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Snowden’s Ride, Part 3: Shearing the Piglet (“We’re Shocked, Shocked . . . .”)

Inspec­tor Rey­naud (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.)

COMMENT: Russ­ian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin had an amus­ing, sub­stan­tive com­ment about the obvi­ous spook oper­a­tion being con­ducted by Eddie “The Friendly Spook” Snow­den, which we have com­pared with the U-2 Inci­dent. Putin observed that the whole affair was “like shear­ing a piglet: all squeal­ing and no wool.”

Since the bulk of this has not only been known for years, but has been cov­ered by Mr. Emory in numer­ous broad­casts over the bet­ter part of two decades, the affair is obvi­ously being con­ducted for pro­pa­ganda pur­poses. The pri­mary tar­gets appear to be Pres­i­dent Obama, the United States and the United Kingdom. 

(This is not to say that there may be infor­ma­tion on Snowden’s lap­tops and/or flash­drives that could dam­age U.S. and U.K. intel­li­gence capa­bil­i­ties, but the infor­ma­tion sur­fac­ing so far is the squeal­ing of the piglet.)

The squeal­ing reminds us of the famous scene from the movie “Casablanca,” in which Inspec­tor Rey­naud (played by Claude Rains) shuts down Rick’s Cafe because he was; “Shocked, shocked to learn that there is gam­bling going on in this estab­lish­ment!” After he utters that line, the croupier approaches him and says; “Your win­nings, sir.”

In our cov­er­age of this affair, we have noted that other coun­tries, includ­ing and espe­cially Ger­many, do the same thing and that this, too, has been known for some time.  (See text excerpts below.) Mr. Emory has cov­ered this as well.

(Pre­vi­ous posts on the sub­ject are: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VII, Part VIII, Part IX.)

We note a num­ber of points to be con­sid­ered in the con­text of this “squeal­ing piglet”:

  • In the Der Spiegel arti­cle about NSA spy­ing on EU offices, it is noted that the tele­phone sys­tem was man­u­fac­tured by Siemens. Siemens is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with Ger­man intel­li­gence. It is the safest of bets that BND is tap­ping the phones, as well. As one of the Ger­man core cor­po­ra­tions, Siemens is also part of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work and the Under­ground Reich. (See text excerpt below.)
  • As noted in a German-Foreign-Policy.com post about Snowden’s Ride, Ger­man out­rage about the imbroglio is “feigned.” (See text excerpt below.)
  • Some of the most hys­ter­i­cal rhetoric has come from the French, who–as revealed in a Le Monde arti­cle–do exactly the same thing. (See text excerpt below.)
  • Euro­pean broad-based sur­veil­lance and meta­data har­vest­ing is at least equal to that of the United States. (See text excerpt below.)

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

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

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

EXCERPT: [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 . . .

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

EXCERPT: . . . . 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] . . .

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

EXCERPT: . . . 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. . . .

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

EXCERPT: 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. . . .

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

EXCERPT: 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. . . .

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

EXCERPT: 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.


14 comments for “Snowden’s Ride, Part 3: Shearing the Piglet (“We’re Shocked, Shocked . . . .”)”

  1. The door is still open in Germany:



    Pres­i­dent Nicolás Maduro has become the lat­est Latin Amer­i­can leader to offer safe haven to Edward Snow­den. But shouldn’t Ger­many also offer to take in the whistle­blower on human­i­tar­ian grounds? Many believe it should, but politi­cians fear the con­se­quences.
    ’There Is a Way to Bring Snow­den to Germany ’

    Mean­while, in Ger­many, where Snow­den exposed coop­er­a­tion between US and Ger­man intel­li­gence agen­cies whom he said were “in bed together,” the debate over whether Berlin should find a way to offer Snow­den asy­lum con­tin­ues to simmer.

    In a strongly worded text in its cur­rent issue, SPIEGEL asks, “Would it not be an act of human­ity to lib­er­ate him from his cur­rent state by, for exam­ple, offer­ing him asy­lum in Ger­many?” SPIEGEL writes that Snow­den could get to Ger­many from Moscow within a day — a stamp and a sig­na­ture would suf­fice for Snow­den to board the next plane to Ger­many and apply for asy­lum here.

    The mag­a­zine notes that Ger­man bor­der guards could reject him, but they aren’t required to. More likely is that Snow­den would imme­di­ately be taken into cus­tody because the US has filed a for­mal request for extra­di­tion. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment, how­ever, could inter­vene. Either way, a court would step in to review whether the Amer­i­can request could be fulfilled.

    Expe­ri­enced judges who deal with such sit­u­a­tions on a reg­u­lar basis are almost cer­tain, SPIEGEL reports, that the request for extra­di­tion would be rejected as invalid because the extra­di­tion treaty between Ger­many and the United States for­bids the trans­fer of peo­ple who are wanted for polit­i­cal crimes. Accord­ing to Niko­laos Gazeas, an expert on inter­na­tional law at the Uni­ver­sity of Cologne, the Ger­man inter­pre­ta­tion of trea­son is that it is a polit­i­cal offense.

    Still, as SPIEGEL points out, “there is a way to bring Edward Snow­den to Ger­many and to let him stay here. One just has to be will­ing to do it and to accept the sub­se­quent fury of the Americans.”

    But there’s a not a will­in­ge­ness to do so. “At the moment,” the mag­a­zine writes, “realpoli­tik means knuck­ling under to the Amer­i­cans because Ger­many is polit­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally depen­dent on the US and eco­nom­i­cally on the Chi­nese, which is why there is lit­tle objec­tion from Berlin on the issue of human rights. Ger­many is a coun­try that doesn’t dare any­thing. The Snow­den case also shows that Ger­many is a dwarf when it comes to world affairs.”

    dsl/SPIEGEL — with wires

    Posted by Swamp | July 9, 2013, 7:40 am
  2. @Swamp: It’ll be inter­est­ing to see what the Ger­man poli­cians’ response will be after the lat­est Snow­den inter­view. The inter­view was recorded back in May before the leak but just recently released:

    Snow­den blows lid on German-US intel ties
    Date 08.07.2013
    Author Diana Pessler / sst
    Edi­tor Ben Knight

    Whistle­blower and for­mer NSA con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den has said there are close ties between Ger­man and US intel­li­gence author­i­ties. Such secret coop­er­a­tion has been going on for decades, experts say.

    Edward Snow­den has done it again: after blow­ing the whis­tle on US secret ser­vice the National Secu­rity Agency (NSA), he told Ger­man news mag­a­zine Der Spiegel on Mon­day (08.07.2013), “They work hand in glove with Ger­man authorities.”

    Only last week, Ger­man author­i­ties had pre­tended they had been left in the dark about the sur­veil­lance pro­gram PRISM. The pres­i­dents of all three Ger­man secret ser­vices tes­ti­fied to that effect in front of a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee mon­i­tor­ing Ger­man intelligence.

    The panel’s chair­man, Thomas Opper­mann, a mem­ber of the oppo­si­tion Social Demo­c­ra­tic Party was always skep­ti­cal. Given that the NSA is said to have mon­i­tored some 500 mil­lion phone calls, text mes­sages, and emails per month, “I really can’t fathom that no one knew about this,” Opper­mann told DW. “In any case, US intel­li­gence oper­a­tions have got­ten out of hand.”

    Has Ger­many prof­ited from US spy­ing programs?

    Intel­li­gence expert Erich Schmidt-Eenboom doesn’t just believe that Ger­man author­i­ties knew very well about the US data col­lec­tion spree. He also thinks it pos­si­ble that Ger­man intel­li­gence prof­ited from the sur­veil­lance programs.

    Accord­ing to Schmidt-Eenboom, Ger­man author­i­ties have def­i­nitely prof­ited from such pro­grams “when it comes to inter­na­tional ter­ror­ism threats. The tech­ni­cal intel­li­gence author­i­ties of NATO states work closely together and are quite suc­cess­ful. And the [Ger­man for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vice] BND prof­its from it. That’s one rea­son why the vio­la­tions [of basic rights] by this part­ner haven’t been brought to light,” the ana­lyst told Ger­man broad­caster Deutschlandfunk.

    Intel­li­gence insid­ers and other experts are strik­ing a com­mon note on the recent media cov­er­age of the NSA: Ger­man author­i­ties depend strongly on coop­er­a­tion, because they don’t have the finan­cial or the per­son­nel resources, nor do they have the same far-reaching pow­ers of other intel­li­gence agencies.

    The agen­cies exchange “fin­ished intel­li­gence” reports — sum­ma­rized stud­ies derived from intel­li­gence “raw mate­ri­als,” Schmidt-Eenboom said. But things are dif­fer­ent when it comes to ter­ror­ism and early warn­ings. “If the NSA dis­cov­ers an acute threat, it will be sent imme­di­ately as an urgent mat­ter to the respec­tive Ger­man author­i­ties and to the Ger­man chancellor’s office.”

    A well-known exam­ple of such an exchange between friends is the case of the “Sauer­land group,” a ter­ror cell. Ger­many only got wind of the group’s planned ter­ror attacks when Amer­i­can intel­li­gence author­i­ties passed on infor­ma­tion they had found on the Internet.

    Coop­er­a­tion has been going on for decades

    But how does the coop­er­a­tion between Ger­man and US author­i­ties work? It’s clear that coop­er­a­tion inten­si­fied after the ter­ror attacks of Sep­tem­ber 11 shocked the world in 2001. In Octo­ber of that year, all NATO states — includ­ing Ger­many — agreed to expand intel­li­gence coop­er­a­tion. Some of that agree­ment is still secret.

    Accord­ing to Schmidt-Eenboom, there’s a long his­tory of US intel­li­gence in Ger­many. “Until 1968, the Allies had cer­tain rights that allowed them to inter­cept on a large scale.” Accord­ing to his­to­rian Joseph Fos­chep­oth, author of the study “Mon­i­tored Ger­many,” this right still exists. In 1968, the Ger­man gov­ern­ment agreed to a secret arrange­ment that still allows US intel­li­gence to carry out sur­veil­lance activ­i­ties in Germany.

    Snow­den has now also talked about an NSA sub­di­vi­sion — the “For­eign Affairs Direc­torate” — which is respon­si­ble for coop­er­a­tion with other coun­tries. Coop­er­a­tion would be orga­nized in such a way as to ensure that author­i­ties’ high-ranking politi­cians are pro­tected from a “back­lash,” mean­ing that gov­ern­ments are only partly — or not at all — informed about activities.

    Enlight­en­ing talks in Washington?

    Der Spiegel now men­tions another form of coop­er­a­tion: the NSA passed on pro­grams to the BND that were capa­ble of ana­lyz­ing for­eign data streams. That coop­er­a­tion was report­edly con­firmed by the BND’s pres­i­dent when he spoke before the par­lia­men­tary committee.

