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Memo to Merkel: Get a Grip!

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: With the rhetor­i­cal firestorm of faux out­rage com­ing from the EU and Angela Merkel’s office over NSA spy­ing, it is impor­tant to recall some very impor­tant infor­ma­tion.

Much of what is pre­sent­ed below will be review for vet­er­an listeners/readers.

We call atten­tion to Ernst Uhrlau, chief of police in Ham­burg dur­ing the time peri­od in which Ger­man intel­li­gence had tak­en the Ham­burg cell of 9/11 hijack­ers under sur­veil­lance. In 1998, he was appoint­ed spe­cial advis­er to Chan­cel­lor Hel­mut Kohl on intel­li­gence mat­ters

(The son of Hel­mut Kohl’s chief of staff, Andreas Strass­meir, may well have been the mas­ter­mind of the Okla­homa City bomb­ing. See the pho­to at right and dis­cus­sion below. With Uhrlau as spe­cial advis­er to Chan­cel­lor Kohl on intel­li­gence mat­ters, and with Andreas Strass­meir appar­ent­ly hav­ing over­seen the OKC bomb­ing plot, there is ample rea­son to bug the Chan­cel­lor’s phone!)

In 2005, Uhrlau became head of the BND!

It should come as no sur­prise that the NSA would tar­get Ger­many as a “hot spot” for elec­tron­ic sur­veil­lance. An overview of the most impor­tant ter­ror­ist inci­dents affect­ing the Unit­ed States over the last quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry reveals impor­tant evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries lead­ing to Ger­many:

  • The bomb­ing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Locker­bie, Scot­land, in 1988 was exe­cut­ed in Ger­many. The bomb was placed aboard the plane in Ger­many and the bombers were heav­i­ly infil­trat­ed by Ger­man intel­li­gence. One or more of the cell of bombers was a Ger­man intel­li­gence oper­a­tive. 
  • The financ­ing for the first World Trade Cen­ter bomb­ing in 1993 came from oper­a­tives in Ger­many.
  • The actu­al mas­ter­mind of the Okla­homa City bomb­ing, accord­ing to ATF infor­mant Car­ol Howe, was Andreas Strass­meier. Strass­meir was a “for­mer” Bun­deswehr offi­cer and the son of Chan­cel­lor Hel­mut Kohl’s chief of staff. Andreas’ grand­fa­ther was one of the char­ter mem­bers of the NSDAP under Hitler. The resem­blance between Strass­meir and “John Doe #2” is strik­ing.
  • Not only did the 9/11 hijack con­spir­a­tors coa­lesce in Ham­burg, but there is strong evi­dence that Ger­man intel­li­gence was involved with the attack. Many of hijack­er Mohamed Atta’s asso­ciates in South Flori­da were Ger­mans. Atta was moved around under the cov­er of the Carl Duis­berg Soci­ety (Gesellschaft). (See text excerpts below.) In Flori­da, he was asso­ci­at­ing with the sons and daugh­ters of promi­nent Ger­man indus­tri­al­ists. (See text excerpts below.) Of inter­est, also, is the fact that CIA pilots appar­ent­ly made a “run” to the Bor­mann ranch. (See text excerpts below.) This sounds like a reg­u­lar route. In our con­ver­sa­tions with Daniel Hop­sick­er, we have not­ed that the South Flori­da avi­a­tion milieu had been a focal point of covert oper­a­tions for decades, dat­ing back to the Sec­ond World War. The Bor­mann ranch was in the three-bor­ders area high­light­ed in FTR #457. Did the Ger­man asso­ciates of Mohamed Atta come up the oth­er end of that pipeline?
  • There are numer­ous evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries between the first World Trade Cen­ter attack, the Okla­homa City bomb­ing and the 9/11 attacks, as set forth in FTR #330.
  • The “vac­u­um clean­er” activ­i­ties of NSA/GCHQ have been known for a long time–we have done pro­grams about it dat­ing back many years. The for­mal, pub­lic attack on the ECHELON net­work began in 1998. That attack came from Ger­many and Under­ground Reich-asso­ci­at­ed ele­ments such as the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion. 
  • In August of 1998, sev­er­al things hap­pened almost simultaneously–as the German/EU/Free Con­gress Foundation/Underground Reich attack on ECHELON/Menwith Hill was gain­ing momen­tum, Osama bin Laden stopped using his cell phone and began using couri­ers for impor­tant com­mu­ni­ca­tion. At this time, Ger­man intel­li­gence had the Ham­burg cell (of 9/11 hijack­ers) under elec­tron­ic sur­veil­lance. Ger­man intel­li­gence did NOT alert the Unit­ed States. 
  • The chief of the Ham­burg police in this pre­cise time peri­od was Ernst Uhrlau. In 1998, Uhlr­lau was appoint­ed spe­cial advis­er to the Chan­cel­lor on intel­li­gence mat­ters. (The Chan­cel­lor at the time was Hel­mut Kohl. Kohl’s chief of staff was Gun­ther Strass­meier, father of the afore­men­tioned Andreas Strass­meier!)
  • In 2005, Uhrlau was appoint­ed head of the BND!
  • In an update, we learn that Ger­many is threat­en­ing to sus­pend the SWIFT agree­ment allow­ing the U.S. to track bank trans­fer data to mon­i­tor the flow of ter­ror­ist mon­ey. The Ger­man jus­tice min­is­ter said she fears the pro­gram is used to gath­er eco­nom­ic intel­li­gence. Not­ing the relatin­ship between the Carl Duis­berg Gesellschaft and Ger­man cor­po­ra­tions, it isn’t much of a reach to extrap­o­late that the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work is a focal point of that intel­li­gence gath­er­ing.
  • Mohamed Atta stud­ied Ger­man at the Goethe Insti­tute, wide­ly used as a front for the BND.
  • A fas­ci­nat­ing and impor­tant detail con­cern­ing the hijack­ers is the fact that Yeslam bin Laden’s SICO sub­sidiary trained its pilots at Rudi Dekkers’ Huff­man Avi­a­tion in Venice, Flori­da! Huff­man is the school at which Atta and com­pa­ny were “trained.” Although he denies it, there are pro­found indi­ca­tions that Yeslam and SICO are involved with the activ­i­ties of Al Qae­da. This sub­ject will be dealt with at greater length below. Note that there are numer­ous con­nec­tions between the milieu of Huff­man Avi­a­tion and the Iran-Con­tra-con­nect­ed drug smug­gling routes. Recall that SICO per­son­nel were involved with some of these Iran-Con­tra drug routes.
  • The co-chair­man of the board of direc­tors of SICO is Bau­doin Dunand a friend and pro­fes­sion­al asso­ciate of Fran­cois Genoud. He also was Genoud’s coun­sel.
  • Repris­ing an item of dis­cus­sion from FTR#357, the pro­gram cites the opin­ion of Ernest Back­es (one of Europe’s fore­most experts on mon­ey laun­der­ing) con­cern­ing the role of Fran­cois Genoud in the devel­op­ment of the events of 9/11. Genoud (who com­mit­ted sui­cide in 1996) was very close to Al Taqwa per­son­ages, espe­cial­ly Achmed Huber. Bank Al Taqwa appears to have played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the financ­ing of Al Qaeda’s activ­i­ties, as well as those of Hamas. Accord­ing to Back­es, Genoud was also a finan­cial advis­er to the Bin Laden fam­i­ly.
  • It is impor­tant, in this con­text, to review the Clearstream finan­cial net­work. The con­nect­ing links between Clearstream, Al Taqwa, the Ban­co del Got­tar­do (for­mer­ly the Swiss branch of the Ban­co Ambrosiano) and Bin Laden were fur­ther described by one of Clearstream’s founders, Ernest Back­es. Note the open­ing of 16 unreg­is­tered accounts by SICO in the spring of 2001. Is there a rela­tion­ship between the liq­ui­da­tion of the finan­cial enti­ties in ear­ly 2001 by Rochat, Dunand and Zuck­er and the open­ing of the Clearstream accounts at approx­i­mate­ly the same time?

“Embassy Espi­onage: The NSA’s Secret Spy Hub in Berlin” by SPIEGEL staff; Der Spiegel; 10/27/2013.

EXCERPT: . . . . For­mer NSA employ­ee Thomas Drake does not see this as a con­tra­dic­tion. “After the attacks of Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, Ger­many became intel­li­gence tar­get num­ber one in Europe,” he says. The US gov­ern­ment did not trust Ger­many, because some of the Sept. 11 sui­cide pilots had lived in Ham­burg. . . .

“Ernst Uhrlau”; Wikipedia.

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

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

“Ger­mans Were Track­ing Sept. 11 Con­spir­a­tors as Ear­ly as 1998, Doc­u­ments Dis­close” by Desmond But­ler; New York Times; 1/18/2003; p. A10.

EXCERPT: . . . . Three years before the Sept. 11 attacks, Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice was track­ing promi­nent mem­bers of the Ham­burg ter­ror­ist cell that planned and exe­cuted the air­craft hijack­ings, accord­ing to new­ly obtained doc­u­ments. The doc­u­ments, includ­ing intel­li­gence reports, sur­veil­lance logs and tran­scripts of inter­cepted tele­phone calls, appear to con­tra­dict pub­lic claims by the Ger­man author­i­ties that they knew lit­tle about the mem­bers of the Ham­burg cell before the attacks.

As ear­ly as 1998, the records show, the Ger­mans mon­i­tored a meet­ing between men sus­pected of plot­ting the attacks. The sur­veil­lance would lead a year lat­er to the Ham­burg apart­ment where Mohamed Atta and oth­er main plot­ters were liv­ing while attend­ing uni­ver­si­ties. While the records do not indi­cate that author­i­ties heard any men­tion of a spe­cific plan, they depict a sur­veil­lance mis­sion exten­sive enough to raise anew the polit­i­cally sen­si­tive ques­tion of whether the Ger­mans missed a chance to dis­rupt the cell dur­ing the ini­tial stages of plan­ning the attacks. Some Amer­i­can inves­ti­ga­tors and offi­cials have argued that the Ger­mans in the past missed evi­dence that could have stopped the plot. The Ger­mans have main­tained stead­fastly that the infor­ma­tion they had was too scanty to war­rant seri­ous alarm, and that their police and intel­li­gence agen­cies were not focused on Al Qae­da at the time.

The doc­u­ments come from the files of var­i­ous Ger­man police and intel­li­gence agen­cies. They detail how close an inves­ti­ga­tion of Qae­da con­tacts in Ham­burg begun in 1997 by the Con­sti­tu­tional Pro­tec­tion Agency, Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice, came to the main cell mem­bers. They were pro­vided to The New York Times by some­one with offi­cial access to the files of the con­tin­u­ing inves­ti­ga­tion into the events lead­ing to the Sept. 11 attacks. When the doc­u­ments were described to offi­cials at the Ger­man Inte­rior Min­istry and the con­sti­tu­tional pro­tec­tion police, they declined to answer any ques­tions about them but did not dis­pute their authen­tic­i­ty . . .

. . . . Mr. Motas­sadeq admit­ted that he knew Mr. Atta and oth­er plot­ters and had attend­ed Qae­da train­ing camps in Afghanistan. He has main­tained in tri­al tes­ti­mony that he did not know that his friends were plan­ning to attack the Unit­ed States. No evi­dence has been pre­sented at his three-month tri­al that would reveal when the police first opened an inquiry into Mr. Motas­sadeq. But the intel­li­gence agency doc­u­ments show that by August 1998 he was under sur­veil­lance and that the trail soon led to most of the main par­tic­i­pants in the lat­er attacks. [It was in August of 1998 that Pres­i­dent Clin­ton ordered the cruise mis­sile strike against Bin Laden and the same month that Bin Laden went to a couri­er sys­tem instead of using his cell phone. Note, also, that the head of the Ham­burg police at the time the sur­veil­lance of the Ham­burg cell was in place became head of the BND in 2005!–D.E.]

Accord­ing to the doc­u­ments, the sur­veil­lance was in place on Aug. 29, 1998, when Mr. Motas­sadeq and Mohamed Hay­dar Zam­mar, who had already been iden­ti­fied by police as a sus­pected extrem­ist, met at the Ham­burg home of Said Baha­ji. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s] The police mon­i­tored sev­eral oth­er meet­ings between the men in the months that fol­lowed, the doc­u­ments said. The record of the meet­ing shows that police had iden­ti­fied Mr. Baha­ji, anoth­er per­son sus­pected of being a cell mem­ber and believed to have been inti­mately involved in the plan­ning and logis­tics of the plot, who fled to Pak­istan days before the attacks. Mr. Baha­ji lat­er moved in with Mr. Atta and Ramzi bin al-Shibh in the now-infa­mous apart­ment at 54 Marien­strasse in the Har­burg sec­tion of Ham­burg[There are pro­found indi­ca­tions of a link between Mohamed Atta and the BND–D.E.]. . .

“Europe Mulls Sanc­tions Against U.S. over Spy­ing” by Frank Jor­dans and Cia­ran Giles; Ohio.com; 10/28/2013.

EXCERPT: . . . . As pos­si­ble lever­age, Ger­man author­i­ties cit­ed last wek’s non-bind­ing  res­o­lu­tion by the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment to sus­pend a post‑9/11 agree­ment allow­ing the Amer­i­cans access to bank trans­fer data to track the flow of ter­ror­ist mon­ey.

Ger­man Jus­tice Min­is­ter Sabine Leutheuss­er-Schmar­ren­berg­er said Mnday she believed the Amer­i­cans were using the infor­ma­tion to gath­er eco­nom­ic intel­li­gence apart from teror­ism and that the deal, pop­u­lar­ly known as the SWIFT agree­ment, should be sus­pend­ed.

That would rep­re­sent a sharp rebuke to the Unit­ed States from some of its clos­est part­ners. . . .

Mohamed Atta; Wikipedia.

EXCERPT: . . . . In 1990, Atta grad­u­at­ed with a degree in architecture,[15] and joined the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-affil­i­at­ed Engi­neers Syn­di­cate organization.[8] For sev­er­al months after grad­u­at­ing, Atta worked at the Urban Devel­op­ment Cen­ter in Cairo, where he worked on archi­tec­tur­al, plan­ning, and build­ing design.[16] In 1990, Atta’s fam­i­ly moved into an 11th floor apart­ment in Giza.[15][17]

Upon grad­u­at­ing from Cairo Uni­ver­si­ty, Atta’s marks were aver­age and insuf­fi­cient to be accept­ed into the Uni­ver­si­ty’s grad­u­ate pro­gram. His father insist­ed he go abroad for grad­u­ate stud­ies, and had Atta enroll in a Ger­man lan­guage pro­gram at the Goethe Insti­tute in Cairo.[18] [Ital­ics added.] In 1992, Atta’s father invit­ed a Ger­man cou­ple over for din­ner while they were vis­it­ing Cairo. The Ger­man cou­ple ran an exchange pro­gram between Ger­many and Egypt, and sug­gest­ed that Atta con­tin­ue his stud­ies in Ger­many. They offered him a tem­po­rary place to live at their house in the city. Mohamed Atta end­ed up in Ger­many two weeks lat­er, in July 1992. . . .

Inside Wik­iLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dan­ger­ous Web­site by Daniel Dom­scheit-Berg; Eng­lish trans­la­tion copy­right 2011 by Crown Pub­lish­ers [Ran­dom House imprint]; ISBN 978–0‑307–95191‑5; p. 58.

EXCERPT: . . . . Using the WikiScan­ner, one can trace what changes have been made to Wikip­dia entries from any giv­en IP address. Employ­ees of the BND had made changes to the entries on mil­i­tary air­craft, nuclear weapons and the BND itself.

 Even more amus­ing were the “cor­rec­tions” made to the entries made to the entries on the Goethe Insti­tute,  the Ger­man government’s pre­mier insti­tu­tion for pro­mot­ing Ger­man lan­guage and cul­ture around the world. Orig­i­nal­ly, the entry had stat­ed that many Goethe Insti­tute offices had served as unof­fi­cial points of con­tact by the BND. BND employ­ees had altered it to say the exact oppo­site: “For­eign branch­es of the Goethe Insti­tute are not used as unof­fi­cial homes for the BND.” . . .   

“His­to­ry of the Carl Duis­berg Soci­ety”

EXCERPT: In the 1920’s, Carl Duis­berg, Gen­er­al Direc­tor of Bay­er AG in Ger­many, envi­sioned send­ing Ger­man stu­dents to the Unit­ed States on work-study pro­grams. Duis­berg was con­vinced that inter­na­tion­al prac­ti­cal train­ing was crit­i­cal to the growth of Ger­man indus­try. Many of the return­ing trainees lat­er rose to promi­nent posi­tions at AEG, Bay­er, Bosch, Daim­ler Benz, and Siemens, bring­ing with them new meth­ods for mass pro­duc­tion, new ideas, and new busi­ness prac­tices. Fol­low­ing World War II, alum­ni from the first exchanges found­ed the Carl Duis­berg Gesellschaft (CDG) in 1949 to help engi­neers, busi­ness­men and farm­ers gain inter­na­tion­al work expe­ri­ence nec­es­sary for the rebuild­ing of Ger­many . . . .

Excerpt from the Descrip­tion for FTR #484

. . . . Daniel also notes that some of Atta’s Ger­man asso­ciates in Flori­da were sons and daugh­ters of promi­nent Ger­man indus­tri­al­ists. . . .

Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile by Paul Man­ning; p. 292.

EXCERPT: . . . A for­mer CIA con­tract pilot, who once flew the run into Paraguay and Argenti­na to the Bor­mann ranch described the estate as remote, ‘worth your life unless you entered their air space with the right iden­ti­fi­ca­tion codes. . . .

Wel­come to Ter­ror­land: Mohamed Atta & the 9–11 Cov­er-Up in Flori­da by Daniel Hop­sick­er; Mad­cow Press [HC]; Copy­right 2004 by Daniel Hop­sick­er; ISBN 0–9706591‑6–4;. p. 178. Be sure to vis­it Daniel’s web­site for order­ing infor­ma­tion about this book.

EXCERPT . . . Swiss police ques­tioned Yeslam [bin Laden] because one of his com­pa­nies, Avcon Air Char­ter, had offered flight train­ing to clients at the Venice flight school attend­ed by some of the hijack­ers. As a result of what Le Monde called ‘a still unex­plained coin­ci­dence,’ the pilots of Yeslam bin Laden’s com­pa­ny trained at Huff­man Avi­a­tion in Flori­da, the paper stat­ed. ‘I didn’t chose that flight school,’ Yeslam protest­ed. ‘I don’t have con­tact with my half-broth­er since over 20 years ago.’ . . .

In the Name of Osama Bin Laden; by Roland Jacquard; Copy­right 2002 [SC]; Duke Uni­ver­si­ty Press; ISBN 0–8223-2991–3; pp. 17–18.

EXCERPT:. . . .This com­pa­ny, estab­lished by the bin Ladens in 1980, is the flag­ship for the group’s activ­i­ties in Europe. It is head­ed by Yeslam bin Laden, and the board of direc­tors is made up almost exclu­sive­ly of mem­bers of the fam­i­ly clan, except for a Swiss cit­i­zen, Bau­doin Dunand. This well-known lawyer from French-speak­ing Switzer­land, who is on the boards of sev­er­al dozen com­pa­nies, came to pub­lic notice in 1983 when he agreed to rep­re­sent the Swiss banker Fran­cois Genoud, a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure who had been a dis­ci­ple of Hitler and sole heir of Goebbels’s copy­rights before becom­ing one of the financiers of the FLN dur­ing the Alger­ian War. The friend­ships of the bin Ladens some­times seem sur­pris­ing, but they are log­i­cal: Fran­cois Genoud has always been pro-Arab. . . .

“Insid­ergeschäfte vor den Ter­ro­ran­schlä­gen in den USA? [Insid­er Trad­ing Pri­or to the Ter­ror Attacks in the US?]: Spec­u­lat­ing on Terror—Who Prof­it­ed from the Attacks?” by Rolf Bovi­er & Pierre Matthias; Bay­erische Rund­funk Online (BR-Online); 9/25/2001.

