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Update on The Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook

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COMMENT: Updat­ing the Adven­tures of Eddie the Friend­ly Spook [Snow­den], we note sev­er­al things:

  • An Atlantic arti­cle notes a joint Brazilian/EU effort to build a Transat­lantic fiber-optic cable to thwart U.S. sur­veil­lance and Merkel’s plans to cre­ate a data-secure EU inter­net struc­ture. All of this sup­pos­ed­ly in response to Snow­den’s “dis­clo­sures.” As we have not­ed in the past, this is sheer non­sense. Ger­many, EU coun­tries and oth­er major intel­li­gence ser­vices do the same thing. Ger­many, Brazil and the EU have known of the NSA’s activ­i­ties for years. Ger­many has been a long-stand­ing part­ner with NSA. Snowden–whom we think is being direct­ed by BND (as well as by an ele­ment of CIA)–engaged in his “op” in order to jus­ti­fy a pre-arranged eco­nom­ic offen­sive against the Amer­i­can IT sec­tor! The arti­cle also notes that the inven­tion of the Inter­net was a huge boon to the U.S. econ­o­my. As we not­ed in our series on Eddie the Friend­ly Spook, the Snow­den “op” is an act of eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal war­fare against the Unit­ed States.
  • We also note that, per the lat­est Wash­ing­ton Post sto­ry on L’Af­faire Snow­den, Eddie the Friend­ly Spook turned over doc­u­ments to Cit­i­zen Green­wald con­tain­ing sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion about Nation­al secu­ri­ty mat­ters, as well as inti­mate infor­ma­tion about reg­u­lar cit­i­zens. As we not­ed in FTR #774, the Snow­denistas are blithe­ly insen­si­tive to the fact that NO ONE has vet­ted Snow­den, Green­wald, Julian Assange and/or Wik­ileak­ers as wor­thy of being in receipt of such sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion about nation­al secu­ri­ty and pri­vate cit­i­zens’ inti­mate lives.
  • The Pierre Omid­yar-fund­ed “Inter­cept” fea­tures an arti­cle by Nazi fel­low-trav­el­er Cit­i­zen Green­wald in which he runs inter­fer­ence for Mus­lim Broth­er­hood oper­a­tives. The group includes CAIR co-founder Nihad Awad, who blamed the 1993 World Trade Cen­ter bomb­ing on the Mossad and Egypt­ian Intel­li­gence, as well as Faisal Gill, a pro­tege of Grover Norquist and very much in the Al-Taqwa orbit.
  • Omid­yar has sup­port­ed bru­tal micro-finance pro­grams in the Third World (act­ing in con­junc­tion with Phoenix Pro­gram vet­er­an Roy Proster­man), helped finance the fas­cist coup in Ukraine in 2014 and assist­ed in the elec­tion of Hin­du nationalist/fascist Naren­dra Modi in India.
  • Viviane Red­ing, EU Jus­tice Com­mis­sion­er from Lux­em­bourg and an appar­ent pup­pet of Mar­tin Sel­mayr is advo­cat­ing the cre­ation of an EU spy agency to do exact­ly the same thing as the NSA! Like Merkel and the oth­er hyp­ocrites and cry­ba­bies in Europe, she clear­ly does NOT object to what NSA and GCHQ do. She wants the EU to do the same thing!
  • In an attempt to stave off the oust­ing of CIA sta­tion chief in Berlin, Ger­many was offered inclu­sion in the Five Eyes Club and turned it down. One won­ders what is going on behind the scenes and what they want in return?
  • In our series on Eddie the Friend­ly Spook, we spent much time and dis­cus­sion high­light­ing Palantir–the appar­ent mak­er of the PRISM soft­ware (their dis­claimers to the con­trary notwith­stand­ing). We not­ed that the largest stock­hold­er in both Palan­tir and Face­book is Ron Paul backer Peter Thiel, an explic­it oppo­nent of democ­ra­cy (in part because he thinks women should­n’t vote). We now learn–unsurprisingly–that Palan­tir (part­ly cre­at­ed with funds from the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty) is col­lect­ing infor­ma­tion on Face­book users for the mil­i­tary. Y‑A-W‑N.

“The End of the Inter­net?” by Gor­don M. Gold­stein; The Atlantic; July/August 2014.

. . . . The Web’s growth has been broad­ly con­ge­nial to Amer­i­can inter­ests, and a large boon to the Amer­i­can econ­o­my.

That brings us to Edward Snow­den and the U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency. Snowden’s dis­clo­sures of the NSA’s sur­veil­lance of inter­na­tion­al Web traf­fic have pro­voked world­wide out­rage and a grow­ing coun­ter­re­ac­tion. Brazil and the Euro­pean Union recent­ly announced plans to lay a $185 mil­lion under­sea fiber-optic com­mu­ni­ca­tions cable between them to thwart U.S. sur­veil­lance. In Feb­ru­ary, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel called for the Euro­pean Union to cre­ate its own region­al Inter­net, walled off from the Unit­ed States. “We’ll talk to France about how we can main­tain a high lev­el of data pro­tec­tion,” Merkel said. “Above all, we’ll talk about Euro­pean providers that offer secu­ri­ty for our cit­i­zens, so that one shouldn’t have to send e‑mails and oth­er infor­ma­tion across the Atlantic.”

