Does NSA target JFK websites? (They won’t answer the question)

Does the NSA target websites about the assassination of President Kennedy for “cognitive infiltration?”

That’s the question raised the latest revelations that Western intelligence agencies mount “online covert operations” as reported by Glenn Greenwald and NBC News.

From a GCHQ slideshow:Western intelligence agencies seek to ‘deny, disrupt, degrade and deceive’ online targets.

“These agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself,” Greenwald wrote earlier this week in The Intercept. The accompanying documents, from Edward Snowden, prove the claim.

The “Online Covert Operations,” mounted by the Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), targeted the hacker’s collective Anonymous and other perceived enemies, not just suspected terrorists, in 2010 and 2011, the documents show.

Nothing in the GCHQ slideshows indicates that JFK conspiracy sites have been targeted. But there is reason to inquire.

Obama aide proposed ‘cognitive infiltration’

As Greenwald notes, one former adviser to President Obama, Cass Sunstein has advocated using such tactics against online JFK discussion groups.

Cass Sunstein expressed worries about JFK Web sites in 2008.

Sunstein, former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” JFK online groups and websites to combat their supposedly harmful message.

Sunstein proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” to combat what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the September 11 attacks, the moon landing, and JFK’s assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Sunstein and co-author Adrian Vermeule theorized that JFK conspiracy theories spread via “reputational cascades.”

In a reputational cascade, they opine, “people think that they know what is right, or what is likely to be right, but they nonetheless go along with the crowd in order to maintain the good opinion of others.”

They cited JFK as an example:

“Suppose that Albert suggests that the Central Intelligence Agency was responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy, and that Barbara concurs with Albert, not because she actually thinks that Albert is right, but because she does not wish to seem, to Albert, to be some kind of dupe. If Albert and Barbara say that the CIA was responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy, Cynthia might not contradict them publicly and might even appear to share their judgment — not because she believes that judgment to be correct, but because she does not want to face their hostility or lose their good opinion. It should be easy to see how this process might generate a cascade. Once Albert, Barbara, and Cynthia offer a united front on the issue, their friend David might be reluctant to contradict them even if he thinks that they are wrong.”

(I must say that this scenario is laughably off the mark when it comes to the JFK Facts audience. Our readers don’t defer to anyone’s else’s judgment on the question of JFK and the CIA.)

What is to be done?

Sunstein and Vermeule argued “there would seem to be ample reason for  government efforts to introduce some cognitive diversity into the groups that generate  conspiracy theories. Social cascades are sometimes quite fragile, precisely because they  are based on small slivers of information. Once corrective information is introduced,  large numbers of people can be shifted to different views. If government is able to have  credibility, or to act through credible agents, it might well be successful in dislodging beliefs that are held only because no one contradicts them.”

Within a year of writing those words, Sunstein was working in the White House.

Most anti-conspiratorial JFK writers I know regarded Sunstein’s proposals as embarrassing and inappropriate. Only the most paranoid among us thought a Western intelligence agency actually might take up such a mission.

A threat to my business?

As the proprietor of a growing JFK website, I have to ask: did GCHQ or NSA ever take up Sunstein’s suggestion and target (gulp) me and my customers?

I put two questions to the NSA Public Affairs office, first at 12:22 yesterday and again at 8:22 this morning.

(1) Does NSA engage in “false flag operations” where material is posted to the Internet and falsely attributed to someone else?;
 (2) Does NSA engage in efforts to influence or manipulate online discourse about the assassination of President Kennedy?
The NSA Public Affairs office (nsapao@nsa.gov) did not respond to my questions.
——

53 comments

  1. Andrew Everett says:

    Unfortunately, we may never know for 50 to 100 years–the only one to ask Cass Sunstein about this is Luke Rudkowski (WeAreChange.org). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OIiOztc52g

    Luke has also dared to go off the script and ask Michael Hayden questions…

    Recently, Luke had an interesting interview with NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91XZDRsA29A

    Seems Luke remembers what Benjamin Franklin once said:

    “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”

    • D. Olmens says:

      The Luke Rudkowski clip is absurd. “My name is Bill Derberg…” This is not serious. After pestering and hectoring Sunstein, when he doesn’t get the answer he wants… out come the Goebbels comparisons. Pathetic. That is not any kind of investigation or journalism, or whatever it is he thinks he’s doing.

      “Seems Luke remembers what Benjamin Franklin once said:”

      This is not questioning authority. This is borderline harassment. The Goebbels comparisons are offensive to any right thinking person.