    But Opper­mann doesn’t think these bits of infor­ma­tion suf­fice — nei­ther in regards to the Ger­man or the US intel­li­gence author­i­ties. “Ulti­mately we want to know if it’s true what Snow­den said. It’s unac­cept­able that Snow­den holds the priv­i­lege of inter­pre­ta­tion for weeks on this mat­ter and we can’t check this with the Amer­i­cans.“

    It’s also inter­est­ing that the Snowden-affair started off as an enclu­sively US-focused domes­tic scan­dal and only came to include spy­ing on for­eign coun­tries as the story unfolded over the fol­low­ing weeks. And yet the inter­views where Snow­den dis­cusses close coop­er­a­tion between the NSA and BND were con­ducted before the story ever went pub­lic. The pub­lic calls for Was this an inten­tional setup to coax Euro­pean lead­ers into mak­ing denials that were going to be refuted later?

    This all raises an ques­tion that hasn’t been raised much dur­ing the entire Snowden-saga: If the US and UK have the most advanced spy­ing pro­grams in the world, but they’re also exten­sively shar­ing that data with allies, then when the pre­dictable back­lash hap­pens where the pub­lic demands that their gov­ern­ment cut ties with the NSA should we expect a sub­se­quent explo­sion in invest­ments in for­eign spy agen­cies? In other words, how many coun­tries have effec­tively out­sourced their global spy­ing to the NSA? And will that out­sourc­ing need to be replaced by more “in-house” domes­tic spy­ing pro­grams in the future as a result of these dis­clo­sures? Because, just as it would require a near rev­o­lu­tion for the US pub­lic to actu­ally over­whelm the grip that the US’s pri­va­tized national secu­rity state has on US policy-making, it’s also kind of absurd to assume that, for exam­ple, the EU isn’t going to be strongly invest­ing in mass sur­veil­lance going for­ward bar­ring some sort of EU-wide revolt against the EU’s own oli­garchs. So, bar­ring that oli­garch revolt *fin­gers crossed!*, the grow­ing EU spy-tech sec­tor might be a really good invest­ment going for­ward. It also might a great time for anti-virus soft­ware firms. There’s to be a lot more mini-NSA’s going forward.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 10, 2013, 2:13 pm
  3. @Pterrafractyl–

    The arti­cle quotes some of the same experts as the German-Foreign-Policy.com posts.

    Again, this is all for pub­lic consumption.

    It will be inter­est­ing to find out where it all goes.

    There is no rea­son to sus­pect that Ger­man intel­li­gence is any more respon­sive to pop­u­lar sentiment/democratic impulse than our intel­li­gence services.

    One won­ders, how­ever, if this will be used as an excuse to dimin­ish cooperation.

    And, of course, that Ger­man and U.S. intel­li­gence coop­er­ate is less than shocking.

    No men­tion of Mrs. Gehlen’s baby boy Reinhard.

    Even though this is all, past a point, the “(Y-A-W-N)” that I labeled it in the title of my first post, this is clearly an Under­ground Reich gambit.

    Peter Thiel is some­one who deserves scrutiny, as is Michael Morrell.

    Snow­den clearly had help and I doubt Chi­nese or Russ­ian intel was piv­otally involved, although cer­tainly interested.

    Down the line, after GOP is back in the driver’s seat and impos­ing “The Gospel Accord­ing to Charles Mur­ray,” some God-awful inci­dent will be allowed to go forward.

    Don’t be sur­prised to see it blamed on Obama, some­how, and with the Snow­den so-called dis­clo­sures being cited as part of the rea­son for a clamp-down.

    Keep up the good work,


    Posted by Dave Emory | July 10, 2013, 5:48 pm
  4. And now the US’s neigh­bors to the South gets their turn turn to be totally shocked:

    Report: U.S. spy­ing eyes energy info in Latin Amer­ica
    9:10 p.m. EDT July 9, 2013

    BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — A U.S. spy pro­gram is widely tar­get­ing data in emails and tele­phone calls across Latin Amer­ica, and is focus­ing on energy issues, not just infor­ma­tion related to mil­i­tary, polit­i­cal or ter­ror top­ics, a Brazil­ian news­pa­per reported Tuesday.

    The O Globo news­pa­per said it has access to some of the doc­u­ments released by National Secu­rity Agency leaker Edward Snow­den. The Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist who obtained the clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion from Snow­den lives in Brazil and is help­ing write sto­ries for the daily.

    O Globo pub­lished what it said are slides that Snow­den released indi­cat­ing the U.S. effort is gath­er­ing infor­ma­tion on energy in Mex­ico and oil in Venezuela. There was no infor­ma­tion released about what infor­ma­tion was obtained, nor any com­pa­nies that were targeted.

    The report also said that Colom­bia, the strongest U.S. mil­i­tary ally in South Amer­ica, along with Mex­ico and Brazil, were the coun­tries where the U.S. pro­gram inter­cepted the biggest chunks of infor­ma­tion on emails and tele­phone calls dur­ing the last five years. Sim­i­lar activ­i­ties took place in Argentina and Ecuador, among others.

    Fig­ures weren’t pub­lished on how many inter­cepts occurred.

    O Globo also reported that the doc­u­ments it’s seen indi­cate the U.S. had data col­lec­tion cen­ters in 2002 for mate­r­ial inter­cepted from satel­lites in Bogota, Cara­cas, Mex­ico City and Panama City, along with Brasilia. There was no infor­ma­tion pub­lished about the exis­tence of these cen­ters after 2002.

    Snowden’s dis­clo­sures indi­cate that the NSA widely col­lects phone and Inter­net “meta­data” — logs of mes­sage times, addresses and other infor­ma­tion rather than the con­tent of the mes­sages. The doc­u­ments have indi­cated that the NSA has been col­lect­ing the phone records of hun­dreds of mil­lions of U.S. phone cus­tomers, and has gath­ered data on phone and Inter­net usage out­side the U.S., includ­ing those peo­ple who use any of nine U.S.-based inter­net providers such as Google.

    Ear­lier, O Globo reported that in Brazil, the NSA col­lected data through an asso­ci­a­tion between U.S. and Brazil­ian telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies. It said it could not ver­ify which Brazil­ian com­pa­nies were involved or if they were even aware their links were being used to col­lect the data.

    The Brazil­ian gov­ern­ment is inves­ti­gat­ing the alleged links with telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions firms with a Brazil presence.

    Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Dilma Rouss­eff said any such activ­ity infringed upon the nation’s sov­er­eignty — and that Brazil would take the issue up at the United Nations.

    Brazil’s For­eign Min­is­ter Anto­nio Patri­ota said that “we’ve asked for a for­mal expla­na­tion from the United States and we’re await­ing that response.”

    Lead­ers in Mex­ico and Colom­bia didn’t imme­di­ately respond to requests for comment.

    Argentina Pres­i­dent Cristina Fer­nan­dez said she hopes lead­ers attend­ing a meet­ing this week of regional trade bloc Mer­co­sur “will take a strong stance against this and ask for expla­na­tions amid these rev­e­la­tions. More than rev­e­la­tions, they’re con­fir­ma­tions of what we already feared was hap­pen­ing.”

    Ecuador’s For­eign Min­is­ter Ricardo Patino said his nation wanted expla­na­tions from the U.S. He demanded that the spy­ing stop and said the U.N. should take up the matter.


    San­dra Borda, a pro­fes­sor of inter­na­tional rela­tions at the Uni­ver­sity of the Andes in Bogota, said the Colom­bian gov­ern­ment “isn’t going to say any­thing” about the alle­ga­tions, lead­ing her to think that Latin Amer­i­can gov­ern­ments with strong U.S. ties, such as Colom­bia and Mex­ico were aware of the pro­gram on some level.

    “It’s very likely that the type of infor­ma­tion that was being obtained through (the NSA pro­gram) is some­thing that was being done with … the autho­riza­tion, or done with the knowl­edge, of the gov­ern­ment,” she said.

    Also Tues­day, Venezuela’s Pres­i­dent Nico­las Maduro said that his coun­try received an asy­lum request from Snow­den. Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have said they would grant asy­lum to Snowden.

    “We have decided to give polit­i­cal asy­lum to young Edward Snow­den in the name of Venezuela for dig­nity, of an inde­pen­dent Venezuela,” Maduro said hours after the announce­ment was made, and rat­i­fy­ing his ear­lier offer for safe haven. He said that Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia, the coun­tries that have offered Snow­den asy­lum “are not afraid” of the United States.

    “The United States has entered into a crazy phase,” the pres­i­dent said at an event with the mil­i­tary. He also said that the “hys­ter­i­cal insan­ity of the elite who gov­ern the United States, against all the other coun­tries of the world, prac­ti­cally pro­voked the assas­si­na­tion of (Brazil­ian) Pres­i­dent Evo Morales.”


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 10, 2013, 6:42 pm
  5. @Dave: Last week we saw Germany’s inte­rior min­is­ter pub­licly rec­om­mended that Ger­man cit­i­zens “wor­ried about NSA spy­ing should just avoid using US web ser­vices all together”. The impli­ca­tion being, of course, that non-US web ser­vices are actu­ally pri­vate which is, of course, a joke. So if we see more stunts like that going for­ward some unin­ten­tional hilar­ity might ensue. Right now, the global dis­course is all focused on the NSA and the last the last thing most gov­ern­ments should want is a shift­ing global con­ver­sa­tion about all of the other global spy agen­cies that are rapidly try­ing to play ‘catch up’ with the NSA:

    The Finan­cial Times
    Spy­ing ques­tions emerge over Frankfurt’s data hub

    By Chris Bryant in Frank­furt, July 4, 2013 3:58 pm

    Adja­cent to the river Main docks in the east of Frank­furt, not far from where the new head­quar­ters of the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank are near­ing com­ple­tion, inter­net traf­fic from around the globe con­verges at an exchange.

    In an unas­sum­ing ware­house ringed by 4m-high fences and secu­rity cam­eras, data hops from one net­work to another via switch­ing points con­tained in large cab­i­nets full of blink­ing LED lights and yel­low fibre optic cables.

    The process is not unlike the way air­lines use nearby Frank­furt air­port so their pas­sen­gers can change aircraft.

    Thanks to Frankfurt’s geo­graph­i­cal posi­tion link­ing east and west and the pres­ence of a large finan­cial cen­tre, more inter­net data passes through the Frank­furt DE-CIX exchange each day than at any other switch­ing point in the world; some 2.5 ter­abits per sec­ond at peak times.

    This is even more than rival inter­net exchanges in Lon­don and Ams­ter­dam. Par­ti­san Ger­man media there­fore pro­claim Frank­furt the “global cap­i­tal of the internet”.

