Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #765 The Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook, Part 10: Shearing the Piglet (“They’re Shocked, Shocked!”)


Inspector Renault (Claude Rains)

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

Listen: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

NB: This description contains information not contained in the original broadcast.

Introduction: This program highlights the stunning hypocrisy of European critics of the NSA. Echoing Claude Rains’ character Louis Reynaud from the film Casablanca they are “shocked, shocked”! As it turns out, the critics are as hypocritical as Reynaud, who’s surprise and outrage at the fact that there was gambling going on in Rick’s Cafe was tempered by the croupier’s rendering of his own winnings to him.

We note that many of the critics used the exact verbiage–“shocked” in response to the Snowden material.

Former French spymaster Bernard Squarcini laid it on the line, when he noted that not only do the French intelligence services do the same thing, but it was common knowledge that ALL major powers (and some minor ones) do the same thing. Squarcini skewered the critics on their hypocrisy and expressed “shock” of his own that the politicians didn’t seem to read the reports they were given.

In addition to the French intelligence service, the BND–Germany’s foreign intelligence service and the successor to the Reinhard Gehlen spy outfit–does exactly the same thing.

Like the French service, the BND is actually accelerating its internet and electronic surveillance capabilities.

Revealing the EU’s extreme hypocrisy is the disclosure that that body is going to form its own military intelligence unit to do exactly the same things as the NSA, in response to European “shock” over the Snowden material.

We conclude with a story that has profound implications.

In FTR #761, we noted that Ernst Uhlrau had an interesting curriculum vitae. Chief of the Hamburg police during a period in which German intelligence had members of the Hamburg cell of 9/11 hijackers under surveillance, Uhrlau was appointed special adviser to the Chancellor on intelligence matters in 1998. He became head of the BND in 2005.

During Uhrlau’s tenure as BND director, files on BND officials with SS and Gestapo backgrounds were shredded. Note that the individuals whose files were destroyed were BND executives, not field agents, and that they has held “sig­nif­i­cant intel­li­gence posi­tions in the SS, the SD (the intel­li­gence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party) or the Gestapo.”

According to Der Spiegel, BND officers were recruited from the families of BND operatives, permitting a perpetuation of Nazi ideology and methodology from the original Gehlen SS and Gestapo recruits!

A very important update is included in this description. It was not in the original broadcast. A revealing article in Der Spiegel notes two critical details: the very same Angela Merkel who is “shocked, shocked” at what the NSA is doing has not only put roadblocks in European data privacy rules to guard against unwarranted government surveillance but is actively seeking admittance to the “Five Eyes” club, which dates to World War II! Neither Merkel, nor Germany, nor the Underground Reich is “shocked, shocked” at all! They want IN!

Pray tell, if it’s wrong when they are NOT included, why is it “right” when they are, hmmmm?

Program Highlights Include:

  • Review of material covered years ago on For The Record. The program notes that the information about NSA and GCHQ hoovering up electronic communications is not new. (Mr. Emory has been discussing this for years, referencing the analysis from open sources.)New York Times article from 9/6/2001 highlights a European Parliament report that was compiled over the course of a year. The report notes, among other things, that several European countries were doing similar things.
  • A former French Foreign Minister said he was “shocked,” but then went on to admit that all countries did this and confessed to jealousy over the extent of the NSA surveillance. A British diplomat notes that telephonic communications are assumed by the diplomatic community to be monitored. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright relates the French ambassador querying her about the nature of a private communication, apparently intercepted by French intelligence.
  • A Financial Times story notes that Europe’s electronic surveillance capability is formidable and more than comparable to the NSA. Note that James Clapper testified that electronic surveillance given to other countries for surveillance of terrorists was being used against the United States.
  • Citizen [Glenn] Greenwald has also misrepresented alleged NSA hoovering-up of communications of Norwegian citizens. The head of Norwegian intelligence has contradicted Greenwald, indicating that it was Norwegian operatives who gleaned the information.
  • Not only is the BND involved with doing the same thing as NSA, they partner with NSA on some of the programs inside Germany. The German outrage is, as an observer noted, “feigned.”
  • Ironically, in the dust-up following disclosure of NSA spying on European Union offices, it was revealed that the phone system that was tapped was run by Siemens. Siemens is inextricably linked with German intelligence which can be safely assumed to have been tapping the calls as well.
  • BND has utilized Deutsche Telekom to conduct the same type of surveillance in which the NSA engages. Deutsche Telekom is the parent company of T-Mobile and recently acquired Metro PCS. It is a safe bet that Americans using either T-Mobile or Metro PCS are being spied on by BND. (Deutsche Telekom is controlled by the German government.)
  • The BKA (German equivalent of the FBI) is using the FinFisher spyware touched on in the Financial Times story above.
  • UPDATE: Merkel has proposed an EU-wide communications network in response to NSA spying, as Germany is ramping up its own spying on U.S. and British targets.

1a. Beginning with review of material covered years ago on For The Record, the program notes that the information about NSA and GCHQ hoovering up electronic communications is not new. (Mr. Emory has been discussing this for years, referencing the analysis from open sources.) A New York Times article from 9/6/2001 highlights a European Parliament report that was compiled over the course of a year. The report notes, among other things, that several European countries were doing similar things.

“World Brief­ing | Europe: Report On U.S. Spy Sys­tem” by Suzanne Daley; The New York Times; 9/6/2001.

[Notice when this was published–9/6/2001.–D.E.] . . . The United States-led spy­ing sys­tem known as Ech­e­lon can mon­i­tor vir­tu­ally every com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the world — by e-mail, phone or fax — that bounces off a satel­lite, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment was told. But in report­ing on a year­long study of the sys­tem that was prompted by con­cern that Amer­i­can com­pa­nies were using data from the sys­tem to gain a com­pet­i­tive edge, Ger­hard Schmid, a Ger­man mem­ber of the Par­lia­ment, said that many Euro­pean coun­tries had sim­i­lar abil­i­ties . . .

1b. Russian president Vladimir Putin summed up the nature of the public disclosures of Snowden.

“Putin Defends Snowden’s Stopover, Rejects U.S. ‘Drivel’” by Anton Doroshev, Nicole Gaouette & Nathan Gill;  bloomberg.com; 6/25/2013. 

. . . .“Personally I’d prefer to keep out of such questions,” he said. “It’s like shearing a piglet: all squealing and no wool.” . . . .

1c. Former French Spymaster Bernard Squarcini noted the fact that all countries, including France, engage in the same kind of activity that NSA does. He found it remarkable that officials could react with the feigned astonishment that they displayed.

“Paris Also Snoops on US, Says ex-French Spy Boss by Tony Todd; France24; 10/24/2013.
Spy­ing on allies is all in a day’s work, the for­mer head of France’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency (pic­tured) said on Thurs­day, fol­low­ing reports that the US National Secu­rity Agency recorded mil­lions of French phone calls.
France spies on the US just as the US spies on France, the for­mer head of France’s counter-espionage and counter-terrorism agency said Fri­day, com­ment­ing on reports that the US National Secu­rity Agency (NSA) recorded mil­lions of French tele­phone calls.

Bernard Squarcini, head of the Direc­tion Cen­trale du Ren­seigne­ment Intérieur (DCRI) intel­li­gence ser­vice until last year, told French daily Le Figaro he was “aston­ished” when Prime Min­is­ter Jean-Marc Ayrault said he was “deeply shocked” by the claims.

“I am amazed by such dis­con­cert­ing naiveté,” he said in the inter­view. “You’d almost think our politi­cians don’t bother to read the reports they get from the intel­li­gence services.”

On Mon­day, French daily Le Monde pub­lished a story based on leaks from NSA whistle­blower Edward Snow­den, alleg­ing that the NSA had recorded 70 mil­lion phone calls in France in a 30-day period from Decem­ber 10 to Jan­u­ary 8 this year.

‘Deep dis­ap­proval’

The fol­low­ing day French Pres­i­dent Franços Hol­lande called his US coun­ter­part Barack Obama to express “deep dis­ap­proval of these prac­tices, which are unac­cept­able between friends and allies because they infringe on the pri­vacy of French citizens”.

But for Squarcini, who was ques­tioned in 2011 over sur­veil­lance of jour­nal­ists inves­ti­gat­ing alleged ille­gal cam­paign fund­ing for for­mer pres­i­dent Nico­las Sarkozy, spy­ing on allies is all in a day’s work.

“The French intel­li­gence ser­vices know full well that all coun­tries, whether or not they are allies in the fight against ter­ror­ism, spy on each other all the time,” he said.

“The Amer­i­cans spy on French com­mer­cial and indus­trial inter­ests, and we do the same to them because it’s in the national inter­est to pro­tect our companies.”

“There was noth­ing of any real sur­prise in this report,” he added. “No one is fooled.” . . . .

2a. Le Monde reported on the French spying program cited above:

“France ‘Has Vast Data Sur­veil­lance’ — Le Monde Report”; BBC; 7/4/2013.