Merkel’s explo­ration of a closed, pan-Euro­pean cloud-com­put­ing net­work is sim­ply the lat­est exam­ple of what the ana­lyst Daniel Cas­tro of the Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy and Inno­va­tion Foun­da­tion calls “data nation­al­ism,” a phe­nom­e­non gath­er­ing momen­tum where­by coun­tries require that cer­tain types of infor­ma­tion be stored on servers with­in a state’s phys­i­cal bor­ders. The nations that have already imple­ment­ed a patch­work of data-local­iza­tion require­ments range from Aus­tralia, France, South Korea, and India to Indone­sia, Kaza­khstan, Malaysia, and Viet­nam, accord­ing to Anu­pam Chan­der and Uyen P. Le, two legal schol­ars at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at Davis. “Anx­i­eties over sur­veil­lance … are jus­ti­fy­ing gov­ern­men­tal mea­sures that break apart the World Wide Web,” they wrote in a recent white paper. As a result, “the era of a glob­al Inter­net may be pass­ing.”

Secu­ri­ty con­cerns have cat­alyzed data-nation­al­iza­tion efforts, yet Cas­tro, Chan­der, and Le all ques­tion the ben­e­fits, argu­ing that the secu­ri­ty of data depends not on their loca­tion but on the sophis­ti­ca­tion of the defens­es built around them. Anoth­er motive appears to be in play: the Web’s frag­men­ta­tion would enable local Inter­net busi­ness­es in France or Malaysia to carve out roles for them­selves, at the expense of glob­al­ly dom­i­nant com­pa­nies, based dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly in the Unit­ed States. Cas­tro esti­mates that the U.S. cloud-com­put­ing indus­try alone could lose $22 bil­lion to $35 bil­lion in rev­enue by 2016.

The Snow­den affair has brought to a boil geopo­lit­i­cal ten­sions that were already sim­mer­ing. . . .

“Civ­il Lib­er­ties Hero Edward Snow­den Com­mits Mas­sive Civ­il Lib­er­ties Vio­la­tion” by Charles John­son; Lit­tle Green Foot­balls; 7/6/2014

I can’t help notic­ing that the most impor­tant and trou­bling aspect of Bar­ton Gellman’s new NSA sto­ry for the Wash­ing­ton Post is not even men­tioned in the text: In NSA-Inter­cept­ed Data, Those Not Tar­get­ed Far Out­num­ber the For­eign­ers Who Are.

But first, here’s what is in the text:

Among the most valu­able con­tents — which The Post will not describe in detail, to avoid inter­fer­ing with ongo­ing oper­a­tions — are fresh rev­e­la­tions about a secret over­seas nuclear project, dou­ble-deal­ing by an osten­si­ble ally, a mil­i­tary calami­ty that befell an unfriend­ly pow­er, and the iden­ti­ties of aggres­sive intrud­ers into U.S. com­put­er net­works.

Months of track­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions across more than 50 alias accounts, the files show, led direct­ly to the 2011 cap­ture in Abbot­tabad of Muham­mad Tahir Shahzad, a Pak­istan-based bomb builder, and Umar Patek, a sus­pect in a 2002 ter­ror­ist bomb­ing on the Indone­sian island of Bali. At the request of CIA offi­cials, The Post is with­hold­ing oth­er exam­ples that offi­cials said would com­pro­mise ongo­ing oper­a­tions.

Secret nuclear weapons projects, aggres­sive hack­ers, dou­ble-deal­ing by pur­port­ed allies — why is it sup­posed to be evil and wrong for the NSA to uncov­er these kinds of things? Why in the world would any­one be upset that their com­mu­ni­ca­tions were inter­cept­ed if it helps the US gov­ern­ment dis­cov­er a secret nuclear project?

If my emails are col­lect­ed by the NSA as part of this effort, I say, “Go ahead, col­lect away.” Call me crazy, but I want the US gov­ern­ment to dis­cov­er these things before it’s too late.

Also note that this lat­est release absolute­ly debunks the con­stant claims by the Green­wald crew that the NSA’s pro­grams have noth­ing to do with ter­ror­ism, or that they’re inef­fec­tive at uncov­er­ing ter­ror­ists.

But even more to the point, and the rea­son for my head­line above: hasn’t Edward Snow­den him­self com­mit­ted a tru­ly mas­sive vio­la­tion of civ­il lib­er­ties, by hand­ing over these legal­ly col­lect­ed and prop­er­ly redact­ed pri­vate com­mu­ni­ca­tions to jour­nal­ists — and to Glenn Green­wald?

Many oth­er files, described as use­less by the ana­lysts but nonethe­less retained, have a star­tling­ly inti­mate, even voyeuris­tic qual­i­ty. They tell sto­ries of love and heart­break, illic­it sex­u­al liaisons, men­tal-health crises, polit­i­cal and reli­gious con­ver­sions, finan­cial anx­i­eties and dis­ap­point­ed hopes. The dai­ly lives of more than 10,000 account hold­ers who were not tar­get­ed are cat­a­logued and record­ed nev­er­the­less.

And now they’re in the hands of peo­ple like Glenn Green­wald, Jacob Apple­baum, Julian Assange and who knows who else.

I’m con­tin­u­al­ly amazed at the capac­i­ty of the civ­il lib­er­tar­i­an crowd to blithe­ly vio­late the civ­il lib­er­ties of oth­ers in their dead-end quest for a purist lib­er­tar­i­an ide­al.

“Meet the Mus­lim-Amer­i­can Lead­ers the FBI and NSA Have Been Spy­ing On” by Glenn Green­wald and Mur­taza Hus­sain; The Inter­cept; 7/9/2014.

