment in the Secret Agent business, please contact me with instructions on sending my resume.

  228. Congratulations on getting this up and running — I’ve been waiting for this for quite a while! Excellent flagship article. Keep it you, you three — so much is riding on your efforts right now.

  229. More talk about the ongoing problems. Talk never changes anything. There are only two ways to change things now. Stop our financial support or violence. But, “the fear of loss is more powerful then the hope for change.” So all the talkers make money and the rest of us fear our government taking what we have. My friend Schaeffer Cox is in prison for a thought crime but he is in the minority and most do not care.

  230. I’m not sure what the controversy is here? There are obviously going to be civilian casualties during a war. The United States does more than any other country on the planet to keep civilians safe. Counted in the Pakistani casualty number are people at the bin Laden compound – hang out with high-value targets and you might die. Sadly, accidents happen. I was waiting for something we didn’t know to be revealed in this story, has the traitor Snowden run out of news?

    • Except that it isn’t a declared war, we are not at war with Yemen or Somalia, yet we commit acts of war. If you read the article then you would realize the many apparent controversies. The lack of human intelligence and relying almost completely on intelligence from a sim card is highly controversial. I don’t understand you blatant support for a regime that commits war crimes.

  231. This article is disingenuous at best. Would the article, and the barking dogs that promote it, prefer to carpet bomb a city taking out thousands of civilians? And why the great concern with a bunch of Islamic terrorists who might get whacked playing Russian Roulette with SIM cards? Why are they called “innocent?”
    We have come a long way in woosifying warfare. Either we should avoid fighting altogether, or use every tool and technology in our arsenal. The traitorous drone operators and NSA analysts who give away national secrets and national intelligence will be responsible for killing more Americans than the Islamist Imams could ever hope for.

  232. “”"Unlike those who oversee the drone program, Bryant also took personal responsibility for his actions in the killing of Awlaki. “I was a drone operator for six years, active duty for six years in the U.S. Air Force, and I was party to the violations of constitutional rights of an American citizen who should have been tried under a jury,” he said. “And because I violated that constitutional right, I became an enemy of the American people.””"”

    We have been reading and hearing this stuff for years. would you bring him to trial. Do you think he would answer a subpoena..or come peacefully with Marshalls you send into the bowels of Islamist Yemen? OK..but how would you have tried him? Hell you would never get him into a courtroom so why all this? Unless Bryant is saying..”hey..I think Awlaki should have been allowed to continue his activities until we could afford him his rights”..what exactly is he saying?

    Is this what folks are advancing? How would Bryant or Greenwald bring Awlaki to trial? Tell us..and until you can do that stop with the criticism.

    • How about…. a drone that grabs someone instead of blowing them to bits. Then, if you get the wrong person, you just send them back home instead of to an excruciating death. Also, I believe Awlaki just made cheesy videos so allowing him to continue wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world.

  233. What would you all expect from the monkeys running the zoo / inmates running the asylum ??
    Especially with your Chief Socialist Muslim etc… and his cohorts at the helm ???

  234. I don’t like the idea of the need for the NSA surveillance system very much either, but I have nothing to fear from it because I have nothing to hide. This may be a very unpopular opinion, as everyone dislikes “big brother”, but fundamentalists in these regions will always seek to bring harm to the civilized world, because we represent a “threat” to their ideology.

    I think it is very naïve for anyone to think that any men or women who associate with a top level terrorist are unaware of the terrorist activities being planned and carried out. They are accessories to the crimes committed against America and her allies. Does anyone really believe a woman marries a top level terrorist not knowing he hates the free world and wants to kill other people? Any children present are going to be indoctrinated into the terrorist beliefs, so there are no innocent targets near a terrorist, especially in places like Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and the tribal regions of Pakistan, which are with out a doubt some of the most lawless places on Earth. Don’t want to be a drone target? Avoid terrorists who seek to kill others for their religious agenda.

    Boots on the ground or drones in the air, either way, some “civilians” will always die. I would rather an expensive piece of technology be used for the job than risk the life of even one allied soldier, whose lives are far more priceless than any person who supports, harbours, or aids a terrorist. What do we have to hide that makes us so afraid of NSA surveillance? They could care less if you are cheating on your wife or embezzling your company, they are only interested in targeting and eliminating people who want to kill Americans and their allies.

    As for these “whistleblowers”, take note: you are aiding terrorists who one day may kill your family while you cry for the public right to know classified military operations. Years from now under existing laws, and when it is safe to do so, these things will be declassified anyway. Let future generations decide if these actions were in the best interest of America, until then the public are uninformed armchair coaches who are reacting to only a small piece of the information needed to understand why these decisions are being made.

  235. It really is quite incredible how far along this strongman, dictator, style presidency Obama has created for himself. It seems that Obama is really much more like others in positions of extreme power, Assad for one, Netanyahu for another, maybe throw in Putin for good measure, and that any constitutional rights that us US citizens might have are really dependent on what other dictators have been able to get away with. As he has admitted himself that he is getting very good at killing folks, I think our president has gone insane with blood lust. Now that most Americans here in the US are considered to be possible terrorists, I can see him wanting to use drones to take out those who disagree with him….like me, or maybe like you! Where does this insanity stop? Will it stop? Will the American people be able to correct the terrible habits of a government gone anti-democratic? Thank you Ed Snowden, for we would really be in deep stuff were it not for your incredible patriotism. Snowden for President!.

    • NSA might because it blows to hell their claim they are intelligent when all they do is target cell phones. How stupid is that?

