CIA files: political intrigue, Australian ‘dismay’, and radical Maori

The CIA release was part of its archiving of all 25-year-old ”non exempt” records.

A mass publication of declassified CIA documents reveal the extent of United States’ intelligence interest in New Zealand during the height of nuclear tensions between the two countries.

The database of previously-confidential documents, published by the CIA this week, contains reports which delve deep into New Zealand’s domestic and international affairs

Swelling anti-nuclear sentiment in the South Pacific during the 1980s was the predominant focus of CIA analysts at the time, and this focus shifted to the political fallout after the 1984 election.

Our prime ministers, race relations and stroppy kinship with Australia were also of considerable interest to US intelligence officials.

A 1982 intelligence report for the US director of intelligence flags the growing movement for a nuclear ban in the South Pacific – and the nuclear-nation was concerned their naval influence could be dented

“Such restrictions would impede movement of US warships in the vital lanes between the United States and Australia and New Zealand.”

Reports show the CIA were well across developments in “maverick” Vanuatu and neighbouring Fiji, who both refused American warships in 1982.

“However overdrawn, anti-nuclear sentiment in the area is genuinely felt and not easily modified,” the report advises.

At the time, the US thought Australia and New Zealand would diplomatically advocate for nuclear ships on a political level.

But there was concern that these efforts might be “diluted” by public sentiment in both countries.

New Zealand Prime Minister Robert Muldoon was a likely – if at times tacit – ally for US nuclear interests in the region.

As anti-nuclear sentiment in the Pacific built, many reports about the impending July 1984 election in New Zealand were filed about the prospect of a Labour victory.

“Muldoon faces major obstacles in his bid for a fourth term,” one report says.

Prime Minister Robert Muldoon was the subject of a candid CIA biography.
NZ ON SCREEN
Prime Minister Robert Muldoon was the subject of a candid CIA biography.

Any renegotiation of ANZUS under a Labour government led by David Lange would have “serious implications” for defence co-operation, and while NZ officials promised a compromise, the CIA was far from assured.

“We are not so sanguine.”

At the time, 40 per cent of the US naval fleet was nuclear-powered.

The CIA said Lange was charismatic but unable to unify the Labour party of the mid-80s.
file
The CIA said Lange was charismatic but unable to unify the Labour party of the mid-80s.

Behind closed doors, Lange conceded that he considered nuclear propulsion – but not nuclear weapons – safe. One CIA report speculates he had failed to convince his caucus of the same.

And, it wasn’t just the Labour party which presented concern for US intelligence officials.

Consideration was given to property magnate Bob Jones’ New Zealand Party, which looked to split the conservative vote.

The CIA archive has millions of pages that can be searched by the public.
AP
The CIA archive has millions of pages that can be searched by the public.

The historic 1984 election saw Lange’s Labour party come into power, and responding to public concern, barred American ships from New Zealand ports.

A president-approved memo to top US government officials in February of the following year illustrates New Zealand’s fall from grace in the eyes of the US.

“New Zealand knows that it cannot expect to continue to receive preferential treatment and consideration in the economic area which it might have enjoys as a closer ally.”

Though, it was stressed as important that no perceivable economic sanctions be implemented.

Directions were given that an “interagency group” promote the US viewpoint in New Zealand.

“In the meantime, the people of New Zealand are still our friends, and the door remains open to the return of an old ally.”

The “port access issue”, or barring of US warships from our ports, remained the status-quo until November 2016, when the USS Sampson visited New Zealand and aided the Kaikoura earthquake recovery effort.

And with that, an old ally returned.

Muldoon v Lange

“For nearly a decade, Muldoon has dominated New Zealand politics … they have continued to vote for this ‘man they love to hate’,” a 1984 report on the New Zealand political climate says.

The US, who considered Muldoon a supporter of ANZUS (a military pact between Australia, New Zealand and the United States), was long-wooed by US leadership.

When Muldoon visited the US in 1981, a briefing note encouraged American president Ronald Reagan to compliment the Prime Minister with a “candid” discussion on a international summit.

“The fact that you had taken him into your confidence on this matter would be helpful in giving him the stature he seeks.”

The same briefing advised offering “an expression of hope” that Muldoon will win the 1981 election – which he did.

In a candid 1984 biography of Muldoon – one of the New Zealand’s most divisive leaders of the modern era – the agency’s East and Southeast Asia desks discussed his abrasiveness and combative style as a National party stalwart.

This abrasiveness was not typically a New Zealand trait, the report said.

It expanded on Muldoon’s sought “stature”, saying he “fancied” himself as a “senior statesmen” in the realm of international finance.

He was a staunch ally of the US and generally satisfied with market access but a Labour victory could cause difficulties with the US-New Zealand relationship. The report writer’s biggest concern was the closing of ports if Labour won the next election (they did).

On Muldoon, he was politically dominant, atypical, and combative with a capacity, the report said.

“He is a tough taskmaster and devastates any associate who is not in full command of the facts of the matter, according to political observers.

“Unable to come up with policies of its own to cure New Zealand’s economic ills, Labor sees political benefit in identifying with a fear of nuclear contamination that is widespread and growing in New Zealand and which spans the political spectrum.”

Just as the prospect of a Labour election win in 1984 was not welcomed, Labour leader David Lange was not favoured by US government figures.

Described as a “charismatic orator”, in a later report, Lange was seen as inexperienced and unable to unify a factional Labour party cabinet except on the anti-nuclear issue.

There’s speculation Lange’s hard anti-nuclear stance was somewhat accidental.

“His penchant for speaking off the cuff in press interviews inched him into a trap from which he could not extricate himself.”

Calling the Lange government’s economic reforms a “calculated gamble” the CIA analysts were not convinced it would pay off, saying sustained growth was unlikely.

“If the economy splutters – for whatever reason – the Labor party will be held responsible in the next election.”

Maori radicalism

In a fascinating report into racial tensions in New Zealand, a 1988 memo from the Office of East Asian Analysis, described the land claim battles as iwi leaders fought for the return of ancestral land.

Relations were strained between Maori and Pakeha, the report said.

“Although the risk of racial violence is small, tensions are likely to increase as the slumping economy swells unemployment among the Maori, and as public resentment builds against Maori demands.”

European New Zealanders were “complacent” in their view of race relations, but Maori activists were challenging the country, an underclass had developed in Auckland, and free market economics were likely to widen the income gap.

“Despite Wellington’s efforts to defuse racial tensions through economic and legislative reforms, the Maori underclass will most likely expand as the Maori population grows, suggesting that racial tensions will persist.”

Maori radicalism was another component and the visit of trade union leader Syd Jackson to Libya – then an international pariah – caught the CIA’s attentions.

“We believe, nonetheless, that the Maoris’ growing political influence could have an indirect effect on Wellington’s foreign nationals…According to the US embassy in Canberra, Australian officials are concerned that racial strife could eventually undermine Wellington’s traditional Western outlook and weaken support in New Zealand for defence and foreign policy links to Australia.”

US on ANZAC

CIA analysts also made some on-the-money comments about New Zealand and Australia’s relationship.

In the 70s and 80s, the anti-nuclear movement and the contentious issue of US warships and port access were high on the agenda.

In one document, the New Zealand stance led to the distancing of trans-Tasman relations with Canberra. Australian officials were worried a failure to find a resolution could spell the end of relations between the US and the two Pacific countries.

Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke had been criticised as being overly accommodating to the US and was at some risk of being seen as “carrying messages for Washington.”

“This distancing stems from Australian dismay over the antinuclear policies of Lange’s government, particularly its ban on port calls by nuclear ships.

“[Australian PM Bob] Hawke believes Lange’s unyielding stance threatens the ANZUS relationship with the United States and also encourages antinuclear agitation from the left wing of his own Labor Party…Canberra will continue to consult with Washington but will hold back from any approaches to Wellington that could be taken as interference.

“Australian annoyance with Wellington is obvious to all but the New Zealanders…Canberra, nevertheless, finds it politically imperative to take a low-key approach to Wellington. The New Zealanders are quick to see as patronizing any attempt by their larger neighbour to discuss bilateral issues.”

In the Muldoon biography, the writer likened Australia and New Zealand to a bickering family.

“New Zealand places great importance on relations with its large neighbour, despite the almost familial irritants that crop up between them.”

What are the CREST files?

CREST stands for CIA Records Search Tool. The CIA released a searchable archive of some 12 million pages this week, the largest collection of declassified records accessible online.

Previously, documents were available to the public from four terminals at the national archives in Washington, but now 930,000 documents are available on the agency’s electronic reading room.

A freedom of information group, MuckRock, and journalists have been calling for online access for years. MuckRock sued the CIA in June 2014, and in early 2015 a MuckRock user began fundraising to manually scan and digitise the records himself.

The CIA relented, and published a digital archive this week.

It is part of a regular archive process whereby all relevant “non-exempt” 25-year-old records are reviewed, declassified and archived. A trove of material includes reports, analyses, and memos on foreign relations, war crimes, the paranormal, and projects investigating telepathy.

JOHN EDENS AND THOMAS MANCH
Last updated 18:10, January 19 2017

Find this story at 19 January 2017

© 2017 Fairfax New Zealand Limited

Five Eyes’ countries to meet on anti-terrorism fight -Canada

OTTAWA, Jan 13 (Reuters) – The five nations that make up the world’s leading intelligence-sharing network will meet in London next month to confer on strategies to fight terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks, Canada said on Tuesday.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said the so-called Five Eyes – the United States, Australia, Canada, Britain and New Zealand – had scheduled a meeting for Jan 22.