France’s for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vice inter­cepts com­puter and tele­phone data on a vast scale, like the con­tro­ver­sial US Prism pro­gramme, accord­ing to the French daily Le Monde.

The data is stored on a super­com­puter at the head­quar­ters of the DGSE intel­li­gence ser­vice, the paper says.

The oper­a­tion is “out­side the law, and beyond any proper super­vi­sion”, Le Monde says.

Other French intel­li­gence agen­cies allegedly access the data secretly.

It is not clear how­ever whether the DGSE sur­veil­lance goes as far as Prism. So far French offi­cials have not com­mented on Le Monde’s alle­ga­tions.

The DGSE allegedly analy­ses the “meta­data” — not the con­tents of e-mails and other com­mu­ni­ca­tions, but the data reveal­ing who is speak­ing to whom, when and where.

Con­nec­tions inside France and between France and other coun­tries are all mon­i­tored, Le Monde reports.

The paper alleges the data is being stored on three base­ment floors of the DGSE build­ing in Paris. The secret ser­vice is the French equiv­a­lent of Britain’s MI6. . . .

The oper­a­tion is designed, say experts, to uncover ter­ror­ist cells. But the scale of it means that “any­one can be spied on, any time”, Le Monde says. . . .

2b. A story that broke the day the program was recorded and is not in the original broadcast informs us that France is expanding its surveillance effort, without substantive oversight!

“France Broadens Its Surveillance Power” by Scott Sayare; The New York Times; 12/15/2013.

For all their indignation last summer, when the scope of the United States’ mass data collection began to be made public, the French are hardly innocents in the realm of electronic surveillance. Within days of the reports about the National Security Agency’s activities, it was revealed that French intelligence services operated a similar system, with similarly minimal oversight.

And last week, with little public debate, the legislature approved a law that critics feared would markedly expand electronic surveillance of French residents and businesses.

The provision, quietly passed as part of a routine military spending bill, defines the conditions under which intelligence agencies may gain access to, or record telephone conversations, e-mails, Internet activity, personal location data and other electronic communications.

The law provides for no judicial oversight and allows electronic surveillance for a broad range of purposes, including “national security,” the protection of France’s “scientific and economic potential” and prevention of “terrorism” or “criminality.” . . . .

2c. A former French Foreign Minister said he was “shocked,” but then went on to admit that all countries did this and confessed to jealousy over the extent of the NSA surveillance. A British diplomat notes that telephonic communications are assumed by the diplomatic community to be monitored.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright relates the French ambassador querying her about the nature of a private communication, apparently intercepted by French intelligence.

“NSA Spying Threatens to Hamper US Foreign Policy” by Deb Riechmann; Associated Press; 10/26/2011.

. . . . “The magnitude of the eavesdropping is what shocked us,” former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a radio interview. “Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop too. Everyone is listening to everyone else. But we don’t have the same means as the United States, which makes us jealous.”

So where in the world isn’t the NSA? That’s one big question raised by the disclosures. Whether the tapping of allies is a step too far might be moot.

The British ambassador to Lebanon, Tom Fletcher, tweeted this past week: “I work on assumption that 6+ countries tap my phone. Increasingly rare that diplomats say anything sensitive on calls.” . . . .

. . . . Madeleine Albright, secretary of state during the Clinton administration, recalled being at the United Nations and having the French ambassador ask her why she said something in a private conversation apparently intercepted by the French. . . .

3. Europe’s electronic surveillance capability is formidable and more than comparable to the NSA. Note that James Clapper testified that electronic surveillance given to other countries for surveillance of terrorists was being used against the United States.

 “Europe’s Spy­ing Busi­nesses Thrive Amid Sur­veil­lance Uproar” by Chris Bryant;  Finan­cial Times; 7/1/2013.

Europe’s politi­cians are out­raged about alleged US mon­i­tor­ing of EU tele­phone and com­puter com­mu­ni­ca­tions. But when it comes to build­ing and export­ing spy equip­ment, few are as capa­ble as Europe.

That much was evi­dent last month when the world’s lead­ing sell­ers of elec­tronic sur­veil­lance tech­nol­ogy gath­ered in Prague at the ISS World trade show.

Police and spy agency offi­cials lis­tened to closed-door pre­sen­ta­tions by a suc­ces­sion of Euro­pean com­pa­nies about their highly sophis­ti­cated inter­net and tele­phone com­mu­ni­ca­tion inter­cep­tion wares.

Hack­ing Team, a Milan-based maker of eaves­drop­ping soft­ware, demon­strated in Prague its remotely con­trolled spy­ware that can tap encrypted com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Skype calls and instant mes­sen­ger chats. The sys­tem also has audio and video capa­bil­ity, which allows police to spy using the target’s own webcam.

Munich-based Tro­vi­cor schooled agents on its “cell-based mon­i­tor­ing solu­tion” to han­dle mass record­ings while Gamma Inter­na­tional, a UK-German com­pany, demon­strated its con­tro­ver­sial “Fin­Fisher” spy­ware tool for remotely mon­i­tor­ing mobile phone communications.

At a time when Euro­pean coun­tries are loudly con­demn­ing the US and UK’s spy­ing activ­i­ties, Europe’s spy tech­nol­ogy exper­tise is a poten­tial source of embarrassment.

Pri­vacy activists and politi­cians fear that, if left unreg­u­lated, sales of Euro­pean sur­veil­lance tech­nol­ogy could infringe human rights over­seas, as well as dam­ag­ing the cyber secu­rity of peo­ple in Europe. . . .

. . . .This means that more than 50 per cent of the almost $6bn a year mar­ket for off-the-shelf sur­veil­lance equip­ment – the kind favoured by nearly all gov­ern­ments except the US – is con­trolled by west­ern Euro­pean com­pa­nies, accord­ing to Mr Lucas. . . .

. . . . In fact, it was James Clap­per, US direc­tor of national intel­li­gence, who told the US Sen­ate in March that for­eign gov­ern­ments had begun using sur­veil­lance tech­nolo­gies orig­i­nally mar­keted for “law­ful inter­cep­tion” to tar­get US systems. . . .

4.  Citizen [Glenn] Greenwald has also misrepresented alleged NSA hoovering-up of communications of Norwegian citizens. The head of Norwegian intelligence has contradicted Greenwald, indicating that it was Norwegian operatives who gleaned the information.

“Norway’s Intel Chief Exposes Yet Another Greenwald Distortion” by Charles Johnson; Little Green Footballs; 11/19/2013.

Glenn Greenwald’s latest story extracted from the NSA documents stolen by Edward Snowden is yet another example of how he distorts the information to smear the US — every time.

His article for Dagbladet claims that the NSA spied on “33 million” Norwegian telephone calls, but Norway’s chief of military intelligence says the claim is totally false. In fact, the telephone metadata discussed in Greenwald’s story was collected by Norwegian intelligence and shared with the NSA — and it was not even collected in Norway.

OSLO, Norway — Norway’s military intelligence chief said Tuesday his country carries out surveillance on millions of phone calls in conflict areas around the world and shares that data with allies, including the United States.

Lt. Gen. Kjell Grandhagen made the statement at a hastily organized news conference called in response to a story in the tabloid Dagbladet, which reported that 33 million Norwegian phone calls had been monitored by the U.S. National Security Agency.

Grandhagen vigorously denied the story.

We had to correct that picture because we know that this in fact is not about surveillance in Norway or against Norway, but it is about the Norwegian intelligence effort abroad,” he told The Associated Press.

He stressed that his agency’s actions were legal under Norwegian law since the surveillance was based on suspicions of terrorism-related activity and that potential targets could include Norwegian citizens abroad.

Grandhagen said his intelligence agency had “absolutely no indication” that the NSA was spying on Norwegians.

Not only has Greenwald been shown — again — to be distorting and exaggerating the facts, this also strongly refutes his claim that there’s something uniquely evil about USA intelligence activities. Even Norway has a mass metadata collection program going on. If anything is clear by now from all this, it’s that every country in the world that has the capability to do this kind of surveillance is doing it. And they’re doing it to protect their citizens from terrorism, not for some nefarious evil privacy-destroying agenda.

5. Not only is the BND involved with doing the same thing as NSA, they partner with NSA on some of the programs inside Germany. The German outrage is, as an observer noted “feigned.”

Allied Services (I); german-foreign-policy.com; 7/2/2013. 

. . . . From the very beginning, the claims by the government and the BND of having had no idea about these NSA activities have only provoked a bored smile from specialists. “Experts have known that for a long time,” insists BND expert, Erich Schmidt-Eenboom. “The German government must long since have also known about it through BND evaluations and Studies by the Federal Office of Information Security (BSI).” The “uproar” in Berlin is, “feigned, in this question.”[2] . . .

. . . . He [historian Joseph Foschepoth] has found that in 1968, Bonn concluded a secret administrative agreement, which, based on agreements of the 1950s, had obligated the German government “to carry out surveillance of post and telecommunication for the Western victorious powers, or to allow them to carry out this surveillance themselves.” According to Foschepoth, this administrative agreement “remains unaltered in force, today.” This provides the legal basis for US military intelligence agencies to autonomously execute “surveillance of the post and telecommunication traffic” in Germany.[10] . . .