      • Andrew Everett says:

        Maybe the U.S. wouldn’t be spending $1.5 TRILLION on defense and intelligence every year if there were more people like Luke Rudkowski out there questioning things…

        PATHETIC is the only word I could describe Cass Sunstein’s response–walking away while his aides try to shield him from–gasp!–an actual question!!! Oh no, not another actual question–time to flee!!!

        Cass saying “I don’t remember that paper” is a pure 100% LIE worthy of a follow-up.
        If you write a paper you should be prepared to defend your position–especially if you write that paper at Harvard or the University of Chicago.

    • leslie sharp says:

      Solon, the Greek philosopher/poet placed even greater responsibility on the individual, stating that it was unlawful and punishable to fail to speak out against injustices.

      “To shirk one’s responsibilities was not only rare but reprehensible in the eyes of the Greek citizen. Greek citizens did not have rights, but duties. A citizen who did not fulfill his duties was socially disruptive. At the polis of Sparta, such a citizen was called “an Inferior.” At Athens, a citizen who held no official position or who was not a habitual orator in the Assembly was branded as idiotai.”

  2. JSA says:

    NSA can collect the data, but can they SORT all the data? That is the question.

    Unless somebody deals with defense contractors or some other Homeland Security related stuff, I frankly don’t see any problem, but maybe I’m being naive.

    Either way, if American citizens don’t stand up to Big Brother, we’re all hosed. Imagine if, in 1775, Bostonians wrung their collective hands and worried themselves into not doing anything to confront British tyranny? We’ve got to stop being such pussies. Whose country is this anyway?

  3. D. Olmens says:

    “As Greenwald notes, one former adviser to President Obama, Cass Sunstein has advocated using such tactics against online JFK discussion groups.”

    Note the words “former adviser” and in particular: “advocated”.

    “(2) Does NSA engage in efforts to influence or manipulate online discourse about the assassination of President Kennedy?”

    If 2) was in fact happening, which I seriously doubt is the case, wouldn’t there be some evidence of this? How might these agencies actually attempt such a task? I can only see one way to “cognitively infiltrate” this site: via the comments. As the moderator of the site with access to all the incoming comments surely you’re best placed to notice this? If an operation of this nature was taking place, I’m guessing some indicators might be new trends or patterns in comment submissions, the sudden appearance of a group of new contributors, and so on?

    Regarding 2), the questions I would ask are:

    a) What are the clear and tangible benefits for these agencies in manipulating conversations about the JFK assassination?

    b) To what degree is it actually possible for these agencies to have any kind of profound influence upon a debate that has been ongoing for decades, has a very high existing degree of polarisation between opposing viewpoints, and has already seen hundreds of books published, dozens of documentaries, a feature film, etc.?

    • Jonathan says:

      Advocating what he did shows malicious intent on Sunstein’s part.

      I fault him for his intent.

      • D. Olmens says:

        Have you read Sunstein and Vermeule’s paper? It’s only 30 pages long and available here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084585

        Firstly, you’ll notice at the very top of page one it says “Harvard University Law School”. This is a research paper, not a Government policy document.

        Secondly, it mentions the JFK assassination a total of four times. In none of those four instances does it attempt to rebut any theories, the assassination is simply used as an illustrative example.

        Thirdly, as you read through the paper you’ll find statements like the following (pg. 4, 5):

        “Of course some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true. … Our focus throughout is on false conspiracy theories, not true ones. Our ultimate goal is to explore how public officials might undermine such theories, and as a general rule, true accounts should not be undermined. … Within the set of false conspiracy theories, we also limit our focus to potentially harmful theories.”

        pg. 15: “Throughout, we assume a well-motivated government that aims to eliminate conspiracy theories, or draw their poison, if and only if social welfare is improved by doing so.”

        pg. 21: “Cognitive Infiltration

        Rather than taking the continued existence of the hard core as a constraint, and addressing itself solely to the third-party mass audience, government might undertake (legal) tactics for breaking up the tight cognitive clusters of extremist theories, arguments and rhetoric that are produced by the hard core and reinforce it in turn. One promising tactic is cognitive infiltration of extremist groups.”

        I won’t spoil the rest by quoting any further, but once you’ve read it you’ll realise it’s a research paper by a couple of Legal Academics which analyses the spread of conspiracy theories and then discusses how governments might respond in cases where their spread might pose a threat to law and order. The bit about cognitive infiltration refers to extremist groups. JFK researchers are not an extremist group… Unfortunately I think the words “conspiracy theory” caught someone’s attention and people have jumped all over this, quoting bits out of context. Storm in a teacup?