EXCERPT: . . . . Finan­cial expert Ernest Back­es of Lux­em­bourg has [stud­ied] white-col­lar crime in the field of bank­ing for many years. Accord­ing to him, there are indi­ca­tions of unusu­al trans­ac­tions with which the groups [asso­ci­at­ed with] bin Laden could have earned mon­ey. ‘You can, for exam­ple, exam­ine whether, with­in a cer­tain time peri­od there’s been an attack against the secu­ri­ties of a giv­en air­line com­pa­ny. Since these secu­ri­ties are safe in a ‘clear­ing sys­tem,’ you can’t get an over­all view, who the own­er was at a giv­en time.’ . . . Accord­ing to Back­es’ infor­ma­tion, the trail leads to Switzer­land, to the accounts of an orga­ni­za­tion that was found­ed by the late lawyer Fran­cois Genoud and evi­dent­ly still sur­vives. Says Back­es, ‘One of the grounds for accu­sa­tion is that this Swiss attor­ney had the clos­est con­nec­tions with the Bin Laden fam­i­ly, that he was an advi­sor to the fam­i­ly, one of its invest­ment bankers. It’s known for cer­tain, that he sup­port­ed ter­ror­ism and was the estate execu­tor for Hitler and part of the ter­ror milieu.’ [Empha­sis added.]”

“Bank­ing with Bin Laden” by Lucy Komis­ar [side­bar to “Explo­sive Rev­e­la­tion$”]In These Times; 3/15/2002.

EXCERPT: . . . .In Novem­ber, U.S. author­i­ties named some banks that had bin Laden accounts, and it put them on a black­list. One was Al Taqwa, ‘Fear of God,’ reg­is­tered in the Bahamas with offices in Lugano, Switzer­land. Al Taqwa had access to the Clearstream sys­tem through its cor­re­spon­dent account with the Ban­ca del Got­tar­do in Lugano, which has a pub­lished Clearstream account (No. 74381). But Bin Laden may have oth­er access to the unpub­lished sys­tem. In what he calls a ‘spec­tac­u­lar dis­cov­ery,’ Ernest Back­es reports that in the weeks before CEO Andre Lus­si was forced to leave Clearstream last May, a series of 16 unpub­lished accounts were opened under the name of the Sau­di Invest­ment Com­pa­ny, or SICO, the Gene­va hold­ing com­pa­ny of the Sau­di Bin­laden Group, which is run by Osama’s broth­er Yeslam Bin­laden (some fam­i­ly mem­bers spell the name dif­fer­ent­ly.) Yeslam Bin­laden insists that he has noth­ing to do with his broth­er, but evi­dence sug­gests SICO is tied into Osama’s finan­cial net­work. [Empha­sis added.] SICO is asso­ci­at­ed with Dar Al-Maal-Al-Isla­mi (DMI), an Islam­ic finan­cial insti­tu­tion also based in Gene­va and presided over by Prince Muhammed Al Faisal Al Saoud, a cousin of Sau­di King Fahd, that directs mil­lions a year to fun­da­men­tal­ist move­ments. DMI holds a share of the Al Shamal Islam­ic Bank of Sudan, which was set up in 1991 and part­ly financed by $50 mil­lion from Osama bin Laden. Fur­ther­more, one of SICO’s admin­is­tra­tors, Gene­va attor­ney Bau­doin Dunand, is a part­ner in a law firm, Magnin Dunand & Part­ners, that set up the Swiss finan­cial ser­vices com­pa­ny SBA, a sub­sidiary of the SBA Bank in Paris, which is con­trolled by the bin Mah­fouz fam­i­ly.”

“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 . . .




18 comments for “Memo to Merkel: Get a Grip!”

  1. Dave: This might seem like a stu­pid and/or rhetor­i­cal ques­tion but I want to say it any­way. Assum­ing the NSA knows all this, (how can they pos­si­bly not?)why don’t they start alert­ing Amer­i­cans and its allies to the dan­gers that the BND and its sup­port­ers have rep­re­sent­ed for many years? Do they think that it’s just too nut­ty for most peo­ple to accept? It could be implied that the NSA has main­tained a patri­ot­ic stance in spite of over­look­ing the many assas­si­na­tions and unre­solved polit­i­cal scan­dals over the last 50 years.

    Posted by Brad | October 29, 2013, 9:06 am
  2. This arti­cle on the his­to­ry of the ‘Five Eyes’ spy­ing pact, and the pos­si­bil­i­ty that France and Ger­many are going to be added a cou­ple more eyes to the club, rais­es an inter­est­ing ques­tion: If Ger­many and France gain fuller access to that giant ‘Five Eyes’ trea­sure trove, how will this impact the shar­ing of that trea­sure trea­sure with all of the oth­er EU coun­tries as the EU’s spy­ing inevitably becomes more inte­grat­ed and coor­di­nat­ed? Is the increased inter­gov­ern­men­tal shar­ing of glob­al sur­veil­lance data pos­si­bly going to be of the out­comes of all this?

    Spy­ing scan­dal: Will the ‘five eyes’ club open up?
    By Gor­don Cor­era Secu­ri­ty cor­re­spon­dent, BBC News
    28 Octo­ber 2013 Last updat­ed at 20:34 ET

    The ‘five eyes’ club was born out of Britain and Amer­i­ca’s tight-knit intel­li­gence part­ner­ship in World War II and par­tic­u­lar­ly the work at Bletch­ley Park, break­ing both Ger­man and Japan­ese codes.

    Code-break­ers realised col­lab­o­ra­tion helped in over­com­ing some of the tech­ni­cal chal­lenges and in being able to inter­cept com­mu­ni­ca­tions around the world.

    Out of this expe­ri­ence came what was first called BRUSA and then rechris­tened UKUSA — a top secret intel­li­gence-shar­ing alliance signed in March 1946.

    The details of the orig­i­nal agree­ment were clas­si­fied for decades but were final­ly revealed in 2010 when files were released by both coun­tries.

    The arrange­ment is described as “with­out par­al­lel in the West­ern intel­li­gence world”.

    Soon after the begin­ning of the Cold War, GCHQ and the NSA were born and the alliance formed the basis of their extreme­ly tight co-oper­a­tion dur­ing the Cold War — the real heart of what has been known as “the spe­cial rela­tion­ship”.

    The club was also expand­ed to include three oth­er Eng­lish-speak­ing coun­tries — Cana­da, Aus­tralia and New Zealand and so became known as the “five eyes”.

    So how does this club work? It is based on shar­ing with each oth­er and not spy­ing on each oth­er.

    The US and UK human intel­li­gence ser­vices (the CIA and MI6) do not run oper­a­tions inside the oth­er’s coun­try with­out per­mis­sion, but while the CIA and MI6 do share infor­ma­tion they are not near­ly as close­ly inter­twined as their coun­ter­parts GCHQ and NSA. They deal in what is known as sig­nals intel­li­gence, which deals with com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

    Under UKUSA, they share near­ly — but not quite — every­thing, and do not tar­get each oth­er’s nation­als with­out per­mis­sion.

    One doc­u­ment leaked by the fugi­tive Edward Snow­den reveals that the pro­tec­tion extends when intel­li­gence is shared with oth­er coun­tries out­side the club (so called “third par­ties”, a “sec­ond par­ty” being any oth­er mem­ber of the club).

    An agree­ment between the NSA and Israel pub­lished by the Guardian news­pa­per read that Israel “recog­nis­es that the NSA has agree­ments with Aus­tralia, Cana­da, New Zealand and the Unit­ed King­dom that require it to pro­tect infor­ma­tion asso­ci­at­ed with UK per­sons, Aus­tralian per­sons, Cana­di­an per­sons and New Zealand per­sons using pro­ce­dures and safe­guards sim­i­lar to those applied for US per­sons”.


    That looks like tra­di­tion­al state-on-state espi­onage and is what is like­ly to be most anger­ing Euro­pean offi­cials (although for pub­lic con­sump­tion they still need to make angry nois­es and protests about the col­lec­tion of their ordi­nary cit­i­zens’ call records).

    Ger­many and France have sug­gest­ed they may seek deals to end this kind of state-on-state espi­onage activ­i­ty and one of the inter­est­ing ques­tions is the extent to which what they real­ly want is a no-spy deal like the one Britain enjoys, and effec­tive mem­ber­ship of the exist­ing club (or some mod­i­fied ver­sion of it).

    How­ev­er, one gen­er­al rule about intel­li­gence is that the more a secret is shared, the less secret it becomes.

    It is one rea­son why some are scep­ti­cal of shar­ing too much intel­li­gence with the whole EU — secrets may not stay secret among 28.

    Could some­thing be pos­si­ble with some of the coun­tries though?

    Some senior British intel­li­gence offi­cials are under­stood to be sup­port­ive of deep­en­ing and broad­en­ing the part­ner­ship with some Euro­pean allies, although whether this means going so far as let­ting then into full mem­ber­ship is anoth­er mat­ter.

    But with embar­rass­ing rev­e­la­tions like­ly to con­tin­ue, the way the club cur­rent­ly oper­ates may well have to change.

    Anoth­er dark­ly amus­ing sce­nario that might emerge from all this is that Ger­many might need to find a new part­ner it trusts to spy on Ger­many and share all that intel with Ger­many intel­li­gence. Because that very well might be part of the arrange­ment between the NSA and the BND: the NSA spies on Ger­mans mass­es and then shares that with the BND, allow­ing the BND to accu­rate­ly claim that it was­n’t spy­ing on Ger­man cit­i­zens while still get­ting their domes­tic sur­veil­lance jol­lies (Don’t for­get that the BND is already using Prism and XKeyscore). Could such an arrange­ment be in place already? If so, who might the Ger­man gov­ern­ment go to for domes­tic sur­veil­lance they can trust if the NSA and GCHQ sud­den­ly can’t spy on the Ger­mans any­more? It can’t be France if they join the “Eyes” club too. Strange times call for strange ques­tions.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 29, 2013, 1:09 pm
  3. Yes­ter­day Diane Fein­stein, rank­ing mem­ber on the Sen­ate Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, declared: “Unless the Unit­ed States is engaged in hos­til­i­ties against a coun­try or there is an emer­gency need for this type of sur­veil­lance, I do not believe the Unit­ed States should be col­lect­ing phone calls or emails of friend­ly pres­i­dents and prime min­is­ters,” and John McCain wants to start a Con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee to inves­ti­gate “what the pres­i­dent knew, and when did he know it” regard­ing the for­eign leader spy­ing. Is the GOP going to try to turn this into anoth­er impeach­ment dri­ve? It sounds absurd but you nev­er know...

    And now there appears to be intel­li­gence offi­cials that are upset at Oba­ma for not defend­ing the NSA enough:

    The Los Ange­les Times
    White House OKd spy­ing on allies, U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials say NSA and oth­er U.S. intel­li­gence agency staff mem­bers are said to be angry at Pres­i­dent Oba­ma for deny­ing knowl­edge of the spy­ing.

    By Ken Dilan­ian and Janet Sto­bart

    Octo­ber 28, 2013, 7:25 p.m.

    WASHINGTON — The White House and State Depart­ment signed off on sur­veil­lance tar­get­ing phone con­ver­sa­tions of friend­ly for­eign lead­ers, cur­rent and for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials said Mon­day, push­ing back against asser­tions that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and his aides were unaware of the high-lev­el eaves­drop­ping.

    Pro­fes­sion­al staff mem­bers at the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency and oth­er U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies are angry, these offi­cials say, believ­ing the pres­i­dent has cast them adrift as he tries to dis­tance him­self from the dis­clo­sures by for­mer NSA con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den that have strained ties with close allies.

    The resis­tance emerged as the White House said it would cur­tail for­eign intel­li­gence col­lec­tion in some cas­es and two senior U.S. sen­a­tors called for inves­ti­ga­tions of the prac­tice.

    France, Ger­many, Italy, Mex­i­co and Swe­den have all pub­licly com­plained about the NSA sur­veil­lance oper­a­tions, which report­ed­ly cap­tured pri­vate cell­phone con­ver­sa­tions by Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel, among oth­er for­eign lead­ers.

    On Mon­day, as Spain joined the protest, the fall­out also spread to Capi­tol Hill.

    Until now, mem­bers of Con­gress have chiefly focused their atten­tion on Snow­den’s dis­clo­sures about the NSA’s col­lec­tion of U.S. tele­phone and email records under secrevt court orders.

    “With respect to NSA col­lec­tion of intel­li­gence on lead­ers of U.S. allies — includ­ing France, Spain, Mex­i­co and Ger­many — let me state unequiv­o­cal­ly: I am total­ly opposed,” said Sen. Dianne Fein­stein (D‑Calif.), who chairs the Sen­ate Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee.

    “Unless the Unit­ed States is engaged in hos­til­i­ties against a coun­try or there is an emer­gency need for this type of sur­veil­lance, I do not believe the Unit­ed States should be col­lect­ing phone calls or emails of friend­ly pres­i­dents and prime min­is­ters,” she said in a state­ment.

    Fein­stein said the Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee had not been told of “cer­tain sur­veil­lance activ­i­ties” for more than a decade, and she said she would ini­ti­ate a major review of the NSA oper­a­tion. She added that the White House had informed her that “col­lec­tion on our allies will not con­tin­ue,” although oth­er offi­cials said most U.S. sur­veil­lance over­seas would not be affect­ed.

    Sen. John McCain (R‑Ariz.), rank­ing minor­i­ty mem­ber of the Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, said Con­gress should con­sid­er cre­at­ing a spe­cial select com­mit­tee to exam­ine U.S. eaves­drop­ping on for­eign lead­ers.

    “Obvi­ous­ly, we’re going to want to know exact­ly what the pres­i­dent knew and when he knew it,” McCain told reporters in Chica­go. “We have always eaves­dropped on peo­ple around the world. But the advance of tech­nol­o­gy has giv­en us enor­mous capa­bil­i­ties, and I think you might make an argu­ment that some of this capa­bil­i­ty has been very offen­sive both to us and to our allies.”

    In Madrid, Span­ish For­eign Min­istry offi­cials sum­moned the U.S. ambas­sador to object to the alleged NSA com­mu­ni­ca­tions net in Spain. Cit­ing doc­u­ments leaked by Snow­den, El Mun­do, a major Span­ish dai­ly, said the U.S. spy agency had col­lect­ed data on more than 60 mil­lion phone calls made in just 30 days, from ear­ly Decem­ber 2012 to ear­ly Jan­u­ary 2013.

    Pre­cise­ly how the sur­veil­lance is con­duct­ed is unclear. But if a for­eign leader is tar­get­ed for eaves­drop­ping, the rel­e­vant U.S. ambas­sador and the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil staffer at the White House who deals with the coun­try are giv­en reg­u­lar reports, said two for­mer senior intel­li­gence offi­cials, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty in dis­cussing clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion.

    Oba­ma may not have been specif­i­cal­ly briefed on NSA oper­a­tions tar­get­ing a for­eign lead­er’s cell­phone or email com­mu­ni­ca­tions, one of the offi­cials said. “But cer­tain­ly the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil and senior peo­ple across the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty knew exact­ly what was going on, and to sug­gest oth­er­wise is ridicu­lous.”

    If U.S. spy­ing on key for­eign lead­ers was news to the White House, cur­rent and for­mer offi­cials said, then White House offi­cials have not been read­ing their brief­ing books.

    Some U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials said they were being blamed by the White House for con­duct­ing sur­veil­lance that was autho­rized under the law and uti­lized at the White House.

    “Peo­ple are furi­ous,” said a senior intel­li­gence offi­cial who would not be iden­ti­fied dis­cussing clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion. “This is offi­cial­ly the White House cut­ting off the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.”


    Cit­ing doc­u­ments from Snow­den, the Ger­man news mag­a­zine Der Spiegel report­ed last week that the NSA’s Spe­cial Col­lec­tion Ser­vice had mon­i­tored Merkel’s cell­phone since 2002. Oba­ma sub­se­quent­ly called Merkel and told her he was not aware her phone had been hacked, U.S. offi­cials said.

    Intel­li­gence offi­cials also dis­put­ed a Wall Street Jour­nal arti­cle Mon­day that said the White House had learned only this sum­mer — dur­ing a review of sur­veil­lance oper­a­tions that might be exposed by Snow­den — about an NSA pro­gram to mon­i­tor com­mu­ni­ca­tions of 35 world lead­ers. Since then, offi­cials said, sev­er­al of the eaves­drop­ping oper­a­tions have been stopped because of polit­i­cal sen­si­tiv­i­ties.

    So yes­ter­day a “furi­ous” intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty was mak­ing anony­mous state­ments to the press about Oba­ma’s lack of sup­port for the NSA while Fein­stein and McCain call for inves­ti­ga­tions to look into how Oba­ma could have done all this spy­ing behind their backs? This is get­ting a lit­tle Lord of the Flies-ish (they’re still try­ing to deter­mine who’s going to be Pig­gy).

    And today we see James Clap­per tes­ti­fy­ing before Con­gress that the White House offi­cials must have known about the NSA’s intel­li­gence gath­er­ing efforts against for­eign lead­ers. They’re also assert­ing that the recent reports of NSA sur­veil­lance of EU nations was­n’t sur­veil­lance col­lect­ed by the NSA but instead meta­da­ta col­lect­ed by EU intel­li­gence agen­cies and hand­ed over to the NSA.

    Are we see­ing a media spy war emerge from this? A “he said, she said” affair of clan­des­tine activ­i­ties? Because that could be quite the spec­ta­cle and it might even be a more infor­ma­tive spec­ta­cle than the one we’re cur­rent­ly get­ting. Sure, Clap­per is almost cer­tain­ly obfus­cat­ing when he says these things, but we all know that. What’s less clear is how much obfus­cat­ing we’re see­ing from the EU intel­li­gence agen­cies or to what extent the pic­ture pre­sent­ed by reports on the Snow­den doc­u­ments rep­re­sent an incom­plete pic­ture of a much larg­er and more com­pli­cat­ed glob­al spy­ing alliance. Is the NSA the US’s ‘Big Broth­er’ or is it mere­ly the Biggest Broth­er as part of a glob­al ‘Big Broth­er’ appa­ra­tus? It’s not at all clear from the Snow­den reports that it’s the for­mer and not the lat­ter?

    As strange as it seems, a media spy war with a flur­ry of com­pet­ing dis­in­fo might actu­al­ly help clear all this up a bit. So.....fight! fight! fight! fight!

    The Aus­tralian
    Sor­ry, Angela, but Berlin does it too

    Toby Harn­den and Bojan Pancevs­ki
    Octo­ber 28, 2013 12:00AM

    WHEN Angela Merkel, the Ger­man Chan­cel­lor, was told last week that her trusty Nokia 6210 Slide had been mon­i­tored by the US Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency from Fort Meade, Mary­land, her reac­tion seemed to be one of gen­uine out­rage.

    What she might have paused to con­sid­er, how­ev­er, was that if the phone, which she had for four years before swap­ping to a Black­Ber­ry Z10 in July, was so inse­cure then the Chi­nese and the Rus­sians were prob­a­bly also lis­ten­ing in.

    It is high­ly like­ly as well, accord­ing to US intel­li­gence sources, that offi­cers at Britain’s sur­veil­lance agency GCHQ, along with French spies, were eaves­drop­ping too.

    If the Nokia had been fit­ted with a con­fer­ence call func­tion, one for­mer US offi­cial joked, then every­one could have joined in on an inter­est­ing dis­cus­sion about just who was spy­ing on whom.

    Iron­i­cal­ly, the GSM phone net­work in Europe is so easy to pen­e­trate large­ly because it was designed on the advice of con­ti­nen­tal spy agen­cies eager to mon­i­tor con­ver­sa­tions.

    The NSA was so con­cerned about Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma’s com­mer­cial Black­Ber­ry when he took office in 2009 that it per­suad­ed him to use a secure one at a cost of $US14,000.

    Oba­ma may lose even that if Leno­vo, the Chi­nese-owned com­put­er com­pa­ny, buys the Black­Ber­ry brand from its Cana­di­an own­er. In 2008 the Oba­ma cam­paign web­site was hacked by the Chi­nese for infor­ma­tion about his donors.

    “The dilem­ma here is it’s so easy to do this that there’s an embar­rass­ment of rich­es,” says James Lewis, a for­mer State Depart­ment offi­cial and cyber­se­cu­ri­ty spe­cial­ist at the Cen­tre for Strate­gic and Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies in Wash­ing­ton. “The only prob­lem is resources. There aren’t that many peo­ple at NSA.” The NSA’s mon­i­tor­ing of Merkel’s phone, he says, was like­ly to have been spo­radic and for a spe­cif­ic rea­son, such as an approach­ing sum­mit.


    Amer­i­can and French intel­li­gence chiefs signed an agree­ment in 1988 not to steal each oth­er’s com­mer­cial secrets, but both sides appear to ignore it. Tales abound of French agents slip­ping into Parisian hotel rooms in the 1990s to search through the brief­cas­es of vis­it­ing busi­ness­men.

