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  • 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


    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.”


    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

    NEIL KING JR. | Staff Reporters of

    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.


    Corporate Carnivore Available

    Forty-five days of the Carnivore

    Carnivore: Just Say No?

    Carnivore in Court

    “We call ours ‘Sniffy.'”

    FBI Defends Carnivore

    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

    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

    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

    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


    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.


    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

    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.
    NSA Said to View 23 Countries Closer U.S. Intelligence Partners Than Israel
    Senate to Review All U.S. Spying
    Spying Revelations Add Hurdle to U.S.-EU Trade Talks
    Germany Warns of Repercussions from U.S. Spying
    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.
    Related Articles
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    NSA spying: US should not be collecting calls on allies, says top senator 28 Oct 2013
    Russia ‘spied on G20 leaders with USB sticks’ 29 Oct 2013

    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

    BOUNDLESSINFORMANT – Frequently Asked Questions


    (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.





    BOUNDLESSINFORMANT – Frequently Asked Questions


    • (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?


    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.





    BOUNDLESSINFORMANT – Frequently Asked Questions


    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


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




    Page 3 o:



    July 13, 2012

    Find this story at  txt

    Find this story at jpeg

    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

    Outsourcing intelligence sinks Germany further into U.S.’s pocket

    When a private company is granted a government contract, it’s a stamp of approval. What about the flipside? What does it say when the government—say, the German government—does business with companies involved in abduction and torture? What does it say when German ministries share IT servicers with the CIA and the NSA? And what does it mean for Germany that those same agencies are involved in projects concerning top-secret material including ID cards, firearms registries and emails in the capitol?

    NDR (the German public radio and television broadcaster) and Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ, Germany’s leading broadsheet newspaper) are proving that these aren’t just hypothetical questions. Especially when it comes to spying, security and an American contractor called Computer Sciences Corporation, the CSC.

    Khaled el-Masri sits blindfolded in a container in Kabul. His hands are tied and he can hear a plane engine. It’s a white gulfstream jet. It’s May 28, 2004 and el-Masri has lived through hell. For five months he was tortured while in U.S. custody. He was beaten and humiliated. He received enemas and had to wear diapers. He was drugged and interrogated repeatedly. All this is public knowledge. It eventually became clear—even to the CIA—that they had the wrong man; el-Masri was innocent.

    That’s where the CSC comes in.

    The CIA had had good experiences with the company for years, as one of its largest private contractors. The mission: the unrightfully detained prisoners should be unobtrusively removed from Afghanistan. So, the CSC subcontracted a company with a jet. Records from July 2, 2004 show that the CSC paid $11,048.94 to have el-Masri picked up in Kabul, flown in handcuffs to Albania and once there driven to some hinterland and dropped-off. Mission accomplished.

    Everyone knows about the el-Masri case, but it doesn’t stop the contracts from coming in. The German government continues to give work to the CSC. In the past five years German ministries have given over 100 contracts to the CSC and its subsidiaries. Since 2009 alone, the CSC has earned €25.5 million, some $34.5 million. And since 1990, it’s earned almost €300 million, some $405 million, from its German contracts.

    We paid a visit to the German headquarters at 1 Abraham Lincoln Park in Wiesbaden, Germany. It’s a modern building made of grey concrete, a little metal and a lot of glass. The receptionists are friendly, but will they talk? No one here wants to talk.

    The German branch of the CSC was incorporated in 1970. On the CSC’s homepage it states vaguely that the company is a world leader in providing “technology enabled business solutions and services”.

    In fact, the CSC is a massive company with at least 11 subsidiaries in 16 locations in Germany alone. It’s no coincidence that these locations are often close to U.S. military bases. The CSC and its subsidiaries are part of a secret industry, the military intelligence industry. And they do the work traditionally reserved for the military and intelligence agencies, but for cheaper and under much less scrutiny.

    Related branches in this industry include security servicers, such as Blackwater (now going by the name Academi). Blackwater is now being legally charged for a massacre in Iraq. And then there’s Caci, whose specialists were allegedly involved in Abu Ghraib and the ‘enhanced interrogation’ methods used there.

    German CSC operations refuse to be tarnished by their bad reputation in the Middle East. Every year German companies including Allianz, BASF, Commerzbank and Dailmer pay for their services. Mostly they pay for IT consulting. But some German ministries who are among their regular costumers request more than IT help.

    The CSC’s annual report says nothing abduction. (They don’t advertise that on their homepage either.) For that kind of information you have to read investigative reports or human rights organization statements.

    And the Ministry of the Interior is quick to say: “Neither the federal government nor the Office of Procurement know of any allegations against the U.S. parent company of CSC Germany.”

    The first report of the CSC’s involvement in extraordinary rendition flights came out in 2005 in the Boston Globe and then again in 2011 in the Guardian. Since then at least 22 subsequent contracts have been signed, among them a contract to begin a national arms registry.

    After the abduction and torture of el-Masri, in 2006, the CSC sold its subsidiary Dyncorp. But the CSC remains more involved than ever in American intelligence operations. Thus, the company was part of a consortium that was awarded the so-called Trailblazer project by the NSA. The contract was to build a giant data vacuum, which would have dwarfed the later-developed PRISM program whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed to the world. The program ran over budget, failed and was cancelled altogether. But the CSC continued to be granted contracts.

    Basically, the CSC is like the IT department for the entire U.S. intelligence apparatus. And this is the company that has been handling German information at the highest of levels security for years.

    A few examples? The CSC tested the controversial Trojan horse spyware for the Federal Criminal Police Office. It helped the Justice Department implement electronic federal court recordkeeping. It has received several contracts to encrypt government communications.

    Should Germany be putting so much trust in the CSC, when the company’s more important partner is the U.S. intelligence apparatus?

    The Federal Ministry of the Interior who awards the framework agreements assures us, “usually there is a clause in the contracts prohibiting confidential information be passed onto third parties.”

    Somehow, that’s not very assuring.

    By Christian Fuchs, John Goetz, Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer
    November 16, 2013 12:55 pm CET

    Find this story at 16 November 2013

    Copyright © Süddeutsche Zeitung Digitale Medien GmbH / Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH

    Lloyds owns stake in US firm accused over CIA torture flights

    Banking group, which has £8.5m slice of CSC, is under pressure along with other City investors from human rights charity

    Computer Sciences Corporation, according to Reprieve, organised a flight that took Khaled al-Masri, a German mistakenly imprisoned by the CIA, from a secret detention centre in Afghanistan to Albania in 2004. Photograph: Thomas Kienzle/AP

    Lloyds Banking Group has become embroiled in a row over its investment in a company accused of involvement in the rendition of terror suspects on behalf of the CIA.

    Lloyds, which is just under 40% owned by the taxpayer, is one of a number of leading City institutions under fire for investing in US giant Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), which is accused of helping to organise covert US government flights of terror suspects to Guantánamo Bay and other clandestine “black sites” around the world.

