Agreements with private companies protect U.S. access to cables’ data for surveillance (2013)

The U.S. government had a problem: Spying in the digital age required access to the fiber-optic cables traversing the world’s oceans, carrying torrents of data at the speed of light. And one of the biggest operators of those cables was being sold to an Asian firm, potentially complicating American surveillance efforts.

Enter “Team Telecom.”

In months of private talks, the team of lawyers from the FBI and the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security demanded that the company maintain what amounted to an internal corporate cell of American citizens with government clearances. Among their jobs, documents show, was ensuring that surveillance requests got fulfilled quickly and confidentially.

This “Network Security Agreement,” signed in September 2003 by Global Crossing, became a model for other deals over the past decade as foreign investors increasingly acquired pieces of the world’s telecommunications infrastructure.

The publicly available agreements offer a window into efforts by U.S. officials to safeguard their ability to conduct surveillance through the fiber-optic networks that carry a huge majority of the world’s voice and Internet traffic.

The agreements, whose main purpose is to secure the U.S. telecommunications networks against foreign spying and other actions that could harm national security, do not authorize surveillance. But they ensure that when U.S. government agencies seek access to the massive amounts of data flowing through their networks, the companies have systems in place to provide it securely, say people familiar with the deals.

Negotiating leverage has come from a seemingly mundane government power: the authority of the Federal Communications Commission to approve cable licenses. In deals involving a foreign company, say people familiar with the process, the FCC has held up approval for many months while the squadron of lawyers dubbed Team Telecom developed security agreements that went beyond what’s required by the laws governing electronic eavesdropping.

The security agreement for Global Crossing, whose fiber-optic network connected 27 nations and four continents, required the company to have a “Network Operations Center” on U.S. soil that could be visited by government officials with 30 minutes of warning. Surveillance requests, meanwhile, had to be handled by U.S. citizens screened by the government and sworn to secrecy — in many cases prohibiting information from being shared even with the company’s executives and directors.

“Our telecommunications companies have no real independence in standing up to the requests of government or in revealing data,” said Susan Crawford, a Yeshiva University law professor and former Obama White House official. “This is yet another example where that’s the case.”

The full extent of the National Security Agency’s access to fiber-optic cables remains classified. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement saying that legally authorized data collection “has been one of our most important tools for the protection of the nation’s — and our allies’ — security. Our use of these authorities has been properly classified to maximize the potential for effective collection against foreign terrorists and other adversaries.”

It added, “As always, the Intelligence and law enforcement communities will continue to work with all members of Congress to ensure the proper balance of privacy and protection for American citizens.”

Collecting information

Documents obtained by The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper in recent weeks make clear how the revolution in information technology sparked a revolution in surveillance, allowing the U.S. government and its allies to monitor potential threats with a reach impossible only a few years earlier.

Yet any access to fiber-optic cables allows for possible privacy intrusions into Americans’ personal communications, civil libertarians say.

As people worldwide chat, browse and post images through online services, much of the information flows within the technological reach of U.S. surveillance. Though laws, procedural rules and internal policies limit how that information can be collected and used, the data from billions of devices worldwide flow through Internet choke points that the United States and its allies are capable of monitoring.

This broad-based surveillance of fiber-optic networks runs parallel to the NSA’s PRISM program, which allows analysts to access data from nine major Internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and Apple, according to classified NSA PowerPoint slides. (The companies have said the collection is legal and limited.)

One NSA slide titled, “Two Types of Collection,” shows both PRISM and a separate effort labeled “Upstream” and lists four code names: Fairview, Stormbrew, Blarney and Oakstar. A diagram superimposed on a crude map of undersea cable networks describes the Upstream program as collecting “communications on fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past.”

The slide has yellow arrows pointing to both Upstream and PRISM and says, “You Should Use Both.” It also has a header saying “FAA 702 Operations,” a reference to a section of the amended Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that governs surveillance of foreign targets related to suspected terrorism and other foreign intelligence.

Under that provision, the government may serve a court order on a company compelling it to reach into its networks for data on multiple targets who are foreigners reasonably believed to be overseas. At an Internet gateway, the government may specify a number of e-mail addresses of foreigners to be targeted without the court signing off on each one.

When the NSA is collecting the communications of a foreign, overseas target who is speaking or e-mailing with an American, that American’s e-mail or phone call is considered to be “incidentally” collected. It is considered “inadvertently” collected if the target actually turns out to be an American, according to program rules and people familiar with them. The extent of incidental and inadvertent collection has not been disclosed, leading some lawmakers to demand disclosure of estimates of how many Americans’ communications have been gathered. No senior intelligence officials have answered that question publicly.

Using software that scans traffic and “sniffs out” the targeted e-mail address, the company can pull out e-mail traffic automatically to turn over to the government, according to several former government officials and industry experts.

It is unclear how effective that approach is compared with collecting from a “downstream” tech company such as Google or Facebook, but the existence of separate programs collecting data from both technology companies and telecommunications systems underscores the reach of government intelligence agencies.

“People need to realize that there are many ways for the government to get vast amounts of e-mail,” said Chris Soghoian, a technology expert with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Controlling the data flow

The drive for new intelligence sources after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks relied on a key insight: American companies controlled most of the Internet’s essential pipes, giving ample opportunities to tap the torrents of data flowing by. Even terrorists bent on destruction of the United States, it turned out, talked to each other on Web-based programs such as Microsoft’s Hotmail.

Yet even data not handled by U.S.-based companies generally flowed across parts of the American telecommunications infrastructure. Most important were the fiber-optic cables that largely have replaced the copper telephone wires and the satellite and microwave transmissions that, in an earlier era, were the most important targets for government surveillance.

Fiber-optic cables, many of which lie along the ocean floor, provide higher-quality transmission and greater capacity than earlier technology, with the latest able to carry thousands of gigabits per second.

The world’s hundreds of undersea cables now carry 99 percent of all intercontinental data, a category that includes most international phone calls, as well, says TeleGeography, a global research firm.

The fiber-optic networks have become a rich source of data for intelligence agencies. The Guardian newspaper reported last month that the Government Communications Headquarters, the British equivalent of the NSA, taps and stores data flowing through the fiber-optic cables touching that nation, a major transit point for data between Europe and the Americas. That program, code-named Tempora, shares data with the NSA, the newspaper said.

Tapping undersea transmission cables had been a key U.S. surveillance tactic for decades, dating back to the era when copper lines carrying sensitive telephone communications could be accessed by listening devices divers could place on the outside of a cable’s housing, said naval historian Norman Polmar, author of “Spy Book: The Encyclopedia of Espionage.”

“The U.S. has had four submarines that have been outfitted for these special missions,” he said.

But the fiber-optic lines — each no thicker than a quarter — were far more difficult to tap successfully than earlier generations of undersea technology, and interception operations ran the risk of alerting cable operators that their network had been breached.

It’s much easier to collect information from any of dozens of cable landing stations around the world — where data transmissions are sorted into separate streams — or in some cases from network operations centers that oversee the entire system, say those familiar with the technology who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence matters.

Expanding powers

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, the NSA said its collection of communications inside the United States was constrained by statute, according to a draft report by the agency’s inspector general in 2009, which was obtained by The Post and the Guardian. The NSA had legal authority to conduct electronic surveillance on foreigners overseas, but the agency was barred from collecting such information on cables as it flowed into and through the United States without individual warrants for each target.

“By 2001, Internet communications were used worldwide, underseas cables carried huge volumes of communications, and a large amount of the world’s communications passed through the United States,” the report said. “Because of language used in the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act in 1978, NSA was required to obtain court orders to target e-mail accounts used by non-U.S. persons outside the United States if it intended to intercept the communications at a webmail service within the United States. Large numbers of terrorists were using such accounts in 2001.”

As a result, after White House and CIA officials consulted with the NSA director, President George W. Bush, through a presidential order, expanded the NSA’s legal authority to collect communications inside the United States. The President’s Surveillance Program, the report said, “significantly increased [NSA’s] access to transiting foreign communications.”

Gen. Michael Hayden, then the NSA director, described that information as “the real gold of the program” that led to the identification of threats within the United States, according to the inspector general’s report.

Elements of the President’s Surveillance Program became public in 2005, when the New York Times reported the government’s ability to intercept e-mail and phone call content inside the United States without court warrants, sparking controversy. The FISA court began oversight of those program elements in 2007.

As these debates were playing out within the government, Team Telecom was making certain that surveillance capacity was not undermined by rising foreign ownership of the fiber-optic cables that the NSA was using.

The Global Crossing deal created particular concerns. The company had laid an extensive network of undersea cables in the world, but it went bankrupt in 2002 after struggling to handle more than $12 billion in debt.

Two companies, one from Singapore and a second from Hong Kong, struck a deal to buy a majority stake in Global Crossing, but U.S. government lawyers immediately objected as part of routine review of foreign investment into critical U.S. infrastructure.

President Gerald Ford in 1975 had created an interagency group — the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS — to review deals that might harm U.S. national security. Team Telecom grew out of that review process. Those executive branch powers were expanded several times over the decades and became even more urgent after the Sept. 11 attacks, when the Defense Department became an important player in discussions with telecommunications companies.

The Hong Kong company soon withdrew from the Global Crossing deal, under pressure from Team Telecom, which was worried that the Chinese government might gain access to U.S. surveillance requests and infrastructure, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

Singapore Technologies Telemedia eventually agreed to a slate of concessions, including allowing half of the board of directors of a new subsidiary managing the undersea cable network to consist of American citizens with security clearances. They would oversee a head of network operations, a head of global security, a general counsel and a human resources officer — all of whom also would be U.S. citizens with security clearances. The FBI and the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security had the power to object to any appointments to those jobs or to the directors who had to be U.S. citizens.

U.S. law already required that telecommunications companies doing business in the United States comply with surveillance requests, both domestic and international. But the security agreement established the systems to ensure that compliance and to make sure foreign governments would not gain visibility into the working of American telecommunications systems — or surveillance systems, said Andrew D. Lipman, a telecommunications lawyer who has represented Global Crossing and other firms in negotiating such deals.

“These Network Security Agreements flesh out the details,” he said.

Lipman, a partner with Bingham McCutchen, based in Washington, said the talks with Team Telecom typically involve little give and take. “It’s like negotiating with the Motor Vehicle Department,” he said.

Singapore Technologies Telemedia sold Global Crossing in 2011 to Level 3 Communications, a company based in Colorado. But the Singaporean company maintained a minority ownership stake, helping trigger a new round of review by Team Telecom and a new Network Security Agreement that added several new conditions.

A spokesman for Level 3 Communications declined to comment for this article.

By Craig Timberg and Ellen Nakashima, Published: July 7, 2013

Find this story at 7 July 2013

© 1996-2014 The Washington Post

Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages (2013)

• Secret files show scale of Silicon Valley co-operation on Prism
• Outlook.com encryption unlocked even before official launch
• Skype worked to enable Prism collection of video calls
• Company says it is legally compelled to comply

Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users’ communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company’s own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.

The documents show that:

• Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;

• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;

• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

• Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;

• In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;

• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a “team sport”.

The latest NSA revelations further expose the tensions between Silicon Valley and the Obama administration. All the major tech firms are lobbying the government to allow them to disclose more fully the extent and nature of their co-operation with the NSA to meet their customers’ privacy concerns. Privately, tech executives are at pains to distance themselves from claims of collaboration and teamwork given by the NSA documents, and insist the process is driven by legal compulsion.

In a statement, Microsoft said: “When we upgrade or update products we aren’t absolved from the need to comply with existing or future lawful demands.” The company reiterated its argument that it provides customer data “only in response to government demands and we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers”.

In June, the Guardian revealed that the NSA claimed to have “direct access” through the Prism program to the systems of many major internet companies, including Microsoft, Skype, Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo.