        Not to be confused with the GCHQ revelations which are something else entirely.

        • anonymous says:

          I apologize for repeating myself but Olmens id doing the same…

          “Not to be confused with the GCHQ revelations which are something else entirely.”

          Something else entirely? Have you read the NSA/GCHQ Deception Training? At 50 pages,it’s shorter than the the Sunstein BS when you consider that it’s a PowerPoint presentation.

          Something else entirely? Both describe propaganda operations that use deception, mass messaging and “pushing stories”. Nothing new but the technology…

          Something else entirely? The NSA Deception Training Power presentation
          Page 47 reads (“DISRUPTION Operational Playbook -Infiltration Operation…”) reads a little like Sunstein’s:
          “Direct government rebuttals of the conspiracy theory will prove ineffective…government will instead do best by cognitive infiltration to break it up from within.”

          “b) To what degree is it actually possible for these agencies to have any kind of profound influence upon a debate that has been ongoing for decades,”

          For many decades ,these agencies have had a profound influence upon this debate and many others. Have you ever read the Times?

          ” a) What are the clear and tangible benefits for these agencies in manipulating conversations ”

          What was the NSA doing in 63? Morley might get more records from them than the CIA…

    • TLR says:

      Why are they doing this?

      It’s all about trying to control and influence the thinking of younger generations who are not familiar with the JFK assassination (and other topics), who can be easily persuaded that it is “ancient history” and anyone who doesn’t accept the official story of any historical event is a “paranoid wacko.”

      He who controls the past controls the future.

      • D. Olmens says:

        So, it’s really all about the younger generation? If so, what steps are being taken to engage with young people and shape their viewpoints? Can you be just a bit more specific than some kind of vague and generalised claim about young people?

        “He who controls the past controls the future.”

        If that’s the case then this undefined “he” (or they) has been doing an exceptionally poor job over the intervening decades and their recent work is also singularly unimpressive. The wealth of material the research community generates, the regularity with which it is published, and the ease of access the public have to it completely undermines your point.

        • TLR says:

          I didn’t say they were doing a good job of it. The fact that most people don’t trust the government, the mainstream media and our official history shows what an uphill battle the Establishment is fighting.

    • leslie sharp says:

      D. Olmens: your comments suggest a level of naivete at best, particularly coming from someone that I assume is fairly well versed in the stakes involved in the ongoing investigation into the Kennedy assassination.

      You ask:
      a) What are the clear and tangible benefits for these agencies in manipulating conversations about the JFK assassination?

      If said agencies are functioning under the same rubric established during the Cold War, why would they be compelled to release documents that might reveal ongoing methods … assassinations of foreign leaders, false flag operations, domestic spying. Most Americans are au fait with the concept of continuity; if something is working, don’t reinvent the wheel … perfect it perhaps, introduce technology, but do not break the thread, particularly if citizens descending from said operations might be compelled to sign on in the name of familial legacy and uber patriotism.

      b) To what degree is it actually possible for these agencies to have any kind of profound influence upon a debate that has been ongoing for decades, has a very high existing degree of polarisation between opposing viewpoints, and has already seen hundreds of books published, dozens of documentaries, a feature film, etc.?

      “to have any kind of profound influence upon a debate” Certainly if you stopped a clock on 11.22.63, or 9.24.64 with the issuance of the Warren Report, you can ask this banal question. But reality does not function this way. Events are tied to, result from, extend into the future …we are experiencing the aftereffects of the assassinations of the 1960’s, we are presently staring into chaos in a number of hotspots (Ukraine, Venequela, Thailand), many that are the product of US policies post John Kennedy. So to ask, how can these ‘agencies’ be still related to the Kennedy inquiry is at the very least, genuine but absurd.

  4. Mike Rago says:

    The way it actually works is the opposite of what you have described with respect to the JFK research community.

    The fact that the so called “research community” has failed to solve this case in 50 years is really hard to believe.

    This case was easy to solve. It was not that hard.

    The JFK research , in my humble opinion, exists to ensure that the case will not be solved. I think that is its true purpose and I do believe that there are people associated with the “intelligence agencies” involved in this discussion.

