HISTORY IN THE NEWS
Dedicated to the background of contemporary events around the world.
Espionage, Hacking, Privacy, Surveillance
TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF ESPIONAGE AND SURVEILLANCE.
With thanks to:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/mass-surveillance-in-america-a-timeline-of-loosening-laws-and-practices/5338282 (thanks to: Cora Currier, Justin Elliott and Theodoric Meyer)
1573- Sir Francis Walsingham began serving as principal secretary for Queen Elizabeth I. He founded a vast espionage network to protect the queen and served her until 1590. In 2005 Stephen Budiansky authored “Her Majesty’s Spymaster,” and account of Walsingham’s efforts.
1586- Sir Francis Walsingham, principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth I, uncovered a conspiracy by Mary, Queen of Scots, that called for a rebellion of Catholics, the landing of a foreign army and the assassination of the queen
-1564-1593- Playwright Christopher Marlowe, an associate of Walsingham's cousin, is believed to have been involved in government anti-Catholic espionage until his murder in 1593.
1590- Apr. 6- Francis Walsingham (b.~1532), English secretary of state, died. He had ensnared Mary, Queen of the Scots and forced her execution. He is remembered as the "spymaster" of Queen Elizabeth I of England. In 7 Robert Hutchinson authored “Elizabeth’s Spymaster: Francis Walsingham and the Secret War That Saved England.”
American Revolutionary War
1777- - Dec 2- British officers under Gen. Howe met in the Philadelphia home of Lydia Darragh to discuss plans to the attack American forces on December 5, just prior to Gen. Washington’s planned move to Valley Forge. Mrs. Darragh listened in on the plans and sent word to Whitemarsh of the impending attack.
1778- Benjamin Tallmadge, under orders from George Washington, organized a spy network in NYC, the heart of the British forces. The code name for the group was Samuel Culper and it became known as the Culper Gang.
1780- Benedict Arnold defects from the Americans to the British during the American Revolutionary War.
Russia and the French Revolution
1781- May 14- Abram Petrovich Gannibal (b.1696), an African slave adopted by Peter the Great, died. He served Peter in various important capacities including spy and privy councilor. He is the great-grandfather of Alexander Pushkin. In 2005 Hugh Barnes authored “Gannibal: The Moor of Petersburg.”
1789- The French Revolution: "It was not the literate and cultured minority of Frenchmen who brought down the government, as had been the case in England and America. Instead it was the common people, who marched upon the king and queen in their palace at Versailles. The Jacobins promulgated a Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen that went beyond the American Bill of Rights in affirming, "Nothing that is not forbidden by Law may be hindered, and no one may be compelled to do what the Law does not ordain," for "Liberty consists in being able to do anything that does not harm others."
American Bill of Rights.
1791 - American Bill of Rights guarantees individual freedom.
1854- Charles Wheatstone, British cryptologist, invented cipher to be used by diplomats, but a government official worried that it was too complicated.
1860-1897 (cirica) Jarnal al-Din al-Afghani (1838-1897), itinerant Islamic activist and British intelligence agent, died in Istanbul. He is considered as one of the founders of Islamic modernism and an advocate of pan-Islamic unity.
American Civil War; 14th Amendment.
1862- The Battle of Kernstown, Va., began. Winchester, Va., was another embattled town. Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson faced his only defeat at the Battle of Kernstown, Va., as he began his Valley Campaign. Union intelligence officers learned that Isabella Boyd had been spying on their army.
1863- Pauline C. Fryer (1833-1893) toured the South getting information for the Union, when she was found out and ordered hung by Confederate General Braxton Bragg. The Union troops took the town before the sentence could be carried out. She then toured the North and wrote a book "Spy for the Cumberland" (1864). President Lincoln gave her the Honorary rank of Major.
1868- Jun 16 - The 14th Amendment declaring all persons born on American soil, to be citizens (including blacks) is passed by Congress.
The Dreyfus Affair.
1894- Sept- A French spy, working as a cleaning woman at the office of the German military attache in Paris, discovered an unsigned note in a wastebasket describing secret tests of new French artillery guns. French intelligence soon accused Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, the only Jewish officer who had access to the secret information. It later was found that the note had been written by Major Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy.