A Canadian government official later said the five would actually meet in London some time in February.

Blaney’s comments were unusual, since members of the Five Eyes network rarely talk about its activity.

“We’re going to have a meeting with our Five Eyes allies in London … and this is serious stuff. Terrorism will be there” on the agenda, he told CTV television.

U.S. intelligence officials have shared with their French counterparts information related to the travel history of those suspected of involvement in the Paris attacks, in which a total of 17 people died, a White House spokesman said on Tuesday.

Blaney gave no more details of the London meeting, save to say that U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson would be present.

Separately, the Canadian government official said the London event had been scheduled before the Paris attacks.

“The Five Eyes regularly meet to discuss shared concerns and approaches,” he said.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added that the fight against terrorism would be “a major focus” of the meeting but declined to give more details.

The five nations that comprise the group divide the world into eavesdropping target sectors and share the results. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Grant McCool and Lisa Shumaker)

Source: Reuters – Wed, 14 Jan 2015 01:37 GMT
By David Ljunggren

Find this story at 17 January 2015

Copyright © 2015 Thomson Reuters Foundation

Revealed: Australian spy agency offered to share data about ordinary citizens

• Secret 5-Eyes document shows surveillance partners discussing what information they can pool about their citizens

• DSD indicated it could provide material without some privacy restraints imposed by other countries such as Canada

• Medical, legal or religious information ‘not automatically limited’

• Concern that intelligence agency could be ‘operating outside its legal mandate’

The secret document shows the partners discussing whether or not to share citizens’ “medical, legal or religious information”. Photograph: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Australia’s surveillance agency offered to share information collected about ordinary Australian citizens with its major intelligence partners, according to a secret 2008 document leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The document shows the partners discussing whether or not to share “medical, legal or religious information”, and increases concern that the agency could be operating outside its legal mandate, according to the human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC.

The Australian intelligence agency, then known as the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), indicated it could share bulk material without some of the privacy restraints imposed by other countries, such as Canada.

“DSD can share bulk, unselected, unminimised metadata as long as there is no intent to target an Australian national,” notes from an intelligence conference say. “Unintentional collection is not viewed as a significant issue.”

The agency acknowledged that more substantial interrogation of the material would, however, require a warrant.

Metadata is the information we all generate whenever we use technology, from the date and time of a phone call to the location from which an email is sent.

“Bulk, unselected, unminimised metadata” means that this data is in its raw state, and nothing has been deleted or redacted in order to protect the privacy of ordinary citizens who might have been caught in the dragnet. Metadata can present a very complete picture of someone’s life.

The working document, marked secret, sheds new light on the extent to which intelligence agencies at that time were considering sharing information with foreign surveillance partners, and it provides further confirmation that, to some extent at least, there is warrantless surveillance of Australians’ personal metadata.

The DSD joined its four intelligence-sharing partners – the US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand, collectively known as 5-Eyes – to discuss what could and what could not be shared under the different jurisdictions at a meeting hosted by Britain’s GCHQ at its headquarters in Cheltenham on 22-23 April, 2008.

The notes, published today by Guardian Australia, suggest that Australia was open to pooling bulk data that almost certainly includes information about Australian citizens.

Clearly indicating the different attitudes between the intelligence partners, the Canadians insisted that bulk collection could only be shared if information about its citizens was first “minimised”, meaning deleted or removed. The various techniques used in “minimisation” help protect citizens’ privacy.

The GCHQ memo taker, reporting on this, said that “bulk, unselected metadata presents too high a risk to share with second parties at this time because of the requirement to ensure that the identities of Canadians or persons in Canada are minimised, but re-evaluation of this stance is ongoing”.

By contrast, DSD, now renamed the Australian Signals Directorate, offered a broader sweep of material to its partners.

DSD offered to share bulk, unselected, unminimised metadata – although there were specific caveats. The note taker at the meeting writes: “However, if a ‘pattern of life’ search detects an Australian then there would be a need to contact DSD and ask them to obtain a ministerial warrant to continue.”

A “pattern of life” search is more detailed one – joining the dots to build up a portrait of an individual’s daily activities.

It is technically possible to strip out the metadata of Australian nationals from bulk collection methods used by the 5-Eyes countries, such as cable taps – ensuring the information is not stored, and so could not be pulled in to searches and investigations by agents.

The Snowden documents reveal Australia’s intelligence services instead offered to leave the data in its raw state.

Australian politicians have insisted that all surveillance undertaken is in accordance with the law.

But Geoffrey Robertson, writing in the Guardian today, says if what was described in the memo took place, this would be a breach of sections eight and 12 of the Intelligence Services Act 2001. The act sets a strict requirement that ministerial authorisation is required if the data of an Australian citizen is involved, and indicates that the citizen must be a “person of interest”, such as someone involved in terrorism or organised crime.

The Cheltenham gathering, which appears to have been convened to consider the issues around the burgeoning collection of metadata and to reach common positions, resolved to avoid pre-emptive efforts to categorise various materials and “simply focus on what is shareable in bulk”.

The memo flags privacy concerns around the collection of various types of data, but the meeting, according to the record, resolved not to set “automatic limitations” – leaving judgment calls to each country’s own agencies.

“Consideration was given as to whether any types of data were prohibited, for example medical, legal, religious or restricted business information, which may be regarded as an intrusion of privacy,” the memo says.

“Given the nascent state of many of these data types then no, or limited, precedents have been set with respect to proportionality or propriety, or whether different legal considerations applies to the ‘ownership’ of this data compared with the communications data that we were more accustomed to handle.”

“It was agreed that the conference should not seek to set any automatic limitations, but any such difficult cases would have to be considered by ‘owning’ agency on a case-by-case basis.”

The document also shows the agencies considering disclosure to “non-intelligence agencies”. It says: “Asio and the Australian federal police are currently reviewing how Sigint [signals intelligence] information can be used by non-intelligence agencies.”

The record of the Cheltenham meeting does not indicate whether the activities under discussion in April 2008 progressed to final decisions or specific actions. It appears to be a working draft.

Since Snowden leaked the NSA documents to the Guardian and the Washington Post in May, controversy has raged around the world over revelations that surveillance agencies are collecting information in bulk about ordinary citizens’ day-to-day activities, without first getting a warrant.

In Australia, the Greens party and the South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon have been pursuing questions about the extent to which Australian citizens have been caught up in the dragnet, and the extent of Australian intelligence agencies’ involvement.

So far, those questions have largely met with stonewalling, both under the previous Labor government and the new Abbott administration.

Ewen MacAskill, James Ball and Katharine Murphy
The Guardian, Monday 2 December 2013 00.20 GMT

Find this story at 2 December 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Singapore, South Korea revealed as Five Eyes spying partners

Singapore and South Korea are playing key roles helping the United States and Australia tap undersea telecommunications links across Asia, according to top secret documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. New details have also been revealed about the involvement of Australia and New Zealand in the interception of global satellite communications.

A top secret United States National Security Agency map shows that the US and its “Five Eyes” intelligence partners tap high speed fibre optic cables at 20 locations worldwide. The interception operation involves cooperation with local governments and telecommunications companies or else through “covert, clandestine” operations.

The undersea cable interception operations are part of a global web that in the words of another leaked NSA planning document enables the “Five Eyes” partners – the US, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – to trace “anyone, anywhere, anytime” in what is described as “the golden age” signals intelligence.

The NSA map, published by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad overnight, shows that the United States maintains a stranglehold on trans-Pacific communications channels with interception facilities on the West coast of the United States and at Hawaii and Guam, tapping all cable traffic across the Pacific Ocean as well as links between Australia and Japan.

The map confirms that Singapore, one of the world’s most significant telecommunications hubs, is a key “third party” working with the “Five Eyes” intelligence partners.

In August Fairfax Media reported that Australia’s electronic espionage agency, the Defence Signals Directorate, is in a partnership with Singaporean intelligence to tap the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable that runs from Japan, via Singapore, Djibouti, Suez and the Straits of Gibraltar to Northern Germany.

Australian intelligence sources told Fairfax that the highly secretive Security and Intelligence Division of Singapore’s Ministry of Defence co-operates with DSD in accessing and sharing communications carried by the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable as well as the SEA-ME-WE-4 cable that runs from Singapore to the south of France.

Access to this major international telecommunications channel, facilitated by Singapore’s government-owned operator SingTel, has been a key element in an expansion of Australian-Singaporean intelligence and defence ties over the past 15 years.

Majority owned by Temask Holdings, the investment arm of the Singapore Government, SingTel has close relations with Singapore’s intelligence agencies. The Singapore Government is represented on the company’s board by the head of Singapore’s civil service, Peter Ong, who was previously responsible for national security and intelligence co-ordination in the Singapore Prime Minister’s office.

Australian intelligence expert, Australian National University Professor Des Ball has described Singapore’s signal’s intelligence capability as “probably the most advanced” in South East Asia, having first been developed in cooperation with Australia in the mid-1970s and subsequently leveraging Singapore’s position as a regional telecommunications hub.

Indonesia and Malaysia have been key targets for Australian and Singaporean intelligence collaboration since the 1970s. Much of Indonesia’s telecommunications and Internet traffic is routed through Singapore.

The leaked NSA map also shows South Korea is another key interception point with cable landings at Pusan providing access to the external communications of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service has long been a close collaborator with the US Central Intelligence Agency and the NSA, as well as the Australian intelligence agencies. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation recently engaged in legal action in an unsuccessful effort to prevent publication of details of South Korean espionage in Australia. ASIO Director-General David Irvine told the Federal Court that Australian and South Korean intelligence agencies had been cooperating for “over 30 years” and that any public disclose of NIS activities would be “detrimental” to Australia’s national security.