    Reprieve, the legal human rights charity run by the British lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, alleges that during the flights, suspects – some of whom were later proved innocent – were “stripped, dressed in a diaper and tracksuit, goggles and earphones, and had their hands and feet shackled”. Once delivered to the clandestine locations, they were subjected to beatings and sleep deprivation and forced into stress positions, a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

    CSC, which is facing a backlash for allegedly botching its handling of a £3bn contract to upgrade the NHS IT system, has refused to comment on claims it was involved in rendition. It has also refused to sign a Reprieve pledge to “never knowingly facilitate torture” in the future. The claims about its involvement in rendition flights have not been confirmed.

    Reprieve has written to CSC investors to ask them to put pressure on the company to take a public stand against torture.

    Some of the City’s biggest institutions, including Lloyds and insurer Aviva, have demanded that CSC immediately address allegations that it played a part in arranging extraordinary rendition flights.

    Aviva, which holds a small stake in CSC via US tracker funds, said it had written to CSC’s executives to demand an investigation. The insurer said it would take further action if it was confirmed that CSC was linked to torture. “Aviva is of course concerned by the allegations made against CSC,” said a spokesman. “We are a signatory to the United Nations global compact, and support human rights principles, as outlined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is not yet clear that CSC is directly complicit in the activities outlined and we have written to the company seeking clarification. We will investigate these allegations further and take action as appropriate.”

    Lloyds said it was taking the allegations seriously and had launched its own investigation. A spokesman said: “Our policy is clear, we will not support companies whose ongoing business activities are illegal in the UK and breach the requirements of international conventions as ratified by the UK government. We are not aware of evidence that CSC is currently committed to activities inconsistent with our policy.”

    Lloyds holds an £8.5m stake in CSC via its Scottish Widows funds that track the S&P 500 index of America’s biggest companies.

    HSBC, another investor, said that it was not aware of evidence that CSC was breaching its ethical investment code.

    CSC’s alleged involvement with rendition came about after it purchased DynCorp, which was involved in hundreds of prisoner transfer flights, in 2003. While CSC went on to sell DynCorp in 2005, Reprieve alleges that CSC continued to be involved in the supervision of rendition flights until the end of 2006.

    None of CSC’s top 10 shareholders, including fund managers Dodge & Cox, Fidelity, Blackrock and Guggenheim Capital, a fund manager founded by a grandson of philanthropist Solomon Guggenheim, responded to the allegations made in a letter from Reprieve. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is also an investor.

    One of the biggest investors, which declined to be identified due to its policy of refusing to comment on investment decisions, said its executives were “extremely concerned” about CSC’s alleged links to torture, and managers raised their concerns with CSC as soon as it was made aware of the allegations by the Guardian.

    Reprieve’s legal director, Cori Crider, said: “CSC evidently thinks it’s fine to profit from kidnap and torture as long as their shareholders are happy. It is now up to those shareholders, including British banks, pension funds and UK government [via Lloyds], to show this isn’t the case. These institutions must insist that CSC take their ethical concerns seriously. Alternatively, they can vote with their feet.”

    Crider told investors that Reprieve had obtained an invoice indicating CSC organised a flight that took Khaled al-Masri, a German citizen mistakenly imprisoned by the CIA, from a secret detention centre in Afghanistan to Albania in May 2004. The charity said in its letter: “Having belatedly concluded after months of torture and interrogation that they had imprisoned the wrong man, the CIA, acting through CSC, arranged for Richmor Aviation jet N982RK to transfer Mr al-Masri from an Afghan ‘black site’ to a remote roadside in Albania.”

    In a letter to Reprieve, Helaine Elderkin, CSC’s vice-president and senior deputy general counsel, said: “CSC’s board of directors … have a corporate responsibility programme that fosters CSC’s growth by promoting and increasing the value of the company to its shareholders, clients, communities and employees.”

    Lisa Nandy, the Labour MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on international corporate responsibility, also called on CSC’s biggest investors to hold the company to account. “Investors have a unique responsibility to hold businesses accountable for their ethical conduct, particularly in relation to human rights. Corporates should conduct due diligence down their supply chains to protect human rights, working under the assumption that business should do no harm. Those that refuse to do so should have investment withdrawn,” she said.

    “The UK must take the lead in this area and ensure its institutional investors, many of which are using pension funds to allow grievous abuse, are asking tough questions at board level, demanding changes in behaviour and a corporate policy to uphold human rights.”

    CSC is being sued by some of its investors in relation to its £3bn contract to upgrade NHS computer systems.

    Rupert Neate
    The Guardian, Sunday 6 May 2012 19.18 BST

    Find this story at 6 May 2013

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

    Dubioser Partner der Regierung

    Entführen für die CIA, spionieren für die NSA? Die Firma CSC kennt wenig Skrupel. Auf ihrer Kundenliste steht auch die Bundesregierung. Die weiß angeblich von nichts.

    Keine Frage, ein Auftrag der Bundesregierung schmückt jede Firma. Aber wie ist es andersherum? Kann, darf, soll die Berliner Regierung mit jeder beliebigen Firma ins Geschäft kommen? Sicher nicht – so viel ist einfach zu beantworten; dafür gibt es unzählige Regeln, fast alle beschäftigen sich mit formalen Dingen.

    Und was ist mit den moralischen? Sollte eine deutsche Bundesregierung beispielsweise Geschäfte mit einer Firma eingehen, die in Entführungen, in Folterungen verwickelt ist? Sollten sich deutsche Ministerien etwa einen IT-Dienstleister teilen mit CIA, NSA und anderen amerikanischen Geheimdiensten, zumal wenn es um sensible Aufgaben geht, um Personalausweise, Waffenregister und die E-Mail-Sicherheit im Berliner Regierungsviertel?

    Recherchen von NDR und Süddeutscher Zeitung belegen, dass beides der Fall gewesen ist beziehungsweise noch immer ist. Es geht um Geschäftsbeziehungen zu einer Firma namens Computer Sciences Corporation, kurz CSC.

    Khaled el-Masri sitzt mit verbundenen Augen und gefesselten Händen in einem Container in Kabul, als er die Motorengeräusche eines landenden Flugzeugs hört, eines weißen Gulfstream-Jets. Es ist der 28. Mai 2004, und el-Masri hat die Hölle hinter sich. Fünf Monate lang war er in US-Gefangenschaft gefoltert worden, im berüchtigten “Salt Pit”-Gefängnis in Afghanistan. Er war geschlagen worden und erniedrigt, vielfach, er hat Einläufe bekommen und Windeln tragen müssen, er ist unter Drogen gesetzt und immer wieder verhört worden. Alles bekannt, alles oft berichtet. Auch, dass den CIA-Leuten irgendwann klar wurde: Sie hatten den Falschen. El-Masri war unschuldig. An dieser Stelle kam CSC ins Spiel.

    Die CIA-Leute hatten mit der Firma über Jahre gute Erfahrungen gemacht, sie ist einer der größten Auftragnehmer von Amerikas Geheimdiensten. Die Aufgabe: Der falsche Gefangene sollte unauffällig aus Afghanistan herausgeschafft werden. Das Unternehmen beauftragte dafür seinerseits ein Subunternehmen mit dem Flug – laut Rechnung vom 2. Juni 2004 gegen 11048,94 Dollar – und so wurde al-Masri mit jenem weißen Jet in Kabul abgeholt, gefesselt nach Albanien geflogen, dort in ein Auto umgeladen und im Hinterland ausgesetzt. Mission erfüllt.

