Compromised Code Names, Operations and Equipment / Recent and in progress ( Updated 12:37PM PST / 27OCT2013 )

Editors Note: (Ralph Turchiano) Requested Repost from the archives (Oct 2013)

EEV: Recently Compromised or exposed Code names, Operations, Software and facilities. The list is in no particular order and is being updated frequently. These are just the discoveries from the past 2 years.

* Details of ALL operations can be found through inputting the codename in the search bar. (Being Updated, will be formatted for easy access in the near future _ The most recently compromised will be at the top (for the first week) after 26 OCT 2013

Compromised Code Names, Operations and Equipment

_______________________ Recent

MUSCULAR – The NSA’s principal tool to exploit the data  links is a project called MUSCULAR, operated jointly with the agency’s British  counterpart, GCHQ.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2480411/NSA-broke-Yahoo-Google-data-centers-obtain-millions-records.html

 Einstein antenna system –  Can intercept cell phone signals while simultaneously locating people of interest.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/27/the-nsas-secret-spy-hub-in-berlin/

 Birdwatcher Program – intercepts microwave and millimeter-wave signals. Some programs,  deal primarily with encrypted communications in foreign countries and the search for potential access points. Birdwatcher is controlled directly from SCS headquarters in Maryland.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/27/the-nsas-secret-spy-hub-in-berlin/

Quantum –  NSA controls a set of servers that sit on the Internet backbone, and these servers are used to redirect targets away from their intended destinations to still other NSA-controlled servers that are responsible for the injection of malware.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/25/how-the-nsa-deploys-malware-an-in-depth-look-at-the-new-revelations/

FoxAcid –  NSA server that selects from a toolkit of exploits in order to gain access to the user’s computer. Presumably this toolkit has both known public exploits that rely on a user’s software being out of date, as well as zero-day exploits which are generally saved for high value targets.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/25/how-the-nsa-deploys-malware-an-in-depth-look-at-the-new-revelations/

Tailored Access Operations (TAO), the branch  of the US National Security Agency (NSA) which deals with cyber-attacks

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/25/was-israel-behind-the-hacking-of-millions-of-french-phones-and-not-the-u-s-extraordinary-twist-in-spying-saga-revealed/

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Opus Dei – International Roman  Catholic order, founded in 1928 and championed early by Spanish  dictator Francisco Franco, is dedicated to establishing its members in high  political, corporate, and religious offices all over the world.

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/11/08/the-penn-state-scandal-faces-off-2-mysterious-government-agents-with-top-secret-clearance/

Rossotrudnichestvo exchange program – Alleged exchange program used to recruit Americans to train as Russian spies

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/23/russian-representative-denies-us-media-claims-of-his-involvement-in-espionage-rossotrudnichestvo-exchange-program/

Shenguang (“Divine Light”) – China’s laser project for inertial confinement fusion, which aims to use high-powered lasers to produce a sustained nuclear fusion reaction ( lasers designed to damage or destroy US satellites )

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/17/china-pursues-systems-to-keep-us-forces-at-bay/

Apstar-7 satellite (  APT Satellite Holdings )  – Chinese Satellite the Pentagon leases to oversee communications with its African bases

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/05/01/red-faces-as-pentagon-leases-chinese-satellite/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/04/30/pentagon-leaning-on-chinese-satellite-for-africa-command-communications-sparked-outcry-by-disclosing-its-lease-of-bandwidth-from-a-chinese-satellite/

Operation Socialist – An assault on Belgacom’s “core GRX routers”

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/20/uks-gchq-blamed-for-cyber-attack-on-belgian-telecoms-company/

“Man in the Middle” or “MiTM” operations “ –  highly-sophisticated deception which allows a third party to intervene in an electronic conversation and pretend to be each of the other two parties, obtaining valuable information or spreading disinformation without the targets realizing

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/20/uks-gchq-blamed-for-cyber-attack-on-belgian-telecoms-company/

US-985D – Text messages France

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/20/us-spy-agency-snooped-on-french-citizens-report-code-named-us-985d/

Unit 61398 –  Engages in harmful ‘Computer Network Operations’,” is located in Shanghai’s Pudong district, China’s financial and banking hub, and is staffed by perhaps thousands of people proficient in English as well as computer programming and network operations. Is considered a Chinese State Secret. The unit has stolen “hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations across a diverse set of industries beginning as early as 2006.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/02/18/security-group-suspects-chinese-military-is-behind-hacking-attacks-unit-61398/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/05/02/chinese-attack-sucks-secrets-from-us-defence-contractor/

Apalachee – EU/ UN Tapping

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/08/26/codename-apalachee/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/08/25/us-spy-agency-broke-encryption-on-un-communications-report/

Bumblehive – NSA Storage Facility

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/04/16/is-the-nsa-building-a-1-2billion-data-center-to-spy-on-americans-utah-desert-facility-code-named-bumblehive-will-monitor-emails-of-u-s-citizens/

Boundless Informant – NSA Data Mining program

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/06/08/boundless-informant-the-nsas-secret-tool-to-track-global-surveillance-data/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/06/16/i-have-watched-barack-obama-transform-into-the-security-president/

CHAMP ( Counter-Electronics High Power  Microwave Advanced Missile Project ) Boeings missile with  electromagnetic pulse capability

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/12/02/from-sci-fi-to-reality-the-computer-blitzing-drone-that-can-cripple-a-nations-electronics-at-the-touch-of-a-button/

Codeword – Currently Unkown

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/02/oops-its-another-biden-blunder-vice-president-unwittingly-reveals-cover-of-codeword-classified-document/

Swag Security – China’s hack group U.S. Medicaid system / Nuclear Codes ( Ironically also a Bank of America Code Word )

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/02/28/bank-of-america-alleged-key-word-list/

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/10/01/chinese-government-hacks-into-white-house-office-in-charge-of-the-nuclear-launch-codes/

Tailored Access Operations – NSA Special Targets

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/20/nsa-accessed-mexican-presidents-email/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/16/nsa-monitors-financial-world/

Flatliquid – Tap Diplomatic Communications

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/20/nsa-accessed-mexican-presidents-email/

Whitetamale – Mexico e-mails

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/20/nsa-accessed-mexican-presidents-email/

Lugar Research Center – U.S. Top Secret Biologics lab ( Republic of Georgia )

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/03/the-island-of-doctor-moreau-what-kind-of-monsters-does-us-raise-in-republic-of-georgia/

Special Collection Service – Secret eavesdropping posts in 80 US embassies and consulates around the world.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/08/26/codename-apalachee/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/20/nsa-accessed-mexican-presidents-email/

DishFire – Text message filtering / the intelligence agency collects information on credit card transactions from some 70 banks worldwide.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/20/nsa-accessed-mexican-presidents-email/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/16/nsa-monitors-financial-world/

Sophia – Industrial Control System Computer Networking Fingerprinting Tool ( Powergrid )

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/14/security-of-the-nations-power-grid-threatened-by-theft-company-says/

Visdom – Competing Industrial Control System Computer Networking Fingerprinting Tool ( Powergrid )

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/14/security-of-the-nations-power-grid-threatened-by-theft-company-says/

FunVax – Biological pacification of individuals through vaccination

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/08/08/commentary-on-the-video-fundamentalist-vaccine-penatgon-using-vaccines-to-alter-human-behavior-followed-by-ann-epidemiol-201020729-733-change-in-human-social-behavior-in-response-to-a-co/

Section 6103 – IRS abuse

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/09/white-house-irs-exchanged-confidential-taxpayer-info/

IceFog – Advanced Persistent Threats ( China ? )

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/06/the-threat-becomes-less-mysterious-and-more-scary-operation-icefog-apt-spearfishing-hidden-linx-aurora-red-october-darkseoul-shadow-network-sea/

Tel Shahar – Where the state-of-the-art facility to host the new ballistic-missile  defense system (  Arrow 3 ) in Israel – Accidentally disclosed by the Penatgon

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/06/04/us-discloses-israels-top-secret-military-base-outraging-tel-aviv/

Privacy & Civil Liberties Board (PCLOB) – Board set up to oversee domestic spying whose meetings and members are difficult to confirm and may not exist

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/06/21/mysterious-privacy-board-touted-by-obama-has-deep-government-ties-even-worse-may-all-be-a-lie/

Spearfishing – Emailed viruses

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/06/the-threat-becomes-less-mysterious-and-more-scary-operation-icefog-apt-spearfishing-hidden-linx-aurora-red-october-darkseoul-shadow-network-sea/

Hidden Lynx – Chinese Haking Group / Cyber-Mercenaries

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/29/hacking-firm-hints-at-cybercrimes-professional-elite-cyber-mercenaries-hidden-lynx%e2%80%af/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/06/the-threat-becomes-less-mysterious-and-more-scary-operation-icefog-apt-spearfishing-hidden-linx-aurora-red-october-darkseoul-shadow-network-sea/

Operation Aurora – General mass espionage

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/02/27/apt1-that-scary-cyber-cold-war-gang-not-even-chinas-best/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/06/the-threat-becomes-less-mysterious-and-more-scary-operation-icefog-apt-spearfishing-hidden-linx-aurora-red-october-darkseoul-shadow-network-sea/

NetTraveler – Espionage Programhttps://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/06/the-threat-becomes-less-mysterious-and-more-scary-operation-icefog-apt-spearfishing-hidden-linx-aurora-red-october-darkseoul-shadow-network-sea/

Red October  ( Rocra ) – Espionage campaign against military personnel in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and dozens of other nations (U.S., Australia, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, Brazil, Spain, South Africa, Japan, and the UAE.) . Features include an advanced cryptographic spy-module designed to lift data from Acid Cryptofiler, which is known to be used by NATO, the European Union, European Parliament and European Commission since the summer of 2011 to encrypt classified information.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/01/14/red-october-has-been-spying-on-world-leaders-for-5-years-researchers/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/06/the-threat-becomes-less-mysterious-and-more-scary-operation-icefog-apt-spearfishing-hidden-linx-aurora-red-october-darkseoul-shadow-network-sea/

DarkSeoul – Hacker Group (North Korean / China ? )

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/21/kimsuky-and-the-secret-menace/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/06/the-threat-becomes-less-mysterious-and-more-scary-operation-icefog-apt-spearfishing-hidden-linx-aurora-red-october-darkseoul-shadow-network-sea/

Shadow Network – Chinese Espionage Group

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/06/the-threat-becomes-less-mysterious-and-more-scary-operation-icefog-apt-spearfishing-hidden-linx-aurora-red-october-darkseoul-shadow-network-sea/

Team Cymru – Monitor Criminal Activty ( non profit )

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/29/hacking-firm-hints-at-cybercrimes-professional-elite-cyber-mercenaries-hidden-lynx%e2%80%af/

Follow the Money – Financial Intelligence division NSA

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/16/nsa-monitors-financial-world/

SWIFT – European Financial Network

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/16/nsa-monitors-financial-world/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/24/europe-furious-over-us-spying-allegations-worse-than-orwells-1984-emergency-meeting-called/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/24/nsa-monitored-calls-of-35-world-leaders-after-us-official-handed-over-contacts/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/06/30/europe-furious-over-nsa-spying-on-eu-facilities-the-us-he-added-once-the-land-of-the-free-is-suffering-from-a-security-syndrome/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/02/28/bank-of-america-alleged-key-word-list/

GHCQ Cheltenham – Processes Middle East  emails, telephone calls and web traffic

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/05/nsa-and-gchq-unlock-encryption-used-to-protect-emails-banking-and-medical-records-%e2%80%a2-250m-a-year-us-program-works-covertly-with-tech-companies-to-insert-weaknesses-into-products-%e2%80%a2-sec/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/08/22/exclusive-edward-snowden-leaks-reveal-uks-secret-middle-east-internet-surveillance-base/

XKeyscore – spying program is used to skim regional data from the Visa network

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/07/31/xkeyscore-nsa-tool-presentation/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/07/31/xkeyscore-nsa-tool-collects-nearly-everything-a-user-does-on-the-internet/

SOD ( Special Operations Division )- Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/08/05/secret-us-drug-agency-unit-passing-surveillance-information-to-authorities/

Total Information Awareness ( TIA ) – Pentagon intelligence gathering

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/05/05/are-all-telephone-calls-recorded-and-accessible-to-the-us-government/

ThinThread – Software correlated data from emails, phone calls, credit card payments and Internet searches and stored and mapped it in ways that could be analysed.

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/09/15/nsa-whistleblower-illegal-data-collection-a-violation-of-everybodys-constitutional-rights-the-story-of-thinthread/

TrailBlazzer – Relaced Thinthread Software to correlated data from emails, phone calls, credit card payments and Internet searches and stored and mapped it in ways that could be analysed.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/11/laptops-snowden-took-to-hong-kong-russia-were-a-diversion/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/02/28/bank-of-america-alleged-key-word-list/

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/09/15/nsa-whistleblower-illegal-data-collection-a-violation-of-everybodys-constitutional-rights-the-story-of-thinthread/

Going Dark -FBI initiative to extend its ability to wiretap virtually all forms of  electronic communications.

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/11/03/fbi-ordered-to-disclose-going-dark-surveillance-program-police-can-place-surveillance-cameras-on-private-property-without-a-search-warrant/

International Mobile Subscriber Identity locator  ( IMSI ) – These devices allows the government to electronically search large areas for a particular cell phone’s signal—sucking down data on potentially thousands of innocent people along the way.

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/10/26/stingrays-the-biggest-technological-threat-to-cell-phone-privacy-you-dont-know-about/

Stingrays – Another name for International Mobile Subscriber Identity locator

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/10/26/stingrays-the-biggest-technological-threat-to-cell-phone-privacy-you-dont-know-about/

Tripwire or Trapwire – information collection software OR lines in the sand which, if crossed, cover  personnel levels, security measures, and in this case, the extreme step of  suspending operations.

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/09/21/u-s-government-wreckless-use-of-trapwire-may-have-compromised-highly-senesitive-private-information-on-millions-of-citizens-to-corporations/

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/08/15/cities-use-surveillance-systems-that-identify-potential-terrorists-with-facial-recognition/

Voice Grid Nation ( VoiceGrid program ) – is a system that uses advanced algorithms to match identities to voices. Brought to the US by Russia’s Speech Technology Center, it claims to be capable of allowing police, federal agencies and other law enforcement personnel to build up a huge database containing up to several million voices.

https://engineeringevil.com/2012/09/22/speak-up-us-law-enforcement-to-use-russian-software-to-store-millions-of-voices/

Prism ( Discovered prior to Snowden ) – NSA direct access to the servers of nine prominent Internet companies, enabling the spy agency to track e-mails, photographs, and video, among other forms of digital communications .

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/06/06/by-the-numbers-the-nsas-super-secret-spy-program-prism/

Bullrun ( Edgehill GHCQ version ) –  NSA’s abilities to defeat the encryption used in specific network communication technologies. Bullrun involves multiple sources, all of which are extremely sensitive.” The document reveals that the agency has capabilities against widely used online protocols, such as HTTPS, voice-over-IP and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), used to protect online shopping and banking.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/05/nsa-and-gchq-unlock-encryption-used-to-protect-emails-banking-and-medical-records-%e2%80%a2-250m-a-year-us-program-works-covertly-with-tech-companies-to-insert-weaknesses-into-products-%e2%80%a2-sec/

Cheesy Name –  aimed at singling out encryption keys, known as ‘certificates’, that might be vulnerable to being cracked by GCHQ supercomputers.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/05/nsa-and-gchq-unlock-encryption-used-to-protect-emails-banking-and-medical-records-%e2%80%a2-250m-a-year-us-program-works-covertly-with-tech-companies-to-insert-weaknesses-into-products-%e2%80%a2-sec/

Humint Operations Team (HOT) Humint, short for “human intelligence –  Information gleaned directly from sources or undercover agents.The old fashion way.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/05/nsa-and-gchq-unlock-encryption-used-to-protect-emails-banking-and-medical-records-%e2%80%a2-250m-a-year-us-program-works-covertly-with-tech-companies-to-insert-weaknesses-into-products-%e2%80%a2-sec/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/02/28/bank-of-america-alleged-key-word-list/

Sigint [signals intelligence] enabling – The program “actively engages US and foreign IT industries to covertly influence and/or overtly leverage their commercial products’ designs”

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/05/nsa-and-gchq-unlock-encryption-used-to-protect-emails-banking-and-medical-records-%e2%80%a2-250m-a-year-us-program-works-covertly-with-tech-companies-to-insert-weaknesses-into-products-%e2%80%a2-sec/

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/06/17/obama-nsa-secret-data-gathering-transparent/

Kimsuky – North Korean Hacking group

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/21/kimsuky-and-the-secret-menace/

GENIE –  US computer specialists break into foreign networks so that they can be put under surreptitious US control.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/02/nsa-spied-on-brazilian-and-mexican-presidents-media/

WABASH – Tapping French offices U.N.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/02/nsa-targeted-french-foreign-ministry/

Blackfoot – Tapping French offices New York

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/09/02/nsa-targeted-french-foreign-ministry/

Tempora – GCHQ’s Tapping transatlantic  fibre-optic cables

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/10/16/british-spies-hid-activities-from-mps/

Sensitive relationship teams – Staff that were urged in one internal guidance paper to disguise the origin of “special source” material in their reports for fear that the role of the companies as intercept partners would cause “high-level political fallout”.

