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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oth­er French intel­li­gence agen­cies alleged­ly access the data secret­ly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

  1. The door is still open in Ger­many:



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    dsl/SPIEGEL — with wires

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Has Ger­many prof­it­ed from US spy­ing pro­grams?

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

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

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

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

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

    Coop­er­a­tion has been going on for decades

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

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

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

    Enlight­en­ing talks in Wash­ing­ton?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Again, this is all for pub­lic con­sump­tion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Keep up the good work,


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fig­ures weren’t pub­lished on how many inter­cepts occurred.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    Com­mer­cial traf­fic is key and fun­da­men­tal to world affairs.

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

    That is in keep­ing with their modus operan­di.

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




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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    Sep­tem­ber 4, 2013, 2:34 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    Pub­lished: July 27, 2013

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    Snow­den leaks only tip of the ice­berg

    Date 05.09.2013
    Author Inter­view: Michael Knigge
    Edi­tor Rob Mudge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    An Ana­lyt­i­cal Tool

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

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

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

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

    ‘Focused, Tar­get­ed and Legal’

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

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

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

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

    Inter­ro­gat­ing ‘Mr. Prism?’

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    Paris also snoops on US, says ex-French spy boss
    Lat­est update: 24/10/2013
    Spy­ing on allies is all in a day’s work, the for­mer head of France’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency (pic­tured) said on Thurs­day, fol­low­ing reports that the US Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency record­ed mil­lions of French phone calls.
    By Tony Todd

    France spies on the US just as the US spies on France, the for­mer head of France’s counter-espi­onage and counter-ter­ror­ism agency said Fri­day, com­ment­ing on reports that the US Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) record­ed mil­lions of French tele­phone calls.

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

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

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

    ‘Deep dis­ap­proval’

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    By Dan Mur­phy, Staff writer / May 20, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    Wik­iLeaks Claims Afghanistan Under NSA Sur­veil­lance

    Den­ver Nicks @DenverNicks

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

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

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

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

    Der Spiegel
    Mass Data: Trans­fers from Ger­many Aid US Sur­veil­lance

    By Hubert Gude, Lau­ra Poitras and Mar­cel Rosen­bach

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

    August 05, 2013 – 12:32 PM

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

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

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

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

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

    Day After Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Clos­er Coop­er­a­tion than Thought

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    A ‘New Lev­el’

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Beyond Sym­bol­ism

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

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


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

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

    ‘Behav­ior Detec­tion’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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