Blanket orders from the secret surveillance court allow these communications to be collected without an individual warrant if the NSA operative has a 51% belief that the target is not a US citizen and is not on US soil at the time. Targeting US citizens does require an individual warrant, but the NSA is able to collect Americans’ communications without a warrant if the target is a foreign national located overseas.

Since Prism’s existence became public, Microsoft and the other companies listed on the NSA documents as providers have denied all knowledge of the program and insisted that the intelligence agencies do not have back doors into their systems.

Microsoft’s latest marketing campaign, launched in April, emphasizes its commitment to privacy with the slogan: “Your privacy is our priority.”

Similarly, Skype’s privacy policy states: “Skype is committed to respecting your privacy and the confidentiality of your personal data, traffic data and communications content.”

But internal NSA newsletters, marked top secret, suggest the co-operation between the intelligence community and the companies is deep and ongoing.

The latest documents come from the NSA’s Special Source Operations (SSO) division, described by Snowden as the “crown jewel” of the agency. It is responsible for all programs aimed at US communications systems through corporate partnerships such as Prism.

The files show that the NSA became concerned about the interception of encrypted chats on Microsoft’s Outlook.com portal from the moment the company began testing the service in July last year.

Within five months, the documents explain, Microsoft and the FBI had come up with a solution that allowed the NSA to circumvent encryption on Outlook.com chats

A newsletter entry dated 26 December 2012 states: “MS [Microsoft], working with the FBI, developed a surveillance capability to deal” with the issue. “These solutions were successfully tested and went live 12 Dec 2012.”

Two months later, in February this year, Microsoft officially launched the Outlook.com portal.

Another newsletter entry stated that NSA already had pre-encryption access to Outlook email. “For Prism collection against Hotmail, Live, and Outlook.com emails will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption.”

Microsoft’s co-operation was not limited to Outlook.com. An entry dated 8 April 2013 describes how the company worked “for many months” with the FBI – which acts as the liaison between the intelligence agencies and Silicon Valley on Prism – to allow Prism access without separate authorization to its cloud storage service SkyDrive.

The document describes how this access “means that analysts will no longer have to make a special request to SSO for this – a process step that many analysts may not have known about”.

The NSA explained that “this new capability will result in a much more complete and timely collection response”. It continued: “This success is the result of the FBI working for many months with Microsoft to get this tasking and collection solution established.”

A separate entry identified another area for collaboration. “The FBI Data Intercept Technology Unit (DITU) team is working with Microsoft to understand an additional feature in Outlook.com which allows users to create email aliases, which may affect our tasking processes.”

The NSA has devoted substantial efforts in the last two years to work with Microsoft to ensure increased access to Skype, which has an estimated 663 million global users.

One document boasts that Prism monitoring of Skype video production has roughly tripled since a new capability was added on 14 July 2012. “The audio portions of these sessions have been processed correctly all along, but without the accompanying video. Now, analysts will have the complete ‘picture’,” it says.

Eight months before being bought by Microsoft, Skype joined the Prism program in February 2011.

According to the NSA documents, work had begun on smoothly integrating Skype into Prism in November 2010, but it was not until 4 February 2011 that the company was served with a directive to comply signed by the attorney general.

The NSA was able to start tasking Skype communications the following day, and collection began on 6 February. “Feedback indicated that a collected Skype call was very clear and the metadata looked complete,” the document stated, praising the co-operation between NSA teams and the FBI. “Collaborative teamwork was the key to the successful addition of another provider to the Prism system.”

ACLU technology expert Chris Soghoian said the revelations would surprise many Skype users. “In the past, Skype made affirmative promises to users about their inability to perform wiretaps,” he said. “It’s hard to square Microsoft’s secret collaboration with the NSA with its high-profile efforts to compete on privacy with Google.”

The information the NSA collects from Prism is routinely shared with both the FBI and CIA. A 3 August 2012 newsletter describes how the NSA has recently expanded sharing with the other two agencies.

The NSA, the entry reveals, has even automated the sharing of aspects of Prism, using software that “enables our partners to see which selectors [search terms] the National Security Agency has tasked to Prism”.

The document continues: “The FBI and CIA then can request a copy of Prism collection of any selector…” As a result, the author notes: “these two activities underscore the point that Prism is a team sport!”

In its statement to the Guardian, Microsoft said:

We have clear principles which guide the response across our entire company to government demands for customer information for both law enforcement and national security issues. First, we take our commitments to our customers and to compliance with applicable law very seriously, so we provide customer data only in response to legal processes.

Second, our compliance team examines all demands very closely, and we reject them if we believe they aren’t valid. Third, we only ever comply with orders about specific accounts or identifiers, and we would not respond to the kind of blanket orders discussed in the press over the past few weeks, as the volumes documented in our most recent disclosure clearly illustrate.

Finally when we upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request. There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely. That’s why we’ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues.

In a joint statement, Shawn Turner, spokesman for the director of National Intelligence, and Judith Emmel, spokeswoman for the NSA, said:

The articles describe court-ordered surveillance – and a US company’s efforts to comply with these legally mandated requirements. The US operates its programs under a strict oversight regime, with careful monitoring by the courts, Congress and the Director of National Intelligence. Not all countries have equivalent oversight requirements to protect civil liberties and privacy.

They added: “In practice, US companies put energy, focus and commitment into consistently protecting the privacy of their customers around the world, while meeting their obligations under the laws of the US and other countries in which they operate.”

• This article was amended on 11 July 2013 to reflect information from Microsoft that it did not make any changes to Skype to allow Prism collection on or around July 2012.

Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras, Spencer Ackerman and Dominic Rushe
The Guardian, Friday 12 July 2013

Find this story at 12 July 2013

© 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Microsoft soll seit Jahren mit US-Ermittlern kooperieren (2013)

Microsoft arbeitet angeblich intensiv mit US-Geheimdiensten zusammen. Nach Informationen, die Edward Snowden dem “Guardian” zugespielt hat, soll der Konzern den Ermittlern Zugang zu E-Mails und Skype-Gesprächen gewährt und sogar die firmeneigene Verschlüsselung ausgehebelt haben.

Hamburg/London – Edward Snowden hat mit seinen Enthüllungen über die globale Datenschnüffelei der US-Geheimdienste nicht nur die amerikanische Politik in helle Aufregung versetzt, sondern auch die dortige IT-Branche. Giganten wie Facebook, Apple, Google und Microsoft haben bisher versucht, den Eindruck zu erwecken, ihre Zusammenarbeit mit den US-Behörden beschränke sich auf das Nötigste.

Jetzt aber berichtet der britische “Guardian”, wie Microsoft mit den Ermittlern kooperiert. Demnach zeigen Informationen von Snowden, dass das Unternehmen seit drei Jahren intensiv mit US-Geheimdiensten zusammenarbeitet.

Die National Security Agency (NSA) habe etwa die Sorge geäußert, Web-Chats auf dem neuen Outlook.com-Portal nicht mitlesen zu können. Microsoft habe daraufhin der NSA geholfen, die konzerneigene Verschlüsselungstechnik zu umgehen. Dieses Vorgehen soll sich dem Bericht zufolge nicht auf die Web-Chats beschränkt haben: Die NSA soll auch Zugang zu E-Mails auf Outlook.com und Hotmail trotz der Verschlüsselung gehabt haben.

Auch der Internettelefoniedienst Skype, den Microsoft im Oktober 2011 gekauft hat, geriet ins Visier der NSA: Laut “Guardian” hat die Firma Geheimdiensten ermöglicht, im Rahmen des “Prism”-Überwachungsprogramms sowohl Video- als auch Audio-Unterhaltungen mitzuschneiden.

Microsoft begründete sein Vorgehen mit rechtlichen Zwängen: “Wenn wir Produkte verbessern, müssen wir uns weiterhin Anfragen beugen, die mit dem Gesetz in Einklang sind.” Das Unternehmen betonte, dass es Kundendaten nur auf Anfrage der Regierung herausgebe – und auch das nur, wenn es um spezifische Konten oder Nutzer gehe.

Spannungen zwischen Silicon Valley und Obama-Regierung

Aus den Unterlagen geht laut “Guardian” hervor, dass das durch “Prism” gesammelte Material routinemäßig an das FBI und den US-Auslandsgeheimdienst CIA geht. In einem NSA-Dokument sei von einem “Mannschaftssport” die Rede.

Die neuen Informationen zeigen nach Angaben des “Guardian” auch, dass es Spannungen zwischen dem Silicon Valley, Standort zahlreicher Computerunternehmen, und der Regierung von US-Präsident Barack Obama gibt. Alle großen Technologiefirmen drängten die US-Regierung, ihnen zu erlauben, das Ausmaß der Zusammenarbeit mit den Behörden öffentlich zu machen, um den Datenschutzbedenken ihrer Kunden gerecht zu werden.

11. Juli 2013, 23:34 Uhr

Find this story at 11 July 2013

© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2013

It’s outrageous to accuse the Guardian of aiding terrorism by publishing Snowden’s revelations

Alan Rusbridger is being grilled by MPs – but he has published nothing that could be a threat to national security

The Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, is due to appear before the House of Commons home affairs select committee on Tuesday to answer questions about his newspaper’s publication of intelligence files leaked by Edward Snowden. Unlike the directors of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, who gave evidence recently before the intelligence and security committee, Rusbridger will not be provided with a list of questions in advance.

There are at least five legal and political issues arising out of Snowden’s revelations on which reasonable opinion is divided. These include whether Snowden should enjoy the legal protection accorded a whistleblower who reveals wrongdoing; whether his revelations have weakened the counter-terrorism apparatus of the US or the UK; whether, conversely, they show the need for an overhaul of surveillance powers on both sides of the Atlantic (and even an international agreement to protect partners like Germany); whether parliament has been misled by the services about the extent of intrusive surveillance; and whether the current system for parliamentary oversight of the intelligence and security services is sufficiently robust to meet the international standards laid down by my predecessor at the UN, Martin Scheinin.

These questions are too important for the UN to ignore, and so on Tuesday I am launching an investigation that will culminate in a series of recommendations to the UN general assembly next autumn. As in the case of Chelsea Manning, there are also serious questions about sensitive information being freely available to so many people. The information Snowden had access to, which included top-secret UK intelligence documents, was available to more than 850,000 people, including Snowden – a contractor not even employed by the US government.

There is, however, one issue on which I do not think reasonable people can differ, and that is the importance of the role of responsible media in exposing questions of public interest. I have studied all the published stories that explain how new technology is leading to the mass collection and analysis of phone, email, social media and text message data; how the relationship between intelligence services and technology and telecoms companies is open to abuse; and how technological capabilities have moved ahead of the law. These issues are at the apex of public interest concerns. They are even more important – dare I say it – than whether Hugh Grant’s mobile was hacked by a tabloid.

The astonishing suggestion that this sort of journalism can be equated with aiding and abetting terrorism needs to be scotched decisively. Attacking the Guardian is an attempt to do the bidding of the services themselves, by distracting attention from the real issues. It is the role of a free press to hold governments to account, and yet there have even been outrageous suggestions from some Conservative MPs that the Guardian should face a criminal investigation.

It is disheartening to see some tabloids give prominence to this nonsense. When the Mail on Sunday took the decision to publish the revelations of the former MI5 officer David Shayler, no one suggested that the paper should face prosecution. Indeed, when the police later tried to seize the Guardian’s notes of its own interviews with Shayler, Lord Judge, the former lord chief justice, refused to allow it to happen – saying, rightly, that it would interfere with the vital role played by the media to expose public wrongdoing.

When it comes to damaging national security, comparisons between the two cases are telling. The Guardian has revealed that there is an extensive programme of mass surveillance that potentially affects every one of us, while being assiduous in avoiding the revelation of any name or detail that could put sources at risk. Rusbridger himself has made most of these decisions, as befits their importance. The Mail on Sunday, on the other hand, published material that was of less obvious public interest.