1894- Oct- Captain Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935), a Jewish army officer in France, was arrested for allegedly betraying military secrets to Germany.
1898- Dec.- In France a court-martial against Major Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy began behind closed doors. The next day the defendant was found not guilty. Writer Emile Zola followed this action 2 days later with a 4-thousand word letter in support of Captain Dreyfus and accusing the French military of a conspiracy in the case.
1906- French Captain Alfred Dreyfus was found innocent in France of his earlier court-martial for spying for Germany. Dreyfus had served over 4 years on Devil’s Island before a top French court rehabilitated his name in what came to be called the Dreyfus Affair.
1900-1913 Gertrude Bell (b.1868), British archeologist and intelligence officer. From 1900 to 1913 she journeyed some 20,000 miles from Istanbul to the Syrian desert and on to Iraq. In 2006 Georgina Howell authored ”Daughter of the Desert: The Remarkable Life of Gertrude Bell."
Britain's Secret Service Bureau.
1909- Britain's Secret Service Bureau, the first incarnation of the Security Service, was established in to combat Imperial Germany's espionage operations in the United Kingdom. Captain Vernon G.W. Kell of the South Staffordshire Regiment and Captain Mansfield Cumming of the Royal Navy were nominated to head the new Bureau. In 1914 it came under the branch known as MO5, which was subdivided into eight sub-sections. Its chief, Major Vernon Kell, was given responsibility for MO5(g). It was renamed as MI5 in January 1916 and was incorporated into a new Directorate of Military Intelligence.
J. Edgar Hoover, Alger Hiss.
1924- May 10- J. Edgar Hoover is appointed to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
1935-1972- J.Edgar Hoover heads the FBI and arranges a vast and unchecked domestic eavesdropping and spy apparatus against real and alleged threats to American security but also against personal enemies.
1938- Pumpkin Papers consist of sixty-five pages of retyped secret State Department documents, four pages in Alger Hiss's own handwriting of copied State Department cables, and five rolls of developed and undeveloped 35 mm film all dating from this period. They played a role in the conviction of Alger Hiss on Jan 21.
World War Two.
1940- Britain formed the Special Operations Executive (SOE) to organize agents abroad. In 1942 the SOE began recruiting women. In 2005 Sarah Helm authored “A Life in Secrets: The Story of Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of the SOE."
1942- Nazi overlord and SS general Reinhard Heydrich was killed in Prague by Czech commandos, who had parachuted into Czechoslovakia and ambushed his car. Hitler promptly ordered the deaths of 10,000 residents of Lidice, near Prague. Heydrich died of his wounds a week later. The commandos had been sheltered in Lidice and as a result the entire population was either executed or driven out. This has become a hallmark of Nazi brutality. Heydrich was the man charged with “The Final Solution of the Jewish Problem.” Heydrich was responsible for the development of an espionage system outside Germany. As an SS general he was the first administrator of the concentration camps and the program to eliminate Jews from Europe.
1943- Pearl Cornioley (1916-2008), a British agent, parachuted into France as a secret agent to help arm and organize the Resistance. In 1995 she wrote an autobiography and in 2006 Royal Air Force officers presented her with her parachute wings in a ceremony at her Paris retirement home.
The Cambridge Five.
1944-1946- Kim Philby was head of counter-intelligence activities at British Intelligence. Philby, Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess and Donald MacLean were part of the ‘Cambridge Five’. Burgess and Maclean passed over to the Soviet Union thousands of confidential documents.
1945-Russia's Operation Tarantella, designed to reach emigres who fled after the Communist takeover, turned Viktor Bogomolets back to Moscow. He became a double agent passing British secrets to top-tier Soviet operatives. This was made public in 2007.
Operation Shamrocks, the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA)
1945-1975- In Operation Shamrocks, the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) working with British intelligence, begins secretly intercepting and reading millions of telegraph messages between US citizens and international senders and recipients. The clandestine program and part of a larger global surveillance network collectively known as Echelon begins shortly after the end of World War II, and continues through 1975, when it is exposed by the “Church Committee,” the Senate investigation of illegal activities by US intelligence organizations. The program actually predates the NSA, originating with the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA). The program operates in tandem with Project Minaret.