The NSA map and other documents leaked by Mr Snowden and published by the Brazilian O Globo newspaper also reveal new detail on the integration of Australian and New Zealand signals intelligence facilities in the interception of satellite communications traffic by the “Five Eyes” partners.

For the first time it is revealed that the DSD satellite interception facility at Kojarena near Geraldton in Western Australia is codenamed “STELLAR”. The New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau facility at Waihopai on New Zealand’s South Island is codenamed “IRONSAND”. The codename for DSD’s facility at Shoal Bay near Darwin is not identified. However all three facilities are listed by the NSA as “primary FORNSAT (foreign satellite communications) collection operations”.

Coverage of satellite communications across Asia and the Middle East is also supported by NSA facilities at the United States Air Force base at Misawa in Japan, US diplomatic premises in Thailand and India, and British Government Communications Headquarters facilities in Oman, Nairobi in Kenya and at the British military base in Cyprus.

The leaked NSA map also shows that undersea cables are accessed by the NSA and the British GCHQ through military facilities in Djibouti and Oman, thereby ensuring maximum coverage of Middle East and South Asian communications.

November 25, 2013
Philip Dorling

Find this story at 25 November 2013

Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media

New Snowden leaks reveal US, Australia’s Asian allies

Singapore and South Korea are playing key roles helping the United States and Australia tap undersea telecommunications links across Asia, according to top secret documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. New details have also been revealed about the involvement of Australia and New Zealand in the interception of global satellite communications.

A top secret United States National Security Agency map shows that the US and its “Five Eyes” intelligence partners tap high speed fibre optic cables at 20 locations worldwide. The interception operation involves cooperation with local governments and telecommunications companies or else through “covert, clandestine” operations.

The undersea cable interception operations are part of a global web that in the words of another leaked NSA planning document enables the “Five Eyes” partners – the US, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – to trace “anyone, anywhere, anytime” in what is described as “the golden age” signals intelligence.

The NSA map, published by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad overnight, shows that the United States maintains a stranglehold on trans-Pacific communications channels with interception facilities on the West coast of the United States and at Hawaii and Guam, tapping all cable traffic across the Pacific Ocean as well as links between Australia and Japan.

The map confirms that Singapore, one of the world’s most significant telecommunications hubs, is a key “third party” working with the “Five Eyes” intelligence partners.

In August Fairfax Media reported that Australia’s electronic espionage agency, the Defence Signals Directorate, is in a partnership with Singaporean intelligence to tap the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable that runs from Japan, via Singapore, Djibouti, Suez and the Straits of Gibraltar to Northern Germany.

Australian intelligence sources told Fairfax that the highly secretive Security and Intelligence Division of Singapore’s Ministry of Defence co-operates with DSD in accessing and sharing communications carried by the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable as well as the SEA-ME-WE-4 cable that runs from Singapore to the south of France.

Access to this major international telecommunications channel, facilitated by Singapore’s government-owned operator SingTel, has been a key element in an expansion of Australian-Singaporean intelligence and defence ties over the past 15 years.

Majority owned by Temask Holdings, the investment arm of the Singapore Government, SingTel has close relations with Singapore’s intelligence agencies. The Singapore Government is represented on the company’s board by the head of Singapore’s civil service, Peter Ong, who was previously responsible for national security and intelligence co-ordination in the Singapore Prime Minister’s office.

Australian intelligence expert, Australian National University Professor Des Ball has described Singapore’s signal’s intelligence capability as “probably the most advanced” in South East Asia, having first been developed in cooperation with Australia in the mid-1970s and subsequently leveraging Singapore’s position as a regional telecommunications hub.

Indonesia and Malaysia have been key targets for Australian and Singaporean intelligence collaboration since the 1970s. Much of Indonesia’s telecommunications and Internet traffic is routed through Singapore.

The leaked NSA map also shows South Korea is another key interception point with cable landings at Pusan providing access to the external communications of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service has long been a close collaborator with the US Central Intelligence Agency and the NSA, as well as the Australian intelligence agencies. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation recently engaged in legal action in an unsuccessful effort to prevent publication of details of South Korean espionage in Australia. ASIO Director-General David Irvine told the Federal Court that Australian and South Korean intelligence agencies had been cooperating for “over 30 years” and that any public disclose of NIS activities would be “detrimental” to Australia’s national security.

The NSA map and other documents leaked by Mr Snowden and published by the Brazilian O Globo newspaper also reveal new detail on the integration of Australian and New Zealand signals intelligence facilities in the interception of satellite communications traffic by the “Five Eyes” partners.

For the first time it is revealed that the DSD satellite interception facility at Kojarena near Geraldton in Western Australia is codenamed “STELLAR”. The New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau facility at Waihopai on New Zealand’s South Island is codenamed “IRONSAND”. The codename for DSD’s facility at Shoal Bay near Darwin is not identified. However all three facilities are listed by the NSA as “primary FORNSAT (foreign satellite communications) collection operations”.

Coverage of satellite communications across Asia and the Middle East is also supported by NSA facilities at the United States Air Force base at Misawa in Japan, US diplomatic premises in Thailand and India, and British Government Communications Headquarters facilities in Oman, Nairobi in Kenya and at the British military base in Cyprus.

The leaked NSA map also shows that undersea cables are accessed by the NSA and the British GCHQ through military facilities in Djibouti and Oman, thereby ensuring maximum coverage of Middle East and South Asian communications.

November 24, 2013
Philip Dorling

Find this story at 24 November 2013

Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media

How we spied on the Indonesians and how expats are targeted overseas

THEIR clandestine activities may be directly in the spotlight, but Australian spies have for decades been listening in on our neighbours.

Modern spooks have two main methods of tapping the mobile phones of people of interest in cities such as Jakarta. The first option is to install a physical bugging device in the actual handset, to forward calls to a third number – but this requires access to the handset.

For high-security targets, Australian agents use electronic scanners and very powerful computers to monitor phone numbers of interest via microwave towers (small metal towers that look like venetian blinds) located on top of buildings across Jakarta and all modern cities.

The latter was employed to tap the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and key ministers.

Getting hold of a handset is a tricky business so the preferred method for the spooks employed by the Australian Signals Directorate (formerly Defence Signals Directorate) is to monitor microwave phone towers located on top of most buildings in Jakarta and indeed any other major city.

The material, known at this point as “first echelon”, is captured by computers located in secure rooms at the Australian Embassy where information is filtered before it is forwarded by secure means to super computers located at ASD headquarters. They are located inside the maximum security building ‘M’, protected by high voltage electric fences, at Defence’s Russell Office complex in Canberra. Here it is processed and analysed as “second echelon” product.

In less busy locations, or where the target phone number is known, an off-the-shelf scanner can be programmed to intercept mobile phone calls.

In cities such as Jakarta enterprising business people now offer a mobile bugging service where for a fee of between $300 and $1000 they will arrange to “borrow” a mobile phone, insert a bugging device and then return it to a relieved owner. Whenever the phone rings or is used to access a network the call is diverted to another handset or recording device.

Government staff understand that if their phone goes missing and then turns up they should dispose of it and get a new one.

But for the average citizen, say a teacher at an English speaking school in Jakarta whose phone was bugged by an angry ex-girlfriend, phone tapping is a serious matter. And it is more common than many expatriates might think.

There is a thriving business in phone tapping for private or industrial or state espionage reasons in cities such as Jakarta, Singapore and Bangkok. Industrial espionage is widespread in cities around the world including Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

Compared to the operations of ASD and its powerful scanners, super computers and army of analysts these operations are small beer.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott was quick to point out in the wake of the phone tapping scandal that every country spied and he was right.

However Indonesia has nowhere near the capacity for espionage that Australia and our close “five eyes” allies – the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand – posses.

After the 2002 Bali bombings the DSD, Australian Federal Police and Telstra went to Indonesia and showed Indonesian intelligence agencies how to tap into the networks of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah (JI).

Unlike Australia much of Indonesia’s electronic surveillance capacity is directed at internal problems such as the insurgencies in Aceh and West Papua.

According to one of Australia’s leading experts on electronic spying, Professor Des Ball from the Australian National University, there is really no point in conducting such intercept operations unless a country has the whole picture. That is satellite communications, cable communications and radio communications.

“Microwave mobile phone calls are very hit and miss,” he said.

Australia owns the big picture thanks to an expensive and extensive network of listening posts in Jakarta, Bangkok and Port Moresby and powerful satellite ground stations at HMAS Harman in Canberra, Shoal Bay near Darwin, Morundah near Wagga in NSW, Cabarlah near Toowoomba in Qld and Geraldton in WA.

This interception network is monitoring communications from Singapore to the Pacific Islands including Indonesia’s Palapa satellite.

Professor Ball said there had been huge growth in Australia’s eavesdropping capacity in recent years. For example the number of dishes at Shoal Bay has gone from six to 15 and Geraldton has more than doubled its capacity including six American dishes for the exclusive use of the National Security Agency (NSA) whose lax security allowed Edward Snowden to abscond with top-secret information that is now being leaked.

Unfortunately Australian taxpayers have no way of knowing how much is spent on these facilities or even how many staff are employed by the top-secret ASD. The numbers used to appear in the Defence annual report, but not anymore.

Professor Ball said successive governments had allowed the electronic spooks to have a virtual free rein.

“When briefings about the phone intercepts from SBY and his wife came in the government should have ordered the tapping to stop,” Professor Ball said.

