NSA reportedly recommends retiring phone surveillance program

first_imgThe National Security Agency has recommended the White House abandon a controversial program that collects and analyzes data on millions of Americans’ domestic calls and texts, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.The recommendation against renewing the program represents a dramatic reversal from the longstanding position of the agency, which had argued that the program was vital to identifying and disrupting terrorist activities. The program, which was put in place after the 2001 terrorist attacks, has legal and logistical burdens that outweigh its value to national security, sources told the Journal.The reported recommendation comes a little more than a month after a national security advisor revealed that the NSA hasn’t used the system in months. Luke Murray, an advisor for Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarty of California, also said at the time the White House might not seek to renew its legal authority to operate the program.The NSA had been collecting large amounts of metadata, the digital information that accompanies electronic communications, under a controversial national security policy put in place by the Patriot Act in 2001. That information included what phone numbers were on the call, when the call was placed and how long it lasted, which was then saved in a database.The already heated debate over the Patriot Act programs intensified in 2013 when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing the ways in which the secretive US government agency was collecting data. A new system put in place by Congress in 2015 required federal agencies to seek a court order on a case-by-case basis to obtain call data from telephone companies.The USA Freedom Act of 2015, legislation designed to curtail the federal government’s sweeping surveillance of millions of Americans’ phone records, is set to expire at the end of year, if the Trump administration doesn’t ask Congress to renew its authority to continue the program.The NSA and White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 6 Now playing: Watch this: 4:25 NSA Security Tech Industrycenter_img Share your voice Comments Yes, Facebook is still tracking you (The 3:59, Ep. 541) Tagslast_img read more

Afghanistan accuses Pakistan of air strikes

first_imgAn Afghan child receives treatment at a hospital after Monday`s airstrike in Kunduz province, Afghanistan 3 April, 2018. Photo: ReutersAfghanistan on Thursday accused Pakistan of air strikes causing “huge financial damages” in its province of Kunar bordering Pakistan, highlighting long-standing mistrust between the neighbours, even as both seek ways to improve security.The incident came ahead of a visit to Kabul on Friday by Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on cooperation to halt militant attacks.Pakistani jets dropped four bombs on Wednesday evening in Kunar’s Dangam district, Afghanistan’s ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement, without elaborating on the damage or making any mention of casualties.”Afghanistan warns that continuing violations of international norms … will have further consequences on the relations between the two countries,” the ministry added.Pakistan rejected as “baseless” the allegation that it violated Afghan airspace, however.In a statement, its foreign affairs ministry said Pakistan’s security forces were countering militant groups based in Afghanistan that launch attacks across the border.Military officials of the two countries met on Thursday in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, where Pakistan shared details of the operations with Afghanistan, it added. The operations took place on the Pakistani side of the border, Pakistan said.Afghanistan should focus on plugging gaps on its side of the border and refrain from the “blame game”, the ministry said.Afghanistan’s Western-backed government has long accused Pakistan of harbouring Afghan Taliban insurgents, a charge that Islamabad denies.Islamabad, in turn, accuses Afghanistan of not doing enough to eradicate Pakistani Taliban militants, many of whom are based in Afghanistan and mostly carry out attacks inside Pakistan.last_img

Surge Of Animals Puts Harris County Shelter In Critical Situation

first_img Share Harris County Animal Shelter.Dogs are housed at the Harris County Animal Shelter, which is currently severely overcrowded.The Harris County Animal Shelter is currently housing more than double the animals it has capacity for and is asking for help from residents that could adopt or foster. Shelter officials are concerned about the possibility of having to euthanize a significant number of animals.As of Tuesday, the shelter was housing 510 animals, mostly dogs, while its maximum capacity is supposed to be 200, spokesperson Kerry McKeel told News 88.7.“We don’t have the ability to hold animals indefinitely and space is a concern,” said McKeel. “We are putting animals everywhere we can right now.”The shelter is located at 612 Canino Road, 10 miles north of downtown Houston.McKeel noted that “at the beginning of May, spring time, is when we really started to see an uptick in the number of animals coming in.” She said summer is traditionally the busiest intake season at the shelter and added the limited medical staff makes it difficult to properly care for the large numbers of animals coming in. Over the past week, a high number of strays combined with owners surrendering their pets resulted in the critical overcrowding.Harris County officials say the shelter has managed to maintain a 90 percent life-saving rate since January. They have accomplished the high rate through adoptions, fostering, help from animal rescue groups and even by transferring some animals to other states with lower intakes. “Although we are doing all these things, we are still drowning right now in the numbers that are coming in,” McKeel said. She said the option of transferring animals within the Houston area isn’t practical because “in the immediate Houston area we are all facing the same issues, we are all struggling with the number of intakes of animals.”The shelter is looking for foster homes as an alternative, because that frees up space, medical care and supplies. “Even two to three weeks can give us the breathing room that we need to be able to save more lives,” McKeel said. The current shelter has been open since 1986 and McKeel said the facility has become “antiquated.”A new county shelter is scheduled to open by Spring 2020. The new facility will double the current capacity, give dogs and cats more space, and have separate entrances for adoptions, admissions and the medical area.Voters approved the construction in a $24 million bond election in 2015.last_img read more