The National Security Agency on Thursday denied using a doppelganger version of Facebook, saying it lacks the ability to do so and only conducts foreign intelligence operations that are “lawful and appropriate.”
“NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites,” the agency said in a statement. “Nor does NSA target any user of global Internet services without appropriate legal authority. Reports of indiscriminate computer exploitation operations are simply false.”
The maligned federal agency was hit with a renewed wave of flogging Wednesday after a report by First Look Media said the NSA had at times “masqueraded as a fake Facebook server” in order to infect targeted computers with malware. Documents from 2009 provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden published in the report detailed a secret program called “Turbine” that was designed to hack into computers and gather data from foreign networks.
Nowhere in the NSA’s statement, however, does it definitively state that the agency has never previously posed as another website for surveillance purposes. The agency is known for its carefully worded statements couched in qualifying language.
In response to the story, a Facebook spokesman told National Journal that the NSA could not currently spoof its site in the manner described in the First Look report because the site finished integrating secure communications protocol last year. But Facebook didn’t rule out that such exploitation could have occurred in the past, when standard communications protocol was used.
The company additionally denied ever having evidence or knowledge of the spy program.
Earlier on Thursday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted a public note on his page that criticized President Obama and his administration for its surveillance programs.
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The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.
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No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."
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