“It is important to have the capacity but you only use it when there is a conflict. Put it in, test it and keep it up to date, but don’t use it because unless you have to because it will come out.”

Professor Ball also slammed Mr Abbott for saying that other countries (Indonesia) were doing exactly what Australia did, because they weren’t and they can’t.

“They are not doing what we are doing and Abbott should have apologised or done what Bob Hawke did with Papua New Guinea in 1983.”

Prime Minister Hawke went to Port Moresby after it was revealed that Australia spied on politicians there, but before he left he ordered the spooks switch to all monitoring equipment off for 48 hours. He was then able to say that Australia wasn’t doing it although as journalist Laurie Oakes pointed out he had to be “very careful with his tenses”.

Tapping a friendly foreign leader’s phone is fraught enough. Recording the fact on clear power point slides and handing them to another country is just plain dumb.

IAN MCPHEDRAN NATIONAL DEFENCE WRITER
NEWS LIMITED NETWORK
NOVEMBER 21, 2013 6:34PM

Find this story at 21 November 2013

News Ltd 2013 Copyright

Spying rocks Indonesia-Australia relations

Indonesia has officially downgraded the relationship, after Australia refused to apologise for espionage.

A spy scandal involving an Australian attempt to tap the phone of Indonesia’s president has jeopardised crucial people smuggling and counter-terrorism co-operation between the two countries, officials have said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has temporarily suspended co-coordinated military operations with Australia, including those which target people-smuggling, after significant public outcry in Indonesia over the reports.

“I find it personally hard to comprehend why the tapping was done. We are not in a cold war era,” President Yudhoyono said.
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“I know Indonesians are upset and angry over what Australia has done to Indonesia. Our reactions will determine the future of the relationship and friendship between Indonesia and Australia – which actually have been going well.”

Angry crowds mobbed Australia’s embassy in Jakarta, burning Australian and American flags on Thursday. Indonesia has officially downgraded its relationship with Australia and recalled its ambassador from Canberra.

‘Reasonable’ surveillance

The country’s prime minister, Tony Abbott, has refused to apologise for what he calls “reasonable” surveillance, but promised to respond to the president’s request for an explanation “swiftly and courteously”.

“I want to express … my deep and sincere regret about the embarrassment to the president and to Indonesia that’s been caused by recent media reporting,” Abbott told parliament.

“As always, I am absolutely committed to building the closest possible relationship with Indonesia because that is overwhelmingly in the interests of both our countries.”
I don’t believe Australia should be expected to apologise for reasonable intelligence-gathering activities

Tony Abbott, Australian Prime Minister

The situation erupted after documents leaked by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, showed Australia’s Defence Signal’s Directorate recorded personal communications of President Yudhoyono, his wife, Ani Yudhoyono, and senior officials in 2009.

The surveillance is understood to be part of a longstanding spying arrangement with the UK, USA, Canada and New Zealand, known as the “five eyes” intelligence partners.

“I don’t believe Australia should be expected to apologise for reasonable intelligence-gathering activities,” Abbott told Australia’s parliament on Tuesday.

“Importantly, in Australia’s case, we use all our resources including information to help our friends and allies, not to harm them,” Abbott said.

The document leaked by Snowden was dated November 2009 and was published jointly by Guardian Australia and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation state television network.

It details the attempted interception of various targets’ mobile phones and lists their specific phone models with slides marked “top secret” and the Australian Signals Directorate’s slogan: “Reveal their secrets, protect our own.”

This leak came after previous documents released by Snowden revealed Australian embassies had participated in
widespread US surveillance across Asia, including in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.

Strained relations

The combined revelations have strained a bilateral relationship already under pressure over the Abbott government’s hardline asylum seeker policy to “turn back” boats coming to Australia, a controversial and highly emotive issue in the country.

Professor Greg Fealy is an Indonesian politics specialist at the Australian National University. He told Al Jazeera the situation was becoming increasingly serious.

“Every new day brings new sanctions from the Indonesian side and so far the Abbott government hasn’t responded well to it,” Fealy said.

He believes relations between the two countries have not been this strained since the East Timor crisis in 1999, when Australia’s military went into East Timor during its transition from an Indonesian territory to independence.

“It has the potential to get worse, with the Indonesians withdrawing further cooperation [with Australia] in many fields,” Fealy said.

“If there is a sufficiently wide range of retaliation then this could possibly be worse than the crisis of 15 years ago.”

Prime Minister Abbott has been encouraged to reassure President Yudhoyono that no further surveillance is taking place – similar to the conversation between US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel after
revelations her phone was also tapped.

John McCarthy, a former Australian ambassador to Indonesia, said Abbott must contact Yudhoyono to make amends.

“There is nothing, frankly, to prevent the prime minister saying to the president that it’s not happening and it’s not going to happen in the future. That’s what Obama did with Angela Merkel and I don’t see a problem with that,”
McCarthy said.

“It can’t be allowed just to fester. If it festers it will get worse and it will be much harder to deal with, particularly as the politics get hotter in Indonesia.”

US blame

Australian officials would also be expressing their frustration with the United States over this situation, according to Michael Wesley, professor of national security at the Australian National University.

“There are a number of reasons Australian officials can legitimately be very irritated with the Americans. We’re in this mess because of an American security lapse,” Wesley told Al Jazeera.

“I’m actually gobsmacked at both Snowden and Bradley Manning, at their ability to get highly classified documents and download them. It would be absolutely impossible for people of their level of access to do that in Australia.”

“There should be real questions asked in the American intelligence community how this could have happened,” Professor Wesley said.

Former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake said the “five eyes” utilise each other’s services for information on other nations.

“Much of it is legit, but increasingly since 9/11 because of the sheer power of technology and access to the world’s communication systems … [agencies have] extraordinary access to even more data on just about anything and anybody,” Drake told ABC.

Indonesia’s minister for religious affairs, Suryadharma Ali, also cancelled a planned visit to Australia following the response from Yudhoyono.

Author and Indonesian political expert Professor Damien Kingsbury was due to host Ali at an event in Melbourne, and
told Al Jazeera the snub was a concerning sign of the deterioration in relations.

“It is still quite significant that a senior minister felt he couldn’t come to Australia at this time,” Kingsbury said.

“It’s pretty disastrous, the issue has effectively ended ongoing diplomatic engagement between Australia and Indonesia.”

“We’ve seen the cancellation and suspension of a number of points of engagement and that has quite distinct implications for Australian government policy in some areas. There is the possibility this matter could continue to escalate if it’s not adequately resolved,” Kingsbury said.

‘Uncomfortable’

The bilateral relationship between the two nations will be “uncomfortable” but it will pass, according to former US assistant secretary of state for East Asia, Kurt Campbell.

“The relationship will be strong again, but there is a ritual quality that I’m afraid you [Australia] will have to go through, and very little you can say now or do is going to ease the next couple of months,” Campbell told ABC.

He said the practice of phone-tapping was an acceptable part of international relations.

“I can tell you that some of the most sensitive spying is done by allies and friends.”

“Some of the most difficult foreign policy challenges – terrorist attacks – actually emanated in Indonesia. Australia has good cause to understand the delicate dynamics that play out behind the scenes with regard to how Indonesia’s thinking about some of those movements and some of the actors inside its country,” Campbell said.

Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten said the “vital” relationship between the two countries must be repaired.

“No-one should underestimate what is at stake in maintaining this critical relationship on the best possible terms.

“Co-operation between our countries is fundamental to our national interest – working together on people smuggling, terrorism, trade,” Shorten wrote in an opinion piece for The Guardian.

Prime Minister Abbott is expected to respond to Indonesia’s request for a full written explanation into the phone tapping in the coming days.

Geraldine Nordfeldt Last updated: 22 Nov 2013 15:00

Find this story at 22 November 2013

Indonesia voices anger at Australia alleged spying

(CNN) — Indonesia summoned the Australian ambassador Monday to voice its anger at allegations that Australia tried to listen into the phone calls of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Greg Moriarty. Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia, “took careful note of the issues raised and will report back to the Australian Government,” the Australian embassy in Jakarta said.

Indonesia’s objections stem from reports in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Guardian Australia that said Australian intelligence tracked Yudhoyono’s mobile phone for 15 days in August 2009, monitoring the calls he made and received.
‘We live in a post-Snowden age’
Stone: ‘We’ve bugged the whole world’
Fareed’s Take: Spying on allies

The intelligence agency also tried to listen in on what was said on at least one occasion. But the call was less than a minute long and could not be successfully tapped, ABC reported.

The two media outlets cited documents provided by Edward Snowden, the U.S. national security contractor turned leaker.

“The Australian Government urgently needs to clarify on this news, to avoid further damage,” Indonesian presidential spokesman Teuku Faizasyah tweeted.

“The damage has been done and now trust must be rebuilt,” he said in another tweet.

Asked in parliament to comment on the reports, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, “all governments gather information and all governments know that every other government gathers information.”

“The Australian Government never comments on specific intelligence matters,” he added. “This has been the long tradition of governments of both political persuasions and I don’t intend to change that today.”

By the CNN Staff
November 18, 2013 — Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)

Find this story at 18 November 2013

© 2013 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Australia spied on Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, leaked Edward Snowden documents reveal

Video: Watch: Michael Brissenden on how leaked documents prove Australia spied on SBY (ABC News)
Photo: The documents show the DSD tracked activity on Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s mobile phone. (Reuters: Supri)
Related Story: Live: Follow the unfolding reaction to this story
Map: Australia

Australian intelligence tried to listen in to Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s mobile phone, material leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

Documents obtained by the ABC and Guardian Australia, from material leaked by the former contractor at the US National Security Agency, show Australian intelligence attempted to listen in to Mr Yudhoyono’s telephone conversations on at least one occasion and tracked activity on his mobile phone for 15 days in August 2009.
Spy games explained

Australia’s role in the NSA spy program, including what it means for Indonesian relations.