    Schon zu dieser Zeit machte auch die Bundesregierung mit CSC Geschäfte, und sie tut es bis heute – obwohl die Rolle von CSC im Fall el-Masri ihr bekannt sein müsste. Über 100 Aufträge haben deutsche Ministerien in den vergangenen fünf Jahren an die CSC und seine Tochterfirmen vergeben. Allein seit 2009 erhielt CSC für die Aufträge 25,5 Millionen Euro, von 1990 bis heute sind es fast 300 Millionen Euro.

    Besuch in der deutschen Firmenzentrale im Abraham-Lincoln-Park 1 in Wiesbaden. Ein moderner Bau, grauer Sichtbeton, wenig Metall, viel Glas. Steril, kühl, sachlich. Die Angestellten am Empfang sind höflich, aber reden? Reden will hier niemand. Den deutschen Ableger der 1959 in den USA gegründeten Firma gibt es seit 1970. Auf der Homepage heißt es nur vage, das Unternehmen sei weltweit führend in “IT-gestützten Businesslösungen und Dienstleistungen”.

    Tatsächlich ist die CSC ein großes Unternehmen, allein in Deutschland gibt es mindestens elf Tochtergesellschaften an insgesamt 16 Standorten. Auffallend oft residieren sie in der Nähe von US-Militärstützpunkten. Kein Zufall. Die CSC und ihre Tochterfirmen sind Teil jenes verschwiegenen Wirtschaftszweigs, der für Militär und Geheimdienste günstig und unsichtbar Arbeiten erledigt. Andere in der Branche sind die Sicherheitsdienstleister von Blackwater (die sich heute Academi nennen), denen im Irak Massaker angelastet werden. Oder Caci, deren Spezialisten angeblich in Abu Ghraib beteiligt waren, wenn es um verschärfte Verhöre ging.

    Die deutschen Geschäfte der CSC werden durch den schlechten Ruf im Nahen Osten nicht getrübt: Jedes Jahr überweisen deutsche Firmen wie Allianz, BASF, Commerzbank, Daimler und Deutsche Bahn Millionen. Meist geht es um technische Fragen, um Beratung. Aber zum Kundenstamm zählen auch Ministerien: Mit der Firma CSC Deutschland Solutions GmbH, in deren Aufsichtsrat auch ein ehemaliger CDU-Bundestagsabgeordneter sitzt, wurden innerhalb der vergangenen fünf Jahre durch das Beschaffungsamt des Bundesinnenministeriums insgesamt drei Rahmenverträge geschlossen, die wiederum Grundlage für Einzelaufträge verschiedener Bundesministerien waren.

    Im Geschäftsbericht der CSC ist von Entführungsflügen nichts zu finden, auch nicht auf deren Homepage. Dafür muss man schon Untersuchungsberichte lesen oder Reports von Menschenrechtsorganisationen. Was das Bundesinnenministerium indessen nicht zu tun scheint: “Weder dem Bundesverwaltungsamt noch dem Beschaffungsamt waren bei Abschluss der Verträge mit der CSC Deutschland Solutions GmbH Vorwürfe gegen den US-amerikanischen Mutterkonzern bekannt,” sagt ein Sprecher. Den ersten Bericht über die Beteiligung der CSC an CIA-Entführungsflügen gab es 2005 im Boston Globe, 2011 folgte der Guardian. Danach wurden von deutschen Ministerien noch mindestens 22 Verträge abgeschlossen, etwa über Beratungsleistungen bei der Einführung eines Nationalen Waffenregisters.

    Zwar hat die CSC ihre Tochterfirma Dyncorp, die einst Khaled el-Masris Verschleppung organisierte, schon 2005* verkauft – dennoch war die CSC auch danach noch immer oder noch viel mehr in amerikanische Geheimdienstaktivitäten involviert. So war die Firma Teil jenes Konsortiums, das den Zuschlag für das sogenannte Trailblazer-Programm der NSA erhielt: Dabei sollte ein gigantischer Datenstaubsauger entwickelt werden, gegen den das durch Edward Snowden öffentlich gewordene Spionageprogramm Prism beinahe niedlich wirken würde. Das Projekt wurde schließlich eingestellt, doch Aufträge bekam die CSC weiterhin. Im Grunde ist das Unternehmen so etwas wie die EDV-Abteilung der US-Geheimdienste. Und ausgerechnet diese Firma wird von deutschen Behörden seit Jahren mit Aufträgen bedacht, die enorm sensibel sind.

    Ein paar Beispiele? Die CSC testete den umstrittenen Staatstrojaner des Bundeskriminalamts. Das Unternehmen half dem Justizministerium bei der Einführung der elektronischen Akte für Bundesgerichte. Die CSC erhielt mehrere Aufträge, die mit der verschlüsselten Kommunikation der Regierung zu tun haben. Die CSC beriet das Innenministerium bei der Einführung des elektronischen Passes. Sie ist involviert in das Projekt De-Mail, dessen Ziel der sichere Mailverkehr ist – oder sein sollte. Sollte man solche Aufträge einer Firma überantworten, die im US-Geheimdienst im Zweifel möglicherweise den wichtigeren Partner sieht?

    Das zuständige Bundesinnenministerium lässt ausrichten, die Rahmenverträge enthielten “in der Regel Klauseln, nach denen es untersagt ist, bei der Vertragserfüllung zur Kenntnis erlangte vertrauliche Daten an Dritte weiterzuleiten”.

    *Anmerkung der Redaktion: In einer früheren Version hieß es, CSC habe Dyncorp 2006 verkauft. Es war 2005.

    16. November 2013 08:00 Deutsche Aufträge für CSC
    Von Christian Fuchs, John Goetz, Frederik Obermaier und Bastian Obermayer

    Find this story at 16 November 2013

    Copyright: Süddeutsche Zeitung Digitale Medien GmbH / Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH

    Deutschland vergibt Aufträge an US-Spionagefirma

    Der Konzern steht dem Geheimdienst NSA nahe. Trotzdem beschäftigt die Bundesregierung seit Jahren das umstrittene Computerunternehmen CSC. Es arbeitet für Ministerien und Behörden und hat Zugriff auf hochsensible Daten.

    Die Bundesregierung macht umstrittene Geschäfte mit einem US-amerikanischen Spionage-Dienstleister. Dieser erhält dadurch Zugriff auf eine ganze Reihe hochsensibler Daten. Mehr als 100 Aufträge haben deutsche Ministerien nach Recherchen der Süddeutschen Zeitung und des Norddeutschen Rundfunks in den vergangenen fünf Jahren an deutsche Tochterfirmen der Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) vergeben. Das US-Unternehmen gilt als einer der wichtigsten Partner der amerikanischen Geheimdienste und war in der Vergangenheit unter anderem an der Entwicklung von Spähprogrammen für die NSA beteiligt. Außerdem war eine Tochter der CSC 2004 in die Verschleppung des Deutschen Khaled el-Masri durch die CIA verwickelt.