. . . .Accord­ing to doc­u­ments pro­vid­ed by NSA whistle­blow­er Edward Snow­den, the list of Amer­i­cans mon­i­tored by their own gov­ern­ment includes:

Faisal Gill, a long­time Repub­li­can Par­ty oper­a­tive and one-time can­di­date for pub­lic office who held a top-secret secu­ri­ty clear­ance and served in the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty under Pres­i­dent George W. Bush;

• Asim Ghafoor, a promi­nent attor­ney who has rep­re­sent­ed clients in ter­ror­ism-relat­ed cas­es;

• Hooshang Ami­rah­ma­di, an Iran­ian-Amer­i­can pro­fes­sor of inter­na­tion­al rela­tions at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty;

• Agha Saeed, a for­mer polit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty who cham­pi­ons Mus­lim civ­il lib­er­ties and Pales­tin­ian rights;

Nihad Awad, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR), the largest Mus­lim civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion in the coun­try. [CAIR is very close­ly linked to the Mus­lim Brotherhood–D.E.]. . . .

“EU Should Cre­ate Own Spy Agency, Red­ing Says” by Andrew Rettman; EUob­serv­er; 11/4/2013.

EU jus­tice com­mis­sion­er Viviane Red­ing has said the Union should cre­ate its own intel­li­gence ser­vice by 2020.

Speak­ing on Mon­day (4 Novem­ber) to Greek dai­ly Naftem­po­ri­ki on the US snoop­ing scan­dal, she said: “What we need is to strength­en Europe in this field, so we can lev­el the play­ing field with our US part­ners.”

She added: “I would there­fore wish to use this occa­sion to nego­ti­ate an agree­ment on stronger secret ser­vice co-oper­a­tion among the EU mem­ber states — so that we can speak with a strong com­mon voice to the US. The NSA needs a coun­ter­weight. My long-term pro­pos­al would there­fore be to set up a Euro­pean Intel­li­gence Ser­vice by 2020.”

Rev­e­la­tions by US leak­er Edward Snow­den say Amer­i­ca’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA) inter­cepts mil­lions of Euro­peans’ emails and phone calls. . . .

“U.S. Offered Berlin ‘Five Eyes’ Pact. Merkel Was Done With It” by Patrick Don­ahue and John Wal­cott; Bloomberg News; 7/12/2014.

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

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

It wasn’t enough.

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

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

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

No Trust

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

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

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

Invit­ed to Leave

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

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

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

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


Intel­li­gence Shar­ing

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

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

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

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

Big ’If’

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

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

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

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

Law­mak­ers’ Con­cerns

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

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

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

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

Review Agree­ments

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

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

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

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

“The US mil­i­tary is Already Using Face­book to Track Your Mood” by Patrick Tuck­er; Quartz; 7/3/2014.

Crit­ics have tar­geted a recent study on how emo­tions spread on the pop­u­lar social net­work site Face­book, com­plain­ing that some 600,000 Face­book users did not know that they were tak­ing part in an exper­i­ment. Some­what more dis­turb­ing, the researchers delib­er­ately manip­u­lated users’ feel­ings to mea­sure an effect called emo­tional con­ta­gion.

Though Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity, home to at least one of the researchers, said the study received no exter­nal fund­ing, but it turns out that the uni­ver­sity is cur­rently receiv­ing Defense Depart­ment mon­ey for some extreme­ly sim­i­lar-sound­ing research—the analy­sis of social net­work posts for “sen­ti­ment,” i.e. how peo­ple are feel­ing, in the hopes of iden­ti­fy­ing social “tip­ping points.”

The tip­ping points in ques­tion include “the 2011 Egypt­ian rev­o­lu­tion, the 2011 Russ­ian Duma elec­tions, the 2012 Niger­ian fuel sub­sidy cri­sis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey,” accord­ing to the web­site of the Min­erva Ini­tia­tive, a Defense Depart­ment social sci­ence project.

It’s the sort of work that the US mil­i­tary has been fund­ing for years, most famous­ly via the open-source indi­ca­tors pro­gram, an Intel­li­gence Advanced Research Projects Activ­ity (IARPA) pro­gram that looked at Twit­ter to pre­dict social unrest.

If the idea of the gov­ern­ment mon­i­tor­ing and even manip­u­lat­ing you on Face­book gives you a cold, creep­ing feel­ing, the bad news is that you can expect the intel­li­gence com­mu­nity to spend a great deal more time and mon­ey research­ing sen­ti­ment and rela­tion­ships via social net­works like Face­book. In fact, defense con­trac­tors and high-lev­el USin­tel­li­gence offi­cials say that social net­work data has become one of the most impor­tant tools they use in the col­lect­ing intel­li­gence.

Defense One recent­ly caught up with Lt. Gen. Michael Fly­nn, the direc­tor of the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency who said the US mil­i­tary has “com­pletely revamped” the way it col­lects intel­li­gence around the exis­tence of large, open­ly avail­able data sources and espe­cially social media like Face­book. “The infor­ma­tion that we’re able to extract form social media—it’s giv­ing us insights that frankly we nev­er had before,” he said.

In oth­er words, the head of one of the biggest US mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agen­cies needs you on Face­book.

“Just over a decade ago, when I was a senior intel­li­gence offi­cer, I spent most of my time in the world of ‘ints’—signals intel­li­gence imagery, human intelligence—and used just a lit­tle bit of open-source infor­ma­tion to enrich the assess­ments that we made. Fast for­ward to 2014 and the explo­sion of the infor­ma­tion envi­ron­ment in just the last few years alone. Open-source now is a place I spend most of my time. The open world of infor­ma­tion pro­vides us most of what we need and the ‘ints’ of old, they enrich the assess­ments that we’re able to make from open-source infor­ma­tion.”