The top-secret documents are from Australia’s electronic intelligence agency, the Defence Signals Directorate (now called the Australian Signals Directorate), and show for the first time how far Australian spying on Indonesia has reached.

The DSD motto stamped on the bottom of each page reads: “Reveal their secrets – protect our own.”

The documents show that Australian intelligence actively sought a long-term strategy to continue to monitor the president’s mobile phone activity.

The surveillance targets also included senior figures in his inner circle and even the president’s wife Kristiani Herawati (also known as Ani Yudhoyono).

Also on the list of targets is the vice president Boediono, the former vice president Yussuf Kalla, the foreign affairs spokesman, the security minister, and the information minister.

Mr Yudhoyono’s spokesman Teuku Faizasyah has responded to the revelations, saying: “The Australian Government needs to clarify this news, to avoid further damage … [but] the damage has been done.”

Asked about the spying in Question Time today, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: “First of all, all governments gather information and all governments know that every other government gathers information… the Australian government never comments on specific intelligence matters. This has been the long tradition of governments of both political persuasions and I don’t intend to change that today.”
Documents list ‘who’s who’ of Indonesian government

One page in the documentation lists the names and the 3G handsets the surveillance targets were using at the time.

A number of the people on the list are lining up as potential candidates for the presidential election to replace Mr Yudhoyono next year.

The documents are titled “3G impact and update” and appear to chart the attempts by Australian intelligence to keep pace with the rollout of 3G technology in Indonesia and across South-East Asia.

A number of intercept options are listed and a recommendation is made to choose one of them and to apply it to a target – in this case the Indonesian leadership.

The document shows how DSD monitored the call activity on Mr Yudhoyono’s Nokia handset for 15 days in August 2009.

One page is titled “Indonesian President voice events” and provides what is called a CDR view. CDR are call data records; it can monitor who is called and who is calling but not necessarily what was said.

Another page shows that on at least one occasion Australian intelligence did attempt to listen in to one of Mr Yudhoyono’s conversations.

But according to the notes on the bottom of the page, the call was less than one minute long and therefore did not last long enough to be successfully tapped.
Factbox: Indonesia and Australia
Indonesia is one of Australia’s most important bilateral relationships.
Indonesia was Australia’s 12th largest trade partner in 2012.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has pledged to increase two-way trade and investment flows.
President Yudhoyono has visited Australia four times during his presidency, more than any predecessor.
Asylum seekers remain a sticking point in relations; Australia seeks active cooperation.
In 2012-13, Australia’s aid assistance to Indonesia was worth an estimated $541.6 million.

Source: http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/indonesia/indonesia_brief.html

Given the diplomatic furore that has already surrounded the claims that the Australian embassy in Jakarta was involved in general spying on Indonesia, these revelations of specific and targetted surveillance activity at the highest level are sure to increase the tension with our nearest and most important neighbour significantly.

On an official visit to Canberra last week, the Indonesian vice president publicly expressed Indonesia’s concern.

“Yes, the public in Indonesia is concerned about this,” Boediono said.

“I think we must look to come to some arrangement that guarantees intelligence information from each side is not used against the other.”

Last week Prime Minister Tony Abbott was keen to play down the significance of the spying allegations, saying that he was very pleased “we have such a close, cooperative and constructive relationship with the Indonesian government”.

That may be a little harder to say today.

By national defence correspondent Michael Brissenden
Updated Mon 18 Nov 2013, 8:11pm AEDT

Find this story at 18 November 2013

© 2013 ABC

Australia’s spy agencies targeted Indonesian president’s mobile phone

Secret documents revealed by Edward Snowden show Australia tried to monitor the mobile calls of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, accompanied by his first lady, Kristiani Herawati, speaks to his Democratic party supporters during a rally in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, in March 2009. Photograph: Supri/Reuters

Australia’s spy agencies have attempted to listen in on the personal phone calls of the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and have targeted the mobile phones of his wife, senior ministers and confidants, a top-secret document from whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

The document, dated November 2009, names the president and nine of his inner circle as targets of the surveillance, including the vice-president, Boediono, who last week visited Australia. Other named targets include ministers from the time who are now possible candidates in next year’s Indonesian presidential election, and the first lady, Kristiani Herawati, better known as Ani Yudhoyono.

When a separate document from Snowden, a former contractor to the US’s National Security Agency (NSA), showed Australia had spied on Indonesia and other countries from its embassies, the Indonesian foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, reacted angrily and threatened to review co-operation on issues crucial to Australia such as people smuggling and terrorism.

The revelation strained a bilateral relationship already under pressure over the Abbott government’s policy to “turn back” boats of asylum seekers coming to Australia. The new leak, published jointly by Guardian Australia and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, reveals the specific top-level targets and is likely to seriously escalate those tensions.

The leaked material is a slide presentation, marked top secret, from the Australian Department of Defence and the Defence Signals Directorate, or DSD, (now called the Australian Signals Directorate), dealing with the interception of mobile phones as 3G technology was introduced in Asia. It includes a slide titled Indonesian President Voice Intercept, dated August 2009 and another slide, titled IA Leadership Targets + Handsets, listing the president and the first lady as having Nokia E90-1s, Boediono as having a BlackBerry Bold 9000, as well as the type and make of the mobile phones held by the other targets.

Also named as targets for the surveillance are Dino Patti Djalal, at the time the president’s foreign affairs spokesman, who recently resigned as Indonesia’s ambassador to the US and is seeking the candidacy in next year’s presidential election for the president’s embattled Democratic party, and Hatta Rajasa, now minister for economic affairs and possible presidential candidate for the National Mandate party. Hatta was at the time minister for transport and his daughter is married to the president’s youngest son.

A slide entitled Indonesian President Voice Intercept (August ’09), shows a call from an unknown number in Thailand to Yudhoyono. But the call did not last long enough for the DSD to fulfil its aims. “Nil further info at this time (didn’t make the dev threshold – only a sub-1minute call),” a note at the bottom says.

Another slide, titled Indonesian President Voice Events, has a graphic of calls on Yudhoyono’s Nokia handset over 15 days in August 2009. It plots CDRs – call data records – which record the numbers called and calling a phone, the duration of calls, and whether it was a voice call or SMS. The agency, in what is standard procedure for surveillance, appears to have expanded its operations to include the calls of those who had been in touch with the president. Another slide, entitled Way Forward, states an imperative: “Must have content.”

Also on the list of “IA Leadership Targets” are:

• Jusuf Kalla, the former vice-president who ran as the Golkar party presidential candidate in 2009.

• Sri Mulyani Indrawati, then a powerful and reforming finance minister and since 2010 one of the managing directors of the World Bank Group.

• Andi Mallarangeng, a former commentator and television host who was at the time the president’s spokesman, and who was later minister for youth and sports before resigning amid corruption allegations.

• Sofyan Djalil, described on the slide as a “confidant”, who until October 2009 was minister for state-owned enterprises.

• Widodo Adi Sucipto, a former head of the Indonesian military who was until October 2009 security minister.

Asked about the previous revelations about the embassies, Tony Abbott emphasised that they occurred during the administration of the former Labor government, that Australia’s activities were not so much “spying” as “research” and that its intention would always be to use any information “for good”. The prime minister has repeatedly insisted Australia’s relationship with Indonesia is “good and getting better”.

Boediono said during his visit to Australia – before being revealed as an intended target of Australia’s surveillance – that the Indonesian public was “concerned” about the spying allegations.

“I think we must look forward to come to some arrangement which guarantees that intelligence information from each side is not used against the other,” he said. “There must be a system.”

At the bottom of each slide in the 2009 presentation is the DSD slogan: “Reveal their secrets – protect our own.” The DSD is credited with supplying the information.

Yudhoyono now joins his German, Brazilian and Mexican counterparts as leaders who have been monitored by a member of Five Eyes, the collective name for the surveillance agencies of the US, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, who share information.

Germany, Brazil and Mexico have all protested to the US over the infringement of privacy by a country they regarded as friendly. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, reacted with outrage to the revelation that her personal mobile phone had been tapped by the US, calling President Barack Obama to demand an explanation. The US eventually assured the chancellor that her phone was “not currently being tapped and will not be in the future”.

The Australian slide presentation, dated November 2009, deals with the interception of 3G mobile phones, saying the introduction of 3G in south-east Asia was nearly complete and providing dates for 3G rollout in Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Talking about future plans, the Australian surveillance service says it “must have content” and be able to read encrypted messages, which would require acquiring the keys that would unlock them. Other documents from Snowden show the intelligence agencies have made huge inroads in recent years in finding ways into encrypted messages.

One of the slides, entitled DSD Way Forward, acknowledges that the spy agency’s resources are limited compared with its US and British counterparts. It says there is a “need to capitalise on UKUSA and industry capability”, apparently a reference to the help provided – willingly or under pressure – from telecom and internet companies. The slides canvass “options” for continued surveillance and the final slide advises: “Choose an option and apply it to a target (like Indonesian leadership).”

The tension between Australia and Indonesia began in October when documents revealed by the German newspaper Der Spiegel and published by Fairfax newspapers revealed that Australian diplomatic posts across Asia were being used to intercept phone calls and data. The Guardian then revealed that the DSD worked alongside America’s NSA to mount a massive surveillance operation in Indonesia during a UN climate change conference in Bali in 2007.