  236. Unlike those who oversee the drone program, Bryant also took personal responsibility for his actions in the killing of Awlaki. “I was a drone operator for six years, active duty for six years in the U.S. Air Force, and I was party to the violations of constitutional rights of an American citizen who should have been tried under a jury,” he said. “And because I violated that constitutional right, I became an enemy of the American people.”

    Have to disagree here. If I am at war and a guy is coming for me, I am not going to check his passport before taking him down. If you are killed while engaged in planning or executing an attack directed at Americans, you deserved no trial and got what was to be expected in the theater of war.

    I am a little more conflicted about civilain casualties. But given the videos I have seen of the average Muslim rejoicing at the deaths of innocent American civilians on 911 and after, I find it hard to have sympathy. They are raised in a culture that treats others who are non-Muslim as subhuman.

    • ” If you are killed while engaged in planning or executing an attack directed at Americans, you deserved no trial and got what was to be expected in the theater of war. ”

      When did Congress declare war on Yemen?

      “They are raised in a culture that treats others who are non-Muslim as subhuman.”

      Surely you see the pot/kettle nature of this?

    • Have to disagree here. If I am at war and a guy is coming for me, I am not going to check his passport before taking him down. If you are killed while engaged in planning or executing an attack directed at Americans, you deserved no trial and got what was to be expected in the theater of war.
      Hmm…someone needs to alert the UN and the US to this new rule, because naturally that is patently false. You don’t get to mow down anyone you choose on your “hunch” that they “might be” an enemy combat. That’s particularly important when we’ve declared war on the world so that there is no discrete battlefield and no enemy in uniforms (an untenable situation we created). That person “coming at you” may well be someone asking why you’re there or offering you help. And yes, they may also feel you’re the threat since you’re in their territory in an illegal war. If you’re part of an invading army, in uniform, and wielding a gun, and they kill you, that’s their right.

      Funny how those rights work both ways.

  237. What is remarkable is that a 19 year-old Marine can’t pull the trigger on a bad guy shooting at him in Afghanistan until a political appointee in DC finishes his martini. But Obama is droning people based on this NSA information alone?

  238. Aside from the disturbing information which points out the numerous flaws inherent in the SIGINT system of ‘targeted’ killings, there is another untold dark side to these drone missions. For the time being, the United States enjoys a monopoly on drone technology, which makes all of these drone strikes on the other side of the world possible. Supporters of the drone assassination program may feel, for the time being, that there is nothing wrong with collateral damage when going after the bad guys, but they overlook the fact that there is currently no danger of drone strikes against our own military or civilians. As this technology matures, and other countries become adept in the use of long-range, armed drones, the balance of air power will begin to shift uncomfortably against the US. Where this administration and it’s spy agencies see nothing wrong with drone strikes and ‘acceptable’ civilian casualties occuring in undeclared wars in places like Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, they’ll howl bloody murder when enemy drones begin to launch attacks against US interests abroad, and eventually against domestic targets here in the US. The US government has callously opened this Pandora’s Box without regard to the eventual, predictable backlash by the very same technology.

  239. But they get some of the bad guys too, don’t they. People without a shred of human compassion are the real terrorists.

    • How to find out who are the bad? Can a military commander substitute a court? Compassion has nothing to do with.

  240. Insanity, is all i can think after reading this, the use of metadata to target and kill faceless individuals “over-there” with absolutely no HUMINT, and preemptively to top it off. I cannot even begin to empathize/imagine what people in these regions are going through, I don’t think many people have experienced such trauma, and fear from the unseen, what I can clearly see is how people experiencing such horror, would develop a truly, deep seated and lasting hatred against those perpetrating such evil.
    The tactics practiced “over-there” all eventually seem to make their way back to the homeland, I suspect the drones with Data vacuums are already in the US, if nothing is done how long until the entirety of the program emigrates to the US.

  241. It is not that Snowden did wrong…history will avail him of a decision, but, what are American government official doing that only Snowden or whistleblowers have the guts to display for us. I don’t go along with “drone” murders….We should have fought the wars with Bush I and there wouldn’t have been an Iraqi war followed by the Afghanistan war. What do we think they are doing to use, individual citizens if this is what they think they can to without restraints!

  242. I’m missing the important pieces: Aren’t these war crimes and violations of the Geneva convention, punishable by the UNSC and ICJ “International Court of Justice”?

  243. I’m looking forward to reading this website regularly, but just heard on the radio that Glenn Greenwald is thinking of visiting the US.

    Personally, I think Mr Greenwald is way too important to the cause to risk incarceration or worse. I sincerely hope he reconsiders.

  244. Sad, and scary, and how long will it be before this practice gets applied inside US borders. If the world is a battlefield, that includes everywhere.

  245. Americans Right to Privacy has solutions and I am anxious to share them with you. We offer secure, encrypted email, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which secures your computer’s internet connection, to guarantee that all of the data you’re sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from prying eyes. Also a “Swiss Bank Account for your Data” Digital Safe! Switzerland, a country known for its strict data privacy laws, has no back door access to encryption for any government agency, not even Switzerland itself.

  246. How are people who swap sim cards with terrorists not involved in terrorism? Oh, sorry, we killed someone lower on the ladder than we wanted? The terrorists are bringing their families and others into this. Where is the blame on them for that?

  247. “… using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes…”

    And don’t forget the Obama administration has defined terrorist to include American citizens who are military vets, conservatives, Republicans, Christians, and gun owners, and Obama has given himself the right by Executive Order to incarcerate American citizens indefinitely without formal charges or right to trial.