Open-source intel­li­gence can take a vari­ety of forms, but among the most volu­mi­nous, per­sonal and use­ful is Face­book and Twit­ter data. The avail­abil­ity of that sort of infor­ma­tion is chang­ing the way that DIA trains intel­li­gence oper­a­tives. Long gone are the spooks of old who would fish through trash for clues on tar­gets. Here to stay are the eyes look­ing through your vaca­tion pic­tures.

“We train them dif­fer­ently even than we did a year ago because of the types of tools we have. There are adjust­ments to the trade craft, and that’s due to the amount of infor­ma­tion we can now get our hands on,” Fly­nn said.

The growth of social media has not just changed day-to-day life at agen­cies like DIA, it’s also giv­en rise to a mini gold rush in defense con­tract­ing. The mil­i­tary will be spend­ing an increas­ing amount of the $50 bil­lion intel­li­gence bud­get on pri­vate con­trac­tors to per­form open-source intel­li­gence gath­er­ing and analy­sis, accord­ing to Fly­nn. That’s evi­denced by the rise in com­pa­nies eager to pro­vide those ser­vices.

Some of them are well known like Palan­tir, the Sil­i­con Val­ley data visu­al­iza­tion giant that’s been fea­tured promi­nently in Bloomberg Busi­ness­week and has graced the cov­er of Forbes. Col­lect­ing or ana­lyz­ing social net­work data wasn’t some­thing they orig­i­nally want­ed to get into accord­ing to Bryant Chung, a Palan­tir employ­ee. Palan­tir doesn’t mar­ket itself as a data col­lec­tion com­pany. They pro­vide a tool set to help agen­cies visu­al­ize and share data.

The com­pany wor­ried that part­ner­ing with the intel­li­gence com­mu­nity to do social net­work data col­lec­tion could hurt their rep­u­ta­tion among the tech com­mu­nity, increas­ingly wary of the gov­ern­ment, accord­ing to Chung. When the com­pany was approached by NATO and some US intel­li­gence groups, they decid­ed to explore the mar­ket­place for sen­ti­ment analy­sis of social net­work data.

“There are a lot of oth­er com­mer­cial com­pa­nies already in that space. Unless we know we’re going to crush it, we don’t want to get in,” Chung said. “I think we have a dif­fer­en­ti­ated capa­bil­ity, espe­cially at a macro lev­el. For exam­ple, you are inter­ested in mon­i­tor­ing an elec­tion some­where in Africa and you want to know who are the peo­ple tweet­ing on one side of an elec­tion ver­sus the oth­er, or who are the most influ­en­tial tweet­ers or you what if you have intel­li­gence that an explo­sion is about to hap­pen at a par­tic­u­lar square, can you con­firm that using Tweets?” That’s the sort of thing Palan­tir wants to help you with.

Many of the groups doing this sort of work on behalf of the gov­ern­ment are small out­fits you prob­a­bly have nev­er heard of. And ide­ally, you nev­er would.

One of them is a com­pany out of Austin, Texas, called Snap­Trends, found­ed in 2012. They pro­vide a “social lis­ten­ing” ser­vice that ana­lyzes posts to pro­vide insights about the cir­cum­stances of the poster, one of the most impor­tant of which is the poster’s loca­tion. The com­pany uses cell tow­er den­sity, social net­work knowhow, and var­i­ous oth­er ele­ments to fig­ure out who is post­ing what and where. Are you some­one who refus­es to geo-tag your tweets out of con­cerns for pri­vacy? Do you turn off your phone’s GPS receiv­ing capa­bil­ity to stay under the prover­bial radar? It doesn’t mat­ter to Snap­Trends.

One tweet and they can find you.

“If it’s a dense envi­ron­ment. I can put you with­in a block. If it’s a [bad] envi­ron­ment I can put you with­in two or three blocks,” said Todd Robin­son, direc­tor of oper­a­tions for Defense Mil­i­tary Intel­li­gence for the com­pany Gen­eral Dynam­ics Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, GDIT, and Snap­Trends pres­i­dent for Mid­dle East­ern oper­a­tions. GDIT part­nered with Snap­Trends to sell their ser­vices to the gov­ern­ment. “Once I do have you, I click this but­ton right here, I can go back five years [of social media posts.]”

Snap­Trends says that the tool was extreme­ly help­ful in the inves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing the 2013 Boston Marathon bomb attacks. Using social net­work analy­sis, “we found the col­lege kids that had access to the com­put­ers [owned by the sus­pects]. We were able to get to them first,” said Robins.

The use of social net­work data for intel­li­gence isn’t just fair, Rob­bins says, it’s a no-brain­er. Scrawl­ing Face­book for clues about human behav­ior doesn’t require break­ing in via back­doors or oth­er elab­o­rate pieces of tech­no­log­i­cal trick­ery. “When you join Twit­ter and Face­book, you sign an agree­ment say­ing you will post that to a pub­lic web page. We just pull data from that web page.”

”I’m a retired intel­li­gence guy,” he said. “This is not that dif­fi­cult, peo­ple.

But while social data may be an impor­tant tool in intel­li­gence col­lec­tion, it’s hard­ly a per­ma­nent one.

In the same way that observ­ing the behav­ior of some sub­atomic par­ti­cles changes the behav­ior of those par­ti­cles (called the observ­er effect), watch­ing the tweets and posts of tar­gets can cre­ate an envi­ron­ment where peo­ple tweet less. You poi­son your own well by draw­ing from it. That hap­pens on an indi­vid­ual lev­el in terms of spe­cific human tar­gets but also on a larg­er, soci­etal lev­el.

“We’ve seen that already,” Robin­son said. “There is always a risk that as peo­ple under­stand this, they’ll quit putting [posts] on there.”