An even closer example is Katharine Gunn, the GCHQ whistleblower who revealed in 2003 that the US and UK were spying on the missions of Mexico and five other countries at the UN, in order to manipulate a vote in the security council in favour of military intervention in Iraq. Like Snowden, her defence was that she was acting to prevent a greater wrong – the attempt to twist the security council to the bellicose will of the US and UK. She was charged under the Official Secrets Act, but the case was dropped because the director of public prosecutions and attorney general rightly concluded that no jury would convict Gunn.

There can be no doubt that the Guardian’s revelations concern matters of international public interest. There is already an intense debate that has drawn interventions from some of the UK’s most senior political figures. Wholesale reviews have been mooted by President Obama, Chancellor Merkel and Nick Clegg, Britain’s deputy prime minister. Current and former privy councillors and at least one former law officer have weighed in.

In the US, a number of the revelations have already resulted in legislation. Senior members of Congress have informed the Guardian that they consider the legislation to have been misused, and the chair of the US Senate intelligence committee has said that as a result of the revelations it is now “abundantly clear that a total review of all intelligence programmes is necessary”.

In Europe, and particularly in Germany (which has a long and unhappy history of abusive state surveillance) the political class is incandescant. In November the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly endorsed the Tshwane International Principles on National Security and the Right to Information, which provide the strongest protection for public interest journalism deriving from whistleblowers. Lord Carlile, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in the UK, took part in the drafting of the principles and has endorsed them as an international template for resolving issues such as the present one. Many states have registered serious objections at the UN about spying, and there are diplomatic moves towards an international agreement to restrict surveillance activity. In direct response to the Guardian’s revelations, Frank La Rue, the special rapporteur on freedom of expression, has brought forward new guidelines on internet privacy, which were adopted last week by the UN general assembly.

When it comes to assessing the balance that must be struck between maintaining secrecy and exposing information in the public interest there are often borderline cases. This isn’t one. It’s a no-brainer. The Guardian’s revelations are precisely the sort of information that a free press is supposed to reveal.

The claims made that the Guardian has threatened national security need to be subjected to penetrating scrutiny. I will be seeking a far more detailed explanation than the security chiefs gave the intelligence committee. If they wish to pursue an agenda of unqualified secrecy, then they are swimming against the international tide. They must justify some of the claims they have made in public, because, as matters stand, I have seen nothing in the Guardian articles that could be a risk to national security. In this instance the balance of public interest is clear.

Ben Emmerson
The Guardian, Monday 2 December 2013 18.21 GMT

Find this story at 2 December 2013

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

Meet the Spies Doing the NSA’s Dirty Work; This obscure FBI unit does the domestic surveillance that no other intelligence agency can touch.

With every fresh leak, the world learns more about the U.S. National Security Agency’s massive and controversial surveillance apparatus. Lost in the commotion has been the story of the NSA’s indispensable partner in its global spying operations: an obscure, clandestine unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that, even for a surveillance agency, keeps a low profile.

When the media and members of Congress say the NSA spies on Americans, what they really mean is that the FBI helps the NSA do it, providing a technical and legal infrastructure that permits the NSA, which by law collects foreign intelligence, to operate on U.S. soil. It’s the FBI, a domestic U.S. law enforcement agency, that collects digital information from at least nine American technology companies as part of the NSA’s Prism system. It was the FBI that petitioned the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to order Verizon Business Network Services, one of the United States’ biggest telecom carriers for corporations, to hand over the call records of millions of its customers to the NSA.

But the FBI is no mere errand boy for the United States’ biggest intelligence agency. It carries out its own signals intelligence operations and is trying to collect huge amounts of email and Internet data from U.S. companies — an operation that the NSA once conducted, was reprimanded for, and says it abandoned.

The heart of the FBI’s signals intelligence activities is an obscure organization called the Data Intercept Technology Unit, or DITU (pronounced DEE-too). The handful of news articles that mentioned it prior to revelations of NSA surveillance this summer did so mostly in passing. It has barely been discussed in congressional testimony. An NSA PowerPoint presentation given to journalists by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden hints at DITU’s pivotal role in the NSA’s Prism system — it appears as a nondescript box on a flowchart showing how the NSA “task[s]” information to be collected, which is then gathered and delivered by the DITU.

But interviews with current and former law enforcement officials, as well as technology industry representatives, reveal that the unit is the FBI’s equivalent of the National Security Agency and the primary liaison between the spy agency and many of America’s most important technology companies, including Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Apple.

The DITU is located in a sprawling compound at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, home of the FBI’s training academy and the bureau’s Operational Technology Division, which runs all the FBI’s technical intelligence collection, processing, and reporting. Its motto: “Vigilance Through Technology.” The DITU is responsible for intercepting telephone calls and emails of terrorists and foreign intelligence targets inside the United States. According to a senior Justice Department official, the NSA could not do its job without the DITU’s help. The unit works closely with the “big three” U.S. telecommunications companies — AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint — to ensure its ability to intercept the telephone and Internet communications of its domestic targets, as well as the NSA’s ability to intercept electronic communications transiting through the United States on fiber-optic cables.

For Prism, the DITU maintains the surveillance equipment that captures what the NSA wants from U.S. technology companies, including archived emails, chat-room sessions, social media posts, and Internet phone calls. The unit then transmits that information to the NSA, where it’s routed into other parts of the agency for analysis and used in reports.

After Prism was disclosed in the Washington Post and the Guardian, some technology company executives claimed they knew nothing about a collection program run by the NSA. And that may have been true. The companies would likely have interacted only with officials from the DITU and others in the FBI and the Justice Department, said sources who have worked with the unit to implement surveillance orders.

“The DITU is the main interface with providers on the national security side,” said a technology industry representative who has worked with the unit on many occasions. It ensures that phone companies as well as Internet service and email providers are complying with surveillance law and delivering the information that the government has demanded and in the format that it wants. And if companies aren’t complying or are experiencing technical difficulties, they can expect a visit from the DITU’s technical experts to address the problem.

* * *

Recently, the DITU has helped construct data-filtering software that the FBI wants telecom carriers and Internet service providers to install on their networks so that the government can collect large volumes of data about emails and Internet traffic.

The software, known as a port reader, makes copies of emails as they flow through a network. Then, in practically an instant, the port reader dissects them, removing only the metadata that has been approved by a court.

The FBI has built metadata collection systems before. In the late 1990s, it deployed the Carnivore system, which the DITU helped manage, to pull header information out of emails. But the FBI today is after much more than just traditional metadata — who sent a message and who received it. The FBI wants as many as 13 individual fields of information, according to the industry representative. The data include the route a message took over a network, Internet protocol addresses, and port numbers, which are used to handle different kinds of incoming and outgoing communications. Those last two pieces of information can reveal where a computer is physically located — perhaps along with its user — as well as what types of applications and operating system it’s running. That information could be useful for government hackers who want to install spyware on a suspect’s computer — a secret task that the DITU also helps carry out.

The DITU devised the port reader after law enforcement officials complained that they weren’t getting enough information from emails and Internet traffic. The FBI has argued that under the Patriot Act, it has the authority to capture metadata and doesn’t need a warrant to get them. Some federal prosecutors have gone to court to compel port reader adoption, the industry representative said. If a company failed to comply with a court order, it could be held in contempt.

The FBI’s pursuit of Internet metadata bears striking similarities to the NSA’s efforts to obtain the same information. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the agency began collecting the information under a secret order signed by President George W. Bush. Documents that were declassified Nov. 18 by Barack Obama’s administration show that the agency ran afoul of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court after it discovered that the NSA was collecting more metadata than the court had allowed. The NSA abandoned the Internet metadata collection program in 2011, according to administration officials.

But the FBI has been moving ahead with its own efforts, collecting more metadata than it has in the past. It’s not clear how many companies have installed the port reader, but at least two firms are pushing back, arguing that because it captures an entire email, including content, the government needs a warrant to get the information. The government counters that the emails are only copied for a fraction of a second and that no content is passed along to the government, only metadata. The port reader is designed also to collect information about the size of communications packets and traffic flows, which can help analysts better understand how communications are moving on a network. It’s unclear whether this data is considered metadata or content; it appears to fall within a legal gray zone, experts said.

* * *

The DITU also runs a bespoke surveillance service, devising or building technology capable of intercepting information when the companies can’t do it themselves. In the early days of social media, when companies like LinkedIn and Facebook were starting out, the unit worked with companies on a technical solution for capturing information about a specific target without also capturing information related to other people to whom the target was connected, such as comments on posts, shared photographs, and personal data from other people’s profiles, according to a technology expert who was involved in the negotiations.

The technicians and engineers who work at the DITU have to stay up to date on the latest trends and developments in technology so that the government doesn’t find itself unable to tap into a new system. Many DITU employees used to work for the telecom companies that have to implement government surveillance orders, according to the industry representative. “There are a lot of people with inside knowledge about how telecommunications work. It’s probably more intellectual property than the carriers are comfortable with the FBI knowing.”

The DITU has also intervened to ensure that the government maintains uninterrupted access to the latest commercial technology. According to the Guardian, the unit worked with Microsoft to “understand” potential obstacles to surveillance in a new feature of Outlook.com that let users create email aliases. At the time, the NSA wanted to make sure that it could circumvent Microsoft’s encryption and maintain access to Outlook messages. In a statement to the Guardian, Microsoft said, “When we upgrade or update products we aren’t absolved from the need to comply with existing or future lawful demands.” It’s the DITU’s job to help keep companies in compliance. In other instances, the unit will go to companies that manufacture surveillance software and ask them to build in particular capabilities, the industry representative said.

The DITU falls under the FBI’s Operational Technology Division, home to agents, engineers, electronic technicians, computer forensics examiners, and analysts who “support our most significant investigations and national security operations with advanced electronic surveillance, digital forensics, technical surveillance, tactical operations, and communications capabilities,” according to the FBI’s website. Among its publicly disclosed capabilities are surveillance of “wireline, wireless, and data network communication technologies”; collection of digital evidence from computers, including audio files, video, and images; “counter-encryption” support to help break codes; and operation of what the FBI claims is “the largest fixed land mobile radio system in the U.S.”

The Operational Technology Division also specializes in so-called black-bag jobs to install surveillance equipment, as well as computer hacking, referred to on the website as “covert entry/search capability,” which is carried out under law enforcement and intelligence warrants.

The tech experts at Quantico are the FBI’s silent cybersleuths. “While [the division’s] work doesn’t typically make the news, the fruits of its labor are evident in the busted child pornography ring, the exposed computer hacker, the prevented bombing, the averted terrorist plot, and the prosecuted corrupt official,” according to the website.

According to former law enforcement officials and technology industry experts, the DITU is among the most secretive and sophisticated outfits at Quantico. The FBI declined Foreign Policy’s request for an interview about the unit. But in a written statement, an FBI spokesperson said it “plays a key role in providing technical expertise, services, policy guidance, and support to the FBI and the intelligence community in collecting evidence and intelligence through the use of lawfully authorized electronic surveillance.”

In addition to Carnivore, the DITU helped develop early FBI Internet surveillance tools with names like CoolMiner, Packeteer, and Phiple Troenix. One former law enforcement official said the DITU helped build the FBI’s Magic Lantern keystroke logging system, a device that could be implanted on a computer and clandestinely record what its user typed. The system was devised to spy on criminals who had encrypted their communications. It was part of a broader surveillance program known as Cyber Knight.

In 2007, Wired reported that the FBI had built another piece of surveillance malware to track the source of a bomb threat against a Washington state high school. Called a “computer and Internet protocol address verifier,” it was able to collect details like IP addresses, a list of programs running on an infected computer, the operating system it was using, the last web address visited, and the logged-in user name. The malware was handled by the FBI’s Cryptologic and Electronic Analysis Unit, located next door to the DITU’s facilities at Quantico. Wired reported that information collected by the malware from its host was sent via the Internet to Quantico.