    • D. Olmens says:

      I find this a most fanciful suggestion. I may frequently question the theories, reasoning and conclusions of researchers, but I find it very hard to believe that their ranks contain (presumably numerous, if you are correct) government sponsored disinformation agents. On the contrary, if you look at the most notable JFK researchers and authors, generally speaking, you’ll find they’ve been working on the case for long periods of time. What you are proposing just seems… extremely unlikely. How can you tell who is a legitimate researcher and who is working for the government?

      Since you believe the “intelligence agencies” are involved, I have two questions:

      a) What are the clear and tangible benefits for these agencies in manipulating conversations about the JFK assassination?

      b) To what degree is it actually possible for these agencies to have any kind of profound influence upon a debate that has been ongoing for decades, has a very high existing degree of polarisation between opposing viewpoints, and has already seen hundreds of books published, dozens of documentaries, a feature film, etc.?

      • Mike Rago says:

        It has been 50 years and still the case has not been solved.

        Obviously they are still barking up the wrong tree.

        • Jonathan says:

          Mike Rago,

          A general consensus exists among researchers that JFK was killed at the direction of individuals highly placed in the national security apparatus. This consensus is easy to see from reading the writings of Warren critics such Jim DiEugenio, Jeff Morley, Greg Burnham, Greg Parker, James Douglass, David Talbot, and Lisa Pease, just to name a very few.

          Certain issues divide Warren critics into opposing camps; but the camps have far more in common than in opposition.

          Sure, no researcher has proof-positive as to who pulled the trigger(s). There is a general consensus among Warren critics however that there were multiple shooters. The historical record supports this proposition.

          I for one don’t really care who pulled the triggers. I suspect they were nameless, faceless professionals.

          The most important thing in my estimation is to do what Jeff Morley has proposed, make a decisive clarification this 50th anniversary of the Warren Report. It is possible to today to produce a factual repudiation of the Warren Report. It’s also possible to show who had the motive, means, and opportunity (a) to kill JFK, and (b) cover up the facts of the assassination.

          If nothing else, everyone everywhere can agree with Vince Palamara: John F. Kennedy emerges alive from Dallas on November 22, 1963, if the Secret Service does its ordinary job of protecting him this day. It does no job of protecting him.

        • Jonathan says:

          Mike Rago,

          Vince Salandria has written that cover-up was intended to create confusion. I believe he is correct in spades.

          The appearance of barking up the wrong tree is amplified by the infighting among JFK researchers. Infighting caused by confusion manufactured by the cover-up.

          Example: I believe the extant Z-film is a forgery, based on a number of anomalies. Most here, I suspect, believe as Tink Thompson does that the extant Z-film is an accurate recording of the assassination. The difference of opinion is the result of different interpretations of the anomalies. I call that confusion. Lost in the noise of the confusion is the clear warning of either Homer McMahon or Dino Brugioni, who prepared briefing boards from two different versions of the Z-film: The film CANNOT be used properly to time the shots or anything else, because of the spring-loaded nature of Zapruder’s Bell & Howell camera.

  5. Alex S says:

    ‘In a reputational cascade, they opine, “people think that they know what is right, or what is likely to be right, but they nonetheless go along with the crowd in order to maintain the good opinion of others.”’

    Sounds like they’ve been hanging around the CBS newsroom.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Praise for Glenn Greenwald.

    Cass Sunstein appears to be worried not simply bothered by the fact that some Americans doubt the official story of the JFK assassination.

  7. Brad Milch says:

    I believe the answer to who was responsible for the death of President Kennedy is contained within the quagmire described as NSA’s ‘surveillance information data mines’. They could probably tell us what Clyde Barrow said in his last phone call to his parents before he & Bonnie Parker were ambushed & executed by lawmen in 1934. This is under the assumption that the agency has every form of communication made in the 20th & 21st centuries ‘mined’. This includes phone calls, telegraphs, TV & radio broadcasts, letters, Morse code & you name it. It doesn’t really bother me all that much that we all have a peeping tom in our lives; I now know who the ‘boogy man’ is; something I didn’t know as a child. Neither my, Jeff’s other readers or Jeff Morley & his staff assembling here periodically for an exchange of information should alert NSA, they already know what we order on our pizza & how often we get lucky on dates. The public will never get close to the information NSA has had all along. NSA should already know this. Jeff Morley & his readers are no threat to NSA.

  8. Mball says:

    And Sunstein is once more revealed as someone with power who knows little about his subject matter. Then he wants to correct the “problem” in a way consistent with Nazi Germany or the former Soviet Union. Thank you, Cass. Now, please leave.

  9. Clarence Carlson says:

    “Social cascades are sometimes quite fragile, precisely because they are based on small slivers of information.”