    Seit 2009 erhielten die deutschen CSC-Ableger Staatsaufträge in Höhe von 25,5 Millionen Euro. Die Firma testete dafür unter anderem den Staatstrojaner des Bundeskriminalamts und unterstützte das Justizministerium bei der Einführung der elektronischen Akte für Bundesgerichte. Des Weiteren erhielt die CSC Aufträge, die mit dem sogenannten Regierungsnetz zu tun haben, über das die verschlüsselte Kommunikation von Ministerien und Behörden läuft. Die CSC beriet außerdem das Innenministerium bei der Einführung des elektronischen Passes und ist involviert in das Projekt De-Mail, dessen Ziel der sichere Mailverkehr ist. Alles heikle Aufträge.

    “Wir wissen jetzt ja leider, dass viele US-Firmen sehr eng mit der NSA kooperieren, da scheint blindes Vertrauen äußerst unangebracht”, sagt der Ex-Hacker und IT-Sicherheitsexperte Sandro Gaycken, der auch die Bundesregierung berät. Die CSC selbst teilte mit, “aus Gründen des Vertrauensschutzes” keine Auskunft über öffentliche Auftraggeber zu geben.

    Das Unternehmen ist Teil der amerikanischen Schattenarmee von Privatfirmen, die für Militär und Geheimdienste günstig und unsichtbar Arbeit erledigen. So gehörte das Unternehmen zu einem Konsortium, das den Zuschlag für das sogenannte Trailblazer-Projekt der NSA bekommen hatte: Dabei sollte ein Spähprogramm ähnlich dem jüngst bekannt gewordenen Programm Prism entwickelt werden.

    Die problematischen Verwicklungen sind teils seit Jahren bekannt – jedoch angeblich nicht dem Bundesinnenministerium, das die Rahmenverträge mit der CSC geschlossen hat. Das Ministerium habe dazu keine “eigenen Erkenntnisse”, teilte ein Sprecher mit. Mitarbeiter externer Unternehmen müssten sich einer Sicherheitsprüfung unterziehen, bevor sie mit einer “sicherheitsempfindlichen Tätigkeit” betraut würden. Im Übrigen enthielten die Rahmenverträge “in der Regel” Klauseln, nach denen es untersagt ist, “vertrauliche Daten an Dritte weiterzuleiten”.

    Thomas Drake, ein ehemaliger hochrangiger Mitarbeiter des US-Geheimdienstes NSA, hält derartige Klauseln für “naiv”. Er sagt: “Wenn es um eine Firma geht, die in der US-Geheimdienstbranche und speziell bei der NSA eine solch große Rolle spielt und dort so viel Unterstützung bekommt, dann würde ich den Worten eines Vertrags nicht trauen.”

    15. November 2013 19:00 CSC-Konzern
    Von Christian Fuchs, John Goetz, Frederik Obermaier und Bastian Obermayer

    Find this story at 15 November 2013

    Copyright: Süddeutsche Zeitung Digitale Medien GmbH / Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH

    Was Spionagefirmen in Deutschland für die USA treiben

    Die US-Geheimdienste sammeln so viele Daten, dass sie alleine nicht hinterherkommen. Deswegen mieten sie Zusatzkräfte bei privaten Dienstleistern. Die arbeiten wie Spione – auch in Deutschland.

    Ein einfacher Miet-Hacker kostet die US-Regierung 117,99 Dollar die Stunde. Sollte er noch etwas mehr können – die US-Firma MacAulay Brown bewirbt auf ihrer Internetseite Computerspezialisten von “Level 1” bis “Level 4” -, dann wird es teurer: bis zu 187,30 Dollar die Stunde. Und das sind schon die reduzierten Preise für Regierungsaufträge, heißt es in einem Prospekt im Internet (hier als PDF).

    Die USA spionieren auf der ganzen Welt, und der Staat allein kommt nicht mehr hinterher, alle Informationen zu verarbeiten. Deswegen setzen Militär und Geheimdienste auf private Firmen, die ihnen zuliefern, auf sogenannte Contractors. Ein Milliardenmarkt. Große Konzerne wie CSC, L-3 Communications, SAIC und Booz Allen Hamilton haben Zehntausende Mitarbeiter. Die Firmen pflegen die Computer der US-Truppen, warten die Datenbanken der Geheimdienste, sortieren Unterlagen. Und manchmal schicken sie “Analysten”: Mitarbeiter, die die nackten Informationen der Geheimdienste für Einsatzbesprechungen zusammenfassen. Alle wichtigen Contractors haben auch Aufträge in Deutschland.
    Alle Geheimdienst-Aufträge an Privatfirmen in Deutschland

    Was treiben die USA in Deutschland? Antworten finden sich auch in einer offiziellen US-Datenbank. Hier finden Sie alle Verträge für Geheimdienstarbeiten in Deutschland.

    Die Bundesrepublik ist einer der wichtigsten Stützpunkte der USA, allein im Fiskaljahr 2012 haben sie hier drei Milliarden Dollar ausgegeben. Mehr als im Irak, und auch mehr als in Südkorea – wo die US-Armee tatsächlich einem Feind im Norden gegenübersteht. Von Deutschland aus kämpfen die USA gegen einen Feind, der weit weg ist: Wenn in Somalia US-Drohnen vermeintliche Terroristen beschießen, läuft das über Stuttgart, wo das Hauptquartier für US-Afrika-Missionen sitzt. Auch im Drohnenkrieg sind private Firmen beteiligt, deren Mitarbeiter warten die Fluggeräte, sie kalibrieren die Laser, sie sammeln die Informationen zur Zielerfassung.

    Den größten Umsatz mit Analysten auf deutschem Boden verbucht die Firma SOS International, kurz SOSi, an die bislang 61 Millionen Dollar geflossen sind – so steht es in der US-Datenbank für Staatsaufträge. Gerade sucht SOSi neue Mitarbeiter für den Standort Darmstadt. Es geht um die Auswertung von Geo-Daten: Wer ist wann wo? Auf welcher Straße fährt der Mensch in Somalia, der vielleicht ein Terrorist ist, immer abends nach Hause? Informationen, die für tödliche Drohnenschläge verwendet werden können. Geospatial-Analysten verwandeln die Signale der Satelliten in bunte Bilder – und finden darin die Zielperson. Die Konsequenzen zieht der US-Militärapparat.
    (Foto: Screenshot exelisvis.com)

    Wie sehr die USA in Deutschland auf die privaten Helfer setzen, zeigt ein Auftrag an die Firma Caci aus dem Jahr 2009. Der US-Konzern bekam fast 40 Millionen Dollar, um SIGINT-Analysten nach Deutschland zu schicken. SIGINT steht für Signals Intelligence: Informationen, die Geheimdienste im Internet gesammelt haben. Dabei ist Caci nicht irgendein Unternehmen. Ihre Mitarbeiter waren 2003 als Befrager im US-Gefängnis Abu Ghraib im Irak eingesetzt, aus dem später die Bilder eines Folterskandals um die Welt gingen: Nackte Häftlinge, aufgestapelt zu menschlichen Pyramiden, angeleint wie Hunde und selbst nach ihrem Tod noch misshandelt – fotografiert von grinsenden US-Soldaten und ihren Helfern. Zwei Untersuchungsberichte der US-Armee kamen später zu dem Schluss, dass Caci-Leute an Misshandlungen beteiligt waren. Caci bestreitet das.