    But this week Der Spiegel mag­a­zine obtained doc­u­ments from Edward Snow­den, the intel­li­gence con­trac­tor turned whistle­blower, which sug­gested the US National Secu­rity Agency has gained access to the Frank­furt hub’s gar­gan­tuan data stream. The mag­a­zine did not say how the NSA had achieved this.

    Insid­ers con­firmed to Spiegel that the NSA’s inter­est is in the traf­fic that arrives at Frank­furt and other exchanges in south­ern Ger­many from east­ern Europe and Rus­sia, as well as the Mid­dle East.

    The mag­a­zine reported that since Decem­ber the NSA has obtained around 500m com­mu­ni­ca­tions meta­data a month from Ger­many as part of its Bound­less Infor­mant spy­ing pro­gramme, far more than it obtained France or Italy.

    Amid sim­i­lar claims that Britain’s GCHQ spy agency is also har­vest­ing data from sub­sea fibre optic cables these reports sug­gest the phys­i­cal infra­struc­ture that makes up the inter­net is a high-value tar­get for global intel­li­gence agencies.

    Frankfurt’s huge inter­net hub likely explains why on an NSA “heat map” obtained by the Guardian news­pa­per, Ger­many is the only Euro­pean coun­try marked yel­low – indi­cat­ing a high level of surveillance.

    Although Ger­many and the US co-operate exten­sively on intel­li­gence mat­ters, the part­ner­ship is not as deep as that between the US and UK. Ger­many is clas­si­fied by the US as a “third-class” part­ner and there­fore sub­ject to pos­si­ble surveillance.

    In a coun­try that had more than its fill of spy­ing under the east-German com­mu­nist regime, the reports have trig­gered a pub­lic and polit­i­cal furore.

    Hans-Peter Friedrich, Ger­man inte­rior min­is­ter, said Ger­man author­i­ties had found no evi­dence of NSA sur­veil­lance at the Frank­furt site. Still, he added: “If a for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vice were to tap inter­net nodes in Frank­furt it would be a vio­la­tion of our sovereignty.”

    Ger­man busi­ness is also alarmed about the pos­si­bil­ity that the country’s trea­sured indus­trial secrets could find their way into US hands.

    Ste­fan Mair, at the Fed­er­a­tion of Ger­man Indus­try (BDI), said media reports about US sur­veil­lance were “con­cern­ing” but “at the moment we don’t know to what degree Ger­man com­pa­nies are affected by the NSA activities”.

    US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama tried to allay some of these fears in a call with Angela Merkel, the Ger­man chan­cel­lor, on Wednes­day say­ing he “takes seri­ously the con­cerns of our Euro­pean allies and part­ners”. For her part, the Ger­man chan­cel­lor con­ceded ear­lier this week that har­ness­ing online intel­li­gence is impor­tant in the fight against terrorism.

    Indeed, the BND, Germany’s for­eign intel­li­gence agency, is per­mit­ted by law to sieve through up to 20 per cent of the country’s inter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tions. It does this by search­ing for hun­dreds of sus­pi­cious terms related to the traf­fick­ing of drugs, arms and peo­ple, money laun­der­ing and terrorism.

    How­ever, due to tech­ni­cal and finan­cial lim­i­ta­tions Ger­many cur­rently scans about 5 per cent of the inter­net traf­fic cross­ing its ter­ri­tory, gov­ern­ment offi­cials say.

    It is not known if the BND has installed mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment at the Frank­furt exchange and Ger­man law pro­hibits the exchange’s oper­a­tors from com­ment­ing on the matter.

    But the own­ers and oper­a­tors of DE-CIX are allowed to talk about for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vices and they are adamant that the NSA and oth­ers are not tap­ping its exchange. “If a for­eign intel­li­gence agency was har­vest­ing data from our exchange then we would know about it,” says Arnold Nip­per, founder and chief tech­nol­ogy offi­cer. “Our tech­ni­cians are on site every day; if some­one put in a cable we would see.”

    Andrew Blum, author of Tubes, a book about the infra­struc­ture of the inter­net, is also puz­zled by the Spiegel claims. “Say­ing the NSA is tap­ping all of DE-CIX is like say­ing the FBI is some­how search­ing every sin­gle pas­sen­ger that passes through Frank­furt airport?.?.?.?Having seen the place up close I’m very scep­ti­cal of the notion of whole­sale tap­ping,” he says.

    That is because a spy agency would have to pen­e­trate not one, but hun­dreds of fibre optic cables at mul­ti­ple sites. In addi­tion, a big chunk of traf­fic is exchanged not via the Frank­furt hub but bilat­er­ally between tech com­pa­nies which rent data cen­tre space near the node, in a process known as peer­ing. Seiz­ing all of this would be a mam­moth and con­spic­u­ous task, Mr Nip­per of DE-CIX says.


    It looks likely that Ger­many is going to try to brand itself as the “privacy-safe” *snicker* alter­na­tive coun­try to route your dig­i­tal data through (which would be quite a boon for the Ger­man web sec­tor). Since such assur­ances are obvi­ously a joke (bar­ring a EU revolt against the oli­garchs), it raises an inter­est­ing ques­tion for non-German busi­nesses and cit­i­zens con­cerned about spy­ing: con­sid­er­ing that Ger­many has been exe­cut­ing a barely-stealth eco­nomic con­quest of the EU, is a ran­dom EU busi­ness more threat­ened by spy­ing by the NSA or the BND?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 10, 2013, 7:35 pm
  6. @Pterrafractyl–

    It sounds, of course, like BND is the REAL cul­prit in the inter­na­tional sur­veil­lance game.

    Com­mer­cial traf­fic is key and fun­da­men­tal to world affairs.

    I also think your obser­va­tion about Snowden’s ride gen­er­at­ing an attempt by EU/Germany to co-opt U.S. web traf­fic busi­ness is substantive.

    That is in keep­ing with their modus operandi.

    BTW–just check out the lat­est post, to get an idea where “eco­nomic con­trol auto­mat­i­cally yields polit­i­cal con­trol,” as Dor­thy Thomp­son wrote, can yield.




    Posted by Dave Emory | July 10, 2013, 8:46 pm
  7. And now, in addi­tion to EU Par­lia­men­tary threats of data-sharing sus­pen­sions with the US, Merkel’s FPD part­ners are pres­sur­ing her to put Trans-Atlantic data-sharing “on ice” until they get answers about Snowden’s dis­lo­sures:

    Irish Times
    Pres­sure builds in Ger­many over Edward Snow­den claims
    Angela Merkel under pres­sure to demand a freeze on transat­lantic data-sharing
    Thu, Jul 11, 2013, 10:00

    Ger­man chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel is fac­ing domes­tic pres­sure to demand a freeze on transat­lantic data-sharing until Wash­ing­ton explains claims by National Secu­rity Agency whistle­blower Edward Snow­den about mas­sive data-collation.

    As her inte­rior min­is­ter flies to Wash­ing­ton today for talks, Dr Merkel tells today’s Stern mag­a­zazine she “first took note” of the alleged prac­tices through media reports. Her Free Demo­c­rat (FDP) coali­tion part­ner has decided to crank up the pres­sure in what is an area of tra­di­tional impor­tance to the party and its core voters.

    Jus­tice min­is­ter Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a senior FDP fig­ure, called the Snow­den alle­ga­tions “a Hollywood-style night­mare”. Going even fur­ther is Hart­frid Wolff, the FDP’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the Bun­destag com­mit­tee respon­si­ble for over­see­ing Germany’s intel­li­gence ser­vice (BND).

    “Amer­ica wants to have cer­tain data, for instance flight (passene­grr) data, but if this is how Amer­ica deals with its part­ners then we in Europe have to ask whether this is how we define a part­ner­ship with sen­si­ble stan­dards,” he told The Irish Times. “If we don’t get any sat­is­fac­tion then we should put data-sharing on ice.”


    He said the Snow­den alle­ga­tions appeared to con­firm decade-old “sus­pi­cions” and “fears” in the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee of wide­spreed secret-service siphon­ing of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions data. “But what is tech­ni­cally pos­si­ble does not always have to be per­miss­able,” he said.


    A week ago, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment adopted a cross-party motion back­ing the sus­pen­sion of data-sharing deals. Euro­pean home affairs com­mis­sioner Cecilia Wall­ström has stressed the need for “com­plete trans­parency” in an ongo­ing review with the US of data-exchange pro­grammes of flight data and ter­ror­ist financing.

    “Con­sid­er­ing the con­text in which these con­ver­sa­tions will take place, we count on the US’s full co-operation in dis­clos­ing and shar­ing all rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion,” she said.

    Inter­net providers here say the Snow­den affair has exposed the yawn­ing gap in Ger­many between the prin­ci­ple of tight pri­vacy laws and the real­ity: a cul­ture of def­er­ence when the BND comes call­ing. “If a court order comes, a provider is obliged to hand con­trol of a line to the intel­li­gence ser­vice,” said Klaus Land­feld­board, mem­ber of the Ger­man Inter­net Provider Assocation.

    There are no checks and bal­ances to ensure the BND is not sav­ing more infor­ma­tion from a line than a court order per­mits, he said, nor what hap­pens to the data recorded. “The BND is sup­posed to be con­trolled by the Bun­destag con­trol com­mit­tee,” he said, “but com­mit­tee mem­bers have no way of know­ing any­thing more than what the BND chooses to tell them.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 11, 2013, 1:24 pm
  8. Well this is inter­est­ing: So last week it was reported that Snow­den had actu­ally been stay­ing in the Russ­ian con­sulate for sev­eral days while in Hong Kong:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post
    Report: Snow­den stayed at Russ­ian con­sulate while in Hong Kong
    By Will Englund, Pub­lished: August 26

    MOSCOW — Before Amer­i­can fugi­tive Edward Snow­den arrived in Moscow in June — an arrival that Russ­ian offi­cials have said caught them by sur­prise — he spent sev­eral days liv­ing at the Russ­ian Con­sulate in Hong Kong, a Moscow news­pa­per reported Monday.

    The arti­cle in Kom­m­er­sant, based on accounts from sev­eral unnamed sources, did not state clearly when Snow­den decided to seek Russ­ian help in leav­ing Hong Kong, where he was in hid­ing to evade arrest by U.S. author­i­ties on charges that he leaked top-secret doc­u­ments about U.S. sur­veil­lance programs.

    The dis­clo­sure of the doc­u­ments brought world­wide scrutiny of U.S. spy­ing efforts and trig­gered a vig­or­ous debate in Con­gress about whether and under what cir­cum­stances the gov­ern­ment should gather data on phone calls and e-mails.

    Snow­den arrived in Moscow on June 23 and spent more than a month stranded at Shereme­tyevo Inter­na­tional Air­port, with his U.S. pass­port revoked and Wash­ing­ton urg­ing other coun­tries not to accept him.

    On Aug. 1, Rus­sia granted him tem­po­rary asy­lum, anger­ing the United States. The 30-year-old for­mer intel­li­gence ana­lyst is now liv­ing in Moscow.