6. Ironically, in the dust-up following disclosure of NSA spying on European Union offices, it was revealed that the phone system that was tapped was run by Siemens. Siemens is inextricably linked with German intelligence which can be safely assumed to have been tapping the calls as well.

“Attacks from Amer­ica: NSA Spied on Euro­pean Union Offices” by Laura Poitras, Mar­cel Rosen­bach, Fidelius Schmid and Hol­ger Stark; Der Spiegel; 6/29/2013.

. . . A little over five years ago, security experts discovered that a number of odd, aborted phone calls had been made around a certain extension within the Justus Lipsius building, the headquarters of the European Council, the powerful body representing the leaders of the EU’s 27 member states. The calls were all made to numbers close to the one used as the remote servicing line of the Siemens telephone system used in the building. . . .

7. BND has utilized Deutsche Telekom to conduct the same type of surveillance in which the NSA engages. Deutsche Telekom is the parent company of T-Mobile and recently acquired Metro PCS. It is a safe bet that Americans using either T-Mobile or Metro PCS are being spied on by BND. (Deutsche Telekom is controlled by the German government.)

“German Intelligence Scrubs Euroean Records after WikiLeaks Exposure” by WikiLeaks staff; wikileaks.org; 11/16/2008.

Between Friday night and Sunday morning, a massive deletion operation took place at the European Internet address register (RIPE) to scrub references to a cover used by Germany’s premier spy agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND.

The cleanup operation comes the night after Wikileaks revealed over two dozen covert BND networks provided by T-Systems (Deutsche Telekom). The IP addresses were assigned to an unregistered company at a Munich-based PO box linked to T-Systems.

T-Systems purged the RIPE database of all addresses exposed by Wikileaks, moving the addresses into a several giant anonymous “Class B” address pools.

The move comes just a few hours after T-Systems Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) contacted Wikileaks to demand removal of an internal T-Systems memo listing the BND cover addresses. Wikileaks refused and T-System did not respond to requests for further detail by the time of writing.

Yet an investigation into the addresses over the weekend reveals key information about the BND’s Internet activities. . . . .

Website references reveal that in 2006 numerous hosters of Internet websites complained about out of control “data mining” robots from two of the BND-linked IP addresses. One of the hosters ran a popular discussion forum on counter-terrorism operations.

The integrity and transparency of the RIPE system is not assisted by the T-Systems deletion. German citizens may wonder at the double standard. At a time when the population’s Internet addresses are being recorded by ISPs under laws derisively referred to as “Stasi 2.0”, the “real Stasi”—the BND, has had the largest telco in Germany scrub its addresses from the European record within 24 hours of their exposure.

8. A recent Guardian story takes stock of the fact that the BND–German foreign intelligence–is “as bad as the NSA.”

“German Intelligence Service Is as Bad as the NSA” by Kai Biermann; The Guardian; 10/4/2013.

In recent weeks there has been much criticism of the US National Security Agency. It spies on people indiscriminately – even the citizens of its European allies – goes the furious and clearly justified accusation. Politicians in Germany and the EU have repeatedly criticised the US. Yet it seems they themselves are sitting in a rather large glass house.

The German intelligence service – the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) – to name an example close to home, does exactly the same thing as the NSA abroad and it does so within a similar legal framework. “The differences between the BND and the NSA are much smaller than is generally accepted by the public,” write Stefan Heumann and Ben Scott in their study on the legal foundations of internet surveillance programmes in the US, the UK and Germany. . . .

. . . . Heumann works at the German thinktank Neue Verantwortung (New Responsibility), Scott was an adviser to the former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and is now a policy adviser at the Open Technology Institute, part of the New America Foundation thinktank. In their study, the analysts compared the legal foundations, focus and parliamentary oversight of spying programmes in three countries.

Their findings: the NSA runs the biggest spying programme and has the advantage that its targets – the internet providers – are mainly based in the US. Yet at its core the NSA’s surveillance is no different from that of the British GCHQ and the BND in Germany. The underlying laws have the same structure, write Heumann and Scott, even if “their interpretation can differ”.

Heumann and Scott are not the first to say this. The Berlin-based lawyer Niko Härting, for example, has compared the legal foundations for the work of the NSA and the BND. He also found that both agencies are essentially doing the same thing in that they consider everyone living outside their territory to be “without rights”. In short: intelligence services are allowed to spy on foreigners completely unimpeded. Härting points out that it is, after all, the job of foreign intelligence services to watch everybody else. . . . .

9. Like the French intelligence service, BND is expanding its internet surveillance capabilities.

“Ger­many to Spend Mil­lions to Expand Inter­net Sur­veil­lance — Report” by Uta Winkhaus; Europe Online Magazine; 6/16/2013.

Germany‘s main intel­li­gence agency plans to expand inter­net sur­veil­lance by launch­ing a five-year pro­gramme that will cost 100 mil­lion euros (133 mil­lion dol­lars), Der Spiegel mag­a­zine reported Sunday.

The report about the fed­eral intel­li­gence service‘s (BND) plans comes days after whistle­blower Edward Snow­den revealed details of top-secret US gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance pro­grammes that gath­ered vast tele­phone records and inter­net data.

With the addi­tional fund­ing, the BND will add 100 new employ­ees to its tech­ni­cal intel­li­gence depart­ment and bol­ster its com­put­ing and server capac­i­ties, the report said.

The gov­ern­ment has already released a first tranche of 5 mil­lion euros, accord­ing to Der Spiegel.

To fight ter­ror­ism and orga­nized crime, the BND is per­mit­ted by law to mon­i­tor 20 per cent of all com­mu­ni­ca­tions between Ger­many and for­eign nations. Until now, it only had the capac­ity to check on 5 per cent of traf­fic — emails, tele­phone calls, Face­book and Skype chats — because of tech­ni­cal issues.

With the new capa­bil­i­ties, the BND wants to ensure that cross-border traf­fic can be mon­i­tored as com­pre­hen­sively as pos­si­ble, just as is done in the United States by the National Secu­rity Agency (NSA), which spe­cial­izes in elec­tronic intelligence. . . .

10. A story from the fall of 2011 notes that the BND is operating in violation of German law. (A tip of the hat to the Chaos Computer Club for their work on this one.)

“The World from Berlin: Elec­tronic Sur­veil­lance Scan­dal Hits Germany” by David Gor­don Smith and Kris­ten Allen;  Der Spiegel; 10/10/2011.

A Ger­man hacker orga­ni­za­tion claims to have cracked spy­ing soft­ware allegedly used by Ger­man author­i­ties. The Tro­jan horse has func­tions which go way beyond those allowed by Ger­man law. The news has sparked a wave of out­rage among politi­cians and media com­men­ta­tors.

It sounds like some­thing out of George Orwell’s novel “1984” — a com­puter pro­gram that can remotely con­trol someone’s com­puter with­out their knowl­edge, search its com­plete con­tents and use it to con­duct audio-visual sur­veil­lance via the micro­phone or webcam.

But the spy soft­ware that the famous Ger­man hacker orga­ni­za­tion Chaos Com­puter Club has obtained is not used by crim­i­nals look­ing to steal credit-card data or send spam e-mails. If the CCC is to be believed, the so-called “Tro­jan horse” soft­ware was used by Ger­man author­i­ties. The case has already trig­gered a polit­i­cal shock­wave in the coun­try and could have far-reaching con­se­quences.

On Sat­ur­day, the CCC announced that it had been given hard dri­ves con­tain­ing a “state spy­ing soft­ware” which had allegedly been used by Ger­man inves­ti­ga­tors to carry out sur­veil­lance of Inter­net com­mu­ni­ca­tion. The orga­ni­za­tion had ana­lyzed the soft­ware and found it to be full of defects. They also found that it trans­mit­ted infor­ma­tion via a server located in the US. As well as its sur­veil­lance func­tions, it could be used to plant files on an individual’s com­puter. It was also not suf­fi­ciently pro­tected, so that third par­ties with the nec­es­sary tech­ni­cal skills could hijack the Tro­jan horse’s func­tions for their own ends. The soft­ware pos­si­bly vio­lated Ger­man law, the orga­ni­za­tion said.

So-called Tro­jan horse soft­ware can be sur­rep­ti­tiously deliv­ered by a harmless-looking e-mail and installed on a user’s com­puter with­out their knowl­edge, where it can be used to, for exam­ple, scan the con­tents of a hard drive. In 2007, the Ger­man Inte­rior Min­istry announced it had designed a Tro­jan horse that could be used to search the hard dri­ves of ter­ror suspects.