    Die Episode zeigt: Die Contractors stecken tief drin in Amerikas schmutzigen Kriegen. Jeder fünfte Geheimdienstmitarbeiter ist in Wahrheit bei einer privaten Firma angestellt. Das geht aus den geheimen Budgetplänen der US-Geheimdienste hervor, die dank des Whistleblowers Edward Snowden öffentlich wurden. Snowden ist der wohl berühmteste Ex-Angestellte eines Contractors, bis Juni arbeitete er als Systemadministrator für Booz Allen Hamilton. Der Konzern übernimmt viele IT-Jobs für US-Behörden, so hatte Snowden Zugriff auf hochsensible Unterlagen, die streng geheime Operationen von amerikanischen und britischen Geheimdiensten belegen – obwohl er nicht einmal direkt bei einem US-Geheimdienst arbeitete. Viele Contractors haben Zugriff auf das Allerheiligste. Auf die vom Geheimdienst gesammelten Daten, und auf die interne Kommunikation.

    Genau diese Aufgaben sorgen auch für hohe Umsätze in Deutschland. Caci und der Konkurrent SAIC haben zusammen hierzulande in den vergangenen Jahren Hunderte Millionen Dollar umgesetzt. Der Konzern suchte noch vor Kurzem in Stellenausschreibungen Entwickler für das Programm XKeyscore. Nachdem der Guardian enthüllt hatte, dass der US-Geheimdienst NSA damit Bewegungen im Internet von E-Mails bis Facebook-Chats live verfolgen kann, gingen die Gesuche offline. Eine SAIC-Sprecherin betonte, dieses Geschäft sei in dem im September abgespaltenen Unternehmen Leidos aufgegangen. Weitere Fragen ließ sie unbeantwortet.

    Die CIA beteiligt sich sogar über eine eigene Investmentfirma names In-Q-Tel an Start-ups, um später deren Technologie nutzen zu können. Auch personell sind die beiden Welten verbunden: Der oberste US-Geheimdienstdirektor James R. Clapper war erst Chef des Militärgeheimdienstes DIA, dann beim Contractor Booz Allen Hamilton und kehrte schließlich in den Staatsdienst zurück – er soll die Arbeit aller US-Nachrichtendienste koordinieren. Arbeit, die oft privatisiert wird, wovon Unternehmen wie sein ehemaliger Arbeitgeber profitieren.

    Die Beziehungen zwischen Privatfirmen und dem Staat sind so eng, dass Contractors Büros in US-Militärbasen beziehen. Für MacAulay Brown saß bis vor einem Jahr ein Mitarbeiter auf dem Gelände des Dagger-Complexes in Griesheim. Der Standort gilt als Brückenkopf der NSA. Der Mitarbeiter von MacAulay Brown hatte die gleiche Telefonnummer wie die dort stationierten Truppen und eine eigene Durchwahl. Als gehörte er dazu.
    Ein Soldat vor einer sogenannten “Shadow”-Drohne in der US-Basis in Vilseck-Grafenwöhr (Foto: REUTERS)

    16. November 2013 11:31 Amerikanische Auftragnehmer
    Von Bastian Brinkmann,Oliver Hollenstein und Antonius Kempmann

    Find this story at 16 November 2013

    Copyright: Süddeutsche Zeitung Digitale Medien GmbH / Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH


    In the past year, I have been threatened with a libel suit in London from a rich Saudi billionaire whose Washington-based law firm just so happens to have a former Bush-Cheney campaign finance chairman and one of George W. Bush’s closest Texas pals as two of its major partners. I have earned the attention of an Orwellian Ministry of Truth-like “counter-propaganda” office at the U.S. Department of State, which maintains a web site that criticizes my articles. It is against U.S. law for the International Public Diplomacy unit to directly respond to my counter-arguments, they can only legally respond to foreign queries and not from U.S. citizen journalists who they cavalierly attack. Apparently, the White House and some officials in the U.S. intelligence community have found it necessary to suppress from publication my book on corruption in the oil industry and defense contracting community. I have now been threatened by the company CACI International, which, according to the Taguba Report, was involved in the prison torture at Abu Ghraib. The threat was based on a very and important story concerning contract fraud and corruption at the super secret National Security Agency (NSA) — America’s premier electronic surveillance body.

    Unlike Newsweek, CBS News and 60 Minutes, and the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio, I do not intend to allow the friends of Bush and the globally-despised U.S. military intelligence complex to stymie my right to report on the graft and corruption and the steady move toward fascism from my vantage point inside the Washington Beltway. To George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, CACI (and its law firm Steptoe & Johnson), and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and its Bush buddies and Saudi paymasters, I have one simple admonition: “Go to Hell.”

    And to show that I mean business, I will soon establish a web site called the Wayne Madsen Report that will expose the bottom dwelling vermin now infesting our body politic. In the finest tradition of H. L. Mencken, Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson, Edward R. Murrow and other hard hitting members of the Fourth Estate, I have a simple warning: if you hold political office or another responsible position in this three degrees of separation town called Washington and you steal taxpayer’s money, hypocritically proclaim born-again Christianity and then go out and beat up a female prostitute or call a gay male prostitute hot line, get busted for public urination on Capitol Hill, or engage in disloyal behavior against the United States, you can be sure your name and your activities will be featured on the web site. You will be held accountable — it’s as simple as that. You may not have to worry about The Washington Post or CNN, but you will have to contend with me.

    And for Federal law enforcement officials who find it proper or exciting to subpoena journalists’ notebooks and require testimony before grand juries, forget about me. I won’t play your political games. I’ll gladly go to prison rather than subject myself and my sources to interrogations from a neocon fascist regime.


    Now more on what is happening at NSA and how it is adversely affecting U.S. national security. On August 1, 2001, just five and a half weeks before the 911 attacks, NSA awarded Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) a more than $2 billion, ten-year contract known as GROUNDBREAKER. The contract was never popular with NSA’s career professionals. Although GROUNDBREAKER was limited to outsourcing NSA’s administrative support functions such as telephones, data networks, distributed computing, and enterprise architecture design, the contract soon expanded into the operational areas — a sphere that had always been carefully restricted to contractors. NSA was once worried about buying commercial-off-the-shelf computer components such as semiconductors because they might contain foreign bugs. NSA manufactured its own computer chips at its own semiconductor factory at Fort Meade. Currently, NSA personnel are concerned that outsourcing mania at Fort Meade will soon involve foreign help desk technical maintenance provided from off-shore locations like India.

    CSC had originally gained access to NSA through a “buy in” project called BREAKTHROUGH, a mere $20 million contract awarded in 1998 that permitted CSC to operate and maintain NSA computer systems. When General Michael V. Hayden took over as NSA Director in 1999, the floodgates for outside contractors were opened and a resulting deluge saw most of NSA’s support personnel being converted to contractors working for GROUNDBREAKER’s Eagle Alliance (nicknamed the “Evil Alliance” by NSA government personnel), a consortium led by CSC. NSA personnel rosters of support personnel, considered protected information, were turned over to Eagle, which then made offers of employment to the affected NSA workers. The Eagle Alliance consists of CSC, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, CACI, Omen, Inc., Keane Federal Systems, ACS Defense, BTG, Compaq, Fiber Plus, Superior Communications, TRW (Raytheon), Verizon, and Windemere.