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/06/21/gchq-taps-fibre-optic-cables-for-secret-access-to-worlds-communications/

Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire – NSA intercept station

Atlas International Trading – Company in the Pentagon’s Foreign Materiel Acquisition and Exploitation program

Advanced Persistent Threat Groups – Nitro, Aurora, ElderWood, Sykipot, Comment Crew (APT1), NightDragon, FlowerLday, Luckycat, Pitty Panda.

Western Tradition Partnership, or WTP – Compromise U.S. Politicians – Dark Money

Obama.com – Major campaign bundler to the Obama campaign Shanghai based domain owned by Robert  Roche with strong  commercial ties to the  Chinese government. He has made 19 visits to the  White House since 2009, including a personal meeting with Obama.

Stuxnet , Duqu , Wiper, Flame – Tilded Platform malware used for cyberespionage and cybersabotage in the Middle East.

WildSage – NSA database. The system “provides a mechanism for cybersecurity centers to share signatures at the SECRET classification level

Port reader software – FBI desire to harvest information on users’ “dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information associated with a target’s communications”. And, as the FBI stated, this information will only include source, destination IP addresses and port numbers.

Dynamo – Dutch name in COMINT

Richter – German name in COMINT

One-End Foreign (1EF) solution – system, the NSA is able to direct more than half of the internet traffic it intercepts from its collection points into its own repositories

EvilOlive – NSA’s attempt to broaden 1EF Doubling its capacity

ShellTrumpet – NSA’s processor

MoonLightPath – Metadata collection for  Special Source Operations

Spinneret – Metadata collection for  Special Source Operations

Transient Thurible -GHCQ headquarters that manages  XKeyScore (XKS) and Deep Dive metadata collections

Project Riverside – found that rich individuals and private companies had been hiring unscrupulous private detectives to obtain sensitive information on targets for years.

QinetiQ North America (QQ/) – Hi-Tech U.S. defense contractors, which are the favorite target of Cyberpillaging

Acoustic vector sensor – sensor measures the movement of air, disturbed by sound waves, to almost instantly locate where a sound originated. It can then identify the noise and, if required, transmit it live to waiting ears.

Edward Snowden’s not a one-off: US.gov hunts new secret doc leaker

Poor old Julian Assange – whistleblower went straight to Glenn Greenwald

It appears former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is not the only leaker of secret US documents around, as the US government searches for another whistleblower in the aftermath of another leak of classified information.

CNN reports that leaked documents related to a terrorist watch list and published by The Intercept (a site founded by Snowden confidante journalist Glenn Greenwald) didn’t even exist before Snowden quit his job as a NSA contractor in Hawaii and high-tailed it from the US.

That means the former sysadmin couldn’t have siphoned off this particular piece of secret information and that some other unknown source must be behind the leak.

US authorities are said to be hunting the new whistleblower. Continue reading “Edward Snowden’s not a one-off: US.gov hunts new secret doc leaker”

Intelligence expert Schmidt-Eenboom: ‘It’s a huge scandal’

According to German media, an employee of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has been arrested on suspicion of spying for the United States. Intelligence expert Schmidt-Eenboom tells DW why this case is outrageous.

 

Intelligence expert Schmidt-Eenboom: ‘It’s a huge scandal’ | Germany | DW.DE | 05.07.2014

Erich Schmidt-Eenboom (photo: imago/Müller-Stauffenberg)

 

Erich Schmidt-Eenboom (photo: imago/Müller-Stauffenberg)

 

DW: A 31-year-old employee of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency is accused of having spied on behalf of the United States. Is that everyday business for secret services, or is it a huge scandal?

Erich Schmidt-Eenboom: It’s a huge scandal. We’re already in the situation that Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (BND) doesn’t regard American agents in Germany as hostile forces – they are allowed a lot in terms of espionage in Germany – but that a BND employee would be sent to spy on a constitutional body is an outrageous transgression of intelligence cooperation and its boundaries.

Should this suspicion prove to be true, what kind of consequences would that spell for German-US relations? Continue reading “Intelligence expert Schmidt-Eenboom: ‘It’s a huge scandal’”

NBC Censored Snowden responses during interview

Saturday, 31 May 2014

 

Only around a quarter of the recent NBC News interview with former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden made it to broadcast, but unaired excerpts now online show that the network “neglected” to air critical statements about the 2001 terrorist attacks.

 

When the four-hour sit-down between journalist Brian Williams and Snowden made it to air on Wednesday night, NBC condensed roughly four hours of conversation into a 60-minute time slot. During an analysis of the full interview afterwards, however, the network showed portions of the interview that didn’t make it into the primetime broadcast, including remarks from the former National Security Agency contractor in which he questioned the American intelligence community’s inability to stop the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Continue reading “NBC Censored Snowden responses during interview”

NSA spied on 122 World Leaders

Sunday 30 March 2014

English: Former NSA station on Teufelsberg. De...
Secret documents newly disclosed by the German newspaper Der Spiegel on Saturday shed more light on how aggressively the National Security Agency and its British counterpart have targeted Germany for surveillance.

A series of classified files from the archive provided to reporters by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, also seen by The Intercept, reveal that the NSA appears to have included Merkel in a surveillance database alongside more than 100 others foreign leaders. The documents also confirm for the first time that, in March 2013, the NSA obtained a top-secret court order against Germany as part of U.S. government efforts to monitor communications related to the country. Meanwhile, the British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters targeted three German companies in a clandestine operation that involved infiltrating the companies’ computer servers and eavesdropping on the communications of their staff. Continue reading “NSA spied on 122 World Leaders”

NSA ‘records all phone conversations’ in unnamed target country ( MYSTIC )

US agency records every phone conversation in unnamed target nation, according to exiled whistle-blower Edward Snowden and others

UPDATED : Thursday, 20 March, 2014, 4:23am
The Washington Post

_wr16_41460745.jpg

NSA taps ‘all calls’ in one country.

The US National Security Agency is recording every single phone call in one particular country, with the agency able to rewind and review conversations up to a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden. Continue reading “NSA ‘records all phone conversations’ in unnamed target country ( MYSTIC )”

NSA’s TURBINE robot pumps ‘malware into MILLIONS of PCs’

Sysadmins, routers, criminals’ IRC botnets, and maybe terrorists, all for the pwning

By Iain Thomson 12th March 2014 21:47 GMT

The latest batch of top-secret intelligence documents from the hoard collected by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden detail the massive increase in the agency’s use of its Tailored Access Operations (TAO) hacking unit – including a system dubbed TURBINE that can spam out millions of pieces of sophisticated malware at a time.

The presentation slides, published by The Intercept, show that 10 years ago the NSA had infiltrated and tapped a modest number of computers, but has since hugely bolstered its toolkit and increased its target list. Within eight years, the number of active pieces of implanted spyware was in the tens of thousands, and slides show an extensive arms catalog of malware for the TAO team to choose from. Continue reading “NSA’s TURBINE robot pumps ‘malware into MILLIONS of PCs’”

Yahoo webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ

• Optic Nerve program collected Yahoo webcam images in bulk • 1.8m users targeted by UK agency in six-month period alone • Yahoo: ‘A whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy’ • Material included large quantity of sexually explicit images

and  theguardian.com,              Thursday 27 February 2014 11.16 EST

Yahoo webcam image.

The GCHQ program saved one image every five minutes from the users’ feeds. Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.

GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.

In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.

Yahoo reacted furiously to the webcam interception when approached by the Guardian. The company denied any prior knowledge of the program, accusing the agencies of “a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy“. Continue reading “Yahoo webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ”

‘I always wonder if someone is listening’: NSA spied on American lawyers but sometimes got other governments to do the work for them

Snowden speaks: NSA spies create ‘databases of ruin’ on innocent folks

–  Firstly, the fear that everything is being recorded will change our personal behavior for the worse

– secondly that the data amounted to “databases of ruin”, storing embarrassing or harmful details can be plucked out in retroactive investigations.

Cray X-MP/24 (serial no. 115) used by NSA

‘Not all spying is bad’ but bulk collection has to go, says whistleblower in web chat

Ex-NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden used his first public Q&A to call for the US to lead a global initiative to ban mass

surveillance of populations. He also wants governments to ensure that intelligence agencies can protect national security while not invading everyday privacy.

“Not all spying is bad. The biggest problem we face right now is the new technique of indiscriminate mass surveillance, where governments are seizing billions and billions and billions of innocents’ communication every single day,” he said. Continue reading “Snowden speaks: NSA spies create ‘databases of ruin’ on innocent folks”

NSA statement does not deny ‘spying’ on members of Congress

– Senator Asked the Question ” about whether it “has spied, or is … currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials”

• Agency responds to questions from Senator Bernie Sanders

• Statement cites ‘same privacy protections as all US persons’

 in Washington and  in New York
theguardian.com, Saturday 4 January 2014 15.31 EST
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Photograph: Alison Redlich/AP

The National Security Agency on Saturday released a statement in answer to questions from a senator about whether it “has spied, or is … currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials”, in which it did not deny collecting communications from legislators of the US Congress to whom it says it is accountable. Continue reading “NSA statement does not deny ‘spying’ on members of Congress”

NSA Warns of Rogue System Administrators 1996 / Irony?

EEV: Thank you to Cryptome for bringing attention to this. .. I decided to post the first page of the FOIA release, just to display the declassification date. A few out there will recognize the Irony 😉

Out of Control

4 January 2014


A sends:

I was just searching through a list of declassified articles from the NSA’s     Cryptologic Quarterly in-house journal and came across this extraordinary     and prescient gem from a 1996 issue about the unfettered power possessed     by intelligence agency IT system administrators.

In the very first paragraph, the unidentified author warns of the consequences     of the intel IT process should a system administrator turn rogue or be exploited: Continue reading “NSA Warns of Rogue System Administrators 1996 / Irony?”

The Actual NSA’s Spy Catalog

EEV: As Promised, in no particular order. This information already has been fully compromised internationally, over the past few days.

EngineeringEvil EngineeringEvil Continue reading “The Actual NSA’s Spy Catalog”

How the NSA hacks PCs, phones, routers, hard disks ‘at speed of light’: Spy tech catalog leaks

 

– It’s not as bad as you thought – it’s much worse

By       Iain Thomson

31st December 2013 04:29 GMT

Analysis A leaked NSA cyber-arms catalog has shed light on the technologies US and UK spies use to infiltrate and remotely control PCs, routers, firewalls, phones and software from some of the biggest names in IT.

The exploits, often delivered via the web, provide clandestine backdoor access across networks, allowing the intelligence services to carry out man-in-the-middle attacks that conventional security software has no chance of stopping. Continue reading “How the NSA hacks PCs, phones, routers, hard disks ‘at speed of light’: Spy tech catalog leaks”

Not Socially Acceptable: NSA boss video ‘most hated’ on YouTube in 2013?

EEV: In all fairness to the NSA director, he is only an employee of the government. It is not appropriate he be the fall guy, unless he acted independently of his supervisors.

 Published time: January 01, 2014 10:32                                                                            

Director of the National Security Agency Gen. Keith Alexander.(AFP Photo / Alex Wong)Director of the National Security Agency Gen. Keith Alexander.(AFP Photo / Alex Wong)

A YouTube video in which NSA boss Keith Alexander tries “to set the record straight” on the agency’s spying antics has nosedived. The half-hour interview triggered a wave of criticism from users, branding it the “most hated” video on YouTube.

In the wake of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations on the  massive espionage programs of the NSA, the spy agency has been  hard pressed to defend its reputation. Since the security leaks  emerged in May, the NSA has embarked on a campaign to clear its  name. As part of the push, the US Defense Department published a  video on YouTube in October seeking to justify the agency’s spy  campaign.

However, the video had far from the desired effect and has been  branded as one of the “most hated” videos of the year.  Out of the 187,833 people who have viewed the video up until now  16,407 have hit the dislike button, compared to a mere 300 who   “liked” the video.

Thousands of commentators also laid into the video, accusing the  NSA of brazen propaganda.

“This NSA interview is the most-hated thing on YouTube right  now,” said Google+ user Andy Sweet.

“How fearful are the NSA that they’re resorting to releasing  propaganda on YouTube. I’m sure all of the upvotes are bots or  shills,” wrote Kevin Willock in the comments section.

Other YouTubers also rounded into Alexander’s claims that the NSA  is indispensable in the fight against terrorism and to ensure  national security.

“So you believe Angela Merkel is an insurgent and a dangerous  terrorist, Keith?” chided one YouTube user, referring the  reports the NSA tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal  phone.

Read More: http://rt.com/usa/nsa-unpopular-youtube-video-049/

NSA seizes full control of targeted iPhones via DROPOUTJEEP malware

Dec 30, 2013

                

The NSA developed in 2008 a software program for iPhones that can selectively and stealthily deliver data from iPhones to the NSA. The program is called DROPOUTJEEP. News of the malware is the latest to come out of the ongoing Snowden document media bonanza.

 

DROPOUTJEEP can read and retrieve SMS messages, contact lists, voice messages, and the iPhone’s location via GPS and cell phone towers. It can also remotely activate the microphone and the camera.

In short, DROPOUTJEEP can gain full covert “command and control” over any iPhone on which it is installed. Continue reading “NSA seizes full control of targeted iPhones via DROPOUTJEEP malware”

Shopping for Spy Gear / Catalog Advertises NSA Toolbox

By Jacob Appelbaum, Judith Horchert and Christian Stöcker

After years of speculation that electronics can be accessed by intelligence agencies through a back door, an internal NSA catalog reveals that such methods already exist for numerous end-user devices.

Editor’s note: This article accompanies our main feature story on the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations unit. You can read it here.

When it comes to modern firewalls for corporate computer networks, the world’s second largest network equipment manufacturer doesn’t skimp on praising its own work. According to Juniper Networks’ online PR copy, the company’s products are “ideal” for protecting large companies and computing centers from unwanted access from outside. They claim the performance of the company’s special computers is “unmatched” and their firewalls are the “best-in-class.” Despite these assurances, though, there is one attacker none of these products can fend off — the United States’ National Security Agency.

Specialists at the intelligence organization succeeded years ago in penetrating the company’s digital firewalls. A document viewed by SPIEGEL resembling a product catalog reveals that an NSA division called ANT has burrowed its way into nearly all the security architecture made by the major players in the industry — including American global market leader Cisco and its Chinese competitor Huawei, but also producers of mass-market goods, such as US computer-maker Dell. Continue reading “Shopping for Spy Gear / Catalog Advertises NSA Toolbox”

NSA mass collection of phone data is legal, federal judge rules

• Dragnet program deemed ‘controversial but lawful’

• Lawsuit brought by ACLU dismissed

NSA phone data collection deemed legal: full ruling

in Washington

theguardian.com,              Friday 27 December 2013 11.52 EST

Cell phone data records
Judge said the phone data-collection system could have helped investigators connect the dots before the 9/11 attacks. Photograph: Lucas Jackson /Reuters

A legal battle over the scope of US government surveillance took a turn in favour of the National Security Agency on Friday with a court opinion declaring that bulk collection of telephone data does not violate the constitution. Continue reading “NSA mass collection of phone data is legal, federal judge rules”

Phone companies might have to store snoop data instead of NSA, Obama says

 

 
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 December, 2013, 5:49am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 December, 2013, 5:49am
 

The Washington Post

 

 

  • a6914e4eb1131c5c5b81d397c190dca9.jpg       
US President Barack Obama winds up a press conference on possible NSA reforms. Photo: AFP
 

US President Barack Obama signalled that he might halt the National Security Agency’s collection and storage of millions of Americans’ phone records and instead require phone companies to hold the data.