The DITU has also deployed what the former law enforcement official described as “beacons,” which can be implanted in emails and, when opened on a target’s computer, can record the target’s IP address. The former official said the beacons were first deployed to track down kidnappers.

* * *

Lately, one of the DITU’s most important jobs has been to keep track of surveillance operations, particularly as part of the NSA’s Prism system, to ensure that companies are producing the information that the spy agency wants and that the government has been authorized to obtain.

The NSA is the most frequent requester of the DITU’s services, sources said. There is a direct fiber-optic connection between Quantico and the agency’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland; data can be moved there instantly. From the companies’ perspective, it doesn’t much matter where the information ends up, so long as the government shows up with a lawful order to get it.

“The fact that either the targets are coming from the NSA or the output goes to the NSA doesn’t matter to us. We’re being compelled. We’re not going to do any more than we have to,” said one industry representative.

But having the DITU act as a conduit provides a useful public relations benefit: Technology companies can claim — correctly — that they do not provide any information about their customers directly to the NSA, because they give it to the DITU, which in turn passes it to the NSA.

But in the government’s response to the controversy that has erupted over government surveillance programs, FBI officials have been conspicuously absent. Robert Mueller, who stepped down as the FBI’s director in September, testified before Congress about disclosed surveillance only twice, and that was in June, before many of the NSA documents that Snowden leaked had been revealed in the media. On Nov. 14, James Comey gave his first congressional testimony as the FBI’s new director, and he was not asked about the FBI’s involvement in surveillance operations that have been attributed to the NSA. Attorney General Eric Holder has made few public comments about surveillance. (His deputy has testified several times.)

The former law enforcement official said Holder and Mueller should have offered testimony and explained how the FBI works with the NSA. He was concerned by reports that the NSA had not been adhering to its own minimization procedures, which the Justice Department and the FBI review and vouch for when submitting requests to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

“Where they hadn’t done what was represented to the court, that’s unforgivable. That’s where I got sick to my stomach,” the former law enforcement official said. “The government’s position is, we go to the court, apply the law — it’s all approved. That makes for a good story until you find out what was approved wasn’t actually what was done.”

BY SHANE HARRIS | NOVEMBER 21, 2013

Find this story at 21 November 2013

©2013 The Slate Group, LLC.

FBI Pursuing Real-Time Gmail Spying Powers as “Top Priority” for 2013

For now, law enforcement has trouble monitoring Gmail communications in real time

Despite the pervasiveness of law enforcement surveillance of digital communication, the FBI still has a difficult time monitoring Gmail, Google Voice, and Dropbox in real time. But that may change soon, because the bureau says it has made gaining more powers to wiretap all forms of Internet conversation and cloud storage a “top priority” this year.

Last week, during a talk for the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C., FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann discussed some of the pressing surveillance and national security issues facing the bureau. He gave a few updates on the FBI’s efforts to address what it calls the “going dark” problem—how the rise in popularity of email and social networks has stifled its ability to monitor communications as they are being transmitted. It’s no secret that under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the feds can easily obtain archive copies of emails. When it comes to spying on emails or Gchat in real time, however, it’s a different story.

That’s because a 1994 surveillance law called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act only allows the government to force Internet providers and phone companies to install surveillance equipment within their networks. But it doesn’t cover email, cloud services, or online chat providers like Skype. Weissmann said that the FBI wants the power to mandate real-time surveillance of everything from Dropbox and online games (“the chat feature in Scrabble”) to Gmail and Google Voice. “Those communications are being used for criminal conversations,” he said.

While it is true that CALEA can only be used to compel Internet and phone providers to build in surveillance capabilities into their networks, the feds do have some existing powers to request surveillance of other services. Authorities can use a “Title III” order under the “Wiretap Act” to ask email and online chat providers furnish the government with “technical assistance necessary to accomplish the interception.” However, the FBI claims this is not sufficient because mandating that providers help with “technical assistance” is not the same thing as forcing them to “effectuate” a wiretap. In 2011, then-FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni—Weissmann’s predecessor—stated that Title III orders did not provide the bureau with an “effective lever” to “encourage providers” to set up live surveillance quickly and efficiently. In other words, the FBI believes it doesn’t have enough power under current legislation to strong-arm companies into providing real-time wiretaps of communications.

Because Gmail is sent between a user’s computer and Google’s servers using SSL encryption, for instance, the FBI can’t intercept it as it is flowing across networks and relies on the company to provide it with access. Google spokesman Chris Gaither hinted that it is already possible for the company to set up live surveillance under some circumstances. “CALEA doesn’t apply to Gmail but an order under the Wiretap Act may,” Gaither told me in an email. “At some point we may expand our transparency report to cover this topic in more depth, but until then I’m not able to provide additional information.”

Either way, the FBI is not happy with the current arrangement and is on a crusade for more surveillance authority. According to Weissmann, the bureau is working with “members of intelligence community” to craft a proposal for new Internet spy powers as “a top priority this year.” Citing security concerns, he declined to reveal any specifics. “It’s a very hard thing to talk about publicly,” he said, though acknowledged that “it’s something that there should be a public debate about.”

Ryan Gallagher is a journalist who reports from the intersection of surveillance, national security, and privacy for Slate’s Future Tense blog. He is also a Future Tense fellow at the New America Foundation.

By Ryan Gallagher

Find this story at 26 March 2013

© 2013 The Slate Group, LLC.

Is NSA Prism the New FBI Carnivore?

From the ‘Uncle Sam is Watching’ files:

Lots of concern and talk in the last couple of days over the Washington Post’s leaked government story on PRISM.

The TL;dr version is that PRISM was/is an NSA operation that routes American’s private information to the NSA where it can be analyzed in the interest of national security.

While the revelation about NSA PRISM is new – the fact that the U.S. Government has active programs to surveil the Internet for email and otherwise is not.

Back in 2005 it was revealed that the FBI had to abandon it’s own Internet surveillance effort known as Carnivore. With Carnivore, the FBI was quite literally injesting email and Internet content en masse from the U.S .

Officially known as the Digital Collection System 1000 (DCS-1000), Carnivore captures data traffic that flows through an Internet service provider (ISP). The system prompted a flurry of criticism from privacy advocates when it was announced in 2000 during the Clinton administration.

At the time that Carnivore was shut down, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) speculated that, “FBI’s need for Carnivore-like Internet surveillance tools is decreasing, likely because ISPs are providing Internet traffic information directly to the government.”

Eight years later, it looks like EPIC was right – since it would appear based on the WaPo report that the NSA has been getting info directly from providers.

I saw the head of the NSA, General Alexander speak at Defcon last year and he’s slotted to speak as a keynote at Black Hat this year. I wonder if he’ll actually show up now given the revelation of PRISM.

By Sean Michael Kerner | June 06, 2013

Find this story at 6 June 2013

Copyright 2013 QuinStreet Inc.

FBI retires its Carnivore (2005)

FBI surveillance experts have put their once-controversial Carnivore Internet surveillance tool out to pasture, preferring instead to use commercial products to eavesdrop on network traffic, according to documents released Friday.
Two reports to Congress obtained by the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the FBI didn’t use Carnivore, or its rebranded version “DCS-1000,” at all during the 2002 and 2003 fiscal years. Instead, the bureau turned to unnamed commercially-available products to conduct Internet surveillance thirteen times in criminal investigations in that period.

Carnivore became a hot topic among civil libertarians, some network operators and many lawmakers in 2000, when an ISP’s legal challenge brought the surveillance tool’s existence to light. One controversy revolved around the FBI’s legally-murky use of the device to obtain e-mail headers and other information without a wiretap warrant — an issue Congress resolved by explicitly legalizing the practice in the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act.

Under section 216 of the act, the FBI can conduct a limited form of Internet surveillance without first visiting a judge and establishing probable cause that the target has committed a crime. In such cases the FBI is authorized to capture routing information like e-mail addresses or IP addresses, but not the contents of the communications.

According to the released reports, the bureau used that power three times in 2002 and six times in 2003 in cases in which it brought its own Internet surveillance gear to the job. Each of those surveillance operations lasted sixty days or less, except for one investigation into alleged extortion, arson and “teaching of others how to make and use destructive devices” that ran over eight months from January 10th to August 26th, 2002.

Other cases investigated under section 216 involved alleged mail fraud, controlled substance sales, providing material support to terrorism, and making obscene or harassing telephone calls within the District of Columbia. The surveillance targets’ names are not listed in the reports.

In four additional cases, twice each in 2002 and 2003, the FBI obtained a full-blown Internet wiretap warrant from a judge, permitting them to capture the contents of a target’s Internet communications in real time. No more information on those cases is provided in the reports because they involved “sensitive investigations,” according to the bureau.

The new documents only enumerate criminal investigations in which the FBI deployed a government-owned surveillance tool, not those in which an ISP used its own equipment to facilitate the spying. Cases involving foreign espionage or international terrorism are also omitted.

Developed by a contractor, Carnivore was a customizable packet sniffer that, in conjunction with other FBI tools, could capture e-mail messages, and reconstruct Web pages exactly as a surveillance target saw them while surfing the Web. FBI agents lugged it with them to ISPs that lacked their own spying capability.

Kevin Poulsen, SecurityFocus 2005-01-14

Find this story at 14 January 2005

Copyright 2010, SecurityFocus

EarthLink Says It Refuses to Install FBI’s Carnivore Surveillance Device (2000)

One of the nation’s largest Internet-service providers, EarthLink Inc., has refused toinstall a new Federal Bureau of Investigation electronic surveillance device on its network, saying technical adjustments required to use the device caused disruptions for customers.

The FBI has used Carnivore, as the surveillance device is called, in a number of criminal investigations. But EarthLink is the first ISP to offer a public account of an actual experience with Carnivore. The FBI has claimed that Carnivore won’t interfere with an ISP’s operations.

“It has the potential to hurt our network, to bring pieces of it down,” Steve Dougherty, EarthLink’s director of technology acquisition, said of Carnivore. “It could impact thousands of people.”

While EarthLink executives said they would continue to work with authorities in criminal investigations, they vowed not to allow the FBI to install Carnivore on the company’s network. The company also has substantial privacy concerns.

EarthLink has already voiced its concerns in court. The ISP is the plaintiff in a legal fight launched against Carnivore earlier this year with the help of attorney Robert Corn-Revere, according to people close to the case. Previously, the identity of the plaintiff in the case, which is under seal, wasn’t known. A federal magistrate ruled against EarthLink in the case early this year, forcing it to give the FBI access to its system. Mr. Corn-Revere declined to comment.

EarthLink’s problems with Carnivore began earlier this year, when the FBI installed a Carnivore device on its network at a hub site in Pasadena, Calif. The FBI had a court order that allowed it to install the equipment as part of a criminal investigation.

The FBI connected Carnivore, a small computer box loaded with sophisticated software for monitoring e-mail messages and other online communications, to EarthLink’s remote access servers, a set of networking equipment that answers incoming modem calls from customers. But Carnivore wasn’t compatible with the operating system software on the remote access servers. So EarthLink had to install an older version of the system software that would work with Carnivore, according to Mr. Dougherty.

EarthLink says the older version of the software caused its remote access servers to crash, which in turn knocked out access for a number of its customers. Mr. Dougherty declined to specify how many, saying only that “many” people were affected.

EarthLink executives said they were also concerned about privacy. The company said it had no way of knowing whether Carnivore was limiting its surveillance to the criminal investigation at hand or trolling more broadly. Other ISPs have said there could be serious liability issues for them if the privacy of individuals not connected to an investigation is compromised.

“There ought to be some transparency to the methods and tools that law enforcement is using to search-and-seize communications,” said John R. LoGalbo, vice president of public policy at PSINet Inc., an ISP in Ashburn, Va.

EarthLink executives declined to say whether the company has received court orders for information about other customers since the disruption earlier this year. EarthLink said it would help authorities in criminal investigations using techniques other than Carnivore.