1947- Establishment of the CIA.
1947- Frank Wisner was recruited by Dean Acheson to join the US State Department's Office of Occupied Territories. In 1948, the CIA created a covert action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). Frank Wisner was put in charge of the operation and recruited many of his old friends from the NYC Carter Ledyard law firm. Wisner later coined the term “mighty Wurlitzer” to describe the orchestration of the agency’s activities.
1948- Echelon began with a secret international agreement between the US, Britain, and Canada to collate electronic intelligence. Australia and New Zealand signing up later. By 2005 it consisted of a global network of computers that automatically searched through millions of intercepted for pre-programmed keywords or fax, telex and e-mail addresses.
Hoover's Security Index and McCarthyism.
1950- FBI begns to build Database to Track US Citizens. The FBI, led by director J. Edgar Hoover, begins to “accumulate the names, identities, and activities” of American citizens who are regarded as suspect. The information is gathered in a “security index,” which rapidly expands.
1950s- Senator Joseph McCarthy's Senate hearings and Hoover's FBI alike pry into the lives of ordinary Americans.
1950-54 - Senator Joseph McCarthy carries out a crusade against alleged communists in government and public life; the campaign and its methods become known as McCarthyism. In 1954 McCarthy is formally censured by the Senate.
Burgess and McLean.
1951- Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean fled Britain for the Soviet Union. They had been tipped off by Kim Philby that they were about to be arrested.
1951-1956- There were 9 US reconnaissance aircraft lost and believed shot down by Soviet forces in and near the Russian Far East during this period with 77 crew members lost.
The National Security Agency.
1952- Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) becomes the National Security Agency. It is the successor to the State Department’s “Black Chamber” and other military code-breaking and eavesdropping operations dating back to the earliest days of telegraph and telephone communications.
1953- June 19- Julius (b.5/12/1918) and Ethel Rosenberg (b.9/28/1915), convicted of passing U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union during World War II, were executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York. The Supreme Court had vacated a stay granted by Justice William O. Douglas and President Eisenhower refused to intervene, despite a massive worldwide campaign to free them. In 1983 Ronald Radosh and Joyce Milton authored “The Rosenberg File.” In 2001 Sam Roberts authored “The Brother,” an account of David Greenglass, the younger brother of Ethel Rosenberg and star witness against her and Julius. In 2008 Morton Sobell (91), a former Soviet spy who had spent nearly 20 years in Alcatraz, fingered Julius Rosenberg as a fellow Soviet spy, but not Ethel.
1954- April 22, 1954 - Joseph McCarthy begins televised senate hearings into alleged Communist influence in the United States Army. Later this year, on December 2, the U.S. Congress votes to condemn Senator McCarthy for his conduct during the Army investigation hearings.
1955- John Vassal, who was the naval attaché at the British Embassy in Moscow was jailed for eighteen years after spying for the Soviet Union.
The Cambridge Five.
1956- Cambridge Group spies Burgess and Maclean surfaced in Moscow after seemingly disappearing in 1951.
1956- Anthony Blunt received a knighthood and was put in charge of the Queen’s art collection. Years later, it was announced that he was the fourth member of the ‘Cambridge Five’.
WAN Networks: Analogue and Digital.
1958- Eisenhower gave the green light for the Corona project, which would create satellites to spy on the Soviet Union. The new Lockheed Corp. facility in Palo Alto, Ca., quickly became involved in the program, which remained classified until 1995. Satellites equipped with parachutes kept tabs on the Eastern Bloc from 1960-1972.
1960-1970- In the 1960s, technological advances make it possible for computers to search for keywords in monitored messages instead of having human analysts read through all communications. In fact, the first global wide-area network, or WAN, is not the Internet, but the international network connecting signals intelligence stations and processing centers for US and British intelligence organizations, including the NSA, and making use of sophisticated satellite systems such as Milstar and Skynet. (The NSA also builds and maintains one of the world’s first e-mail networks, completely separate from public e-mail networks, and highly secret.) At the program’s height, it operates out of a front company in Lower Manhattan code-named LPMEDLEY, and intercepts 150,000 messages a month.