The view was sec­onded by Snap­Trends co-founder and­ CEO, Eric Klas­son. “The more the ‘bad guys’ know about what is pos­si­ble, the less they will use social media. This under­mines state, local, fed­eral and inter­na­tional law enforce­ment efforts,” he told Defense One.

When asked if he was con­cerned that peo­ple might stop using Face­book, Twit­ter and oth­er social net­works as a result of US intel­li­gence activ­i­ties, Fly­nn answered mat­ter-of-fact­ly: “Yes.”




3 comments for “Update on The Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook”

  1. Hehe. Sure­ly this call for as sub­stan­tial increase in the BND bud­get and coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence activ­i­ties is all going to be used for pure­ly defen­sive pur­pos­es:

    Deutsche Welle
    Ger­man spies clam­or for counter-espi­onage fund­ing

    The dis­cov­ery of US spies in Ger­many’s intel­li­gence ser­vice and Defense Min­istry has sparked out­rage. Now Ger­man spies are call­ing for a boost in funds and staff direct­ed toward coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence.

    Date 12.07.2014
    Author Sven Pöh­le / nm
    Edi­tor Sean Sini­co

    When it comes to cas­es of espi­onage on Ger­man soil, offi­cials in the secret ser­vice and the politi­cians respon­si­ble for over­see­ing them auto­mat­i­cal­ly start using words like “coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence” and “pro­tec­tion.”

    “Effec­tive pro­tec­tion against attacks on our com­mu­ni­ca­tion, as well as effec­tive coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, are essen­tial for our strong democ­ra­cy,” said Ger­man Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Thomas de Maiziere in a state­ment respond­ing to recent rev­e­la­tions of alleged spy­ing in Ger­many.


    Bernd Schmid­bauer, who worked as a fed­er­al intel­li­gence ser­vice coor­di­na­tor between 1991 and 1998, also used the word “coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence” fre­quent­ly.

    “Coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, and more coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence. Only then can you be strong,” said Schmid­bauer in an inter­view with DW. But such activ­i­ties require mon­ey and well-trained staff, the 75-year-old added.

    “Only then would it mean that not every­one is free to mess around in our back­yard,” he said. “It’s not about friends or foes, it is only a mat­ter of nation­al inter­ests.”

    NSA scan­dal paves the way

    The time to push ahead with the expan­sion of coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence seems ripe to many in Ger­many. Since the rev­e­la­tions of whistle­blow­er and for­mer US Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den, Ger­man politi­cians and the gen­er­al pub­lic have been angered by the seem­ing­ly nev­er-end­ing reports of espi­onage car­ried out in Ger­many by allied states — par­tic­u­lar­ly by the Unit­ed States.

    The con­ser­v­a­tive head of the com­mit­tee set up to inves­ti­gate the activ­i­ties of the NSA in Ger­many, Roderich Kiesewet­ter, has demand­ed more mon­ey be chan­neled into coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence. He told the “Rheinis­che Post” news­pa­per that Ger­many had “saved in the wrong place.”

    He called for a “sub­stan­tial increase” in the BND’s bud­get, so it could devel­op capa­bil­i­ties to “exer­cise effec­tive recon­noi­ter­ing” in the future. Accord­ing to a report by Ger­man pub­lic broad­cast­er SWR, Kiesewet­ter’s mobile phone was also alleged­ly tapped by for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vices.

    Des­per­ate­ly need­ed makeover

    The BND had been plan­ning to upgrade its capa­bil­i­ties for some time, espe­cial­ly the tech­nol­o­gy used to mon­i­tor social media. It has a project as part of the “Strate­gic Tech­nol­o­gy Ini­tia­tive,” which would require par­lia­men­tary approval of 300 mil­lion euros ($410 mil­lion) in fund­ing.

    Accord­ing to infor­ma­tion con­firmed by DW, the Mil­i­tary Coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence Ser­vice (MAD) also aims to rein­vent itself. With around 1,000 employ­ees, MAD is the small­est of the three fed­er­al intel­li­gence agen­cies in Ger­many.

    The Fed­er­al Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion (BfV), Ger­many’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, could also be bet­ter equipped. A process to strength­en counter-espi­onage and pro­tec­tion against attacks on Ger­man com­mu­ni­ca­tions is already under­way, de Maiziere said Thurs­day (10.07.2014).

    Fol­low­ing the NSA spy­ing scan­dal, the BfV had thought about focus­ing on friend­ly intel­li­gence ser­vices. “In light of what has hap­pened, we have to expand our work,” de Maiziere told pub­lic tele­vi­sion broad­cast­er ZDF. He said it was impor­tant not to for­get that “oth­er states car­ry out espi­onage on a large scale in Ger­many.” Until now, Ger­many has kept a close eye main­ly on the intel­li­gence activ­i­ties of coun­tries like Rus­sia, Chi­na and North Korea.

    Who watch­es the spies?

    But who is mon­i­tor­ing the increas­ing num­ber of intel­li­gence agents? The Bun­destag’s Par­lia­men­tary Con­trol Pan­el (PKG) is the body respon­si­ble, and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has to keep the pan­el’s mem­bers informed about intel­li­gence ser­vice activ­i­ties.

    The pan­el’s eight rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Bun­destag, the Ger­man low­er house of par­lia­ment, cur­rent­ly over­see around 10,500 intel­li­gence offi­cers. The PKG has set itself the task of mon­i­tor­ing the work of the secret ser­vices more close­ly. To this end, they are set­ting up a new task force with up to sev­en fed­er­al gov­ern­ment staff to pro­vide addi­tion­al sup­port.