    Kom­m­er­sant reported Mon­day that Snow­den pur­chased a ticket June 21 to travel on Aeroflot, Russia’s national air­line, from Hong Kong to Havana, through Moscow. He planned to fly from Havana to Ecuador or some other Latin Amer­i­can country.

    That same day, he cel­e­brated his 30th birth­day at the Russ­ian Con­sulate in Hong Kong, the paper said — although sev­eral days ear­lier he had had an antic­i­pa­tory birth­day pizza with his lawyers at a pri­vate house.

    Kom­m­er­sant cited con­flict­ing accounts as to what brought Snow­den to the con­sulate, on the 21st floor of a sky­scraper in a fash­ion­able neigh­bor­hood. It quoted a Russ­ian close to the Snow­den case as say­ing that the for­mer NSA con­trac­tor arrived on his own ini­tia­tive and asked for help. But a West­ern offi­cial also inter­viewed by the news­pa­per alleged that Rus­sia had invited him.

    The Russ­ian For­eign Min­istry on Mon­day did not imme­di­ately respond to a request for com­ment on the article.

    Until now, Russ­ian offi­cials have said that Snowden’s arrival in Moscow was a sur­prise, and not entirely welcome.

    “It is true that Mr. Snow­den arrived in Moscow, which was com­pletely unex­pected for us,” Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin told reporters in Fin­land in late June.

    “[W]e were unaware he was com­ing here,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Wall Street Jour­nal on June 24.


    The arti­cle implies that Snowden’s deci­sion to seek Russ­ian help came after he was joined in Hong Kong by Sarah Har­ri­son, a Wik­iLeaks staff mem­ber who became his adviser and later flew to Moscow with him.

    Har­ri­son, the arti­cle sug­gests, had a role in mak­ing the plans. The arti­cle noted a state­ment released by Wik­iLeaks on June 23, shortly after the Aeroflot flight left Chi­nese air­space, which said Snow­den was head­ing to a des­ti­na­tion where his safety could be guaranteed.

    So the Rus­sians are assert­ing that Snow­den just showed up to the Russ­ian con­sulate on his own while a “West­ern offi­cial” is alleg­ing that the Rus­sians invited him amidst a gen­eral sus­pi­cion that that Sarah Har­ri­son of Wik­iLeaks played a role in estab­lish­ing the rela­tion­ship (which seems pos­si­ble).

    And now today, we’re told in an inter­view of Putin today that Snow­den never offered to hand over any secret infor­ma­tion to the Rus­sians and the Rus­sians never took any (maybe Israel Shamir just handed them over instead, heh). But he did ask for help from the Rus­sians in Hong Kong:

    Sep­tem­ber 4, 2013, 2:34 PM

    Putin Says Snow­den Was In Touch Before Com­ing To Rus­sia
    The Wall Street Jour­nal
    By Lukas I. Alpert

    MOSCOW—Russian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin has admit­ted that Edward Snow­den con­tacted Russ­ian diplo­mats in Hong Kong a few days before board­ing a plane to Moscow but that no agree­ment was reached to shel­ter him and he decided to come to Rus­sia on his own with­out warning.

    Mr. Putin had ini­tially said Mr. Snowden’s arrival at Moscow’s Shereme­tyevo Inter­na­tional Air­port on June 23 was a “com­plete sur­prise,” but now acknowl­edges that he had some prior knowl­edge that the fugi­tive for­mer U.S. National Secu­rity Agency con­trac­tor might be headed Russia’s way.

    “Mr. Snow­den first appeared in Hong Kong and met with our diplo­matic rep­re­sen­ta­tives. It was reported to me that there was such an employee, an employee of the secu­rity ser­vices. I asked ‘What does he want?’ He fights for human rights, for free­dom of infor­ma­tion and chal­lenges vio­la­tions of human rights and vio­la­tions of the law in the United States. I said, ‘So what?’,” Mr. Putin said in an inter­view with Russia’s Chan­nel One and The Asso­ci­ated Press.

    He said he had been will­ing to allow Mr. Snow­den to come to Rus­sia but only if he stopped leak­ing highly clas­si­fied details of U.S. intel­li­gence programs.

    “If he wants to stay with us, please, he can stay with us, but only if he stops any activ­ity that could destroy Russian-American rela­tions. We are not an NGO, we have the inter­ests of the state and we do not want to dam­age our rela­tions with the U.S.,” he said. “He was told about it and he replied ‘I am a fighter for human rights and I urge you to fight with me. I said ‘No, we won’t fight, you are on your own.’ And he left.”

    The Russ­ian leader said the next time he heard about Mr. Snow­den was two hours before the Aeroflot flight that brought him to Moscow was due to land. He had ini­tially planned to con­nect with a flight to Cuba and ulti­mately to Ecuador where he had been promised asy­lum, but was stopped in his tracks when the U.S. voided his passport.


    “We do not pro­tect Snow­den. We are pro­tect­ing cer­tain norms of rec­i­p­ro­cal rela­tions between two coun­tries,” he said, while rais­ing the pos­si­bil­ity that an agree­ment could be reached.

    “It’s clear we will not give him up, he can feel safe here. But what’s next?” Mr. Putin said. “Maybe some com­pro­mises will be found in this case.”

    Mr. Putin said he didn’t fully under­stand Mr. Snowden’s think­ing, and called him “a strange guy.”


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 4, 2013, 12:45 pm
  9. Also, regard­ing the ques­tion of whether or not Snow­den con­tacted the Russ­ian con­sulate in Hong Kong, note that Green­wald claimed that the Kom­m­er­sant story was fab­ri­cated and never hap­pened. If that’s true, Putin was hav­ing quite the spy-fun in that inter­view.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 4, 2013, 1:41 pm
  10. And another fol­low up on the Russ­ian con­sulate mys­tery: Snowden’s lawyer, Ana­toly Kucher­ena also denied that Snow­den vis­ited any diplo­matic mis­sions or talked to any diplo­mats in Hong Kong:

    Edward Snow­den did not stay at Russ­ian con­sulate in Hong Kong: Lawyer
    AFP Aug 31, 2013, 02.28PM IST

    A lawyer for US intel­li­gence leaker Edward Snow­den has denied reports that the fugi­tive had stayed at the Russ­ian con­sulate in Hong Kong before his arrival in Moscow, accord­ing to an inter­view pub­lished on Saturday.

    “Edward told me that he never vis­ited any diplo­matic mis­sions and that all this is inac­cu­rate. He never had any talks with our diplo­mats while in Hong Kong,” Ana­toly Kucher­ena told the Kom­m­er­sant newspaper.

    On Mon­day Kom­m­er­sant, cit­ing a source close to Snow­den, said that he had spent sev­eral days at the Russ­ian gen­eral con­sulate in Hong Kong before board­ing an Aeroflot flight to Moscow in late June.

    A West­ern source con­firmed the infor­ma­tion to the news­pa­per, adding that the West thought it was pos­si­ble that Russ­ian author­i­ties had invited Snow­den to come to Russia.

    And a source in the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment con­firmed to Kom­m­er­sant that Snow­den was at the Russ­ian con­sulate in Hong Kong for two days until he left for Moscow, but said he had turned up uninvited.

    In the inter­view pub­lished on Sat­ur­day, how­ever, Snowden’s lawyer said that “he and his friends stayed at a hotel there... He under­stood he is being chased, so he moved often.”

    Snow­den ended up spend­ing more than a month in the tran­sit zone of Shereme­tyevo air­port in Moscow until Rus­sia gave him asy­lum. The move led to a new cri­sis in ties between Moscow and Washington.

    Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin had said Snow­den arrived in Rus­sia unin­vited and would leave as soon as pos­si­ble. He also has said that the for­mer NSA con­trac­tor is wel­come to stay as long as he stops leak­ing US intelligence.


    An inter­est­ing twist in this appar­ent dis­pute between Snowden’s team and the US and Rus­sia gov­ern­ment sources for that Kom­m­er­sant arti­cle is that Snowden’s lawyer, Ana­toly Kucher­ena, has deep ties to the Krem­lin:

    The New York Times
    Snowden’s Lawyer Comes With High Pro­file and Krem­lin Ties

    Pub­lished: July 27, 2013

    MOSCOW — Ana­toly Kucher­ena did not under­stand the e-mail he received this month, signed Edward Joseph Snow­den. So he turned to an assis­tant in his law firm who speaks Eng­lish. “I asked Valentina, ‘Is it a joke?’ ” Mr. Kucher­ena said. It was not.

    The e-mail has since thrust Mr. Kucher­ena into the cen­ter of the fight over the fate of Mr. Snow­den, the for­mer intel­li­gence con­trac­tor wanted in the United States for dis­clos­ing the National Secu­rity Agency’s sur­veil­lance efforts. Days after he joined a group of Russ­ian pub­lic fig­ures at a sur­real meet­ing in the inter­na­tional tran­sit lounge of Shereme­tyevo air­port on July 12, Mr. Snow­den asked Mr. Kucher­ena to take up his case for polit­i­cal asy­lum here. And he agreed, pro bono.

    That has made him the archi­tect of Mr. Snowden’s effort to remain in Rus­sia, and effec­tively his unex­pected pub­lic cham­pion. Since he is one of the few peo­ple who meet with Mr. Snow­den, he has been besieged for updates in the pro­ceed­ings — a deci­sion, which had been expected immi­nently, could now be weeks away — and also for hints to his client’s strat­egy and mood as his odyssey unfolds.


    It was Mr. Kucher­ena who coun­seled Mr. Snow­den to aban­don his appeals for polit­i­cal asy­lum in more than 20 other coun­tries, argu­ing that they had no legal stand­ing while he remained on Russ­ian soil. Instead he helped Mr. Snow­den file the request for a form of tem­po­rary refuge here to avoid a drawn-out review that would ulti­mately end up on the desk of Pres­i­dent Vladimir V. Putin.


    Mr. Kucherena’s role has increased his promi­nence in Rus­sia. Like many defense lawyers in a coun­try where jus­tice is viewed as deeply politi­cized, he occu­pies an occa­sion­ally awk­ward space between chal­leng­ing author­ity and being part of the sys­tem itself. At the same time, he is a polit­i­cal sup­porter of Mr. Putin’s and serves on the Pub­lic Cham­ber, an advi­sory body that crit­ics have long derided as a Potemkin con­struct of actual gov­ern­ment over­sight. He also serves as a mem­ber of another board that over­sees the Fed­eral Secu­rity Ser­vice, or F.S.B.