U2 Pilot Gary Powers.
1960- A tribunal in Moscow convicted American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage. About 18 months later, the Soviets agreed to release him in exchange for Rudolph Abel, a Soviet spy convicted 5 years earlier. The CIA and the Senate cleared Powers of any personal blame for the incident.
US Domestic Espionage.
1960-1979-US CIA launched a secret domestic spying program dubbed MHCHAOS aimed at the US anti-war underground press.
Britons Spying for Moscow.
1961- Britain- three men and two women were jailed – Gordon Lonsdale, Peter Kroger, Helen Kroger, Henry Houghton and Ethel Gee. They were found guilty of plotting to hand over to the Russians secrets about Britain’s first nuclear submarine.
1961- Britain- George Blake was given a 42-year prison sentence for spying for the Soviet Union. Blake had worked for British Intelligence but was, in fact, a double agent and had been for a total of nine years. In 1966, Blake escaped from prison.
1963- the man who led the ‘Cambridge Five’ fled to the Soviet Union, Kim Philby believed that it was only a matter of time before he was arrested – hence his defection. Philby admitted that he was the so-called ‘Third Man’.
1963- Briton Grenville Wynne was sentenced to eight years in a Soviet prison having been found guilty of spying for the West.
1964- Anthony Blunt announced that he was a member of the ‘Cambridge Five’ as did John Cairncross. However, neither was prosecuted despite their admissions.1964- Nov. The US HONETOL committee was formed to look into the question of a mole in the CIA, based on information from Soviet defector Anatoly Golitsin. It was in existence to April 1965, and consisted of James Jesus Angleton, Newton S. Miler and Bruce Solie from the CIA's Office of Security, FBI domestic intelligence chief William C. Sullivan, FBI CIA liaison Sam Papich and two others. The investigations damaged many careers including that of case officer Richard Kovich (1926-2006).
Cold War Moles in the CIA.
Cold War Moles in the CIA.
US Domestic Spying: Operation Minaret.
1965- the NSA's Operation Minaret works together with Operation Shamrock (1945). Together, the two programs spy on both foreign sources and US citizens, especially those considered “unreliable,” such as civil rights leaders and antiwar protesters, and opposition figures such as politicians, diplomats, businessmen, trades union leaders, non-government organizations like Amnesty International, and senior officials of the Catholic Church. The NSA receives the cooperation of such telecommunications firms as Western Union, RCA, and ITT. (Those companies are never required to reveal the extent of their involvement with Shamrock; on the recommendations of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and presidential chief of staff Dick Cheney, in 1975 President Ford extends executive privilege to those companies, precluding them from testifying before Congress.) (History Commons.)
1967-1975- US intelligence agencies, including the NSA, the CIA, and the FBI, run a clandestine and highly illegal surveillance operation called Project MINARET that uses “watch lists” to electronically and physically spy on “subversive” activities by civil rights and antiwar leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Jane Fonda, Malcolm X, Dr. Benjamin Spock, and Joan Baez—all members of Richard Nixon’s infamous “enemies list.” (History Commons)
1967-1976- Civil Crisis Management Program 'Mount Weather, a secret underground government installation located about 50 miles west of Washington, DC maintains a “Civil Crisis Management” program aimed at monitoring and managing civil emergencies, such as resource shortages, labor strikes, and political uprisings.
1968- The NSA launches the first of seven satellites, code-named “Canyon,” that can pick up various types of voice and data traffic from Earth orbit.
The Pueblo Incident.
1968- North Korea seized the U.S. Navy intelligence ship Pueblo, charging it had intruded into the communist nation's territorial waters on a spying mission. One crewman was killed in the attack. Cmdr. Lloyd Bucher (d.2004 at 76) was quickly separated from the 81-man crew. The crew was released 11 months later.
1971- British Intelligence announced that 120 Soviet intelligence officers were operating in Britain – the bulk with some form of diplomatic status. Consequently the British government expelled 105 Soviet officials. In the past, British Intelligence had been dealing with small groups. However, they received an intelligence goldmine when a KGB officer – Oleg Lyalin – defected to Britain. He exposed those agents he knew of. This was an extraordinary piece of good luck for British Intelligence. However, this did not stop the KGB from attempting to infiltrate British Intelligence. Those agents known by Lyalin were expelled but they could be replaced with agents he did not know.