Speaking at a White House news conference, Obama said he would have a “pretty definitive statement” on proposed NSA reforms next month. Continue reading “Phone companies might have to store snoop data instead of NSA, Obama says”

Major computer security firm RSA took $10 mln from NSA to weaken encryption – report

 

 Published time: December 20, 2013 23:48                                                                                                     

                
 
RSA SecureID electronic keys (Reuters / Michael Caronna)

RSA SecureID electronic keys (Reuters / Michael Caronna)

                            

The National Security Agency arranged a clandestine US$10 million contract with computer security power RSA that allowed the spy agency to embed encryption software it could use to infiltrate the company’s widely used products, Reuters reported. Continue reading “Major computer security firm RSA took $10 mln from NSA to weaken encryption – report”

$1,000 BOUNTY offered for FINGERPRINTS of a GLOBAL SPY CHIEF

 

Privacy campaigner: NSA, GCHQ, NZSIS* – take your pick

By       John Leyden

Posted in Security, 18th December 2013 14:31 GMT

Privacy campaigner Simon Davies is offering a $1,000 bounty for the capture of the DNA and fingerprints of spy chiefs.

The 21st century treasure hunt offers a $1,000 cash windfall for anyone who supplies the Privacy Surgeon site run by Davies with an item – such as a drinking glass – with the DNA and fingerprints of any senior intelligence official of the “Five Eyes” alliance of spy agencies (made up from the NSA and Britain’s GCHQ as well as the signals intelligence agencies of Australia, Canada and New Zealand). Continue reading “$1,000 BOUNTY offered for FINGERPRINTS of a GLOBAL SPY CHIEF”

Snowden latest: NSA stalks the human race using Google, ad cookies

Every single day, every word you say, every game you play, they’ll be watching you

 

Every single day, every word you say, every game you play, they’ll be watching you

By   Iain Thomson

Posted in Security,    12th December 2013 19:40 GMT

The already strained relationship between Google and the NSA has got a little bit worse, after claims in the latest Snowden leak that intelligence agencies are using the Chocolate Factory’s cookies to track targets.

Documents seen by the Washington Post show that the NSA and the British snoops at GCHQ have found a way to piggyback on a Google tracking cookie dubbed PREFID. This doesn’t contain personal data, but does contain an identifier unique to each browser, so by subverting the Google code a particular user can be easily identified in a large data dump.

You just don’t pick up PREFID cookies if you’re a Gmail or Google+ user, they’re included in everything from simple search requests to websites that have a link to Mountain View’s mapping of social networking system. As such, most internet users will have one somewhere.

Once a particular browser is identified, the Google cookies can then be used for “remote exploitation” the documents state, presumably anything from monitoring usage to complete pwnage. It can also be used for “on the ground survey options,” and used to brief the FBI for domestic action.

The latest trove from ex-NSA-contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden also shows details of a location-tracking system implemented by the intelligence agencies (and presumably their Canadian, Australian and New Zealand counterparts) called HAPPYFOOT – say what you like about the coders, at least they have a gift for naming this stuff. That effort also uses advertising networks’ cookies to track the location of users.

HAPPYFOOT monitors location data sent back by mobile apps to provide localized content. GPS doesn’t need to be on for this kind of data – the phone user’s location can be triangulated pretty accurately based on cell tower and Wi-Fi locations, particularly in urban environments. As seen in last week’s FTC settlement, this location data doesn’t always need user approval to activate.

In both cases, intelligence agencies can use data from the Department of Defense’s National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, for target tracking. According to Snowden’s data the agency has an annual budget of $4.9bn to collect and analyze satellite and photo imagery from around the world.

“As we’ve said before, NSA, within its lawful mission to collect foreign intelligence to protect the United States, uses intelligence tools to understand the intent of foreign adversaries and prevent them from bringing harm to innocent Americans,” said the NSA in a statement.

Privacy experts have long been nervous about the ability of cookies to track internet users. While there are beneficial uses of cookies, besides being vital to the online advertising market, the ability to store arbitrary data in a browser is seen as a fundamental flaw in protecting privacy on the web.

It’s a measure of success that the “do not track” movement against cookies is now supported by almost all the major browser manufacturers and is often the default setting – something that is infuriating the advertising industry. It would seem, from these latest documents, that the NSA would like tracking to continue as well.

“These revelations make it ever clearer that we need to fight back against non-consensual tracking of web users, by deploying and adopting technology that allows users to block online tracking,” said privacy campaigners at the EFF in a statement.

“In the past we’ve been concerned about the profiles that web companies could build up about users without their knowledge or consent. Now we’ve seen that this tracking technology is also being hijacked for government surveillance of Internet users.” ®

Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/12/snowden_latest_nsa_using_google_cookies_to_id_internet_users/

Spy agencies infiltrate gaming world

Xbox Live among game services targeted by US and UK spy agencies

NSA and GCHQ collect gamers’ chats and deploy real-life agents into World of Warcraft and Second Life
Read the NSA document: Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments

James Ball

The Guardian,  Monday 9 December 2013 18.26 EST

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft: the NSA described games communities as a ‘target-rich network’ where potential terrorists could ‘hide in plain sight’.

To the National Security Agency analyst writing a briefing to his superiors, the situation was clear:  their current surveillance efforts were lacking something. The agency’s impressive arsenal of cable taps and sophisticated hacking attacks was not enough. What it really needed was a horde of undercover Orcs.

That vision of spycraft sparked a concerted drive by the NSA and its UK sister agency GCHQ to infiltrate the massive communities playing online games, according to  secret documents disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The files were obtained by the Guardian and are being published on Monday in partnership with the New York Times and ProPublica.

Continue reading “Spy agencies infiltrate gaming world”

NSA Claims Call Spying Reports Are False

1 November 2013


Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2013 08:13:57 +0100     Subject: update     From: <xxxxx[at]gmail.com>     To: Cryptome <cryptome[at]earthlink.net>

In a letter to Dutch Parliament of October 31st [0], the Dutch Minister of  the Interior and Kingdom Relations (Ronald Plasterk) disclosed the text of  an unclassified letter he claims to have received from the NSA:

      “statement on articles in European press alleging large numbers of phone call metadata collected by NSA in France, Spain, Italy   The assertions by reporters in France (Le Monde), Spain (El Mundo) and Italy  (L’Espresso) that NSA collected 10s of millions of phone calls are  completely false. They cite as evidence screen shots of the results of a  web tool used for data management purposes, but both they and the Continue reading “NSA Claims Call Spying Reports Are False”

NSA collects data revealing location of five billion mobile phones every day

The records allow US intelligence agents to establish not just the movements of individuals but to monitor who else they communicate with

Lewis Smith

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Almost five billion records revealing the location of mobile phones around the world are collected by the US National Security Agency every day.

Data collected by the NSA provides the US with the ability to pinpoint hundreds of millions of phones and their users daily, it was reported.

Continue reading “NSA collects data revealing location of five billion mobile phones every day”

Top secret document reveals NSA spies on porn habits of suspected terrorists in bid to discredit them

  • Document  was revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden
  • It shows  agency spied on suspected radicalizers to  harm their reputations
  • Civil liberties  campaigners have voiced concerns about the revelations
  • One says:  ‘NSA surveillance activities are  anything but narrowly focused’

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 04:50 EST, 27  November 2013 |  UPDATED: 05:58 EST, 27 November 2013

National Security Agency spies have been  tracking the online sexual activity of suspected terrorists in a bid to expose  them as hypocrites, it emerged today.

A top secret document revealed by NSA  whistleblower Edward Snowden shows the agency monitored suspected  radicalizers in a bid to harm their  reputations.

Six  targets, all Muslims, are identified as  ‘exemplars’ of how electronic  surveillance can be used to find ‘personal vulnerabilities’ to discredit  them.

The document revealed by Edward Snowdon says evidence of 'viewing sexually explicit material online' could call into question a radicaliser's devotion to the jihadist cause 

The document revealed by Edward Snowdon says evidence of  ‘viewing sexually explicit material online’ could call into question a  radicaliser’s devotion to the jihadist cause

 

The document says none of the six individuals targeted by the NSA is accused of being involved in terror plots and all are believed to currently reside outside the U.S. 

The document says none of the six individuals targeted  by the NSA is accused of being involved in terror plots and all are believed to  currently reside outside the U.S.

Continue reading “Top secret document reveals NSA spies on porn habits of suspected terrorists in bid to discredit them”

NSA’s goal to continually expand surveillance abilities “anyone, anytime, anywhere.”

Latest Snowden leak reveals NSA’s goal to continually expand surveillance abilities

 Published time: November 23, 2013 04:05                                                                            

The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)

In a mission statement last year the US National Security Agency described how it would continue to expand its power and assert itself as the global leader in clandestine surveillance, according to a new report based on the Edward Snowden leaks.

The five-page document brought to light Friday by the New York  Times reveals the intelligence agency’s intention to   “aggressively pursue legal authorities and a policy framework  mapped more fully to the information age.” The spy agency sought  the ability to trace “anyone, anywhere, anytime,” according to  its 2012 mission statement.

Dated February 2012, the memo was written after PRISM and many of  the other programs that have since outraged the public were  implemented. It describes a four-year plan to push the NSA past  its current status and into “the golden age of SIGINT,”   code for signals intelligence.

The interpretation and guidelines for applying our  authorities, and in some cases the authorities themselves, have  not kept pace with the complexity of the technology and target  environments, or the operational expectations levied on NSA’s  mission.”

Continue reading “NSA’s goal to continually expand surveillance abilities “anyone, anytime, anywhere.””

US and UK struck secret deal to allow NSA to ‘unmask’ Britons’ personal data

• 2007 deal allows NSA to store previously restricted material • UK citizens not suspected of wrongdoing caught up in dragnet • Separate draft memo proposes US spying on ‘Five-Eyes’ allies
 

James Ball

theguardian.com,              Wednesday 20 November 2013 14.00 EST                

 
nsatear900 

The memo explains that the US and UK ‘worked together to come up with a new policy that expands the use of incidentally collected unminimized UK data.’

The phone, internet and email records of UK citizens not suspected of any wrongdoing have been analysed and stored by America’s National Security Agency under a secret deal that was approved by British intelligence officials, according to documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Continue reading “US and UK struck secret deal to allow NSA to ‘unmask’ Britons’ personal data”

Fisa court documents reveal extent of NSA disregard for privacy restrictions

Incensed Fisa court judges questioned NSA’s truthfulness after repeated breaches of rules meant to protect Americans’ privacy
NSA HQ at Fort Meade, Maryland
Fisa court judge John Bates found that the NSA engaged in ‘systemic overcollection’. Photograph: Paul J Richards/AFP

Newly declassified court documents indicate that the National Security Agency shared its trove of American bulk email and internet data with other government agencies in violation of specific court-ordered procedures to protect Americans’ privacy.

The dissemination of the sensitive data transgressed both the NSA’s affirmations to the secret surveillance court about the extent of the access it provided, and prompted incensed Fisa court judges to question both the NSA’s truthfulness and the value of the now-cancelled program to counter-terrorism.

While the NSA over the past several months has portrayed its previous violations of Fisa court orders as “technical” violations or inadvertent errors, the oversharing of internet data is described in the documents as apparent widespread and unexplained procedural violations.

“NSA’s record of compliance with these rules has been poor,” wrote judge John Bates in an opinion released on Monday night in which the date is redacted.

Continue reading “Fisa court documents reveal extent of NSA disregard for privacy restrictions”

GCHQ spoofed LinkedIn site to target global mobile traffic exchange and OPEC – report

Published time: November 11, 2013 00:23    Edited time: November 11, 2013 01:05                                                                            

Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ's outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England (Reuters/Kieran Doherty)Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ’s outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England (Reuters/Kieran Doherty)

The UK’s electronic spying agency has been using spoof version of LinkedIn professional social network’s website to target global roaming data exchange companies as well as top management employees in the OPEC oil cartel, according to Der Spiegel report.

The Government Communications Headquarters has implemented a  technique known as Quantum Insert, placing its servers in  strategic spots where they could intercept and redirect target  traffic to a fake website faster than the legitimate service  could respond.

A similar technique was used earlier this year to inject malware  into the systems of BICS, a subsidiary of Belgian state-owned  telecommunications company Belgacom, which is another major GRX  provider.

In the Belgacom scandal first it was unclear where the attacks were coming from. Then  documents from Snowden’s collection revealed that the surveillance attack probably  emanated from the British GCHQ – and that British intelligence  had palmed off spyware on several Belgacom employees.

      The Global Roaming Exchange (GRX) is a service which allows      mobile data providers to exchange roaming traffic of their      user with other providers. There are only a few dozen      companies providing such services globally.

Now it turns out the GCHQ was also targeting networking,  maintenance and security personnel of another two companies,  Comfone and Mach, according to new leaks published in the German  magazine by Laura Poitras, one of few journalists believed to have  access to all documents stolen by Snowden from the NSA.

Through Quantum Insert method, GCHQ has managed to infiltrate the  systems of targeted Mach employees and successfully procured  detailed knowledge of the company’s communications  infrastructure, business, and personal information of several  important figures.

A spokesman for ‘Starhome Mach’, a Mach-successor company, said  it would launch “a comprehensive safety inspection with  immediate effect.”

 

LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP) LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP)

 

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries was yet another  target of the Quantum Insert attack, according to the report.  According to a leaked document, it was in 2010 that GCHQ managed  to infiltrate the computers of nine OPEC employees. The spying  agency reportedly succeeded in penetrating the operating space of  the OPEC Secretary-General and also managed to spy the on Saudi  Arabian OPEC governor, the report suggests.

LinkedIn is currently the largest network for creating and  maintaining business contacts. According to its own data the  company has nearly 260 million registered users in more than 200  countries. When contacted by The Independent, a LinkedIn  spokesman said that the company was “never told about this  alleged activity” and it would “never approve of it,  irrespective of what purpose it was used for.”

According to a cryptographer and security expert Bruce Schneier,  Quantum Insert attacks are hard for anyone except the NSA to execute,  because for that one would need to “to have a privileged  position on the Internet backbone.”

The latest details of GCHQ’s partnership with the NSA were  revealed just last week, after the reports emerged that GCHQ was  feeding the NSA with the internal information intercepted from Google and Yahoo’s private  networks.

The UK intelligence leaders have recently been questioned by British lawmakers about their  agencies’ close ties and cooperation with the NSA.

The head of GCHQ, Sir Ian Lobban, lashed out at the global media for the coverage of  Edward Snowden’s leaks, claiming it has made it “far  harder” for years to come to search for “needles and  fragments of needles” in “an enormous hay field” of  the Internet.

However, the intelligence chiefs failed to address public fears  that Britain’s intelligence agencies are unaccountable and are  operating outside the law.

http://rt.com/news/gchq-spying-mobile-traffic-linkedin-510/

 

Terrorists and Criminals may now exploit all the vunerabilities the NSA and GCHQ had built into our systems

 

Berners-Lee: ‘Appalling and foolish’ NSA spying HELPS CRIMINALS

Crooks rush in where spies boldly tread, says internet godhead

By Jasper Hamill

Posted in Security,  7th November 2013 14:58 GMT

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, granddaddy of the internet, has attacked the NSA and GCHQ for their “appalling and foolish” cracking of online encryption.

He warned that spooks’ attempts to break encryption standards played into the hands of cyber-criminals and rival states, saying spies were “naive” to think their own techniques would not be used against them.

“It’s naïve to imagine that if you introduce a weakness into a system you will be the only one to use it,” said Berners-Lee, adding: “I’m very sympathetic to attempts to increase security against organised crime, but you have to distinguish yourself from the criminal.”

In an interview with the Guardian, the father of the internet called for a “full and frank public debate” on digital surveillance.

His comments came ahead of an unprecedented inquiry into surveillance, which will see chief spooks grilled in full public view this afternoon.

“Whistleblowers, and responsible media outlets that work with them, play an important role in society,” Sir Tim said. “We need powerful agencies to combat criminal activity online – but any powerful agency needs checks and balances and, based on recent revelations, it seems the current system of checks and balances has failed.”

The coverage of the Edward Snowden leaks “has been in the public interest and has uncovered many important issues which now need a full and frank public debate”, he continued.

The heads of MI6, MI5 and GCHQ will be interview on live TV today for the first time. Starting at 2pm, Sir John Sawers, MI6 chief, Sir Iain Lobban, director of GCHQ, and Andrew Parker, director general of MI5, will appear in front of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).

According to a statement on the ISC website, a slight delay (reportedly of two minutes) would be used on the video feed, just in case the spooks let something controversial slip out.