The FBI insists that Carnivore doesn’t affect the performance or stability of an ISP’s existing networks. The bureau says Carnivore passively monitors traffic, recording only information that is relevant to FBI investigations.

In some cases, the FBI said, the ISP is equipped to turn over data without the use of Carnivore. This is common in cases where only e-mail messages are sought because that type of data can easily be obtained through less-intrusive means.

Attorney General Janet Reno said Thursday that she was putting the system under review. She said the Justice Department would investigate Carnivore’s constitutional implications and make sure that the FBI was using it in “a consistent and balanced way.”

Write to Nick Wingfield at nick.wingfield@wsj.com , Ted Bridis at ted.bridis@wsj.com and Neil King Jr. at neil.king@wsj.com

By NICK WINGFIELD, TED BRIDIS and
NEIL KING JR. | Staff Reporters of
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Find this story at 14 July 2000

Copyright ©2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Carnivore (2000) FOIA documents

On July 11, 2000, the existence of an FBI Internet monitoring system called “Carnivore” was widely reported. Although the public details were sketchy, reports indicated that the Carnivore system is installed at the facilities of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and can monitor all traffic moving through that ISP. The FBI claims that Carnivore “filters” data traffic and delivers to investigators only those “packets” that they are lawfully authorized to obtain. Because the details remain secret, the public is left to trust the FBI’s characterization of the system and — more significantly — the FBI’s compliance with legal requirements.

One day after the initial disclosures, EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking the public release of all FBI records concerning Carnivore, including the source code, other technical details, and legal analyses addressing the potential privacy implications of the technology. On July 18, 2000, after Carnivore had become a major issue of public concern, EPIC asked the Justice Department to expedite the processing of its request. When DOJ failed to respond within the statutory deadline, EPIC filed suit in U.S. District Court seeking the immediate release of all information concerning Carnivore.

At an emergency hearing held on August 2, 2000, U.S. District Judge James Robertson ordered the FBI to report back to the court by August 16 and to identify the amount of material at issue and the Bureau’s schedule for releasing it. The FBI subsequently reported that 3000 pages of responsive material were located, but it refused to commit to a date for the completion of processing.

In late January 2001, the FBI completed its processing of EPIC’s FOIA request. The Bureau revised its earlier estimate and reported that there were 1756 pages of responsive material; 1502 were released in part and 254 were withheld in their entirety (see link below for sample scanned documents).

On August 1, 2001, the FBI moved for summary judgment, asserting that it fully met its obligations under FOIA. On August 9, 2001, EPIC filed a motion to stay further proceedings pending discovery, on the grounds that the FBI has failed to conduct an adequate search for responsive documents.

On March 25, 2002, the court issued an order directing the FBI to initiate a new search for responsive documents. The new search was to be conducted in the offices of General Counsel and Congressional & Public Affairs, and be completed no later than May 24, 2002. The documents listed above were located and released as a result of that court-ordered search.

Find this story at 11 July 2000

Find the FOIA documents at

And here

Carnivore Details Emerge (2000)

A web spying capability, multi-million dollar price tag, and a secret Carnivore ancestor are some of the details to poke through heavy FBI editing.

“ Carnivore is remarkably tolerant of network aberration, such a speed change, data corruption and targeted smurf type attacks. ”

FBI report
WASHINGTON–The FBI’s Carnivore surveillance tool monitors more than just email. Newly declassified documents obtained by Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that Carnivore can monitor all of a target user’s Internet traffic, and, in conjunction with other FBI tools, can reconstruct web pages exactly as a surveillance target saw them while surfing the web. The capability is one of the new details to emerge from some six-hundred pages of heavily redacted documents given to the Washington-based nonprofit group this week, and reviewed by SecurityFocus Wednesday. The documents confirm that Carnivore grew from an earlier FBI project called Omnivore, but reveal for the first time that Omnivore itself replaced a still older tool. The name of that project was carefully blacked out of the documents, and remains classified “secret.” The older surveillance system had “deficiencies that rendered the design solution unacceptable.” The project was eventually shut down. Development of Omnivore began in February 1997, and the first prototypes were delivered on October 31st of that year. The FBI’s eagerness to use the system may have slowed its development: one report notes that it became “difficult to maintain the schedule,” because the Bureau deployed the nascent surveillance tool for “several emergency situations” while it was still in beta release. “The field deployments used development team personnel to support the technical challenges surrounding the insertion of the OMNIVORE device,” reads the report. The ‘Phiple Troenix’ Project In September 1998, the FBI network surveillance lab in Quantico launched a project to move Omnivore from Sun’s Solaris operating system to a Windows NT platform. “This will facilitate the miniaturization of the system and support a wide range of personal computer (PC) equipment,” notes the project’s Statement of Need. (Other reasons for the switch were redacted from the documents.) The project was called “Phiple Troenix”–apparently a spoonerism of “Triple Phoenix,” a type of palm tree–and its result was dubbed “Carnivore.” Phiple Troenix’s estimated price tag of $800,000 included training for personnel at the Bureau’s Washington-based National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC). Meanwhile, the Omnivore project was formally closed down in June 1999, with a final cost of $900,000. Carnivore came out of beta with version 1.2, released in September 1999. As of May 2000, it was in version 1.3.4. At that time it underwent an exhaustive series of carefully prescribed tests under a variety of conditions. The results, according to a memo from the FBI lab, were positive. “Carnivore is remarkably tolerant of network aberration, such a speed change, data corruption and targeted smurf type attacks.

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The FBI can
configure the tool to store all traffic to or from a particular Internet IP address, while monitoring DHCP and RADIUS protocols to track a particular user. In “pen mode,” in which it implements a limited type of surveillance not requiring a wiretap warrant, Carnivore can capture all packet header information for a targeted user, or zero in on email addresses or FTP login data. Web Surveillance Version 2.0 will include the ability to display captured Internet traffic directly from Carnivore. For now, the tool only stores data as raw packets, and another application called “Packeteer” is later used to process those packets. A third program called “CoolMiner” uses Packeteer’s output to display and organize the intercepted data. Collectively, the three applications, Carnivore, Packeteer and CoolMiner, are referred to by the FBI lab as the “DragonWare suite.” The documents show that in tests, CoolMiner was able to reconstruct HTTP traffic captured by Carnivore into coherent web pages, a capability that would allow FBI agents to see the pages exactly as the user saw them while surfing the web. Justice Department and FBI officials have testified that Carnivore is used almost exclusively to monitor email, but noted that it was capable of monitoring messages sent over web-based email services like Hotmail. An “Enhanced Carnivore” contract began in November 1999, the papers show, and will run out in January of next year at a total cost of $650,000. Some of the documents show that the FBI plans to add yet more features to version 2.0 and 3.0 of the surveillance tool, but the details are almost entirely redacted. A document subject to particularly heavy editing shows that the FBI was interested in voice over IP technology, and was in particular looking at protocols used by Net2Phone and FreeTel. EPIC attorney David Sobel said the organization intends to challenge the FBI’s editing of the released documents. In the meantime, EPIC is hurriedly scanning in the pages and putting them on the web, “so that the official technical review is not the only one,” explained Sobel. “We want an unofficial review with as wide a range of participants as possible.” The FBI’s next release of documents is scheduled for mid-November.

Kevin Poulsen, SecurityFocus 2000-10-04

Find this story at 4 October 2000

Copyright 2010, SecurityFocus

FBI agent Marcus C. Thomas (who is mentioned in the EPIC FOIA documents) made a very interesting presentation at NANOG 20 yesterday morning, discussing Carnivore. (2000)

Agent Thomas gave a demonstration of both Carnivore 1.34 (the currently
deployed version) and Carnivore 2.0 (the development version) as well as
some of the other DragonWare tools.

Most of this information isn’t new, but it demonstrates that the
DragonWare tools can be used to massively analyze all network traffic
accessible to a Carnivore box.

The configuration screen of Carnivore shows that protocol information can
be captured in 3 different modes: Full, Pen, and None. There are check
boxes for TCP, UDP, and ICMP.

Carnivore can be used to capture all data sent to or from a given IP
address, or range of IP addresses.

It can be used to search on information in the traffic, doing matching
against text entered in the “Data Text Strings” box. This, the agent
assured us, was so that web mail could be identified and captured, but
other browsing could be excluded.

It can be used to automatically capture telnet, pop3, and FTP logins with
the click of a check box.

It can monitor mail to and/or from specific email addresses.

It can be configured to monitor based on IP address, RADIUS username, MAC
address, or network adaptor.

IPs can be manually added to a running Carnivore session for monitoring.

Carnivore allows for monitoring of specific TCP or UDP ports and port
ranges (with drop down boxes for the most common protocols).

Carnivore 2.0 is much the same, but the configuration menu is cleaner, and
it allows Boolean statements for exclusion filter creation.

The Packeteer program takes raw network traffic dumps, reconstructs the
packets, and writes them to browsable files.

CoolMiner is the post-processor session browser. The demo was version
1.2SP4. CoolMiner has the ability to replay a victim’s steps while web
browsing, chatting on ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, AIM, IRC. It can step through
telnet sessions, AOL account usage, and Netmeeting. It can display
information sent to a network printer. It can process netbios data.

CoolMiner displays summary usage, broken down by origination and
destination IP addresses, which can be selectively viewed.

Carnivore usually runs on Windows NT Workstation, but could run on Windows
2000.

Some choice quotes from Agent Thomas:

“Non-relevant data is sealed from disclosure.”

“Carnivore has no active interaction with any devices on the network.”

“In most cases Carnivore is only used with a Title III. The FBI will
deploy Carnivore without a warrant in cases where the victim is willing to
allow a Carnivore box to monitor his communication.”

“We rely on the ISP’s security [for the security of the Carnivore box].”

“We aren’t concerned about the ISP’s security.”

When asked how Carnivore boxes were protected from attack, he said that
the only way they were accessible was through dialup or ISDN. “We could
take measures all the way up to encryption if we thought it was
necessary.”

While it doesn’t appear that Carnivore uses a dial-back system to prevent
unauthorized access, Thomas mentioned that the FBI sometimes “uses a

firmware device to prevent unauthorized calls.”

When asked to address the concerns that FBI agents could modify Carnivore
data to plant evidence, Thomas reported that Carnivore logs FBI agents’
access attempts. The FBI agent access logs for the Carnivore box become
part of the court records. When asked the question “It’s often common
practice to write back doors into [software programs]. How do we know you
aren’t doing that?”, Thomas replied “I agree 100%. You’re absolutely
right.”

When asked why the FBI would not release source, he said: “We don’t sell
guns, even though we have them.”

When asked: “What do you do in cases where the subject is using
encryption?” Thomas replied, “This suite of devices can’t handle that.” I
guess they hand it off to the NSA.

He further stated that about 10% of the FBI’s Carnivore cases are thwarted
by the use of encryption, and that it is “more common to find encryption
when we seize static data, such as on hard drives.”

80% of Carnivore cases have involved national security.

Marcus Thomas can be contacted for questions at mthomas@fbi.gov or at
(730) 632-6091. He is “usually at his desk.”

24 October 2000

Find this story at 24 October 2000

Greenwald’s Interpretation of BOUNDLESSINFORMANT NSA Documents Is Oftentimes Wrong

For those of us who know something about the National Security Agency (NSA) and who have at the same time been closely following the drip-drop page-at-a-time disclosures of NSA documents by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, this has been an enormously frustrating time. Many of the recent headlines in the newspapers, especially in Europe, promise much, but when you do a tear-down analysis of the contents there is very little of substance there that we did not already know. Last week’s expose by the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad was just such an example, where with one single example everything that the newspaper claimed was brand new had (in fact) been published 17 years earlier by Dutch historian Dr. Cees Wiebes. Ah, what we do to sell newspapers.

There should also be tighter fact-checking by the newspapers of their interpretation of the information that they are being spoon-fed before they rush to print.