  248. Amurka and its robot planes, keeping the Empire safe from the turrurist armies massed on its borders.

  249. How exactly do you protect the constitutional rights of a person who is living in a foreign country protected by armed men and who is determined not to be taken alive? Mr. Bryant should volunteer for the job if thinks it so important to protect the civil rights of terrorists.

    • ALL men are created equal endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights… not some, ALL… Oh and please explain to me the definition of terrorist and at what point will YOU not be considered one? wake up

  250. The authors nailed this article, though the use of the word “assassination” is incorrect and inflammatory. Seems like nit-picking, but if you know anything about targeted killing, you know that assassinations are strictly defined and not part of this program. I “get” that they needed a “hook” for their article header, but I thought I’d point that out. This is not a comment pertaining to the content of the article, just the press misuse of the term ‘assassination’ to promote a leftist agenda.

  251. What they are doing is no better than using A WW2 bomber to nail a German company holed up a french town. They know without doubt they are killing innocents, but they don’t have to stick the knife in, so it’s ok. That’s not collateral damage, that’s murder.
    That being said. Here at home, has anyone wondered WHY our generous government subsidizes phones for the poor? What better way of keeping track of the unwashed masses than by offering them an almost free cell phone? Somebody causing trouble? Well no prob, their happily carrying a tracker and a bug too, we know right where to fine them. Boy that’s thinking ahead aint it? Gives ya a warm fuzzy feeling just thinking about those guys spying on us all the time to keep us safe. Make’s me want to go back to land lines, use cash and wear a big hat for the facial recognition camera’s, just because.

  252. Edward Snowden: Spy or Whistleblower? Neither!
    He is a Manufactured Avatar of the American Intelligence Community!

    For over a year, the bloated American Intelligence Community, both the military and the civilian components, have been playing a game with us, citizens-taxpayers. A narrative was created in the personae, or what I call ‘avatar’ of an ostensible ex-CIA, ex-Special Forces and ex-NSA contractor named “Edward Snowden.” This Edward Snowden apparently leaked millions of intelligence documents regarding our massive electronic surveillance over our citizenry.
    Read another POV:

  253. Congratulations on the Launch

    I have been looking forward to this since it was first announced and will follow you with great interest. Your work is highly needed and appreciated.

    All the best to all of the staff, from Denmark.

    Lars Drudgaard
    ICAACT – International Center Against Abuse of Covert Technologies

  254. The fight against islamo-facism is a good fight, but we must be careful not to cede the moral high ground.
    I imagine that our drone people agonize over collateral deaths, as well they should. But I also wonder if they eventually become numb to that guilt, or even jaded? How many collateral deaths before they are pulled from that duty?
    Is there a threshold for how many innocents a droner accidentally kills before being ‘grounded’?
    What are the odds that such individuals would be operating armed drones over American soil?
    Who’s riding herd over these cats?

  255. You guys rule. So glad to see you get going with the new venture. Excellent article — and segment on DN!

  256. What will foolish reliance on Metadata yield?
    Assume that known terror suspects will shortly be using the targetted SIM cards, RFID and iPhones as drop zones. Placing them at THEIR Ground Zero targets. That will be the final outcome as they are placed inside religious gatherings of all sects, hospitals, and among innocent civilians – even on commercial aircraft. Robotic NSA use of Metadata will result in thousands of drone kills – ON INNOCENT CIVILIANS. Foolish over-reliance on Tech will mean it can easily be neutralized. Hackers already have caused the demolition of a drone near San Diego – probably headed toward a commercial airliner. Just watch and learn.

  257. Mission statement has me all abuzz…

    Marked as new top site first thing on site’s first day.

    Here’s to adversarial journalism.

  258. Our country is dead.

    We are no longer a Republic.

    We are a terrorist country – reigning terror down upon innocents (in the name of killing terrorists).

    I am ashamed of the United States of America.

    I renounce my citizenship and now consider myself a person without a country.

    • I can appreciate the sentiment, but stick around and help us throw some rhetorical sand into those gears. I read an old songbooks that suggested throwing clogs in a cog works, but those are from merry Old Europe.

      What these haystackers haven’t yet realized is WE ARE the HAY. We can refuse to germinate any old time we chose. Watch the market in haystacks collapse and the cows come home while all we do is read some out of print books.

  259. Why not just turn off the phones for awhile so NSA wouldn’t even know they showed up for a meeting? Wouldn’t that work?

  260. Finally. Voices that not only speak about the inhumanity and lawlessness of assassination as a geopolitical strategy but the criminality of its enablers. We anticipated insightful work from you and you delivered.

  261. More than half our pilots are “simulated?” OMG! No wonder civil flight is for the birds, now. I won’t fly any craft that hasn’t got a old fighter jock on board. I’ll even pay a Sully premium for the protection!! Newer AF pilots are still exactly that. NEWBIES!!

    You have to make your mistakes and take some real heat for it in the Force or you haven’t got any, fakers!!

    I can recall several family tales of fighter jocks making humorous gaffs and a few who were killed for their errors. it’s dangerous work if you can get it, anymore. My nephew is managing this system in some capacity I prefer not to understand so I can visit him in Germany and see what’s become of the old digs. I’m afraid if I know too much about his duty, I won’t be given access. Really hate to land on the no fly as I’m craving some German food like a Saarlander. Made to vote, right now, I’d go with GERMANY!! Can anyone disabuse me?