The Church Committee: NSA Watch List of US Citizens.
1975- NSA's Operation Shamrockis exposed by the “Church Committee,” the Senate investigation of illegal activities by US intelligence organizations. The Church Committee’s final report will will call Shamrock “probably the largest government interception program affecting Americans ever undertaken.” Shortly after the committee issues its report, the NSA terminates the program. (History Commons)
1975- August 1975, NSA director Lieutenant General Lew Allen testifies to the House of Representatives’ investigation of US intelligence activities, the Pike Committee that “NSA systematically intercepts international communications, both voice and cable.” He also admits that “messages to and from American citizens have been picked up in the course of gathering foreign intelligence,” and acknowledges that the NSA uses “watch lists” of US citizens “to watch for foreign activity of reportable intelligence interest.” (History Commons)
1976- Shamrock is considered unconstitutional by many US lawmakers and the Justice Department investigates potential criminal offenses by the NSA surrounding Shamrock. Part of the report will be released in 1980; that report will confirm that the Shamrock data was used to further the illegal surveillance activities of US citizens as part of Minaret
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA
1978- After a post-Watergate Senate investigation of documented abuses of government surveillance.
Congress passes the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA, to regulate how the government can monitor suspected spies or terrorists in the U.S. The law establishes a secret court that issues warrants for electronic surveillance or physical searches of a “foreign power” or “agents of a foreign power”
1984- Michael Bettany, an officer in MI5, was jailed for 23 years for passing secrets over to the Soviet Union. Russian intelligence had suffered another blow when another KGB agent, Oleg Gordievsky, became a MI6 agent and had exposed Bettany. Gordievsky also exposed other Russian agents operating in the UK In 1985, 25 of these agents were expelled from Britain.
2001- September- The NSA, according to Newsweek, citing anonymous sources, collected without court approval vast quantities of phone and email metadata “with cooperation from some of the country’s largest telecommunications companies” from “tens of millions of average Americans.”
The Patriot Act
2001 October - USA Patriot Act approved by the Senate, giving the government greater powers to detain suspected terrorists, eavesdrop on communications and counter money-laundering. In November, President Bush signs a directive to try suspected terrorists in military tribunals rather than the courts.
2001- October- NSA once again escalates its warrantless surveillance of US citizens, this time monitoring and tracking citizens’ phone calls and e-mails . It will also begin compiling an enormous database of citizens’ phone activities, creating a “data mine” of information on US citizens, ostensibly for anti-terrorism purposes.
US Department of Homeland Security
2002 November - President Bush signs into law a bill creating a Department of Homeland Security, the biggest reorganisation of federal government in more than 50 years. The large and powerful department is tasked with protecting the US against terrorist attacks.
2003- Oct- AT&T technician Mark Klein discovers what he believes to be newly installed NSA data-mining equipment in a “secret room” at a company facility in San Francisco. Klein, who several years later goes public with his story to support a lawsuit against the company, believes the equipment enables “vacuum-cleaner surveillance of all the data crossing the Internet – whether that be peoples’ e-mail, web surfing or any other data.”
2004, March- In what would become one of the most famous moments of the Bush Administration, presidential aides Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzales show up at the hospital bed of John Ashcroft. Their purpose? To convince the seriously ill attorney general to sign off on the extension of the NSA's secret domestic spying program. Ashcroft refuses, believing the warrantless program to be illegal.
-the NSA's program is formally shut but there is reason to believe it still operates.
2005- Echelon consisted of a global network of computers that automatically searched through millions of intercepted for pre-programmed keywords or fax, telex and e-mail addresses.
2005- Dec- The NY Times, over the objections of the Bush Administration, reveals that since 2002 the government “monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants.” The program involves actually listening in on phone calls and reading emails without seeking permission from the FISA Court.