    The funny thing is that they really don’t appear to understand the phenomenon (continued interest in the assassination) at all. If one spends even just one afternoon researching the topic, one will likely have more than a few “slivers” to digest.

    The tone of Sunstein’s comments reflect someone who favors a totalitarian state.

  10. William Kane says:

    “Once corrective information is introduced” i.e. lies. Of course they are on this site and many others. Face it, anyone who has read the facts of the JFK case, for instance and is still convinced there was no conspiracy, is in MY OPINION working for THEM.

  11. No matter how hard they try to hide the TRUTH , THE TRUTH eventually comes to fruition . All we can hope for now , as far as our goals is that the American History books have a semblance of truth .

  12. TLR says:

    “Only the most paranoid among us thought a Western intelligence agency actually might take up such a mission.”

    Intelligence agencies have been involved in manipulating public opinion (psy-ops campaigns), both here and abroad, all of our lives.

  13. Michael says:

    They are not gonna confirm or deny it,Jeff.I’m not surprised that this is going on.Anyone who questions anything is suspect these days.

  14. Preston Newe says:

    Hitler & his Minister of Propaganda would love this fellow Sunstein & those like him that feel that triggering chaos in an intellectual discussion is the way to win or modify a discussion’s direction. Persons suspected of doing just such now were referred to as “trolls” just a few years back. What instigated the suspicion & doubt were the initial & subsequent Government explanations of the circumstances of the crime. As a result, most of the public won’t let go of it. It hasn’t received universal acceptable closure. The NSA has more to fear from insiders that spill its secrets than it does from investigative journalism. “Gumshoes” work tirelessly to get to the truth agencies like NSA sit on with its collective bully weight. One or 2 more Snowden’s just might provide the JFK answers we are seeking.

  15. Paulf says:

    Read the comments on just about any news story on any newspaper or wire service and there are a cascade of crazy right-wing comments. Are conservatives more devoted commentators? That’s unlikely. The odds are that some billionaire is supporting a foundation that pays college kids and retirees to clog up the comments of Internet forums.

    This can serve multiple purposes. It can discourage rational people who don’t want to argue with idiots, it reinforces the ideas of the right, and it gives the impression that most everybody believes the conservative party line.

    I have no idea if anyone is paid to post on this forum, but clearly a lot of opposition to the idea of a JFK conspiracy is based on the idea that it is a pet cause of liberals and nothing is more appealing to the right than opposing anything liberals are for.

    • JSA says:

      “I have no idea if anyone is paid to post on this forum, but clearly a lot of opposition to the idea of a JFK conspiracy is based on the idea that it is a pet cause of liberals and nothing is more appealing to the right than opposing anything liberals are for.”

      B-I-N-G-O.

      Add to that knee-jerk right wing denial of global warming, the importance of: free speech, a basic social safety net, national parks, food and drug and occupational safety laws—-oh, and EVOLUTION. Not everybody knows or cares much about the bloated intelligence bureaucracy, but there are lots of red state rednecks who love to stick pins in liberals’ bubbles just for the hell of it. The JFK assassination case is an area where they love to, as John McAdams says, “rub the buffs’ noses in it.”

  16. LRG says:

    I disagree with Mr.Kane’s opinion. Surely one can have a difference of an opinion and still
    not be one of “them”. For years and years and years I was a “lone nutter”. Now I am not!
    Wasn’t one of “them”! My opinion just evolved to the conspiracy angle over time and more study.
    So maybe “them”, whoever they may be, is lacking in information or just has a difference of opinion.
    Nothing wrong with that!

    • JSA says:

      Yeah, but Mr. Kane was referring to those who have read about the case, not those who are uninformed and still believe in the Warren Commission. Obviously you have read more about the case and have changed your mind as the facts have unravelled.

  17. Anthony Martin says:

    “Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason? Why if it prospered none dare call it treason.” (Sir John Harrington, 1561–1612). Contrary to the opinion of Mr. Sunstein: The worship of a state apparatus is not the moral equivalent of honoring the bargain between a free people and a representative government.

    Aside from the Constitutional issues of privacy and the identification of, the targeting of , and the suppression of dissident opinion; a centralized security information collection agency, such as the NSA, is subject to the following failings: 1) Abuse of power by an individual, e.g. J.E. Hoover; 2) Abuse of power by the institution itself ,e.g. the CIA, 3) Infiltration by an agent of a foreign power, e.g. ala Kim Philby, and 4) Internal corruption for profit, e.g. the selling of information by an individual for monetary gain.