Beyond the Limits

The hard dri­ves that the CCC ana­lyzed came from at least two dif­fer­ent Ger­man states. It was unclear whether the soft­ware, which is said to be at least three years old, had been used by state-level or national author­i­ties. In a Sun­day state­ment, the Inte­rior Min­istry denied that the soft­ware had been used by the Fed­eral Crim­i­nal Police Office (BKA), which is sim­i­lar to the Amer­i­can FBI. The state­ment did not explic­itly rule out the pos­si­bil­ity that the soft­ware could have been used by state-level police forces.

If the CCC’s claims are true, then the soft­ware has func­tions which were expressly for­bid­den by Germany’s high­est court, the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tional Court, in a land­mark 2008 rul­ing which sig­nif­i­cantly restricted what was allowed in terms of online sur­veil­lance. The court also spec­i­fied that online spy­ing was only per­mis­si­ble if there was con­crete evi­dence of dan­ger to indi­vid­u­als or society. . . .

11. The BKA (German equivalent of the FBI) is using the FinFisher spyware touched on in the Financial Times story above.

“Secret Government Document Reveals: German Federal Police Plans To Use Gamma FinFisher Spyware” by Andre Meister; Netzpolitik.org; 1/16/2013.

The German Federal Police office has purchased the commercial Spyware toolkit FinFisher of Elaman/Gamma Group. This is revealed by a secret document of the Ministry of the Interior, which we are publishing exclusively. Instead of legitimizing products used by authoritarian regimes for the violation of human rights, the German state should restrict the export of such state malware.

In October 2011, German hacker organization Chaos Computer Club (CCC) analyzed a malware used by German government authorities. The product of the German company DigiTask was not just programmed badly and lacking elementary security, it was in breach of German law. In a landmark case, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled in 2008 that surveillance software targeting telecommunications must be technologically limited to a specific task. Instead, the CCC found that the DigiTask software took over the entire computer and included the option to remotely add features, thereby clearly violating the court ruling.

Since then, many German authorities have stopped using DigiTask spyware and started to create their own state malware. For this task, a “Center of Competence for Information Technology Surveillance (CC ITÜ)” was established, sporting a three million Euro budget and a team of 30 people. Today, the Federal Ministry of the Interior is informing the Federal Parliament Bundestag about the center’s progress and work. Members of the Finance Committee of the German Parliament are receiving a classified document, that we are now publishing. . . .

12. Next, we visit a VERY revealing story. In response to the Snowden material, the EU is so “shocked, shocked” that its leaders have resolved to create their own military intelligence capability to do EXACTLY what they are criticizing. This presumably is in addition to the fact that European intelligence agencies already to the same thing for which NSA is being criticized.

Critics

“EU Planning to ‘Own and Operate’ Spy Drones and an Air Force” by Bruno Waterfield; The Telegraph [UK]; 7/26/2013.

The European Union is planning to “own and operate” spy drones, surveillance satellites and aircraft as part of a new intelligence and security agency under the control of Baroness Ashton.

The controversial proposals are a major move towards creating an independent EU military body with its own equipment and operations, and will be strongly opposed by Britain.

Officials told the Daily Telegraph that the European Commission and Lady Ashton’s European External Action Service want to create military command and communication systems to be used by the EU for internal security and defence purposes. Under the proposals, purchasing plans will be drawn up by autumn.

The use of the new spy drones and satellites for “internal and external security policies”, which will include police intelligence, the internet, protection of external borders and maritime surveillance, will raise concerns that the EU is creating its own version of the US National Security Agency.

Senior European officials regard the plan as an urgent response to the recent scandal over American and British communications surveillance by creating EU’s own security and spying agency.

“The Edward Snowden scandal shows us that Europe needs its own autonomous security capabilities, this proposal is one step further towards European defence integration,” said a senior EU official. . . .

13. Baroness Ashton is viewed as weak and subject to being a German pawn.

“Assertiveness”; German-Foreign-Policy.com; 8/12/2009.

Berlin is insisting on access to essential posts in the European External Action Service (EEAS). According to news reports, the German government is demanding that the post of EEAS General Secretary be given to a German. Leading personnel from the Chancellery and the Foreign Ministry are being suggested. The general secretary heads the administration and is second only to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, who is considered to be very weak, meaning that a German EEAS general secretary would have a free hand. The structuring of the EEAS is one of Berlin’s most essential objectives since the Lisbon Treaty took effect, reinforcing the EU on its path toward becoming a world power. As was expressed in Berlin’s foreign ministry, the basic features of the new administration must be institutionalized by April 2010, so that the British Conservatives, expected to be the victors of the next parliamentary elections in the spring of 2010, will not be able to have any influence. They are capable of putting up serious resistance to German hegemonic policy. . . .

14. We review the curriculum vitae of Ernst Uhrlau.

“Ernst Uhrlau”; Wikipedia.

. . . . From 1996-98, Ernst Uhrlau was the Chief of Hamburg Police. In 1998, Uhrlau was appointed a Coordinator of the Intelligence Community in the office of the Chancellor.

On 1 December 2005, he was appointed to the post of the head of the BND. . . .

15. In FTR #761, we noted that Ernst Uhlrau had an interesting curriculum vitae. Chief of the Hamburg police during a period in which German intelligence had members of the Hamburg cell of 9/11 hijackers under surveillance, Uhrlau was appointed special adviser to the Chancellor on intelligence matters in 1998. He became head of the BND in 2005.

During Uhrlau’s tenure as BND director, files on BND officials with SS and Gestapo backgrounds were shredded. Note that the individuals whose files were destroyed were BND executives, not field agents, and that they has held “sig­nif­i­cant intel­li­gence posi­tions in the SS, the SD (the intel­li­gence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party) or the Gestapo.”

According to Der Spiegel, BND officers were recruited from the families of BND operatives, permitting a perpetuation of Nazi ideology and methodology from the original Gehlen SS and Gestapo recruits!

“Obscur­ing the Past: Intel­li­gence Agency Destroyed Files on For­mer SS Members” by Klaus WiegrefeDer Spiegel; 11/30/2013.

His­to­ri­ans con­duct­ing an inter­nal study of ties between employ­ees of the Ger­man for­eign intel­li­gence agency and the Third Reich have made a shock­ing dis­cov­ery. In 2007, the BND destroyed per­son­nel files of employ­ees who had once been mem­bers of the SS and the Gestapo. . . .

. . . . Now, only one week before Uhrlau’s retire­ment, the com­mis­sion has uncov­ered what is a true his­tor­i­cal scan­dal. The researchers have found that the BND destroyed the per­son­nel files of around 250 BND offi­cials in 2007. The agency has con­firmed that this happened.

The com­mis­sion claims that the destroyed doc­u­ments include papers on peo­ple who were “in sig­nif­i­cant intel­li­gence posi­tions in the SS, the SD (the intel­li­gence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party) or the Gestapo.” They added that some of the indi­vid­u­als had even been inves­ti­gated after 1945 for pos­si­ble war crimes. His­to­rian Klaus-Dietmar Henke, spokesman for the com­mis­sion, told SPIEGEL ONLINE he was “some­what stunned” by the occurrence.

Did Agency Employ­ees Seek to Sab­o­tage Investigation? . . .

. . . . It is no secret that some peo­ple within the BND are unhappy about Uhrlau’s project. Some employ­ees are fun­da­men­tally opposed to the agency shed­ding light on its own past. Oth­ers are wor­ried about the rep­u­ta­tions of their own fam­i­lies — for many years, the BND delib­er­ately recruited new staff from among the rel­a­tives of exist­ing BND employees. . . .

16. In a story that will be discussed in the next installment of “The Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook,” a VERY important story was unearthed for us by “Pterrafractyl.” A very revealing article in Der Spiegel notes two VERY important things: the very same Angela Merkel who is “shocked, shocked” at what the NSA is doing has not only put roadblocks in European data privacy rules to guard against unwarranted government surveillance but is actively seeking admittance to the “Five Eyes” club, which dates to World War II!

She’s not “shocked, shocked” at all! She wants access to the Five Eyes, which means–DUH–that she APPROVES of this very thing!

What a hypocrite she is! And what a sick, sick spectacle this whole bloody mess is, with a bunch of nitwits caterwauling about “civil liberties,” “human rights,” “the constitution,” and so forth.

“Appear­ances and Real­ity: Merkel Balks at EU Pri­vacy Push” by Gre­gor Peter Schmitz Der Spiegel; 10/28/2013.

Chan­cel­lor Merkel has put on a good show of being out­raged by Amer­i­can spy­ing. But, at the same time, she has impeded efforts to strengthen data secu­rity. Does she really want more pri­vacy, or is she more inter­ested in being accepted into the exclu­sive group of info-sharing coun­tries known as the ‘Five Eyes’ club?

One par­tic­u­lar point of clar­i­fi­ca­tion was espe­cially impor­tant to Angela Merkel dur­ing the EU sum­mit in Brus­sels last week. When she com­plained about the NSA’s alleged tap­ping of her cell­phone, the Ger­man chan­cel­lor made clear that her con­cern was not for her­self, but for the “tele­phones of mil­lions of EU cit­i­zens,” whose pri­vacy she said was com­pro­mised by US spying.