“The session will give an insight into the world of intelligence and the work the agencies do on behalf of the UK,” the ISC said. “It represents a very significant step forward in terms of the openness and transparency of the agencies. The Committee will question the agency heads on the work of the agencies, their current priorities and the threats to the UK. Among other things it will cover the terrorist threat, regional instability and weapons proliferation, cyber security and espionage.”

“However,” continued the ISC, “since this is a public session, it will not cover details of intelligence capabilities or techniques, ongoing operations or sub judice matters.”

Edward Snowden sparked the surveillance scandal after revealing the existence of an NSA spying scheme called PRISM and a comparable British one called TEMPORA, operated by GCHQ.

A group of 28 Tory MPs have written to the Guardian to protest against its continued publication of Snowden’s revelations. The letter said publishing the secret material “runs the risk of compromising the vital work of the institutions, processes and people who protect the safety of this country”. ®

Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/07/berners_lee_criminal_nsa_gchq_prism_tempora_spying/

 

Snowden document reveals key role of companies in NSA data collection

ScreenHunter_97 Nov. 02 10.15

NSA leverages relationships with commercial partners to collect vast quantities of data from fibre-optic cables, file shows

Tapping fibre-optic cables – see the NSA slide

NSA HQ at Fort Meade, Maryland

Yahoo, Microsoft and Google deny they co-operate voluntarily with the intelligence agencies. Photograph: Paul J Richards/AFP

The key role private companies play in National Security Agency surveillance programs is detailed in a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden and published for the first time on Friday.

One slide in the undated PowerPoint presentation, published as part of the Guardian’s NSA Files: Decoded project, illustrates the number of intelligence reports being generated from data collected from the companies.

In the five weeks from June 5 2010, the period covered by the document, data from Yahoo generated by far the most reports, followed by Microsoft and then Google.

Between them, the three companies accounted for more than 2,000 reports in that period – all but a tiny fraction of the total produced under one of the NSA‘s main foreign intelligence authorities, the Fisa Amendents Act (FAA).

It is unclear how the information in the NSA slide relates to the companies’ own transparency reports, which document the number of requests for information received from authorities around the world.

Yahoo, Microsoft and Google deny they co-operate voluntarily with the intelligence agencies, and say they hand over data only after being forced to do so when served with warrants. The NSA told the Guardian that the companies’ co-operation was “legally compelled”.

But this week the Washington Post reported that the NSA and its UK equivalent GCHQ has been secretly intercepting the main communication links carrying Google and Yahoo users’ data around the world, and could collect information “at will” from among hundreds of millions of user accounts.

The NSA’s ability to collect vast quantities of data from the fibre-optic cables relies on relationships with the companies, the document published on Friday shows.

The presentation, titled “Corporate Partner Access” was prepared by the agency’s Special Source Operations division, which is responsible for running those programs.

In an opening section that deals primarily with the telecom companies, the SSO baldly sets out its mission: “Leverage unique key corporate partnerships to gain access to high-capacity international fiber-optic cables, switches and/or routes throughout the world.”

The NSA is helped by the fact that much of the world’s communications traffic passes through the US or its close ally the UK – what the agencies refer to as “home-field advantage”.

The new revelations come at a time of increasing strain in relations between the intelligence community and the private sector. Google and Yahoo reacted angrily on Wednesday to the Washington Post’s report on the interception of their data.

The Guardian approached all three companies for comment on the latest document.

“This points out once again the need for greater transparency,” a Google spokesman said.

He referred to a letter the company and other Silicon Valley giants sent to the Senate judiciary committee on Thursday. “The volume and complexity of the information that has been disclosed in recent months has created significant confusion here and around the world, making it more difficult to identify appropriate policy prescriptions,” the letter said.

A Microsoft spokesperson said: “We are deeply disturbed by these allegations, and if true they represent a significant breach of trust by the US and UK governments. It is clear that there need to be serious reforms to better protect customer privacy.”

Yahoo had not responded by the time of publication.

The companies are also fighting through the courts to be allowed to release more detailed figures for the number of data requests they handle from US intelligence agencies. Along with AOL, Apple and Facebook, they wrote to the Senate judiciary committee this week calling for greater transparency and “substantial” reform of the NSA.

Google, the first to publish a transparency report, has reported US authorities’ requests for user data increased by 85% between 2010 and 2012 (from 8,888 in 2010 to 16,407 in 2012). But the vast majority of those are requests from local law enforcement looking for information about potential drug traffickers, fraudsters and other domestic criminal activity.

Legally compelled NSA request relating to foreign terrorist targets, which none of the firms are allowed to disclose, are thought to represent a tiny fraction of the overall figure.

While the internet companies are listed by name in the NSA document, the telecoms companies are hidden behind covernames.

The names of these “corporate partners” are so sensitive that they are classified as “ECI” – Exceptionally Controlled Information – a higher classification level than the Snowden documents cover. Artifice, Lithium and Serenade are listed in other documents as covernames for SSO corporate partners, while Steelknight is described as an NSA partner facility.

In a statement defending its surveillance programs, the NSA said: “What NSA does is collect the communications of targets of foreign intelligence value, irrespective of the provider that carries them. US service provider communications make use of the same information superhighways as a variety of other commercial service providers.

“NSA must understand and take that into account in order to eliminate information that is not related to foreign intelligence.

“NSA works with a number of partners and allies in meeting its foreign-intelligence mission goals, and in every case those operations comply with US law and with the applicable laws under which those partners and allies operate.”

UPDATE: Microsoft issued a further statement after publication of the Guardian’s story. A spokesperson said: “Microsoft only discloses customer data when served with valid legal orders and in June we published a complete view of the volume of orders we received from the US government.

“But it is clear that much more transparency is needed to help the companies and their customers understand these issues.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/01/nsa-data-collection-tech-firms

NSA chief Keith Alexander blames diplomats for surveillance requests

EEV: And what former General was having a relationship with a Romanian Diplomat?

 

https://engineeringevil.com/2013/08/03/you-were-my-greatest-love-of-my-life-deeply-personal-emails-sent-between-colin-powell-and-a-blonde-romanian-diplomat-revealed-by-hacker-but-he-denies-having-an-affair/

 

Barbed exchange with former ambassador over spying on foreign leaders likely to deepen rift with Obama administration

  • Paul Lewis in Baltimore
  • theguardian.com,              Thursday 31 October 2013 22.16 EDT
Keith Alexander.
Keith Alexander: pointed exchange. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The director of the National Security Agency has blamed US diplomats for requests to place foreign leaders under surveillance, in a surprising intervention that risks a confrontation with the State Department.

General Keith Alexander made the remarks during a pointed exchange with a former US ambassador to Romania, lending more evidence to suggestions of a rift over surveillance between the intelligence community and Barack Obama’s administration.

The NSA chief was challenged by James Carew Rosapepe, who served as an ambassador under the Clinton administration, over the monitoring of the German chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.

Rosapepe, now a Democratic state senator in Maryland, pressed Alexander to give “a national security justification” for the agency’s use of surveillance tools intended for combating terrorism against “democratically elected leaders and private businesses”.

“We all joke that everyone is spying on everyone,” he said. “But that is not a national security justification.”

Alexander replied: “That is a great question, in fact as an ambassador you have part of the answer. Because we the intelligence agencies don’t come up with the requirements. The policymakers come up with the requirements.”

He went on: “One of those groups would have been, let me think, hold on, oh: ambassadors.”

Alexander said the NSA collected information when it was asked by policy officials to discover the “leadership intentions” of foreign countries. “If you want to know leadership intentions, these are the issues,” the NSA director said.

The exchange on Thursday night drew laughs from the audience at the Baltimore Council on Foreign Relations, but did not seem to impress the former ambassador, who replied: “We generally don’t do that in democratic societies.”

It also risked deepening the division between the Obama administration and the intelligence community, which have been briefing against one another throughout the week.

Alexander had previously insinuated that targets of surveillance emerged from elsewhere in the administration, but this is the first time he is known to have publicly singled out US diplomats.

Just hours earlier, secretary of state John Kerry appeared to lay the blame at the door of the NSA, when he said certain practices had occurred “on autopilot” without the knowledge of senior officials in the Obama administration.

Alexander was asked by the Guardian how he thought Merkel, who grew up in East Germany when the Stasi secret service was operating, might have felt when she discovered her phone had been monitored by the NSA. “I don’t know, I don’t know the answer,” he said. “You know, I would say ‘alleged’.”

Asked why he would say “alleged”, given he presumably knows the monitoring occurred, Alexander said: “I say alleged because there are no facts … that are on the table.”

But Alexander also opened the door to the US halting surveillance of foreign leaders, hinting that it might be in the best interests of the US to suspend some surveillance programs to guarantee support to combat terrorism.

“I think those partnerships have greater value than some of the collection,” he said. “And we ought to look at it like that.”

Alexander, who is soon stepping down from the NSA, spoke after an eight-day period in which his agency has faced a growing chorus of criticism over its activities, particularly in relation to allied nations such as Germany.

The NSA may also lose its ability to gather domestic phone data – a program Alexander has previously sought to guard.

In his speech in Baltimore, Alexander adopted a slightly different tone, suggesting he was “not wedded” to the program if a better alternative could be found.

Competing legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate this week to reform the NSA and the secret surveillance court that is supposed to hold it to account. One bill, which has growing support on Capitol Hill, would effectively end the routine collection of phone records data.

“I am not wedded to these programs,” Alexander said in his opening remarks. “If we can come up with a better way of doing them, we should. Period.” Speaking specifically about the collection of phone records, he compared administering the program to holding a “hornets’ nest”.

“We’re holding this hornets’ nest for the good of the nation. We would love to put it down, we would like to cast it aside, but if we do it is our fear that there will be a gap – and the potential for another 9/11 – and we would not have done our duty. So our duty would be: find another way.”

The reference to the September 11, 2001, attacks was consistent with previous remarks. On Wednesday, al-Jazeera published a master list of NSA “talking points”, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Under the subheading “Sound Bites That Resonate”, the memo encourages references to 9/11 as justification for its mass surveillance.

“You know, every one of us remembers 9/11,” Alexander told the audience in Baltimore. “You remember where you were, what was going on, what happened when the first plane hit, what was going on when the second plane hit – it changed our lives.”

Alexander recalled firefighters killed trying help victims of the attack, and invoked the image of a fireman, during 9/11, “handing the flag” to the military and intelligence community. “We, the military and intelligence community, said ‘we’ve got it from here’,” he said. “That is etched on our hearts and our minds forever.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/01/nsa-keith-alexander-blames-diplomats-surveillance-foreign-leaders

 

U.S.A. Warns ‘Homeland Stupidity’ Parodist / “The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens.”

 

By ELIZABETH WARMERDAM

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BALTIMORE (CN) – The Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency threatened to sue a novelty store owner who sells “Department of Homeland Stupidity” coffee cups and T-shirts with the slogan: “The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens.”

In response, Dan McCall sued the NSA and DHS on constitutional grounds, in Federal Court.

McCall operates the website LibertyManiacs.com. He has (nonparty) Zazzle.com -which prints images provided by customers onto products – print his images onto the items he sells.

McCall has a “virtual storefront” on the Zazzle website, and his own website redirects traffic to Zazzle “so that people wishing to express their own opinions by purchasing and displaying these items may easily do so,” McCall says in the complaint.

But in 2011, the DHS and NSA sent a cease-and-desist order to Zazzle, claiming that McCall’s parody images violated laws against the use, mutilation, alteration or impersonation of government seals.

Both agencies threatened to take legal action against Zazzle if it did not remove the offending products from its website, McCall says in his lawsuit.

“In response to the threatening communications from NSA and DHS raising intellectual property claims, Zazzle removed the NSA Spying Parody, the NSA Listens Parody, and the Homeland Stupidity Parody from McCall’s Zazzle store,” McCall says in the complaint.

McCall still displays the items on his own website, next to the words: “Get the T-shirts the NSA & DHS Don’t Want You to Wear!”

The products are no longer available through Zazzle, but are still being sold through CafePress, another online store, according to McCall’s libertymaniacs.com site.

McCall says he has been selling his parody items for years. One of his designs bears the NSA’s official seal with the words “Spying on You Since 1952” below it.

Another modifies the NSA logo to state: “Peeping While You’re Sleeping,” with the slogan: “The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens.”

A third design replaces the name of the DHS in its altered official seal with the name “Department of Homeland Stupidity.”

In his 8-page lawsuit, McCall claims that his “use of images of the NSA and DHS seals, whether unaltered but in combination with critical text, or altered in parodic form, did not create any likelihood of confusion about the source or sponsorship of the materials on which they were available to be printed. No reasonable viewer is likely to believe that any of the materials is affiliated with or sponsored by defendants. Nor were the seals affixed to the items to be sold with any fraudulent intent.”

McCall claims his images make fair use of the NSA and DHS seals “to identify federal government agencies as the subject of criticism,” and are protected by the First Amendment.

And he claims it’s unconstitutional for the government to forbid him from displaying and selling his parodies to “customers who want to display the items to express their own criticisms of NSA and DHS.”

He seeks declaratory judgment.

He is represented by Paul Alan Levy with the Public Citizen Litigation Group.

The NSA and DHS did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Presumably, however, the NSA has the requests on record.

 

http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/10/30/62481.htm

Did the NSA even spy on the POPE? U.S. spies accused of intercepting phone calls during conclave as he was elected head of Catholic church

  • US security services ‘targeted Francis in  run up to and during conclave’
  • Claims NSA intercepted phone calls made  to and from priests’ residence
  • Other leading bishops and cardinals ‘also  being monitored by US spies’

By  Hannah Roberts

PUBLISHED: 14:58 EST, 30  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 17:42 EST, 30 October 2013

The US spied on both Popes Francis and  Benedict, it was claimed today.

American security services reportedly  targeted Francis in the run up to and during the conclave at which he was  elected head of the world’s 1.2billion Catholics.

As the cardinals gathered in Rome to choose  their leader in a secret ballot, it was said the National Security Agency  intercepted phone calls made to and from the priests’ residence occupied by the  then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Maria Bergoglio.

Claims: American security services reportedly targeted Pope Francis (centre) in the run up to and during the conclave at which he was elected head of the world's 1.2billion Catholics 

Claims: American security services reportedly targeted  Pope Francis (centre) in the run up to and during the conclave at which he was  elected head of the world’s 1.2billion Catholics

 

Other leading bishops and cardinals were also  being monitored by US spies, weekly current affairs magazine Panorama claimed.

‘It is feared that the great ear of the  United States may have continued to intercept the conversations of prelates  until the end of the conclave, March 12, 2013,’ the magazine said.

Archbishop Bergoglio had been a person of  interest to the CIA since 2005, it claimed.

The latest revelations follow allegations by  American website Crytome that the US monitored 46million Italian telephone calls  last year.

Calls by former Pope Benedict, who resigned  in February this year, may have been among them – as voice traffic to and from  the Vatican was also intercepted, Panorama said.

Intercepted? Calls by former Pope Benedict, who resigned in February this year, may have been among monitored voice traffic, Panorama said 

Intercepted? Calls by former Pope Benedict, who resigned  in February this year, may have been among monitored voice traffic, Panorama  said

 

Conversations relating to the selection of  new President of the Vatican Bank were also said to have monitored.

US spies divided information from Vatican  targets into categories including Leadership intentions, Threats to financial  system, Foreign Policy Objectives and Human Rights, the magazine  claimed.

A secret-service cell made up of NSA and CIA  operatives continues to work out of the US embassy in Rome, the news weekly  said, citing 2010 documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward  Snowden.

As well as analysing voice and data traffic  from tapped mobile phones, the operatives follow money trails through contacts  who are database administrators, bankers and engineers with access to  high-security sites, it was reported.

The NSA has denied the  allegations.

‘The National Security Agency does not target  the Vatican. Assertions that NSA has targeted the Vatican, published in Italy’s  Panorama magazine, are not true,’ agency spokeswoman Vanee Vines said in a  statement.

The Holy See said it had no knowledge of any  such activity.

Asked to comment on the report, Vatican  spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said: ‘We are not aware of anything on this  issue and in any case we have no concerns about it.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2480484/Did-NSA-spy-POPE-U-S-spies-accused-intercepting-phone-calls.html#ixzz2jGblYJBL Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

NSA ‘broke into Yahoo and Google data centers to obtain millions of records every day’… and leaked doodle shows how spy agency did it with a smiley face

  • The Washington Post cites documents  leaked by Edward Snowden
  • In 30 days, the NSA gleaned 180 million  new records including text, audio and video – and who sent it to whom and when  they sent it
  • NSA: Claims that we collect data this way  are not true

By  Associated Press and Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 12:53 EST, 30  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 14:16 EST, 30 October 2013

The National Security Agency has secretly  broken into the Yahoo and Google data centers around the world to steal hundreds  of millions of records, it was reported today.