    The mere suggestion that the Executive Branch would use the NSA to manipulate public opinion and suppress free inquiry is a compelling reason for the necessity of sites like this. An examination of the JFK assassination, by its nature, causes one to seek a better understanding of the ramifications of a government acting in secret. This, even if there never comes about a once and for all solution to the aforementioned crime.

    • Thank you for this cogent articulation.My deepest wish for the future is the emergence of a young American Shakespeare who will depict “our” Prince Hal within a lasting dramatic structure. Oliver Stone did his part; film has spoken. Now we need real, lasting drama – endlessly repeatable in future ages – to make deep sense of the whole, sordid story. Government “infiltrators” and “classified” information will become the counterfiction, not any kind of “truth.”

    • Hans Trayne says:

      Hoover is an interesting person to study. While doing some research on Bonnie & Clyde I was taken aback to learn from released Dallas Field Office File #26-4114 that in 1933 & 1934 J. Edgar Hoover Bureau Of Information (pre-FBI) agents had both the parents of Clyde Barrow & Bonnie Parker plus relatives phones tapped. The family suspected it & spoke in coded messages. Not indicated in the file is if Hoover’s agents had the capability to record the conversations. An agent eavesdropping in on conversations & transcribing what they heard is indicated. Hoover also leaked tracking info from his Dallas & New Orleans field offices to the posse assembled by the then Texas Governor to hunt down & execute the duo. So, yes, primitive ‘data mining’ was happening in the USA way back in 1933-1934. If NSA would work with Hollywood & give them the ‘good stuff’ Hollywood would no longer have to invent dialog; NSA could probably tell Hollywood what anybody said & whom they said it too in any given year. We all have lived with a big peeping tom all our lives. Thanks to Snowden we know now who is.

  18. Ronnie Wayne says:

    “Once corrective information is introduced………….” Frightening comments from anyone. Much less a government employee, more especially the white house.
    Courageous use of your Freedom of Speech Jeff.

  19. Larry Schnapf says:

    Cass Sunstein also had some extreme positions about environmental regulation. He and Geithner were two of Obama’s worst appointments and the fact they are gone from government is a good thing.

  20. anonymous says:

    “I put two questions to the NSA Public Affairs office…(1) Does NSA engage in “false flag operations”
    …(2) Does NSA engage in efforts to influence or manipulate online discourse

    You might be more careful with the wording of your questions. NSA dirtywork is done covertly by contractors like Booz Allen and HBGary . HBGary planned to damage Greenwald’s career.
    see: Congress Asks to Review NSA Contracts With HBGary

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HBGary#Astroturfing

    Officials rarely tell outright lies. Instead, they make carefully worded statements that seem to address the issue, but avoid the truth:
    “The NSA is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel,” she said. Yes, but has the NSA been listening to Merkel’s mobile phone calls from 2002 until the day before yesterday? “Beyond that, I’m not in a position to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity.”

  21. PBR says:

    Rather than waste ones time chasing shadows it may be wiser to challenge opposing views in the comments section with facts. Rather than, “Know thine enemy” it would seem to be a case of,” Know thy facts”. That’s the only sure fire way to insulate oneself from any Machiavellian tricksters. Self induced paranoia is a distraction and an intellectual debility. Should the odd agent provocateur raise it’s head, so be it. There can be no fallout from civil debate and the application of logic.

  22. Thomas Joseph says:

    After reading these comments I can’t help but wonder what this nation’s forefathers would be thinking about the situation if their spirits could observe the current shenanigans of Government & what they would do about it. I doubt any of them would be pleased with their construction of united colonies that primarily grew tobacco for England to develop into what it is now: a big dog kennel with the big dogs stuck in constant rotation sniffing the rear ends of the smaller, less fortunate dogs. Not a pretty sight for the intelligent minds that began this country.

    • anonymous says:

      “After reading these comments I can’t help but wonder what this nation’s forefathers would think”
      I know Sunstein’s history of the tea party conspiracy was all about high taxes full stop – but wasn’t banker and corporate shenanigans a major colonial grievance?

      1) It was estimated that in 1776 the total amount of debt claimed from the colonies equaled 3, 000,000; Southern colonies claimed of 85 per cent of the total amount.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_crisis_of_1772#Effects_on_thirteen_colonies

      2)Furious about the colonial tea market monopoly granted to the East India Company in 1773, the Boston Tea Party began at the end of the year:
      The crisis has also been seen as worsening relations between Britain and the Thirteen Colonies in America. Among other stresses, the East India Company, already in financial difficulties, was further weakened by the crisis, and in 1773 managed to persuade Parliament to pass the Tea Act, exempting it from the duty all other importers in the colonies had to pay.