    In October 2002, Hayden, who has now been promoted by Bush to be Deputy Director of National Intelligence under John Negroponte, opened NSA up further to contractors. A Digital Network Enterprise (DNE) team led by SAIC won a $280 million, 26 month contract called TRAILBLAZER to develop a demonstration test bed for a new signals intelligence processing and analysis system. SAIC’s team members included Booz Allen Hamilton, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Eagle Alliance team leader CSC. TRAILBLAZER, according to Hayden’s own testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is now behind schedule and over budget to the tune of over $600 million.

    But that is not the only consequence of these two mega-contracts for NSA’s ability to monitor global communications for the next 911, which could be a terrorist nuclear strike on the United States.

    NSA insiders report that both contract teams have melded into one and that NSA’s operations are being adversely impacted. From simple tasks like phones being fixed to computers being updated with new software, the Eagle Alliance has been a disaster. The Eagle Alliance and DNE team members are rife with former NSA top officials who are reaping handsome bonuses from the contracts — and that has many NSA career employees crying conflict of interest and contract fraud.

    CACI, called “Colonels and Captains, Inc.” by critics who cite the revolving door from the Pentagon to its corporate office suites, counts former NSA Deputy Director Barbara McNamara as a member of its board of directors. CACI alumni include Thomas McDermott, a former NSA Deputy Director for Information Systems Security. Former NSA Director Adm. Mike McConnell is a Senior Vice President of Booz Allen. Former NSA Director General Ken Minihan is President of the Security Affairs Support Association (SASA), an intelligence business development association that includes Boeing, Booz Allen, CACI, CSC, the Eagle Alliance, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, SAIC, and Windemere, all GROUNDBREAKER and TRAILBLAZER contractors, among its membership. SASA’s board of directors (surprise, surprise) includes CACI’s Barbara McNamara. One of SASA’s distinguished advisers is none other than General Hayden.

    Although contractors are required to have the same high level security clearances as government personnel at NSA, there are close connections between some NSA contractors and countries with hostile intelligence services. For example, CACI’s president and CEO visited Israel in early 2004 and received the Albert Einstein Technology Award at ceremony in Jerusalem attended by Likud Party Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. The special ceremony honoring CACI’s president was sponsored by the Aish HaTorah Yeshiva Fund. The ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism Party’s Jerusalem Mayor, Uri Lupolianski, was also in attendance. According to Lebanon’s Daily Star, CACI’s president also met with notorious racist Israeli retired General Effie Eitam who advocates expelling Palestinians from their lands. The U.S. delegation also included a number of homeland security officials, politicians, and businessmen. CACI has also received research grants from U.S.-Israeli bi-national foundations. A few months after the award ceremony for CACI’s president, the Taguba Report cited two CACI employees as being involved in the prison torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The U.S. military commander for the Iraqi prisons, General Janis Karpinski, reported that she witnessed Israeli interrogators working alongside those from CACI and another contractor, Titan.

    When the Taguba Report was leaked, the office of Deputy Defense Secretary for Policy Douglas Feith issued an order to Pentagon employees not to download the report from the Internet. Feith is a well-known hard line supporter of Israel’s Likud Party and, according to U.S. government insiders, his name has come up in FBI wiretaps of individuals involved in the proliferation of nuclear weapons material to Israel via Turkish (including Turkish Jewish) intermediaries. These wiretaps are the subject of a Federal probe of who compromised a sensitive CIA counter-proliferation global operation that used a carve out company called Brewster Jennings & Associates to penetrate nuclear weapons smuggling networks with tentacles extending from Secaucus, New Jersey to South Africa and Pakistan and Turkey to Israel.

    According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, some six months before the Abu Ghraib torture scandal was first uncovered, one of Feith’s assistants, Larry Franklin, met with two officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) at the Tivoli Restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. According to FBI surveillance tapes, Franklin relayed top secret information to Steve Rosen, AIPAC’s then policy director, and Keith Weissman, a senior Iran analyst with AIPAC. Franklin has been indicted for passing classified information to AIPAC. In addition, three Israeli citizens have been identified as possible participants in the spy scandal. They are Naor Gilon, the political officer at the Israeli embassy in Washington; Uzi Arad, an analyst with the Institute for Policy and Strategy in Herzliya (the northern Tel Aviv suburb where the headquarters of Mossad is located); and Eran Lerman, a former Mossad official who is now with the American Jewish Committee.

    What has some NSA officials worried is that with pro-Israeli neocons now engrained within the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), State Department, and National Security Council, NSA is ripe for penetration by Israeli intelligence. NSA has a troubled past with Israel. In 1967, Israeli warplanes launched a premeditated attack on the NSA surveillance ship, the USS Liberty, killing and wounding a number of U.S. sailors and NSA civilian personnel. Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard compromised a number of NSA sensitive sources and methods when he provided a garage full of classified documents to Israel. But NSA is also aware of an incident where Israelis used a contractor, RCA, to gain access to yet additional NSA sources and methods. In the 1980s, against the wishes of NSA, the Reagan administration forced NSA to permit RCA, one of its major contractors, to develop a tethered aerostat (balloon) signals intelligence and direction finding system for the Israeli Defense Force. According to NSA officials, the Israeli-NSA joint project, codenamed DINDI, was established at a separate facility in Mount Laurel, New Jersey and apart from the main NSA developmental center at RCA’s facility in Camden, New Jersey. Although NSA and RCA set up a strict firewall between the contractor’s national intelligence contract work and the separate DINDI contract, Israeli engineers, who were working for Mossad, soon broke down the security firewall with the assistance of a few American Jewish engineers assigned to the DINDI project. The security breach resulted in a number of national intelligence developmental systems being compromised to the Israelis, including those code named PIEREX, MAROON ARCHER, and MAROON SHIELD. DINDI was quickly cancelled but due to the sensitivity surrounding the American Jewish engineers, the Reagan Justice Department avoided bringing espionage charges. There were some forced retirements and transfers, but little more. But for NSA, the duplicity of the Israelis added to the enmity between Fort Meade and Israeli intelligence.

    With outside contractors now permeating NSA and a major Israeli espionage operation being discovered inside the Pentagon, once again there is a fear within NSA that foreign intelligence services such as the Mossad could make another attempt to penetrate America’s virtual “Fort Knox” of intelligence treasures and secrets.

    Thanks to some very patriotic and loyal Americans inside NSA, this author is now in possession of an internal NSA contract document from November 2002 that shows how GROUNDBREAKER and TRAILBLAZER have allowed the Eagle Alliance and other contractors to gain access to and even virtual control over some of the most sensitive systems within the U.S. intelligence community. One suspect in this unchecked outsourcing is the person Hayden hired from the outside to act as Special Adviser to his Executive Leadership Team, Beverly Wright, who had been the Chief Financial Officer for Legg Mason Wood Walker in Baltimore. Before that, Wright had been the Chief Financial Officer for Alex Brown, the investment firm at which George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, once served as a board member. As one senior NSA official sarcastically put it, “She’s highly qualified to work in intelligence!”

