Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 7 Num. 04

("Quid coniuratio est?")


Thanks to an east coast source whom I will call "Mr. Mercedes", I have received an audio tape of Jim Norman's recent appearance on New York radio station WBAI, marked on the cassette as having been January 10, 1996.

[...continued from CN 7.03...]

Here are further excerpts from the program:

...How is it exactly -- I remember when I heard this story first and I was talking to somebody about it and they said, "Well how can they possibly get into these bank accounts?"

O.K. Mr. Norman, how do you get into another person's bank account?

Let me begin by saying that bank computer systems are nowhere near as secure as the banks would like you to believe... Granted, there are many security features built into bank communications and software systems. But in most large software systems there are what you call "service entrances" or "back doors" by which software maintenance people would get in routinely to fix "bugs" and so forth. If you take that concept, and then consider the idea that our intelligence agencies, which have an extremely high-priority collection of financial information, would somehow or other see to it that they have perhaps their own "back doors" plugged into these various bank data systems...

That's how I got onto the story, actually, was the proliferation of a customized version of what was called the PROMIS software. This was, it was designed for tracking legal cases, originally, [then] customized for use in tracking wire transfers, sold and promulgated around most of the world's banking system, had "back doors" in it that would allow -- if you knew where the "back door" was, it would allow you to basically dial into a computer system and not leave an audit trail: go in, snoop around, pull down information, and then leave.

I think the key thing, at least from my point of view, is that we're not dealing with high school "hackers" who, by trial and error, and guile, try to get into somebody's bank account. We're talking about former intelligence agents.

Right. But let me point this out: a couple of months ago, Citibank, there were published stories about how a "hacker" in Russia, armed with no more than a personal computer, apparently had got into Citibank accounts and was doing, essentially, exactly the same thing. He was wire-transferring money out of corporate accounts... to banks in Argentina and Finland -- always in small amounts so that it would not set off the internal alarm system... What I am told is that somehow or other, this guy got hold of the "back door" address at Citibank and was able to use it.

Mr. Norman, outside of WBAI, has word of this gone out?

Actually, this story has become a classic case study in "guerrilla journalism". Because I think it's too hot for any mainstream media to deal with. I mean, it's just loaded with too many problems: first of all, it deals with a lot of background, "deep throat" kind of sources; the attribution, the documents are kind of non-existent at this point -- although I think they'll eventually come out. And you're dealing with a lot of big names and nobody really wants to rock the boat in a big-deal publication.

Media Bypass, this little magazine in Indiana, they came to me and asked me if they could run the story, because they had heard that Forbes [magazine] wouldn't run it; that the Wall Street Journal and New York Times and everybody else I'd talked to about it was scared of it. They [Media Bypass] managed to corroborate a key element of it themselves. One of their investigative reporters knew a guy who used to train IRS agents, who was talking with one of his former students who was assigned to surveil Vince Foster at the time he died. And the guy actually read him some of the surveillance report, off the computer screen, over the telephone.

And it's not that big of a secret, apparently, within the intelligence community. There was a massive counter- intelligence effort going on regarding Foster. It apparently began just after the '92 election, but before the inauguration in January '93. And for about the 6 months until he died, Foster was under pretty intense surveillance.

There's a French intelligence newsletter which has also corroborated the fact that Foster was under counter-intelligence surveillance at the time he died. There's, Sarah McClendon has written about it. (She's an old "war horse" Washington correspondent.)

But the story is just too... It's like the media cannot deal with this. And ultimately I think the media will be on trial as much as the government for not dealing with this story. Instead, we've got Media Bypass, we've got talk radio... And the Internet has actually become a rather successful outlet for this stuff. And in fact, it's amazing: it has brought a whole bunch of other people out of the woodwork, talking about this, including a lot of very literate computer people, financial people.

And I know, particularly, a former Wharton finance professor, Orlin Grabbe, who has posted a series of his own rather revealing exposes' on this stuff. [CN -- Archived at ftp pub/users/bigred/og] He, after leaving Wharton, started his own software company, making software for pricing derivatives. And the intelligence community came to him! And said, "Hey. Can we use your company to help spy on brokerage houses and banks too? We want some way to insinuate our people into these computer rooms." That's what sent him up the wall. He said, "Holy smokes, we're dealin' with the Surveillance State here." And I think he became a renegade ever since.

Particularly, I think he's also angry about the government's tirade here on money laundering: it's used, basically, as a tax raising measure. I mean, they want to go after every little guy for any kind of cash transaction. But we have, you know, what is so outrageous about this is, you have a two-tier system: you have rampant money laundering, drug dealing and kickbacks for the privileged elite; and you have the government's boot on the neck of everybody else.

So there's significant grass-roots rage brewing over all this stuff, and it's gonna find an outlet somehow or other -- even if it's just WBAI, you and me!

O.K. Well, let's hope it gets beyond WBAI.

It's obvious that Iran-Contra never stopped. But my question is, driving along the interstate I noticed that "Next Six Exits, the NSA." Who are the people at the top of the NSA? Who runs the NSA? Who are they, where do they come from, and how far-reaching is their power?

That's a good question. You call up Washington and they say, "NSA? 'No Such Agency.'" That's their nickname.

It's a huge bureaucracy. It's based at Fort Meade, Maryland. Their budget is bigger than the CIA and the FBI combined. Their job was originally signal surveillance.

Do we know who the people are, though?

When you look it up... I tried to find out, actually, "Who runs the NSA?" They have a list in this two-inch-thick book on federal offices I've got. They merit about a two-inch thing that only has about six names associated with it. And I forget the top guy's name there. I think he's an Admiral who's on assignment to the NSA.

[ be continued...]

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