    Getting a 503, here, volks. Again, and now, can’t find the data base.

  262. This isn’t about protesting the drones. This is about refusing to accept a logic and power structure that makes a thing like this possible. We live in a comfort that has been delivered to us on a blood-coated silver platter. The longer we wait to reject the heinous use of these devices in the summary execution of civilians, the larger the consequence to our conscience, our dignity, and our integrity as human beings. This is not the America I’ve been so graciously lied to about. This is the reality.

    • @ Anthony Patrizi: My thoughts exactly. Your comments address the comments of VH (slightly above), too.

  263. Thus, the Taliban, etc., should take responsibility for the actions that they deliberately engage in to reinforce their personal security, at the expense of others. This is no different to the Taliban strapping suicide bomb vets to mentally challenged children. which includes females that have run afoul of the “law”.

  264. By the article it is admitted that drone targeting is a complex business so it stands to reason that America is making every effort to take great care in getting the selection of targets correct. It seems that any effort the allies make is not enough for those who want to see America and the west fail

  265. The underlieing truth is that the truth must be hidden. A successful criminal program is one whose truth is never told and whose criminals are rewarded. The likelihood of the public to care has been calculated so that the writing on the wall is nothing but graffiti. “You (we) have been found to be unworthy” Keep your head up.

  266. Please let this venture remain a vehicle for good. An Aquarian watercannon. We have got decades of deep doodie to blast out of our stables, volks. Get some tall rubber boots.

    I would like to suggest that truth and reconciliation is the most likely way to get the criminals we pay for this “protection” to admit it was a lie and STOP IT!! I fear if we use the law to make them pay, the cowards will naturally continue to pound the law into more swordsmanship and we will never see sweet Justice’s sword in the same light again.

    Don’t turn me into a Kreimhild by killing my ideal, brothers! Seriously, there are some wrongs I can never forgive, so don’t make me put a price on their heads.

  267. The drone operator said that the ‘terrorist was hit but also people around him were also killed”, I would say that anyone that associates with a terrorist in any way shape or form deserves what they get. End Of Story. or identify the terrorists and get rid of them before they drag a whirlwind of hell down on you.

    • Are you aware that the drones hit suspected terrorists on roads and in villages where people, you know, LIVE? And kill those people?

    • “I would say that anyone that associates with a terrorist in any way shape or form deserves what they get. End Of Story”

      We are all terrorists now, my dear. In fact, just by posting on domestic terrorists Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill’s new blog, you are associating with terrorists. Will you have deserved what you got if a drone drops a heater on you?

  268. Much like giving a “hot” gun to an enemy or inoccent, the same could be done with a “hot” sim card further escalating unintentional deaths. At least with a hot gun you have due process.

  269. I have no problem with this measure of security, if it falls within the intended space. Like the old saying, if you have nothing to hide, what have you got to be afraid of?

    • That’s a fallacious argument that Eric Shmidt proposed way back when. I can think of a few things that one may be doing in secrecy:

      1. Researching about their own health. Health is a touchy subject, and if Joanne wants to go on Web-MD to research genital warts, should that information not be private?

      2. Someone wants to battle their daemons without facing prosecution. If a drug addict wants to fight his or her disease on their own terms by researching it on-line should that information not be kept away from the government?

      3. High risk\high profile users in general. What about high profile users (such as Eric Schmidt who experienced this himself!) who do not want their personal information known for reasons such as black mail?

      4. Cases of government (non-violent) protest. This is the most important case, and one that’s a little tougher to swallow by non-disaffected groups. But imagine that in the 19th century the government had such access into our brains. Would the women’s suffrage movement have happened if the government could quash activism at the grass-roots level? The only reason why Eric’s argument holds any bearing is because we somewhat agree with the current powers. We would have a different view if Verizon, Microsoft, and Google shared information with Iran.

    • Well, why don’t you just leave all your doors and windows (and shades) open and up all the time? Why don’t you post your name and phone number and address right on this site? You have nothing to hide, right? Give us some pics of you and your family and friends too, I’m sure they have nothing to hide as well.

    • Incompetence, ignorance, deceit, ambition (Ref: Rep. Mike Rogers), ideological conditioning, false witness (Ref: James Clapper), institutional prejudice, bureaucratic obeisance, PPP’s, revolving door, nationalism, messianic exceptionalism, Imperialism, fear, malice, prurience, voyeurism.

  270. congrats to Mr. Greenwald, Mr. Scahill, and others, for having successfully launched a new online outlet for news and analysis. the question whether FL is different from MSM is answered by your first item via its topic and thorough journalism.

    having said that, i have two points to make:
    1) the issue of “drone assassination based on meta data” is rather technically and narrowly framed as the question of accuracy (in cases of foreign targets) and US Consitutionality (in cases of US citizens as the target).

    2) a system can’t be effectively challenged and meaningfully changed from within, using the logic and tools of the system. your critique or dissent is either within the system (for reforms and corrections of technical errors) or from without (for a fundamental change of a system, a replacement of a system with the alternative). and not many understand where the line is between the dominant system and the alternative.

    Mr. Scahill has already authored many anti-imperialist-war pieces published elsewhere, to have a well-established credibility as a journalist of a particular political persuasion. perhaps in its attempt to appeal to a broader base covering both ends of the political spectrum, FL may side-step the fundamental question and the ultimate answer to the question that Mr, Scahill and his followers may have, as is evident in this inaugural article. why do the “terrorists” on the assassination list wage jihad against the USA and Israel? who decides who the bad guys are? for what reason? who are the real bad guys in the current historical context? what do the people want, and what are we the people going to do about it if the overwhelming majority’s will is not reflected in the structures of power?

    here is the hoping that FL provides the forum in which voices from inside and outside the system and from both ends of the spectrum can hash out these questions.