    Those roles have prompted accu­sa­tions that the Krem­lin is orches­trat­ing events behind the scenes and that Mr. Kucher­ena has ties to the author­i­ties or the secu­rity ser­vice itself, which he dis­puted. He said he had had no con­tact with any­one in power since Mr. Snow­den hired him and he noted that his pre­vi­ous clients included those who stood accused by the F.S.B., includ­ing a diplo­mat and writer named Pla­ton Obukhov, who was con­victed of spy­ing for Britain in 2001 though later was declared psy­cho­log­i­cally unfit to serve his sen­tence behind bars.

    Mr. Kucher­ena said Mr. Snow­den, who has been fol­low­ing the news about his case intently on his com­puter in a hotel at the air­port, com­plained to him that such asser­tions were meant to dis­credit him and his case, espe­cially at home in the United States.

    Only Mr. Snow­den knows why he set­tled on Mr. Kucher­ena to rep­re­sent him. But he was one of two lawyers, along with Genri M. Reznik, who attended the air­port meet­ing along with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of advo­cacy groups like Amnesty Inter­na­tional and Human Rights Watch that have faced harass­ment from the author­i­ties, espe­cially since Mr. Putin returned to the pres­i­dency for a third term last year.

    Mr. Snow­den selected those who attended from a list drafted at his request by offi­cials from the bor­der police who con­trol access to the tran­sit lounge. Tanya Lok­shina of Human Rights Watch, who also attended, described Mr. Kucher­ena as a capa­ble lawyer who also remained a “staunch loy­al­ist” of the Krem­lin.

    “He por­trays him­self and is being por­trayed by the Krem­lin as an inde­pen­dent actor and one of the pil­lars of the Russ­ian legal com­mu­nity,” she said, adding that he was “one of those fig­ures whom the Krem­lin pushes for­ward when accused of sti­fling civil society.”


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 4, 2013, 2:47 pm
  11. Fol­low­ing the lat­est reports of US spy­ing on Brazil and Mex­ico, Brazil’s Sen­ate has now opened an inves­ti­ga­tion into US spy­ing and their first act was to call for Fed­eral police pro­tec­tion for Glenn Green­wald. Brazil is also can­cel­ing a diplo­matic trip to the US. NSA whistle­blower William Binny was recently inter­viewed and asked about issues like inter­na­tional spy­ing and the pro­posed no spy­ing agree­ment between the US and Ger­many. Bin­ney describes Snowden’s rev­e­la­tions as com­pletely unsur­pris­ing and just the tip of the ice­berg. He also describes inter­na­tional spy­ing as a nor­mal thing nations do. It’s worth read­ing:

    Snow­den leaks only tip of the iceberg

    Date 05.09.2013
    Author Inter­view: Michael Knigge
    Edi­tor Rob Mudge

    A for­mer NSA tech­ni­cal direc­tor tells DW that the rev­e­la­tions by for­mer NSA con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den do not reveal the full extent of NSA sur­veil­lance. He also explains why he is hope­ful that Con­gress will finally act.

    William Bin­ney worked for the NSA for almost 40 years, serv­ing as tech­ni­cal direc­tor of its World Geopo­lit­i­cal and Mil­i­tary Analy­sis Work­ing Group. The crypto-mathematician retired in 2001. Before and after his retire­ment Bin­ney went to Con­gress to raise his con­cerns about the agency. Dur­ing a leak inves­ti­ga­tion in 2007 Binney’s home was raided by the FBI. Three years later he received a let­ter of immu­nity from the US Depart­ment of Justice.

    DW: In response to the rev­e­la­tions about the NSA‘s sur­veil­lance activ­i­ties in Ger­many, the US offered the Ger­man gov­ern­ment to nego­ti­ate a no-spy agree­ment between the NSA and the Ger­man for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vice BND. How use­ful is such an agreement?

    William Bin­ney: It’s hard to say. It depends on what is in the agree­ment, what it says and what it com­mits the par­ties to.

    What would have to be in such a no-spy agree­ment, how would it have to phrased and imple­mented to ful­fill its intended purpose?

    They would have to make a uni­ver­sal pledge and say that one would not col­lect the infor­ma­tion of the other. But you see there is a lot of com­mon inter­est that goes through this here. For exam­ple in ter­ror­ism and coun­tert­er­ror­ism that could be any­where in the world, so that would still have to have agree­ments that would say you could fol­low that kind of activ­ity wher­ever it went whether it was in Ger­many or the United States. And any part­ner could fol­low that so if one detected a ter­ror­ist threat they could alert the oth­ers. That would have to be built into the agree­ments that that kind of thing could happen.

    The coor­di­na­tor of Ger­man intel­li­gence ser­vices has said that since both the Amer­i­can NSA and the British GCHQ had declared in writ­ing that they did not vio­late Ger­man national law and were not con­duct­ing mass sur­veil­lance in Ger­many, the debate about the NSA should be over. What’s your take on that?

    I am not famil­iar with Ger­man law so I couldn’t really say what that law restricts in terms of col­lec­tion of infor­ma­tion about indi­vid­ual cit­i­zens of your coun­try. But it’s going to be hard to write up some kind of agree­ment that would get the par­ties to agree on because the inter­na­tional web is such that infor­ma­tion on all kinds of coun­tries goes every­where vir­tu­ally in the web. So you can pick that infor­ma­tion up anywhere.

    Gen­er­ally speak­ing what hap­pens is ser­vice providers look for the cheap­est way to send their infor­ma­tion around the world to get it to where it has to go. So in that case it means that those who lease the fiber-optic lines the cheap­est are usu­ally the ones that are filled up first. And those could be any­where. One coun­try may have a lower rate today than the next. And tomor­row it may be the reverse. So that could vary and that would change the rout­ing around the world. And if peo­ple are look­ing to find ter­ror­ism in any of this com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work that is set up then they have to look in many places and when they do they are going to come across this mate­r­ial and it’s going to be hard to sort out.

    How close is the rela­tion­ship between the NSA and the BND?

    That has evolved over decades. Orig­i­nally it started with the coop­er­a­tive agree­ments form­ing NATO and then as NATO grew, the agree­ments grew. And the com­mon inter­ests among all the part­ners in NATO gov­erned basi­cally what they coop­er­ated on, so intel­li­gence became a part of that. And over decades that evolved into a greater coop­er­a­tion and now with the inter­na­tional threats of ter­ror­ism and var­i­ous other inter­na­tional ille­gal activ­i­ties like weapons smug­gling, I am sure that that coop­er­a­tion has extended there. So it’s becom­ing more of a coop­er­a­tive effort on many dif­fer­ent fronts I think.

    Accord­ing to recent reports, the NSA spied on the gov­ern­ments of Brazil and Mex­ico as well as the French for­eign min­istry. It also allegedly bugged and infil­trated UN and EU insti­tu­tions. How real­is­tic is it that the NSA also mon­i­tors the Ger­man government?

    I think it’s prob­a­bly true that every gov­ern­ment in the world tries to find out infor­ma­tion about other gov­ern­ments in the world just to see what their per­spec­tive is on it and if there is any­thing of inter­est that might change the pol­icy of one gov­ern­ment and then cre­ate a more favor­able atmos­phere for agree­ments between the coun­tries. I don’t think it’s mali­cious or any­thing, I think it’s more of an inten­tion to under­stand the part­ners. But I think every gov­ern­ment in the world ever since they started their diplo­matic mis­sions to coun­tries, those have been col­lect­ing infor­ma­tion about other gov­ern­ments so that they can feed their gov­ern­ments so they bet­ter under­stand one another or at least know their positions.

    Ger­man com­pa­nies are increas­ingly wor­ried about eco­nomic espi­onage which is ris­ing dra­mat­i­cally. The head of Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice said recently he had no indi­ca­tion of eco­nomic espi­onage by West­ern ser­vices. Is that cor­rect from your understanding?

    As far as I know it is. But the prob­lem I see is one of trust. Because over here we have a lot of con­trac­tors that work for com­pa­nies, man­ag­ing these data­bases and datasets that are basi­cally the col­lec­tion of what’s going on in the world. So there is a hid­den dan­ger there as to whether or not those peo­ple do things for their com­pa­nies to gain lever­age in any kind of bid­ding on con­tracts or some­thing. There is a fun­da­men­tal and inher­ent dan­ger of that kind of activ­ity going on. It requires trust. And when you look around you say how many peo­ple can you trust in our gov­ern­ment and I would say not very many. Because we don’t get told the truth a lot over here.

    All of the rev­e­la­tions we have talked about basi­cally stem from the Snow­den doc­u­ments. You left the NSA in 2001. Were you sur­prised by any of his revelations?

    No, not at all. My basic under­stand­ing was that all that was hap­pen­ing and much more. He hasn’t really got­ten into the extent of what’s really going on. He has only cov­ered part of it.

    Are you say­ing this is only the tip of the ice­berg and there is a lot more to be revealed that we don’t expect?

    Yes. And in fact mem­bers of Con­gress have said sim­i­lar things after they have got­ten briefed recently. Now I think our Con­gress is get­ting to under­stand the extent of what has been going on a lit­tle bit bet­ter. They had no idea before, many of them.

    And Snow­den, at least so far and as far as I have seen, has only had in my view a cer­tain lim­ited view into what’s been happening.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 5, 2013, 9:04 am
  12. Heh, I never noticed this before: Back when Ger­many was try­ing to get clar­i­fi­ca­tion on the mys­tery of the mul­ti­ple Prisms, the offi­cial NSA reponse to Ger­many regard­ing the mul­ti­ple Prism pro­grams actu­ally explic­itly said there were three sep­a­rate unre­lated pro­grams. And it’s not even clear of that is sup­posed to include the Palan­tir ver­sion of PRISM. So are there now sup­pos­edly four Prisms?

    Der Spiegel
    Three Dif­fer­ent Prisms? Par­lia­ment Seeks Clar­ity in NSA Scan­dal
    July 26, 2013 – 12:33 PM
    By Veit Medick and Philipp Wittrock

    A Thurs­day meet­ing in Ger­man par­lia­ment was sup­posed to shed light on NSA sur­veil­lance activ­i­ties in Ger­many. It only added to the mys­tery. A US response to a Berlin inquiry claims that there are actu­ally three unre­lated Prism programs.

    The meet­ing lasted for three hours, par­tially the result of the com­plex nature of the mate­r­ial being addressed. The oppres­sive heat hang­ing over Berlin this week didn’t help.

    “Mr. Prism is an impor­tant wit­ness,” Hans-Christian Strö­bele said into the micro­phone, adding that he would love to ask “Mr. Prism” a few ques­tions. Strö­bele is the senior Green Party rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Par­lia­men­tary Con­trol Panel, the body in the Bun­destag assigned to keep tabs on the activ­i­ties of Germany’s intel­li­gence agen­cies. And the hot weather would seem to be tak­ing its toll. He was refer­ring to Edward Snow­den, the for­mer US intel­li­gence offi­cer who revealed the full extent of Amer­i­can data sur­veil­lance oper­a­tions to the world in June and who is still stuck in the tran­sit area of Moscow’s inter­na­tional airport.