Every day, the NSA sends millions of records  from Yahoo and Google internal networks to data warehouses at the  agency’s Fort  Meade, Maryland headquarters, the Washington Post reported, citing documents  leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The documents include a slide from an agency  presentation  entitled ‘Google Cloud Exploitation’, featuring a sketch showing  where  the ‘Public Internet’ meets the internal ‘Google Cloud’ of user data.

On the sketch, a note adds that encryption is  ‘added and remove here!’ and the artist then jots a smiley face – in what the  Post calls a ‘cheeky  celebration of victory over Google security’.

Leaked: In a slide from an NSA presentation, a sketch shows where the 'Public Internet' meets the 'Google Cloud' user data - with a smiley face to celebrate getting around the secure links 

Leaked: In a slide from an NSA presentation, a sketch  shows where the ‘Public Internet’ meets the ‘Google Cloud’ user data – with a  smiley face to celebrate getting around the secure links

 

‘Two engineers with close ties to Google  exploded in profanity when they saw the drawing,’ the Post reported.

In the 30 days after January 9, field  collectors processed and sent back more than 180 million new records – ranging  from ‘metadata’, which would indicate who sent or received emails and  when, to  content such as text, audio and video.

Both companies said they had not given the  NSA permission to do so and where not aware of the activity.

The NSA’s principal tool to exploit the data  links is a project called MUSCULAR, operated jointly with the agency’s British  counterpart, GCHQ.

The program uses an unnamed  telecommunications provider giving secret access to a cable for Google and  Yahoo to pass unencrypted traffic between their  servers.

the National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world 

Seized: The NSA has reportedly secretly broken into main  communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the  world. This photo shows a Google data center in Hamina, Finland

The Post said NSA and GCHQ are copying entire  data flows across fiber-optic cables that carry information between the data  centers of the Silicon Valley giants.

The NSA’s leader, Gen. Keith Alexander said  he was unaware of the report, adding that the NSA is not authorized to access  data centers and must go through a court process to obtain it.

‘The assertion that we collect vast  quantities of U.S. persons’ data from this type of collection is also not true,’  a spokeswoman added, Politico reported.

The report comes despite the companies saying  their servers are closely guarded and strictly audited. According to Google,  buildings housing its servers are guarded around-the-clock and secured with  heat-sensitive cameras and biometric verification.

In a statement to the Post, Google  said it  was ‘troubled by allegations of the government intercepting  traffic between our  data centers, and we are not aware of this  activity’.

At Yahoo a  spokeswoman added: ‘We have  strict controls in place to protect the  security of our data centers, and we  have not given access to our data  centers to the NSA or to any other government  agency.’

White House officials and the Office of  the  Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA, declined  to comment,  the Post said.

Revelations: The information was obtained by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden 

Revelations: The information was obtained by former NSA  contractor, Edward Snowden

The NSA already collects data from Google,  Yahoo and other technology  companies under another program known as PRISM –  details of which were  revealed by Snowden earlier this year.

The program legally compels the companies to  provide the agency with information that matches court-approved search  terms.

The collection of data by MUSCULAR would be  illegal in the U.S., but the operations take place overseas, where the NSA can  presume anyone using a foreign data link is a foreigner, the Post  said.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2480411/NSA-broke-Yahoo-Google-data-centers-obtain-millions-records.html#ixzz2jGZlavR4 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Spain colluded in NSA spying on its citizens, Spanish newspaper reports

El Mundo says it has document detailing collaboration between US intelligence agency and foreign countries

 Paul Hamilos in Madrid theguardian.com,              Wednesday 30 October 2013 07.41 EDT

Protesting in Spain against NSA spying
A man protests against NSA spying outside the foreign ministry in Madrid. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

The widespread surveillance of Spanish citizens by the US National Security Agency, which caused outrage when it was reported this week, was the product of a collaboration with Spain‘s intelligence services, according to one Spanish newspaper.

In the latest revelations to emerge from the documents leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Spanish agents not only knew about the work of the NSA but also facilitated it, El Mundo reports.

An NSA document entitled “Sharing computer network operations cryptologic information with foreign partners” reportedly shows how the US relies on the collaboration of many countries to give it access to intelligence information, including electronic metadata.

 

According to the document seen by El Mundo, the US classifies cooperation with various countries on four different levels. In the first group – “Comprehensive Cooperation” – are the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The second group – “Focused Cooperation” – of which Spain is a member, includes 19 countries, all of them European, apart from Japan and South Korea. The third group – “Limited cooperation” – consists of countries such as France, Israel, India and Pakistan; while the fourth – “Exceptional Cooperation” – is made up of countries that the US considers to be hostile to its interests.

The reports come a day after the director of the NSA, General Keith B Alexander, testified before the US house intelligence committee that suggestions the agency monitored millions of calls in Spain, France and Italy were “completely false” and that this data had been at least partially collected by the intelligence services of those countries and then passed on to the NSA.

According to El Mundo the NSA documents explain the “specific guidance for evaluating and initiating Computer Network Operations (CNO) cryptologic cooperation with other countries, generally within existing foreign cryptologic relationships”. It outlines these telephonic and electronic surveillance operations, indicating that the results would be shared with allied countries. In short, this suggests the Spanish intelligence services were working hand in hand with the NSA, as were other foreign agencies. But if there was any doubt as to who held the upper hand, the NSA documents make clear that any collaboration was always to serve the needs of protecting American interests.

On Monday, El Mundo reported that the NSA had intercepted 60.5m phone calls in Spain over one month alone.

Alexander said foreign intelligence services collected phone records in war zones and other areas outside their borders and passed these on to the NSA. He said this arrangement had been misunderstood by French and Spanish newspapers, which reported that the NSA was spying in their countries.

But this explanation has not allayed European or domestic US concerns about the exact nature of NSA surveillance in allied countries.

The suggestion that the Spanish intelligence agency was working with the NSA will confirm the suspicions of many in Spain who believe that the government has not only failed to protect its own citizens’ privacy, but was actively supportive of US surveillance inside the country.

Although there are strong privacy laws in Spain, and judicial oversight is required before a phone can be tapped, there are concerns that these laws are applied less than rigorously.

The US has offices for the CIA and the NSA in Madrid.

On Monday, Amnesty International called on the Spanish government to “reflect on its total failure to protect its own citizens’ privacy”.

The prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, announced on Wednesday that the director of the Spanish national intelligence centre (CNI), Félix Sanz Roldán, would be called to appear before the official secrets committee to explain the activities of the NSA and the CNI. Unlike in the US, however, this meeting will be held behind closed doors.

The latest document, published by El Mundo on Wednesday, shows the NSA to be watchful of any information gathered by countries outside the top tier of allies, which together with the US are known as the “five eyes”.

According to the Spanish newspaper’s report, the NSA says any co-operation with countries outside this group is to be carefully evaluated, and they should be reliable allies,  capable of protecting any US classified information.

A further document seen by El Mundo reportedly explains how that cooperation between the NSA and foreign intelligence agencies increases the number of foreign-language speakers available to it, so as better to understand any communications they uncovered.

Not every line in the document is hard intelligence work, though. At one point, an NSA agent apparently writes that the Spanish agents were exceptionally helpful when they collaborated, not just at work, but also in their downtime. In Madrid, lunch apparently always took place at 2pm; the US agents were given an enjoyable bus tour of the sights of Madrid; and one dinner was accompanied by opera singers. The only disappointment came during one trip to Spain, when it rained all the time, despite the Spanish agents having promised unlimited sunshine.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/30/spain-colluded-nsa-spying-citizens-spanish-el-mundo-us

 

Obama ‘gave the go-ahead for Merkel phone tapping’ as he wanted to ‘know everything’ about world’s most powerful woman, German newspaper claims

  • Bild  newspaper in Germany called US denials of eavesdropping ‘diplomatic lies’ as new  documents emerge
  • They quote  a secret source which claims Obama not only sanctioned the operation against Mrs  Merkel but extended it

By  Allan Hall In Berlin

PUBLISHED: 20:11 EST, 27  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 20:11 EST, 27 October 2013

President Barack Obama personally authorised  the phone tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile because he wanted to  ‘know everything’ about the world’s most powerful woman, it was claimed on  Sunday.

Bild newspaper in Germany – which also  reported surveilance on the phone of her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder who  opposed the war in Iraq – called US denials of eavesdropping ‘diplomatic lies’  as new documents from the Nation security Agency in Washington suggest the  bugging against the politicians began at least ten years ago, during the Bush  administration.

Bild quoted a secret intelligence source  saying the president was informed in 2010 about the operation against Merkel by  NSA boss Keith Alexander and he sanctioned it.

Not amused: German Chancellor Angela Merkel had both her work and supposedly bug-proof personal mobile cracked by intelligence agents 

Not amused: German Chancellor Angela Merkel had both her  work and supposedly bug-proof personal mobile cracked by intelligence  agents

‘Obama did not stop the action at that time  but allowed it to continue,’ said an intelligence official familiar with the NSA  operation against Merkel image on Sunday.

‘Obama did not stop the action but rather  furthered it,’ said the Bild informant.

‘The reason for the action?’ said Bild.  ‘Obama wanted to know exactly who this woman was.’

German handling of the eurozone crisis and  its refusal to get involved militarily in Libya increased White House suspicions  of who it was dealing with in Europe, it added.

It was also claimed that as well as listening  into the Nokia supplied to her by her CDU conservative party the electronic  wizards of the NSA also cracked her secure personal mobile only last summer –  receiving both text messages and overhearing calls from that device too – even  though it was supposed to have been made bug-proof by German intelligence  boffins.

German media said there was little doubt that  ‘Handygate’ – the name given to the scandal from the German word Handy for  mobile phone – was launched from the American embassy at Pariser Platz in the  heart of the capital Berlin.

According to German newspapers, 18 NSA  specialists are currently stationed in Berlin, working from a soundproofed,  bombproof room on the fourth floor of the ultra-modern, ultra secure embassy  that is less than two miles from the chancellor’s office.

According to media reports it was Tony  Blair’s mentor in the war against Iraq, President George W. Bush, who instigated  the surveillance against the socialist premier Gerhard Schroeder.

‘Where do the Germans stand, can we trust  Schroeder?’ was allegedly the question, according to Bild, posted in the White  House when Bush sanctioned the hacking of his phone.

Sanctioned: Bild quotes a secret intelligence source which claims the President not only sanctioned but extended the operation against Mrs Merkel 

Sanctioned: Bild quotes a secret intelligence source  which claims the President not only sanctioned but extended the operation  against Mrs Merkel

He apparently was particularly disturbed  about the closeness of the relationship that Schroeder had with Vladimir Putin  of Russia – a friendship which led to Schroeder gaining a five million pound a  year job with Russian energy giant Gazprom when he left office.

‘Schroeder knew that he had greatly angered  America with his opposition to the Iraq war,’ said Bild.

‘In his inner circle he made no secret of his  conviction that he was being bugged by the American secret services.’

German politicians together with spy chiefs  are scheduled to fly to the USA this week for talks with their counterparts  about the snooping programme.

‘High-ranking government representatives will  go rapidly to the United States in order to push forward discussions with the  White House and the NSA on the allegations raised recently,” said Georg  Streiter, the chancellor’s deputy spokesman.

The row has prompted European leaders to  demand a new deal with Washington on intelligence gathering that would maintain  an essential alliance while keeping the fight against terrorism on track.

The 28 leaders also warn that while the bloc  and the United States share a ‘close relationship’, it must ‘be based on respect  and trust.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2478086/Obama-gave-ahead-Merkel-phone-tapping-wanted-know-worlds-powerful-woman-German-newspaper-claims.html#ixzz2izTaKqaC Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Europe should be grateful for spying, say U.S. lawmakers

World Oct. 28, 2013 – 07:00AM JST

WASHINGTON —

Europeans should be grateful for U.S. spying operations because they keep them safe, U.S. lawmakers said Sunday, urging allies to improve their own intelligence and oversight efforts.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers called “disingenuous” foreign governments’ outrage over the National Security Agency’s large dragnet over communications of several dozen world leaders and ordinary citizens.

And he blamed the news media for getting the story wrong.

“I think the bigger news story here would be… if the United States intelligence services weren’t trying to collect information that would protect US interests both (at) home and abroad,” the Republican told CNN.

The NSA denied German press reports that President Barack Obama was personally informed since 2002 that U.S. spies were tapping on top ally Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

And National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said U.S. intelligence gathering was simply “of the type gathered by all nations.”

Dick Cheney, the former U.S. vice president who wielded vast influence on intelligence matters during the George W Bush administration’s “war on terror,” said U.S. spying on allies was nothing new.

“It’s something that we have been involved in a long time,” he told ABC television.

The spying row prompted European leaders late last week to demand a new deal with Washington on intelligence gathering that would maintain an essential alliance while keeping the fight against terrorism on track.

But Representative Peter King, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, said Obama should “stop apologizing” about the NSA’s phone-tapping scandal, claiming the programs had saved “thousands” of lives.

“The president should stop apologizing and stop being defensive,” he told NBC. “The reality is the NSA has saved thousands of lives, not just in the United States but in France, Germany and throughout Europe.”

King also suggested the French had conducted similar operations themselves and should therefore tamp down their criticism.

“The French is someone to talk. They carried out operations against the United States, the government and industry,” he said.

Rogers said that French citizens would celebrate U.S. phone intercepts in their country if they realized how the practice keeps them safe.

“If the French citizens knew exactly what that was about, they would be applauding and popping champagne corks. It’s a good thing. it keeps the French safe. It keeps the U.S. safe. It keeps our European allies safe,” he added.

“This whole notion that we’re going to go after each other on what is really legitimate protection of nation-state interest, I think is disingenuous.”

The congressman called for improved intelligence oversight in European capitals, contrasting allies’ approaches to the United States, where he stressed the government must first obtain approval from a special court to monitor communications.

“They need to have a better oversight structure in Europe,” Rogers said. “I think they would be enlightened to find out what their intelligence services may or may not be doing.”

The Republican lawmaker said the news media was “100% wrong” in suggesting that the NSA monitored up to 70 million French telephone records in a single month.

“They’re seeing three or four pieces of a 1,000-piece puzzle and wanted to come to a conclusion,” he added, insisting the records collection was a counterterrorism program that did not target French citizens.

Rogers also suggested that U.S. leaders failed to foresee the rise of fascism and communism in early 20th century Europe because American spies were not spying extensively on European allies’ communications.

“In the 1930s, we had this debate before. We decided we were going to turn off our ability to even listen to friends,” he said.

“Look what happened in the ‘30s, the rise of fascism and communism. We didn’t see any of it. It resulted in the death of really tens of millions of people.”

But the Republican lawmaker stressed that any intelligence activities between allies should remain “respectful” and “accurate,” as well as be subjected to proper oversight.

Meanwhile, German media reports said Sunday that tapping of Merkel’s phone may have begun as early as 2002.

Bild am Sonntag newspaper quoted U.S. intelligence sources as saying that America’s National Security Agency chief General Keith Alexander had briefed Obama on the operation against Merkel in 2010.

“Obama did not halt the operation but rather let it continue,” the newspaper quoted a high-ranking NSA official as saying.

News weekly Der Spiegel reported that leaked NSA documents showed Merkel’s phone had appeared on a list of spying targets for over a decade, and was still under surveillance weeks before Obama visited Berlin in June.

But NSA spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines, in Washington, flatly denied the claims.

Alexander “did not discuss with President Obama in 2010 an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkel, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel,” Vines said.

“News reports claiming otherwise are not true,” she added.

The allegations, derived from documents acquired from US fugitive defense contractor Edward Snowden, have stoked global outrage that American spy agencies were responsible for broad snooping into the communications of several dozen world leaders and likely millions of ordinary people.

A poll for Der Spiegel found that 60% of Germans believe the scandal has damaged bilateral ties.

European leaders have since called for a new deal with Washington on intelligence gathering that would maintain an essential alliance while keeping the fight against terrorism on track.

Germany is to send its own spy chiefs to Washington to demand answers.

Swiss President Ueli Maurer warned the revelations risked “undermining confidence between states.”