    Sarkozy had no doubts that he was being spied on. Counter-mea­sures rec­om­mend­ed by his secu­ri­ty team had includ­ed a mobile phone sup­posed to be safe from eaves­drop­ping. But he did not use it because it took 30 sec­onds to get a dial tone.

    In a fur­ther appar­ent sign of Hol­lan­de’s hypocrisy, accord­ing to doc­u­ments leaked by Edward Snow­den, the for­mer NSA con­trac­tor, France shares infor­ma­tion with the US and Britain under a pro­gram code­named Lus­tre, the Ger­man media reports. So do Israel, Swe­den and Italy.


    Last week, the Ger­man news­pa­per Bild claimed the Bun­desnachrich­t­en­di­enst (BND), the Ger­man equiv­a­lent of Britain’s MI6, mon­i­tored tele­phone calls as well as text mes­sages and emails in the US. The BND told Bild: “We take what we can get. If some­one offers us infor­ma­tion, for instance, about the Amer­i­cans, we will not throw it in the bin.”

    Lewis accepts that Snow­den’s leaks, which he believes were cal­cu­lat­ed to por­tray Amer­i­ca as engag­ing in “unique­ly evil activ­i­ty”, have bad­ly dam­aged rela­tions with Ger­many.

    The “Five Eyes” agree­ment, which began with Britain and the US agree­ing not to spy on each oth­er and was lat­er extend­ed to Cana­da, Aus­tralia and New Zealand, reg­u­lates spy­ing among the lead­ing Eng­lish-speak­ing nations, but there is no such deal with Ger­many. Now, Lewis says, there may have to be “some kind of com­mon under­stand­ings and maybe con­straints, maybe a degree of trans­paren­cy” in order to mol­li­fy the Ger­mans.

    For now the US admin­is­tra­tion seems unre­pen­tant.

    “Peo­ple at a senior lev­el are still in the mode of, ‘Well, every­body spies and no one should be sur­prised and it’s our right to do this and if we’re qui­et maybe this will go away’. They have not yet realised the scope of the dam­age,” Lewis says.

    Ger­man indig­na­tion, dri­ven by pub­lic opin­ion, could endan­ger trade talks, ham­per the effort to for­mu­late bet­ter rules for cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and even affect US com­pa­nies doing busi­ness in Ger­many. Most seri­ous would be a deci­sion by the Ger­mans to scale back on shar­ing counter-ter­ror­ism intel­li­gence. Senior NSA offi­cials have con­tem­plat­ed going pub­lic with details of Ger­man and French spy­ing on the US, but have been dis­suad­ed for now.

    “If the uproar con­tin­ues, peo­ple will be made to realise just how per­va­sive sur­veil­lance is by at least a dozen coun­tries,” Lewis says.

    Spy Fight! Spy Fight! Spy Fight!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 29, 2013, 8:38 pm
  4. It’s worth point­ing out that Merkel’s cell phone the NSA was report­ed­ly tap­ping was a CDU-par­ty phone that she claims to have nev­er used for offi­cial busi­ness. All impor­tant calls used spe­cial encrypt­ed phones...presumably because the Ger­man gov­ern­ment isn’t entire­ly clue­less and rec­og­nized that major world lead­ers prob­a­bly should­n’t be using unse­cure phones for impor­tant con­ver­sa­tions

    Deutsche Welle
    Berlin declares Merkel’s state calls ‘safe’ from NSA spy­ing

    Berlin has declared Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions as “absolute­ly safe” despite claims that US intel­li­gence tapped her mobile phone. Media spec­u­la­tion focus­es on the US embassy’s prox­im­i­ty to Merkel’s office.
    Date 25.10.2013

    Deputy Ger­man gov­ern­ment spokesman Georg Stre­it­er said Fri­day in Berlin that Merkel con­duct­ed her impor­tant “state-polit­i­cal” con­ver­sa­tions on encrypt­ed fixed-cir­cuit phone lines. If nec­es­sary, she also resort­ed to a spe­cial­ly-pro­tect­ed mobile phone.

    Merkel, like every cit­i­zen, had, how­ev­er, the right to com­mu­ni­cate “freely and unen­cum­bered,” Stre­it­er said, adding that the gov­ern­ment had no indi­ca­tions that elec­tron­ic eaves­drop­ping had been done from the US embassy.

    The alleged spy­ing on Merkel, made pub­lic late on Wednes­day by her main spokesman Stef­fen Seib­ert, has been con­demned by a cross-sec­tion of Ger­man leg­is­la­tors and media.

    Lis­ten­ing post?

    The Süd­deutsche Zeitung (SZ) news­pa­per claimed on Fri­day that the US embassy — opened in 2008 next to Bran­den­burg Gate and less that a kilo­me­ter from the chan­cellery — housed a lis­ten­ing post of the US’ Spe­cial Col­lec­tion Ser­vice.

    Stre­it­er said Berlin had no such knowl­edge of this but added that ties with the US had reached a sta­tus that “could not con­tin­ue.” New trust had to be estab­lished, he said.


    Ger­many, Brazil spy­ing res­o­lu­tion

    The Ger­man and Brazil­ian gov­ern­ments are expect­ed as ear­ly as next week to intro­duce a Unit­ed Nations res­o­lu­tion high­light­ing the inter­na­tion­al uproar over US spy­ing alle­ga­tions and boost­ing online pri­va­cy rights, diplo­mat­ic sources told the DPA and AFP news agen­cies.

    Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Dil­ma Rous­eff had already called for UN action last month in pro­tect­ing online data after alle­ga­tions the NSA had spied on her office’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions.


    Sep­a­rat­ed usages

    The news agency Reuters quot­ed Merkel ear­ly Fri­day while still at an EU sum­mit in Brus­sels as say­ing that the mobile phone in ques­tion was oper­at­ed on an account held by her Chris­t­ian Demo­c­rat Union (CDU) par­ty.

    She dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed in her usage between par­ty-polit­i­cal and gov­ern­ment trans­ac­tions, she said, to main­tain a “con­sis­tent log­ic in my calls.”

    “For all oth­er state-polit­i­cal rel­e­vant com­mu­ni­ca­tions there are fixed net­work lines, “cryp­to-lines” and when one is not at home “cryp­to-cell phones,” she said.

    So per­haps one of the rea­sons these NSA cell­phone hacks are said to have yield­ed “lit­tle reportable intel­li­gence” is because gov­ern­ments know that impor­tant offi­cials should­n’t be say­ing impor­tant things on unse­cure phones and behaved accord­ing­ly.

    This also rais­es a ques­tion that applies to many of these spy­ing rev­e­la­tions: If the NSA was spy­ing on Merkel’s unen­crypt­ed cell phones, just how many oth­er intel­li­gence agen­cies were lis­ten­ing in on exact­ly the same con­ver­sa­tions? Is there even an gues­ti­mate avail­able for some­thing like that? Like “prob­a­bly at least three or four agen­cies but not more than a dozen”, or some­thing like that? Hope­ful­ly we’ll get more info on ques­tions like that as the NSA scan­dal con­tin­ues because it will be a real shame if all the peo­ple that were appar­ent­ly total­ly unaware of NSA spy­ing end up, months or years from now, think­ing that it’s only the NSA spy­ing on them.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 30, 2013, 2:58 pm
  5. Is Snow­den going to tes­ti­fy in Ger­many’s inves­ti­ga­tion of the Merkel wire­tap­ping? It sure looks like it:

    Ger­man MP meets Snow­den, says he is will­ing to come to Ger­many for inquiry

    By Alexan­dra Hud­son

    BERLIN | Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:19pm EDT

    (Reuters) — A Ger­man law­mak­er said he met Edward Snow­den in Moscow on Thurs­day and the fugi­tive for­mer U.S. spy agency con­trac­tor was will­ing to come to Ger­many to assist inves­ti­ga­tions into alleged U.S. sur­veil­lance of Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel.

    Hans-Chris­t­ian Stroe­bele, a leg­is­la­tor for the oppo­si­tion Greens par­ty, told Ger­man broad­cast­er ARD it was clear Snow­den “knew a lot” and that he would share details of their sur­prise meet­ing includ­ing a let­ter from Snow­den addressed to the Ger­man gov­ern­ment and chief fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor on Fri­day.

    Stroe­bele, a well-known mav­er­ick in Ger­man pol­i­tics, tweet­ed a pho­to­graph of him­self and Snow­den and ARD showed images of the two shak­ing hands in a room before their three-hour meet­ing.

    “He made it clear he knows a lot and that as long as the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) blocks inves­ti­ga­tions..., he is pre­pared to come to Ger­many and give tes­ti­mo­ny, but the con­di­tions must be dis­cussed,” said Stroe­bele.

    His trip came a day after top Amer­i­can and Ger­man secu­ri­ty offi­cials met in Wash­ing­ton to try and ease ten­sions caused by reports that NSA, for which Snow­den worked, mon­i­tored Merkel’s mobile phone. Ger­many is a close ally of the Unit­ed States.

    Stroe­bele, 74, sits on the Ger­man par­lia­men­t’s con­trol com­mit­tee, which mon­i­tors the work of intel­li­gence agen­cies.

    Ger­many’s par­lia­ment will hold a spe­cial ses­sion on Novem­ber 18 to dis­cuss the tap­ping, and the Greens and far-left Left par­ty have demand­ed a pub­lic inquiry call­ing in wit­ness­es includ­ing Snow­den. Stroe­bele told him he could give evi­dence from Moscow.


    Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin reject­ed U.S. pleas to send Snow­den home to face charges includ­ing espi­onage, instead grant­i­ng him a tem­po­rary asy­lum in ear­ly August which can be extend­ed annu­al­ly.

    How­ev­er, Putin, a for­mer KGB spy, has said repeat­ed­ly that Rus­sia would shel­ter Snow­den only if he stopped harm­ing the Unit­ed States. That could make it dif­fi­cult for Snow­den to speak to any Ger­man par­lia­men­tary inquiry.

    Gre­gor Gysi, par­lia­men­tary leader of the Left, has said Ger­many should include Snow­den in its wit­ness pro­tec­tion scheme so he could speak before the com­mit­tee.

    Ger­many’s gov­ern­ment was one of many that reject­ed an asy­lum request from Snow­den ear­li­er this year.

    A Russ­ian lawyer help­ing Snow­den said ear­li­er on Thurs­day that under cur­rent agree­ments Snow­den can­not reveal secret infor­ma­tion while he is in Rus­sia. Snow­den’s loca­tion in Rus­sia has not been dis­closed and since July he has appeared only in a hand­ful of pho­tographs and video clips.

    Thurs­day’s encounter was Snow­den’s first known meet­ing with a for­eign politi­cian, and his first known meet­ing with any spe­cif­ic for­eign­er oth­er than his father and a group of for­mer U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty offi­cials he met in ear­ly Octo­ber.

    Stroe­bele, a dis­tinc­tive fig­ure in Ger­many with his shock of white hair, bright red scarf and com­mon touch, is a lawyer by train­ing and once defend­ed mem­bers of Ger­many’s far-left Baad­er-Mein­hof gang that emerged from the stu­dent protest and anti-Viet­nam war move­ments in West Ger­many in the 1960s.

    How exact­ly Snow­den is going to par­tic­i­pate in a Ger­man “wit­ness pro­tec­tion scheme” while resid­ing in Rus­sia isn’t exact­ly clear, so who knows what will come of this. But note that Stroe­bele, a mem­ber of the com­mit­tee over­see­ing intel­li­gence agen­cies, has in the past referred to the mon­i­tor­ing of Ger­man intel­li­gence agen­cies as “pure­ly the­o­ret­ic”. So even if Snow­den can’t make a remote appear­ance at the inves­ti­ga­tions there should still be plen­ty to talk about:

    Der Spiegel
    ‘Key Part­ners’: Secret Links Between Ger­many and the NSA
    July 22, 2013 – 12:19 PM

    It was a busy two days for the sur­veil­lance spe­cial­ists of the Bun­desnachrich­t­en­di­enst (BND), Ger­many’s for­eign intel­li­gence agency. At the end of April, a team of 12 senior BND offi­cials flew to the Unit­ed States, where they vis­it­ed the heart of the glob­al Amer­i­can sur­veil­lance empire: the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA). The pur­pose of their mis­sion can be read in a “top secret” NSA doc­u­ment which SPIEGEL has seen — one of the trove of files in the pos­ses­sion of whistle­blow­er Edward Snow­den.

    Accord­ing to the doc­u­ment, BND Pres­i­dent Ger­hard Schindler repeat­ed­ly expressed an “eager­ness” to coop­er­ate more close­ly with the NSA. The Ger­mans, the doc­u­ment reads, were look­ing for “guid­ance and advice.”


    But Merkel claims that she knew noth­ing about the Amer­i­cans’ sur­veil­lance soft­ware. “I became aware of pro­grams like Prism through cur­rent news reports,” she told the left-lean­ing week­ly news­pa­per Die Zeit last week. Accord­ing to Merkel’s staff, when she uses such lan­guage, she is rely­ing on state­ments made by the Ger­man intel­li­gence chiefs.

    But what does that mean? Does the Ger­man gov­ern­ment still have its intel­li­gence agen­cies under con­trol? Or have they become a kind of state-with­in-a-state?

    And who exact­ly keeps track of whether the agen­cies, in their zeal to enforce the “Super­grun­drecht” of secu­ri­ty, haven’t already gone too far?

    The place where the activ­i­ties of domes­tic and for­eign intel­li­gence agen­cies ought to be debat­ed is the Par­lia­men­tary Con­trol Pan­el in the Ger­man Bun­destag. By law, the gov­ern­ment is required to reg­u­lar­ly and “com­pre­hen­sive­ly” inform the 11 mem­bers of the board, which meets in secret, about the work of the BND and the BfV, and explain “pro­ce­dures with spe­cial impor­tance.”

    Odd­ly enough, the board has met four times since the begin­ning of the NSA scan­dal, and, four times, law­mak­ers have learned lit­tle about the glob­al data sur­veil­lance pro­grams. Instead, they were forced to lis­ten to long-wind­ed lec­tures by those respon­si­ble, the essence of which gen­er­al­ly was: We real­ly don’t know any­thing.

    Spot­light on Merkel

    Over the years, the board has mutat­ed into a stage for large egos and is no longer par­tic­u­lar­ly secret. The prob­lem is that many pan­el mem­bers don’t have suf­fi­cient time or exper­tise to tru­ly under­stand the kind of activ­i­ties the intel­li­gence agen­cies are engaged in. It is a per­fect sit­u­a­tion for Ger­many’s spies: The less the pub­lic learns about their activ­i­ties, the more they can go about their busi­ness undis­turbed.

    “Mon­i­tor­ing of the agen­cies is pure­ly the­o­ret­i­cal,” says Hans-Chris­t­ian Strö­bele, the Green Par­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the board. “We don’t learn about the tru­ly explo­sive issues until they’ve been exposed by the media.” This isn’t sur­pris­ing, giv­en the vague­ness of statu­to­ry pro­vi­sions on the super­vi­sion of intel­li­gence agen­cies.

    The agen­cies enjoy “com­plete free­dom,” says attor­ney Wolf­gang Neškovi, who once spent many years on the con­trol board for the Left Par­ty. The CDU, its Bavar­i­an sis­ter par­ty, the Chris­t­ian Social Union (CSU), and the lib­er­al Free Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (FDP) have now agreed to estab­lish an intel­li­gence body to mon­i­tor the intel­li­gence agen­cies. But in light of recent events, CDU domes­tic pol­i­cy expert Clemens Bin­ninger believes that a “major solu­tion” is need­ed. He favors the idea of a par­lia­men­tary intel­li­gence offi­cial, to be pro­vid­ed with his own pow­ers and staff.

    There is also grow­ing mis­trust of the intel­li­gence agen­cies with­in Merkel’s gov­ern­ment, a sit­u­a­tion which led to a mem­o­rable scene in the fed­er­al press con­fer­ence last Wednes­day. Accord­ing to a NATO doc­u­ment that had been cir­cu­lat­ed before the press con­fer­ence, the Ger­man mil­i­tary was indeed aware of the exis­tence of Prism. Gov­ern­ment spokesman Stef­fen Seib­ert stat­ed that it was the BND’s assess­ment that the pro­gram in ques­tion had noth­ing to do with NSA spy soft­ware. But he made sure to keep a dis­tance from the intel­li­gence agen­cy’s assess­ment. Lat­er, the Defense Min­istry issued a state­ment of its own which direct­ly con­tra­dict­ed the BND state­ment.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 31, 2013, 2:50 pm
  6. PTERRAFRACTYL and Dave, the sto­ries cir­cu­lat­ing around this evening are say­ing that Snow­den may be seek­ing asy­lum in Ger­many.

    Posted by Bob Miller | October 31, 2013, 5:28 pm
  7. Spy Fight!

    U.S. spy agen­cy’s defense: Euro­peans did it too

    By Tabas­sum Zakaria and Mark Hosen­ball

    WASHINGTON | Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:53pm EDT

    (Reuters) — The polit­i­cal uproar over alleged U.S. eaves­drop­ping on close Euro­pean allies has pro­duced an unusu­al defense from the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency: NSA says it was the Euro­peans them­selves who did the spy­ing, and then hand­ed data to the Amer­i­cans.

    It is rare for intel­li­gence offi­cials to speak in any pub­lic detail about liai­son arrange­ments with for­eign spy agen­cies because such rela­tion­ships are so sen­si­tive. Even more unusu­al is for the Unit­ed States to point fin­gers at part­ners.

    But that is what NSA Direc­tor Gen­er­al Kei­th Alexan­der did at a pub­lic con­gres­sion­al hear­ing on Tues­day when, attempt­ing to counter inter­na­tion­al com­plaints about the agen­cy’s alleged excess­es, he said its sources for for­eign telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions infor­ma­tion includ­ed “data pro­vid­ed to NSA by for­eign part­ners.”

    Alexan­der’s dis­clo­sure marked yet anoth­er mile­stone in NSA’s emer­gence from the shad­ows to defend its elec­tron­ic sur­veil­lance mis­sion in the wake of dam­ag­ing rev­e­la­tions by for­mer agency con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den.

    “It is true that in gen­er­al we stay close-mouthed about intel­li­gence liai­son rela­tion­ships and we only speak in the most gen­er­al terms about shar­ing things with our friends and allies,” said Paul Pil­lar, a for­mer senior CIA ana­lyst.

    But, he said, there was noth­ing wrong in cor­rect­ing infor­ma­tion that was out in pub­lic, even though Alexan­der prob­a­bly “cre­at­ed or exac­er­bat­ed some polit­i­cal prob­lems” for a num­ber of Euro­pean allies with his com­ments.

    Giv­en the hypocrisy being exhib­it­ed by the Euro­peans in say­ing they are ‘shocked, shocked’ that these sorts of things go on — allies spy­ing on allies — I don’t think we should feel much com­punc­tion about hav­ing them feel a lit­tle bit of domes­tic polit­i­cal heat if that is nec­es­sary to set the sto­ry straight in one of our own con­gres­sion­al hear­ings,” Pil­lar said.

    One U.S. offi­cial said that before going pub­lic with the rev­e­la­tion that telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions meta­da­ta was col­lect­ed and sup­plied to the Unit­ed States by for­eign gov­ern­ments like France and Spain, the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion con­sult­ed with the gov­ern­ments con­cerned. The offi­cial spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty.

    Meta­da­ta refers to infor­ma­tion about a phone call or email — the length of a call and the num­ber dialed, for exam­ple — that does not include the com­mu­ni­ca­tion’s actu­al con­tent.

    A sec­ond U.S. offi­cial said that, regard­less of for­eign gov­ern­ments’ reac­tions, some Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials want­ed to make the infor­ma­tion pub­lic any­way because they were dis­ap­point­ed at how allies were will­ing to let Wash­ing­ton take the heat for sur­veil­lance activ­i­ties in which they them­selves were part­ners.



    Reports that the Unit­ed States was eaves­drop­ping on the phone of Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel and spy­ing on the lead­ers and cit­i­zens of some of its clos­est Euro­pean allies — Ger­many, France, and Spain — drew harsh crit­i­cism across Europe.

    Mike McConnell, a for­mer NSA direc­tor, said at a Bloomberg Gov­ern­ment con­fer­ence on Wednes­day that Merkel should not have been sur­prised about alleged U.S. eaves­drop­ping on her cell­phone because world lead­ers are prime tar­gets for such spy­ing.