But these earlier stories did not directly involve the president or his entourage. Abbott made his first international trip as prime minister to Indonesia and has repeatedly emphasised the crucial importance of the bilateral relationship.

Speaking after his meeting with Boediono last week, Abbott said: “All countries, all governments gather information. That’s hardly a surprise. It’s hardly a shock.

“We use the information that we gather for good, including to build a stronger relationship with Indonesia and one of the things that I have offered to do today in my discussions with the Indonesian vice-president is to elevate our level of information-sharing because I want the people of Indonesia to know that everything, everything that we do is to help Indonesia as well as to help Australia. Indonesia is a country for which I have a great deal of respect and personal affection based on my own time in Indonesia.”

Asked about the spying revelations in a separate interview, Abbott said: “To use the term spying, it’s kind of loaded language … researching maybe. Talking to people. Understanding what’s going on.”

On Monday a spokesman for Abbott said: “Consistent with the long-standing practice of Australian governments, and in the interest of national security, we do not comment on intelligence matters.”

It remains unclear exactly who will contest next year’s Indonesian presidential election, in which Yudhoyono, having already served two terms, is not eligible to stand. Based on recent polling, the popular governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, and former general Prabowo Subianto would be frontrunners.

Ewen MacAskill in New York and Lenore Taylor in Canberra
theguardian.com, Monday 18 November 2013 00.58 GMT

Find this story at 18 November 2013

Find the documents at

 

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Australian spy agency helped BHP negotiate trade deals

An apology is the least Indonesia can expect from Australia following revelations of electronic spying, according to Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.

BHP was among the companies helped by Australian spy agencies as they negotiated trade deals with Japan, a former Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer says.

A former diplomat has also confirmed Australian intelligence agencies have long targeted Japanese companies. Writing in The Japan Times, Professor Gregory Clark said Australian companies were beneficiaries of intelligence operations.

“In Australia, favoured firms getting spy material on Japanese contract policies and other business negotiations used to joke how [it had] ‘fallen off the back of a truck’,” Professor Clark wrote.

“BHP knew we were giving them secret intelligence. They lapped it up.”

Business information is a main target for [intelligence] agencies, he said. “The targeting is also highly corrupting since the information can be passed on selectively to co-operative firms – often firms that provide employment and cover for spy operatives.”
Professor Clark’s observations are supported by a former Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer who said that commercial information became a priority after the global economic turmoil of the 1970s.

“Suddenly [the Australian government] wanted to know what the demand would be for Australian iron ore and other commodities, and just what price the Japanese were prepared to pay for steel,” the former intelligence officer said.

“We gave market information [to] major companies like BHP which were helpful to us, and officers at overseas stations would trade snippets with some of their commercial contacts … BHP knew we were giving them secret intelligence. They lapped it up.”

The former spy says informal exchanges with business executives were continuing when he retired in the 1990s. More recently, US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and published by Fairfax Media in 2011 revealed former BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers privately offered “to trade confidences” with US officials about China.

”Kloppers has a keen interest in learning everything he can about the Chinese and is not shy about asking us for our impressions,” US Consul-General Michael Thurston reported to Washington in 2009. BHP declined to comment at the time.

The US and Britain have repeatedly denied charges of economic espionage following the disclosures of US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. Australia says it is longstanding policy not to comment on intelligence matters.

Australian National University international relations expert Dr Michael McKinley said: ”While most countries might have suspicions … the revelation of economic espionage has the potential to be highly embarrassing.”

Professor Clark also highlights the potential for secret intelligence to harm diplomatic relations.

After leaving the Australian foreign service in the mid 1960s because of his opposition to Australia’s participation in the Vietnam War, Professor Clark pursued a distinguished academic career in Japan.

However as an Australian Government consultant he was also involved in policy making on Australian-Japanese relations in 1974-76.

In his memoirs, Professor Clark recalls how “a piece of phoney information from an incompetent ASIS spy in Tokyo desperate to impress superiors” was used by conservative Canberra bureaucrats to stall trade negotiations with Japan during the Whitlam Labor Government.

“[E]ven when it is clear that the information is unreliable and the spies are out of control, it is hard for anyone to complain or disagree,” he says.

November 7, 2013
Philip Dorling

Find this story at 7 November 2013

Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media

KGB ‘recruited’ two politicians as agents

KGB station chief Ivan Stenin (right) and his successor, Geronty Lazovik, in Canberra in 1971.

A KGB officer ran two Australian federal parliamentarians as Soviet agents in the 1970s, according to a confidential account of ASIO counter-espionage operations during the Cold War.

ASIO also tried to persuade a Russian military intelligence officer to defect by offering him treatment in the US for his stomach cancer.

In an unusually candid document obtained by Fairfax Media, a former senior ASIO officer lists known Soviet intelligence officers in Australia and reveals numerous details of ASIO’s counter-espionage efforts. Much of the information remains classified.

The account by the former counter-espionage specialist confirms that Soviet intelligence was very active in Australia throughout the Cold War and that ASIO’s counter-espionage efforts had only limited success.
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The document reveals ASIO’s bid in the 1970s to induce a senior military intelligence officer, Yuriy Ivanovich Stepanenko, to defect.

ASIO offered the Russian, who had stomach cancer, ”the best facilities in the world” at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore ”if he wanted to jump”.

According to the former ASIO officer, the Russian was “tempted but didn’t live much longer”.

The document also details how ASIO’s bugging operations revealed in the late 1960s and early 1970s that KGB officer Vladimir Aleksandrovich Aleksyev was “running two Australian politicians as agents, using tradecraft of a fairly high order”.

Aleksyev was followed by Vladimir Yevgenyevich Tulayev, “a hard-eyed, well-dressed thug” who, according to declassified ASIO documents, was also “aggressively involved in intelligence operations in Australia”.

Geronty Lazovik, another “definite agent runner”, was much more urbane and developed a wide range of contacts across Federal Parliament by targeting Labor politicians, staffers and lobbyists. However, ASIO director-general Peter Barbour delayed recommending that Tulayev and Lazovik be expelled before the 1972 federal election for fear of triggering political controversy.

Declassified documents show that after the election the new Labor prime minister, Gough Whitlam, was concerned about ASIO’s investigations causing diplomatic embarrassment. Neither KGB officer was expelled and the government suspended ASIO’s phone taps on the Soviet embassy.

Lazovik was reportedly later awarded a medal for his work in Australia. The award was for “allegedly recruiting a top agent in ASIO, Defence or [the Department of Foreign Affairs]”, according to the former ASIO officer.

The document also sheds light on the 1983 Combe-Ivanov affair in which the Hawke Labor government blackballed former Labor national secretary and political lobbyist David Combe because of his involvement with KGB officer Valery Ivanov, who was expelled from Australia.

The former ASIO officer says that Ivanov recruited a cipher clerk in the Indonesian embassy and that ASIO approached the Indonesians to agree to “a joint operation running the cipher clerk back against Ivanov”. However, the proposed double-agent operation had to aborted because of Ivanov’s expulsion.

“The farewell party for Ivanov was bugged and revealing. He had been roundly castigated by [fellow KGB officer] Koshlyakov for going too far, too soon, and wasn’t very happy at that,” the former ASIO officer says.

October 14, 2013
Philip Dorling

Find this story at 14 October 2013

Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media

Embassy Row: Charges of U.S. spying erupt in Asia

The U.S. spying scandal is spreading to Asia, where the foreign ministers of Malaysia and Indonesia have chastised American diplomats and publicly denounced the National Security Agency.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman also complained to Australian diplomats after reports that Australian intelligence agencies were cooperating with the NSA.

The Sydney Morning Herald last week reported that the U.S. embassies in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand are engaged in electronic surveillance of the governments in those South Asian nations.

Mr. Aman on Friday summoned Lee McClenny, the deputy ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia, and Miles Kupa, the Australian ambassador in Kuala Lumpur. Mr. McClenny represented U.S. Ambassador Joseph Y. Yun, who was out of town.

The foreign minister delivered protest notes to each diplomat “in response to the alleged spying activities carried out by the two embassies” in the Malaysian capital.

In Indonesia, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa last week complained to Kristen F. Bauer, who has been acting U.S. ambassador since Ambassador ScotMarciel left Jakarta in July.

“Indonesia cannot accept and protests strongly over the report about wiretapping facilities at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta,” the foreign minister told reporters.

PLAYING BALL

President Obama stepped up to the plate to reward a loyal political supporter who once played outfield for his favorite baseball team, the Chicago White Sox.

Mr. Obama last week nominated Mark D. Gilbert to serve as ambassador to New Zealand.

Mr. Gilbert, who spent only 11 days in the major leagues during the 1985 season, is believed to be the only former professional baseball player to be nominated for such a high rank in the U.S. diplomatic service.

“Baseball is America’s pastime, so what better way to represent the United States overseas than with someone who began his career as a major league baseball player?” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told The Associated Press.

Mr. Gilbert, a 57-year-old bank executive and former Obama fundraiser, played in only seven games for the White Sox before he was sent back to a minor league team in Buffalo, N.Y. He also served two terms as deputy finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

By James Morrison
The Washington Times
Sunday, November 3, 2013

Find this story at 3 November 2013

© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC.

Listening post revealed on Cocos Islands

Australia’s electronic spy agency is intercepting Indonesian naval and military communications through a secret radio listening post on the remote Cocos Islands.

According to former defence officials, the Defence Signals Directorate runs the signals interception and monitoring base on Australia’s Indian Ocean territory, 1100 kilometres south-west of Java.