For instance, over the past month or so we have been fed once-a-week articles from newspapers France, Germany, Spain, Norway and now the Netherlands (does anyone see a pattern here) all based on a single NSA document from the agency’s BOUNDLESSINFORMANT database of metadata intercepts for a 30-day period from December 2012 to January 2013. The newspaper headlines all have claimed that the BOUNDLESSINFORMANT revealed that NSA was intercepting the telephone and internet communications of these countries. But an analysis of the SIGINT Activity Designators (SIGADs) listed in these documents reveals that NSA was not intercepting these communications, but rather the host nation intelligence services – to whit the BND in Germany, DGSE in France, the FE in Norway and the MIVD in the Netherlands. These agencies have secretly been proving this metadata material to NSA, although it is not known for how long.

There are other factual problems with the interpretation that has been placed on these documents. It really would be nice if the individuals using these materials do a little research into NSA operational procedures before leaping to conclusions lest they be further embarrassed in the future by mistakes such as this.

I am not the only person who has noted some of these glaring mistakes being made by the authors of the recent newspaper articles based on the BOUNDLESSINFORMANT document. Here is an insightful study done by a Dutch analyst who has been closely following the materials being leaked:

Screenshots from BOUNDLESSINFORMANT can be misleading

electrospaces.blogspot.nl

November 23, 2013

Over the last months, a number of European newspapers published screenshots from an NSA tool codenamed BOUNDLESSINFORMANT, which were said to show the number of data that NSA collected from those countries.

Most recently, a dispute about the numbers mentioned in a screenshot about Norway urged Snowden-journalist Glenn Greenwald to publish a similar screenshot about Afghanistan. But as this article will show, Greenwald’s interpretation of the latter was wrong, which also raises new questions about how to make sense out of the screenshots about other countries.

Norway vs Afghanistan

On November 19, the website of the Norwegian tabloid Dagbladet published a BOUNDLESSINFORMANT screenshot which, according to the paper, showed that NSA apparently monitored 33 million Norwegian phone calls (although actually, the NSA tool only presents metadata).

The report by Dagbladet was almost immediatly corrected by the Norwegian military intelligence agency Etteretningstjenesten (or E-tjenesten), which said that they collected the data “to support Norwegian military operations in conflict areas abroad, or connected to the fight against terrorism, also abroad” and that “this was not data collection from Norway against Norway, but Norwegian data collection that is shared with the Americans”.

Earlier, a very similar explanation was given about the data from France, Spain and Germany. They too were said to be collected by French, Spanish and German intelligence agencies outside their borders, like in war zones, and then shared with NSA. Director Alexander added that these data were from a system that contained phone records collected by the US and NATO countries “in defense of our countries and in support of military operations”.

Glenn Greenwald strongly contradicted this explanation in an article written for Dagbladet on November 22. In trying to prove his argument, he also released a screenshot from BOUNDLESSINFORMANT about Afghanistan (shown down below) and explained it as follows:
“What it shows is that the NSA collects on average of 1.2-1.5 million calls per day from that country: a small subset of the total collected by the NSA for Spain (4 million/day) and Norway (1.2 million).

Clearly, the NSA counts the communications it collects from Afghanistan in the slide labeled «Afghanistan» — not the slides labeled «Spain» or «Norway». Moreover, it is impossible that the slide labeled «Spain» and the slide labeled «Norway» only show communications collected from Afghanistan because the total collected from Afghanistan is so much less than the total collected from Spain and Norway.”

Global overview

But Greenwald apparently forgot some documents he released earlier:

Last September, the Indian paper The Hindu published three less known versions of the BOUNDLESSINFORMANT global overview page, showing the total amounts of data sorted in three different ways: Aggregate, DNI and DNR. Each results in a slightly different top 5 of countries, which is also reflected in the colors of the heat map.

In the overall (aggregated) counting, Afghanistan is in the second place, with a total amount of over 2 billion internet records (DNI) and almost 22 billion telephony records (DNR) counted:

The screenshot about Afghanistan published by Greenwald only shows information about some 35 million telephony (DNR) records, collected by a facility only known by its SIGAD US-962A5 and processed or analysed by DRTBox. This number is just a tiny fraction of the billions of data from both internet and telephone communications from Afghanistan as listed in the global overview.

Differences

With these big differences, it’s clear that this screenshot about Afghanistan is not showing all data which NSA collected from that country, not even all telephony data. The most likely option is that it only shows metadata from telephone communications intercepted by the facility designated US-962A5.

That fits the fact that this SIGAD denotes a sub- or even sub-sub-facility of US-962, which means there are more locations under this collection program. Afghanistan is undoubtedly being monitored by numerous SIGINT collection stations and facilities, so seeing only one SIGAD in this screenshot proves that it can never show the whole collection from that country.

This makes that Greenwald’s argument against the data being collected abroad is not valid anymore (although there maybe other arguments against it). Glenn Greenwald was asked via Twitter to comment on the findings of this article, but there was no reaction.

More questions

The new insight about the Afghanistan data means that the interpretation of the screenshots about other countries can be wrong too. Especially those showing only one collection facility, like France, Spain and Norway (and maybe also Italy and The Netherlands), might not be showing information about that specific country, but maybe only about the specific intercept location.

This also leads to other questions, like: are this really screenshots (why is there no classification marking)? Are they part of other documents or did Snowden himself made them? And how did he make the selection: by country, by facility, or otherwise?

There are many questions about NSA capabilities and operations which Snowden cannot answer, but he can answer how exactly he got to these documents and what their proper context is. Maybe Glenn Greenwald also knows more about this, and if so, it’s about time to tell that part of the story too.

Matthew M. Aid is the author of Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terror (January 2012) and The Secret Sentry, the definitive history of the National Security Agency. He is a leading intelligence historian and expert on the NSA, and a regular commentator on intelligence matters for the New York Times, the Financial Times, the National Journal, the Associated Press, CBS News, National Public Radio (NPR) and many others. He lives in Washington, DC.

November 24, 2013

Find this story at 24 November 2013

NRC over NSA

Een van de elementen op de kaart van de NRC van zaterdag zijn de rode stippen die de vestigingen van SCS aangeven. Dat bestand is hetzelfde als dat van de kaart in Spiegel, waarvan een ongecensureerde versie  beschikbaar is bij Cryptome.

Die kaart is uit augustus 2010. Als je de kaarten naast elkaar legt kom je een eind bij het vaststellen welke plaatsen NRC zwart heeft gemaakt. Wat betreft Europa kom je dan bijv. op het rijtje Bakoe, Kiev, Madrid , Moskou en
Tblisi.

x-keyscore servers op Cryptome

SCS sites op Cryptome

NRC driver 1

Europeans Shared Spy Data With U.S.; Phone Records Collected Were Handed Over to Americans to Help Protect Allied Troops in War Zones

Millions of phone records at the center of a firestorm in Europe over spying by the National Security Agency were secretly supplied to the U.S. by European intelligence services—not collected by the NSA, upending a furor that cast a pall over trans-Atlantic relations.

Widespread electronic spying that ignited a political firestorm in Europe was conducted by French and European intelligence services and not by the National Security Agency, as was widely reported in recent days. Adam Entous reports on the News Hub. Photo: AP.

The revelations suggest a greater level of European involvement in global surveillance, in conjunction at times with the NSA. The disclosures also put European leaders who loudly protested reports of the NSA’s spying in a difficult spot, showing how their spy agencies aided the Americans.

The phone records collected by the Europeans—in war zones and other areas outside their borders—were shared with the NSA as part of efforts to help protect American and allied troops and civilians, U.S. officials said.

European leaders remain chagrined over revelations that the U.S. was spying on dozens of world leaders, including close allies in Europe. The new disclosures were separate from those programs.

But they nevertheless underline the complexities of intelligence relationships, and how the U.S. and its allies cooperate in some ways and compete in others.
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Obama Unaware as NSA Spied on World Leaders

“That the evil NSA and the wicked U.S. were the only ones engaged in this gross violation of international norms—that was the fairy tale,” said James Lewis, a former State Department official, now a technology-policy specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It was never true. The U.S’s behavior wasn’t outside the norm. It is the norm.”

Consecutive reports in French, Spanish and Italian newspapers over the past week sparked a frenzy of finger-pointing by European politicians. The reports were based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and purportedly showed the extent to which the NSA sweeps up phone records in those countries.

France’s Le Monde said the documents showed that more than 70 million French phone records between early December 2012 and early January 2013 were collected by the NSA, prompting Paris to lodge a protest with the U.S. In Spain, El Mundo reported that it had seen NSA documents that showed the U.S. spy agency had intercepted 60.5 million Spanish phone calls during the same time period.

U.S. officials initially responded to the reports by branding them as inaccurate, without specifying how. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the data cited by the European news reports wasn’t collected by the NSA, but by its European partners.

U.S. officials said the data was provided to the NSA under long-standing intelligence sharing arrangements.

In a congressional hearing Tuesday, the National Security Agency director, Gen. Keith Alexander, confirmed the broad outlines of the Journal report, saying that the specific documents released by Mr. Snowden didn’t represent data collected by the NSA or any other U.S. agency and didn’t include records from calls within those countries.
Phone Trouble

Politicians have reacted to recent disclosures about U.S. surveillance programs based on leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
View Graphics

He said the data—displayed in computer-screen shots—were instead from a system that contained phone records collected by the U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries “in defense of our countries and in support of military operations.”

He said the conclusion that the U.S. collected the data “is false. And it’s false that it was collected on European citizens. It was neither.”

The U.S. until now had been silent about the role of European partners in these collection efforts so as to protect the relationships.

French officials declined to comment.

A Spanish official said that Spain’s intelligence collaboration with the NSA has been limited to theaters of operations in Mali, Afghanistan and certain international operations against jihadist groups. The so-called metadata published in El Mundo was gathered during these operations, not in Spain.

The Italian Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The revelations that the phone data were collected by European intelligence services rather than NSA could spark a backlash against the same politicians who had been pointing their fingers at the U.S.—although that response could be tempered by assurances that the data were collected abroad and not domestically.

A U.S. analysis of the document published by Le Monde concluded the phone records the French had collected were actually from outside of France, then were shared with the U.S. The data don’t show that the French spied on their own people inside France.

U.S. intelligence officials said they hadn’t seen the documents cited by El Mundo, but that the data appear to come from similar information the NSA obtained from Spanish intelligence agencies documenting their collection efforts abroad.

At Tuesday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing, lawmakers also pressed Gen. Alexander and the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on the NSA’s tapping of world leaders’ phone conversations, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Asked whether U.S. allies spy on the U.S., Mr. Clapper said, “Absolutely.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) asked why Congress hadn’t been informed when U.S. spies tapped a world leader’s telephone. Mr. Clapper said Congress isn’t told about each and every “selector,” the intelligence term for a phone number or other information that would identify an espionage target.

“Not all selectors are equal,” Mr. Schiff responded, especially “when the selector is the chancellor of an allied nation.”

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that President Barack Obama didn’t know about NSA’s tapping of Ms. Merkel’s phone—which stretched back as far as 2002—until a review this summer turned it up.

Mr. Clapper said that intelligence agencies follow the priorities set by the president and key departments, but they don’t necessarily provide top officials with details on how each requirement is being fulfilled.

The White House does, however, see the final product, he said.

Reporting to policy makers on the “plans and intentions” of world leaders is a standard request to intelligence agencies like the NSA, Mr. Clapper said. The best way to understand a foreign leader’s intentions, he said, is to obtain that person’s communications.

Privately, some intelligence officials disputed claims that the president and top White House officials were unaware of how such information is obtained.

“If there’s an intelligence report that says the leader of this country is likely to say X or Y, where do you think that comes from?” the official said.

The House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) remained a staunch defender of the NSA’s operations.

