Hot Spots


"It is not the time to surrender to the terrorists," says Press Secretary Scott McClellan. The spokesman was reacting to the about-face by Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania, one of Congress’ most hawkish and influential Democrats. He told colleagues that U-S troops have done all they can in Iraq, and "it’s time to bring them home."

McClellan replied that Murtha seems to have endorsed the views of anti-war filmmaker "Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party."

But who is Murtha actually?

Here are Some key facts about Murtha, 73, who has represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1974:

Murtha rose through the ranks of the Marine Corps from private to colonel. He left college in 1952 to join the Marines and serve in the Korean War. He later attended Officer Candidate School and, after retiring to the part-time Marine Reserves and attending the University of Pittsburgh on the G.I. Bill, volunteered for service in Vietnam War and won a Bronze Star medal for valor. He retired from Marine Reserve as a colonel in 1990.

Known as a hawk on defense issues, Murtha’s knowledge and support of the military have made him a trusted adviser for both Republican and Democratic presidents for decades. The senior Democrat on the influential defense subcommittee of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, Murtha voted with the congressional majority to give President George W. Bush authorization to go to war in Iraq. But he lashed out at the administration on Thursday for suggesting that those who questioned handling of the war were giving hope to insurgents.

UFO NSA business

Created in November 1952, the National Security Agency/Central Security Service is America’s cryptologic organization. It coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to protect U.S. government information systems and churns out foreign signals intelligence information.

Being a high-tech organization, the NSA is a cutting-edge home for communications and data processing. It is also a center for foreign language analysis and research within the government. However, for some people it is hard to understand how a super-secret agency like the NSA became caught up in the UFO phenomenon.

A document has surfaced that had been stamped “Top Secret Umbra”–”the codeword for the highest, most sensitive category of communications intelligence. The once-classified affidavit was originally filed by the National Security Agency (NSA) in a 1980 lawsuit to justify the withholding of records on UFOs. Although the document is declassified, certain sections have been cut out, ostensibly to protect employee names, and keep NSA technologies, skills, and foreign connections out of the limelight.

The document–”In Camera Affidavit of Eugene F. Yeates: Citizens Against UFO Secrecy v. National Security Agency, October 9, 1980–”was released in redacted form on November 3 in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from researcher Michael Ravnitzky and posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists.

Thus, it is not without reason that some UFO fans ask, “If the government has nothing to hide, then why is it keeping so many UFO records under lock and key?”

To read the document, click this link:

FBI and Privacy

To help the U.S. government track suspected terrorists and spies who may be visiting or residing in the country, the FBI and the Defense Department for the past three years have been paying a Georgia-based company for access to its vast databases that contain billions of personal records about nearly every person — citizens and noncitizens alike — in the United States.

According to federal documents obtained by National Journal and Government Executive, among the services that ChoicePoint provides to the government is access to a previously undisclosed, and vaguely described, "exclusive" data-searching system. This system in effect gives law enforcement and intelligence agents the ability to use the private data broker to do something that they legally can’t — keep tabs on nearly every American citizen and foreigner in the United States.

ChoicePoint is famous for being the largest and most sophisticated aggregator of public records on U.S. citizens and residents. The company has built an enormous electronic cache of more than 19 billion records — all of which are legally obtained — that it mines to locate criminals and suspects, their family members and known associates, and their hidden financial assets.

FBI officials have stated publicly that they don’t use ChoicePoint for "fishing expeditions," that they tap its services only in the course of an official investigation. But the threshold for what constitutes a "subject of interest" is unclear. Fbi spokesman says, “ChoicePoint is "a commercial database, and we purchase a lot of different commercial databases…. They have collated information that we legitimately have the authority to obtain."

Yet, according to Steven Aftergood, who directs the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, it is always hard to monitor what private contractors do in the intelligence field.

NSA / Fraud and censure

The National Security Agency has been blocking the release of an article by one of its historians that says intelligence officers falsified documents about a disputed attack that was used to escalate the Vietnam War, according to a researcher who has requested the article.