Along with the better-known Shoal Bay Receiving Station near Darwin, the previously unreported Cocos Island facility forms a key part of Australia’s signals intelligence efforts targeting Indonesia.

Known locally as ”the house without windows”, it includes radio monitoring and direction-finding equipment and a satellite ground station. But the station is of little help in combating people smuggling, according to the former intelligence officers.

The station has never been publicly acknowledged by the government, nor previously reported in the media, despite operating for more than two decades.

The Defence Department would not comment, and said only that it hosts ”a communications station” that formed part of the wider defence communications network.

But former defence officers have confirmed that the station is a Defence Signals Directorate facility devoted to maritime and military surveillance, especially Indonesian naval, air force and military communications.

Google Earth imagery of the property, discreetly placed amid coconut palm groves on the south-east part of West Island, shows four cleared areas each with radio mast sets, including a 44-metre-wide ”circularly disposed antenna array” for high-frequency and very high-frequency radio direction finding.

Australian National University intelligence expert Des Ball said the facility was operated remotely from the Defence Signals Directorate headquarters at Russel Hill, in Canberra. Intercepted signals are encrypted and relayed to Canberra.

He said preparations for the Cocos station began in the late 1980s, and involved a highly secretive signals intelligence group, the Royal Australian Air Force’s No. 3 Telecommunications Unit.

In the face of what it described as ”extremely challenging logistics”, an Adelaide-based company, Australian Satellite Communication, then installed a communications satellite earth station at the facility.

The Cocos Island signals intelligence station forms part of broad Australian espionage efforts directed at the Indonesian government.

As reported by Fairfax Media on Thursday, these programs include a covert Defence Signals Directorate surveillance facility at the Australian embassy in Jakarta. One former defence intelligence officer said Australia’s monitoring of Indonesian communications was ”very effective” and allowed assessments of the seriousness of Indonesian efforts to combat people smuggling.

But the former intelligence officer said the Cocos and Shoal Bay facilities were of ”limited utility” in finding vessels carrying asylum seekers that avoided using radios or satellite phones until they contacted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Richard Tanter, of the Nautilus Institute of Security and Sustainability, said the Cocos Islands station was likely to be intercepting increasing volumes of naval and military communications.

”With the increasing Australian and US interest in the Indian Ocean region, it is likely to become more important,” he said.

Date: November 01 2013

Philip Dorling

 Find this story at 1 November 2013

 

 

Copyright © 2013
Fairfax Media

Spy expert says Australia operating as ‘listening post’ for US agencies including the NSA

Spy expert says Australia operating as ‘listening post’ for US agencies including the NSA

A veteran spy watcher claims Australia is playing a role in America’s intelligence networks by monitoring vast swathes of the Asia Pacific region and feeding information to the US.

Intelligence expert Professor Des Ball says the Australian Signals Directorate – formerly known as the Defence Signals Directorate – is sharing information with the National Security Agency (NSA).

The NSA is the agency at the heart of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaks, and has recently been accused of tapping into millions of phone calls of ordinary citizens in France, Germany and Spain.

Mr Ball says Australia has been monitoring the Asia Pacific region for the US using local listening posts.

“You can’t get into the information circuits and play information warfare successfully unless you’re into the communications of the higher commands in [the] various countries in our neighbourhood,” he told Lateline.

Mr Ball says Australia has four key facilities that are part of the XKeyscore program, the NSA’s controversial computer system that searches and analyses vast amounts of internet data.

They include the jointly-run Pine Gap base near Alice Springs, a satellite station outside Geraldton in Western Australia, a facility at Shoal Bay, near Darwin, and a new centre in Canberra.

Mr Ball says security is the focus for Australia’s intelligence agencies.

“At the top of [the list of priorities] you’re going to find communications relating to terrorist activities, particularly if there’s alerts about particular incidents,” Mr Ball said.

A secret map released by Snowden revealed the US had also set up surveillance facilities in embassies and consulates, including in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Yangon, Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai and Beijing.

“Australia itself has used foreign embassies for listening purposes [in] an operation codenamed Reprieve … in which we’ve used embassies in our region to monitor local, essentially microwave-relayed telephone conversations,” Mr Ball said.

“The fact that the United States has special collection elements that are doing this today is no different from what many other countries are doing today. It’s not unusual.”

Some critics have raised concerns about the extent of the NSA’s spying program, suggesting that communications of ordinary Australians may have been pried on.

Xenophon calls on Government to protect Australians from US surveillance

Mr Ball says Australia, the US, the UK, New Zealand and Canada have a long-standing “five eyes” agreement to not spy on each other, and he believes it has not been breached.

“The fact that it hasn’t [been breached] for over five decades I think signifies to the integrity of at least that part of the arrangement,” he said.

But independent Senator Nick Xenophon says the Government should do more to ensure Australians are not subject to the surveillence from US agencies.

“At the very least, the Australian Government should be calling in the US ambassador and asking whether the level of scrutiny, the level of access to citizens’ phone records in Germany, France and Spain, has been happening here,” he said.

“I think we deserve an answer on that.”

Former NSA executive lifts lid on spy practices

In 2010, former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake was charged with leaking government secrets to a journalist.

He was tried under the US espionage act but his case was ultimately reduced to a minor misdemeanour charge. He escaped a jail sentence after a finding that the information he disclosed was not classified.

He agrees with Mr Ball that the US has not breached its spying agreement with Australia.

But he told Lateline those five nations do “utilise each other’s services” to gather information on other “fair game” nations.

“Much of it is legit, but increasingly since 9/11 because of the sheer power of technology and access to the world’s communication systems … [agencies have] extraordinary access to even more data on just about anything and anybody,” he told Lateline.

“And what they want is to do so and have access to it any time, anywhere, any place.”

US moves to ease concerns about NSA

US president Barack Obama has come under fierce criticism over allegations that the NSA tapped the mobile phone of German chancellor Angela Merkel and conducted widespread electronic snooping in France, Italy, Spain and elsewhere.

Amid a growing uproar, White House officials have said they will review intelligence collection programs with an eye to narrowing their scope.

“We need to make sure that we’re collecting intelligence in a way that advances our security needs and that we don’t just do it because we can,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Mr Drake says it is alarming that a nation would spy on those it considers allies.

“Spying on others is considered the world’s second oldest profession and so the idea that nation states would engage in spying on others is no surprise, not at all,” he said.

“I think what’s particularly pernicious here is the fact we’re actually listening on the personal communications of the highest levels of governments in countries that are supposed to be our allies and are actually partnered with us in ensuring that we deal and defend against threats to international order and stability.”

Spying ‘done behind the veil of secrecy’

He says most countries go along with US requests for data.

“It’s heavy stuff and when it’s done behind the veil of secrecy, outside the public view then hey, it’s whatever you can get away with because you can,” he said.

“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should and I actually think it’s encouraging the countries are standing up against the US in this regard because it is overreach.

“It really is going far beyond the mandate to ensure international order and stability, even in partnership with other countries.

“The real fundamental threat here though is ultimately the sovereignty of individuals, who we are as people. We’re supposed to have rights.

“What’s happened after 9/11 is now security has kind of taken primacy over rights and liberties because of the real or perceived threat.”

Snowden ‘aware his revelations have been explosive’

Snowden is currently holed up in Russia after leaking information about America’s vast surveillance operations.

Mr Drake recently met Snowden in Moscow, and says the former NSA contractor is aware his disclosures have been “quite explosive”.

“His focus is on reform. His focus is on rolling back the surveillance data. His focus is repealing many of the enabling act legislation that put all this into place, or at least enabled the government in secrecy to expand the surveillance date far beyond its original mandate,” Mr Drake said.

“He’s obviously grateful that he’s got temporary asylum in Russia. I don’t think it was certainly not a place he was planning on going to or remaining in for any length of time.

“He’s looking forward, at some point in the future, to returning to the US but that’s certainly not possible right now.

“The US has already levied serious charges against him including the same charges that they levied against me under the espionage act.”

By Jason Om and staff –
October 30, 2013, 11:54 am

Find this story at 30 October 2013

Copyright © 2013 Yahoo!7 Pty Limited.

Stateroom

STATEROOM sites are covert SIGINT collection sites located in diplomatic facilities abroad. SIGINT agencies hosting such sites include SCS (at U.S> diplomatic facilities), Government Communications headquarters or GCHQ (at British diplomatic facilities), Communication Security Establishments or CSE (at Canadian diplomatic facilities), and Defense Signals Directorate (at Australian diplomatic facilities). These sites are small in size and in the number of personnel staffing them. They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned.”

Find this story at 27 October 2013

Outrage at alleged U.S. spying efforts gathers steam in Asian capitals

China’s government is “severely concerned about the reports and demands a clarification and explanation,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said. Government officials in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand – all U.S. allies – made similarly angry statements.

“Indonesia strongly protests the existence of a tapping facility in the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said. “If it’s confirmed, such action is not only a breach of security, but also a serious violation of diplomatic norms and ethics, and certainly not in tune with the spirit of friendly relations between nations.”

The Asian leaders were reacting to a report this week in the German magazine Der Spiegel and a Sydney Morning Herald article Thursday that named cities in which embassies are used for electronic surveillance by the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – a group of intelligence partners known as the “5-eyes.”

The reports were based on a secret National Security Agency document that was leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden and first published by Der Spiegel. The Sydney newspaper, part of the Fairfax Media group, also included information provided by an unidentified former Australian intelligence officer.

Code-named STATEROOM, the program used disguised surveillance equipment in about 80 embassies and consulates worldwide, the Herald reported, adding that the equipment is concealed in roof maintenance sheds or as features of the building itself.