    “The num­ber one tar­get on the globe is the pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. By every­one,” he said. “All nation states do this.”

    Pil­lar said this cuts both ways: dur­ing the recent U.S. gov­ern­ment shut­down, Euro­pean allies were prob­a­bly scram­bling to get as much intel­li­gence as pos­si­ble about the state of play in Wash­ing­ton, he said.



    Euro­pean media have point­ed to an NSA slide pub­lished by France’s Le Monde news­pa­per as show­ing that the Unit­ed States was col­lect­ing bulk tele­phone data on mil­lions of Euro­pean cit­i­zens. But U.S. offi­cials say that slide was mis­in­ter­pret­ed.

    A U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty offi­cial said that the slide actu­al­ly referred to a pro­gram under which French author­i­ties sup­plied to U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies large amounts of raw tele­phone call data.

    That data relat­ed to com­mu­ni­ca­tions trans­mit­ted out­side France but that passed through tele­coms sys­tems or switch­es to which France had direct, or at least read­ier, access than NSA itself.

    The offi­cial indi­cat­ed that this same sce­nario applied to alle­ga­tions regard­ing the NSA col­lec­tion of large amounts of meta­da­ta in Spain.

    Anoth­er U.S. offi­cial famil­iar with NSA pro­grams said that the meta­da­ta col­lec­tion was inac­cu­rate­ly char­ac­ter­ized in French and Span­ish media reports.

    It was col­lect­ed by those gov­ern­ments them­selves and turned over to the Unit­ed States, and the col­lec­tion was con­duct­ed on tar­gets out­side of their coun­tries in war zones or coun­tries that are major tar­gets for West­ern counter-ter­ror­ism oper­a­tions, the offi­cial said.

    Some of that infor­ma­tion, one U.S. offi­cial said, helped in inves­ti­gat­ing at least three counter-ter­ror­ism cas­es in which leads emerged that proved to be pro­duc­tive.

    There is “noth­ing scan­dalous” about such coop­er­a­tive joint col­lec­tion, the offi­cial insist­ed.

    Spy fight! And if the com­ments ear­li­er this week by Euro­pean Union Com­mis­sion­er for Jus­tice Viviane Red­ing are an indi­ca­tor of what’s to come, this could get real­ly seri­ous. She pub­licly spec­u­lat­ed that “maybe it has to do with get­ting com­mer­cial secrets to be sucked out”. So this could be get­ting nasty:

    CBS News/ Octo­ber 29, 2013, 8:09 PM

    EU offi­cial alleges NSA sought eco­nom­ic edge for U.S.
    By Mar­garet Bren­nan

    After two days of meet­ings in Wash­ing­ton — includ­ing with the NSA chief — Euro­pean law­mak­ers said that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma must rein in sur­veil­lance.

    Euro­pean Union Com­mis­sion­er for Jus­tice Viviane Red­ing told CBS News that any sur­veil­lance with­out court approval would be crim­i­nal.

    “Ser­vices are not on their own,” she said. “They are based on laws which come from politi­cians and politi­cians should go back to con­trol.”

    But nei­ther Red­ing nor Euro­pean law­mak­ers were able to say whether their intel­li­gence agen­cies will­ing­ly gave the infor­ma­tion to the NSA. Ger­man par­lia­men­tar­i­an Elmar Brok said the U.S. oper­a­tion to bug Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s phone crossed the line.

    “It’s very clear that the tele­phone of num­ber of Mrs. Merkel was found in Amer­i­can files — espi­onage files that’s the case and that’s a fact,” Brok said. “And if it comes there via Spain or France, it’s a dif­fer­ent sto­ry and that is also not in order.”

    Euro­pean law­mak­ers are also accus­ing the U.S. of prob­ing finan­cial trans­ac­tions and Red­ing ques­tioned whether the U.S. used secu­ri­ty as an excuse to gain an eco­nom­ic upper-hand.

    “Why are you suck­ing up infor­ma­tion and why are you lis­ten­ing to the phone of a head of state, head of gov­ern­ment?” she asked. “Why you lis­ten to the phone of mil­lions of inno­cent Euro­peans? This has noth­ing to do with fight­ing ter­ror­ism. Maybe it has to do with get­ting com­mer­cial secrets to be sucked out.

    Red­ing will meet with U.S. Attor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Hold­er in two weeks. On Tues­day, the State Depart­ment said more coun­tries request­ed infor­ma­tion about U.S. sur­veil­lance includ­ing: the Unit­ed King­dom, Spain, Italy, Mex­i­co, Colom­bia, Peru, Brazil, South Korea and India.

    It was always impor­tant that we gain addi­tion­al insights into the struc­ture of the larg­er inter­na­tion­al spy­ing net­work if we ever want have a real shot at end­ing a glob­al mass-sur­veil­lance regime. But with Viviane Red­ing join­ing Brazil’s pres­i­dent in sug­gest­ing that the NSA’s spy­ing maybe “has to do with get­ting com­mer­cial secrets to be sucked out”, it’s even more impor­tant now to under­stand whether or not the NSA’s domes­tic spy­ing in the EU is a solo/‘Five Eyes’ project or part of the stan­dard intel­li­gence-shar­ing oper­a­tions that EU spy agen­cies were well aware of and/or par­tic­i­pat­ing in with their five-eyed spy­ing part­ner.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 31, 2013, 11:38 pm
  8. @Bob:
    Yep, fol­low­ing yes­ter­day’s sto­ries about Stoe­bele’s secret meet­ing with Snow­den, we now have Merkel’s Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Hans-Peter Friedrich mus­ing about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of Snow­den tes­ti­fy­ing after Snow­den wrote an open let­ter to the Ger­man offi­cials ask­ing for help and mak­ing him­self avail­able for future tes­ti­monies. But it could be com­pli­cat­ed since Snow­den can’t leave Rus­sia with­out risk­ing his tem­po­rary asy­lum sta­tus and he also can’t eas­i­ly tes­ti­fy from Rus­sia with­out vio­lat­ing the “no more harm to the US” rule that Putin laid down for the tem­po­rary asy­lum.

    One pos­si­bil­i­ty men­tioned in the arti­cle below is if Ger­many grants him a visa and then pro­tects him from extra­di­tion to the US. So asy­lum in Ger­many is appar­ent­ly one of the options on the table, although Stroe­bele says Snow­den isn’t inter­est­ed in risk­ing that since it could result in an extra­di­tion. So a very strange set of nego­ti­a­tions appears to be tak­ing place:

    Snow­den Weighs Tes­ti­fy­ing in Ger­many on NSA
    By Patrick Don­ahue Novem­ber 01, 2013

    For­mer U.S. intel­li­gence con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den offered to tes­ti­fy to Ger­man author­i­ties about the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency’s mass sur­veil­lance after meet­ing a Green Par­ty law­mak­er in Moscow.

    Hans-Chris­t­ian Stroe­bele pre­sent­ed a let­ter attrib­uted to Snow­den in which the fugi­tive accus­es the U.S. gov­ern­ment of “sys­temic” crimes and said he faces a “severe and sus­tained cam­paign of per­se­cu­tion” for dis­clos­ing intel­li­gence secrets. Snow­den would be ready to trav­el to give tes­ti­mo­ny if he could remain safe­ly in Ger­many, Stroe­bele said in Berlin today.

    “I hope that when the dif­fi­cul­ties of this human­i­tar­i­an sit­u­a­tion have been resolved, I will be able to coop­er­ate in the respon­si­ble find­ing of fact” in an inves­ti­ga­tion, Snow­den wrote in the let­ter signed by him­self and Stroe­bele. The law­mak­er post­ed pho­tos with Snow­den on his web­site.

    Rev­e­la­tions last week that the NSA may have tapped Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone and anger at U.S. sur­veil­lance have prompt­ed Ger­man law­mak­ers to call for a par­lia­men­tary inves­ti­ga­tion. Merkel dis­patched a team of intel­li­gence offi­cials to the White House this week to “rebuild trust” after she spoke with Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma on Oct. 23 to vent her crit­i­cism.

    While Ger­man author­i­ties would be open to lis­ten­ing to what Snow­den has to say, any invi­ta­tion to tes­ti­fy would have to come from law­mak­ers or pros­e­cu­tors, gov­ern­ment spokesman Stef­fen Seib­ert said today. It’s pos­si­ble for Snow­den, 30, to speak with author­i­ties out­side Ger­many, though Snow­den said he oppos­es such a prospect, accord­ing to Stroe­bele, whose par­ty isn’t in Merkel’s gov­ern­ment.

    ’Great Crimes’

    “We will find pos­si­bil­i­ties, if Mr. Snow­den is pre­pared to, to speak with Ger­man author­i­ties,” Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Hans-Peter Friedrich told reporters today.

    More than coop­er­at­ing with Ger­man author­i­ties, Snow­den would pre­fer to tes­ti­fy before the U.S. Con­gress to expose “not only aber­ra­tions, but in some cas­es great crimes,” Stroe­bele said.

    “Snow­den didn’t strike me as being anti-Amer­i­can at all, but rather the com­plete oppo­site,” he told reporters in Berlin today at a brief­ing at which he dis­trib­uted the let­ter.

    Snowden’s lawyer, Ana­toly Kucher­e­na, reit­er­at­ed yes­ter­day that leav­ing Russ­ian ter­ri­to­ry would end his refugee sta­tus, accord­ing to the Inter­fax news agency.
    Open Let­ter


    Stroe­bele said he sent the let­ter to Merkel’s gov­ern­ment, to the low­er house of par­lia­ment, or Bun­destag, and to the fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor. The let­ter isn’t addressed to any of those insti­tu­tions and doesn’t specif­i­cal­ly name Ger­many.

    “He’s pre­pared to speak,” Stroe­bele said. The law­mak­er said Snowden’s tech­ni­cal exper­tise will help untan­gle the trove of NSA doc­u­ments released to media orga­ni­za­tions this year.

    Snowden’s one-year asy­lum visa, which the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment grant­ed him on Aug. 1, has sparked a rift between the Cold War foes and prompt­ed Oba­ma to can­cel a planned sum­mit meet­ing with Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

    No Asy­lum

    The for­mer con­trac­tor, who cur­rent­ly has no pass­port, could receive free pas­sage in Ger­many and pro­tec­tion from extra­di­tion to the U.S. if Merkel’s gov­ern­ment grant­ed him a visa, ARD tele­vi­sion said, cit­ing an assess­ment of the research office of the Ger­man low­er house of par­lia­ment, or Bun­destag.

    Seib­ert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, said the gov­ern­ment still sees no basis for the Amer­i­can to apply for polit­i­cal asy­lum in Ger­many, a process that would require him first to enter the coun­try. Stroe­bele said Snow­den cur­rent­ly won’t risk doing that.

    The Green leg­is­la­tor trav­eled to Moscow with two Ger­man ARD reporters. The three were picked up at a hotel in cen­tral Moscow and dri­ven to an undis­closed loca­tion, where they found Snow­den healthy and in “good spir­its.”

    “He’s able-bod­ied but also com­mit­ted and beyond all else, when it comes to his cam­paign of dis­clo­sure, he’s very, very seri­ous and poised,” Stroe­bele said. “He men­tioned repeat­ed­ly what a huge risk he took.”


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 1, 2013, 11:14 am
  9. There’s a use­ful pair of new reports out of the Guardian that high­lights the glob­al, coop­er­a­tive nature of mod­ern mass-sur­veil­lance: There aren’t just 5‑Eyes. There’s also the 9‑Eyes, the 14-Eyes, and even the 41-Eyes. The glob­al sur­veil­lance state is like the prover­bial fly on the wall in more ways than one:

    Por­trait of the NSA: no detail too small in quest for total sur­veil­lance

    The NSA gath­ers intel­li­gence to keep Amer­i­ca safe. But leaked doc­u­ments reveal the NSA’s dark side – and show an agency intent on exploit­ing the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion to the full

    Ewen MacAskill and James Ball
    theguardian.com, Sat­ur­day 2 Novem­ber 2013 12.13 EDT

    Barack Oba­ma hailed Unit­ed Nations sec­re­tary gen­er­al Ban Ki-moon as a “good friend” after the two had sat down in the White House in April to dis­cuss the issues of the day: Syr­ia and alleged chem­i­cal weapons attacks, North Korea, Israel-Pales­tine, and cli­mate change.

    But long before Ban’s lim­ou­sine had even passed through the White House gates for the meet­ing, the US gov­ern­ment knew what the sec­re­tary gen­er­al was going to talk about, cour­tesy of the world’s biggest eaves­drop­ping organ­i­sa­tion, the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency.

    One NSA doc­u­ment – leaked to the Guardian by whistle­blow­er Edward Snow­den just a month after the meet­ing and report­ed in part­ner­ship with the New York Times — boasts how the spy agency had gained “access to UN sec­re­tary gen­er­al talk­ing points pri­or to meet­ing with Potus” (pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States). The White House declined to com­ment on whether Oba­ma had read the talk­ing points in advance of the meet­ing.

    Spy­ing on Ban and oth­ers at the UN is in con­tra­ven­tion of inter­na­tion­al law, and the US, forced on the defen­sive this week over the Snow­den leaks about world­wide snoop­ing, ordered an end to sur­veil­lance of the orga­ni­za­tion, accord­ing to Reuters.

    That the US spied on Ban is no great sur­prise. What is a reveal­ing is that the dis­clo­sure is list­ed in the NSA’s ‘top-secret’ week­ly report from around the world as an “oper­a­tional high­light”.

    It sits incon­gru­ous­ly along­side oth­er “oper­a­tional high­lights” from that week: details of an alleged Iran­ian chem­i­cal weapons pro­gram; com­mu­ni­ca­tions relat­ing to an alleged chem­i­cal weapons attack in Syr­ia and a report about the Mex­i­can drug car­tel Los Zetas.

    Brack­et­ing the benign, US-friend­ly Ban along­side drug traf­fick­ers and weapons in the Mid­dle East and Cen­tral Asia points to a spy agency that has lost its sense of pro­por­tion.

    The inci­dent is con­sis­tent with the por­trait of the NSA that emerges from the tens of thou­sands of doc­u­ments leaked by Snow­den. Page after page shows the NSA engaged in the kind of intel­li­gence-gath­er­ing it would be expect­ed to car­ry out: eaves­drop­ping on Tal­iban insur­gents plan­ning attacks in remote Afghanistan val­leys, or lis­ten­ing in on hostage-tak­ers in Colom­bia.

    But the doc­u­ments reveal, too, the dark­er side of the NSA. It is indis­crim­i­nate in the infor­ma­tion it is col­lect­ing. Noth­ing appears to be too small for the NSA. Noth­ing too triv­ial. Rivals, ene­mies, allies and friends – US cit­i­zens and ‘non-Amer­i­cans’ – are all scooped up.

    The doc­u­ments show the NSA, intent on exploit­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tions rev­o­lu­tion to the full, devel­op­ing ever more intru­sive pro­grammes in pur­suit of its ambi­tion to have sur­veil­lance cov­er of the whole plan­et: total com­mand of what the NSA refers to as the ‘dig­i­tal bat­tle­field’.


    It has large posts in the UK, Aus­tralia and Japan, but also oper­ates else­where, some­times covert­ly. In one coun­try, Amer­i­cans are secret­ly present at a base where expo­sure of their pres­ence would pro­voke a major diplo­mat­ic inci­dent, as it is in breach of an inter­na­tion­al treaty signed by the NSA’s host nation. Agency staff vis­it­ing the base have to hide their real iden­ti­ties, pos­ing as con­trac­tors work­ing on com­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment and car­ry­ing fake busi­ness cards to back up their sto­ry.

    A Pow­er­Point brief­ing warns staff head­ing to this secret base: “Know your cov­er leg­end”. It urges them to “san­i­tize per­son­al effects” and to send no post­cards home. Nor should they take sou­venirs home with them. The NSA brief­ing makes an excep­tion for jew­ellery, because “most jew­ellery does not have mark­ings iden­ti­fy­ing it” as com­ing from that coun­try.

    The NSA refers to the peo­ple it serves as “exter­nal cus­tomers”: the White House, the State Depart­ment, the CIA, the US mis­sion to the UN, the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency and oth­ers.


    One of the biggest crit­i­cisms of bulk data col­lec­tion is that the agency can­not look at, let alone analyse, all the data it is col­lect­ing. One doc­u­ment echoed the prob­lems the agency faced in 2001 when it lament­ed the lack of lin­guists pre‑9/11. An offi­cer, after check­ing some mes­sages that might have been from a ter­ror­ist group, admit­ted: “Most of it is in Ara­bic or Far­si, so I can’t make much of it.”

    The 5‑Eyes

    The NSA oper­ates in close co-oper­a­tion with four oth­er Eng­lish-speak­ing coun­tries — the UK, Cana­da, Aus­tralia and New Zealand — shar­ing raw intel­li­gence, fund­ing, tech­ni­cal sys­tems and per­son­nel. Their top lev­el col­lec­tive is known as the ‘5‑Eyes’.

    Beyond that, the NSA has oth­er coali­tions, although intel­li­gence-shar­ing is more restrict­ed for the addi­tion­al part­ners: the 9‑Eyes, which adds Den­mark, France, the Nether­lands and Nor­way; the 14-Eyes, includ­ing Ger­many, Bel­gium, Italy, Spain and Swe­den; and 41-Eyes, adding in oth­ers in the allied coali­tion in Afghanistan.

    The exclu­siv­i­ty of the var­i­ous coali­tions grates with some, such as Ger­many, which is using the present con­tro­ver­sy to seek an upgrade. Ger­many has long protest­ed at its exclu­sion, not just from the elite 5‑Eyes but even from 9‑Eyes. Min­utes from the UK intel­li­gence agency GCHQ note: “The NSA’s rela­tion­ship with the French was not as advanced as GCHQ’s … the Ger­mans were a lit­tle grumpy at not being invit­ed to join the 9‑Eyes group”.

    Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, amid the Ger­man protes­ta­tions of out­rage over US eaves­drop­ping on Merkel and oth­er Ger­mans, Berlin is using the con­tro­ver­sy as lever­age for an upgrade to 5‑Eyes.


    So if the 5‑Eyes become 7‑Eyes after Ger­many and France get ‘upgrad­ed’, are Den­mark, the Nether­lands, Nor­way, Bel­gium, Italy, Spain, and Swe­den also get­ting an upgrade? What’s the time-frame for some­thing like that and how is it going to impact glob­al mass-sur­veil­lance?

    GCHQ and Euro­pean spy agen­cies worked togeth­er on mass sur­veil­lance

    Edward Snow­den papers unmask close tech­ni­cal coop­er­a­tion and loose alliance between British, Ger­man, French, Span­ish and Swedish spy agen­cies

    Julian Borg­er
    The Guardian, Fri­day 1 Novem­ber 2013 13.02 EDT

    The Ger­man, French, Span­ish and Swedish intel­li­gence ser­vices have all devel­oped meth­ods of mass sur­veil­lance of inter­net and phone traf­fic over the past five years in close part­ner­ship with Britain’s GCHQ eaves­drop­ping agency.

    The bulk mon­i­tor­ing is car­ried out through direct taps into fibre optic cables and the devel­op­ment of covert rela­tion­ships with telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies. A loose but grow­ing eaves­drop­ping alliance has allowed intel­li­gence agen­cies from one coun­try to cul­ti­vate ties with cor­po­ra­tions from anoth­er to facil­i­tate the trawl­ing of the web, accord­ing to GCHQ doc­u­ments leaked by the for­mer US intel­li­gence con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den.

    The files also make clear that GCHQ played a lead­ing role in advis­ing its Euro­pean coun­ter­parts how to work around nation­al laws intend­ed to restrict the sur­veil­lance pow­er of intel­li­gence agen­cies.

    The Ger­man, French and Span­ish gov­ern­ments have react­ed angri­ly to reports based on Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) files leaked by Snow­den since June, reveal­ing the inter­cep­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tions by tens of mil­lions of their cit­i­zens each month. US intel­li­gence offi­cials have insist­ed the mass mon­i­tor­ing was car­ried out by the secu­ri­ty agen­cies in the coun­tries involved and shared with the US.

    The US direc­tor of nation­al intel­li­gence, James Clap­per, sug­gest­ed to Con­gress on Tues­day that Euro­pean gov­ern­ments’ pro­fessed out­rage at the reports was at least part­ly hyp­o­crit­i­cal. “Some of this reminds me of the clas­sic movie Casablan­ca: ‘My God, there’s gam­bling going on here,’ ” he said.