“I am a little concerned about where we are—that we’ve decided that we’re going to name our intelligence services at the earliest opportunity as the bad guys in the process of trying to collect information lawfully and legally, with the most oversight that I’ve ever seen,” he said. “We’re the only intelligence service in the world that is forced to go to a court before they even collect on foreign intelligence operations, which is shocking to me.”

—Christopher Bjork in Madrid and Stacy Meichtry in Paris contributed to this article.

By Adam Entous and Siobhan Gorman connect
Updated Oct. 29, 2013 7:31 p.m. ET

Find this story at 29 October 2013

©2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Europe shared spy data with US; Europe spy services ‘shared phone data’

The NSA says European spy services shared phone data with it, and reports alleging otherwise are ‘false’.

MILLIONS of phone records at the centre of a firestorm in Europe over spying by the National Security Agency were secretly supplied to the US by European intelligence services – not collected by the NSA, upending a furore that cast a pall over trans-Atlantic relations.

The revelations suggest a greater level of European involvement in global surveillance, in conjunction at times with the NSA. The disclosures also put European leaders who loudly protested reports of the NSA’s spying in a difficult spot, showing how their spy agencies aided the Americans.

The phone records collected by the Europeans – in war zones and other areas outside their borders – were shared with the NSA as part of efforts to help protect American and allied troops and civilians, US officials said.

European leaders remain chagrined over revelations that the US was spying on dozens of world leaders, including close allies in Europe.

The new disclosures were separate from those programs, but they underline the complexities of intelligence relationships, and how the US and its allies co-operate in some ways and compete in others.

“That the evil NSA and the wicked US were the only ones engaged in this gross violation of international norms -that was the fairy tale,” said James Lewis, a former State Department official, now a technology-policy specialist at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

“It was never true. The US’s behaviour wasn’t outside the norm. It is the norm.”

Consecutive reports in French, Spanish and Italian newspapers over the past week sparked a frenzy of finger-pointing by European politicians. The reports were based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and purportedly showed the extent to which the NSA sweeps up phone records in those countries.

France’s Le Monde said the documents showed that more than 70 million French phone records between early December last year and early January this year were collected by the NSA, prompting Paris to lodge a protest with the US. In Spain, El Mundo reported that it had seen NSA documents that showed the US spy agency had intercepted 60.5 million Spanish phone calls during the same time period.

US officials initially responded to the reports by branding them as inaccurate, without specifying how. Late yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the data cited by the European news reports wasn’t collected by the NSA but by its European partners.

US officials said the data was provided to the NSA under long-standing intelligence sharing arrangements.

Hours later, in a congressional hearing, the National Security Agency director, General Keith Alexander, confirmed the broad outlines of the Journal report, saying the specific documents released by Mr Snowden didn’t represent data collected by the NSA or any other US agency and didn’t include records from calls within those countries.

He said the data, displayed in computer-screen shots, was instead from a system that contained phone records collected by the US and NATO countries “in defence of our countries and in support of military operations”.

He said conclusions the US collected the data were “false. And it’s false that it was collected on European citizens. It was neither.”

The US until now had been silent about the role of European partners in these collection efforts to protect the relationships. French officials declined to comment.

A Spanish official said Spain’s intelligence collaboration with the NSA has been limited to theatres of operations in Afghanistan, Mali and international operations against jihadist groups. The data published in El Mundo was gathered during these operations, not in Spain.

At yesterday’s house intelligence committee hearing, politicians pressed General Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on the NSA’s tapping of world leaders’ phone conversations, including the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Asked whether US allies spy on the US, Mr Clapper said: “Absolutely.”

Democrat congressman Adam Schiff asked why congress had not been informed when US spies tapped a world leader’s telephone.

Mr Clapper said congress wasn’t told about each and every “selector”, the intelligence term for a phone number or other information that would identify an espionage target.

“Not all selectors are equal,” Mr Schiff responded, especially “when the selector is the chancellor of an allied nation.”

Mr Clapper said intelligence agencies followed the priorities set by the President and key departments, but did not necessarily provide top officials with details on how each requirement was being fulfilled.

The White House did, however, see the final product, he said.

Reporting to policymakers on the “plans and intentions” of world leaders was a standard request to intelligence agencies such as the NSA, Mr Clapper said, and the best way to understand a foreign leader’s intentions was to obtain their communications.

Privately, some intelligence officials disputed claims that the President and top White House officials were unaware of how such information was obtained.

“If there’s an intelligence report that says the leader of this country is likely to say X or Y, where do you think that comes from?” the official said

Adam Entous and Siobhan Gorman
The Wall Street Journal
October 31, 2013 12:00AM

Find this story at 31 October 2013

© www.theaustralian.com.au

NSA spy row: France and Spain ‘shared phone data’ with US

Spain and France’s intelligence agencies carried out collection of phone records and shared them with NSA, agency says

European intelligence agencies and not American spies were responsible for the mass collection of phone records which sparked outrage in France and Spain, the US has claimed.

General Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency, said reports that the US had collected millions of Spanish and French phone records were “absolutely false”.

“To be perfectly clear, this is not information that we collected on European citizens,” Gen Alexander said when asked about the reports, which were based on classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor.

Shortly before the NSA chief appeared before a Congressional committee, US officials briefed the Wall Street Journal that in fact Spain and France’s own intelligence agencies had carried out the surveillance and then shared their findings with the NSA.

The anonymous officials claimed that the monitored calls were not even made within Spanish and French borders and could be surveillance carried on outside of Europe.
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In an aggressive rebuttal of the reports in the French paper Le Monde and the Spanish El Mundo, Gen Alexander said “they and the person who stole the classified data [Mr Snowden] do not understand what they were looking at” when they published slides from an NSA document.

The US push back came as President Barack Obama was said to be on the verge of ordering a halt to spying on the heads of allied governments.

The White House said it was looking at all US spy activities in the wake of leaks by Mr Snowden but was putting a “special emphasis on whether we have the appropriate posture when it comes to heads of state”.

Mr Obama was reported to have already halted eavesdropping at UN’s headquarters in New York.

German officials said that while the White House’s public statements had become more conciliatory there remained deep wariness and that little progress had been made behind closed doors in formalising an American commitment to curb spying.

“An agreement that you feel might be broken at any time is not worth very much,” one diplomat told The Telegraph.

“We need to re-establish trust and then come to some kind of understanding comparable to the [no spy agreement] the US has with other English speaking countries.”

Despite the relatively close US-German relations, the White House is reluctant to be drawn into any formal agreement and especially resistant to demands that a no-spy deal be expanded to cover all 28 EU member states.

Viviane Reding, vice-president of the European Commission and EU justice commissioner, warned that the spying row could spill over and damage talks on a free-trade agreement between the EU and US.

“Friends and partners do not spy on each other,” she said in a speech in Washington. “For ambitious and complex negotiations to succeed there needs to be trust among the negotiating partners. It is urgent and essential that our US partners take clear action to rebuild trust.”

A spokesman for the US trade negotiators said it would be “unfortunate to let these issues – however important – distract us” from reaching a deal vital to freeing up transatlantic trade worth $3.3 billion dollars (£2bn) a day.

James Clapper, America’s top national intelligence, told a Congressional hearing yesterday the US does not “spy indiscriminately on the citizens of any country”.

“We do not spy on anyone except for valid foreign intelligence purposes, and we only work within the law,” Mr Clapper said. “To be sure on occasions we’ve made mistakes, some quite significant, but these are usually caused by human error or technical problems.”

Pressure from European leaders was added to as some of the US intelligence community’s key Congressional allies balked at the scale of surveillance on friendly governments.

Dianne Feinstein, the chair of powerful Senate intelligence committee, said she was “totally opposed” to tapping allied leaders and called for a wide-ranging Senate review of the activities of US spy agencies.

“I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers,” she said.

John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the house and a traditional hawk on national security, said US spy policy was “imbalanced” and backed calls for a review.

Mr Boehner has previously been a staunch advocate of the NSA and faced down a July rebellion by libertarian Republicans who tried to pass a law significantly curbing the agency’s power.

By Raf Sanchez, Peter Foster in Washington

8:35PM GMT 29 Oct 2013

Find this story at 29 October 2013

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013

‘We didn’t spy on the Europeans, their OWN governments did’, says NSA (but still no apology for tapping German chancellor Merkel’s phone)

Gen. Keith Alexander, the National Security Agency director, says foreign governments spied on their own people and shared data with the U.S.
The NSA had been accused of snooping on 130.5 million phone calls in France and Spain, and keeping computerized records
Sen. Dianne Feinstein said newspapers in Europe ‘got it all wrong’

Alexander’s denial will fall heavily on the fugitive leaker Edward Snowden and his journalist cohorts, whom the NSA chief said ‘did not understand what they were looking at’
The National Security Agency’s director flatly denied as ‘completely false’ claims that U.S. intelligence agencies monitored tens of millions of phone calls in France and Spain during a month-long period beginning in late 2012.

Gen. Keith Alexander contradicted the news reports that said his NSA had collected data about the calls and stored it as part of a wide-ranging surveillance program, saying that the journalists who wrote them misinterpreted documents stolen by the fugitive leaker Edward Snowden.

And a key Democratic senator added that European papers that leveled the allegations ‘got it all wrong’ with respect to at least two countries – saying that it was those nations’ intelligence services that collected the data and shared it with their U.S. counterparts as part of the global war on terror.

Protests: (Left to right) NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis, NSA Director General Keith Alexander and DNI James Clapper look on as a protestor disrupts the Capitol Hill hearing

National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander testified Tuesday that the governments of France and Spain conducted surveillance on their own citizens’ phone conversations, and then shared the intelligence data with the U.S.

On Monday newspapers in three countries published computer-screen images, reportedly provided by Snowden, showing what appeared to be data hoovered up by the United States from European citizens’ phone calls.

But Alexander testified in a House Intelligence Committee hearing that ‘those screenshots that show – or lead people to believe – that we, the NSA, or the U.S., collect that information is false.’

‘The assertions by reporters in France, Spain and Italy that NSA collected tens of millions of phone calls are completely false,’ Alexander said.

According to the French newspaper Le Monde and the Spanish daily El Mundo, the NSA had collected the records of at least 70 million phone calls in France and another 60.5 million in Spain between December and January.

Italy’s L’Espresso magazine also alleged, with help from Snowden, that the U.S. was engaged in persistent monitoring of Italy’s telecommunications networks.

General Alexander denied it all.

‘To be perfectly clear, this is not information that we collected on European citizens. It represents information that we and our NATO allies have collected in defense of our countries and in support of military operations.’

Reporters, he added, ‘cite as evidence screen shots of the results of a web tool used for data management purposes, but both they and the person who stole the classified data did not understand what they were looking at.’

President Barack Obama said he is instituting a complete review of U.S. intelligence procedures in the wake of stinging allegations that the NSA has been peeping on foreign leaders through their phones and email accounts

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that ‘the papers got it all wrong on the two programs, France and Germany.’

‘This was not the United States collecting on France and Germany. This was France and Germany collecting. And it had nothing to do with their citizens, it had to do with collecting in NATO areas of war, like Afghanistan.’

Feinstein on Monday called for a complete review of all the U.S. intelligence community’s spying programs, saying that ‘Congress needs to know exactly what our intelligence community is doing.’

In the weekend’s other intelligence bombshell, the U.S. stood accused of snooping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone and spying on Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s private emails.

But Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the committee that spying on foreign leaders is nothing new.

‘That’s a hardy perennial,’ he said, ‘and as long as I’ve been in the intelligence business, 50 years, leadership intentions, in whatever form that’s expressed, is kind of a basic tenet of what we are to collect and analyze.’

‘It’s one of the first things I learned in intel school in 1963,’ he assured the members of Congress, saying that the U.S. routinely spies on foreign leaders to ascertain their intentions, ‘no matter what level you’re talking about. That can be military leaders as well.’

Clapper hinted that committee members had been briefed on such programs, saying that in cases where the NSA is surveilling foreign leaders, ‘that should be reported to the committee … in considerable detail’ as a ‘significant’ intelligence activity over which Congress has oversight.’