Yet at a work­ing din­ner with fel­low EU heads of state on Thurs­day, where the agenda included a pro­posed law to bol­ster data pro­tec­tion, Merkel’s fight­ing spirit on behalf of the EU’s cit­i­zens seemed to have dissipated.

In fact, inter­nal doc­u­ments show that Ger­many applied the brakes when it came to speedy pas­sage of such a reform. Although a num­ber of EU mem­ber states — includ­ing France, Italy and Poland — were push­ing for the cre­ation of a Europe-wide mod­ern data pro­tec­tion frame­work before Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions take place in May 2014, the issue ended up tabled until 2015.

Great Britain, itself sus­pected of spy­ing on its EU part­ners, and Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron, who has for­mer Google CEO Eric Schmidt as one of his advi­sors, put up con­sid­er­able resis­tance. He pushed instead for the final sum­mit state­ment to call sim­ply for “rapid” progress on a solid EU data-protection framework.

A Set­back for  ‘Europe ‘s Dec­la­ra­tion of Independence ’

Merkel also joined those apply­ing the brakes. Over the week­end, SPIEGEL ONLINE gained access to inter­nal Ger­man For­eign Min­istry doc­u­ments con­cern­ing the EU lead­ers’ final sum­mit state­ment. The “track changes” fea­ture reflects a cru­cial pro­posed change to item No. 8 under the sub­ject head­ing “Dig­i­tal Econ­omy” — the sug­ges­tion that the phrase “adop­tion next year” be replaced with “The nego­ti­a­tions have to be car­ried on intensively.”

Ulti­mately, the offi­cial ver­sion of the final sum­mit state­ment sim­ply called for “rapid” progress on the issue — just as Great Britain was hop­ing for.

This amounts to a set­back for pro­po­nents of the pro­posed data-protection law, which EU Jus­tice Com­mis­sioner Viviane Red­ing has called “Europe’s dec­la­ra­tion of independence.”

The Euro­pean Par­lia­ment recently began draft­ing stricter reg­u­la­tions in this area, includ­ing poten­tial fines run­ning into the bil­lions of euros for any Inter­net com­pany caught ille­gally pass­ing pri­vate data to US intel­li­gence agen­cies. Such pro­posed leg­is­la­tion has the sup­port even of some of Merkel’s fel­low con­ser­v­a­tives in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, includ­ing Man­fred Weber of the Chris­t­ian Social Union (CSU), the Bavar­ian sis­ter party to Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Demo­c­ra­tic Union (CDU), who says: “We need to finally sum­mon the polit­i­cal will for more data protection.”

Amer­i­can tech cor­po­ra­tions could hardly believe their luck at hav­ing Merkel’s sup­port. Now they’re hop­ing for more lee­way to water down the data-protection law as soon as the furor over the lat­est spy­ing scan­dal has sub­sided. One high-ranking Amer­i­can tech-company exec­u­tive told the Finan­cial Times: “When we saw the story about Merkel’s phone being tapped … we thought we were going to lose.” But, he added: “It looks like we won.” [Yeah, the tech companies are “shocked, shocked” too–D.E.]

Indeed, the EU lead­ers’ anger was already start­ing to dis­si­pate dur­ing their ses­sions in Brus­sels. Sum­mit par­tic­i­pants say lead­ers pointed out that Europe is not exactly on the side of the angels when it comes to gov­ern­ment spy­ing. Luxembourg’s prime min­is­ter, Jean-Claude Juncker, cau­tioned his fel­low lead­ers, ques­tion­ing whether they were cer­tain their own intel­li­gence agen­cies had never vio­lated data pri­vacy themselves.

Code of Con­duct for Intel­li­gence Agencies

The con­cerns of the tech indus­try, in par­tic­u­lar, received an atten­tive ear among Europe’s lead­ers. One sum­mit par­tic­i­pant relates that restruc­tur­ing data-protection laws was por­trayed as a “labo­ri­ous” task that would require more time to com­plete, and that Merkel did not push for speed on the mat­ter, to the sur­prise of some of her counterparts. [!–D.E.]

Accord­ing to sum­mit par­tic­i­pants, the Ger­man chan­cel­lor seemed far more inter­ested in the “Five Eyes” alliance among the US, the UK, Aus­tralia, New Zealand and Canada. The top-level allies within this exclu­sive group, which began in 1946 as a pact between Lon­don and Wash­ing­ton, have agreed not to spy on one another, but instead to share infor­ma­tion and resources. In Brus­sels, Cameron stressed to his fel­low lead­ers how many ter­ror­ist attacks had been pre­vented by suc­cess­ful intel­li­gence work.

Merkel, mean­while, stated: “Unlike David, we are unfor­tu­nately not part of this group.” Accord­ing to the New York Times, Ger­many has sought mem­ber­ship in the “Five Eyes” alliance for years, but has been turned down due to oppo­si­tion, includ­ing from the Obama admin­is­tra­tion. But this could now change, the paper speculates.

17. UPDATE: Angela Merkel has pro­posed an EU-wide com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tem to guard against NSA and GCHQ spy­ing, while ramp­ing up spy­ing against the U.S.

“Sur­veil­lance Rev­e­la­tions: Angela Merkel Pro­poses Euro­pean Net­work to Beat NSA and GCHQ Spy­ing” by Tony Pat­ter­son; The Inde­pen­dent [UK]; 2/16/2014.

Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel of Ger­many has announced plans to set up a Euro­pean com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work as part of a broad counter-espionage offen­sive designed to curb mass sur­veil­lance con­ducted by the US National Secu­rity Agency and its British coun­ter­part, GCHQ. . . .

. . . . Announc­ing the project in her weekly pod­cast, Ms Merkel said she envis­aged set­ting up a Euro­pean com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work which would offer pro­tec­tion from NSA sur­veil­lance by side-stepping the cur­rent arrange­ment whereby emails and other inter­net data auto­mat­i­cally pass through the United States.

The NSA’s Ger­man phone and inter­net sur­veil­lance oper­a­tion is reported to be one of the biggest in the EU. In co-operation with GCHQ it has direct access to under­sea cables car­ry­ing transat­lantic com­mu­ni­ca­tions between Europe and the US.

Ms Merkel said she planned to dis­cuss the project with the French Pres­i­dent, François Hol­lande, when she meets him in Paris on Wednes­day. “Above all we’ll talk about Euro­pean providers that offer secu­rity to our cit­i­zens, so that one shouldn’t have to send emails and other infor­ma­tion across the Atlantic,” she said. “Rather one could build up a com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work inside Europe.”

French gov­ern­ment offi­cials responded by say­ing Paris intended to “take up” the Ger­man initiative.

Ms Merkel’s pro­pos­als appear to be part of a wider Ger­man counter-espionage offen­sive, reported to be under way in sev­eral of Germany’s intel­li­gence agen­cies, against NSA and GCHQ surveillance.

Der Spiegel mag­a­zine said on Sun­day that it had obtained infor­ma­tion about plans by Germany’s main domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, the Fed­eral Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion, for a “mas­sive” increase in counter-espionage measures.

The mag­a­zine said there were plans to sub­ject both the Amer­i­can and British Embassies in Berlin to sur­veil­lance. It said the mea­sures would include obtain­ing exact details about intel­li­gence agents who were accred­ited as diplo­mats, and infor­ma­tion about the tech­nol­ogy being used within the embassies. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion

7 comments for “FTR #765 The Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook, Part 10: Shearing the Piglet (“They’re Shocked, Shocked!”)”

  1. Regarding the difficulty of reviewing 200k documents (as discussed near the beginning of side 2), note that the estimate given out by the NSA is up to 1.7 million documents taken:

    Washington Post
    Snowden still holding ‘keys to the kingdom’
    By Walter Pincus, Published: December 18, 2013

    We’ve yet to see the full impact of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s unauthorized downloading of highly classified intelligence documents.

    Among the roughly 1.7 million documents he walked away with — the vast majority of which have not been made public — are highly sensitive, specific intelligence reports, as well as current and historic requirements the White House has given the agency to guide its collection activities, according to a senior government official with knowledge of the situation.

    The latter category involves about 2,000 unique taskings that can run to 20 pages each and give reasons for selective targeting to NSA collectors and analysts. These orders alone may run 31,500 pages.

    If disclosed, that information would reveal vulnerabilities within U. S. intelligence gathering at the strategic level, the official said.

    Where the copies of these sensitive tasking documents are is an unanswered question.

    Snowden, in Hong Kong, distributed NSA documents during the first week in Juneto three journalists — Glenn Greenwald, documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and Barton Gellman. Gellman’s stories based on them have been published in The Washington Post.

    Snowden went public June 9, after the first stories appeared. Then he went into hiding.

    On June 24, the South China Morning Post published a story based on a June 12 interview with Snowden in which he indicated that he had more documents to leak. “If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country to make their own assessment, independent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowledge of U.S. network operations against their people should be published,” Snowden was quoted as saying.