  271. I was never much of a dove, and after 911, I supported the war in Afghanistan. I also supported the war in Iraq not because it was tied to terrorism, but because of my sympathies with the Kurdish nation. Despite this, I knew that the Patriot Act was a huge mistake and I was shocked when it passed with an overwhelming majority. Then I was just as shocked when the US killed an American citizen without trial (even in absentia). Then I was even more shocked when I read that they killed his Western-identifying son for no good reason. Then came the Snowden leaks.

    In university I attended a talk by a prominent politcal writer (the name escapes me) and he said that Osama’s goal was not to over-take the US; Osama was smart enough to know that he would lose any violent conflict with the world’s most powerful nation-state. However, through his terrorism he wanted to provoke the US into an over reaction that would allow the US to damage themselves. If you consider that and all that has happened since that awful day, it may be reasonable to conclude that Bin Laded did, in fact, succeed.

    It’s really sad that the once greatest nation in the world is no longer free and executes its own people with flying killer robots.

  272. this is freaking horse crap.. these guys are trying to get rich off of E. SnowedIN bs crap that every nation does. I guess this site it strictly for the “beliebers” in this crap. ordinary americans dont care because they are smart enough to know the real laws around our programs and can determine them selves that it is not actually spying.. hence why the polls show 70% people are ok with the gov programs. I hope these douche bags get arrested the moment they try to get in the USA

  273. Glenn, wonderful work! but my sole qualm with it-or rather concern-is that this has absolutely no in-your-face-obnoxious visibility in people’s everyday lives, so they won’t really care, like how most people could care less that the Amazon is being bulldozed and even that our waters are polluted and intentionally poisoned (unless something like NC happens). You’re ripping branches off a tree and maybe (so I hope) you are building up to something and as diseased and diabolical as those branches are, I hope to see you soon rip the whole forsaken tree up from the roots; you’re thrusting the limelight on symptoms and leaving the cancer in the shadows. I pray you’ll shut me up; you’re one of the few people I admire.

  274. I can’t wait for the rest of the “magazines” to appear – especially anything by Marcy Wheeler, who needs to be read in a better format… as good as this article is, I sense that some it has been “simplified” for a general reader. I hope as time goes by you’ll wade through the “weeds” as Marcy and her crew do. More backup details and examples mean deeper understanding and a more foolproof “argument.” But this is a great start, I wish you all the best and I hope I never see a link to Upworthy!

  275. So, my rhetorical jokes about digital penetration without consent are now IRONIC? How did I know NSA and JSOC would make rape a joke? BSkyBeats me.

  276. I don’t know whether to cry with horror or familiar tears. No one can say they didn’t know, now, volks.

    Love the Intercept concept. Dad was a tac nuke fighter pilot in Germany and before that, Nam. I’ve grown up eternally conflicted by the promise of our Constitution and the means by which we protect and enforce its values.

    When my dad had to go to Nam, this 9 year old demanded to know why he had to go so far to fight people who could not hurt us. I was his Athenian pain in the arse. He swore to me it was to defend MY right to ask those questions of my government. I am so sick of being lied to by those who are sincere about their mission while those who contract it are monstrous iceholes!

    It is the worst horror to be made to undo the sweetest dream humanity ever pondered. I have a soft spot for those made to face this dreadful music. Someone, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!!

  277. “Hayden felt free, however, to note the role that human intelligence plays after a deadly strike occurs.”

    Oooh! So, it’s perfectly OK to learn from mistakes involving killing innocent people, but only after the fact. But they’ll be damned if forced to prevent said mistakes.

    The conclusion is inevitable: They WANT more people to hate us. That’s how one keeps feeding the bottomless pit of billions of dollars and enhanced social status of the participants associated with “national security”.

    Is that sick enough?

  278. Welcome to the United Fascist States of Merika. Land of the free? Yeah right. Home of the brave?

  279. Great beginning Glenn and Jeremy! Setting the bar high but I have no doubt you will be bettering it on a regular basis going forward.

  280. Why is Pierre Omidyar funding a venture like this when he did nothing to stop PayPal from cutting wikileaks donations? His excuses, from what I’ve read, were weak, as were G.G.’s defensive excuses. Not that I’m trying to say anything negative about G.G., he’s a hero of a journalist in these times. There just doesn’t seem to be
    any good answer relating to Pierre Omidyar’s change in position. Is this just a trendy business venture for him? Please, if I’ve missed something, point it out.

    • Who cares why Omidyar is funding this site, as long as articles like this one can be and are published, with no editorial interference with the journalists?

    • Why would you imagine the Chairman of Ebay’s board would be involved with day-to-day executive decision making at one of Ebay’s subsidiary companies? It’s a diversified corporation, not Omidyar’s individually held small business.

    • “Please, if I’ve missed something, point it out.”

      You missed the bit where sainthood was dropped from the list of necessary pre-conditions for engaging in a worthwhile venture.

      I’m fine with your assessment of Omidyar, I’m just not sure why you’re so ferociously butthurt about him. Your pearl-clutching looks pretty contrived at this point.

  281. Still groking the implications of this piece.

    Today is the first day of many tribulations for the Obama tribe.

    Great work Jeremy and Glenn. Really glad to see this team at work.

