Barton Gellman

With Others


Gellman, Barton, Paul Blustein, and Dafna Linzer. "Bank Records Secretly Tapped: Administration Began Using Global Database Shortly After 2001 Attacks." Washington Post, 23 Jun. 2006, A1. []

According to U.S. government and industry officials, the Bush administration, relying on the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, "has secretly been tapping into a vast global database [the Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)] of confidential financial transactions for nearly five years." The program uses "a broad new interpretation of the Treasury Department's administrative powers to bypass traditional banking privacy protections. It has swept in large volumes of international money transfers, including many made by U.S. citizens and residents, in an effort to track the locations, identities and activities of suspected terrorists."


Gellman, Barton, and Dafna Linzer. "Top Counterterrorism Officer Removed Amid Turmoil at CIA." Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2006, A6. []

On 6 February 2006, Robert Grenier, who headed the CIA's Counterterrorism Center for the past year, "was relieved of his position" following "months of turmoil atop the agency's clandestine service, according to three knowledgeable officials.... Grenier's predecessor at the Counterterrorism Center ... moved on to become chief of the National Clandestine Service.... Sources said the two men differ sharply in style....

"The CIA's Counterterrorism Center, like the agency itself, has been shoved from its preeminent position in a turbulent reorganization of the intelligence community.... Some of the center's responsibilities have since shifted to a new interagency counterpart that reports to Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte."


Gellman, Barton, and Greg Miller. "U.S. Spy Network's Successes, Failures and Objectives Detailed in 'Black Budget' Summary." Washington Post, 29 Aug. 2013. []

"The $52.6 billion 'black budget' for fiscal 2013, obtained by The Washington Post from ... Edward Snowden, maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny.... Spending by the CIA has surged past that of every other spy agency, with $14.7 billion in requested funding for 2013.... Formally known as the Congressional Budget Justification for the National Intelligence Program, the 'top-secret' blueprint represents spending levels proposed to the House and Senate intelligence committees in February 2012. Congress may have made changes before the fiscal year began on Oct 1."

[GenPostCW/10s/13; GenPostwar/Budgets/13]

Gellman, Barton, and Arshad Mohammed. "Data on Phone Calls Monitored: Extent of Administration's Domestic Surveillance Decried in Both Parties." Washington Post, 12 May 2006, A1. []

"The Bush administration has secretly been collecting the domestic telephone records of millions of U.S. households and businesses, assembling gargantuan databases and attempting to sift through them for clues about terrorist threats, according to sources with knowledge of the program. The 'call detail records' enable U.S. intelligence agencies to track who calls whom, and when, but do not include the contents of conversations, the sources said."


Gellman, Barton, and Ellen Nakashima. "U.S. Spy Agencies Mounted 231 Offensive Cyber-Operations in 2011, Documents Show." Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2013. []

According to top-secret documents provided to The Washington Post by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, "U.S. intelligence services carried out 231 offensive cyber-operations in 2011.... Additionally, under an extensive effort code-named GENIE, U.S. computer specialists break into foreign networks so that they can be put under surreptitious U.S. control. Budget documents say the $652 million project has placed 'covert implants,' sophisticated malware transmitted from far away, in computers, routers and firewalls on tens of thousands of machines every year, with plans to expand those numbers into the millions....

"The growth of Tailored Access Operations at the NSA has been accompanied by a major expansion of the CIA's Information Operations Center, or IOC. The CIA unit employs hundreds of people at facilities in Northern Virginia and has become one of the CIA's largest divisions. Its primary focus has shifted in recent years from counterterrorism to cybersecurity.... The military's cyber-operations, including U.S. Cyber Command, have drawn much of the public's attention, but the IOC undertakes some of the most notable offensive operations, including the recruitment of several new intelligence sources, the document said."


Gellman, Barton, and Walter Pincus. "Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence." Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2003, A1. []


Gellman, Barton, and Laura Poitras. "U.S. Intelligence Mining Data from Nine U.S. Internet Companies in Broad Secret Program." Washington Post, 6 Jun. 2013. []

NSA and the FBI "are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time. The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy....

"The technology companies, which participate knowingly in PRISM operations, include most of the dominant global players of Silicon Valley. They are listed on a roster that bears their logos in order of entry into the program: 'Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.'"

See also, Anne Gearan, "'No Such Agency' Spies on the Communications of the World." Washington Post, 6 Jun. 2013.

[FBI/DomSec/10s; NSA/10s]

Gellman, Barton, and Dana Priest. "CIA Had Fix on Hussein: Intelligence Revealed 'Target of Opportunity.'" Washington Post, 20 Mar. 2003, A1. []

Around 4 p.m. on 19 March 2003, DCI George J. Tenet told President Bush that the CIA believed it knew where Saddam Hussein was and that he was likely to remain there for some hours. Bush and his senior national security advisers, then, "tore up the carefully orchestrated schedule of violence that the U.S. Central Command had honed for months.... Bush signed the launch order at 6:30 p.m." Two F-117A fighters, each armed with a pair of 2,000-pound bombs, and around 40 cruise missiles were used in the strike on an "isolated private residence in southern Baghdad.... [O]fficials cautioned that it would be some time before intelligence could assess with certainty what the U.S. strike had hit, and who had been there. But it was already clear ...that the man in the White House intended to find the Iraqi president and kill him."


Gellman, Barton, and Dana Priest. "When Focus Shifted Beyond Inner Circle, U.S. Got a Vital Clue." Washington Post, 15 Dec. 2003, A1. []

According to U.S. officials, "[t]he clues that led to [Saddam] Hussein's capture emerged three weeks ago,... when intelligence analysts and Special Operations forces shifted the focus of their hunt from Hussein's innermost circle to the more distant relatives and tribal allies who they suspected had been sheltering the deposed president.... What U.S. forces call a 'fusion cell of HVT analysts,' drawn from the CIA and military intelligence personnel, commenced a fresh review in late November of the vast trove of information already in hand about 'the people helping to facilitate his freedom,' one official said....

"U.S. military forces and the CIA formed a task force devoted exclusively to finding Hussein and his top allies. Called Task Force 121, it is an interagency team of CIA paramilitaries and 'black,' or unacknowledged, Special Operations forces. Two officials,... said Task Force 121 took part" in the raid that captured Hussein.


Gellman, Barton, and Ashkan Soltani. "NSA Tracking Cellphone Locations Worldwide, Snowden Documents Show." Washington Post, 4 Dec. 2013. []

According to interviews with U.S. intelligence officials and top-secret documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, NSA "is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world,... enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals -- and map their relationships -- in ways that would have been previously unimaginable. The records feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices.... New projects created to analyze that data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool."


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