    According to the document, the future of some 10,000 Windows NT and UNIX workstations and servers that handle some of NSA’s most sensitive signals intelligence (SIGINT) (the Signals Intelligence Directorate workstation upgrade is code named BEANSTALK) and electronics intelligence (ELINT) applications, including databases that contain communications intercepts, are now firmly in the grasp of the Eagle Alliance. Operational workstations are being migrated to a less-than-reliable Windows/Intel or “WINTEL” environment. The document boldly calls for the Eagle Alliance to establish a SIGINT Service Applications Office (SASO) to “provide and maintain Information Technology services, tools, and capabilities for all [emphasis added] SIGINT mission applications at the NSA.” This is a far cry from the non-operational administrative support functions originally specified in the GROUNDBREAKER contract.

    The document also calls for NSA to provide extremely sensitive information on SIGINT users to the contractors: “Identification of target sets of users in order to successfully coordinate with the Eagle Alliance modernization program.” The Eagle Alliance is involved in a number of systems that impact on other members of the U.S. intelligence community, foreign SIGINT partners, and national command authorities. These systems include INTELINK, Common Remoted Systems, National SIGINT Requirements Process, Overhead Tasking Distribution, RSOC (Regional SIGINT Operations Center) Monitoring Tool, RSOC Modeling Tool, Speech Activity Detection, Network Analysis Tools, Network Reconstruction Tools, Advanced Speech Processing Services, Automatic Message Handling System, CRITIC Alert, Cross Agency Multimedia Database Querying, Message Format Converter, Central Strategic Processing and Reporting, Collection Knowledge Base, Language Knowledge Base and Capabilities, K2000 Advanced ELINT Signals, Speech Content Services, Speech Information Extraction, Dominant Facsimile Processing System and DEFSMAC Support, Data Delivery (TINMAN), High Frequency Direction Finding (HFDF) Database, Satellite database, Protocol Analysis Terminal, Global Numbering Database, Intercept Tasking Databases, DEFSMAC Space Systems Utilities, Message Server, Extended Tether Program, Language Knowledge Services, Trend Analysis in Data Streams, Signal Related Database, SANDKEY Support (SIGINT Analysis and Reporting), and the SIGINT interception database ANCHORY and the ELINT database WRANGLER. In fact, the document states that the contractors’ plans foresee the inclusion of NSA’s intelligence community partners (foreign and domestic) in the contractors’ revamping of NSA’s operational systems.

    The servers include those that support mission-critical National Time Sensitive Systems (NTSS). These National Time Sensitive System servers have been assigned various cover terms:


    A number of SIGINT applications are also impacted by the outsourcing mania. They are also assigned cover terms:

    GALE-LITE (the primary owner of which is DIA)

    In fact, the document indicates that literally hundreds of NSA intelligence applications are now subject to the whims of outside contractors. These systems include



























    24 May 2005
    By Wayne Madsen

    Find this story at 24 May 2005

    Defense Contractors Cyber Expertise Behind ‘PRISM’ And ‘Boundless Informant’

    A string of U.S. and international defense contractors helped in developing the now infamous ‘PRISM’ and ‘Boundless Informant’ systems that spy’s on American and international internet and telephone traffic.

    Defenseworld.net took a close look at the contractors which supplied equipment and expertise to the U.S. National Security Administration (NSA) to help develop the all-pervasive spying technology.

    Among the NSA’s top contractors are Booz Allen Hamilton thanks to its wide range of intelligence and surveillance expertise. Another top contractor heavily involved with the NSA is SAIC. Of its 42,000 employees, more than 20,000 hold U.S. government security clearances, making it one of the largest private intelligence services in the world, according to U.S. media reports.

    “SAIC provides a full suite of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and cybersecurity solutions across a broad spectrum of national security programs,” it says on its website.

    Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and, CACI International act as the NSA’s SIGINT analysis team making them integral to ISR projects. “SIGINT involves collecting foreign intelligence from communications and information systems and providing it to customers across the U.S. government, such as senior civilian and military officials,” according to the NSA website.

    “NSA/CSS collects SIGINT from various sources, including foreign communications, radar and other electronic systems.” Most recently, BAE Systems announced that its experts will provide architecture, installation and administration for a complex networking environment that supports multiple network enclaves and high-speed datacenter access.

    “BAE Systems’ Intelligence & Security manages big data, informs big decisions, and supports big missions. BAE Systems delivers a broad range of services including IT, cybersecurity and intelligence analysis to enable the U.S. military and government to recognize, manage and defeat threats,” according to a company statement.

    Northrop Grumman, CACI International and Raytheon all boast an impressive array of ISR capabilities. Northrop Grumman has recently bagged several IT contracts from the NSA including a Cloud-Based Cyber Security Contract in 2012 to develop, integrate and sustain cloud-based information repositories.

    In 2007, the company along with Computer Sciences Corporation was awarded Project Groundbreaker, a $5 billion contract to rebuild and operate the NSA’s “nonmission-critical” internal telephone and computer networking systems.

    In managing the project for the NSA, CSC and Logicon created the “Eagle Alliance” consortium that drew in practically every major company involved in defense and intelligence outsourcing. Subcontractors included General Dynamics, BAE Systems, Titan Corp. (now L-3 Communications Inc.), CACI International, TRW (now part of Northrop Grumman), Mantech, Lockheed Martin, and Verizon (one of the companies that allegedly granted the NSA access to its consumer database under the Terrorist Surveillance Program), as well as Dell Computers, Hewlett-Packard, and Nortel Networks.

    Earlier last year, Northrop Grumman and DRS Technologies won a $67 million NATO contract for cybersecurity and computer management services. Northrop said the team will implement a computer incident response capability for 50 NATO websites in 28 countries from cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

    The same year, it was revealed that the NSA had a Raytheon ‘semi-secret’ technology to protect the nation’s power grid called “Perfect Citizen.” Since a crippling cyber attack in 2010, a 491 million contract was awarded to Raytheon to develop its overall mission.

    Virtually all other details about the program are secret, including any information on whether the technology will allow any kind of domestic data collection on citizens. NSA vigorously denies that it will. “Perfect Citizen” would be able to detect cyber assaults on private companies and government agencies running such critical infrastructure as the electricity grid and nuclear-power plants. It would rely on a set of sensors deployed in computer networks for critical infrastructure that would be triggered by unusual activity suggesting an impending cyber attack.

    Meanwhile, NATO earlier last month announced plans to set up rapid reaction teams to fight the number of growing cyber-attacks on their military alliances. “In the progress report we have adopted today, we agreed to establish rapid reaction teams that can help protect NATO’s own systems,” alliance head Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. This “cyber-defence capability should be fully operational by the autumn,” Rasmussen told a press conference. “This is a first phase. A second phase would be to look into how the alliance can respond to requests from Allies who come under cyber-attack,” he said.