    The Bun­destag is expect­ed to put for­ward around 400,000 euros per year in addi­tion­al fund­ing to enable the PKG to suc­cess­ful­ly car­ry out its tasks. The Bun­destag will also decide on a pos­si­ble expan­sion of intel­li­gence ser­vices. To do this, it would have to free up the nec­es­sary funds and cre­ate new posi­tions for employ­ees in the secret ser­vice agen­cies.

    “The BND had been plan­ning to upgrade its capa­bil­i­ties for some time, espe­cial­ly the tech­nol­o­gy used to mon­i­tor social media. It has a project as part of the “Strate­gic Tech­nol­o­gy Ini­tia­tive,” which would require par­lia­men­tary approval of 300 mil­lion euros ($410 mil­lion) in fund­ing.”

    So there’s a planned $410 mil­lion expan­sion in BND’s capa­bil­i­ties, includ­ing mon­i­tor­ing social media, and if you lis­ten to the BND’s hype, it’s all to be used for coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence:

    Ger­man spies want $400M to play catch-up with the NSA
    By David Mey­er
    May. 31, 2014 — 1:51 AM PDT

    Sum­ma­ry: Con­fi­den­tial doc­u­ments from the BND, Germany’s answer to the NSA and GCHQ, sug­gest the agency could soon get major fund­ing to improve its online sur­veil­lance and hack­ing capa­bil­i­ties.

    Ah, Ger­many: the home of data pro­tec­tion law; a bas­tion for the pri­va­cy-mind­ed in these crazy days of inter­na­tion­al sur­veil­lance and hack­ery. Or is it? The Ger­man gov­ern­ment and intel­li­gence ser­vices have already been sued over alleged pri­va­cy vio­la­tions in coop­er­a­tion with the NSA, and now leaked doc­u­ments have described plans for mon­i­tor­ing social net­works in real-time.

    Süd­deutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR have turned up secret doc­u­ments belong­ing to the Bun­desnachrich­t­en­di­enst (BND), Germany’s coun­ter­part to the NSA. It seems the BND is jeal­ous of the dig­i­tal espi­onage capa­bil­i­ties of the NSA and the U.K.’s GCHQ, and wants to up its game.

    The doc­u­ments warn that, if the BND doesn’t get the €300 mil­lion ($409 mil­lion) it needs to run expand­ed sur­veil­lance activ­i­ties until 2020, Ger­many will fall behind even Italy and Spain in the spook stakes. They also sug­gest the spies hope to get their fund­ing in the com­ing weeks.

    Accord­ing to the reports, the BND wants to ana­lyze stream­ing data in real-time from forums and ser­vices such as Face­book, Twit­ter and Flickr, col­lect and store more mobile meta­da­ta, and use soft­ware vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties for tar­get­ed hack­ing. The reports state tar­gets would be out­side Ger­many — indeed, tar­get­ed data must have a for­eign ele­ment if the spies are to remain com­pli­ant with Ger­man law.

    The BND inter­cepts and ana­lyzes a cer­tain amount of inter­net data flow­ing through Ger­many, but has noth­ing like the NSA’s bud­get for effec­tive­ly inter­ro­gat­ing this data. Last July, a leaked NSA doc­u­ment seen by Der Spiegel showed how close­ly the BND works with the NSA, even using U.S. spy soft­ware.


    Huh. So accord­ing to these secret doc­u­ments, the BND “wants to ana­lyze stream­ing data in real-time from forums and ser­vices such as Face­book, Twit­ter and Flickr, col­lect and store more mobile meta­da­ta, and use soft­ware vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties for tar­get­ed hack­ing”. Social media mon­i­tor­ing, mobile meta­da­ta, and tar­get­ed hack­ing. Those kind of capa­bil­i­ties could be use­ful for coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence pur­pos­es. For instance, the facial recog­ni­tion capa­bil­i­ties dis­cussed in the BND doc­u­ment will def­i­nite­ly facil­i­tate the plans for auto­mat­ed mon­i­tor­ing of the inter­net and social media as also dis­cussed in the doc­u­ment. But it sure sounds like the kinds of intel­li­gence invest­ments that could be used for a lot more than coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence.

    On the one hand, the social media data col­lec­tion capa­bil­i­ties the BND is ask­ing for might most­ly involve the kind of tools that are increas­ing­ly com­mer­cial­ly avail­able for web com­merce and trawl­ing the web for per­son­al data. On the oth­er hand, the mass meta­da­ta col­lecti­no and tar­get­ed hack­ing (which pre­sum­ably involves things like man-in-the-mid­dle attacks) def­i­nite­ly sound like the kinds of capa­bil­i­ties reserved for an intel­li­gence agency. So it’s worth not­ing that, based on reports com­par­ing the NSA’s and BND’s inter­net sur­veil­lance sys­tems, they sound pret­ty sim­i­lar sys­tems using some­what dif­fer­ent pri­va­cy set­tings:

    The Week
    The Com­pass with Marc Ambinder
    The NSA’s big prob­lem, explained by the NSA
    June 19, 2014, at 9:17 AM

    Amongst the new trove of clas­si­fied doc­u­ments released by Der Speigel is a rather aca­d­e­m­ic dis­cus­sion, in the NSA’s own for­eign affairs jour­nal, about the dif­fer­ences between Amer­i­can sig­nals intel­li­gence col­lec­tion and Ger­man sig­nals intel­li­gence col­lec­tion.

    One pas­sage in par­tic­u­lar stands out, as it high­lights how the Ger­mans give far more weight to pri­va­cy than the NSA does.