    On July 14, the Associated Press published a story in which Greenwald said that Snowden — then in Moscow at the airport — had “literally thousands of documents” that constitute “basically the instruction manual for how the NSA is built.” Greenwald, who said he had spoken to Snowden hours earlier, told the AP that in order to prove his credibility Snowden “had to take ones that included very sensitive, detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do.”

    These documents, Greenwald said, “would allow somebody who read them to know exactly how the NSA does what it does, which would in turn allow them to evade that surveillance or replicate it.”

    But, Greenwald added, Snowden had insisted they not be made public. On July 19, Greenwald told German public broadcaster ARD that Snowden in June in Hong Kong had given him and Poitras about 9,000 to 10,000 top-secret documents.

    On Oct. 17, the New York Times’ James Risen published a story based on an interview with Snowden in which he said he did not take any NSA documents with him to Russia, where he now has a year-long residency permit.

    Greenwald recently told ABC News, “We published only a small fraction of the ones that we have been given so far because we have gone through each of them and made sure that nothing we are publishing endangers human lives.”

    Still, there are “a lot of very significant stories that are yet to be reported,” he said during an interview for an ABC News special to be aired this month.

    So where are the tasking documents? I’ve not asked Gellman, Greenwald or Poitras because were I in their positions I would not say one way or the other.

    The NSA’s Ledgett considers them so important that the security of those documents is worth having a discussion with Snowden about amnesty.

    “My personal view is, yes, it’s worth having a conversation about. I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assurances would be very high,” Ledgett said.

    So, if the NSA’s numbers are accurate, there might be around 1.5 million documents in addition to the 200k documents handed off to Poitras and Greenwald. Presumably, those 1.5 million documents are part of Snowden’s Dead Man’s Switch and are amongst the most damaging files taken (since that’s that whole point of the Dead Man’s Switch approach) although who knows how damaging the 1.5 million documents really are relative to the ~200k passed on to journalists. The 1.5 million extra documents might just be a mish mash of everything that was grabbed but that Snowden never had time to even begin looking over. Like a giant national security grab bag o’ fun and mystery!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 21, 2013, 4:05 pm
  2. Snowden continued his Brazilian charm offensive over the weekend in an interview with GloboTV where he talked about how much he’d like to help Brazil investigate the NSA but can’t without asylum. He also pointed out that he didn’t want Brazil to give him asylum in exchange for help with the investigation. It’s almost romantic:

    Snowden in charm offensive in Brazil’s press

    (AFP) – 12/23/2013

    Brasília — US leaker Edward Snowden said in a TV interview here that he would accept asylum in Brazil if offered, but not if it were in exchange for information about US intelligence.

    Snowden, in an interview broadcast late Sunday on the news show “Fantastico” on Globo TV network, also criticized the panel that is reviewing US intelligence gathering, pointing out that it was hand-picked by the White House and that the changes it called for were cosmetic.

    Nevertheless he acknowledged that the panel represented an important first step in reining in the massive US surveillance programs.

    The interview was conducted via email through an attorney in New York, and Snowden’s answers were broadcast in Portuguese.

    The US panel recommended curbing the powers of the National Security Agency, warning that its sweeps in the war on terror have gone too far.

    Tens of thousands of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Snowden to The Guardian newspaper and other media outlets have detailed the nature of the agency’s hitherto shadowy activities.

    On Tuesday, the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper ran “an open letter to the Brazilian people” signed by Snowden in which he said he stood ready to help the Brazilian Senate’s investigation of US eavesdropping on Brazilian targets.

    But in the interview broadcast Sunday, Snowden clarified that he was not offering to swap information for an asylum.

    Snowden’s charm offensive with the Brazilian government and people may mean he is hoping for a fresh look from President Dilma Rousseff’s government — perhaps for asylum or a humanitarian visa.

    In July the rogue intelligence analyst unsuccessfully sought asylum in Brazil, as well as in other countries.

    Snowden was granted one-year asylum status by Russia and is living in an undisclosed location. Recently his Russian lawyer said he had started working for a major website to earn some money after running out of cash.

    Rousseff said that she would not comment on the Snowden case because the US leaker has not formally filed an asylum request.

    Brazilian police and lawmakers want to interview Snowden, even if it is via teleconference, to question him about the cybersnooping.

    Unfortunately for all the romantics, this budding relationship with Brazil isn’t necessarily exclusive?

    RT
    Snowden will help Germany investigate NSA spying if granted asylum – report
    Published time: December 23, 2013 00:23
    Edited time: December 23, 2013 03:07

    Edward Snowden is offering Germany his help with investigating NSA spying activities on its soil, if Berlin grants him political asylum, Stern reports, citing correspondence with the whistleblower.

    “I have a great respect for Germany,” Snowden wrote to the German Stern publication. The former NSA contractor also wrote that he would be willing to help German officials investigate alleged NSA spying in Germany, if he is granted asylum.

    Not fearing possible prosecution and extradition to the US, the whistleblower noted that no one in the German government seriously believes that the US will “implement sanctions against Germany in response to criticism of illegal surveillance” because it will cause “greater harm to the US rather than Germany.”

    Snowden doubts the ability of US Congress to implement any reforms, following a report by an expert panel tasked with reviewing NSA global surveillance activities released by the White House earlier this week. The Secret Service Committee, Snowden wrote, is praising the intelligence services rather than keeping them in check.

    Last week Snowden sent a similar open letter to Brazil, offering his help with “investigations into suspected crimes against Brazilian citizens” but noting that the US government will continue to limit his “ability to speak out until a country grants me permanent political asylum.”

    Snowden again reiterated the message on Sunday in an email exchange with the Brazilian Globo TV channel, saying that he would like to move to Brazil if he was permitted by its government. The Brazilian foreign ministry said that it can only consider such a request for asylum once it receives an official application.

    Or maybe these are all head games. Payas gonna play:

    BuzzFeed
    Snowden Lawyer: No Deal For Asylum In Germany

    Snowden would never trade information for asylum, says his lawyer. posted on December 23, 2013 at 11:25am EST

    Rosie Gray BuzzFeed Staff

    Edward Snowden is not requesting asylum in Germany in exchange for helping the country investigate National Security Agency surveillance, Snowden’s lawyer says, contradicting reports in the Russian news media.

    “Edward Snowden would never offer information in exchange for asylum and he has never suggested otherwise,” ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner, who represents Snowden, told BuzzFeed. “Reports to the contrary are false.”

    Germany was one of the countries where Snowden applied for asylum back when he was living in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. But he is not currently renewing that request, his lawyer said.

    “He applied when he was in the airport but not since,” Wizner said.

    Both Russia Today and Life News, an outlet known for its close ties to Russian security services, reported that Snowden is offering Germany help with its inquiry into National Security Agency spying in exchange for permanent asylum. The information is based off an interview Snowden did with the German Stern magazine. Russia Today reports, “The former NSA contractor also wrote that he would be willing to help German officials investigate alleged NSA spying in Germany, if he is granted asylum.”

    Wizner provided BuzzFeed with an email from the Stern reporter in which the reporter told him, “The headline below doesn’t cover our story accurately. We just said that ES would accept asylum from Germany without hesitation because he would trust the German government not to extradite him to the US. We also mentioned that he doubts the willingness of the US Congress to reform intelligence policy.”

    Snowden wrote a similar letter to the people of Brazil last week that was widely interpreted as a quid pro quo request for asylum, though journalist Glenn Greenwald said that was not the case.

    In November, the Guardian reported that Snowden “indicated his own willingness to speak as a witness to the Bundestag” after German lawmakers mulled ways to bring him to Germany to testify in front of parliament on NSA spying.

    “What has been omitted from the reporting is the key context that Senators and other officials from both Germany and Brazil have been vigorously pursuing Snowden for months to try to get him to participate in their investigations, answer questions, attend hearings, etc.,” said Greenwald. “He wrote those letters to explain why he **cannot** participate in those investigations even though he’d like to: namely, because his situation is so precarious because he lacks permanent asylum anywhere.”

    Greenwald flagged an interview with Brazilian TV Snowden did yesterday in which he said, “I would never exchange information for asylum, and I’m sure the Brazilian government wouldn’t either.”

    “It’s genuinely shocking how false the reporting from the U.S. media has been on this,” Greenwald said.

    Greenwald said he didn’t know why Russian media was jumping on the Germany story now and thought they were “re-cycling” stories about what happened in November.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 23, 2013, 1:30 pm
  3. Barton Gellman just did an interview with Snowden. There were lots of interesting tid bits. For instance, revealing the US wiretapping of Angela Merkel’s phone wasn’t so much about the fact that it was Merkel that was targeted, but instead the fact that Obama lied to the public about not knowing about it.

    Also, there was apparently never a “Dead Man’s Switch” of damaging documents that would be released if anything happened to him. As Snowden put it, “That sounds more like a suicide switch…It wouldn’t make sense”. So…remember when Glenn Greenwald claimed “He has already distributed thousands of documents and made sure that various people around the world have his complete archive. If something happens to him, these documents would be made public. This is his insurance policy. The U.S. government should be on its knees everyday praying that nothing happens to Snowden, because if anything should happen, all the information will be revealed and this would be its worst nightmare.” That was never the case according to the latest interview:

    Washington Post
    Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished

    By Barton Gellman, Published: December 23

    MOSCOW — The familiar voice on the hotel room phone did not waste words.