  23. David Starks says:

    There were COINTELLPRO-like operations carried out against the early JFK researchers in the 60’s period by CIA and FBI. They did whatever they could to discredit critics of the Warren report, even to the extent of surveiling them, planting “derogatory” info on them plus all types of harassment tactics. It is in the files I have seen. NSA was little known at that time, but it would not surprise me if they also were involved in “neutralizing” critical narratives and the persons authoring such. CIA and FBI had many memos talking about how to counter the message, complete with talking points for their “media assets”. There was top-down control/influence, by CIA particularly, of the major media outlets in the 50s and 60’s in places like Time-LIFE, CBS and others that was used to discredit critics of the Warren Report.

    Does this go on today after 50 years? Maybe (probably) because it is still a big public relations nightmare for CIA when half of the population thinks their people killed JFK. In the CIA and FBI files are all sorts of tactics used to neutralize the unwanted message/narrative of early dissenters to the official version. CIA and FBI memos detail all sorts of disruption and surveillance of these targets to the point they would not only spy on them but would disseminate “derogatory information” (sometimes false or exaggerated) to smear them. They created documents alleging someone was a pervert, a criminal, a nut case or even a communist sympathizer; and would send this out to their assets in the media to spread.

    Bottom line is: this stuff happened, happened a lot back then, and could still be happening 50 years later… because this is still a big public relations headache for CIA to see that half of the population in surveys think CIA killed the president. George Bush, as DCI refused to give to the 70’s Church Committee investigation any of the “household names” that were on their list of media assets. If no one was exposed and no one was punished or prosecuted, it could go on today (and does I suspect) with NSA, CIA, FBI and others. Dissidents and activists are still targeted today and I believe some of that has been revealed by Snowden and others in recent years concerning protesters/activists. If legitimate dissenters or even authors dealing with important and controversial historical issues can be labeled as terrorists and treated as national security threats, our democracy is eroding and has been decaying for many years.

  24. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde says:

    “Does NSA target JFK websites?”…..Why would they not? First, I should point out that the NSA isn’t the sole data collection agency of our gov’t. During the application process for a certain Top Secret government clearance I was questioned by government agents. Those agents collected data on me from many agencies and locations, the CIA, DEA, FBI, GSA, ATF, Police and Sheriffs departments and many others. But, they had to have my permission to do so…legally. There are specific areas of activity that the gov’t monitors and watches for as potentially subversive in nature. If I had any intention of procuring another Top Secret clearance, not only would I not post on a JFK conspiracy website, I would not even visit a website as it would raise red flags. The governments data collection skills are outstanding. However, it no longer appears they recognize Constitutional “right to privacy”. Rather, they creep ever closer to Opression thhrough subversion…as they slowly chip away those rights through secret laws. If our gov’t deems these sites as potentially “anti-government”, make no mistake, they will be targeted.
    Note: (Things that are red flags to gov’t, excessive use of alcohol, drug use, excessive debt/sudden wealth, travel to communist or anti-American countries, contact with individuals from those countries, Political affiliations, criminal acts, membership in groups (including JFK conspiracy “anti-government groups, KKK,
    etc.). Hasn’t anyone noticed how horribly slow the internet has become? That is primarily due to the data mining taking place.

  25. Jordan says:

    I’m fairly certain that in some back office meeting room, somewhere in some unknown edifice, the very asking of that question is received as positive feedback.

  26. “NSA is neither able to confirm nor deny…..”:)

  27. Willy Bova says:

    First I will say that the US Government does monitor this website. It is a Website that is about an open FBI investigation of the Murder of our 35th President. Does the NSA monitor this site? Doubtful, unless it is somekind of training operation. Our 35th President was killed in a Coup facilitated by the Country of Canada providing cover for one of the main conspirators General Curtis Lemay who as Chief of the Air Force had operation control of Various Nuclear Weapons in Canada and Northern Michigan, used as insurance to make sure the Coup was Succsessful. His portion of the Coup was run from Wariton AFB, Ontario Canada, with the full knowledge of Canadian Generals who ran the Project X Assasination operations, and Canadian Prime Minister Pearson. The Dallas operations on the Ground were mostly run by former General Walker and retired General Cabell, the were various other people who where willing Participants in the Assasinatioon specifically LBJ and various Wall Street leaders, a golfing partner of the 34th President was among the plotters.