    For the Ger­mans, “...spam fil­ters are used to process large data vol­umes. Select­ed traf­fic is passed through an auto­mat­ed pri­va­cy pro­tec­tion sys­tem, ensur­ing ana­lysts can­not view Ger­man pro­tect­ed traf­fic. On-site BND ana­lysts then man­u­al­ly assess all select­ed traf­fic to deter­mine intel­li­gence val­ue.” (BND refers to the Ger­man for­eign intel­li­gence agency, the Bun­de­shachrich­t­en­di­enst.) It con­tin­ues:

    NSA ana­lysts dis­cussed NSA’s “hunt ver­sus gath­er” phi­los­o­phy, our mul­ti-stage selec­tion and fil­ter­ing process, and the evo­lu­tion of DNI tar­get­ing sys­tems from GRANDMASTER to WEALTHYCLUSTER, and in the future, TURMOIL. BND appeared espe­cial­ly inter­est­ed in the TURMOIL approach of scan­ning and mak­ing judg­ments at the pack­et lev­el pri­or to ses­sion­ing.

    ...NSA and BND use oppo­site selec­tion and fil­ter­ing approach­es. Where NSA pri­mar­i­ly relies on equip­ment for selec­tion ... and ana­lyst min­i­miza­tion for pri­va­cy pro­tec­tion, the BND relies on ana­lysts to man­u­al­ly scan traf­fic for selec­tion, and then equip­ment to fil­ter data for pri­va­cy pro­tec­tion.

    Full use of NSA DNI pro­cess­ing sys­tems and tech­nolo­gies at the JSA will be key to influ­enc­ing the BND to alter their strate­gic DNI approach.

    Let me trans­late. The NSA has cho­sen the “gath­er” phi­los­o­phy, which means they col­lect as much infor­ma­tion as pos­si­ble, from every­where and any­where, use sophis­ti­cat­ed tech­nol­o­gy and ana­lyt­ics to fig­ure out what’s impor­tant auto­mat­i­cal­ly, deter­mine tar­gets and selec­tors by algo­rithms and met­rics, and then, with the data that has “won” this Dar­win­ian com­pe­ti­tion to get to the human ana­lyst’s desk, deter­mines whether the tar­get is legit­i­mate.

    BND, by con­trast, employs pri­va­cy pro­tec­tion tech­nol­o­gy before raw intel­li­gence reach­es an ana­lyst. The ana­lyst is there­fore only see­ing the data cuts that do not meet pre-deter­mined cri­te­ria for being screened out. In real terms, that means that the BND pro­grams in a bunch of domes­tic Ger­man domain names and IP address­es into its sys­tem and asks the sys­tem to delete the “dig­i­tal net­work infor­ma­tion” — meta­da­ta and such — that match­es them.


    The NSA jus­ti­fies its approach, gen­er­al­ly, by point­ing to the scope of its mis­sion. It would be, the agency believes, far too time inten­sive to man­u­al­ly assess traf­fic for intel­li­gence val­ue. It is much eas­i­er to let com­put­ers see pat­terns and make match­es — there is just so much damn data — and then “min­i­mize” any domes­tic data that’s col­lect­ed. The NSA would also say that there is sim­ply no oth­er way to pros­e­cute its mis­sion.

    I think the NSA might be cor­rect. But I also see, from this assess­ment, that oth­er coun­tries have deter­mined that the bal­ance between col­lec­tion and pri­va­cy can tip in the oppo­site direc­tion and still be steady enough to get the job done.

    Based on that descrip­tion of the dif­fer­ences in the NSA’s and BND’s inter­net sur­veil­lance sys­tems, it sounds like the biggest dif­fer­ence between the NSA and BND is sim­ply the BND fil­ters out more domes­tic IP address­es and does­n’t store as much data. And these are, indeed sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences, but only if you ignore the fact that the NSA and BND work extreme­ly close­ly which pre­sum­ably reduces the BND’s need to process all of the “large data vol­umes” that pass through the BND’s pack­et fil­ters. And hav­ing the NSA as your close part­ner pre­sum­ably also eas­es the data stor­age needs while also pro­vid­ing domes­tic sur­veil­lance capa­bil­i­ties (via the NSA) if the Ger­man gov­ern­ment decides to use it. So it does­n’t sound like it would be too dif­fi­cult for the BND to acquire NSA-like capa­bil­i­ties and it sure sounds like NSA-like capa­bil­i­ties is exact­ly what the BND is clam­or­ing for in the secret BND doc­u­ment dis­cussed above.

    And then there’s the addi­tion­al BND claim, that “if the BND doesn’t get the €300 mil­lion ($409 mil­lion) it needs to run expand­ed sur­veil­lance activ­i­ties until 2020, Ger­many will fall behind even Italy and Spain in the spook stakes”. This is a state­ment that, under dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances, would seem like just stan­dard one-upman­ship that one might expect. But these aren’t nor­mal cir­cum­stances and haven’t been since the finan­cial cri­sis broke.

    For instance, while it’s cer­tain­ly true that gov­ern­ments around the world are invest­ing heav­i­ly in greater spy­ing capa­bil­i­ties, giv­en all the aus­ter­i­ty Berlin has man­dat­ed for Italy and Spain, a sud­den expan­sion of Italy and Spain’s spy­ing capa­bil­i­ties may not be much of an issue for the year 2020.