    “What time does your clock say, exactly?” he asked.

    He checked the reply against his watch and described a place to meet.

    “I’ll see you there,” he said.

    Edward Joseph Snowden emerged at the appointed hour, alone, blending into a light crowd of locals and tourists. He cocked his arm for a handshake, then turned his shoulder to indicate a path. Before long he had guided his visitor to a secure space out of public view.

    During more than 14 hours of interviews, the first he has conducted in person since arriving here in June, Snowden did not part the curtains or step outside. Russia granted him temporary asylum on Aug. 1, but Snowden remains a target of surpassing interest to the intelligence services whose secrets he spilled on an epic scale.

    Six months after the first revelations appeared in The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Snowden agreed to reflect at length on the roots and repercussions of his choice. He was relaxed and animated over two days of nearly unbroken conversation, fueled by burgers, pasta, ice cream and Russian pastry.

    Snowden offered vignettes from his intelligence career and from his recent life as “an indoor cat” in Russia. But he consistently steered the conversation back to surveillance, democracy and the meaning of the documents he exposed.

    “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”

    “All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed,” he said. “That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals.”

    ‘Warheads on foreheads’

    Snowden has focused on much the same point from the beginning: Individual targeting would cure most of what he believes is wrong with the NSA.

    Six months ago, a reporter asked him by encrypted e-mail why Americans would want the NSA to give up bulk data collection if that would limit a useful intelligence tool.

    “I believe the cost of frank public debate about the powers of our government is less than the danger posed by allowing these powers to continue growing in secret,” he replied, calling them “a direct threat to democratic governance.”

    In the Moscow interview, Snowden said, “What the government wants is something they never had before,” adding: “They want total awareness. The question is, is that something we should be allowing?”

    Snowden likened the NSA’s powers to those used by British authorities in Colonial America, when “general warrants” allowed for anyone to be searched. The FISA court, Snowden said, “is authorizing general warrants for the entire country’s metadata.”

    “The last time that happened, we fought a war over it,” he said.

    Technology, of course, has enabled a great deal of consumer surveillance by private companies, as well. The difference with the NSA’s possession of the data, Snowden said, is that government has the power to take away life or freedom.

    At the NSA, he said, “there are people in the office who joke about, ‘We put warheads on foreheads.’ Twitter doesn’t put warheads on foreheads.”

    Privacy, as Snowden sees it, is a universal right, applicable to American and foreign surveillance alike.

    “I don’t care whether you’re the pope or Osama bin Laden,” he said. “As long as there’s an individualized, articulable, probable cause for targeting these people as legitimate foreign intelligence, that’s fine. I don’t think it’s imposing a ridiculous burden by asking for probable cause. Because, you have to understand, when you have access to the tools the NSA does, probable cause falls out of trees.”

    When it comes to spying on allies, by Snowden’s lights, the news is not always about the target.

    “It’s the deception of the government that’s revealed,” Snowden said, noting that the Obama administration offered false public assurances after the initial reports about NSA surveillance in Germany “The U.S. government said: ‘We follow German laws in Germany. We never target German citizens.’ And then the story comes out and it’s: ‘What are you talking about? You’re spying on the chancellor.’ You just lied to the entire country, in front of Congress.”

    In private, U.S. intelligence officials still maintain that spying among friends is routine for all concerned, but they are giving greater weight to the risk of getting caught.

    “There are many things we do in intelligence that, if revealed, would have the potential for all kinds of blowback,” Clapper told a House panel in October.

    According to senior intelligence officials, two uncertainties feed their greatest concerns. One is whether Russia or China managed to take the Snowden archive from his computer, a worst-case assumption for which three officials acknowledged there is no evidence.

    In a previous assignment, Snowden taught U.S. intelligence personnel how to operate securely in a “high-threat digital environment,” using a training scenario in which China was the designated threat. He declined to discuss the whereabouts of the files, but he said that he is confident he did not expose them to Chinese intelligence in Hong Kong. And he said he did not bring them to Russia.

    “There’s nothing on it,” he said, turning his laptop screen toward his visitor. “My hard drive is completely blank.”

    The other big question is how many documents Snowden took. The NSA’s incoming deputy director, Rick Ledgett, said on CBS’s “60 Minutes” recently that the number may approach 1.7 million, a huge and unexplained spike over previous estimates. Ledgett said he would favor trying to negotiate an amnesty with Snowden in exchange for “assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured.”

    Obama’s national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, later dismissed the possibility.

    “The government knows where to find us if they want to have a productive conversation about resolutions that don’t involve Edward Snowden behind bars,” said the American Civil Liberties Union’s Ben Wizner, the central figure on Snowden’s legal team.

    Some news accounts have quoted U.S. government officials as saying Snowden has arranged for the automated release of sensitive documents if he is arrested or harmed. There are strong reasons to doubt that, beginning with Snowden’s insistence, to this reporter and others, that he does not want the documents published in bulk.

    If Snowden were fool enough to rig a “dead man’s switch,” confidants said, he would be inviting anyone who wants the documents to kill him.

    Asked about such a mechanism in the Moscow interview, Snowden made a face and declined to reply. Later, he sent an encrypted message. “That sounds more like a suicide switch,” he wrote. “It wouldn’t make sense.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 25, 2013, 10:37 pm
  4. It looks like entry into the ‘Five Eyes’ pact is no longer enough:

    Bloomberg
    U.S. Offered Berlin ‘Five Eyes’ Pact. Merkel Was Done With It
    By Patrick Donahue and John Walcott Jul 12, 2014 10:39 AM CT

    U.S. Ambassador John Emerson made his way to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin armed with a plan to head off the worst diplomatic clash of Angela Merkel’s chancellorship.

    Emerson came to the July 9 meeting with an offer authorized in Washington: provide Germany a U.S. intelligence-sharing agreement resembling one available only to four other nations. The goal was to assuage Merkel and prevent the expulsion of the Central Intelligence Agency’s chief of station in Berlin.

    It wasn’t enough.

    The same morning, across the boundary once marked by the Berlin Wall, Merkel convened her top ministers following the 9:30 a.m. Cabinet meeting on the sixth floor of the Chancellery and resolved to ask the U.S. intelligence chief to leave German soil.

    Merkel, who ultimately determined the government’s course, had to act. Public and political pressure after more than a year of accusations of American espionage overreach, stoked by indignation at the lack of a sufficient response from Washington, had left the German government with no alternative.

    “We don’t live in the Cold War anymore, where everybody probably mistrusted everybody else,” Merkel, who has previously reserved her Cold War-mentality accusations for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said in an interview with German broadcaster ZDF today.

    No Trust

    The spying scandal has blown open a rift between the U.S. and Germany, a nation once under American tutelage in the decades after World War II. The latest allegations, involving U.S. double agents, rekindled anger over the disclosure last year that Merkel’s mobile phone had been hacked by the U.S.

    “The notion that you always have to ask yourself in close cooperation whether the one sitting across from you could be working for the others -– that’s not a basis for trust,” Merkel told ZDF. “So we obviously have different perceptions and we have to discuss that intensively.”

    Merkel also signaled displeasure with U.S. spying at a news conference in Berlin on July 10. Within an hour, her office issued a statement saying that the two new investigations into U.S. cloak-and-dagger methods, on top of “questions over the past months” following leaks on National Security Agency activity, forced the government to take action.

    Invited to Leave

    At that point, the U.S. intelligence officer was invited to leave the country rather than suffer the diplomatic ignominy of being declared “persona non grata” and expelled under the Vienna Convention. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said yesterday that the government expected the unidentified official to leave the country “soon.”

    The eviction was “a necessary step and a measured response to the breach of trust that took place,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters yesterday. He’ll meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna tomorrow to discuss the matter on the sidelines of talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

    The onus is on the U.S. to suggest solutions, and German officials are waiting to hear what Kerry will propose, according to a German diplomat who asked not to be identified discussing the conflict.

    The revelations at once disrupt the U.S. security relationship with a core European ally and expose German anxiety over the balance to strike between privacy issues and combating terrorism. Hamburg was home to three of the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide pilots.

    Intelligence Sharing

    The arrangement, initiated in 1946 between the U.S. and U.K., calls for the U.S. and the other English-speaking countries to share most of the electronic intercepts and some of the other intelligence they collect, with the understanding that they will limit their spying on one another.

    “We are not currently looking to alter the Five Eyes structure,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council, in an e-mailed statement. “But we remain open to discussions with our close allies and partners, including Germany, about how we can better coordinate our intelligence efforts.”

    Postwar Germany has had a more modest intelligence establishment than the U.S. or U.K., focused largely on the former East Germany and Soviet Union and on terrorist groups. German officials balked at expanding their collection and sharing under such an unwritten arrangement, according to the U.S. official.