  282. Great article! So excited for first look! Really depressing to know that our leaders are so shielded from the public scrutiny that would surely follow these strikes. Thank you for shining a bright light in the faces of those who wish to remain in the dark.

  283. This reporting is particularly timely in light of President Obama’s and the Justice Department’s very recent considerations and deliberations (reported today at many news outlets) on whether to use drone strikes to kill an American citizen living abroad in a country that is not a partner with the USA’s “war on terrorism” and who the USA says is plotting destruction against America. Assasinating American citizens (or anyone for that matter) through drone warfare, a problematic lethal tool despite the military’s claims of its accuracy, is indeed an escalation of the already considerable breaches of most basic humane standards of the US government. But, let’s face it: the US government has already assasinated at least one American citizen without accountability with drone strikes in this 21st century war on terror: Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen born in Denver, was killed by a CIA-led drone strike in Yemen on October 14, 2011. I believe strongly that the increased killing–especially with drones–does not make us safe. Rather, it prolongs a vicious cycle of ever-mounting retribution and the warfare literally creates newer and more emboldened enemies all-but ensuring the never-ending warmongering and the profiteering that comes with it.

  284. With this release, neither Obama nor anyone in the NSA, from joy stick operators up, can claim they are ignorant of the errors in their program. They can only claim that someone else, not themselves, are liable for them. As long as there is no accountability, transparency will simply lead to more sophisticated avoidance schemes.

  285. The world has been a dangerous place for a long time. This era is no different than the previous generations going all the way back to Napoleon Wars. In the Age of Transparency and in the Age of where Data = the new Currency, where social media sites from FB to Google feed hackers, terrorist nation states, organized crime on one side, and funnel (with and without their knowledge) to the 17 US spy agencies, among other intel agencies around the world, what is one to do? Live in fear? Retreat to a cave? Be a part of the data by-catch? Or continue to shine a light on various abuses?

  286. One, the latest report from Pakistan says the ACTUAL number of killed civilians is nil. Two, you can’t tell me there’s an immoral way to kill terrorists, three, you cannot switch teams, announce your intent to kill as many people as possible and plot to do so, try to do so, and NOT expect to be treated as a terrorist first and a citizen last, and third, how many die from TRADITIONAL WARFARE versus die from drones? And how much money does it cost?

    And don’t you gimme the BS of “we should rely on diplomacy” considering PAKISTAN ASKED US TO COME IN AND FIGHT AQ. You seem to think we have bigger fish to fry. Most Americans think we can fry more than one.

    • “you cannot switch teams, announce your intent to kill as many people as possible and plot to do so, try to do so, and NOT expect to be treated as a terrorist first and a citizen last,”

      So you either are either:

      1. Unaware of the 5th Amendment or
      2. Have no respect for the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United States.

      The first makes you ignorant, a condition which could be improved on if you are willing. The second makes you a supporter of the sort of tyranny which the Constitution was created to avoid. Neither of those paints a terribly flattering portrait of you, but perhaps you could clarify for us so we know which bit of ugly we are addressing.


    • “One, the latest report from Pakistan says the ACTUAL number of killed civilians is nil.” You believe that? I happen to be in San Francisco and I have several lovely bridges for sale. Send your money now while the supply lasts!
      “Two, you can’t tell me there’s an immoral way to kill terrorists…” This is the one part of your post that I believe.

    • 1. Which report would that be?
      2. If you don’t understand the word “immoral,” why brag about it?
      3. It’s a terrorist way of thinking to assume that one gets to free lance about human rights and put someone at the end of the list or declare that their “citizenship” doesn’t count.
      4. Another poster just provided a brilliant analysis of the actual costs based on the new Harvard study which places the expenditures (discounting tremendous numbers of expenses too hard to calculate, so the real numbers are significantly higher) at $4 trillion through 2012, with costs estimated to top out at $6 trillion by 2015. As that poster noted, that means:
      If there were 100 terrorists who committed 9/11, then it cost $40 Billion to capture or kill each terrorist.
      If there were 1,000 terrorists who committed 9/11, then it cost $4 Billion to capture or kill each terrorist.
      If there were 100,000 terrorists who committed 9/11, then it cost $40 Million to capture or kill each terrorist
      Does that strike you as being fiscally responsible?
      5. Calling diplomacy, rule of law, and human rights “BS” doesn’t make them so, but it’s a good summation of your post.

  287. So THIS is why we keep bombing weddings! Some guests bring cell phones!

    It reminds me of Eddie Izzard making fun of HItler: “I can’t get ze fucking trees! Damn, I must kill everyone in ze verld!”

    If you can’t do your job (because you’re stupid and incompetent), just start killing everyone you can. That’ll make us safer!

  288. Sieg Heil! The American Enterprise high stepping its way down Fascism Road. And of course the mentality of the military is to never question your commanders — even when they act like Fascist Sociopaths.

    Glenn, please do NOT go back to the US. You’ll be in handcuffs before you reach the customs counter.

  289. As long as we are safe and there are checks on the system, I am okay with it. BTW stop leaking information that has got our people and assets killed .

    • “BTW stop leaking information that has got our people and assets killed .”

      You have proof for that assertion?

  290. Wouldn’t anyone who watches star trek and knows how communicator’s work have a good idea of how to foil their automated tracking systems?

