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NSA Metadata Spying Used to Pick Target for FBI Entrapment Scheme Matthew Aaron Llaneza of San Jose was first isolated by the NSA’s phone metadata analysis then snared in a terrorist plot planned, executed, and foiled by FBI agents, according to a top aide for California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Headlines after Mr. Llaneza’s arrest in February of this year included “FBI: Calif. ex-con tried to bomb bank to start civil war” (USA Today), “California man with Taliban sympathies was trying to start ‘civil war’ in U.S. by blowing up Bank of America branch” (NY Daily News), and “FBI thwarts Oakland bank bombing” (SF Gate). While such articles noted at the time that FBI agents had posed as a Taliban member and created a fake bomb for Mr. Llaneza to attempt to detonate, the role of the NSA’s then Top Secret phone data collection and analysis in isolating and choosing a FBI-foils-it’s-own-plot target could not be included in reporting. On Thursday morning, after the Guardian published a secret court order for Verizon to pass phone metadata to the NSA through the FBI, a correspondent for YourAnonNews spoke with Mike Buchwald, Ms. Feinstein’s aide for matters pertaining to the Senate intelligence committee. Mr. Buchwald insisted that the Senator Feinstein would continue to support secret and comprehensive surveillance programs because they have been responsible for stopping “several” terrorist plots. When asked if he could point to a specific act of terrorism prevented by the NSA’s analysis of massive amounts of data, Mr. Buchwald pointed to “a bombing of a Bank of America in Northern California” during this year. Mr. Buchwald acknowledged that the plot had been planned and implemented by FBI agents and specifically stated that Mr. Llaneza’s propensity to terrorism had been discovered by the NSA’s domestic phone data spying system. As no foreign citizens are known to have been involved with Mr. Buchwald’s initial plan or in the FBI entrapment scheme, Senator Feinstein’s office appears to disagree with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s insistence yesterday that “collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act … cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.” The program in question has been rumoured for several years but was finally confirmed by the Guardian’s reporting on a secret court order specifically for Verizon. Yesterday, Verizon’s Chief Counsel Randy Milch sent a notice to employees insisting that they “Verizon continually take steps to safeguard its customers’ privacy” but that they “would be required to comply” with such court orders were they to exist. YourAnonNews reached Mr. Milch by text message yesterday and attempted to do so again this morning to ask whether Verizon has ever exercised it’s right to attempt to appeal such a ruling to the US Supreme Court. While Mr. Milch responded three times to our texts, he would not answer questions about a possible Supreme Court appeal even after it was pointed out that the program is now declassified. Instead, Mr. Milch referred us to Peter Thonis in Verizon’s communications department. Mr. Thonis has not responded to our emails or phone messages, nor have two other communications staff to whom we have been referred upon numerous attempts to contact anyone at all who is authorized to speak for Verizon. YourAnonymousNews also attempted to contact Jerome Matthews, Mr. Llaneza’s Federal Public Defender in Oakland, to determine whether the NSA’s role in targeting his client have been included in case disclosure. As of this writing, those messages are also unreturned. A woman in the Public Defender’s office stated that only Mr. Matthews could answer questions surrounding the case. In March, Mr. Llaneza plead not guilty to the charges against him. Mr. Matthews suggested at the time that Mr. Llaneza may have “significant mental illness.”

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