“We don’t know if we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg or if other governments are acting in the same ruthless manner,” he told the Schweiz am Sonntag weekly.

With anger simmering in Berlin, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich sharpened his tone.

“Surveillance is a crime and those responsible must be brought to justice,” he told Bild, while Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle decried the “highly damaging” spying among friends.

Merkel confronted Obama with the snooping allegations in a phone call Wednesday saying that such spying would be a “breach of trust.”

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung said Obama had told Merkel during their call that he had been unaware of any spying against her, while Spiegel said he assured her that he would have stopped the operation at once.

Merkel’s office declined to comment on what Obama told her.

The White House has said it is not monitoring Merkel’s phone calls and will not do so in future, but it has refused to say whether it did previously.

Bild said Obama wanted to be informed in detail about Merkel, who has played a decisive role in the eurozone debt crisis and is widely seen as Europe’s most powerful leader.

As a result, the NSA stepped up its surveillance of her communications, targeting not only the mobile phone she uses to conduct business for her conservative Christian Democratic Union party but also her encrypted official device.

Merkel only acquired the latter handset over the summer.

Bild said U.S. specialists were then able to monitor the content of her conversations as well as text messages, which Merkel sends by the dozen each day to key associates.

Only the specially secured land line in her office was out of the reach of the NSA, which sent the intelligence gathered straight to the White House bypassing the agency’s headquarters, according to the report.

Bild and Spiegel described a hive of spy activity on the fourth floor of the U.S. embassy in central Berlin, a stone’s throw from the government quarter, from which the United States kept tabs on Merkel and other German officials.

Spiegel cited a classified 2010 document indicating that US intelligence had 80 high-tech surveillance offices worldwide in cities including Paris, Madrid, Rome, Prague, Geneva and Frankfurt.

© 2013 AFP

 

http://www.japantoday.com/category/world/view/europe-should-be-grateful-for-spying-say-u-s-lawmakers

The NSA’s Secret Spy Hub in Berlin / SCS agents may have been compromised

 

By SPIEGEL Staff

According to SPIEGEL research, United States intelligence agencies have not only targeted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, but they have also used the American Embassy in Berlin as a listening station. The revelations now pose a serious threat to German-American relations.

It’s a prime site, a diplomat’s dream. Is there any better location for an embassy than Berlin’s Pariser Platz? It’s just a few paces from here to the Reichstag. When the American ambassador steps out the door, he looks directly onto the Brandenburg Gate.

When the United States moved into the massive embassy building in 2008, they threw a huge party. Over 4,500 guests were invited. Former President George H. W. Bush cut the red-white-and-blue ribbon. Chancellor Angela Merkel offered warm words for the occasion. Since then, when the US ambassador receives high-ranking visitors, they often take a stroll out to the roof terrace, which offers a breathtaking view of the Reichstag and Tiergarten park. Even the Chancellery can be glimpsed. This is the political heart of the republic, where billion-euro budgets are negotiated, laws are formulated and soldiers are sent to war. It’s an ideal location for diplomats — and for spies.

Research by SPIEGEL reporters in Berlin and Washington, talks with intelligence officials and the evaluation of internal documents of the US’ National Security Agency (NSA) and other information, most of which comes from the archive of former intelligence agent Edward Snowden, lead to the conclusion that the US diplomatic mission in the German capital has not merely been promoting German-American friendship. On the contrary, it is a nest of espionage. From the roof of the embassy, a special unit of the CIA and NSA can apparently monitor a large part of cell phone communication in the government quarter. And there is evidence that agents based at Pariser Platz recently targeted the cell phone that Merkel uses the most.

The NSA spying scandal has thus reached a new level, becoming a serious threat to the trans-Atlantic partnership. The mere suspicion that one of Merkel’s cell phones was being monitored by the NSA has led in the past week to serious tensions between Berlin and Washington.

Hardly anything is as sensitive a subject to Merkel as the surveillance of her cell phone. It is her instrument of power. She uses it not only to lead her party, the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), but also to conduct a large portion of government business. Merkel uses the device so frequently that there was even debate earlier this year over whether her text messaging activity should be archived as part of executive action.

‘That’s Just Not Done’

Merkel has often said — half in earnest, half in jest — that she operates under the assumption that her phone calls are being monitored. But she apparently had in mind countries like China and Russia, where data protection is not taken very seriously, and not Germany’s friends in Washington.

Last Wednesday Merkel placed a strongly worded phone call to US President Barack Obama. Sixty-two percent of Germans approve of her harsh reaction, according to a survey by polling institute YouGov. A quarter think it was too mild. In a gesture of displeasure usually reserved for rogue states, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle summoned the new US ambassador, John Emerson, for a meeting at the Foreign Ministry.

The NSA affair has shaken the certainties of German politics. Even Merkel’s CDU, long a loyal friend of Washington, is now openly questioning the trans-Atlantic free trade agreement. At the Chancellery it’s now being said that if the US government doesn’t take greater pains to clarify the situation, certain conclusions will be drawn and talks over the agreement could potentially be put on hold.

“Spying between friends, that’s just not done,” said Merkel on Thursday at her appearance at a European Union summit in Brussels. “Now trust has to be rebuilt.” But until recently it sounded as if the government had faith in the intelligence agencies of its ally.

In mid-August Merkel’s chief of staff, Ronald Pofalla, offhandedly described the NSA scandal as finished. German authorities offered none of their own findings — just a dry statement from the NSA leadership saying the agency adhered to all agreements between the countries.

Now it is not just Pofalla who stands disgraced, but Merkel as well. She looks like a head of government who only stands up to Obama when she herself is a target of the US intelligence services. The German website Der Postillon published a satirical version last Thursday of the statement given by Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert: “The chancellor considers it a slap in the face that she has most likely been monitored over the years just like some mangy resident of Germany.”

Merkel has nothing to fear domestically from the recent turn of affairs. The election is over, the conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats are already in official negotiations toward forming a new government. No one wants to poison the atmosphere with mutual accusation.

Nevertheless, Merkel must now answer the question of how much she is willing to tolerate from her American allies.

Posing as Diplomats

A “top secret” classified NSA document from the year 2010 shows that a unit known as the “Special Collection Service” (SCS) is operational in Berlin, among other locations. It is an elite corps run in concert by the US intelligence agencies NSA and CIA.

The secret list reveals that its agents are active worldwide in around 80 locations, 19 of which are in Europe — cities such as Paris, Madrid, Rome, Prague and Geneva. The SCS maintains two bases in Germany, one in Berlin and another in Frankfurt. That alone is unusual. But in addition, both German bases are equipped at the highest level and staffed with active personnel.

The SCS teams predominantly work undercover in shielded areas of the American Embassy and Consulate, where they are officially accredited as diplomats and as such enjoy special privileges. Under diplomatic protection, they are able to look and listen unhindered. They just can’t get caught.

Wiretapping from an embassy is illegal in nearly every country. But that is precisely the task of the SCS, as is evidenced by another secret document. According to the document, the SCS operates its own sophisticated listening devices with which they can intercept virtually every popular method of communication: cellular signals, wireless networks and satellite communication.

The necessary equipment is usually installed on the upper floors of the embassy buildings or on rooftops where the technology is covered with screens or Potemkin-like structures that protect it from prying eyes.

That is apparently the case in Berlin, as well. SPIEGEL asked British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell to appraise the setup at the embassy. In 1976, Campbell uncovered the existence of the British intelligence service GCHQ. In his so-called “Echelon Report” in 1999, he described for the European Parliament the existence of the global surveillance network of the same name.

Campbell refers to window-like indentations on the roof of the US Embassy. They are not glazed but rather veneered with “dielectric” material and are painted to blend into the surrounding masonry. This material is permeable even by weak radio signals. The interception technology is located behind these radio-transparent screens, says Campbell. The offices of SCS agents would most likely be located in the same windowless attic.

No Comment from the NSA

This would correspond to internal NSA documents seen by SPIEGEL. They show, for example, an SCS office in another US embassy — a small windowless room full of cables with a work station of “signal processing racks” containing dozens of plug-in units for “signal analysis.”

On Friday, author and NSA expert James Bamford also visited SPIEGEL’s Berlin bureau, which is located on Pariser Platz diagonally opposite the US Embassy. “To me, it looks like NSA eavesdropping equipment is hidden behind there,” he said. “The covering seems to be made of the same material that the agency uses to shield larger systems.”

The Berlin-based security expert Andy Müller Maguhn was also consulted. “The location is ideal for intercepting mobile communications in Berlin’s government district,” he says, “be it technical surveillance of communication between cell phones and wireless cell towers or radio links that connect radio towers to the network.”

Apparently, SCS agents use the same technology all over the world. They can intercept cell phone signals while simultaneously locating people of interest. One antenna system used by the SCS is known by the affable code name “Einstein.”

The NSA refused to comment when asked by SPIEGEL for a statement.

The SCS are careful to hide their technology, especially the large antennas on the roofs of embassies and consulates. If the equipment is discovered, explains a “top secret” set of classified internal guidelines, it “would cause serious harm to relations between the United States and a foreign government.”

According to the documents, SCS units can also intercept microwave and millimeter-wave signals. Some programs, such as one entitled “Birdwatcher,” deal primarily with encrypted communications in foreign countries and the search for potential access points. Birdwatcher is controlled directly from SCS headquarters in Maryland.

With the growing importance of the Internet, the work of the SCS has changed. Some 80 branches offer “thousands of opportunities on the net” for web-based operations, according to an internal presentation. The organization is now able not only to intercept cell phone calls and satellite communication, but also to proceed against criminals or hackers. From some embassies, the Americans have smuggled sensors in communications equipment of the respective host countries that are triggered by selected terms.

How the Scandal Began

There are strong indications that it was the SCS that targeted the cell phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel. This is suggested by a document that apparently comes from an NSA database in which the agency records its targets. This document, which SPIEGEL has seen, is what set the cell phone scandal in motion.

The document contains Merkel’s cell phone number. An inquiry to her team revealed that it is the number with which the chancellor communicates mainly with party members, ministers and confidants, often by text message. The number is, in the language of the NSA, a “Selector Value.” The next two fields determine the format (“raw phone number”) and the “Subscriber”: “GE Chancellor Merkel.”

In the next field, labeled “Ropi,” the NSA identifies who is interested in the German chancellor: It is the department S2C32. “S” stands for “Signals Intelligence Directorate,” the NSA umbrella term for signal reconnaissance. “2” is the agency’s department for procurement and evaluation. C32 is the unit responsible for Europe, the “European States Branch.” So the order apparently came down from Europe specialists in charge of signal reconnaissance.

The time stamp is noteworthy. The order was transferred to the “National Sigint Requirements List,” the list of national intelligence targets, in 2002. That was the year in which Merkel battled Edmund Stoiber, of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union, to become the conservatives’ chancellor candidate, the year in which Germany held closely watched parliamentary elections and in which the Iraq crisis began heating up. The document also lists status: “A” for active. This status was apparently valid a few weeks before President Obama’s Berlin visit in June 2013.

Finally, the document defines the units tasked with implementing the order: the “Target Office of Primary Interest”: “F666E.” “F6” is the NSA’s internal name for the global surveillance unit, the “Special Collection Service.”

‘Intelligence Target Number One’

Thus, the NSA would have targeted Merkel’s cell phone for more than a decade, first when she was just party chair, as well as later when she’d become chancellor. The record does not indicate what form of surveillance has taken place. Were all of her conversations recorded or just connection data? Were her movements also being recorded?

Among the politically decisive questions is whether the spying was authorized from the top: from the US president. If the data is accurate, the operation was authorized under former President George W. Bush and his NSA chief, Michael Hayden. But it would have had to be repeatedly approved, including after Obama took office and up to the present time. Is it conceivable that the NSA made the German chancellor a surveillance target without the knowledge of the White House?

The White House and the US intelligence agencies periodically put together a list of priorities. Listed by country and theme, the result is a matrix of global surveillance: What are the intelligence targets in various countries? How important is this reconnaissance? The list is called the “National Intelligence Priorities Framework” and is “presidentially approved.”

One category in this list is “Leadership Intentions,” the goals and objectives of a country’s political leadership. The intentions of China’s leadership are of high interest to the US government. They are marked with a “1” on a scale of 1 to 5. Mexico and Brazil each receive a “3” in this category.

Germany appears on this list as well. The US intelligence agencies are mainly interested in the country’s economic stability and foreign policy objectives (both “3”), as well as for its advanced weapons systems and a few other sub-items, all of which are marked with “4.” The “Leadership Intention” field is empty. So based on the list, it wouldn’t appear that Merkel should be monitored.

Former NSA employee Thomas Drake sees this a no contradiction. “After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Germany became intelligence target number one in Europe,” he says. The US government did not trust Germany, because some of the Sept. 11 suicide pilots had lived in Hamburg. Evidence suggests that the NSA recorded Merkel once and then became intoxicated with success, says Drake. “It has always been the NSA’s motto to conduct as much surveillance as possible,” he adds.

A Political Bomb

When SPIEGEL confronted the government on Oct. 10 with evidence that the chancellor’s cell phone had been targeted, the German security apparatus became deeply unsettled.

The Chancellery ordered the country’s foreign intelligence agency, the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), to scrutinize the information. In parallel, Christoph Heusgen, Merkel’s foreign policy adviser, also contacted his US counterpart, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, to tell her about SPIEGEL’s research, which had been summarized on a single sheet of paper. Rice said she would look into it.

Shortly afterwards, German security authorities got back to the Chancellery with a preliminary result: The numbers, dates and secret codes on the paper indicated the information was accurate. It was probably some kind of form from an intelligence agency department requesting surveillance on the chancellor’s cell phone, they said. At this point, a sense of nervousness began to grow at government headquarters. It was clear to everyone that if the Americans were monitoring Merkel’s phone, it would be a political bomb.

But then Rice called the Chancellery on Friday evening to explain that if reports began to circulate that the Chancellor’s phone had been targeted, Washington would deny it — or at least that is how the Germans understood the message. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney assured his counterpart, Merkel’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert, of the same thing. The message was passed on to SPIEGEL late that evening without comment, at which point editors decided to continue investigating.

With this, both the US agencies and Berlin won themselves more time to come up with a battle plan for approaching the deep crisis of confidence between the two countries. And it was clearly already a crisis of confidence, because Berlin obviously doubted the statements coming from the US and hadn’t called off its security services, which were to continue their probe. And, as it later became clear, there were also inquiries taking place in the US, despite the denial from Rice.

Over the weekend, the tide turned.

Rice contacted Heusgen once again, but this time her voice sounded less certain. She said that monitoring the chancellor’s phone could only be ruled out currently and in the future. Heusgen asked for more details, but was put off. The chief adviser to the president on Europe, Karen Donfried, and the Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia at the US State Department, Victoria Nuland, would provide further information midweek, he was told. By this time it was clear to the Chancellery that if Obama’s top security adviser no longer felt comfortable ruling out possible surveillance, this amounted to confirmation of their suspicions.

Going on the Offensive

This detail only served to intensify the catastrophe. Not only had supposed friends monitored the chancellor’s cell phone, which was bad enough on its own, but Berlin was also left looking like a group of amateurs. They had believed the assurances made this summer by Obama, who had downplayed the notion of spying in Germany on a visit to Berlin. German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich had even gone as far as saying at the time that Germany’s concerns had “dissipated.”

On Tuesday morning Merkel decided to go on the offensive. She had seen how strongly French President François Hollande had reacted to allegations that US intelligence agencies had conducted widespread surveillance on French citizens. Hollande had called Obama immediately to air his anger. Merkel now wanted to speak with Obama personally too — before her planned meeting with Hollande at the upcoming EU summit in Brussels.

Heusgen made a preliminary call to Obama to let him know that Merkel planned to place some serious complaints, with which she would then go public. At stake was control over the political interpretation of one of the year’s most explosive news stories.

Merkel spoke with Obama on Wednesday afternoon, calling him from her secure landline in her Chancellery office. Both spoke English. According to the Chancellery, the president explained that he had known nothing of possible monitoring, otherwise he would have stopped it. Obama also expressed his deepest regrets and apologized.

Around 5:30 p.m. the same day, Merkel’s chief of staff, Pofalla, informed two members of the Parliamentary Control Panel, the body in Germany’s parliament charged with keeping tabs on the country’s intelligence agencies, of what was going on. At the same time, the administration went public with the matter. It contacted SPIEGEL first with a statement containing Merkel’s criticism of possible spying on her cell phone. Her spokesman Seibert called it a “grave breach of trust” — a choice of phrase that is seen as the highest level of verbal escalation among allied diplomats.