Nineteen of the diplomatic facilities are in Europe. The Asian embassies involved include those in Jakarta; Bangkok; Hanoi; Beijing; Dili, East Timor; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott declined to discuss the Herald report in detail, but he told reporters, “Every Australian governmental agency, every Australian official at home and abroad operates in accordance with the law, and that’s the assurance that I can give people at home and abroad.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, Australian intelligence expert Desmond Ball said he had seen covert antennas in five of the embassies named in the Australian media report. But Ball, a professor with the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defense Studies Center, declined to specify which embassies.

Notably absent from the list of countries reportedly under surveillance in the program are the staunchest U.S. allies in Asia, Japan and South Korea. This week, Japanese media reported that the NSA had asked the Japanese government in 2011 for permission to tap fiber-optic cables in Japan, which carries much traffic throughout East Asia, as a way to collect surveillance on China. But the Japanese government refused, citing legal hurdles and lack of manpower.

On Wednesday, in response to reports of U.S. surveillance of European leaders, the Chinese Foreign Ministry called cybersecurity “a matter of sovereignty” and said China was taking steps to increase its security, as well as joining Russia in backing a U.N. proposal to address such surveillance.

China’s state-run media have also roundly criticized the United States, with headlines declaring that the revelations would weaken U.S. global influence. Commentators accusedthe United States, which for years has complained of Chinese cyberattacks, of hypocrisy and demanded U.S. apologies.

According to U.S. security experts, Chinese cyberspies, including hackers affiliated with the Chinese military, have stolen industrial secrets for years and have penetrated powerful Washington institutions, including law firms, think tanks, news organizations, human rights groups, contractors, congressional offices, embassies and federal agencies.

Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said his government takes the reports seriously and is trying to confirm whether such intelligence gathering had taken place. “It is a sensitive issue since it involves several countries,” Zahid said.

The opposition party criticized Malaysia’s government for being too “submissive” in its reaction to the United States.

Lt. Gen. Paradorn Pattanatabut, secretary-general of Thailand’s National Security Council, said his government would tell Washington that such surveillance is against Thai law and that Thai security agencies have been put on alert.

If asked, Paradorn said, Thailand would not cooperate with such U.S. spying programs. But he also emphasized that “we believe that Thailand and the U.S. still enjoy good and cordial relations.”

Chico Harlan in Seoul contributed to this report.

Michael Birnbaum 12:00 PM ET

Find this story at 31 October 2013

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Australia accused of using embassies to spy on neighbours

Documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden contain details of surveillance collection programme across Asia

Australia’s embassies are part of a US-led global spying network and are being used to intercept calls and data across Asia, it has been claimed.

There are surveillance collection facilities at embassies in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing and Dili, and high commissions in Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby, Fairfax Media reports, with diplomats unaware of them.

Some of the details are in a secret US National Security Agency (NSA) document leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden and published by Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.

The document reveals the existence of a signals intelligence collection program – codenamed STATEROOM – conducted from sites at US embassies and consulates and from the diplomatic missions of intelligence partners including Australia, Britain and Canada.

The document says the Australian Defence Signals Directorate operates STATEROOM facilities “at Australian diplomatic facilities”.

“They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned,” the document says.

A former Australian Defence Intelligence officer told Fairfax the directorate conducted surveillance operations from Australian embassies across Asia and the Pacific.

The Department of Foreign Affairs would not comment on “intelligence matters”, Fairfax said.

The US has been embarrassed by media leaks from Snowden that the NSA listened in on the communications of dozens of foreign leaders, including the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Australian Associated Press
theguardian.com, Wednesday 30 October 2013 22.30 GMT

Find this story at 30 October 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Exposed: Australia’s Asia spy network

Leading intelligence and security academic Prof. Des Ball discusses the history of embassy spying and says Australia is a target in our own capital.

Australian embassies are being secretly used to intercept phone calls and data across Asia as part of a US-led global spying network, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden and a former Australian intelligence officer.

The top secret Defence Signals Directorate operates the clandestine surveillance facilities at embassies without the knowledge of most Australian diplomats.

International outcry: A Stop Watching US Rally in Washington D.C. Photo: Getty Images

The revelations come as the US has been left red-faced by news it has been eavesdropping on foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
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US President Barack Obama is said to be on the verge of ordering a halt to spying on the heads of allied governments following the international outcry.

Fairfax Media has been told that signals intelligence collection takes place from embassies in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing and Dili, and High Commissions in Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby, as well as other diplomatic posts.

Edward Snowden: Leaked a secret US National Security Agency document. Photo: Reuters

A secret US National Security Agency document leaked by Mr Snowden and published by Germany’s Der Speigel reveals the existence of a highly sensitive signals intelligence collection program conducted from sites at US embassies and consulates and from the diplomatic missions of other “Five eyes” intelligence partners including Australia, Britain and Canada.

Codenamed STATEROOM, the program involves the interception of radio, telecommunications and internet traffic.

The document explicitly states that the Australian Defence Signals Directorate operates STATEROOM facilities “at Australian diplomatic facilities”.

The document notes that the surveillance facilities “are small in size and in number of personnel staffing them”.

“They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned,” the document says.

The National Security Agency document also observed the facilities were carefully concealed: “For example antennas are sometimes hidden in false architectural features or roof maintenance sheds.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade declined to comment on the potential diplomatic implications of the disclosure. A departmental spokesperson said: “It is the long-standing practice of Australian governments not to comment on intelligence matters.”

The leaked NSA document does not identify the location of specific Defence Signals Directorate facilities overseas.

However, a former Australian Defence Intelligence officer has told Fairfax Media the directorate conducts surveillance operations from Australian embassies across Asia and the Pacific.

The former intelligence officer said the interception facility at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta played an important role in collecting intelligence on terrorist threats and people-smuggling, “but the main focus is political, diplomatic and economic intelligence”.

“The huge growth of mobile phone networks has been a great boon and Jakarta’s political elite are a loquacious bunch; even when they think their own intelligence services are listening they just keep talking,” the source said.

He said the Australian Consulate in Denpasar, Bali, has also been used for signals intelligence collection.

In June the East Timorese government complained publicly about Australian spying, including communications interception and bugging government offices during negotiations on the future of the Timor Gap oil and gas reserves.

Intelligence leaks to the media in the 1980s disclosed installation of ”extraordinarily sophisticated” intercept equipment in Australia’s High Commission in Port Moresby and in the Australian embassies in Jakarta and Bangkok.

Further leaks of top secret Defence Intelligence reports on Indonesia and East Timor in 1999 also indicated that Australia intelligence has extensive access to sensitive Indonesian military and civilian communications.

Intelligence expert Des Ball said the Defence Signals Directorate had long co-operated with the US in monitoring the Asia-Pacific region, including using listening posts in embassies and consulates.

“Knowing what our neighbours are really thinking is important for all sorts of diplomatic and trade negotiations,” Professor Ball told Fairfax Media.

October 31, 2013
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Philip Dorling

Find this story at 31 October 2013

Copyright © 2013
Fairfax Media

Australia Said to Play Part in N.S.A. Effort

BEIJING — Australia, a close ally of the United States, has used its embassies in Asia to collect intelligence as part of the National Security Agency’s global surveillance efforts, according to a document leaked by the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden and published this week in the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry reacted angrily on Thursday to the assertions in the document, which also said that the American Embassy in Beijing and consulates in Shanghai and Chengdu operated special intelligence gathering facilities, and it demanded an explanation from the United States.

“We demand that foreign entities and personnel in China strictly abide by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and other international treaties, and they must not, in any form, engage in activities that are incompatible with their position and status and that are harmful to China’s national security and interest,” Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the ministry, said at a daily briefing for reporters.

Australia is one of the so-called Five Eyes countries that share highly classified intelligence and agree not to spy on one another; the other four are the United States, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

The report by Der Spiegel and a report in The Sydney Morning Herald said that the intelligence collection program was conducted from Australian Embassies in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and East Timor, and the country’s high commissions — the equivalent of embassies among Commonwealth countries — in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

The N.S.A. program was called Stateroom, and was operated by the Australian Defense Signals Directorate, Der Spiegel quoted the N.S.A. document as saying.

A former Australian official with knowledge of Australia’s relationship with the United States said that Australia took part in the intelligence gathering to further its own national interests as well as to contribute to its alliance with Washington. The Australian intelligence operations had been going on in various forms for 20 to 30 years, the former official said.

Australia has long felt a need to gather information in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, which lies just to the north of Australia, the former official said. The country’s volatile politics and security problems were of the highest priority to Australia for many years, and more recently the rise in the smuggling of people to Australia from there had increased the need, the former official said.

“This was done not as a favor to the United States,” said the former official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter. “It was more cooperative than at the U.S.’s request.”

Describing the surveillance operations at the Australian facilities, the N.S.A. document quoted by Der Spiegel said they were “small in size and in number of personnel staffing them.” The document added, “They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned.”

An email to the Australian agency assigned to answer questions about the program, the Attorney General’s Department in Canberra, was not immediately answered.

The reports were an embarrassment to the new conservative government in Australia, especially regarding the Australian Embassy in Beijing. The buoyant Australian economy depends on China’s appetite for Australian iron ore, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott said this month that he wanted to complete a free-trade agreement with China within a year.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Ms. Hua, alluded to the relationship in her comments on Thursday. China and Australia had a consensus to increase cooperation, she said, and “we hope and expect that Australia can work hard with China in this regard.”

The New York Times
October 31, 2013
By JANE PERLEZ

Find this story at 31 October 2013

© 2013 The New York Times Company