    When he was made aware of his slip-up, Strö­bele grabbed his head. But he is far from the only one who is hav­ing a hard time keep­ing things straight these days. It seems that hardly a week goes by with­out the name of yet another top-secret com­puter pro­gram hit­ting the head­lines — com­bined with accu­sa­tions, asser­tions and denials. The spy­ing scan­dal focused on the activ­i­ties of the US National Secu­rity Agency (NSA) has con­tin­ued even as Berlin pol­i­tics slows down for the sum­mer break.

    On Thurs­day, for the fifth time since the first rev­e­la­tions from Snow­den were pub­lished in the begin­ning of June, the Par­lia­men­tary Con­trol Panel met, and there were hopes that it might finally shed some light onto the true nature of Germany’s coop­er­a­tion with the NSA. Snow­den, of course, wasn’t present. Instead, Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Ronald Pofalla — who is the senior Chan­cellery offi­cial tasked with coor­di­nat­ing Germany’s intel­li­gence activ­i­ties — was there.

    An Ana­lyt­i­cal Tool

    So too were the heads of Germany’s domes­tic and for­eign intel­li­gence agen­cies, there to pro­vide more infor­ma­tion about the pro­grams they use. Accord­ing to those present at the closed-door meet­ing, the offi­cials pre­sented sev­eral dif­fer­ent types of soft­ware that are already in use or are planned, spend­ing exten­sive time dis­cussing the pro­gram XKeyscore, the com­pre­hen­sive sur­veil­lance soft­ware writ­ten about by SPIEGEL this week.

    Ger­hard Schindler, head of Germany’s Bun­desnachrich­t­en­di­enst (BND), said that his for­eign intel­li­gence agency had used the pro­gram since 2007. But it was not, he said, accord­ing to meet­ing par­tic­i­pants, used to col­lect data. Rather, he insisted, it was an ana­lyt­i­cal tool. He also stated that his agency’s use of XKeyscore in no way rep­re­sented a vio­la­tion of Ger­man law. Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the Fed­eral Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion, Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, said that his agency had been using a test ver­sion of XKeyscore since 2012.

    The acknowl­edge­ment marks a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward in the Ger­man debate over US sur­veil­lance tech­niques. Even as the Ger­man pop­u­lace has been extremely unnerved by rev­e­la­tions that the NSA mon­i­tors some 500 mil­lion data com­mu­ni­ca­tions each month, Merkel’s gov­ern­ment has done lit­tle to answer ques­tions regard­ing the extent to which Berlin coop­er­ates with Wash­ing­ton on sur­veil­lance activ­i­ties. This week’s arti­cle in SPIEGEL also cited an NSA doc­u­ment indi­cat­ing that the Ger­man was “mod­i­fy­ing its inter­pre­ta­tion of (pri­vacy laws) to afford the BND more flex­i­bil­ity in shar­ing pro­tected infor­ma­tion with for­eign partners.”

    Schindler on Thurs­day appeared to be tak­ing such accu­sa­tions seri­ously. He issued an offi­cial state­ment in which he denied try­ing to weaken Ger­man data pro­tec­tion laws. He did, how­ever, con­firm that his agency feels that some para­graphs of the “G-10″ law relat­ing to pass­ing on data should be soft­ened. That, Schindler said, is some­thing that he also told his US counterparts.

    ‘Focused, Tar­geted and Legal’

    In addi­tion to tes­ti­mony from Schindler and Maassen, offi­cials also read a writ­ten state­ment from the NSA in response to a query from the Ger­man gov­ern­ment. Accord­ing to the state­ment, there are three sep­a­rate Prism pro­grams, all of them uncon­nected to each other. Meet­ing par­tic­i­pants say the NSA response said that one of the Prism pro­grams was only used inter­nally. That pro­gram had thus far remained secret. Another of the pro­grams was used by the Pen­ta­gon in Afghanistan. Yet another NSA tool — vaguely described in the state­ment and allegedly “totally unre­lated to the first” — car­ries the name PRISM and “tracks and queries requests per­tain­ing to our Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance Directorate.”

    The NSA response, meet­ing par­tic­i­pants said, focused pri­mar­ily on the Prism pro­gram that whistle­blower Edward Snow­den made pub­lic — a tool that allows the NSA to engage in the vast sur­veil­lance of elec­tronic com­mu­ni­ca­tion con­nec­tions. In the response, the US intel­li­gence agency vehe­mently denied that the pro­gram is used to indis­crim­i­nately col­lect huge quan­ti­ties of data in Ger­many. The col­lec­tion of data, the response said, is sub­ject to court autho­riza­tion and is pri­mar­ily used to com­bat ter­ror­ism. Its use is “focused, tar­geted, judi­cious and far from sweep­ing,” the one-page response says.

    The doc­u­ment sounds reas­sur­ing, but so too have many denials issued in recent days. In fact, the NSA response says lit­tle about how the mon­i­tor­ing of 500 mil­lion data con­nec­tions each month can be con­sid­ered focused or tar­geted. Fur­ther­more, the court the state­ment refers to, the For­eign Intel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Court (FISA), is secret and, accord­ing to US media reports, con­firms vir­tu­ally every sur­veil­lance request made by US intelligence.

    Pofalla also tried to do his part to counter the recent crit­i­cism that he, Merkel and the rest of the gov­ern­ment had done too lit­tle to clear up the accu­sa­tions of vast US sur­veil­lance. And he seemed well pre­pared. He issued a state­ment that Ger­man intel­li­gence activ­i­ties, includ­ing coop­er­a­tion with for­eign agen­cies, are vital for the pro­tec­tion of Ger­man cit­i­zens. As an exam­ple, he men­tioned the trans­fer of data in con­nec­tion with kid­nap­ping cases abroad.

    Inter­ro­gat­ing ‘Mr. Prism?’

    Still, he was unable to con­ceal the fact that the cen­tral ques­tions have not yet been answered. What exactly is the nature of NSA activ­ity on Ger­man soil? Is the Ger­man gov­ern­ment as obliv­i­ous as it has claimed — and if so, why? Pofalla declined to answer ques­tions from jour­nal­ists fol­low­ing the Par­lia­men­tary Con­trol Panel meeting.


    It’s also worth point­ing out that, con­trary to the lat­est expres­sion of ‘shock’ by Merkel over the alleged NSA hack­ing of her phone, the head of Ger­man intel­li­gence raised the this exact topic with the head of the Berlin branch of the Aspen Insti­tute a year and a half ago:

    Europe may act against U.S. over spy­ing
    Jesse Sin­gal, Spe­cial for USA TODAY 2:19 p.m. EDT Octo­ber 24, 2013

    Ger­man For­eign Min­istry sum­mons U.S. ambas­sador after alle­ga­tions that the NSA tar­geted Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.

    BERLIN — Trou­bles are mount­ing in Europe for the Obama admin­is­tra­tion over alle­ga­tions that the U.S. tapped phone con­ver­sa­tions of lead­ers and cit­i­zens in Ger­many and France, and it may affect trade rela­tions and long-standing coop­er­a­tion on many matters.

    Euro­pean Union lead­ers meet­ing for a two-day sum­mit in Brus­sels are agi­tat­ing for action rather than just con­dem­na­tion of the United States over news reports it tapped the mobile phone of Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel and accessed phone records of 70 mil­lion French citizens.

    “We can’t sim­ply return to busi­ness as usual,” Ger­man Defense Min­is­ter Thomas de Maiz­ière said.

    France’s Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande is press­ing for the spy­ing issue to be put on the summit’s agenda. French EU Com­mis­sioner Michel Barnier told the BBC on Thurs­day: “Enough is enough.”

    Barnier says con­fi­dence in the United States has been shaken and as com­mis­sioner for inter­nal mar­ket and ser­vices he sug­gested Europe develop its own dig­i­tal tools such as a “Euro­pean data cloud” inde­pen­dent of Amer­i­can oversight.


    Arriv­ing in Brus­sels on Thurs­day, Merkel said she told Obama in her phone call that “spy­ing among friends can­not be.” She said there needs to be trust among allies and part­ners and “such trust now has to be built anew.”

    White House spokesman Jay Car­ney said, “The pres­i­dent assured the chan­cel­lor that the United States is not mon­i­tor­ing, and will not mon­i­tor, the com­mu­ni­ca­tions of the chan­cel­lor.” He would not say whether her phone was tapped in the past.

    From a transat­lantic free-trade agree­ment to cross-border data trans­fer, some in Europe say the NSA spy­ing alle­ga­tions threaten to cre­ate seri­ous reper­cus­sions for the United States.

    “There will be a more sys­tem­atic effort on the EU’s part to pro­tect its com­mu­ni­ca­tions — that’s what the real dam­age is to the U.S.,” said Charles King Mal­lory IV, for­mer head of the Aspen Insti­tute, a think tank, in Berlin.

    “This scan­dal has sen­si­tized numer­ous gov­ern­ments to the fact that their com­mu­ni­ca­tions secu­rity was not tight enough, and that will be a net loss for the U.S.”

    He said the out­fall could dam­age the coop­er­a­tion the United States has enjoyed with Euro­pean agen­cies in gain­ing intel­li­gence on secu­rity threats.

    Mal­lory said that while the alle­ga­tions could do ongo­ing polit­i­cal dam­age to the Obama admin­is­tra­tion and its rela­tion­ship with the EU, spy­ing is a fact of mod­ern life among allies.

    “I’m some­what sur­prised that peo­ple are sur­prised nations spy upon each other,” he said. “This happens.”

    Ger­many has been one of Washington’s clos­est allies in Europe. The United States was West Germany’s pro­tec­tor dur­ing the Cold War, and the fall of the Soviet Union that U.S. admin­is­tra­tions had worked to accom­plish for decades allowed for the reuni­fi­ca­tion of West Ger­many with communist-occupied East Ger­many. Ger­many is still home to thou­sands of U.S. troops.

    Mal­lory said the Ger­man gov­ern­ment had long been aware of U.S. attempts to access Merkel’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions, adding that a for­mer chief of Ger­man intel­li­gence told him about the spy­ing a year and a half ago.

    “We were dis­cussing the NSA, and he said, ‘I hap­pen to know for a fact that they’re capa­ble of pen­e­trat­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tions of our chan­cellery,’” Mal­lory said. “So, I think there is a cer­tain amount of polit­i­cal Kabuki that is going on.”

    Other ana­lysts said the spy­ing points to a U.S.-German rela­tion­ship that, while close-knit on issues like secu­rity, is also marked by real and grow­ing rivalry over trade.

    “This is one of sev­eral aspects that tells me that we have a huge rivalry going on that’s get­ting stronger,” said Josef Braml of the Ger­man Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions in Berlin. “I wouldn’t even rule out indus­trial espi­onage — that’s prob­a­bly a big­ger issue.”