Surprising Unscrupulousness

The scandal revives an old question: Are the German security agencies too trusting of the Americans? Until now, German agencies have concerned themselves with China and Russia in their counterintelligence work, for which the domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BFV), is responsible.

A year ago, there was already debate between the agencies, the Interior Ministry and the Chancellery over whether Germany should be taking a harder look at what American agents were up to in the country. But the idea was jettisoned because it seemed too politically sensitive. The main question at the time came down to whether monitoring allies should be allowed.

Even to seasoned German intelligence officials, the revelations that have come to light present a picture of surprising unscrupulousness. It’s quite possible that the BFV could soon be tasked with investigating the activities of the CIA and NSA.

The ongoing spying scandal is also fueling allegations that the Germans have been allowing the NSA to lead them around by the nose. From the beginning of the NSA scandal, Berlin has conducted its attempts to clarify the allegations with a mixture of naivety and ignorance.

Letters with anxious questions were sent, and a group of government department leaders traveled to Washington to meet with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The BND was also commissioned with negotiating a “no-spying pact” with the US agencies. In this way, Merkel’s government feigned activity while remaining largely in the dark. In fact, it relied primarily on the assurance from the US that its intentions were good.

It also seems to be difficult for German intelligence agencies to actually track the activities of the NSA. High-level government officials admit that the Americans’ technical capabilities are in many ways superior to what exists in Germany. At the BFV domestic intelligence agency, for example, not even every employee has a computer with an Internet connection.

But now, as a consequence of the spying scandal, the German agencies want to beef up their capabilities. “We’re talking about a fundamental realignment of counterintelligence,” said one senior security official. There are already more than 100 employees at the BFV responsible for counterintelligence, but officials are hoping to see this double.

One focus of strategic considerations is the embassy buildings in central Berlin. “We don’t know which roofs currently have spying equipment installed,” says the security official. “That is a problem.”

Trans-Atlantic Free-Trade Agreement at Risk?

When the news of Merkel’s mobile phone being tapped began making the rounds, the BND and the BSI, the federal agency responsible for information security, took over investigation of the matter. There too, officials have been able to do nothing more than ask questions of the Americans when such sensitive issues have come up in recent months.

But now German-American relations are threatened with an ice age. Merkel’s connection to Obama wasn’t particularly good before the spying scandal. The chancellor is said to consider the president overrated — a politician who talks a lot but does little, and is unreliable to boot.

One example, from Berlin’s perspective, was the military operation in Libya almost three years ago, which Obama initially rejected. When his then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton convinced him to change his mind, he did so without consulting his allies. Berlin saw this as evidence of his fickleness and disregard for their concerns.

Merkel also finds Washington’s regular advice on how to solve the euro crisis irritating. She would prefer not to receive instruction from the country that caused the collapse of the global financial system in the first place. Meanwhile, the Americans have been annoyed for years that Germany isn’t willing to do more to boost the world economy.

Merkel also feels as though she was duped. The chancellery now plans once again to review the assurances of US intelligence agencies to make sure they are abiding by the law.

The chancellor’s office is also now considering the possibility that the much-desired trans-Atlantic free trade agreement could fail if the NSA affair isn’t properly cleared up. Since the latest revelations came out, some 58 percent of Germans say they support breaking off ongoing talks, while just 28 percent are against it. “We should put the negotiations for a free-trade agreement with the US on ice until the accusations against the NSA have been clarified,” says Economy Minister Ilse Aigner, a member of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

Outgoing Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has used the scandal as an excuse to appeal to the conscience of her counterpart in Washington, Attorney General Eric Holder. “The citizens rightly expect that American institutions also adhere to German laws. Unfortunately, there are a number of indications to the contrary,” she wrote in a letter to Holder last week.

EU Leaders Consider Consequences

The American spying tactics weren’t far from the minds of leaders at the EU summit in Brussels last Thursday, either. French President Hollande was the first to bring it up at dinner, saying that while he didn’t want to demonize the intelligence agencies, the Americans had so blatantly broken the law on millions of counts that he couldn’t imagine how things could go on this way.

Hollande called for a code of conduct among the intelligence agencies, an idea for which Merkel also showed support. But soon doubts emerged: Wouldn’t Europe also have to take a look at its own surveillance practices? What if a German or French Snowden came forward to reveal dirty spy tactics? British Prime Minister David Cameron pointed out how many terror attacks had been prevented because of spying capabilities. Then it was asked whether it has been proven that Obama even knows what his agencies are doing. Suddenly a mutual understanding seemed to waft through the group.

That was a bit too rich for Hollande: No, he interjected, spying to such an immense degree, allegedly on more than 70 million phone calls per month in France alone, that has been undertaken by only one country: the United States. The interruption was effective. After nearly three hours, the EU member states agreed on a statement that can be read as clear disapproval of the Americans.

Merkel no longer wants to rely solely on promises. This week Günter Heiss, Chancellor Merkel’s intelligence coordinator, will travel to Washington. Heiss wants the Americans to finally promise a contract excluding mutual surveillance. The German side already announced its intention to sign on to this so-called “no-spying pact” during the summer, but the US government has so far shown little inclination to seriously engage with the topic.

This is, of course, also about the chancellor’s cell phone. Because despite all the anger, Merkel still didn’t want to give up using her old phone number as of the end of last week. She was using it to make calls and to send text messages. Only for very delicate conversations did she switch to a secure line.

BY JACOB APPELBAUM, NIKOLAUS BLOME, HUBERT GUDE, RALF NEUKIRCH, RENÉ PFISTER, LAURA POITRAS, MARCEL ROSENBACH, JÖRG SCHINDLER, GREGOR PETER SCHMITZ AND HOLGER STARK

Translated from the German by Kristen Allen and Charly Wilder

NSA asked Japan to tap regionwide fiber-optic cables in 2011

Kyodo

The U.S. National Security Agency sought the Japanese government’s cooperation in 2011 over wiretapping fiber-optic cables carrying phone and Internet data across the Asia-Pacific region, but the request was rejected, sources said Saturday.The agency’s overture was apparently aimed at gathering information on China given that Japan is at the heart of optical cables that connect various parts of the region. But Tokyo turned down the proposal, citing legal restrictions and a shortage of personnel, the sources said.

The NSA asked Tokyo if it could intercept personal information from communication data passing through Japan via cables connecting it, China and other regional areas, including Internet activity and phone calls, they said.

Faced with China’s growing presence in the cyberworld and the need to bolster information about international terrorists, the United States may have been looking into whether Japan, its top regional ally, could offer help similar to that provided by Britain, according to the sources.

Based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, British newspaper The Guardian reported that the agency had been sharing data intercepted by Britain’s spy agency, GCHQ, through transatlantic cables since 2011.

But Tokyo decided it could not do so because under current legislation, it cannot intercept such communications even if the aim is to prevent a terrorist act. Japan also has a substantially smaller number of intelligence personnel, compared with the NSA’s estimated 30,000 employees, the sources said.

A separate source familiar with intelligence activities of major nations said the volume of data that would need to be intercepted from fiber-optic cables would require a massive number of workers and the assistance of the private sector.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/10/27/world/nsa-asked-japan-to-tap-regionwide-fiber-optic-cables-in-2011/#.UmyCU8Hn_Vg

Euro Parliament axes data sharing with US – the NSA swiped the bytes anyway

 

Hacking claims now probed by Continent’s cops

By       Iain Thomson

Posted in Government,  24th October 2013 18:24 GMT

The European Parliament has voted to halt the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP), an agreement to share data on financial transactions in the Continent with the US – after documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed the NSA was hacking the system anyway.

“Parliament stresses that any data-sharing agreement with the US must be based on a consistent legal data protection framework, offering legally-binding standards on purpose limitation, data minimisation, information, access, correction, erasure and redress,” the resolution reads.

The TFTP was set up in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks to give US investigators access to data from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). According to prolific whistleblower Snowden, Uncle Sam’s spies pwned the SWIFT system, as well as those of other financial providers including Visa, and is busy slurping up credit card records and other information on selected targets.

In the wake of these allegations, the parliament voted by 280 to 254 (with 30 abstentions) to suspend the TFTP until a “full on-site technical investigation” of the hacking claims has been carried out by Europol’s Cybercrime Centre.

The resolution is non-binding, however, since only the European Commission can bind member nations to the decision. But under the terms of the TFTP “the Commission will have to act if Parliament withdraws its support for a particular agreement.”

It’s a measure of the growing anger in Europe over the NSA’s operations that such a vote was even considered. This week’s news that the agency may have hacked the phone and email of the heads of state of Germany and Mexico, as well as spying on more than 70 million phone calls in France, has many politicians up in arms over America’s global surveillance.

According to the US Treasury Department, TFTP has given “thousands of valuable leads to US Government agencies” about possible terrorist activity, and since 2010 the agreement has been codified so that specific rules are laid down on data privacy and deletion. One wonders, therefore, why the NSA bothered hacking it in the first place.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee and NSA cheerleader, offered one possible reason in an op-ed in USA Today on Monday. She argued that the spy agency’s mass data trawls of phone records and other data was necessary because the spooks need to act quickly to catch terrorists and need “the haystack of records in order to find the terrorist needle.”

Perhaps the NSA simply just doesn’t trust its friends in Europe. ®

Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/10/24/european_parliament_votes_to_suspend_datasharing_with_us/

 

How The NSA Deploys Malware: An In-Depth Look at the New Revelations

We’ve long suspected that the NSA, the world’s premiere spy agency, was pretty good at breaking into computers. But now, thanks to an article by security expert Bruce Schneier—who is working with the Guardian to go through the Snowden documents—we have a much more detailed view of how the NSA uses exploits in order to infect the computers of targeted users. The template for attacking people with malware used by the NSA is in widespread use by criminals and fraudsters, as well as foreign intelligence agencies, so it’s important to understand and defend against this threat to avoid being a victim to the plethora of attackers out there.

How Does Malware Work Exactly?

 

Deploying malware over the web generally involves two steps. First, as an attacker, you have to get your victim to visit a website under your control. Second, you have to get software—known as malware—installed on the victim’s computer in order to gain control of that machine. This formula isn’t universal, but is often how web-based malware attacks proceed.

 

In order to accomplish the first step of getting a user to visit a site under your control, an attacker might email the victim text that contains a link to the website in question, in a so-called phishing attack. The NSA reportedly uses phishing attacks sometimes, but we’ve learned that this step usually proceeds via a so-called “man-in-the-middle” attack.1 The NSA controls a set of servers codenamed “Quantum” that sit on the Internet backbone, and these servers are used to redirect targets away from their intended destinations to still other NSA-controlled servers that are responsible for the injection of malware. So, for example, if a targeted user visits “yahoo.com”, the target’s browser will display the ordinary Yahoo! landing page but will actually be communicating with a server controlled by the NSA. This malicious version of Yahoo!’s website will tell the victim’s browser to make a request in a background to another server controlled by the NSA which is used to deploy malware.

 

Once a victim visits a malicious website, how does the attacker actually infect the computer? Perhaps the most straightforward method is to trick the user into downloading and running software. A cleverly designed pop-up advertisement may convince a user to download and install the attacker’s malware, for example.

 

But this method does not always work, and relies on a user taking action to download and run software. Instead, attackers can exploit software vulnerabilities in the browser that the victim is using in order to gain access to her computer. When a victim’s browser loads a website, the software has to perform tasks like parsing text given to it by the server, and will often load browser plugins like Flash that run code given to it by the server, in addition to executing Javascript code given to it by the server. But browser software—which is becoming increasingly complex as the web gains more functionality—doesn’t work perfectly. Like all software, it has bugs, and sometimes those bugs are exploitable security vulnerabilities that allow an attacker to gain access to a victim’s computer just because a particular website was visited. Once browser vendors discover vulnerabilities, they are generally patched, but sometimes a user has out of date software that is still vulnerable to known attack. Other times, the vulnerabilities are known only to the attacker and not to the browser vendor; these are called zero-day vulnerabilities.

 

The NSA has a set of servers on the public Internet with the code name “FoxAcid” used to deploy malware. Once their Quantum servers redirect targets to a specially crafted URL hosted on a FoxAcid server, software on that FoxAcid server selects from a toolkit of exploits in order to gain access to the user’s computer. Presumably this toolkit has both known public exploits that rely on a user’s software being out of date, as well as zero-day exploits which are generally saved for high value targets.2 The agency then reportedly uses this initial malware to install longer lasting malware.

 

Once an attacker has successfully infected a victim with malware, the attacker generally has full access to the user’s machines: she can record key strokes (which will reveal passwords and other sensitive information), turn on a web cam, or read any data on the victim’s computer.

 

What Can Users Do To Protect Themselves?

 

We hope that these revelations spur browser vendors to action, both to harden their systems against exploits, and to attempt to detect and block the malware URLs used by the FoxAcid servers.

In the meantime, users concerned about their security should practice good security hygiene. Always keep your software up to date—especially browser plugins like Flash that require manual updates. Make sure you can distinguish between legitimate updates and pop-up ads that masquerade as software updates. Never click a suspicious looking link in an email.

For users who want to go an extra step towards being more secure—and we think everyone should be in this camp—consider making plugins like Flash and Java “click-to-play” so that they are not executed on any given web page until you affirmatively click them. For Chromium and Chrome, this option is available in Settings => Show Advanced Settings => Privacy => Content Settings => Plug-ins. For Firefox, this functionality is available by installing a browser Add-On like “Click to Play per-element”. Plugins can also be uninstalled or turned off completely. Users should also use ad blocking software to stop unnecessary web requests to third party advertisers and web trackers, and our HTTPS Everywhere add-on in order to encrypt connections to websites with HTTPS as much as possible.

 

Finally, for users who are willing to notice some more pain when browsing the web, consider using an add-on like NotScripts (Chrome) or NoScript (Firefox) to limit the execution of scripts. This means you will have to click to allow scripts to run, and since Javascript is very prevalent, you will have to click a lot. For Firefox users, RequestPolicy is another useful add-on that stops third-party resources from loading on a page by default. Once again, as third-party resources are popular, this will disrupt ordinary browsing a fair amount. Finally, for the ultra paranoid, HTTP Nowhere will disable all HTTP traffic completely, forcing your browsing experience to be entirely encrypted, and making it so that only websites that offer an HTTPS connection are available to browse.

 

Conclusion

 

The NSA’s system for deploying malware isn’t particularly novel, but getting some insight into how it works should help users and browser and software vendors better defend against these types of attacks, making us all safer against criminals, foreign intelligence agencies, and a host of attackers. That’s why we think it’s critical that the NSA come clean about its capabilities and where the common security holes are—our online security depends on it.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/10/how-nsa-deploys-malware-new-revelations

NSA Denies Website Outage Is The Result Of A Cyberattack ( Still down as of 7:30pm PST)

Brian  Jones and Paul  Szoldra                  Oct. 25, 2013,  6:10 PM

Despite speculation that mystery hacker-group “Anonymous” is behind  it, the NSA has denied their official website being down is the result of a  cyberattack.

 

The National Security Agency’s website, nsa.gov, has been down the better  part of the afternoon, and people  have been speculating it’s “Anonymous.”

Gizmodo  reports that the site is suffering from a distributed denial of service  (DDoS), when hackers overtake computers and direct them to overload a web  server.

The site went down shortly  after 3 p.m., and at the time of this post still was not back up.

Brian Fung, the tech  reporter for the Washington Post, tweeted  that he spoke with an NSA spokesperson, who said that they were looking into  the outage, but refused to say if it was the result of a cyber  attack.

Later, the NSA flatly  denied the outage was the result of an attack. In  a statement to Circa, an NSA spokesperson said, “NSA.gov was  not accessible for several hours tonight because of an internal error that  occurred during a scheduled update. The issue will be resolved this evening.  Claims that the outage was caused by a distributed denial of service attack are  not true.”

As Gizmodo  points out, it’s not wholly clear that Anonymous is behind the attack, or  that the NSA’s website was attacked at all. And the fact that it took at least  an hour for people to start linking the outage to anonymous is a little  suspicious.

Anonymous tacitly acknowledged some level of involvement on  Twitter.

Read more:  http://www.businessinsider.com/anonymous-nsa-website-2013-10#ixzz2in9GAHfY

Senator Dianne Feinstein claims eavesdropping on phone callls is not surveillance, nor is it protected under the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches.