    At the same time, if you had to imag­ine a sce­nario where an ally gov­ern­ment might want to spy on you, the sce­nario where you’ve effec­tive­ly tak­en over the deci­sion-mak­ing for that gov­ern­ment and man­dat­ed aus­ter­i­ty poli­cies just might be one of those sce­nar­ios where an ally sud­den­ly feels a need to spy on you. Recall that Merkel declared that Ger­many will be tak­ing a “360 degree” stance towards allied spy­ing and even declared that France would be added to the list of coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence tar­gets in addi­tion to the US and UK. But that “360 degree” state­ment can eas­i­ly be inter­pret­ed as includ­ing the rest of the euro­zone or EU. And if Ger­many has a new need for greater coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence capa­bil­i­ties it also, log­i­cal­ly, has a greater need for out­ward-direct­ed intel­li­gence capa­bil­i­ties (since the two are rather insep­a­ra­ble).

    So you have to won­der how much more ally-on-ally spy­ing might be tak­ing place these days now that Merkel’s gov­ern­ment is increas­ing­ly becom­ing the gov­ern­ment of the euro­zone and the larg­er EU.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 19, 2014, 5:13 pm
  2. Secret sight­see­ing?

    Busi­ness Insid­er
    There’s An 11-Day Hole In Snow­den’s Sto­ry About Hong Kong

    Michael B Kel­ley

    Jul. 20, 2014, 2:00 PM

    Edward Snow­den says that he want­ed the U.S. to know where he was after he arrived in Hong Kong.

    But U.S. author­i­ties still don’t know what he did for the first 11 days after his arrival.

    “That whole peri­od was very care­ful­ly planned and orches­trat­ed,” Snow­den told the Guardian. “There was no risk of com­pro­mise. ... And I didn’t cov­er my traces [in Hong Kong]. I only tried to avoid being detect­ed in advance of trav­el ... on the oth­er side I want­ed them to know where I was at. I want­ed them to know.”

    In his book, Green­wald writes that Snow­den “arrived in Hong Kong from Hawaii on May 20, check­ing into the Mira Hotel under his own name.”

    And Snow­den told Van­i­ty Fair that “I used a per­son­al cred­it card so the gov­ern­ment could imme­di­ate­ly ver­i­fy that I was entire­ly self-financed [and] inde­pen­dent.”

    But Edward Jay Epstein of The Wall Street Jour­nal went to Hong Kong and con­firmed that Snow­den did­n’t check into the Mira Hotel until June 1, which was a cou­ple of days before he met with jour­nal­ists Lau­ra Poitras and Glenn Green­wald.

    “Mr. Snow­den would tell Mr. Green­wald on June 3 that he had been ‘holed up’ in his room at the Mira Hotel from the time of his arrival in Hong Kong. But accord­ing to inquiries by Wall Street Jour­nal reporter Te-Ping Chen, Mr. Snow­den arrived there on June 1,” Epstein report­ed. “I con­firmed that date with the hotel’s employ­ees. A hotel secu­ri­ty guard told me that Mr. Snow­den was not in the Mira dur­ing that late-May peri­od and, when he did stay there, he used his own pass­port and cred­it card.”

    Epstein also cit­ed a source famil­iar with the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency report on the Snow­den affair, that “U.S. inves­tiga­tive agen­cies have been unable to find any cred­it-card charges or hotel records indi­cat­ing his where­abouts” between May 20 and June 1.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 21, 2014, 2:15 pm
  3. Ger­many just loud­ly announced that it the US and British intel­li­gence oper­a­tions will be sub­ject to the same counter-espi­onage mea­sures as those of Rus­sia, Chi­na, and Iran while qui­et­ly admit­ting that this will apply to all for­eign intel­li­gence oper­a­tions on Ger­man soil:

    The Tele­graph
    Ger­many to ‘spy on US and UK intel­li­gence gath­er­ing’ for the first time in 45 years
    Ger­many orders sur­veil­lance of British and Amer­i­can intel­li­gence gath­er­ing, accord­ing to reports

    By Justin Hug­gler in Berlin

    4:57PM BST 24 Jul 2014

    Ger­many has ordered sur­veil­lance of British and Amer­i­can intel­li­gence gath­er­ing on its soil to begin for the first time since 1945, accord­ing to reports.

    Under the deci­sion, US and British intel­li­gence oper­a­tions in Ger­many will be sub­ject to the same counter-espi­onage mea­sures as those of Rus­sia, Chi­na and Iran.

    “We need to send a strong sig­nal,” a source close to Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s gov­ern­ment told Süd­deutsche Zeitung news­pa­per. The unprece­dent­ed move is a direct response to a series of spy scan­dals that have rocked British and Amer­i­can rela­tions with Ger­many in the past year.

    Mrs Merkel’s gov­ern­ment has giv­en the go-ahead to sur­veil­lance plans that first emerged after two sus­pect­ed dou­ble agents were found alleged­ly spy­ing for the Amer­i­cans inside the Ger­man secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment a few weeks ago.


    The new mea­sures go still fur­ther, and will bring to an end decades of coop­er­a­tion that date back to the Cold War, when West Ger­man, British and Amer­i­can intel­li­gence worked togeth­er against the Sovi­et Union.

    From now on, the BND, Germany’s equiv­a­lent of MI5, will extend its sur­veil­lance and counter-espi­onage oper­a­tions to all for­eign intel­li­gence agen­cies oper­at­ing on Ger­man soil.

    But Mrs Merkel’s gov­ern­ment has stopped short of a full retal­i­a­tion, and ruled out its own spy­ing oper­a­tions in the US.

    There has been con­sid­er­able irri­ta­tion in Ger­many that it was exclud­ed from the mutu­al no spy­ing agree­ment the US has with the UK, Cana­da, Aus­tralia and New Zealand under the “Five Eyes” agree­ment, and that Mrs Merkel’s requests for a sim­i­lar agree­ment were rebuffed by the US.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 26, 2014, 6:31 pm

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