    Swe­den, which passed a law in 2008 allow­ing its intel­li­gence agency to mon­i­tor cross-bor­der email and phone com­mu­ni­ca­tions with­out a court order, has been rel­a­tive­ly mut­ed in its response.

    The Ger­man gov­ern­ment, how­ev­er, has expressed dis­be­lief and fury at the rev­e­la­tions from the Snow­den doc­u­ments, includ­ing the fact that the NSA mon­i­tored Angela Merkel’s mobile phone calls.

    After the Guardian revealed the exis­tence of GCHQ’s Tem­po­ra pro­gramme, in which the elec­tron­ic intel­li­gence agency tapped direct­ly into the transat­lantic fibre optic cables to car­ry out bulk sur­veil­lance, the Ger­man jus­tice min­is­ter, Sabine Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er, said it sound­ed “like a Hol­ly­wood night­mare”, and warned the UK gov­ern­ment that free and demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­eties could not flour­ish when states shield­ed their actions in “a veil of secre­cy”.

    ‘Huge poten­tial’

    How­ev­er, in a coun­try-by-coun­try sur­vey of its Euro­pean part­ners, GCHQ offi­cials expressed admi­ra­tion for the tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties of Ger­man intel­li­gence to do the same thing. The sur­vey in 2008, when Tem­po­ra was being test­ed, said the Fed­er­al Intel­li­gence Ser­vice (BND), had “huge tech­no­log­i­cal poten­tial and good access to the heart of the inter­net – they are already see­ing some bear­ers run­ning at 40Gbps and 100Gbps”.

    Bear­ers is the GCHQ term for the fibre optic cables, and giga­bits per sec­ond (Gbps) mea­sures the speed at which data runs through them. Four years after that report, GCHQ was still only able to mon­i­tor 10 Gbps cables, but looked for­ward to tap new 100 Gbps bear­ers even­tu­al­ly. Hence the admi­ra­tion for the BND.

    The doc­u­ment also makes clear that British intel­li­gence agen­cies were help­ing their Ger­man coun­ter­parts change or bypass laws that restrict­ed their abil­i­ty to use their advanced sur­veil­lance tech­nol­o­gy. “We have been assist­ing the BND (along with SIS [Secret Intel­li­gence Ser­vice] and Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice) in mak­ing the case for reform or rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of the very restric­tive inter­cep­tion leg­is­la­tion in Ger­many,” it says.

    The coun­try-by-coun­try sur­vey, which in places reads some­what like a school report, also hands out high marks to the GCHQ’s French part­ner, the Gen­er­al Direc­torate for Exter­nal Secu­ri­ty (DGSE). But in this case it is sug­gest­ed that the DGSE’s com­par­a­tive advan­tage is its rela­tion­ship with an unnamed telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­ny, a rela­tion­ship GCHQ hoped to lever­age for its own oper­a­tions.

    “DGSE are a high­ly moti­vat­ed, tech­ni­cal­ly com­pe­tent part­ner, who have shown great will­ing­ness to engage on IP [inter­net pro­to­col] issues, and to work with GCHQ on a “coop­er­ate and share” basis.”


    “Very friend­ly crypt meet­ing with DGSE in July,” British offi­cials report­ed. The French were “clear­ly very keen to pro­vide pre­sen­ta­tions on their work which includ­ed cipher detec­tion in high-speed bear­ers. [GCHQ’s] chal­lenge is to ensure that we have enough UK capa­bil­i­ty to sup­port a longer term crypt rela­tion­ship.”

    Fresh oppor­tu­ni­ties

    In the case of the Span­ish intel­li­gence agency, the Nation­al Intel­li­gence Cen­tre (CNI), the key to mass inter­net sur­veil­lance, at least back in 2008, was the Spaniards’ ties to a British telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­ny (again unnamed. Cor­po­rate rela­tions are among the most strict­ly guard­ed secrets in the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty). That was giv­ing them “fresh oppor­tu­ni­ties and uncov­er­ing some sur­pris­ing results.

    “GCHQ has not yet engaged with CNI for­mal­ly on IP exploita­tion, but the CNI have been mak­ing great strides through their rela­tion­ship with a UK com­mer­cial part­ner. GCHQ and the com­mer­cial part­ner have been able to coor­di­nate their approach. The com­mer­cial part­ner has pro­vid­ed the CNI some equip­ment whilst keep­ing us informed, enabling us to invite the CNI across for IP-focused dis­cus­sions this autumn,” the report said. It con­clud­ed that GCHQ “have found a very capa­ble coun­ter­part in CNI, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the field of Covert Inter­net Ops”.

    GCHQ was clear­ly delight­ed in 2008 when the Swedish par­lia­ment passed a bit­ter­ly con­test­ed law allow­ing the coun­try’s Nation­al Defence Radio Estab­lish­ment (FRA) to con­duct Tem­po­ra-like oper­a­tions on fibre optic cables. The British agency also claimed some cred­it for the suc­cess.


    GCHQ also main­tains strong rela­tions with the two main Dutch intel­li­gence agen­cies, the exter­nal MIVD and the inter­nal secu­ri­ty ser­vice, the AIVD.

    “Both agen­cies are small, by UK stan­dards, but are tech­ni­cal­ly com­pe­tent and high­ly moti­vat­ed,” British offi­cials report­ed. Once again, GCHQ was on hand in 2008 for help in deal­ing with legal con­straints. “The AIVD have just com­plet­ed a review of how they intend to tack­le the chal­lenges posed by the inter­net – GCHQ has pro­vid­ed input and advice to this report,” the coun­try assess­ment said.

    “The Dutch have some leg­isla­tive issues that they need to work through before their legal envi­ron­ment would allow them to oper­ate in the way that GCHQ does. We are pro­vid­ing legal advice on how we have tack­led some of these issues to Dutch lawyers.”


    It is clear from the Snow­den doc­u­ments that GCHQ has become Europe’s intel­li­gence hub in the inter­net age, and not just because of its suc­cess in cre­at­ing a legal­ly per­mis­sive envi­ron­ment for its oper­a­tions. Britain’s loca­tion as the Euro­pean gate­way for many transat­lantic cables, and its priv­i­leged rela­tion­ship with the NSA has made GCHQ an essen­tial part­ner for Euro­pean agen­cies. The doc­u­ments show British offi­cials fre­quent­ly lob­by­ing the NSA on shar­ing of data with the Euro­peans and hag­gling over its secu­ri­ty clas­si­fi­ca­tion so it can be more wide­ly dis­sem­i­nat­ed. In the intel­li­gence world, far more than it man­aged in diplo­ma­cy, Britain has made itself an indis­pens­able bridge between Amer­i­ca and Europe’s spies.

    Note that the BND is already deny­ing that is was work­ing with GCHQ to dilute spy­ing legal restric­tions, so this lat­est round of spy fight­ing might just be get­ting start­ed:

    UPDATE 2‑Europe’s spies work togeth­er on mass sur­veil­lance — Guardian

    Sun Nov 3, 2013 12:10am IST

    * Guardian cites doc­u­ments leaked by Edward Snow­den

    * Report embar­rass­ing for Euro­pean crit­ics of NSA

    * Ger­man agency denies cir­cum­vent­ing laws (Adds Ger­man reac­tion)

    By Estelle Shir­bon

    LONDON, Nov 2 (Reuters) — Spy agen­cies across West­ern Europe are work­ing togeth­er on mass sur­veil­lance of Inter­net and phone traf­fic com­pa­ra­ble to pro­grammes run by their U.S. coun­ter­part denounced by Euro­pean gov­ern­ments, Britain’s Guardian news­pa­per report­ed on Sat­ur­day.

    Cit­ing doc­u­ments leaked by fugi­tive for­mer U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den, the Guardian said meth­ods includ­ed tap­ping into fibre optic cables and work­ing covert­ly with pri­vate telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies.


    Snow­den has writ­ten an open let­ter to Merkel and oth­er Ger­man author­i­ties to say he is count­ing on inter­na­tion­al sup­port to stop Wash­ing­ton’s “per­se­cu­tion” of him.

    Ger­many’s BND fed­er­al intel­li­gence ser­vice said there had been con­sid­er­a­tions in 2008 about merg­ing Ger­man secu­ri­ty ser­vices’ sur­veil­lance of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, which would have required changes to telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and secu­ri­ty laws.

    It said it had exchanged expe­ri­ences with the British ser­vices on this in 2008 but these dis­cus­sions had focussed on tech­ni­cal rather than legal issues. The BND added that it reg­u­lar­ly held such exchanges on tech­ni­cal devel­op­ments with oth­er Euro­pean ser­vices.

    “It is incor­rect that Ger­many’s BND fed­er­al intel­li­gence ser­vice tried to cir­cum­vent legal restric­tions to be able to imple­ment British acqui­si­tion tech­nol­o­gy. On this point too the BND com­plied with the law,” a BND spokesman said.

    The Guardian said GCHQ files leaked by Snow­den showed the British agency tak­ing cred­it for advis­ing Euro­pean coun­ter­parts on how to get around domes­tic laws intend­ed to restrict their sur­veil­lance pow­ers.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 2, 2013, 6:21 pm
  10. It sounds like the Ger­man Par­lia­ment has ruled out the idea of Edward Snow­den trav­el­ing to Ger­many, but a remote inter­ro­ga­tion from Moscow is still a pos­si­bil­i­ty. A ‘no spy (on gov­ern­ments)’ pact is also pos­si­ble by mid-Decem­ber. So lot’s of big moves are still to be decid­ed upon:

    Deutsche Welle
    No inter­ro­ga­tion of Snow­den in Ger­many for now, par­lia­men­tary pan­el says

    A par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee has announced that bring­ing NSA whistle­blow­er Edward Snow­den to Ger­many for ques­tion­ing is not yet on the cards. But the option of inter­ro­gat­ing him in Moscow is still open.
    Date 06.11.2013

    Speak­ing after a spe­cial meet­ing of the Par­lia­men­tary Con­trol Pan­el on Wednes­day, Chair­man Thomas Opper­mann said the body would not try to inter­ro­gate Snow­den in Ger­many for the time being.

    “An inter­ro­ga­tion in Ger­many is cur­rent­ly not being dis­cussed,” Opper­mann said.

    He said, how­ev­er, that the pan­el would ask the Ger­man gov­ern­ment to exam­ine whether Snow­den could be ques­tioned in Rus­sia.

    Opper­mann said it had first to be ensured that it would not cause “dif­fi­cul­ties” for Snow­den if the inter­ro­ga­tion took place there.

    The US whistle­blow­er is cur­rent­ly resid­ing in Moscow after being grant­ed a year’s asy­lum by Rus­sia.

    Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Hans-Peter Friedrich (pic­tured) said the Ger­man gov­ern­ment would accede to the pan­el’s request.

    He also reit­er­at­ed that Ger­many was not in a posi­tion to grant Snow­den asy­lum.

    The meet­ing was also attend­ed by Ger­hard Schindler, the head of Ger­many’s BND intel­li­gence ser­vice, and Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the Fed­er­al Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    They report­ed to the pan­el on talks held in Wash­ing­ton over the past days with US intel­li­gence offi­cials, part­ly about a pro­posed mutu­al “no-spy” agree­ment.

    ‘Restore lost trust’

    Ronald Pofal­la, the head of the chan­cellery, said the planned agree­ment offered “a unique chance to regain the trust that had been lost,” adding that the Ger­man del­e­ga­tions in Wash­ing­ton had gained the impres­sion that the White House had “ful­ly rec­og­nized” the polit­i­cal dimen­sion of the spy­ing affair.

    Ger­many has expressed out­rage after alle­ga­tions, based on doc­u­ments leaked by Snow­den, that the US Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency had tapped Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

    Pofal­la said US Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma intend­ed to inform the Ger­man gov­ern­ment in mid-Decem­ber about the results of the review he has ordered of the intel­li­gence ser­vices. He added that coop­er­a­tion between Ger­many and the US was to be placed on a “new basis” as part of the “no-spy” agree­ment.

    Opper­mann demand­ed that the pro­posed agree­ment also offer pro­tec­tion against exces­sive sur­veil­lance to nor­mal cit­i­zens, and not just the Ger­man gov­ern­ment.

    Green politi­cian Hans-Chris­t­ian Strö­bele, who vis­it­ed Snow­den in Moscow last Thurs­day, once more called on Ger­many to grant the whistle­blow­er asy­lum. The gov­ern­ment has repeat­ed­ly reject­ed such calls, say­ing that such a move would endan­ger the trans-Atlantic alliance with the US.


    While Snow­den may not be trav­el­ing from Rus­sia to Ger­many any time soon, it turns out that Sarah Har­ri­son left Snow­den’s side in Rus­sia this week­end and has now joined the Berlin branch of Team Snow­den:

    Wik­iLeaks Snow­den staffer says unsafe to return to Britain

    (AFP) – 11/6/2013

    Lon­don — A Wik­iLeaks staffer who has been accom­pa­ny­ing Edward Snow­den said Wednes­day she had left Rus­sia for Ger­many, but the threat of pros­e­cu­tion made it unsafe for her to return home to Britain.

    In August, Sarah Har­ri­son helped for­mer US Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency con­trac­tor Snow­den flee Hong Kong to Rus­sia, where he has now been grant­ed tem­po­rary asy­lum from US author­i­ties who want to pros­e­cute him for leak­ing offi­cial secrets.

    In a state­ment date­lined from Berlin and issued by anti-secre­cy web­site Wik­iLeaks, Har­ri­son said she had now left Snow­den’s side and had “arrived in Ger­many over the week­end”.

    She said that after spend­ing 39 days with Snow­den in a Moscow air­port while he sought asy­lum, “I then remained with him until our team was con­fi­dent that he had estab­lished him­self and was free from the inter­fer­ence of any gov­ern­ment”.

    But she said the deten­tion under British anti-ter­ror laws of David Miran­da — the part­ner of jour­nal­ist Glenn Green­wald who land­ed the scoop of the Snow­den leaks — showed there was a cli­mate of “per­se­cu­tion” in her own home coun­try, Britain.

    “Almost every sto­ry pub­lished on the GCHQ and NSA bulk spy­ing pro­grams falls under the UK gov­ern­men­t’s inter­pre­ta­tion of the word ‘ter­ror­ism’,” she wrote.

    “In response, our lawyers have advised me that it is not safe to return home.”

    British police held Miran­da at Lon­don’s Heathrow Air­port for nine hours on August 18 as he was in tran­sit from Ger­many to Brazil for ques­tion­ing about the leaks on the NSA and Britain’s elec­tron­ic eaves­drop­ping cen­tre GCHQ.

    Har­ri­son, believed to be 31, is one of Wik­iLeaks founder Julian Assange’s clos­est aides.


    In her state­ment, Har­ri­son said that “already, in the few days I have spent in Ger­many, it is heart­en­ing to see the peo­ple join­ing togeth­er and call­ing for their gov­ern­ment to do what must be done ?- to inves­ti­gate NSA spy­ing rev­e­la­tions, and to offer Edward Snow­den asy­lum”.

    “The Unit­ed States should no longer be able to con­tin­ue spy­ing on every per­son around the globe, or per­se­cut­ing those that speak the truth,” she wrote.

    Her choice of Berlin as a des­ti­na­tion comes a day after Ger­many said it had asked to speak to Britain’s ambas­sador fol­low­ing a media report that Lon­don has been oper­at­ing a secret lis­ten­ing post from its embassy in Berlin.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 6, 2013, 12:18 pm
  11. Nego­ti­a­tions over the US-Ger­man ‘no spy’ agree­ment appears to be near­ing com­ple­tion. The details are sparse, but it appears that the US will reit­er­ate that it won’t engage in com­mer­cial espi­onage although it’s unclear if Ger­many has to promise the same in return. It’s also being char­ac­ter­ized as a treaty that would sim­pli­fy and strength­en — rather than restrict — coop­er­a­tion between US spy agen­cies and the BND. Also, it does­n’t sound like oth­er coun­tries should expect a pub­lic ‘no com­mer­cial espi­onage’ agree­ment, espe­cial­ly France because they’re noto­ri­ous for aggres­sive indus­tri­al espi­onage. So, basi­cal­ly, the new fan­gled ‘no spy’ agree­ment between the US and Ger­many does noth­ing oth­er than issue a redun­dant ‘no com­mer­cial espi­onage’ agree­ment (it was already tech­ni­cal­ly ille­gal), and increase coop­er­a­tion between US intel­li­gence and the BND. And there’s a nice big forced pub­lic “screw you” to France and the rest of the world. Sounds like a use­ful ‘no spy’ agree­ment:

    U.S., Ger­many dis­cuss intel­li­gence coop­er­a­tion after Merkel affair

    By Mark Hosen­ball

    WASHINGTON Fri Nov 8, 2013 3:44pm EST

    (Reuters) — After dis­clo­sures that the U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency tapped Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s cell­phone, Wash­ing­ton and Berlin are dis­cussing new rules to gov­ern deal­ings between their spy agen­cies, U.S. and Euro­pean offi­cials said.

    Senior Ger­man offi­cials, includ­ing the chiefs of Ger­many’s for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vice, the BND, and its domes­tic secu­ri­ty agency, the BfV, met with Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials last week­end to dis­cuss how to reshape intel­li­gence coop­er­a­tion.

    Cur­rent and for­mer U.S. offi­cials famil­iar with U.S. spy pro­grams say the Unit­ed States is like­ly to be will­ing to agree to some kind of pledge — either pub­lic or pri­vate — that Amer­i­can agen­cies will not engage in indus­tri­al or com­mer­cial espi­onage against Ger­man tar­gets.

    Such a promise would be an unusu­al step for the Unit­ed States, but it would be easy for the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion to make because cur­rent rules gov­ern­ing the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency and oth­er U.S. spy agen­cies already pro­hib­it spy­ing for com­mer­cial ben­e­fit.

    Wash­ing­ton would be much less will­ing to give the same sort of pledge to oth­er allies, most notably France, which have large state-owned indus­tries and a rep­u­ta­tion for aggres­sive offi­cial indus­tri­al espi­onage, U.S. and Euro­pean offi­cials said.

    The vis­it to Wash­ing­ton by the Ger­man offi­cials fol­lowed rev­e­la­tions by Ger­man media, based on doc­u­ments leaked by for­mer NSA con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den, that the NSA tar­get­ed Merkel’s phone for eaves­drop­ping. U.S. offi­cials did not deny the report but said any such spy­ing has now ceased.

    A Euro­pean offi­cial said Merkel was not par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­tressed at the rev­e­la­tions as she rec­og­nized her cell­phone was an inse­cure means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and was care­ful and cryp­tic as to what she talked about on it.

    Nonethe­less, the pub­lic and polit­i­cal uproar caused by the affair and by oth­er Ger­man media rev­e­la­tions based on Snow­den’s mate­r­i­al — includ­ing alleged NSA spy­ing on the Unit­ed Nations and Euro­pean Union — prompt­ed Ger­man offi­cials to seek urgent con­sul­ta­tions with their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts to review the rules for intel­li­gence coop­er­a­tion.

    U.S. and Ger­man offi­cials are work­ing on a secret agree­ment to gov­ern day-to-day intel­li­gence deal­ings between the two coun­tries, a Euro­pean offi­cial said.


    The secret agree­ment would be aimed at sim­pli­fy­ing the rela­tion­ship with Ger­many and strength­en­ing rather than restrict­ing coop­er­a­tion between the two coun­tries’ spy agen­cies, offi­cials said.

    U.S. and Ger­man intel­li­gence rela­tions are cur­rent­ly run under a patch­work of agree­ments between indi­vid­ual U.S. spy agen­cies, such as the NSA, the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency and the Nation­al Recon­nais­sance Office, with the BND, or Ger­many’s Fed­er­al Intel­li­gence Ser­vice, which incor­po­rates the func­tions of a mul­ti­plic­i­ty of U.S. agen­cies.

    So it’s unclear what, if any, changes will take place as a result of the US-Ger­man ‘no spy’ pacts oth­er than greater NSA/BND coop­er­a­tion. And the NSA will now have to ask one of the oth­er for­eign intel­li­gence agen­cies that was tap­ping Angela Merkel’s pre­cious pre­cious unse­cure cell­phone calls for that use­less intel.