‘No phone call, no Internet transaction, isn’t recorded by the  NSA’: Edward  Snowden fires back at U.S. government surveillance denials

  • Senator  Dianne Feinstein claimed that the NSA’s phone-tracking is  benign
  • Whistle-blower Snowden said in a statement that it is  pervasive in nature

By  Ted Thornhill

PUBLISHED: 08:49 EST, 25  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 08:56 EST, 25 October 2013

Whistle-blower Edward Snowden has hit back at  claims by a U.S. government official that collating phone records is not  ‘surveillance’.

Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote in newspaper  recently that what the NSA is gathering is not protected under the Fourth  Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches.

She wrote in USA Today on Sunday: ‘The call-records  program is not surveillance. It does not collect the content of any  communication, nor do the records include names or locations.’

Statement: Snowden has said that every phone call and internet transaction made in America is logged
Statement: Snowden insisted that every phone call and  internet transaction made in America is logged
Dianne Feinstein has said that the NSA's phone call tracking does not breach the Fourth Amendment
Dianne Feinstein has said that the NSA’s phone call  tracking does not breach the Fourth Amendment

She added: ‘The NSA only collects the  type  of information found on a telephone bill: phone numbers of calls  placed and  received, the time of the calls and duration. The Supreme  Court has held this  “metadata” is not protected under the Fourth  Amendment.’

However Snowden, although he didn’t name the  lawmaker, clearly had her comments in mind when he gave a statement to the American Civil Liberties Union about phone  tracking.

He said: ‘In the last four months, we’ve  learned a lot about our government.

‘We’ve learned that the U.S. intelligence  community secretly built a system of pervasive surveillance. Today, no telephone  in America makes a call without leaving a record with the NSA. Today, no  internet transaction enters or leaves America without passing through the NSA’s  hands. Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They’re  wrong.’

He made the statement in support of a  demonstration against government privacy invasion taking place in Washington D.C  on Saturday.

His comment came as tensions mount between  Europe and America over the alleged monitoring of leaders’ phone  calls.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called President Obama today to inquire about the claims (Merkel pictured in March) German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that U.S.  spying on allies has shattered trust in President Obama’s administration (Merkel  pictured in March)

 

The National Security Agency has monitored  the phone conversations of at least 35 world leaders after being given their  numbers by an official in another government department, according to a  classified document leaked by Snowden.

The confidential memo reveals that senior  officials in ‘customer’ departments such the White House and the Pentagon were  encouraged to share their ‘Rolodexes’ of contact details with the  NSA.

The agency then added the phone numbers of  the foreign politicians to their surveillance systems and started to monitor  them.

According to the leaked document handed over  to The Guardian, one unnamed official handed  over 200 numbers – including those of at least 35 world leaders – none of whom  were named.

One of the leaders the NSA bugged was  allegedly German chancellor Angela Merkel, who accused the American government  on Wednesday of tapping her mobile phone, something the White House  denies.

European leaders united in anger Thursday as  they attended a summit overshadowed by the reports of the U.S. spying on its  allies.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2476731/Edward-Snowden-fires-U-S-government-surveillance-denials.html#ixzz2ikKjthlX Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts

• Agency given more than 200 numbers by government official • NSA encourages departments to share their ‘Rolodexes’ • Surveillance produced ‘little intelligence’, memo acknowledges

 

    • James Ball
    • The Guardian, Thursday 24 October 2013 14.14 EDT
SID_460 View larger picture
The NSA memo suggests that such surveillance was not isolated as the agency routinely monitors world leaders. Photograph: Guardian

The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The confidential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its “customer” departments, such the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their “Rolodexes” so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems.

The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately “tasked” for monitoring by the NSA.

The revelation is set to add to mounting diplomatic tensions between the US and its allies, after the German chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday accused the US of tapping her mobile phone.

After Merkel’s allegations became public, White House press secretary Jay Carney issued a statement that said the US “is not monitoring and will not monitor” the German chancellor’s communications. But that failed to quell the row, as officials in Berlin quickly pointed out that the US did not deny monitoring the phone in the past.

The NSA memo obtained by the Guardian suggests that such surveillance was not isolated, as the agency routinely monitors the phone numbers of world leaders – and even asks for the assistance of other US officials to do so.

The memo, dated October 2006 and which was issued to staff in the agency’s Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID), was titled “Customers Can Help SID Obtain Targetable Phone Numbers”.

It begins by setting out an example of how US officials who mixed with world leaders and politicians could help agency surveillance.

“In one recent case,” the memo notes, “a US official provided NSA with 200 phone numbers to 35 world leaders … Despite the fact that the majority is probably available via open source, the PCs [intelligence production centers] have noted 43 previously unknown phone numbers. These numbers plus several others have been tasked.”

The document continues by saying the new phone numbers had helped the agency discover still more new contact details to add to their monitoring: “These numbers have provided lead information to other numbers that have subsequently been tasked.”

But the memo acknowledges that eavesdropping on the numbers had produced “little reportable intelligence”. In the wake of the Merkel row, the US is facing growing international criticism that any intelligence benefit from spying on friendly governments is far outweighed by the potential diplomatic damage.

The memo then asks analysts to think about any customers they currently serve who might similarly be happy to turn over details of their contacts.

“This success leads S2 [signals intelligence] to wonder if there are NSA liaisons whose supported customers may be willing to share their ‘Rolodexes’ or phone lists with NSA as potential sources of intelligence,” it states. “S2 welcomes such information!”

The document suggests that sometimes these offers come unsolicited, with US “customers” spontaneously offering the agency access to their overseas networks.

“From time to time, SID is offered access to the personal contact databases of US officials,” it states. “Such ‘Rolodexes’ may contain contact information for foreign political or military leaders, to include direct line, fax, residence and cellular numbers.”

The Guardian approached the Obama administration for comment on the latest document. Officials declined to respond directly to the new material, instead referring to comments delivered by Carney at Thursday’s daily briefing.

Carney told reporters: “The [NSA] revelations have clearly caused tension in our relationships with some countries, and we are dealing with that through diplomatic channels.

“These are very important relations both economically and for our security, and we will work to maintain the closest possible ties.”

The public accusation of spying on Merkel adds to mounting political tensions in Europe about the scope of US surveillance on the governments of its allies, after a cascade of backlashes and apologetic phone calls with leaders across the continent over the course of the week.

Asked on Wednesday evening if the NSA had in the past tracked the German chancellor’s communications, Caitlin Hayden, the White House’s National Security Council spokeswoman, said: “The United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel. Beyond that, I’m not in a position to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity.”

At the daily briefing on Thursday, Carney again refused to answer repeated questions about whether the US had spied on Merkel’s calls in the past.

The NSA memo seen by the Guardian was written halfway through George W Bush’s second term, when Condoleezza Rice was secretary of state and Donald Rumsfeld was in his final months as defence secretary.

Merkel, who, according to Reuters, suspected the surveillance after finding her mobile phone number written on a US document, is said to have called for US surveillance to be placed on a new legal footing during a phone call to President Obama.

“The [German] federal government, as a close ally and partner of the US, expects in the future a clear contractual basis for the activity of the services and their co-operation,” she told the president.

The leader of Germany’s Green party, Katrin Goring-Eckhart, called the alleged spying an “unprecedented breach of trust” between the two countries.

Earlier in the week, Obama called the French president François Hollande in response to reports in Le Monde that the NSA accessed more than 70m phone records of French citizens in a single 30-day period, while earlier reports in Der Spiegel uncovered NSA activity against the offices and communications of senior officials of the European Union.

The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, this week backed proposals that could require US tech companies to seek permission before handing over EU citizens’ data to US intelligence agencies, while the European parliament voted in favour of suspending a transatlantic bank data sharing agreement after Der Spiegel revealed the agency was monitoring the international bank transfer system Swift.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/24/nsa-surveillance-world-leaders-calls

Europe Furious Over US Spying Allegations ” Worse than Orwell’s 1984 ” Emergency meeting Called

‘Out of Hand’

The newest allegations of US spying have unleashed a torrent of criticism and concern in Europe. If suspicions unearthed by SPIEGEL that the US tapped Chancellor Merkel’s cell phone turn out to be true, the ramifications for trans-Atlantic ties could be immense.

Leading politicians and media commentators in Germany expressed serious concern on Thursday following allegations that US intelligence agencies had tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. Merkel’s spokesman confirmed that she placed an angry call Wednesday night to United States President Barack Obama to discuss the suspicions, which arose from an inquiry by SPIEGEL.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle took the unusual step Thursday morning of summoning the US ambassador, John B. Emerson, who was set to meet with the minister in the afternoon. A source at the Foreign Ministry told SPIEGEL ONLINE on Thursday that Westerwelle will meet with the ambassador “in person.”

The news agency Reuters reported that representatives of both Merkel and French President François Hollande said the two would have a one-on-one meeting on the US spying issue Thursday afternoon before the start of a two-day EU summit in Brussels.

And the German Federal Prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe is also looking into the new allegations of US spying, setting up a so-called “monitoring process,” and requiring the appropriate federal agencies to supply them with relevant reliable information. The agency started a similar process at the end of June to look into possible activities by the NSA in Germany. That process is still ongoing, a spokesman said.

Worse than Orwell’s 1984

Claudia Roth, the outgoing co-leader of the German Green Party, told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the alleged bugging of Angela Merkel’s cell phone is a “terrible, terrible scandal” that will lead to a “meltdown” in German-US relations.

“It is impossible to negotiate when the other side of the table knows all the strategy,” she said, adding that the allegations, if proven, are a more extreme invasion of privacy than those imagined in George Orwell’s 1984.

Sharp criticism also came from German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière. “If what we are now hearing is true, that would be really bad,” he told broadcaster ARD. “The Americans are and remain our closest friends, but this is completely unacceptable.”

De Maizière went on to say that he had assumed for years his own phone had been tapped. “However, I did not expect the Americans,” he added. Asked about possible effects on US-German and US-European relations, de Maizière said: “We can’t simply return to business as usual. There are allegations in France, too.” Diplomatic relations between France and the US have been strained following reports that millions of French calls had been monitored by US intelligence agencies.

‘Our Fears Have Been Confirmed’

“The allegation shows once again that our fears have been confirmed,” said Thomas Oppermann, chairman of the Parliamentary Control Panel, which is responsible for monitoring Germany’s federal intelligence services. “The NSA’s monitoring activities have gotten completely out of hand and evidently take place beyond all democratic controls,” continued the center-left Social Democrat, who called an emergency meeting of the Control Panel for 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Oppermann said the allegations of US spying would be an issue during the talks surrounding the building of a governing coalition with Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU). “The protection of citizens in the digital age will be one of the important topics,” Oppermann said Thursday in Berlin. If the allegations are true, he said, it would be a “clear violation of German interests.”

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has called for Merkel’s government to suspend the SWIFT deal between the EU and US, which governs the transfer of some bank data from the EU to anti-terror authorities in the United States. “The new suspicion exceeds all bounds. The NSA affair is not over,” she said, calling for EU bodies to “decide quickly” on the matter.

German media commentators also reacted angrily on Thursday. “A greater affront by a friendly country is hardly conceivable,” wrote the prominent center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung in a front-page commentary that criticized Merkel’s government for initially downplaying the US spying scandal. “But the new allegations also cast a new light on Obama and the US intelligence community. During his visit to Germany, the US president grandly promised a trustful cooperation. But even Merkel now seems to have lost her belief in that. It’s hard to even imagine how Obama’s intelligence services deal with hostile states when one sees how they behave toward their closest allies.”

The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung cautioned readers that nothing had yet been proven regarding the chancellor’s mobile phone, but it also emphasized the extent to which the US spying scandal has already damaged diplomatic relations. “As Obama’s cool reaction shows, the government in Washington has apparently not yet understood the level of damage that continues to be caused by the activities of American intelligence agencies in Europe. They have diminished the trans-Atlantic relationship — even to a major degree.”

Outrage Ahead of EU Summit

Elsewhere in Europe, other editorialists also reacted with outrage to the latest spying allegations. Conservative Paris daily Le Figaro called the news “a warning shot in the direction of the US and a call for a resolute response from the EU. Europe is not discovering the NSA wiretapping scandal now. But with a personal accusation from Angela Merkel, the matter takes on a spectacular new scale.”

Even if the cell-phone allegation turns out to be false, writes right-leaning Milan daily Corriere della Sera, “it doesn’t change anything of the substance. … The real central issue is that a threshold has already been crossed. No one can and must be indignant that a global power like the US has such an efficient information-gathering service. But, in the sensitive area of security, the monstrous possibilities offered by modern technologies oblige states to work alongside friendly and allied countries with the maximum degree of coordination, with respect to the limits and rules that should govern such activities.”

“With each leak, American soft power hemorrhages, and hard power threatens to seep away with it,” wrote Britain’s left-wing Guardian newspaper on Wednesday evening. The commentary went on to question what it means “to be an American ally in the 21st century.”

The revelations are likely to overshadow the other issues on the agenda at an EU summit due to take place Thursday afternoon in Brussels. The summit was originally meant to address Europe’s economic recovery and immigration, as well as the EU’s digital economy and innovation. Now, however, it’s quite likely American spying in Europe will steal much of the spotlight.

— Charly Wilder with wires. With reporting by Rupert Neate.

URL:

NSA-friendly cyber-slurp law CISPA back on the table with new Senate bill

 

Unsurprisingly with spooks’ full support

By     Iain Thomson

Posted in Law,    22nd October 2013 19:33 GMT

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which allows private companies to share customer information with the NSA and others in the name of cybersecurity, is back on the legislative agenda.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today confirmed the draft law would be brought before the US Senate.

“I am working with Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) on bipartisan legislation to facilitate the sharing of cyber related information among companies and with the government and to provide protection from liability,” Senator Feinstein told Mother Jones in a statement. “The legislation will … still maintain necessary privacy protections.”

The outgoing head of the NSA and US Cyber Command General Keith Alexander is a strong supporter of CISPA. Earlier this month he told the Telecommunications Industry Association’s annual conference that the legislation was essential to protect the functioning of businesses by heading off online attacks, citing the vulnerability of Wall Street to outside hacking as an example.

CISPA has had a rocky legislative road so far. Originally introduced to the US House of Representatives back in 2011, the act was crafted to allow government departments to share intelligence about online threats with commercial companies. In exchange, those companies had the option of handing over either anonymized or identifiable information about their customers, with full legal immunity.

The initial bill was passed by the House but was shot down in the Senate by a Republican filibuster. Then it was reintroduced in February and passed by 288-127 votes. However, President Obama warned that he might veto the legislation as it stood, citing privacy concerns.

After NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden started leaking details about Uncle Sam’s extensive communications surveillance operations, any further progress with the legislation was shelved – but now it appears Senator Feinstein feels the time is right to get it back in play. If the Senate passes the new law then the President will have to decide whether or not to exercise his veto.

The Senate version of CISPA is still being drafted, so the privacy protections (or lack thereof) that caused concern may yet be addressed. In the last round of politicking, companies including Google and Facebook spoke out in its favor, although back then no one knew that they were already passing information to the NSA under the PRISM project.

That said, there is a valid case for legislation that would allow greater information sharing between government and commerce about the latest computer security threats – currently there’s no legal framework for doing so. Once the proposed legislation is published privacy advocates will be poring over it to determine if safeguards are strong enough to make the payoff of better security for all worthwhile. ®

 

Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/10/22/cispa_back_on_the_agenda/

US spy agency snooped on French citizens: Report ( code-named “US-985D” )

Monday, Oct 21, 2013

PARIS  – The US National Security Agency (NSA) secretly recorded millions of phone calls made in France, daily Le Monde reported on Monday, citing documents from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The spy agency taped 70.3 million phone calls in France over a 30-day period between December 10 and January 8, 2013, Le Monde reported in its online version.

According to the paper, the NSA automatically picked up communications from certain phone numbers in France and recorded text messages under a programme code-named “US-985D.”

Le Monde said the documents gave grounds to think the NSA targeted not only people suspected of being involved in terrorism but also high-profile individuals from the world of business or politics.

US authorities declined to comment to the French daily on the “classified” documents.

The Le Monde article followed similar revelations by German weekly Der Spiegel that US agents had hacked into the email account of former Mexican president Felipe Calderon.

Mexican authorities have said they will be seeking answers from US officials “as soon as possible” following the allegations.

Snowden, who has taken refuge in Russia, is wanted in the United States for espionage and other charges after leaking details of the NSA’s worldwide snooping activities.

 

http://news.asiaone.com/news/world/us-spy-agency-snooped-french-citizens-report