2006- Jan- President Bush defends what he calls the “terrorist surveillance program” in a speech in Kansas. He says the program only looks at calls in which one end of the communication is overseas.2006 March - Congress renews the USA Patriot Act, a centerpiece of the government's fight against terrorism, after months of debate about its impact on civil liberties. The government agrees to some curbs on information gathering,
Patriot Act Renewed.
Patriot Act Renewed.
2006 Stephen Pincock authored “Codebreaker” a tale of codes and ciphers as well as their creators and Crackers.
NASA Surveillance almost Universal.
2006- May- USA Today reports that the NSA has been collecting data since 2001 on phone records of “tens of millions of Americans” through three major phone companies, Verizon, AT&T, and BellSouth (though the companies level of involvement.) The data collected does not include content of calls but rather data like phone numbers for analyzing communication patterns.
-As with the wiretapping program revealed by the Times, the NSA data collection occurs without warrants, according to USA Today. Unlike the wiretapping program, the NSA data collection was not limited to international communications.2006- The mass data collection first authorized by the FISA court in 2006, though exactly when is not clear. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, said Thursday, “As far as I know, this is the exact three-month renewal of what has been in place for the past seven years.” Similarly, the Washington Post quotes an anonymous “expert in this aspect of the law” who said the document published by the Guardian appears to be a “routine renewal” of an order first issued in 2006.
FISA Authorizes Mass Data Collection.
FISA Authorizes Mass Data Collection.
The Litvinenko Affair.
2006- Nov 1- Defector and former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko meets two Russian men (one of them Andrei Lugovoy) at a London hotel - one a former KGB officer. He also meets academic Mario Scaramella at a sushi bar where he is said to have received documents about the death of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Several hours after his meetings, Mr Litvinenko complains of feeling sick and spends the night vomiting. (BBC)
2006- Dec. Julian Assange, a former Australian computer hacker, founds Wikileaks.Org.. The website aims to provide a platform for whistleblowers to post sensitive and secret political documents while keeping their identity anonymous.
2006- Nov 20- London- Alexander Litvinenko is moved to intensive care. Pictures are released of the ex-agent in hospital, showing how he has suffered dramatic weight and hair loss. Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism unit takes over the investigation into what made him ill. Police say they are treating the case as a suspected "deliberate poisoning" but await toxicology test results. The Kremlin dismisses allegations Russia's government poisoned Mr Litvinenko because of his criticisms of its policies as "sheer nonsense". (BBC)
Nov 22- Litvinenko dies.
Nov 24- A statement made by Mr Litvinenko before he died is read out by his friend Alex Goldfarb outside University College Hospital, London.
In it he accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of involvement in his death and says his killer was "barbaric and ruthless". Health experts say they believe Mr Litvinenko was deliberately poisoned by radioactive matter, believed to be polonium-210. Police find traces of radioactive material at the sushi bar and the hotel where the former spy had meetings on 1 November, and at his north London home.
Dec 5- Russian prosecutors say they intend to question former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi, who met Mr Litvinenko in London on 1 November.
2007- Jan Attorney General Alberto Gonzales annunces that the FISA court has allowed the government to target international communications that start or end in the U.S., as long as one person is “a member or agent of al Qaeda or an associated terrorist organization.” Gonzalez says the government is ending the “terrorist surveillance program,” and bringing such cases under FISA approval.
2007- May 22- Andrei Lugovoi should be charged with the murder of Mr Litvinenko, the director of public prosecutions recommends. Sir Ken Macdonald says that Mr Lugovoi, who denies involvement in the death, should face trial. (On 13 October 2011 Dr. Andrew Reed, the Coroner of St. Pancras, announced that he will hold a full public inquest into Litvinenko's death, which will include the examination of all existing theories of the murder, including possible complicity of the Russian government.)
Protect America Act and FISA Amendment Act
2007- August- FISA's court attempts to place limits on surveillance by the Bush administration. But Bush and Congress open the way again with the Protect America Act.
2007- September- The FBI and the NSA get access to user data from Microsoft under a top-secret program known as Prism.