    But it’s also very unclear if this is all just a first step in a longer process of tru­ly shift­ing the mass-sur­veil­lance respon­si­bil­i­ties of the EU peo­ple away from the US and back onto the EU intel­li­gence agen­cies. The US may have been NATO’s glob­al spy-mon­ger on behalf of the EU gov­ern­ments in the past, but that could change. And if the cur­rent pub­lic chat­ter is any indi­ca­tion of what to expect, it’s not incon­ceiv­able that, in a decade or so, an EU cen­tral intel­li­gence agency will han­dle EU domes­tic surviel­lance and then act as a gate-keep­er with the US, only pass­ing along data deemed to be rel­e­vant to US inter­est. And much rejoic­ing will take place because mass-sur­veil­lance of the EU will be han­dled by the EU and the mass-sur­veil­lance by the EU intel­li­gence agen­cies will be less-mas­sive and with greater legal safe­guards than the mass-sur­veil­lance by the NSA. We all trade in the NSA as glob­al spy-mon­ger for a glob­al col­lec­tion of bet­ter lit­tle Big Broth­ers that keep us safe while main­tain­ing our pri­va­cy? At least that’s the plan, right?

    If so, one of the com­mon­ly heard expla­na­tion for the NSA’s vast over­reach in the data-col­lec­tion of aver­age peo­ple real­ly needs to be addressed from the con­text of a EU-run sur­veil­lance-state. It’s a two-pronged expla­na­tion:
    1. Much of the data-col­lec­tion pol­i­cy-mak­ing was done in a man­ner that gave elect­ed offi­cials plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­i­ty, there­by shift­ing much of the actu­al pol­i­cy deci­sion-mak­ing to the offi­cials run­ning the spy agen­cies or oth­er low­er-lev­el offi­cials.
    2. The peo­ple run­ning these poli­cies have an intense fear of miss­ing infor­ma­tion that could pre­vent future ter­ror­ist attacks or some oth­er dis­as­ter and this fear act­ed as a key moti­va­tor in the minds of the offi­cials run­ning these agen­cies for hoover­ing up as much infor­ma­tion as pos­si­ble. Fear of fail­ure makes mis­sion creep inevitable.

    Since a mass shake up in how glob­al mass-sur­veil­lance is done (or, ide­al­ly, how glob­al mass-survel­liance is end­ed) we should prob­a­bly keep those above two argu­ments in mind when think­ing about how an EU-spy agency — or a South Amer­i­can spy­ing alliance — might behave as part of the new kinder, gen­tler glob­al Big Broth­er par­a­digm. Because even if those argu­ments were most­ly BS in the con­text NSA over­reach, they are also argu­ments that are always going to be poten­tial­ly valid excus­es for any spy agen­cies to over-spy on its pop­u­lace, espe­cial­ly when the NSA does­n’t do the mass-spy­ing on their behalf any­more. Even good-heart­ed spy-mas­ters are going to be kind of freaked out about miss­ing some­thing that results in a mass cat­a­stro­phe.

    There’s also the argu­ment that mass-spy­ing actu­al­ly hurts attempts to thwart ter­ror­ism (by hid­ing the nee­dle in ever larg­er haystacks) and that may be a valid argu­ment today. But keep in mind that artif­i­cal intel­li­gence and greater pro­cess­ing pow­er allow the automa­tion of mass data-analy­sis might solve the “nee­dle in a haystack” prob­lem and there real­ly could be plen­ty of sit­u­a­tions in the future where mass-sur­veil­lance could be legit­imite­ly use­ful at pre­vent­ing a dis­as­ter. In oth­er words, the tec­n­ni­cal fail­ures of today’s glob­al Big Broth­er net­work aren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly going to plague the Big Broth­ers a decade from now so the incen­tives for mass-sur­veil­lance might actu­al­ly increase going for­ward.

    So, in a weird way, if we’re going to avoid see­ing the lit­tle Big Broth­ers in the EU and else­where use those exact same excus­es for mass-spy­ing mis­sion-creep in the future, human­i­ty might have to defeat ter­ror­ism. No, not defeat ter­ror­ists, since that’s an impos­si­bil­i­ty. Instead, we’re all going to have to become much more accept­ing of the pos­si­bil­i­ty of mass-casu­al­ty events and we’re going to have to become much more for­giv­ing towards the being entrust­ed to pro­tect the pop­u­lace when an attack takes place. The say­ing “I’d rather risk a ter­ror­ist attack (or attack by an ene­my nation) than live under a sur­veil­lance state” real­ly needs to be tak­en to heart by the next gen­er­a­tion around the globe if we’re going to have a chance of putting the mass-spy-genie back in the bot­tle. It’s an atti­tude that would also thwart temp­ta­tions for gov­er­ments to use ter­ror­ists or false-flag/Glad­io-style attacks for their own nefar­i­ous pur­pos­es. So, some­what iron­i­cal­ly, the best way to under­mine Big Broth­er (both the benign and mali­cious kinds of Big Broth­er) is by tak­ing a “you can try to ter­ror­ize us, ye ol’ ter­ror­ists, and maybe you’ll even kill some of us, but it won’t change a thing” atti­tude towards the extrem­ists of the world. And the best way to defeat the ter­ror­ists and extrem­ists is to tell Big Broth­er “we’re OK with some screw ups and missed oppor­tu­ni­ties. We accept this in advance. You can mess up. It’s ok, please don’t destroy our pri­va­cy on our behalf just to stop those los­er ter­ror­ists. We accept that such vio­lent mani­acs exist and we won’t allow them to warp our soci­eties”. These are atti­tudes that need to become part of the implied social con­tract between peo­ples and their gov­ern­ments and eachother. And the only real way to do that is through broad inter­na­tion­al dis­course about how we real­ly are will­ing to accept ele­vat­ed risks of mass attacks and that there real­ly is an expec­ta­tion that the peo­ple entrust­ed to stop suck attacks will miss some oppor­tu­ni­ties to stop them as a con­se­quence of our desire to main­tain our pri­va­cy.

    In oth­er words, pub­licly and pre­emp­tive­ly for­giv­ing Big Broth­ers for fail­ing to do in the future the use­ful things a Big Broth­er can do in exchange for our pri­va­cy might be one of the best ways to turn Big Broth­er into Lit­tle Broth­er. It would be a strange inter­na­tion­al con­ver­sa­tion to have giv­en the cir­cum­stances but it could be worth it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 9, 2013, 7:30 pm
  12. Deutsche Telekom could­n’t have asked for a bet­ter ad cam­paign for its brand new line of anti-NSA cell­phones: Get ready for the new Merkel­phone. It’s a spe­cial­ized ver­sion of the Sam­sumg Galaxy S III for only 1,700 euro! The whole sys­tem is sort of like a cell­phone ver­sion of wall-off inter­net Deutsche Telekom wants to devel­op. As long as both par­ties are using the “SimKo” sys­tem the com­mu­ni­ca­tions should in the­o­ry be secure. Anti-NSA secure. The phone’s L4 micro­ker­nel is made by Berlin-based Trust2Core, a start­up owned by Deutsche Telekom, although gov­ern­ments are allowed to man­u­fac­ture their own chips if they don’t trust their encryp­tion keys with a firm behold­en to the BND. So, for any gov­ern­ments that feel like turn­ing their intragov­ern­men­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions into a closed net­work man­aged by Deutsche Telekom some excit­ing new prod­ucts are hit­ting the mar­kets:

    How Deutsche Telekom aims to turn mobile phones into Fort Knox
    Rows over tap­ping of Angela Merkels’ phone in Ger­many have led to super-secure phones — but who will buy them?

    Michael Scatur­ro
    theguardian.com, Tues­day 26 Novem­ber 2013 07.34 EST

    When we met at Deutsche Telekom’s main office in Berlin, Michael Bartsch could bare­ly con­tain his excite­ment over the com­pa­ny’s newest mobile phone.

    “We can’t say which coun­tries we’ve been con­tact­ed by,” the 40-some­thing exec­u­tive who is head of mobile secu­ri­ty for the tele­com com­pa­ny, said. “But secu­ri­ty peo­ple from embassies have called us ask­ing for devices to test out. In fact, we’ve been get­ting calls from every­one, even from out­side the EU.”

    On the mahogany con­fer­ence table in front of Bartsch lay a panoply of the smart­phones he uses, mod­i­fies, and ulti­mate­ly tries to mar­ket: an iPhone 5s, a Black­ber­ry Z10, and what looked, to the casu­al observ­er, like last year’s Sam­sung Galaxy S3.

    But, in fact, the unas­sum­ing Galaxy was actu­al­ly a Sam­sung device run­ning the Kore­an com­pa­ny’s secure Knox ver­sion of Android, which Telekom has mod­i­fied with its own secu­ri­ty soft­ware, called SimKo.

    An ear­li­er vari­ant is the phone that Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel uses. And Telekom wants to sell it to you – or your gov­ern­ment, or your com­pa­ny, or to any­one look­ing to migrate away from Amer­i­can and British tech­nol­o­gy solu­tions in the wake of the NSA spy­ing scan­dal. But crit­ics of the ini­tia­tive say that equal­ly secure prod­ucts can be had for a frac­tion of the cost, and that Deutsche Telekom’s ties to the Ger­man gov­ern­ment make SimKo prob­lem­at­ic for poten­tial for­eign gov­ern­ment buy­ers.

    Telekom’s SimKo project was born in 2004 at the behest of the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, which owns a 32% stake in Telekom. It want­ed a solu­tion that would encrypt data and even­tu­al­ly voice traf­fic on 10,000 civ­il ser­vants’ gov­ern­ment-issue phones – both when they com­mu­ni­cat­ed with one anoth­er on the phones and when their phones were con­nect­ed to the gov­ern­men­t’s secure email net­work.

    After five years of research, the first SimKo phone, a mod­i­fied HTC Touch Pro 2 run­ning Win­dows Mobile 6.5, was released in late 2009. It could encrypt text mes­sages and email, but voice traf­fic was left unen­crypt­ed because at the time tele­com providers thought the encryp­tion built into their 3G net­works was robust enough to thwart hack­ing. This was wrong, as the Berlin-based Chaos Com­put­er Club group proved in late 2009, when it eas­i­ly hacked into 3G net­works.

    This inci­dent sent Deutsche Telekom look­ing for anoth­er solu­tion – and it came in the form of Sam­sung’s Knox-enabled phones, which were unveiled this year at the mobile phone indus­try’s annu­al trade show in Barcelona. Present­ly Knox is only avail­able com­mer­cial­ly for the Galaxy Note 3 “phablet”; the Galaxy S3 and S4 require an update that has­n’t been pro­vid­ed yet.


    Sam­sung’s plat­form is aimed pri­mar­i­ly at the US Depart­ment of Defense, which said this past spring that it plans to buy 600,000 “secure clas­si­fied and pro­tect­ed unclas­si­fied mobile solu­tions that are based on com­mer­cial off-the-shelf prod­ucts.” Gov­ern­ment-wide pur­chas­es of secure smart phones could even­tu­al­ly reach 8m devices in the US – and Sam­sung, as the largest mak­er of Android phones, hopes to grab a big chunk of that busi­ness. At present the DoD lists only BB10, Apple’s iOS 6 and Sam­sung’s Knox as hav­ing met its require­ments for mobile secu­ri­ty.

    So keen is Sam­sung to gar­ner US gov­ern­ment con­tracts that it devel­oped the Knox plat­form almost entire­ly to US gov­ern­ment spec­i­fi­ca­tions, with par­tic­u­lar empha­sis on mod­i­fy­ing the open-source SE Lin­ux pro­gram­ming lan­guage to meet Depart­ment of Defense require­ments. The com­pa­ny says in its whitepa­per: “Sam­sung R&D teams have worked very close­ly with the NSA to port and inte­grate this tech­nol­o­gy into Android. This port of SE Lin­ux to Android is com­mon­ly referred to as Secu­ri­ty Enhance­ments for Android, or ‘SE for Android’.”

    Knox phones des­tined for the US Depart­ment of Defense are giv­en an extra lay­er of secu­ri­ty by Gen­er­al Dynam­ics and defence soft­ware con­trac­tor Fix­mo. Both com­pa­nies are adding voice encryp­tion and spe­cial authen­ti­ca­tion pro­to­cols that allow the devices to sign on to secure gov­ern­ment net­works like the DoD’s SIPR­Net, which was where the Wik­iLeaks diplo­mat­ic cables were stored.

    But can an Amer­i­can chief exec­u­tive or the Pres­i­dent of Brazil get one of these ultra-secure Knox phones from Gen­er­al Dynam­ics? Unlike­ly. An employ­ee at Gen­er­al Dynam­ics G4, who asked not to be quot­ed by name, said the devices that it mod­i­fies for the gov­ern­ment “are based on soft­ware tech­nol­o­gy that goes to the root of the phone. Our tech­nol­o­gy is not used by oth­er coun­tries”.

    This is where Deutsche Telekom hopes to fill a niche. It’s adding a sim­i­lar, extra secu­ri­ty lay­er to its phones as well. And it says it will sell the same device that it makes for Angela Merkel – the Merkel­phone – to any­one will­ing to pay the €1,700 ask­ing price.

    Telekom’s ver­sion of the Sam­sung Knox encrypts all voice and data traf­fic into and out of the phone with a cryp­to­card made by cer­gate and soft­ware by NCP, both based in Nürn­berg. The phone’s L4 micro­ker­nel is made by Berlin-based Trust2Core, a start-up that Telekom owns, in a part­ner­ship with the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty of Dres­den and Dres­den-based Kernkonzept.

    A micro­ker­nel is essen­tial­ly a bespoke pack­age of code that “pro­vides basic mem­o­ry man­age­ment, task and con­text switch­ing, and lit­tle else”. This core is very dif­fi­cult to infect with mali­cious code, so it’s well suit­ed towards keep­ing the two oper­at­ing sys­tems sep­a­rate, while at the same time allow­ing both OSes to share stor­age mem­o­ry and com­po­nents, like the screen, cam­era, or micro­phone.

    Telekom’s Bartsch said the com­pa­ny assumes that attempts will be made to hack into its sys­tems.

    “We assume that there are organ­i­sa­tions that want to obtain infor­ma­tion, like the NSA. The NSA has every piece of tech­nol­o­gy that exists to decode secu­ri­ty keys in a rel­a­tive­ly quick times­pan,” Bartsch said.

    For this rea­son, he said the com­pa­ny cre­ates a new secure key to all its SimKo devices every­day. Telekom’s assump­tion is that code break­ers would need longer a longer than a day to crack their keys.

    “We change the secu­ri­ty keys every 24 hours,” Bartsch explained. “Every morn­ing at 4am, the sys­tem cuts off all VPN con­nec­tions, cre­ates a new key, and then recon­nects with the gate­way.”

    But pri­va­cy experts in the US and Europe are crit­i­cal of the ini­tia­tive. They say the sys­tem is at best an expen­sive exec­u­tive toy, and at worst prob­lem­at­ic for for­eign gov­ern­ments due to Telekom’s ties to the Ger­man gov­ern­ment.

    A Ger­man chief exec­u­tive, whose com­pa­ny sells inter­cep­tion sys­tems for phone and inter­net net­works in 80 coun­tries, praised Telekom for not engag­ing in war­rant­less wire­taps against peo­ple with­in Ger­many – but point­ed out that it would be per­fect­ly legal for Ger­many’s spy agency, the BND, to ask Telekom for infor­ma­tion about its for­eign clients or for infor­ma­tion about glob­al organ­i­sa­tions based in the coun­try that might be break­ing laws.

    “I have not seen any proof that the BND is doing any tap­ping inside Ger­many – it’s a typ­i­cal play by the books, cov­er-your-ass organ­i­sa­tion,” the exec­u­tive told me. “But if a bank here is increas­ing its mail traf­fic to North Korea, that would be inter­est­ing. Or if an organ­i­sa­tion is com­mu­ni­cat­ing a lot with Afghanistan – maybe that’s drug traf­fick­ing. You’d have to ask the BND, of course, but I’d say that would be fair game.”

    Christo­pher Soghoian, prin­ci­pal tech­nol­o­gist at the Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union, notes that Europe’s tele­com oper­a­tors have a poor track record of defend­ing net neu­tral­i­ty and data pro­tec­tion, and tend to do their gov­ern­ments’ bid­ding when asked.

    “I would think that Telekom gives the same lev­el of help to the Ger­man gov­ern­ment as AT&T does to the US gov­ern­ment. Like all tele­coms around the world, when a gov­ern­ment says jump, they jump.” And he notes that even in the unlike­ly event that Telekom can assure poten­tial for­eign clients that it won’t snoop on them, the sys­tem is still too expen­sive – and thus, small – to be rel­e­vant.

    “Even VIPs call her hus­bands and wives,” Soghoian not­ed. “Both ends of the call have to be on this plat­form for it to work. Unless the secu­ri­ty is deployed inter­na­tion­al­ly and nation­al­ly, it’s not going to work. It’s not going to help you if you can only talk to a few thou­sand peo­ple.”

    When asked about its ties to the Ger­man gov­ern­ment, Bartsch said the com­pa­ny ordered the Sam­sung Knox phones it sells with an inter­change­able cryp­tochip slot to address this very fear.

    “Yes, this is a Ger­man solu­tion, approved by the gov­ern­men­t’s stan­dards office. But it can be com­bined with oth­er coun­tries’ secu­ri­ty stan­dards too. Coun­tries that buy the plat­form from us can man­u­fac­ture their own cryp­tochips to work with this phone, so they would hold their own encryp­tion keys,” Bartsch said.

    But the Ger­man tech exec­u­tive who sells inter­cep­tion hard­ware point­ed out that SimKo is expen­sive com­pared to secure voice and text chat­ting apps such as Silent Cir­cle and Red­Phone which are avail­able at a frac­tion of the cost.

    “The com­part­men­tal­is­ing aspect of SimKO is use­ful. But oth­er apps work just as well. I trust Phil Zim­mer­man­n’s [inven­tor of Silent Cir­cle] back­ground and his­to­ry. Micro­phone log­ging could be an issue through a back­door in the Android or Apple iOS – in that case,

    Silent Cir­cle would­n’t help you. But most busi­ness peo­ple will nev­er have to wor­ry about this prob­lem.”
    In its mar­ket­ing of SimKO, Telekom is using the tag line “supe­ri­or pri­va­cy Made in Ger­man.” And this is not alto­geth­er sur­pris­ing – Ger­man tech com­pa­nies are try­ing to cap­i­talise on what is seen as a mas­sive breach of trust in their Amer­i­ca com­peti­tors.

    The per­son spear­head­ing this effort is Rene Ober­mann, Deutsche Tele­com’s CEO. This autumn, Ober­mann has host­ed data pri­va­cy con­fer­ences and writ­ten op/ed pieces in which he has called for Ger­many to wall off its inter­net from the US, and to cre­ate Europe-only clouds. Yet, while seem­ing­ly cham­pi­oning online pri­va­cy in Europe, anoth­er divi­sion of the com­pa­ny he runs – T‑Mobile USA – serves as an active part­ner in the U.S. gov­ern­men­t’s mas­sive drag­net tar­get­ed against U.S. cit­i­zens.

    Ger­man tech blog Net­zpo­lik point­ed out this incon­gruity at the begin­ning of the NSA/Snowden leaks affair. It asked Deutsche Telekom whether Ober­mann knew about T‑Mobile’s long­stand­ing agree­ment with the US Jus­tice Depart­ment when he declared this past sum­mer that “We are not coop­er­at­ing with for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vices.”

    The com­pa­ny’s response: “Of course Deutsche Telekom coop­er­ates with intel­li­gence ser­vices, when oblig­ed by law to do so.”

    And that is, of course, the same line that Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AT&T and Ver­i­zon – Tele­com’s com­peti­tors in the secure enter­prise space – have used through­out this NSA scan­dal.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 26, 2013, 10:40 am
  13. It looks like Snow­den is going to tes­ti­fy before the EU par­lia­ment via video link. And accord­ing Jan Philipp Albrecht — the Ger­man MP that’s lead­ing the EU’s data pri­va­cy reg­u­la­to­ry over­haul — the ques­tions they’re plan­ning on ask­ing Snow­den will involve “the role of EU intel ser­vices”, although it’s unclear if any non-UK intel­li­gence activ­i­ties will be dis­cussed. As Albrecht put it, “the attacks of the GCHQ on Tel­Com ser­vices like Bel­ga­com and on servers on huge inter­net com­pa­nies are ille­gal cyber­at­tacks which come near to the notion of cyber­war”. He’s also does not believe that ‘nation­al secu­ri­ty’ is as com­plete­ly iso­lat­ed from EU juris­dic­tion as is often sup­posed and sug­gest­ed cre­at­ing EU-wide reg­u­la­tions that set min­i­mum-stan­dards for EU intel­li­gence agen­cies. It should be an inter­est­ing tes­ti­mo­ny:

    Exclu­sive: Jan Philipp Albrecht Speaks to Infos­e­cu­ri­ty Ahead of Call­ing Snow­den as a Wit­ness

    06 Decem­ber 2013
    The Euro­pean Par­lia­men­t’s Civ­il Lib­er­ties, Jus­tice and Home Affairs com­mit­tee (LIBE) is arrang­ing for Edward Snow­den to be a video wit­ness in its ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion into what it calls the ‘sur­veil­lance scan­dal.’ Infos­e­cu­ri­ty spoke to the LIBE mem­ber and GDPR rap­por­teur Jan Philipp Albrecht ahead of this event.