He added that ‘we do only what the policymakers, writ large, have actually asked us to do.’

Republican committee chair Mike Rogers of Michigan began the hearing by acknowledging that ‘every nation collects foreign intelligence’ and ‘that is not unique to the United States’.

Clapper pleaded with the panel to think carefully before restricting the government’s ability to collect foreign intelligence, warning that they would be ‘incurring greater risks’ from overseas adversaries.

Gen. Alexander dispensed with his prepared statement and spoke ‘from the heart,’ saying that his agency would rather ‘take the beatings’ from reporters and the public ‘than … give up a program’ that would prevent a future attack on the nation.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon that other U.S. officials had confirmed Alexander’s version of events, and that the electronic spying in France and Spain was carried out by those nations’ governments.

The resulting phone records, they said, were then shared with the NSA as part of a program aimed at keeping U.S. military personnel and civilians safe in areas of military conflict.

None of the nations involved would speak to the Journal about their own level of involvement in a scandal that initially touched only the U.S., but which now promises to embroil intelligence services on a global scale.

By David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor

PUBLISHED: 21:45 GMT, 29 October 2013 | UPDATED: 10:59 GMT, 30 October 2013

Find this story at 29 October 2013

© Associated Newspapers Ltd

 

NSA Powerpoint Slides on BOUNDLESSINFORMANT

These 4 slides are from the powerpoint “BOUNDLESSINFORMANT: Describing Mission Capabilities from Metadata Records.” They include the cover page and pages 3, 5, and 6 of the presentation. The powerpoint, leaked to the Guardian newspaper’s Glenn Greenwald by Edward Snowden, was first released by the Guardian newspaper on June 8, 2013 at this web page: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-informant-data-mining-slides

Also included with this collection is a “heat map” of parts of the world most subject to surveillance by Boundless Informant. This image was embedded in the Guardian’s story, which described Boundless Informant as “the NSA’s secret tool to track global surveillance data,” which collected “almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-informant-global-datamining

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BOUNDLESSINFORMANT – Frequently Asked Questions
09-06-2012

 

(U/FOUO) Questions

 

1) What is BOUNDLESSINFORMANT! What is its purpose?

2) Who are the intended users of the tool?

3) What are the different views?

4) Where do you get your data?

5) Do you have all the data? What data is missing?

6) Why are you showing metadata record counts versus content?

7) Do you distinguish between sustained collect and survey collect?

8) What is the technical architecture for the tool?

9) What are some upcoming features/enhancements?

1 0) How are new features or views requested and prioritized?

1 1) Why are record counts different from other tools like ASDF and What’s On Cover?

12) Why is the tool NOFORN? Is there a releasable version?

13) How do you compile your record counts for each country?

 

Note: This document is a work-in-progress and will be updated frequently as additional
questions and guidance are provided.

1) (U) What is BOUNDLESSINFORMANT? What is its purpose?

(U//FOUO) BOUNDLESSINFORMANT is a GAO prototype tool for a self-documenting SIGINT
system. The purpose of the tool is to fundamentally shift the manner in which GAO describes its
collection posture. BOUNDLESSINFORMANT provides the ability to dynamically describe GAO’s
collection capabilities (through metadata record counts) with no human intervention and graphically
display the information in a map view, bar chart, or simple table. Prior to

BOUNDLESSINFORMANT, the method for understanding the collection capabilities of GAO’s
assets involved ad hoc surveying of repositories, sites, developers, and/or programs and offices. By
extracting information from every DNI and DNR metadata record, the tool is able to create a near real-
time snapshot of GAO’s collection capability at any given moment. The tool allows users to select a
country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collection against that
country. The tool also allows users to view high level metrics by organization and then drill down to a
more actionable level – down to the program and cover term.

Sample Use Cases

• (U//FOUO) How many records are collected for an organizational unit (e.g. FORNSAT)?

• (U//FOUO) How many records (and what type) are collected against a particular country?

• (U//FOUO) Are there any visible trends for the collection?

• (U//FOUO) What assets collect against a specific country? What type of collection?

• (U//FOUO) What is the field of view for a specific site? What countriees does it collect
against? What type of collection?

2) (U) Who are the intended users of the tool?

• (U//FOUO) Mission and collection managers seeking to understand output characteristics
of a site based on what is being ingested into downstream repositories. .

(U//FOUO) Strategic Managers seeking to understand top level metrics at the

 

organization/office level or seeking to answer data calls on NSA collection capability.

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BOUNDLESSINFORMANT – Frequently Asked Questions

09-06-2012

• (U//FOUO) Analysts looking for additional sites to task for coverage of a particular

technology within a specific country.

3) What are the different views?

(U//FOUO) Map View – The Map View is designed to allow users to view overall DNI, DNR, or
aggregated collection posture of the agency or a site. Clicking on a country will show the collection
posture (record counts, type of collection, and contributing SIGADs or sites) against that particular
country in addition to providing a graphical display of record count trends. In order to bin the records
into a country, a normalized phone number (DNR) or an administrative region atom (DNI) must be
populated within the record. Clicking on a site (within the Site Specific view) will show the viewshed
for that site – what countries the site collects against.

(U//FOUO) Org View – The Organization View is designed to allow users to view the metadata record
counts by organizational structure (i.e. GAO – SSO – RAM-A – SPINNERET) all the way down to the
cover term. Since it’s not necessary to have a normalized number or administrative region populated,
the numbers in the Org View will be higher than the numbers in the Map View.

(U//FOUO) Similarity View – The Similarity View is currently a placeholder view for an upcoming
feature that will graphically display sites that are similar in nature. This can be used to identify areas
for a de-duplication effort or to inform analysts of additional SIGADs to task for queries (similar to
Amazon’s “if you like this item, you’ll also like these” feature).

 

4) (U) Where do you get your data?

(U//FOUO) BOUNDLESSINFORMANT extracts metadata records from GM-PLACE post-
FALLOUT (DNI ingest processor) and post-TUSKATTIRE (DNR ingest processor). The records are
enriched with organization information (e.g. SSO, FORNSAT) and cover term. Every valid DNI and
DNR metadata record is aggregated to provide a count at the appropriate level. See the different views
question above for additional information.

 

5) (U) Do you have all the data? What data is missing?

• (U//FOUO) The tool resides on GM-PLACE which is only accredited up to TS//SI//NOFORN.
Therefore, the tool does not contain ECI or FISA data.

• (U//FOUO) The Map View only shows counts for records with a valid normalized number
(DNR) or administrative region atom (DNI).

• (U//FOUO) Only metadata records that are sent back to NSA-W through FASCIA or
FALLOUT are counted. Therefore, programs with a distributed data distribution system (e.g.
MUSCULAR and Terrestrial RF) are not currently counted.

• (U//FOUO) Only SIGINT records are currently counted. There are no ELINT or other “INT”
records included.

6) (U) Why are you showing metadata record counts versus content?

(U//FOUO)

7) (U ) Do you distin g uish between sustained collect and survey collect?

(U//FOUO) The tool currently makes no distinction between sustained collect and survey collect. This
feature is on the roadmap.

 

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BOUNDLESSINFORMANT – Frequently Asked Questions
09-06-2012

 

8) What is the technical architecture for the tool?

Click here for a graphical view of the tool’s architecture

(U//FOUO) DNI metadata (ASDF), DNR metadata (FASCIA) delivered to Hadoop
Distributed File System (HDFS) on GM-PLACE

(U//FOUO) Use Java MapReduce job to transform/filter and enrich FASCIA/ASDF data with
business logic to assign organization rules to data

(U//FOUO) Bulk import of DNI/DNR data (serialized Google Protobuf objects) into
Cloudbase (enabled by custom aggregators)

(U//FOUO) Use Java web app (hosted via Tomcat) on MachineShop (formerly Turkey Tower)
to query Cloudbase

(U//FOUO) GUI triggers queries to CloudBase – GXT (ExtGWT)

 

9) What are some upcoming features/enhancements?

• (U//FOUO) Add technology type (e.g. JUGGERNAUT, LOPER) to provide additional
granularity in the numbers

(U//FOUO) Add additional details to the Differential view

(U//FOUO) Refine the Site Specific view

(U//FOUO) Include CASN information

(U//FOUO) Add ability to export data behind any view (pddg,sigad,sysid,casn,tech,count)

(U//FOUO) Add in selected (vs. unselected) data indicators

(U//FOUO) Include filter for sustained versus survey collection

 

10) How are new features or views requested and prioritized?

(U//FOUO) The team uses Flawmill to accept user requests for additional functionality or
enhancements. Users are also allowed to vote on which functionality or enhancements are most
important to them (as well as add comments). The BOUNDLESSINFORMANT team will periodically
review all requests and triage according to level of effort (Easy, Medium, Hard) and mission impact
(High, Medium, Low). The team will review the queue with the project champion and government
steering committee to be added onto the BOUNDLESSINFORMANT roadmap.

1 1) Why are record counts different from other tools like ASDF and What’s On

Cover?

(U//FOUO) There are a number of reasons why record counts may vary. The purpose of the tool is to
provide

 

BOUNDLESSINFORMANT – FAQ

 

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July 13, 2012

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Find this story at pdf

Order of Battle of the CIA-NSA Special Collection Service (SCS)

The following page from an August 13, 2010 NSA powerpoint presentation on the joint CIA-NSA clandestine SIGINT unit known as the Special Collection Service (SCS) appeared on the Der Spiegel website last week. It has since be replaced by a heavily redacted version of the same page which deletes the locations of all SCS listening posts outside of Europe.

The page shows the locations of all SCS listening posts around the world as of August 2010, of which 74 were active, 3 were listed as being dormant, 14 were unmanned remote controlled stations, three sites were then being surveyed, and two were listed as being “technical support activities.”

In Europe, SCS sites were located at Athens and embassy annex, Baku, Berlin, Budapest, RAF Croughton (UK), Frankfurt, Geneva, Kiev, Madrid, Milan, Moscow and embassy annex, Paris, Prague, Pristina, Rome, Sarajevo, Sofia, Tblisi, Tirana, Vienna and embassy annex, and Zagreb.

In Asia SCS were located at Bangkok and PSA, Beijing, Chengdu, Chiang Mai, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Phnom Penh, Rangoon, Shanghai, and Taipei.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, SCS sites were located at Abu Dhabi, Algiers, Amman, Amarah, Ankara, Baghdad and embassy annex, Basrah, Beirut, Benghazi, Cairo, Damascus, Istanbul, Jeddah, Khartoum, Kirkuk, Kuwait City, Manama, Mosul, Riyadh, Sana’a, Sulaymaniyah, Talil(?), “Tehran-in-Exile”, and Tripoli.

In South Asia, SCS sites were located at one site illegible, Islamabad, Herat, Kabul and embassy annex, Karachi, Lahore, New Delhi, and Peshawar.

In Africa, SCS sites were located inside the U.S. embassies in Abuja, Addis Ababa, Bamako, Lagos, Nairobi, Monrovia, Kinshasa, Lusaka, and Luanda.

In Central America and the Caribbean, SCS sites were located at Guadalajara, Guatemala City, Havana, Hermosillo, Managua, Mexico City, Monterrey, Panama City, San Jose, and Tegucigalpa.

And in South America, SCS sites were located in Brasilia, Bogota, Caracas, La Paz, Merida and Quito.

Any corrections to the above would be gratefully received.

Matthew M. Aid is the author of Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terror (January 2012) and The Secret Sentry, the definitive history of the National Security Agency. He is a leading intelligence historian and expert on the NSA, and a regular commentator on intelligence matters for the New York Times, the Financial Times, the National Journal, the Associated Press, CBS News, National Public Radio (NPR) and many others. He lives in Washington, DC.

October 28, 2013

Find this story at 28 October 2013

Der Spiegel pdf 

Der Spiegel unredacted image