  291. Fantastic article. I appreciate the depth, and that multiple subjects and sources are pulled together to form the whole cloth.
    I thought of the Us drone strike on the Pakistani Army at the Afghan border crossing that caused such a diplomatic stink that it shut down the US access . One of the phones may have been on one of the soldiers, and no one checked to see who was around the phone.
    Fantastic to see you up! (And, great get bringing in Marcy Wheeler!)

  292. >> One top-secret NSA document provided by Snowden notes that by 2009, “for the first time in the history of the U.S. Air Force, more pilots were trained to fly drones … than conventional fighter aircraft,” leading to a “‘tipping point’ in U.S. military combat behavior in resorting to air strikes in areas of undeclared wars,” such as Yemen and Pakistan.<<

    "Resorting to" airstrikes where there is not even a purportedly declared war? Drones are, among other things, a tool by which the government may commit acts of war without arousing the public.


  293. A government that holds its own citizens in the kind of contempt repeatedly evidenced in the Snowden documents can hardly be expected to have even an ounce of concern for the hundreds of civilians it kills and terrorizes on a regular basis. It makes one wonder if the point of these multiplying drone-murders is to keep the population of terrorists at a level that justifies the outrageous expenditure of the intelligence and drone-murder programs.

    In that way, the “war on terror” works very much like the “war on drugs,” which depends entirely on current drug laws that can’t be rewritten for fear of damaging the justification for war.

    No-exit wars seem to be an American specialization.

  294. >> One top-secret NSA document provided by Snowden notes that by 2009, “for the first time in the history of the U.S. Air Force, more pilots were trained to fly drones … than conventional fighter aircraft,” leading to a “‘tipping point’ in U.S. military combat behavior in resorting to air strikes in areas of undeclared wars,” such as Yemen and Pakistan.>>

    The morality of drone use per se aside, the tactic is a sugar pill making it easy for the public to accept bombing people in countries against which there is not even a *purportedly declared war.

    Outstanding work, Jeremy and Glenn.

    • On a side note, this may well be a point regarded by future historians as the beginning of the end, or one of them. I say this because it reminds me of various moments in Roman history when the government or the military were reorganized for greater efficiency under new circumstances—for example, when the bulk of Roman forces shifted from Roman to German, from paid to hired, or from infantry (good for holding territory) to cavalry (good for rushing from point to point to repel challengers or invaders). Such reforms only staved off the inevitable collapse.

      We already have the mercenaries.

    • Mona,

      Great to see you back. The report by Jeremy and Glenn last night on Amy Goodman was superb. Her show gives much wider dissemination of the information.

  295. So what’s up with the national and international monitoring and surveillance of citizens around the globe. Anything new? What is the Utah Data Center doing?

  296. I remember, a few years ago, Barack Obama said something like: “I don’t like it, but unfortunately, it is the job of a president to order the killing of people from time to time.” I was shocked when I read that, because I never assumed that this could be in a job description of a democratically elected president. I don’t trust anybody but I hope to God that the leader of my own country has not ordered killings by now. I know when a nation goes to war (an absolute extreme situation, you should say), the president as head of the army will take the responsibility for army strikes, but in times of peace.. ? And if this is not a time of peace, how can I tell the difference at all between war and peace? And when will we live in peace again? The next shocking thing was: I so-to-say “cautiously looked around”, when I read that – but nobody even seemed to notice what Obama had said there, no one cared. It seemed to be normal.
    I wonder, if maybe this “killing-routine” has changed Obama’s personality. He really was a democratically and justly thinking man once. I can hardly see that now – except in the lovely pictures on the White-House-Website where he constantly plays with children. Given the circumstances those pictures make a sad impression on me.

  297. Congrats to Jeremy, Glenn, Laura, et al. on the launch of “The Intercept” and for this first insightful and revealing (whistle-blowing and heroic journalism article today) on the preemptive killing that is being hidden and covered-up by our former country.

    I would suggest that the subtitle or tag-line of “The Intercept” be “Exposing the Disguised Global Empire” — since what Jeremy, Glenn, Snowden, Manning, Hammond, and future whistle-blowers who are inspired to bravery by them are essentially doing (whether they say it or not) — and which Jeremy basically said this morning on their “Democracy Now” interview, is exposing what Obama is doing as a virtual “Emperor” (and what the US is doing as a virtual HQ of this deceitful and disguised Global Empire) in using the; corporate, financial, militarist, media/propaganda, extra-legal, and phony/Vichy political powers the now “Occupied” US as a growing (and cancerous) killing Empire on a truly Global level —- which will inexorably be used here in the “Homeland” fro similar preemptive ‘elimination’ of radical democratic and anti-Empire organizers, journalists, and brave individual truth-tellers and protestors against this newly ‘Exposed’ Empire, just as Hannah Arendt warned of all Empires:

    “Empire abroad (always) entails tyranny at home” H. Arendt.

    Best luck and love to the fast expanding ‘Occupy the Empire’ educational and non-violent revolutionary movement against this deceitful and Disguised Global EMPIRE, which can’t so easily be identified as wearing Red Coats, Red Stars, nor funny looking Nazi
    helmets —- quite YET!

    Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality
    Violent (‘Vichy’ disguised)

    Alan MacDonald
    Sanford, Maine

    We don’t merely have a “Big Money”/Citizens United problem, or a domestic tyranny and NSA SPYING problem, or a gun/fear problem, or an MIC problem, or an ‘Austerity’ problem, or an expanding wars problem, or a ‘drone assassinations’ problem, or a vast income & wealth inequality
    problem, or a Wall Street ‘looting’ problem, or a Global Warming and environmental death-spiral problem, or the world’s largest political prisoner problem, or a crappy un-healthy insurance problem, or, or, or … ad nauseam — but what we REALLY have is a hidden VEMPIRE cancerous tumor of GLOBAL EMPIRE which is the prime CAUSE of all these underlying, related, and mere ‘symptom problems’.