    Sim­il­iary, Bernard Squarcini, the ex-head of France’s domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vices expressed shock at the shock expressed by cur­rent French lead­ers over the spy­ing on allies. Accord­ing to Squarcini, spy­ing on allies was all in a days work:

    Paris also snoops on US, says ex-French spy boss
    Lat­est update: 24/10/2013
    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.
    By Tony Todd

    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.”


    One of the rea­sons it’s impor­tant to con­tinue to point out the decep­tion and hypocrisy that is emerg­ing from the US and allies like France and Ger­many in their responses to the steady drip drip drip of spy­ing rev­e­la­tions is that any seri­ous attempts at mak­ing the world safe from mass sur­veil­lance and spy­ing has to address the exten­sive spy­ing tak­ing place by other nations simul­ta­ne­ously. A uni­lat­eral draw down of the NSA’s mass sur­veil­lance will only be tem­po­rary at best if we find our­selves with mul­ti­ple NSA-like agen­cies oper­at­ing around the world a decade from now. And all indi­ca­tions are that other major and aspir­ing pow­ers are try­ing to achieve NSA-like capa­bil­i­ties ASAP. Many of those capa­bil­i­ties might not take very long to achieve. And with an over­haul of the archi­tec­ture of the inter­net and encryp­tion stan­dards a likely out­come from the global spy­ing back­lash it’s not like there aren’t going to be plenty of oppor­tu­ni­ties to insert NSA-like back doors and other fun treats by the nations that lead the cre­ation of the inter­net 3.0. The sheer scale of the NSA’s spy­ing might make the sur­veil­lance by other nations look small and tooth­less in com­par­i­son but, as the Fin­Fisher global spy­ware scan­dal has already demon­strated, only a small frac­tion of the NSA’s capa­bil­i­ties is required for some pretty amaz­ing domes­tic sur­veil­lance capa­bil­i­ties. If we want to make the world safe from more than just sur­veil­lance by the NSA we have to keep point­ing out how all of these gov­ern­ments com­plain­ing about the NSA also seem to want NSA-like capa­bil­i­ties of their own and a pop­u­lace that is largely clue­less about it. And we have to keep point­ing out how many of these gov­ern­ments are pretty far along on in achiev­ing those goals.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 24, 2013, 11:43 am
  13. Julian Assange just blew another hole in the Snow­den sto­ry­line. Maybe. It might take a cou­ple days to find out:

    Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor
    Assange threat­ens to release Snow­den info that Green­wald says could endan­ger lives

    Julian Assange attacked Glenn Green­wald yes­ter­day for a redac­tion in a recent story based on Snowden’s NSA doc­u­ments. Green­wald said it was done to save lives.

    By Dan Mur­phy, Staff writer / May 20, 2014

    The pre­sumed ten­sion between anti-secrecy activist Julian Assange and Glenn Green­wald, the arch-disseminator of NSA doc­u­ments pro­vided by Edward Snow­den, erupted into the open yes­ter­day on Twit­ter. The two sparred pub­licly over Greenwald’s deci­sion to redact a piece of infor­ma­tion from a recent story.

    The story released yes­ter­day and writ­ten by Green­wald and two col­leagues, alleges that the US is “secretly inter­cept­ing, record­ing, and archiv­ing the audio of vir­tu­ally every cell phone con­ver­sa­tion on the island nation of the Bahamas.” The story, pub­lished on First Look Media’s Inter­cept chan­nel, also says that the US is har­vest­ing cell­phone meta­data from four other coun­tries and names three of them — Mex­ico, The Philip­pines and Kenya.

    The fifth coun­try? The arti­cle says “The Inter­cept is not nam­ing (it) in response to spe­cific, cred­i­ble con­cerns that doing so could lead to increased violence.”

    Assange is gen­er­ally assumed to write the Wik­ileaks Twit­ter feed (and has been watched doing so.) And he wasn’t happy at Greenwald’s deci­sion to with­hold information.

    It is not the place of First­look or WaPo to decide how a peo­ple will chose to act against mass breaches of their rights by the United States— Wik­iLeaks (@wikileaks) May 19, 2014

    If a nation wants to engage in a revolt on the basis that the US gov­ern­ment is record­ing all their phone calls, that is their right.— Wik­iLeaks (@wikileaks) May 19, 2014

    Green­wald then sought to per­suade Assange that some redac­tion to save lives is rea­son­able. He wrote, among other things:

    @ggreenwald When has true pub­lished infor­ma­tion harmed inno­cents? You are paint­ing future pub­li­ca­tions into a cor­ner with this Pen­ta­gon line— Wik­iLeaks (@wikileaks) May 19, 2014

    @wikileaks But there was a very con­vinc­ing prob­a­bil­ity in that 5th coun­try for how inno­cent peo­ple would die which we all accepted.— Glenn Green­wald (@ggreenwald) May 19, 2014

    But Assange was unmoved and after some more back and forth, Assange’s twit­ter account dropped this bombshell:

    @GGreenwald @johnjcook We will reveal the name of the cen­sored coun­try whose pop­u­la­tion is being mass recorded in 72 hours.— Wik­iLeaks (@wikileaks) May 19, 2014

    Is Assange telling the truth? If he is, that strongly implies a major leak in Greenwald’s boat, which dis­cred­its his and Snowden’s ear­lier claims that all doc­u­ments taken by Snow­den were being han­dled respon­si­bly, and that there was no chance of their leak­ing to anyone.

    Assange does have a track record of say­ing things that are prov­ably false, for instance his claim that the trove of bat­tle­field reports leaked by Chelsea Man­ning “was avail­able to every sol­dier and con­trac­tor in Afghanistan.” But he’s now put him­self on the spot by promis­ing a spe­cific detail in such a lim­ited time-frame.

    Does he have access to doc­u­ments? Have col­lab­o­ra­tors of Greenwald’s been feed­ing him infor­ma­tion? Pos­si­bly, yes. This opens the door to the full Snow­den trove being pub­lished with­out any review or redac­tion, as hap­pened with the Man­ning doc­u­ments pro­vided to Wik­ileaks. Some of the anti-secrecy activists with whom Green­wald has col­lab­o­rated in pub­lish­ing Snowden’s rev­e­la­tions, like Jacob Appel­baum, have close per­sonal ties to Assange.


    Note that Jacob Appel­baum has already treated the sug­ges­tion that he was involved as non­sense, and he was cor­rect in the sense that there are oth­ers close to Wik­ileaks involved in the Snow­den affair like Sarah Har­ri­son. But Har­ri­son has also allegedly never had access to those files while she was with Snow­den in Rus­sia. So unless Appel­baum is pass­ing Har­ri­son doc­u­ments now that she’s stay­ing in Berlin it’s unclear who else close to Wik­ileaks is in a posi­tion to send Assange the doc­u­ments he needs to make that kind of a threat.

    Then again, as the arti­cle sug­gests, Assange could also just be bluff­ing. And keep in mind that there were reports yes­ter­day about an ongo­ing active FBI inves­ti­ga­tion into Assange and Wik­ileaks so the real tar­get of these threats might be the US gov­ern­ment. But if Assange isn’t bluff­ing, might we be see­ing the set up for another mega-release? If so, does Pierre get his money back?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 20, 2014, 5:48 pm
  14. Wik­ileaks decided to go fol­low through with their threat and release the name of the mys­tery coun­try. Drum­roll....it’s Afghanistan:

    Wik­iLeaks Claims Afghanistan Under NSA Surveillance

    Den­ver Nicks @DenverNicks

    7:15 AM ET
    The secret-spilling group says Afghanistan is the coun­try The Inter­cept declined to name out of con­cern that doing so could stoke violence

    The National Secu­rity Agency records every cell phone call in Afghanistan, claims the anti-secrecy group Wik­iLeaks, which named the coun­try despite the fact that other news orga­ni­za­tions did not out of con­cern that doing so could lead to violence.

    That threat led many to won­der if it meant Wik­iLeaks has obtained access to doc­u­ments leaked by Snow­den or if some­one with access to the doc­u­ments gave some­one at Wik­iLeaks the name of the coun­try in ques­tion. As the leak site Cryp­tome noted ear­lier, it may be that Wik­iLeaks sim­ply believes that the mys­tery coun­try is Afghanistan given the already-public infor­ma­tion avail­able.

    Imag­ine that. It’ll be inter­est­ing to see if there’s any fol­low up report­ing on this topic. It could get touchy:

    Der Spiegel
    Mass Data: Trans­fers from Ger­many Aid US Surveillance

    By Hubert Gude, Laura Poitras and Mar­cel Rosenbach

    Ger­man intel­li­gence sends mas­sive amounts of inter­cepted data to the NSA, accord­ing to doc­u­ments from whistle­blower Edward Snow­den, which SPIEGEL has seen. The trans-Atlantic coop­er­a­tion on tech­ni­cal mat­ters is also much closer than first thought.

    August 05, 2013 – 12:32 PM

    Agents with the United States National Secu­rity Agency (NSA) some­times wax lyri­cal when they look back on their time in Ger­many — to the idyl­lic Chiem­see lake and the pic­turesque Bavar­ian town of Bad Aib­ling. Any­one who has received “a free beer at the club email” and knows “that leberkäse is made of nei­ther liver, nor cheese” can claim to be a real Bavaria vet­eran, for­mer NSA employ­ees write in a doc­u­ment called the “A Lit­tle Bad Aib­ling Nostalgia.”

    The pro­fes­sion of love for the Bavar­ian lifestyle and the large sur­veil­lance base south­east of Munich is among the doc­u­ments in the pos­ses­sion of NSA whistle­blower Edward Snow­den, some of which SPIEGEL has seen. The sur­veil­lance facil­ity is known for its large “radomes,” giant golf ball-like struc­tures which con­tain state-of-the-art sur­veil­lance tech­nol­ogy. They were offi­cially closed in Sep­tem­ber 2004.

    The Amer­i­cans, though, were qui­etly replaced by telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions experts from the Ger­man mil­i­tary, part of the Fer­n­meldeweitverkehrsstelle der Bun­deswehr. They moved into the Mang­fall bar­racks, only a few hun­dred meters from the aban­doned NSA struc­tures, laid cables to the radomes and secretly took over the NSA’s large-scale sur­veil­lance of radio and satel­lite communications.

    The sup­posed mil­i­tary site is in fact a secret facil­ity oper­ated by the Bun­desnachrich­t­en­di­enst (BND), Germany’s for­eign intel­li­gence agency. NSA sur­veil­lance spe­cial­ists also moved onto the grounds of the bar­racks, into a win­dow­less build­ing that had been erected within just a few months. Because of its metal shell, Ger­man BND agents refer to the build­ing, with a mix­ture of affec­tion and deri­sion, as the “Tin Can.”