Matthew Aid, who asked for the article under the Freedom of Information Act last year, said it appears that officers at the NSA made honest mistakes in translating interceptions involving the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident. That was a reported North Vietnamese attack on American destroyers that helped lead to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s escalation of US involvement in Vietnam.

Rather than correct the mistakes, the 2001 article in the NSA’s classified Cryptologic Quarterly says, midlevel officials decided to falsify documents to cover up the errors, according to Aid, who is working on a history of the agency and has talked to a number of current and former government officials about this chapter of American history.

Spy Agencies’ budget

The amount of money the United States spends on its spy agencies has long been secret. The U.S. government has repeatedly gone to court to keep the current intelligence budget and even past budgets as far back as the 1940’s from being disclosed.

That is why a top American intelligence official, Mary Margaret Graham, a 27-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency and now the deputy director of national intelligence, made the event early in this month (November 2005) when, to the surprise of the journalists, she revealed at a public conference in San Antonio, that the annual intelligence budget is $44 billion.


Sen. Richard Burr’s cure for infectious-disease outbreaks and dangerous bioterrorism agents includes a big dose of government secrecy.

The North Carolina Republican has introduced legislation to create the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency, a new bureaucracy that would help spur research and development of drugs and vaccines to blunt the impact of a pandemic or bioterrorist attack. The agency, to be part of the Department of Health and Human Services, would get something no other agency has: a full exemption from the Freedom of Information Act.

Rendon: the man who made the Iraqi National Congress

"The Iraqi National Congress, and its most famous spokesperson Ahmad Chalabi, are entirely the creation of a media strategy company (Rendon Group) doing the bidding of the United States government" , according to some american sources.

The Rendon Group is a secretive public relations firm that has assisted a number of U.S. military interventions in nations including Argentina, Colombia, Haiti, Iraq, Kosovo, Panama and Zimbabwe. Rendon’s activities include organizing the Iraqi National Congress, a PR front group designed to foment the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. In a 1998 speech to the National Security Conference (NSC), company founder John Rendon described himself as "an information warrior, and a perception manager. "Through its network of international offices and strategic alliances," the Rendon Group website boasted in 2002, "the company has provided communications services to clients in more than 78 countries, and maintains contact with government officials, decision-makers, and news media around the globe.

Rendon is a man who fills a need that few people even know exists. Right after 9/11 terrorist attacks, The Rendon Group got a $100,000-a-month contract from the Pentagon.

In October 2001, the Pentagon had secretly awarded him a $16 million contract to target Iraq and other adversaries with propaganda, according to our sources. One of the most powerful people in Washington, Rendon is a leader in the strategic field known as "perception management," manipulating information — and, by extension, the news media — to achieve the desired result.

His firm, the Rendon Group, has made millions off government contracts since 1991, when it was hired by the CIA to help "create the conditions for the removal of Hussein from power."

Working under this extraordinary transfer of secret authority, Rendon assembled a group of anti-Saddam militants, personally gave them their name — the Iraqi National Congress — and served as their media guru and "senior adviser" as they set out to engineer the uprising against Saddam.

Rendon has at least five current contracts with the Defense Department, according to the newly obtained records. A full list of the contracts, provided to Judicial Watch, totals about $45million. The work began in 2000 and continues, the contracts show. They include work, supervised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the Air Force, Army, Navy and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Most recently, Rendon was awarded a $6.4 million contract in September to track media coverage in Iraq. Rendon also won a $1.4 million contract in 2004 to advise the staff of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and a $3.9 million contract to work on a counternarcotics campaign in the Afghan Interior Ministry.

Monitoring al Jazeerah

An Oct. 3, 2001, contract for $16.7 million describes Rendon’s initial work as testing public opinion and "media mapping"–tracking and analyzing news reports in such places as Cairo; Istanbul; Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Islamabad, Pakistan; and Jakarta, Indonesia.

The contract called for Rendon to track "the location and use of Al Jazeera news bureaus, reporters and stringers, both regionally and globally. The . . . effort will provide a detailed content analysis of the station’s daily broadcast. The Rendon Group will also chart event-related regional media coverage to identify the biases of specific journalists and potentially obtain an understanding of their allegiances."