2008- February- Wikileaks exposes Swiss Banker, Julius Baer, for involvement in money laundering. It publishes internal documents to show that the bank was helping clients launder funds via the Cayman Islands. This leads to the first of many legal charges against Wikileaks
2008- July- Congress follows up the Protect America Act with the FISA Amendments Act, extending the government’s expanded spying powers for another four years. The law now approaches the kind of warrantless wiretapping that occurred earlier in Bush administration. Senator Obama votes for the act.
2009- April- The New York Times reports that for several months, the NSA had gotten hold of domestic communications it wasn’t supposed to. The Times says it was likely the result of “technical problems in the NSA’s ability” to distinguish between domestic and overseas communications. The Justice Department says the problems have been resolved.
Wikileaks Releasing Documents, Videos, Data.
2009- Nov.- Wikileaks releases a comprehensive archive of text pager messages recorded in the US on September 11,2001, the day when hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.
2009-2010- Bradley Manning Manning in Baghdad, begins accessing and downloading classified diplomatic documents and communicating with WikiLeaks.
2010- Feb- President Obama signs a temporary one-year extension of elements of the Patriot Act that were set to expire — including Section 215, which grants the government broad powers to seize records.
2010- Feb- Manning gives WikiLeaks video footage of a 2007 helicopter attack on Iraqi insurgents, according to the Washington Post. The footage shows civilians and two employees of Reuters news service being gunned down.
2010- April-- Wikileaks releases Manning's downloaded video of a 2007 US military helicopter strike on Baghdad, Iraq, and the casualties that resulted from this. Bradley Manning, an American soldier, is charged and arrested for leaking the information.
2010- May 21- First AIM chats between Manning and ex-hacker Adrian Lamo, in which Manning ultimately confessed having sent the documents to WikiLeaks. Lamo contacts authorities.
2010- May 29- Manning is arrested in Baghdad.
2010- June 6- U.S.files initial charges against Manning.
2010- July 25- Wikileaks releases classified US military documents on the war in Afghanistan revealing details of civilian victims and alleged
2010- July 29- Manning transferred to the United States and incarcerated at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia, and held in solitary confinement for nine months. links between Pakistan and the Taliban.
Wikileaks Founder Assange Wanted for Rape in Sweden.
2010- Aug- A Swedish court issues an arrest warrant for Assange on charges of rape made by two Swedish women, who were also former employees of Wikileaks but then decides to postpone the warrant until November.
Wikileaks Exposes US Military Misdeeds
2010- Oct- Wikileaks releases some 400,000 accounts written by American soldiers from 2004 to 2009 revealing that the US decided to ignore cases of torture by Iraqi authorities on civilians.
2010- Nov.- Swedish prosecutor re-issues European arrest warrant for Assange. Ten days later, Wikileaks releases classified US diplomatic cables, revealing assessments of American officials on a range of issues together with views of other governments.
2010- Dec.- Assange hands himself over to London’s police and is placed in custody pending a Swedish court’s ruling on the extradition request. A few days later, Assange is released on bail and tells media that the rape allegations are part of a politically-motivated campaign to undermine him. He was ordered by the court to live at a supporter’s country side mansion in eastern England.
2011- Feb.- A British judge rules Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations. He dismisses claims made by Assange’s lawyers who argued that Assange would not receive a fair trial in Sweden. The 39-year-old denied three allegations of sexual assault and one allegation of rape in Stockholm last year.
Bradley Manning "aiding the enemy."
2011- March- Manning’s charges updated to 22 violations, including “aiding the enemy."
2011- April- Manning transferred to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where he is no longer held in solitary confinement.
2011- May- The House and Senate pass legislation to extend the overall Patriot Act. President Obama, who is in Europe as the law is set to expire, directs the bill to be signed with an “autopen” machine in his stead.
Assange Appeals Against Extradition.
2011- July- Assange appeals against the extradition ruling.
2011- Sept- Assange’s unauthorised biography is released in England in which he completely denies the sexual assault allegations made against him.
2011- Oct- Assange announces Wikileaks will temporarily stop publishing classified US diplomatic files to concentrate on fundraising for the website after incurring a 95% loss in its revenue due to a financial blockade by credit card companies such as MasterCard and Visa.
2011- Nov.- British High Court judges reject Assange’s appeal against his extradition to Sweden.