    The tête-à-tête between the two intel­li­gence agen­cies at the Mang­fall bar­racks was given var­i­ous code names in the ensu­ing years and became one of their most exten­sive coop­er­a­tive projects in Germany.

    Day After Day

    And the site in Bad Aib­ling could very well pro­vide the answer to a ques­tion that has been on the minds of Ger­man politi­cians and the pub­lic in recent weeks.

    The Snow­den doc­u­ments men­tion two data col­lec­tion sites known as sig­nals intel­li­gence activ­ity des­ig­na­tors (SIGADs), through which the con­tro­ver­sial US intel­li­gence agency gath­ered about 500 mil­lion pieces of meta­data in Decem­ber 2012 alone. The code names cited in the doc­u­ments are “US-987LA” and “US-987LB.” The BND now believes that the first code name stands for Bad Aibling.

    Day after day and month after month, the BND passes on to the NSA mas­sive amounts of con­nec­tion data relat­ing to the com­mu­ni­ca­tions it had placed under sur­veil­lance. The so-called meta­data — tele­phone num­bers, email addresses, IP con­nec­tions — then flow into the Amer­i­cans’ giant databases.

    When con­tacted, the BND stated that it believed “that the SIGADs US-987LA and US-987LB are asso­ci­ated with Bad Aib­ling and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions sur­veil­lance in Afghanistan.”

    Offi­cially, the Ger­man gov­ern­ment is still wait­ing for an answer from Wash­ing­ton as to where in Ger­many the meta­data doc­u­mented in the NSA files was obtained. For the BND and the Chan­cellery, which super­vises the for­eign intel­li­gence agency, the clar­i­fi­ca­tion of what and who are behind the two SIGADs, and exactly what sort of infor­ma­tion was passed on, is an extremely del­i­cate matter.

    The heads of both the BND and the Chan­cellery have stated their posi­tions pub­licly with sur­pris­ing clar­ity. BND Pres­i­dent Ger­hard Schindler said that data relat­ing to Ger­man cit­i­zens was only passed on to the Amer­i­cans in two instances, both in 2012. Chan­celler Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Ronald Pofalla — who is nom­i­nally in charge of coor­di­nat­ing Germany’s intel­li­gence agen­cies — even stated that the Ger­man agen­cies had acted in full com­pli­ance with the country’s data pri­vacy laws.

    Closer Coop­er­a­tion than Thought

    The oppo­si­tion is now wait­ing for an oppor­tu­nity to dis­prove these state­ments. The center-left Social Democ­rats have made the Snow­den rev­e­la­tions an issue in Germany’s upcom­ing par­lia­men­tary elec­tion. An SPD cam­paign poster depicts Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel and the words: “Pri­vacy. Vir­gin Ter­ri­tory for Merkel?”

    The fact that mas­sive amounts of meta­data reached NSA data­bases from Ger­man soil is likely to ratchet the dis­cus­sion over the role of the BND and its coop­er­a­tion with the NSA even fur­ther. New doc­u­ments from the Snow­den archive also show that there is much closer coop­er­a­tion than pre­vi­ously thought in rela­tion to the con­tro­ver­sial XKeyscore sur­veil­lance pro­gram. SPIEGEL reported on the deliv­ery and use of the pro­gram two weeks ago.

    Accord­ing to the doc­u­ments, there was a meet­ing not long ago between agents from the NSA, the BND and the Fed­eral Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion (BfV), Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, in which the lat­est poten­tial appli­ca­tions of XKeyscore were dis­cussed. In addi­tion, it wasn’t just Ger­mans using Amer­i­can sur­veil­lance pro­grams. Accord­ing to the doc­u­ments, US agents also showed an inter­est in two BND pro­grams, which, accord­ing to Amer­i­can experts, were to some extent even more effec­tive than their own solutions.

    Should the BND infor­ma­tion be cor­rect, it could pro­vide Berlin a con­ve­nient way to save face. The data gath­ered in Bad Aib­ling appar­ently would seem to relate to the BND’s legal for­eign sur­veil­lance tar­gets, which con­sists pri­mar­ily of data trans­mit­ted in Afghanistan and the Mid­dle East.

    In response to inquiries, the BND con­firmed that it does trans­mit con­nec­tion data to the NSA. But it notes: “Before meta­data relat­ing to other coun­tries is passed on, it is purged, in a mul­ti­step process, of any per­sonal data about Ger­man cit­i­zens it may con­tain.” Accord­ing to the BND, its sur­veil­lance does not apply to Ger­man telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and Ger­man cit­i­zens. In addi­tion, say BND offi­cials, there is cur­rently no rea­son to believe that the “NSA gath­ers per­sonal data on Ger­man cit­i­zens in Germany.”


    Ques­tions relat­ing to the exchange of data become all the more press­ing when one con­sid­ers that Bad Aib­ling, accord­ing to the doc­u­ments from the Snow­den archive, was, at least for a time, not the only BND lis­ten­ing post on Ger­man soil from which large amounts of data were sent to the NSA — a “daily” occur­rence, accord­ing to the NSA documents.

    In a 2006 travel report, mem­bers of an NSA del­e­ga­tion rave about their first visit to the BND sur­veil­lance facil­ity in Schönin­gen, near Braun­schweig in north-central Ger­many. Accord­ing to the vis­i­tors’ notes, about 100 BND employ­ees there, with the help of 19 anten­nas, inter­cepted the sig­nals of satel­lite and mobile com­mu­ni­ca­tions providers in Afghanistan and Africa.

    A ‘New Level’

    The doc­u­ment men­tions 400,000 record­ings of data from satel­lite tele­phone provider Thu­raya, 14,000 record­ings of data from com­mer­cial satel­lite oper­a­tor Inmarsat and 6,000 record­ings a day of mobile com­mu­ni­ca­tions, as well as daily eaves­drop­ping on 62,000 emails. “The NSA ben­e­fits from this col­lec­tion, espe­cially the … inter­cepts from Afghanistan, which the BND shares on a daily basis.”

    When con­fronted with this infor­ma­tion, the BND stated: “None of the data acquired there is cur­rently being trans­mit­ted to the NSA.”

    The NSA delegation’s trip report is also inter­est­ing for another rea­son. It has not yet been clearly deter­mined exactly how much Ger­man intel­li­gence ser­vices and the Chan­cellery knew about Amer­i­can sur­veil­lance activ­i­ties and when they knew it. It has been con­spic­u­ous that many of the offi­cial denials issued in recent weeks have referred explic­itly and exclu­sively to the PRISM sur­veil­lance pro­gram — per­haps for good reason.

    The NSA delegation’s 2006 report sug­gests that there was close coop­er­a­tion, espe­cially on tech­ni­cal sur­veil­lance issues. A “new level” had been reached in this regard, the report reads. The BND offi­cials had appar­ently man­aged to impress their vis­i­tors. BND spe­cial­ists pre­sented var­i­ous analy­sis tools to their US coun­ter­parts, includ­ing two sys­tems called Mira4 and VERAS. “In some ways, these tools have fea­tures that sur­pass US SIGINT capa­bil­i­ties,” the report reads.

    If the US delegation’s trip report is to be believed, the two agen­cies arranged a deal of sorts at the time. “The BND responded pos­i­tively to NSA’s request for a copy of Mira4 and VERAS soft­ware,” the report reads. In return, the Ger­mans appar­ently asked the NSA for support.

    The coop­er­a­tion appar­ently con­tin­ued to develop in this spirit, becom­ing par­tic­u­larly close at the Mang­fall bar­racks, head­quar­ters of the Spe­cial United States Liai­son Activ­ity Ger­many, or SUSLAG, which rep­re­sented the NSA locally, since 2004.

    Beyond Sym­bol­ism

    To mark the first anniver­sary of work­ing in the Tin Can, the NSA rep­re­sen­ta­tive and her Ger­man coun­ter­parts sym­bol­i­cally cel­e­brated the strong spirit of coop­er­a­tion in Bavaria by plant­ing a tree in front of the NSA building.

    But their coop­er­a­tion would extend well beyond sym­bol­ism and spa­tial prox­im­ity. The NSA office appar­ently embarked on a pro­gram of “strate­gic coop­er­a­tion,” which was reflected in two spe­cific intel­li­gence joint ven­tures on Ger­man soil. Accord­ing to one NSA doc­u­ment, two joint NSA and BND oper­a­tions were already under­way at the time of the tree-planting cer­e­mony: the Joint Analy­sis Cen­ter and the Joint SIGINT (Sig­nals Intel­li­gence) Activ­ity program.


    The exis­tence of joint German-American sur­veil­lance task forces sug­gests that the agen­cies must have been very well informed about their respec­tive coun­ter­parts’ sur­veil­lance options. This seems all the more likely given that the tech­ni­cal exchange only inten­si­fied in the ensu­ing years. US agents trained their Ger­man coun­ter­parts to use the espe­cially pro­duc­tive XKeyscore sur­veil­lance pro­gram, which the NSA pro­vided to both the BND and the BfV.

    Accord­ing to a doc­u­ment from the Snow­den archive, the Ger­man NSA office and the BND jointly pre­sented XKeyscore to the BfV in Octo­ber 2011.

    ‘Behav­ior Detection’

    “The BND XKEYSCORE sys­tem suc­cess­fully processed DSL wire­tap col­lec­tion belong­ing to a Ger­man CT (counter-terrorism) tar­get,” reads the doc­u­ment, which SPIEGEL has seen. As a result of the suc­cess­ful demon­stra­tion, the vice pres­i­dent of the BfV “for­mally requested” the software.

    The intel­li­gence agen­cies con­tin­ued there­after to con­sult closely with one another on the pro­duc­tive sur­veil­lance pro­gram and its fur­ther development.

    Accord­ing to the doc­u­ments, this coop­er­a­tion also involved dis­cus­sions of pre­vi­ously unknown analy­sis tools within the pro­gram, such as “behav­ior detec­tion,” or the abil­ity to detect cer­tain sit­u­a­tions, groups or even indi­vid­u­als on the basis of behav­ioral pat­terns. The goal of train­ing ses­sions pro­vided by the Amer­i­cans was appar­ently to famil­iar­ize the Ger­mans with the capa­bil­i­ties of XKeyscore, espe­cially its “dis­cov­ery capabilities.”

    Accord­ing to the doc­u­ments, one of these train­ing ses­sions, in which rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the BND and the BfV were to be told about new details in XKeyscore and, in par­tic­u­lar, about “behav­ior detec­tion,” was sched­uled to be held in Bad Aib­ling in April — only a few weeks before Edward Snowden’s rev­e­la­tions about XKeyscore and other sur­veil­lance pro­grams began.

    On the one hand, it could hardly be sur­pris­ing that this is tak­ing place in Afghanistan given the cir­cum­stance so who knows what the Afghan government’s response will be. On the other hand....

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 23, 2014, 2:59 pm

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