    Late yes­ter­day after­noon Jan Philipp Albrecht, mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, announced that Edward Snow­den will appear via video link before the par­lia­men­t’s LIBE com­mit­tee. LIBE is in the process of inves­ti­gat­ing what it calls the ‘sur­veil­lance scan­dal;’ that is, the mass sur­veil­lance large­ly car­ried out by the NSA and GCHQ revealed in the doc­u­ments leaked by Snow­den and pub­lished by the Guardian, the Wash­ing­ton Post and der Spiegel.


    GCHQ’s involve­ment in the ‘sur­veil­lance scan­dal’ has so far large­ly been kept off the Euro­pean table. “I have direct com­pe­tence in law enforce­ment but not in secret ser­vices,” said Viviane Red­ing, Euro­pean jus­tice com­mis­sion­er last month. “That remains with the mem­ber states. In gen­er­al, secret ser­vices are nation­al.” But while Red­ing is an unelect­ed mem­ber of the gov­ern­ment (Euro­pean Com­mis­sion), Albrecht is an elect­ed mem­ber of the leg­is­la­ture (Euro­pean Par­lia­ment); and in almost all democ­ra­cies gov­ern­ment and leg­is­la­ture have dif­fer­ent agen­das.

    Albrecht con­firmed to Infos­e­cu­ri­ty that he will ask Snow­den about “the role of EU intel ser­vices.” Snow­den, it should be remem­bered, has already said, “The UK has a huge dog in this fight... They [GCHQ] are worse than the US.”

    Infos­e­cu­ri­ty asked Albrecht what, if any­thing, Par­lia­ment could or should do if Snow­den con­firms seri­ous GCHQ involve­ment in mass sur­veil­lance with­in Europe – it already stands accused of hack­ing Bel­ga­com. Par­lia­ment, he said, “could request COM to start infringe­ment pro­ce­dure on basis val­ues of fun­da­men­tal rights and legal prin­ci­ples as lined out in Art. 2 of the Treaty and on the over-step of the notion of ‘nation­al secu­ri­ty’ in Art 4. In addi­tion the activ­i­ty in oth­er EU mem­ber states with­out explic­it per­mis­sion by those could be infringe­ment to sou­ver­eigne­ty of these oth­er EU mem­ber states and the prin­ci­ple of loy­al coop­er­a­tion in the EU.” In short, Albrecht does not believe that ‘nation­al secu­ri­ty’ is as com­plete­ly iso­lat­ed from EU juris­dic­tion as is often sup­posed.

    He added that the work of Euro­pean intel­li­gence ser­vices should be con­sid­ered with­in the pro­posed Gen­er­al Data Pro­tec­tion Reg­u­la­tion, and that Europe should start dis­cussing “a treaty change pro­ce­dure on allow­ing the EU to set min­i­mum stan­dards for intel ser­vices.”

    But in all of these var­i­ous accu­sa­tions and refusals to com­ment, one ques­tion has been left unasked and unan­swered: what do Euro­peans actu­al­ly think of Britain and GCHQ’s spy­ing. Infos­e­cu­ri­ty asked the ques­tion blunt­ly, and received a refresh­ing­ly blunt reply. “It is already today a huge dam­age to the rela­tion­ship between UK and the rest of Europe. The attacks of the GCHQ on Tel­Com ser­vices like Bel­ga­com and on servers on huge inter­net com­pa­nies are ille­gal cyber­at­tacks which come near to the notion of cyber­war. The involve­ment of issues not cov­ered by nation­al secu­ri­ty like eco­nom­ic spy­ing splits the Union and throws it back to the fight between nation­al economies in the last cen­tu­ry. It will harm the economies in Europe includ­ing the British and the trust in the insti­tu­tions as well as the dig­i­tal mar­ket severe­ly.”

    In oth­er news, Swe­den has been wag­ing near-‘cyberwarfare’ against Rus­sia:

    Swe­den spied on Rus­sia for NSA: report

    Pub­lished: 05 Dec 2013 07:11 GMT+01:00
    Updat­ed: 05 Dec 2013 07:11 GMT+01:00

    Swe­den helps the Unit­ed States Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) spy on Rus­sia, leaked doc­u­ments from whistle­blow­er Edward Snow­den reveal.

    Infor­ma­tion col­lect­ed about Russ­ian politi­cians by Swe­den’s main sig­nals intel­li­gence agency, the Nation­al Radio Defence Estab­lish­ment (Försvarets radioanstalt, FRA), was hand­ed over to the US spy agency, accord­ing to doc­u­ments reviewed by Sveriges Tele­vi­sion (SVT) inves­tiga­tive news pro­gramme Upp­drag grän­skn­ing (UG).

    The doc­u­ments describe FRA as a “lead­ing part­ner” in the NSA’s inter­na­tion­al coop­er­a­tion to mon­i­tor com­mu­ni­ca­tions traf­fic around the world.

    “The FRA pro­vid­ed NSA (…) unique col­lec­tion on high-pri­or­i­ty Russ­ian tar­gets, such as lead­er­ship, inter­nal pol­i­tics,” reads one NSA doc­u­ment from dat­ed April 18th, 2013.

    The doc­u­ments don’t go into detail about how lead­ing Russ­ian politi­cians are mon­i­tored, such as whether their phones are tapped or infor­ma­tion about their phone calls and inter­net use are reg­is­tered. Nor is it clear if Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin or oth­er lead­ers are the tar­get of the spy­ing.

    How­ev­er, it appears the NSA is sat­is­fied with the coop­er­a­tion pro­vid­ed by FRA, which the US spy agency describes as “unique”.

    Ahead of a meet­ing with offi­cials from FRA, NSA boss­es are instruct­ed to praise the Swedes, accord­ing to the inves­tiga­tive news pro­gramme.

    “Thank Swe­den for its con­tin­ued work on the Russ­ian tar­get, and under­score the pri­ma­ry role that FRA plays as a lead­ing part­ner to work the Russ­ian Tar­get, includ­ing Russ­ian lead­er­ship, (…) and (…) coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence,” one of the doc­u­ments reviewed by SVT reads.

    “FRA’s cable access has result­ed in unique SIGINT report­ing on all of these areas,” it con­tin­ues, using a com­mon abbre­vi­a­tion to refer to sig­nals intel­li­gence.

    Accord­ing to UG, nei­ther FRA or the NSA was will­ing to com­ment on the report.

    “The quote you read here is the type of infor­ma­tion that’s hard for us to com­ment on,” FRA spokesman Fredrik Wallin told SVT.

    The NSA said only that “the US gov­ern­ment has made clear that the Unit­ed States gath­ers for­eign intel­li­gence of the type gath­ered by all nations”.

    The reports comes amid rev­e­la­tions about the extent of US-led inter­na­tion­al sig­nals intel­li­gence activ­i­ties, with Swe­den hav­ing been named pre­vi­ous­ly as an impor­tant part­ner.

    British jour­nal­ist Dun­can Camp­bell claimed ear­li­er this year that Swe­den, via FRA, had become “the biggest part­ner to (British intel­li­gence agency) GCHQ out­side the Eng­lish-speak­ing coun­tries”.

    Both FRA and the Swedish gov­ern­ment have point­ed out that Swe­den’s laws allow for inter­na­tion­al coop­er­a­tion, but won’t spec­i­fy with which coun­tries.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 7, 2013, 7:38 pm
  14. There’s no word yet on whether not Ger­many is going to be admit­ted into the ‘Five Eyes’ club, but there are still rum­blings:

    Deutsche Welle.de
    US law­mak­ers push for Ger­man entrance to Five Eyes spy alliance

    The Unit­ed States and four allies coop­er­ate on sur­veil­lance issues and report­ed­ly don’t spy on each oth­er. Some rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the US want to extend that deal to Ger­many, mak­ing it a sixth eye in the Five Eyes club.
    Date 22.11.2013
    Author Antje Passen­heim / db
    Edi­tor Sean Sini­co

    For decades, the com­mu­ni­ty of five allied states — the Unit­ed States, Cana­da, New Zealand, Aus­tralia and the Unit­ed King­dom — has shared intel­li­gence and at the same time pledged not to spy on each oth­er. Accord­ing to US con­gress­men Tim Ryan and Charles Dent, Ger­many should join the exclu­sive Five Eyes club as the sixth eye.

    In a let­ter to Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma dat­ed Novem­ber 6, the Repub­li­cans request­ed that the pres­i­dent “essen­tial­ly enters into nego­ti­a­tions to strike an agree­ment extend­ing the Five Eyes Intel­li­gence Pact and include Ger­many,” Dent, who rep­re­sents Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s 15th dis­trict, told DW.

    Should the pres­i­dent respond favor­ably and offer Ger­many mem­ber­ship in the pact, it would be a great show of friend­ship, the Penn­syl­va­nia politi­cian added. “Things like sur­veilling or spy­ing on lead­ers of each oth­er’s coun­tries would not be allowed,” Dent stat­ed, adding there are prob­a­bly oth­er agree­ments that are not pub­lic. “But it would just fur­ther extend an already strong rela­tion­ship.”

    Greater trans­paren­cy

    Some Democ­rats, too, favor the idea. “I think it’s some­thing that would be ben­e­fi­cial,” William Keat­ing said, adding he is con­vinced the White House is already hard at work on an accord that would dis­solve the dis­gruntle­ment in Berlin con­cern­ing the NSA’s spy­ing activ­i­ties. It is prob­a­bly work­ing on guide­lines for more trans­par­ent intel­li­gence poli­cies that would also take into account Amer­i­can secu­ri­ty inter­ests, the US rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Mass­a­chu­setts said. “And I think it can suc­ceed.”

    Accord­ing to Keat­ing, this dis­cus­sion should not be lim­it­ed to the Unit­ed States. Just because a state has cer­tain tech­nolo­gies does­n’t mean it has to use them unless absolute­ly nec­es­sary. “I think it would be help­ful to be joined with oth­er coun­tries in tak­ing the same kind of approach so that we would know which coun­tries would want to include them­selves in the same type of poli­cies,” Keat­ing said.

    An extend­ed no-spy pact isn’t as sim­ple as it sounds, how­ev­er, Fred Fleitz warned. “What con­cerns me is that we have to design this agree­ment to fig­ure out how we can per­haps extend such an offer to Ger­many that we are not going to extend to cer­tain oth­er states in Europe,” the for­mer CIA ana­lyst and ex-staffer on the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee said.

    The sixth eye?

    Tap­ping Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone, if that indeed hap­pened, was a big mis­take, Fleitz told DW; after all, Ger­many is a close US ally. Fleitz said he could­n’t imag­ine what the NSA was hop­ing to learn, as the times have changed since Ger­many stood by France and Rus­sia in a boy­cott of the war on Iraq.

    In some cas­es, Fleitz con­ced­ed, Ger­many and the Unit­ed States must spy on mem­bers of a for­eign gov­ern­ment for rea­sons of nation­al secu­ri­ty. “What if the Gold­en Dawn in a coali­tion would take con­trol of the Greek Par­lia­ment?” Fleitz said. “This is some­thing that could destroy the EU, the euro, the nation­al finan­cial-sit­u­a­tion. In that sit­u­a­tion, Ger­many and the US would be spy­ing on the new prime min­is­ter with a good rea­son.”

    Such pos­si­bil­i­ties, he con­clud­ed, should not be ruled out.

    Should Ger­many become the sixth eye in the sur­veil­lance pact, it would be the first non-Eng­lish speak­ing mem­ber. That fact could lead to ten­sions with­in the Euro­pean Union — so far, Britain is the only EU mem­ber in the spy alliance. Some coun­tries, includ­ing France, would cer­tain­ly be just as suit­able to join the pact, Fleitz said. Oth­ers would not: “How could we admit Bul­gar­ia and Ruma­nia? I like those coun­tries, but their demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem is still being devel­oped.”


    In relat­ed news, the peo­ple of France will most def­i­nite­ly not be get­ting a ‘no spy’ agree­ment between the French gov­ern­ment and them­selves.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 10, 2013, 10:05 am
  15. Based on the com­ments by Ger­man MEP and CDU/CSU inte­ri­or affairs spokesman Hans-Peter Uhl, it does­n’t sound like Snow­den will be asked to do a sep­a­rate video inter­view with the Ger­man par­lia­ment:

    Deutsche Welle
    Uhl: Ger­many can­not tol­er­ate a dig­i­tal occu­pi­er
    Date 10.12.2013
    Author Inter­view: Gero Schliess, Wash­ing­ton / gsw
    Edi­tor Rob Mudge

    Ger­man par­lia­men­tar­i­an Hans-Peter Uhl vis­it­ed Wash­ing­ton to talk with the US gov­ern­ment about the NSA scan­dal. He tells DW that US offi­cials are still miss­ing the point and calls for an eco­nom­ic response in Ger­many.

    DW: You’ve had dis­cus­sions with Con­gress and the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion in Wash­ing­ton. The pri­ma­ry top­ic was the NSA and the sur­veil­lance scan­dal. What was your mes­sage to the Amer­i­can offi­cials with whom you spoke?

    Hans-Peter Uhl: The mes­sage is rel­a­tive­ly sim­ple. On the one hand, we have to fight ter­ror­ism along­side Amer­i­can agen­cies. We’ve been suc­cess­ful­ly doing so for years and that must con­tin­ue. On the oth­er hand, and this is some­thing peo­ple in the US still have to learn, data pro­tec­tion is an issue — not just for cit­i­zens, but also for busi­ness­es and for the state as a whole. We can­not tol­er­ate Amer­i­ca rul­ing Ger­many as a dig­i­tal occu­py­ing pow­er.

    Do you have the impres­sion that Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s state­ments, in which she clear­ly expressed her frus­tra­tion weeks ago, have reached the mem­bers of Con­gress and the gov­ern­ment here?

    It would sur­prise me if they’ve reached them. There’s a dif­fer­ent type of con­cern here. For­eign­ers’ data is not seen as being of any par­tic­u­lar impor­tance. The ques­tion is: How dam­ag­ing are the actions of Amer­i­can intel­li­gence ser­vices to the US econ­o­my? The Euro­pean and, in par­tic­u­lar, Ger­man mar­ket is of great sig­nif­i­cance to the US. Recent­ly, major IT providers in the US, from Google to Microsoft and Yahoo, band­ed togeth­er and issued an urgent appeal, warn­ing the US admin­is­tra­tion, ‘Cut it out! You’re dam­ag­ing our inter­ests and Amer­i­can eco­nom­ic inter­ests.’ That mes­sage is get­ting through.

    Is that also your mes­sage to Ger­mans: Avoid Yahoo and Google and use domes­tic providers?

    It goes with­out say­ing that Amer­i­can com­pa­nies whom we know to be deliv­er­ing data to the NSA will not receive any state con­tracts that involve con­fi­den­tial com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It’s no longer pos­si­ble to grant such con­tracts to the sub­sidiaries of Amer­i­can com­pa­nies.

    You seem to be also ref­er­enc­ing a con­tract giv­en to Cis­co to devel­op a secure, inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tem for the Ger­man mil­i­tary. One might say you could com­pare that with just hand­ing over a copy of the rel­e­vant secu­ri­ty data to the NSA. Now Cis­co has it in its hands...

    ...but not for long. The con­tract expires next year. And then we’ll con­sid­er what steps to take next. Things can’t con­tin­ue like they have been.

    How do you want to see things move for­ward? What are you demand­ing in order to pro­tect Ger­man data and the pri­vate sphere of Ger­man cit­i­zens against Amer­i­can com­pa­nies?

    There are a num­ber of pos­si­bil­i­ties there. For one thing, Amer­i­can com­pa­nies could be required not to for­ward the data. And that can be checked by Ger­man experts. Sec­ond, there will be a com­bi­na­tion of Ger­man and US providers. Ger­man cer­ti­fi­ca­tion agen­cies should also be tasked with ensur­ing that the data remains in Ger­many.

    What have you heard thus far from the Amer­i­cans with whom you’ve spo­ken?

    They’re begin­ning to under­stand. They empha­size again and again the neces­si­ty of col­lect­ing data in order to fight ter­ror­ism. No one dis­putes that. But they don’t see the mon­stros­i­ty of con­duct­ing sur­veil­lance on an entire gov­ern­men­t’s actions and lis­ten­ing in on the chan­cel­lor’s cell phone. That has noth­ing to do with fight­ing ter­ror­ism.

    We also fear the US is con­duct­ing eco­nom­ic espi­onage. They will have more prob­lems on their hands if they can­not some­how demon­strate that they are at least try­ing to pre­vent that from hap­pen­ing.

    Let’s go back to your state­ment that the chan­cel­lor’s deep con­cern has not hit home with peo­ple here. Does­n’t that also mean the Ger­man gov­ern­ment has failed to look after its peo­ple’ s inter­ests and their pri­va­cy?

    I would not describe it as a fail­ure. Nev­er­the­less, the infor­ma­tion that Snow­den pro­vid­ed served as a wake-up call to the Ger­man gov­ern­ment.

    Why is the Ger­man gov­ern­ment in need of this sort of wake-up call? It has its own intel­li­gence and knows what goes on in intel­li­gence cir­cles. Is that a major over­sight on behalf of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment?

    I think all of us were a bit too naive in the past when it comes to this top­ic. The thought was always: ‘They’re our allies. They would­n’t do some­thing like that.’

    Let’s return to Snow­den. Do you want to ques­tion him just as the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment would like to?

    No, we don’t need to. He will now like­ly be ques­tioned via video con­fer­ence with the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment. Snow­den was nev­er an NSA employ­ee, but just an exter­nal admin­is­tra­tor. We can’t expect all that much from him any­way. Inci­den­tal­ly, he also mis­in­ter­pret­ed the data that he took with him. So Mr. Snow­den does­n’t know all that much that he can share with us. We don’t want to bring him to Ger­many.

    You appear to be privy to much more as a mem­ber of the par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee on Inter­nal Affairs as well as the par­lia­men­t’s Con­trol Com­mit­tee. Do you con­sid­er your­self as hav­ing an overview of the extent of the NSA’s sur­veil­lance activ­i­ties and acquis­i­tive­ness in Ger­many?

    No one can know that yet. We will know it with greater cer­tain­ty in a few months. What’s cer­tain is that many pieces of infor­ma­tion are going to come to light that will be uncom­fort­able for the US.


    It would be inter­est­ing to learn more about what Mr. Uhl thinks Snow­den mis­in­ter­pret­ed. That seems like rel­e­vant info.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 10, 2013, 3:13 pm
  16. Sarah Palin only wish­es her house had this kind of view:

    The Local Swe­den edi­tion
    Cold War treaty con­firms Swe­den was not neu­tral

    Pub­lished: 09 Dec 2013 11:13 GMT+01:00
    Updat­ed: 09 Dec 2013 11:13 GMT+01:00

    Swe­den signed a top secret intel­li­gence treaty with the US and oth­er coun­tries in 1954, fore­cast the 2008 Geor­gian war, and now rou­tine­ly spies on Rus­sia civ­il tar­gets, leaked doc­u­ments from US whistle­blow­er Edward Snow­den reveal.

    “Real­ly inter­est­ing infor­ma­tion,” said intel­li­gence analy­sis pro­fes­sor Wil­helm Agrell regard­ing the Sveriges Tele­vi­sion (SVT) report reveal­ing Sweden’s long-stand­ing coop­er­a­tion with the US and oth­er west­ern nations.

    Agrell argued that the rev­e­la­tions of the agree­ment raise seri­ous ques­tions regard­ing Sweden’s non-align­ment self-image.

    “This is an ongo­ing alliance rela­tion­ship in peace­time,” he observed.

    The top secret agree­ment was signed in 1954 by Swe­den with the US, UK, Cana­da, Aus­tralia and New Zealand regard­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion and intel­li­gence shar­ing, accord­ing to SVT’s inves­tiga­tive news pro­gramme Upp­drag granskn­ing (UG).