  298. I am so behind this new site. As I heard on Democracy Now this morning, this site will be a bastion of free speech and holding individuals accountable and if all I can do is bring people into the fold then that’s what I’m going to do! I love what you all are doing, and I know that deep down we all applaud the passion that goes into the pieces that you publish. Keep up the great work! Also, in response to the Obama – Nixon correlation, Nixon was put in front of the nation under scrutiny by a media that wasn’t consolidated to under 5 companies and if you (the government) control the media, then putting yourself under fire to the nation for authorizing the killings of American citizens doesn’t seem like something you would do. That’s why this project The Intercept is SOOOOOOOOO important, because it’s objective and not afraid to ask the relevant questions and raise important issues.

  299. Been waiting for your new venture to launch! Thanks for all your hard work and keep the stories coming!!

  300. I’m sickened by the news you are reporting, but hugely hopeful because you are reporting it. Bravo! Keep up the Good Fight, and hopefully more of us will be willing to join in. We need our lives back,not just to mourn the innocents, but to enlighten our children, to end the misery our country is inflicting on others as well as on us. Keep up the Good work.

  301. this looks to be a great start. i’m looking forward with great anticipation to future revelations. please keep up the good work.

  302. It is vitally important that Americans have the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions when they enter the voting booth. If I had known that Obama was going to be such a huge fan of perpetual warfare, I would’ve voted a different way in ’08. I had to wait until ’12 to correct that mistake, but, it was too late by then.

    I’m looking forward to learning a lot more about what that great American hero, Edward Snowden, has sacrificed so much to bring to our attention. Keep up the great work, Glenn Greenwald and ‘crew’.


    : )_~

  303. I have been waiting for this for some time and you both have done a fantastic job! Keep up the good work!

  304. Hey, killing is fine as long as it is condoned by the Overlords!

    U.S. u Section 6 of the “Iraq Liberation Act of 1998” u Senate Resolution 78 105th Congress “urged the President to call upon the United Nations to establish an international criminal tribunal for the purpose of indicting, prosecuting, and imprisoning Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials who are responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, and other criminal violations of international law. It was good then, but…

    In a communication on May 6, 2002, the Government of the United States of America informed the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, a Nobel Prize for the Peace winner, of the following:

    “This is to inform you, in connection with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court adopted on July 17, 1998, that the United States does not intend to become a party to the treaty. Accordingly, the United States has no legal obligations arising from its signature on December 31, 2000. The United States requests that its intention not to become a party, as expressed in this letter, be reflected in the depository’s status lists relating to this treaty.”

    We can judge, discipline and punish the world as we wish but the world can not touch us at all! The new Global Tyrant has established itself and, appropriately, signed the declaration with its own citizen’s blood.

    • Exactly right, and who was president initially? in 1998? That would be Bill Clinton,
      Who was President in 2002, who refused to join, who has still to this day financial interests in the region? That would be President Bush.
      The “Bush Clan” Starting with the father has far reaching tallons in this world. There is a reason, Jr. Was Convicted of War Crimes. There is a Reason Cheney was convicted of War Crimes. But it’s all about to change as the bulk of the global wealth turns hands from the germanic people’s to that of India and China, by 2020 they will own 60+% of the global wealth. And we’re educating them to do it, the only problem is, They are learning everything about us, yet we have no or relatively few students there, to learn about them. This is a strategic flaw in our future. Just number crunching alone. Our 1% best employee’s are less than 1/100th of theirs.. who will be hired? This is not an issue of immigration, nor an issue of foreign people learning from our schools, this is simply a comment on how the globe will change over the next 6 years, and whether or night the US slips into it’s -non-role as a wold leader quietly, or if we go down with a fight. Guess who wants to do what?

  305. Great article– informative, fact-based, and somewhat scary. Glen, I’m glad you have launched your new site and wish you the best of luck.

  306. “”"The drone operator, who agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of anonymity,”"”

    I read this thing in its entirety seems worth it. But back in his “unclaimed territory” days Mr. Greenwald railed against the use of anonymous sources.

    • No, not true. He has always been against the use of unnamed sources to further agenda of those in power with no accountability. He has always supported anonymity when protecting somebody in jeopardy, along with fact checking.

  307. Thank your for your competent alternative to the trans-national corporate media. To quote from your Democracy Now appearance “courage is contagious”.

  308. Outstanding work as usual gentlemen. Keep fighting the good fight. It’s only a matter of time before these animals are unleashed on US soil if they haven’t been already.

    • Legally speaking, once the precedent of assassinating Americans overseas then the time will come where it will legally be O.K. to kill Americans in America. That door has been opened & the USG never shuts any doors that leads to more power.

  309. It wouldn’t take much for the US to start targeting people based on what they read in their cell-phones, or their online comments. Sounds “anti-american”? Send a drone.

    That’s specially true in the case of potential targets who are generally perceived in the US to have no civil rights, i.e. any non-US persons.

  310. What scares me is the President authorized the killing of American citizens and no one finds GHIS a problem. Nixon was ousted for a lie.

  311. Frightening. Why aren’t there massive protests? I am so grateful for investigat ive reporting such as this. So brave.

  312. good article, i understand but can you translate this in a few languages. in Netherlands , please. )