    In America you are free to speculate on the Coup of 11-22-63 and formulate what ever conspiracy theory you want even the complete fabrication that DOJ investigator Lee Harvey Oswald pictured in a doorway was the Assasin. If the truth were to come out the reaction of the American people to Canada’s complicity in the Assasination would not be predictable thus the continued classification of various files radio transmissions and operational files of the hired hands used from the four Sniper positions. As all governments after 11-22-63 are guilt of a cover up it is an uncertainty how to proceed with this open FBI murder investigation. My best advice to those still pursuing the truth, is that the conspiracy is far greater than you can imagine. Why were assisination and Coup’s of the 50& 60’s run from an Ontario AFB and other installations should be the area of interest that will solve the Crime. Why does Canada refuse to release their files on the 11-22-63 coup related to Lee H Oswald in Montreal, QB in 1963, and why does Canada not release the files on why General Lemay was at a Canadian AFB during the Assasination, and Why did CBC initially report disinformation in its first news bull item about the Assasination. The First Disinformation about the Assasination did not come from the CIA it came from the Canadian Government CBC broadcast. 1963 Canada was a very creepy place, committing Genocide on its First Nations populations, massive medical experimentation, and eventually became home to the final research in the MK ultra program. If you want real answers about the Coup they reside in Canada.

    I gave my FBI interview in 1983 about the confession of a Senior military officer involved in the it who confessed to me in 1976.

    Willy Bova

    • Photon says:

      The above post is one reason why the NSA would never waste time on a website like this. This one topic is nothing but an example of widespread delusional thinking in the Conspiracy community.
      Aside from the true believers, nobody really cares about this topic; it is old news with 50 years of no evidence to support anything but the official version. The previous post about the American University project confirmed my suspicions of why so many people think there was a conspiracy- they are almost universally ignorant of the facts (and in general don’t care enough to find out).
      To claim that the Canadian government was part of a plot to kill JFK is reflective of a level of desperation willing to accept ANYTHING as proof of a conspiracy, no matter how ludicrous or just plain silly.

      • Willy Bova says:

        Mr Photon,

        My above post about Canada was intended as “Sarcasm…” Giving two extreme examples. Perhaps Next time I endeavor to Post a Sarcastic example in a reply I will try to be a little clearer…

        ” In America you are free to speculate on the Coup of 11-22-63 and formulate what ever conspiracy theory you want even the complete fabrication that DOJ investigator Lee Harvey Oswald pictured in a doorway was the Assassin …..”

        Why the American and Canadian Government’s continue to withhold and redact documents 50 years after the Coup of 11-22-1963 is the real question….

        Canada has information regarding Lee Harvey Oswald and a FPCC incident from the Summer of 1963 in Montreal Quebec that they have chosen to classify that contains Hundreds of pages of files, in addition Canada has refused to cooperate with any and all requests as to why or what the Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis Lemay showed up at a Canadian Air Force Base on 11-22-63, considering his official biography places him in Michigan, Fishing or Hunting.

        During General Lemay’s Oral history for the LBJ presidential Library, in response to the question of “Where were you at the time of the assassination?” ” I was in Washington at the time–The Chief of Staff of the Air Force” “You were at work on that particular day?” No, I was off some place, at the actual time of the Assassination.”

        If America and Canada would release all their files perhaps the case would no longer be such a mystery. If in fact Lee Harvey Oswald was being impersonated, or was he really in Canada as the redacted document indicates creating an incident distributing FPCC information it would be prudent to get to the bottom of just how Mr Oswald got to Montreal and who paid for the trip. CBC producer Brian McKenna did the original research on the Montreal incident.

        http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/blog/a-crime-ripe-for-unravelling

        “…In Ottawa, assassination files documenting someone who identified himself as Oswald during a ‘Fair Play for Cuba’ demonstration in Montreal during the summer of 1963, are still secret. On my behalf, a lawyer filed Access to Information requests in an attempt to spring the files only to get back HUNDREDS OF REDACTED BLACKED OUT PAGES….”

        It’s been 50 years release the files.

        Willy Bova

  28. DRB says:

    To be fair to Mr. Sunstein, he states early on that “Of course some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true” citing Watergate, MKULTRA, Operation Northwoods and Roswell as examples. I suspect he would add JFK to the list of examples had he ever actually studied the assassination as we have.

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