    The agree­ment was wound up in 2004 and was replaced by bilat­er­al agree­ments which bound Swe­den’s Nation­al Radio Defence Estab­lish­ment (Försvarets radioanstalt, FRA) clos­er to the Unit­ed States Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) and British intel­li­gence agency GCHQ.

    The leaked Snow­den doc­u­ments reveal that FRA’s coop­er­a­tion with the NSA inten­si­fied in 2011 and that FRA pro­vid­ed the NSA with access to its cable-bound com­mu­ni­ca­tions traf­fic dur­ing the year, includ­ing access to a “unique col­lec­tion of Russ­ian high-pri­or­i­ty tar­gets”.

    NSA is aware of how sen­si­tive this type of exten­sive coop­er­a­tion is in Swe­den, which has long prid­ed itself on a prin­ci­ple of neu­tral­i­ty and non-align­ment.

    “The rela­tion­ship with Swe­den is pro­tect­ed on the top-secret lev­el because of the coun­try’s polit­i­cal neu­tral­i­ty,” the NSA stat­ed in a doc­u­ment from 2006, accord­ing to UG.

    FRA respond­ed to the rev­e­la­tions, telling UG that the agency nev­er gives full access to cable-bound com­mu­ni­ca­tions, but that infor­ma­tion dis­closed is care­ful­ly assessed.

    “We will not give away some­thing with­out get­ting any­thing in return. We are able to gath­er infor­ma­tion in our part of the world, which we can then exchange with infor­ma­tion from oth­er parts of the world that would be more dif­fi­cult to obtain,” said Fredrik Wallin at FRA to UG.

    “This may be infor­ma­tion that is of great impor­tance for Swedish for­eign pol­i­cy,” he added.

    A sep­a­rate report revealed that Swe­den was able to pre­dict the 2008 Rus­sia-Geor­gia war, a con­flict which the US was unable to fore­see.

    “We could see how the Rus­sians advanced units and how it then went qui­et. This meant that every­thing was in place and the final prepa­ra­tions had been made to strike,” an anony­mous source revealed accord­ing to a report in the Sven­s­ka Dag­bladet dai­ly.

    The reports come amid rev­e­la­tions about the extent of US-led inter­na­tion­al sig­nals intel­li­gence activ­i­ties, includ­ing rev­e­la­tions last week that Swe­den spied on Rus­sia on behalf of the US.

    The doc­u­ments describe FRA as a “lead­ing part­ner” in the NSA’s inter­na­tion­al coop­er­a­tion to mon­i­tor com­mu­ni­ca­tions traf­fic around the world.

    “FRA pro­vid­ed NSA (with a) unique col­lec­tion on high-pri­or­i­ty Russ­ian tar­gets, such as lead­er­ship, inter­nal pol­i­tics,” reads one NSA doc­u­ment dat­ed April 18th, 2013.

    New rev­e­la­tions which emerged over the week­end indi­cat­ed that the sur­veil­lance includ­ed civil­ian tar­gets with­in for exam­ple the Russ­ian ener­gy sec­tor, and that the Baltic coun­tries were also tar­get­ed by FRA. This infor­ma­tion was sub­se­quent­ly shared with the US.

    Wil­helm Agrell argued that the rev­e­la­tions of FRA spy­ing on Russ­ian civil­ian tar­gets is hard­ly sur­pris­ing.

    “It’s so obvi­ous that secu­ri­ty today is not only mil­i­tary. This is quite obvi­ous­ly part of an eco­nom­ic intel­li­gence gath­er­ing, more­over, an activ­i­ty that Swe­den has con­duct­ed since the 50s direct­ed against the Sovi­et Union and oth­er East­ern Euro­pean coun­tries,” he said to the TT news agency.

    Agrell argued that it can be dif­fi­cult to assess whether FRA’s espi­onage against civil­ian tar­gets runs con­trary to the law.

    “It can be dif­fi­cult to see exact­ly where the extent of the law ends in prac­tice; then you have to real­ly con­sid­er the nature of the infor­ma­tion. But we are per­haps get­ting to this point when non-state actors are the sub­ject,” he added, explain­ing that when espi­onage focus­es on friends and allies it becomes more a polit­i­cal than reg­u­la­to­ry issue.


    And Swe­den’s retired spies only wish they had this kind of view:

    The Local Swe­den edi­tion
    Swe­den aids NSA-led hack­ing ops: report

    Pub­lished: 11 Dec 2013 07:49 GMT+01:00
    Updat­ed: 11 Dec 2013 07:49 GMT+01:00

    Swe­den coop­er­at­ed with the Unit­ed States in oper­a­tions to hack into com­put­ers and car­ry out inter­net sur­veil­lance on Swedes, accord­ing to doc­u­ments leaked by NSA-whistle­blow­er Edward Snow­den.

    The doc­u­ments, reviewed by Sver­gies Tele­vi­sion (SVT) inves­tiga­tive news pro­gramme Upp­drag Granskn­ing, show that Swe­den’s sig­nals intel­li­gence agency, the Nation­al Defence Radio Estab­lish­ment (Sven­s­ka Försvarets radioanstalt — FRA) worked with the US Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) in its efforts to gain unau­tho­rized access to com­put­ers.

    An inter­nal NSA memo from a planned meet­ing between Swedish and US spy chiefs in April 2013 explains that the Swedes want­ed to be updat­ed on oper­a­tion “Win­terlight (Quan­tum Project)”.

    While it’s unclear to what Win­terlight refers, Quan­tum is known as a pow­er­ful sys­tem for hack­ing into computers.Computers are hijacked, infor­ma­tion is col­lect­ed, and then sent on for analy­sis. The leaked doc­u­ments from Snow­den tes­ti­fy that the pro­gramme has been used against Bel­gian tele­coms oper­a­tor Bel­ga­com, which has EU insti­tu­tions as cus­tomers. The breach is under inves­ti­ga­tion by police.

    The NSA memo explains that the US spy agency coop­er­ates with FRA and their UK coun­ter­part GCHQ in the hack­er attacks. The Swedish intel­li­gence agency fired “100 shots, of which five suc­cess­ful have been redi­rect­ed to GCHQ’s servers”.While the British agency is plan­ning to pull out of the pro­gramme over con­cerns it may vio­late UK law, offi­cials at the NSA seem uncon­cerned.

    “The fact is that NSA’s goal the entire time has been to trans­fer this work to a bilat­er­al agree­ment with the Swedish part­ners,” the doc­u­ment reads.

    The hack­ing is con­tro­ver­sial in Swe­den. In 2010, then FRA-head Ing­var Åkesson assured the Riks­dag defence com­mit­tee that FRA was not involved in hack­ing and that doing so would be ille­gal.

    “We have autho­riza­tion from the Defence Intel­li­gence Court (Försvar­sun­der­rät­telse­dom­stolen) for the data col­lec­tion we car­ry out,” cur­rent FRA spokesman Fredrik Wallin told SVT in response to the new rev­e­la­tions.

    FRA also has access to the NSA’s most pow­er­ful sur­veil­lance sys­tem, the wide-rang­ing Xkeyscore, the leaked doc­u­ments show. It has been described as a “Google for spies” and the NSA claims it reach­es “near­ly every­thing a reg­u­lar inter­net user does” in real time and a short time back, includ­ing email, Face­book entries, chats, web surf­ing his­to­ry, and more.

    “With this tool, I can get at any­one in the world if I just have the per­son­’s email address,” Snow­den said in a pre­vi­ous inter­view.

    FRA’s statutes say that the agency can only spy on for­eign tar­gets, but Xkeyscore also reach­es Swedes. A leaked man­u­al from the NSA describes how it hap­pens: “In this exam­ple, I’m look­ing for any­one in Swe­den that vis­it­ed a cer­tain extrem­ist forum on the web.”


    FRA can­not check infor­ma­tion from a hack­ing oper­a­tion that is fun­neled through British servers, Agrell believed.

    “It’s not about the infor­ma­tion that’s processed and reviewed before it goes on to a for­eign pow­er. It’s clear that’s not the case. That’s where we get clos­er to a sit­u­a­tion where it must be sub­ject to judi­cial approval,” he said.

    Agrell also won­dered if FRA, through Xkeyscore, could get around the law and receive intel­li­gence about con­di­tions in Swe­den from for­eign part­ners.

    “When you car­ry out intel­li­gence work togeth­er in an inte­grat­ed sys­tem, the FRA law appears to be a rather thin and flim­sy sup­port to lean on to secure the rights of cit­i­zens,” he added.

    “Agrell also won­dered if FRA, through Xkeyscore, could get around the law and receive intel­li­gence about con­di­tions in Swe­den from for­eign part­ners.” That sounds like a ques­tion worth ask­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 11, 2013, 1:22 pm
  17. It looks like the ques­tion of how Ger­many’s par­lia­ment will inter­view Snow­den has an answer: Snow­den will get a vis­it from the Ger­man par­lia­ment. It’s going to be an infor­mal meet­ing. About a phone:

    Ger­man com­mit­tee wants to ques­tion Snow­den in Moscow

    BERLIN Thu Jun 5, 2014 9:55pm BST

    Reuters — With back­ing from Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s grand coali­tion gov­ern­ment, a Ger­man par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee wants to meet for­mer US intel­li­gence con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den in Moscow in the com­ing weeks, Ger­man net­work ARD report­ed on Thurs­day.

    The rul­ing right-left coali­tion has resist­ed oppo­si­tion demands that Snow­den come to Ger­many to tes­ti­fy to the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee look­ing into the mass sur­veil­lance of Ger­man cit­i­zens by the US Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) that he exposed.

    The NSA prac­tices have become a major polit­i­cal issue in Ger­many, which is sen­si­tive to the abus­es of such agen­cies after their Nazi and Com­mu­nist pasts and reports that the NSA mon­i­tored Merkel’s mobile phone calls have cast a shad­ow over once close US-Ger­man rela­tions.

    ARD quot­ed a leader of the com­mit­tee, Chris­t­ian Flisek, say­ing a meet­ing with Snow­den in Moscow would not have the char­ac­ter of wit­ness tes­ti­fy­ing but rather be a chance to give mem­bers a chance to get a bet­ter pic­ture of Snow­den.

    Flisek told ARD that the com­mit­tee mem­bers would have, for instance, the chance to ask Snow­den direct­ly whether or not he want­ed to return to the Unit­ed States.

    Flisek said it was now up to Snow­den to decide if he wants to meet the com­mit­tee in Moscow, some­thing the Ger­mans would like to do by July 2.

    The Greens and Left par­ties, the two small oppo­si­tion par­ties on the com­mit­tee, vot­ed against the mea­sure because they want Snow­den to come to Ger­many to tes­ti­fy. The coali­tion-dom­i­nat­ed com­mit­tee vot­ed against that.

    Snow­den has said he would like to be ques­tioned in Ger­many. But the Ger­man gov­ern­ment had told the com­mit­tee it could not ensure that Snow­den would not be detained and pos­si­bly extra­dit­ed to the Unit­ed States once he arrived.


    The com­mit­tee also plans on ques­tion­ing heads of Ger­man intel­li­gence agen­cies, so it might be a good oppor­tu­ni­ty for the com­mit­tee to ask the heads of Ger­man intel­li­gence if they’re going to promise to nev­er ever attempt to even devel­op the capa­bil­i­ties to hack any the new “cryp­to­phones” being devel­oped by Deutsche Telekom. Poten­tial cryp­to­phone buy­ers might find that info use­ful.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 5, 2014, 9:08 pm
  18. Giv­en the charges of eco­nom­ic espi­onage con­duct­ed by the NSA against Brazil’s state-run oil giant, Petro­bras, here’s a sto­ry about one type of juicy infor­ma­tion that may have been col­lect­ed by the NSA or any­one else spy­ing on Petro­bras. It a type of infor­ma­tion with eco­nom­ic val­ue but also gen­er­al intel­li­gence val­ue with many pos­si­ble uses: learn­ing about who’s brib­ing whom in a giant mon­ey-laun­der­ing ring involv­ing many of Brazil’s largest for­eign and domes­tic banks:

    Petro­bras-Linked Mon­ey Laun­der­ing Probe Spreads to Banks
    By Sab­ri­na Valle and Peter Mil­lard Aug 12, 2014 3:42 PM CT

    A $4.4 bil­lion mon­ey-laun­der­ing probe linked to state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA is spread­ing to finan­cial insti­tu­tions as pros­e­cu­tors inves­ti­gate whether they met com­pli­ance require­ments.

    Court doc­u­ments cite units of banks includ­ing New York-based Cit­i­group Inc. ©, Madrid-based Ban­co San­tander SA (SAN) and Lon­don-based HSBC Hold­ings Plc (HSBA), as well as Sao Paulo-based Itau Uni­ban­co Hold­ing SA (ITUB4) and Osas­co, Brazil-based Ban­co Brade­sco SA (BBDC4) as hold­ing accounts or exe­cut­ing oper­a­tions linked to the alleged laun­der­ing of 10 bil­lion reais. Banks either declined to com­ment or said they meet com­pli­ance require­ments.

    Pros­e­cu­tors are review­ing bank doc­u­ments pro­vid­ed by police and the cen­tral bank, said Pros­e­cu­tor Car­los Fer­nan­do Lima, the spokesman for a group of six pros­e­cu­tors assigned to the case. He declined to name the banks because the group hasn’t start­ed a for­mal pros­e­cu­tion and it’s not yet clear if any wrong­do­ing occurred.

    “Insti­tu­tions have a civ­il respon­si­bil­i­ty for all of their clients,” Lima said in an inter­view in Curiti­ba where the case is before a judge. “My expe­ri­ence is there’s usu­al­ly no big mon­ey laun­der­ing oper­a­tion with­out some­one behind it from a finan­cial insti­tu­tion. It’s too much to go unno­ticed.”

    The refin­ing divi­sion at Petro­bras, as the biggest pro­duc­er in ultra-deep waters is known, is already under inves­ti­ga­tion by a con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee for run­away spend­ing includ­ing alleged inflat­ed con­tracts to sup­pli­ers, and is cit­ed as one of the pos­si­ble sources of cash being laun­dered in the case dubbed “Car Wash” by police.

    Pri­va­cy Pro­tec­tion

    Petro­bras didn’t respond to e‑mailed requests for com­ment on the case. The stock fell 2.3 per­cent to 19.67 reais in Sao Paulo.

    Banks includ­ing units of Cit­i­group, San­tander, HSBC, Brade­sco and Itau, as well as bro­ker­ages, either cre­at­ed accounts, trans­ferred mon­ey or both for alleged front com­pa­nies cit­ed in the inves­ti­ga­tion, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments that com­pile the results of a police inves­ti­ga­tion, bank­ing records, wire taps and ini­tial con­clu­sions from the pros­e­cu­tors assigned to the case. The doc­u­ments cite spe­cif­ic branch­es in Brazil and abroad, and spe­cif­ic account num­bers.

    The pros­e­cu­tion is “fac­ing some dif­fi­cul­ties” gain­ing coop­er­a­tion from banks, Lima said. “They are not pro­vid­ing the data with the required speed and detail.”

    The court has lift­ed pri­va­cy pro­tec­tions for bank­ing infor­ma­tion relat­ed to the case and the pros­e­cu­tion has repeat­ed­ly sought coop­er­a­tion from banks and bro­ker­ages, he said.

    Mon­ey Chang­ers

    The $4.4 bil­lion of alleged laun­der­ing includes cash from Brazil­ians seek­ing to evade tax author­i­ties, rev­enue from drug traf­fick­ing and mon­ey alleged­ly embez­zled from Petro­bras (PETR4) con­tracts, accord­ing to police press releas­es and court doc­u­ments.

    Infor­mal for­eign exchange traders known as doleiros nor­mal­ly receive mon­ey from clients in Brazil and then make deposits abroad from seem­ing­ly unre­lat­ed accounts for a fee, allow­ing clients to export cash with­out alert­ing the tax author­i­ties. In the Car Wash scheme, doleiros or their asso­ciates alleged­ly set up front import and export com­pa­nies to move larg­er vol­umes of cash, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    Cit­i­group declined to com­ment in an e‑mailed response. Itau said it meets appro­pri­ate com­pli­ance require­ments and will col­lab­o­rate with inves­ti­ga­tions. HSBC said it fol­lows the high­est com­pli­ance stan­dards and col­lab­o­rates with author­i­ties when­ev­er asked. Brade­sco said it reports any sus­pi­cious oper­a­tions to author­i­ties in a time­ly way. San­tander said it always col­lab­o­rates with author­i­ties in Brazil. All the banks said pri­va­cy rules pre­vent them from releas­ing infor­ma­tion to the pub­lic on spe­cif­ic clients.

    Top 10

    Those insti­tu­tions are among the top 10 biggest non-gov­ern­ment owned banks in Brazil by assets, accord­ing to the cen­tral bank web­site as of March 2014. They rep­re­sent 38 per­cent of total assets in Brazil’s finan­cial sys­tem.

    Pio­neer Cor­re­to­ra de Cam­bio, one of the largest bro­ker­ages in Brazil, said all of its trans­ac­tions cit­ed in the case fol­lowed cen­tral bank reg­u­la­tions.

    Pros­e­cu­tors are look­ing to iden­ti­fy bank staff who could have assist­ed in the alleged scheme and will seek col­lab­o­ra­tion from coun­tries where the mon­ey was sent, Lima said.

    Inves­ti­ga­tors have iden­ti­fied three groups of finan­cial insti­tu­tions alleged­ly involved: Brazil­ian banks hold­ing accounts for doleiros, bro­ker­ages and banks exe­cut­ing for­eign exchange oper­a­tions alleged­ly based on fake import trans­ac­tions, and inter­na­tion­al banks hold­ing accounts over­seas alleged­ly for front export com­pa­nies.

    ‘Pre­lim­i­nary Phase’

    In June, Swiss author­i­ties vol­un­tar­i­ly blocked $28 mil­lion in accounts in the names of for­mer Petro­bras direc­tor Paulo Rober­to Cos­ta or his alleged asso­ciates. He is accused of being a link between Petro­bras and an alleged laun­der­ing orga­ni­za­tion led by Alber­to Youssef who is jailed in Curiti­ba.

    Youssef’s defense has entered a request to have him released while the case is in progress and denies the accu­sa­tions, his lawyer Anto­nio Augus­to Figueire­do Bas­to said in a phone inter­view from Curiti­ba. Youssef hasn’t been able to enter a plea yet because the case “is in a pre­lim­i­nary phase,” Bas­to said.

    Costa’s lawyer, Nelio Macha­do didn’t respond to e‑mails and phone calls request­ing com­ment. Macha­do has repeat­ed­ly denied accu­sa­tions against his client and said he will enter a plea in com­ments pub­lished by local media.

    Youssef and his group alleged­ly divert­ed at least $445 mil­lion from June 2011 to March 2014 through 3,649 oper­a­tions that includ­ed funds from Petrobras’s Abreu e Lima refin­ery, accord­ing to a crim­i­nal case dat­ed April 22 that pros­e­cu­tors sub­mit­ted to the court. Youssef is pro­vid­ing tes­ti­mo­ny to the court while under arrest, Bas­to said.

    Gath­er­ing Tes­ti­mo­ny

    The police first announced the inves­ti­ga­tion in March after seiz­ing assets includ­ing 6 mil­lion reais in cash, three hotels and 25 lux­u­ry cars, includ­ing a Land Rover that Youssef bought for Cos­ta, accord­ing to press releas­es from the police. Cos­ta told inves­ti­ga­tors the car was a pay­ment for con­sult­ing ser­vices and that he has done noth­ing wrong.

    More than 40 peo­ple have been indict­ed in 10 sep­a­rate pros­e­cu­tions since then. Youssef is includ­ed in five of them and Cos­ta in two. The court is still gath­er­ing tes­ti­mo­ny from wit­ness­es before reach­ing any con­clu­sions on con­vic­tions or acquit­tals, the court’s press office said in e‑mailed respons­es.

    Brazil los­es between 1.4 per­cent and 2.3 per­cent of annu­al gross domes­tic prod­uct to cor­rup­tion, accord­ing to a 2010 study from Sao Paulo state’s Indus­try Fed­er­a­tion, Fiesp. Latin America’s largest econ­o­my ranks 133rd in diver­sion of pub­lic funds due to cor­rup­tion among 148 coun­tries in the World Eco­nom­ic Forum’s Glob­al Com­pet­i­tive­ness Report.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 14, 2014, 7:01 am

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