2011- Dec. Military investigator begins six-day Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing, to determine if Manning’s case will go to trial. Manning’s lawyer asks Judge Col. Denise Lind to drop the charges due to the inhumane treatment of Manning at Quantico.
2012- Jan 8- Judge in Manning case refuses to drop charges.
2012- Jan,- Assange appeals his extradition at British Supreme Court.
2012- Feb 3- Military investigator determines that Manning will stand trial, followed by months of pretrial hearings
2012- March- UN special rapporteur releases report accusing U.S. government of inhumane treatment of Manning. .
2012- March- In a letter to the attorney general, Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., write, “We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details” of how the government has interpreted Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Because the program is classified, the senators offer no further details.
2012- May- British Supreme Court rejects Assange’s extradition appeal and rules that he must be tried in Sweden.
Assange Takes Refuge in Ecuadorean Ambrassy.
2012- June- Assange makes a plea for asylum in Ecuador after seeking refuge at the South American nation’s embassy in London. Ecuador’s foreign minister announced that they would be evaluating Assange’s request according to international law.
2012- June 28- Assange ordered by British police to turn himself in on an extradition notice.
2012- June 29- Assange refuses to turn himself in to British police and officials say they will arrest him as soon as he leaves Ecuador’s embassy. Ecuador delays decision on Assange’s request for asylum.
2012- July- Wikileaks hires Spain’s former human rights judge, Baltasar Garzon, to lead the legal team fighting for Assange. Garzon is said to have met Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London
2012- July- According to a declassified statement by Wyden, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held that at least once that information collection carried out by the government was unconstitutional. But the details of that episode, including when it happened, have never been revealed.
2012- Aug.-UK warns Ecuador it may raid its London embassy if it doesn’t hand over Assange to the British police. Ecuador condemns such a threat and few hours later, announces that it will grant Assange political asylum.
FISA Amendments Extended but Compromised.
2012- Dec- Congress extends the FISA Amendments Act another five years, and Obama signs it into law. Sens. Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both Oregon Democrats, offer amendments requiring more disclosure about the law’s impact. The proposals fail.
Verizon, Sprint, Wall Street Journal, AT&T ordered to open up to NSA
2013- April- Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Roger Vinson issues a secret court order directing Verizon Business Network Services to turn over “metadata” — including the time, duration and location of phone calls, though not what was said on the calls — to the NSA for all calls over the next three months. Verizon is ordered to deliver the records “on an ongoing daily basis.” The Wall Street Journal this week that AT&T and Sprint have similar arrangements.
Edward Snowden Reveals Immense NSA Abuse of Power.
2013- 20 May Edward Snowden an employee of defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton at the National Security Agency, arrives in Hong Kong from Hawaii. He carries four laptop computers that enable him to gain access to some of the US government's most highly-classified secrets.
2013- 1 June Guardian journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill and documentary maker Laura Poitras fly from New York to Hong Kong. They meet Snowden in a Kowloon hotel after he identifies himself with a Rubik's cube and begin a week of interviews with their source. 5 June The Guardian publishes its first exclusive based on Snowden's leak, revealing a secret court order showing that the US government had forced the telecoms giant Verizon to hand over the phone records of millions of Americans.
2013- June 3- Manning’s eight-week trial begins in Fort Meade, Md.
2013- 6 June A second story on Snowden reveals the existence of the previously undisclosed programme Prism, which internal NSA documents claim gives the agency "direct access" to data held by Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants. The tech companies deny that they have set up "back door access" to their systems for the US government. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/23/edward-snowden-nsa-files-timeline)
2013- June- Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledges the collection of phone metadata but says the information acquired is “subject to strict restrictions on handling” and that “only a very small fraction of the records are ever reviewed.” Clapper also says that the collection under the Prism program was justified under the FISA Amendments of 2008, and that it is not “intentionally targeting” any American or person in the U.S. The tech companies reportedly taking part in the Prism program variously disavow knowledge of the program and merely state in broad terms they follow the law.
2013- July 25- Closing arguments delivered in Manning’s trial.
2013- July 25- Closing arguments delivered in Manning’s trial.