    The allegations of snooping have particular resonance for Merkel, who lived for 35 years in communist East Germany and who, as the daughter of a Protestant pastor, endured special scrutiny from the state-security service, the Stasi.

    Big ’If’

    While German-U.S. relations dipped during the 2003 Iraq war when Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, refused to join President George W. Bush’s coalition against Saddam Hussein, ties improved under Merkel. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama in 2011.

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest declined to comment on the details of the allegations, telling reporters at the beginning of the week that accusations over spying were subject to a “a big ‘if’.”

    “We highly value the close working relationship we have with the Germans on a wide range of issues,” Earnest said, “but particularly on security and intelligence matters.”

    U.S. lawmakers, including some frequently critical of Obama, have been similarly reticent.

    Lawmakers’ Concerns

    “I don’t know how much the administration could have done to defuse this,” Representative Ed Royce, the California Republican who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said yesterday at a breakfast with reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “Given the circumstances, the administration is attempting at this time to deal with the German government, and I’m hopeful that they’re successful.”

    Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat and Intelligence Committee member, has told reporters that he was eager to learn more about the situation at a classified briefing for the panel members next week.

    “I am concerned that we’re sending the wrong message to a key ally,” Udall said.

    Before the current tensions, the U.S. and Germany had a history of extensive intelligence cooperation. For many years, much of U.S. electronic spying on Iran was conducted out of a CIA station in Frankfurt known as Tefran, according to a former U.S. intelligence official who described the cooperation on condition of anonymity.

    Review Agreements

    A number of people in the U.S. government say that, more than two decades after the Cold War ended, it’s time to consider agreements with more countries to help track terrorists, weapons proliferation and espionage, according to U.S. officials who asked not to be identified.

    They said the conflict with Germany also has underscored concern that intelligence agencies lack any good risk-assessment model to judge the benefits of operations against friendly powers against the potential risks.

    “This is so stupid,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s longest-serving lawmaker, said July 9, reflecting frustration and amazement about the turn of events in U.S.-German relations.

    Schaeuble, who helped negotiate German reunification 25 years ago this year, said, “It makes you want to cry.”

    So Merkel turned down a Five Eyes-style agreement?! And instead, according to German officials, the onus is on the U.S. to suggest solutions. Ok. And, according to the article, “a number of people in the U.S. government say that, more than two decades after the Cold War ended, it’s time to consider agreements with more countries to help track terrorists, weapons proliferation and espionage, according to U.S. officials who asked not to be identified”. So could we be about to see a proliferation of new ‘no spy’/intelligence sharing agreements based on a yet-to-be-decided US-German template? That should be interesting.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 13, 2014, 5:48 pm
  5. Huh:

    TheLocal.de
    Germany to drop probe into US spying on Merkel

    Published: 23 Nov 2014 08:56 GMT+01:00

    Germany is dropping a probe into the alleged tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone by US spies, due to a lack of evidence, magazine Focus said Saturday.

    Six months after the investigation began, the experts have failed to find any solid proof to back the case, and have therefore recommended that it be dropped, the magazine reported, quoting sources close to the German justice ministry.

    “The result (of the probe) is almost zilch. A lot of hot air, but nothing done,” one source was quoted as saying.

    According to sources close to the judiciary, the federal prosecutor will heed the experts’ recommendation to drop the probe.

    In June, German justice had announced that a case had been opened into the alleged spying by foreign intelligence services on German soil.

    In related news, the German government just signed a new “no spy” agreement. But it wasn’t with another nation. It was a no spy agreement with Blackberry in exchange for allowing Blackberry buy German security firm Secusmart (which provides security for Merkel’s phone), where Blackberry agrees to not share private information with any foreign governments and Germany’s intelligences services get to audit Blackberry’s source code:

    Ars Technica
    German government says “ja” to BlackBerry’s acquisition of Secusmart
    To get approval to buy Düsseldorf firm, BlackBerry had to sign “no-spy” deal.

    by Cyrus Farivar – Nov 28 2014, 7:00pm CST

    The German government has signed off BlackBerry’s acquisition of the German company Secusmart, according to local media (Google Translate).

    Secusmart is the company that develops software and hardware to protect government phones, including the “Merkel Phone” used by Chancellor Angela Merkel. She moved to a more secure device after it came out that the National Security Agency had been monitoring her communications.

    Back in July 2014, the Canadian handset maker announced that it would acquire the Düsseldorf-based company.

    In order to get Berlin’s approval, BlackBerry apparently had to agree to a number of government demands. It was required to give full access of its source code to the the German information security agency, known by its German acronym, BSI.

    Further, Berlin stipulated that Secusmart’s development would continue to take place in Germany, and a “binding” agreement dictates that BlackBerry would not share private information with foreign governments or intelligence agencies.

    Neither BlackBerry nor the German government gave any further comment to German press.

    And in other spying-related news…

    TheLocal.de
    BND spied on Germans living abroad

    Published: 28 Nov 2014 11:40 GMT+01:00

    The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence service, spied on some citizens living abroad, a former lawyer for the spies told MPs on Thursday.

    Dr Stefan Burbaum, who worked at the BND from 2000 to 2005, said that some Germans were targeted as “office holders”, a legal loophole the spies used to circumvent the law that protects Germans citizens from being spied on by its own intelligence agency.

    Normally, the intelligence agencies must overcome high legal hurdles laid out in the so-called “G10 law” to spy on German citizens, including when they live abroad.

    Otherwise, information regarding German citizens has to be filtered out from any foreign communications intercepted by the BND.

    But the German spies argue that a citizen working for a foreign company abroad is only protected in his private life, not in his professional communications, Burbaum told the Bundestag inquiry committee into National Security Agency (NSA) mass spying.

    “The office holder is the legal person,” Burbaum said. “It’s a small exception. But a German citizen can function as an office holder in a foreign organization.

    “The decisive thing is whether he’s communicating as a citizen or as an office holder.”

    “This construct of an office holder is just as absurd in practice as it appears in the law,” Konstantin von Notz of the Green party said.

    Further, foreigners’ communications conducted abroad are not protected, even if they are in contact with German people or work for a German company.

    MPs from the Social Democratic (SPD), Green and Left (Linke) parties all criticized the BND’s ability to operate in a “lawless zone” when it came to spying on foreigners.

    Under the “G10 Law” the BND is also allowed access to data from German telecoms firms to search for specifically identified suspicious traffic.

    But Burbaum told the MPs that the BND regularly retains traffic which it had not received specific permission to investigate which it collects during such trawls.

    In this way, access acquired under the “G10 law” becomes a “foot in the door” to otherwise closed-off sources of data, Burbaum said.

    This certainly seems relevant given the new “no spy, except for spying on the source code” agrreement with Blackberry:

    “Under the “G10 Law” the BND is also allowed access to data from German telecoms firms to search for specifically identified suspicious traffic.

    But Burbaum told the MPs that the BND regularly retains traffic which it had not received specific permission to investigate which it collects during such trawls.”

    Well, hopefully the German parliament will continue looking into the rules governing its own intelligence services. Who knows what they’ll discover.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 29, 2014, 4:48 pm
  6. @Pterrafractyl–

    “Lack of solid proof . . . .” What hypocrisy!

    One wonders if the fact that BND was caught monitoring Kerry’s and Clinton’s cell phones has anything to do with this?

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | November 29, 2014, 5:11 pm
  7. @Dave: Yeah, the loophole described above, where the BND neglects to erase the data gathered “accidentally” on German citizens, sure sounds awfully similar to the situation where the BND was “accidentally” capturing John Kerry’s and Hillary Clinton’s phone calls:

    The Verge
    Germany recorded John Kerry, Hillary Clinton phone calls ‘by accident’

    By Dante D’Orazio
    on August 16, 2014 10:25 am

    Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor, Hilary Clinton, were both caught up in German spy efforts, says a new report. According to German weekly Der Spiegel, the country’s foreign intelligence agency, BND, inadvertently recorded phone calls from both Secretaries of State.

    Details of the calls aren’t available, but the magazine repots that neither Kerry nor Clinton were targets of the BND. Instead, the two US officials were on calls that were caught up in the spy agency’s surveillance efforts in the Middle East. The Kerry call was recorded in 2013, while Clinton was tapped in a 2012 call with former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. The latter call, the magazine explains, was recorded as part of anti-terrorism efforts — apparently Clinton’s phone call was on the “same frequencies” as those targeted by the BND. The agency only later discovered what it had actually recorded, and, according to the report, sought to keep the surveillance of the US officials a secret. The recordings were then “immediately” destroyed.

    And then there’s the fact that the BND spy that was selling documents to the CIA, Markus R., was reportedly one of the BND agents tasked with deleting these “accidental” data acquisitions which he instead proceeded to sell to the CIA. And the recordings of Hillary Clinton’s phone calls were just one part of the document stash Markus R. sold to the CIA. So you have to wonder what else he sold them…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 30, 2014, 9:04 pm

Post a comment