    Operational since 2007, the program codenamed PRISM was intended to monitor foreign communications that take place on US servers. It allowed the NSA to listen in on Skype conversations as long as one person was using a conventional phone. Edward Snowden’s leaked documents revealed that the NSA is monitoring Google products such as Gmail, voice and video chat, file transfers, photos, and a live surveillance of your search terms.

    Users of social media and cloud services (such as iCloud, Google Drive and Dropbox) are also being monitored, according to the Washington Post. About one in seven intelligence reports contain data collected by PRISM, according to the leaked documents. PRISM monitors the internet traffic of foreigners, but sweeps up American communicators in the process while the Boundless Information program analyzes and is fed in part by metadata on calls routed through Verizon, and other telecommunications carriers as well.

    The telecommunications data mining appears to be both vast and indiscriminate but only collects so-called metadata; that is, data on which phone numbers called which other numbers, how long the calls lasted, the locations where calls were made and received and the like. No conversations have been recorded, so what was said is forever beyond the government’s reach, according to reports.

    PRISM is a finer intelligence gathering program but far more invasive.

    It can confine not just metadata but the content of communications transmitted via the web, including messages sent and retrieved, uploaded videos et al.

    “NSA’s systems environment is a haven for computer scientists, with vast networks able to manipulate and analyze huge volumes of data at mind-boggling speeds,” the agency says on its website.

    The NSA and the the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), a British intelligence agency, had hacked Chinese mobile-phone companies to collect millions of text messages and computers in China and Hong Kong for over a four-year period, according to Snowden’s documents.

    U.S officials have confirmed they do not know how many documents Snowden took but the enormity of the implication is staggering. China has come out in support of Snowden and even aided him in fleeing from Hong Kong to Moscow saying it will says it will “absolutely not accept” U.S.

    charges. Snowden’s passport has been revoked and charged with theft of government property, indicted by the United States for stealing and leaking classified documents.

    Source : Bindiya Thomas ~ Dated : Monday, July 1, 2013 @ 01:36 PM

    Find this story at 1 July 2013

    Defense World © 2012

    Washington gunman vetted by same firm behind Snowden checks

    USIS, one of the US’s largest security providers, admits to carrying out vetting procedures on Aaron Alexis

    Aaron Alexis had been arrested three times before the Navy Yard incident, including two suspected offences involving guns. Photograph: Kristi Suthamtewakul/Reuters

    Pressure to overhaul vetting procedures for US government contractors grew on Thursday after one of the largest US security providers admitted that it carried out background checks on Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis.

    USIS, a Virginia-based company owned by private equity group Providence, had previously denied conducting background investigations into Alexis, according to a report by Bloomberg. Alexis had been arrested three times, including two suspected offences involving guns, although he was not charged or convicted. On Thursday USIS issued a statement in response to mounting questions over how Alexis received the “secret” level clearance that allowed him access to military facilities such as Navy Yard. “Today we were informed that in 2007, USIS conducted a background check of Aaron Alexis for OPM,” said a company spokesman in a statement provided to the Guardian. “We are contractually prohibited from retaining case information gathered as part of the background checks we conduct for OPM and therefore are unable to comment further on the nature or scope of this or any other background check.”

    USIS, formerly known as US Investigations Services, was also involved in background checks on National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, but subsequently defended its role. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal last month, the company said the federal government did not raise any concerns at the time about its work in February 2011 on the five-year “periodic reinvestigation” of Snowden. The company said the NSA, not USIS, was ultimately responsible for approving or denying Snowden’s security clearance.

    Snowden’s leaks of classified material revealing the extent of the NSA’s surveillance activities in the US and abroad prompted a review of vetting procedures for contractors by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    On Tuesday, the White House also announced a separate review by the Office of Management and Budget to examine “standards for contractors and employees across federal agencies”.

    Follow Dan Roberts by emailBeta
    Dan Roberts in Washington
    theguardian.com, Thursday 19 September 2013 23.54 BST

    Find this story at 19 September 2013

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

    USIS Under Investigation Over Edward Snowden Background Check

    WASHINGTON — The government contractor that performed a background investigation of the man who says he disclosed two National Security Agency surveillance programs is under investigation, a government watchdog said Thursday.

    Patrick McFarland, the inspector general at the Office of Personnel Management, said during a Senate hearing that the contractor USIS is being investigated and that the company performed a background investigation of Edward Snowden.

    McFarland also told lawmakers that there may have been problems with the way the background check of Snowden was done, but McFarland and one of his assistants declined to say after the hearing what triggered the decision to investigate USIS and whether it involved the company’s check of Snowden.

    “To answer that question would require me to talk about an ongoing investigation. That’s against our policy,” Michelle Schmitz, assistant inspector general for investigations, told reporters after the hearing. “We are not going to make any comment at all on the investigation of USIS.”

    USIS, which is based in Falls Church, Va., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said she and her staff have been told that the inquiry is a criminal investigation related “to USIS’ systemic failure to adequately conduct investigations under its contract” with the Office of Personnel Management.

    McCaskill said that USIS conducted a background investigation in 2011 for Snowden, who worked for government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden says he is behind the revelations about the NSA’s collection of Americans’ phone records and Internet data from U.S. Internet companies.

    “We are limited in what we can say about this investigation because it is an ongoing criminal matter,” McCaskill said. “But it is a reminder that background investigations can have real consequences for our national security.”

    McFarland told reporters that his office has the authority to conduct criminal investigations.

    A background investigation is required for federal employees and contractors seeking a security clearance that gives them access to classified information.

    Of the 4.9 million people with clearance to access “confidential and secret” government information, 1.1 million, or 21 percent, work for outside contractors, according to a January report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Of the 1.4 million who have the higher “top secret” access, 483,000, or 34 percent, work for contractors.

    By RICHARD LARDNER 06/20/13 04:51 PM ET EDT

    Find this story at 20 June 2013

    © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

    U.S. Probes Firm That Vetted NSA Leaker

    WASHINGTON—Federal inspectors have been conducting a criminal investigation for more than a year of the company that performed a background check on Edward Snowden, the former systems analyst who leaked some of the nation’s most closely held secrets to the media, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

    Federal inspectors have been conducting a criminal investigation for more than a year of the company that performed a background check on Edward Snowden, the former systems analyst who leaked some of the nation’s most closely held secrets to the media. Dion Nissenbaum reports.

    USIS, the largest contractor involved in conducting security background checks for the federal government, is being scrutinized over allegations about a “systematic failure to adequately conduct investigations,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) said during a special congressional hearing. Those allegations aren’t related to Mr. Snowden.

    Federal officials confirmed the investigation Thursday and added that there also may have been problems with USIS’s 2011 security background check of Mr. Snowden, 29 years old, who fled to Hong Kong to avoid prosecution for admittedly taking years of classified documents while working as a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor at a National Security Agency office in Hawaii.

    Later that year, inspectors at the Office of Personnel Management—which oversees more than 90% of the government’s security background checks—launched the continuing contracting-fraud investigation of USIS.

    Patrick McFarland, inspector general for the Office of Personnel Management, said that there appear to have been problems with the USIS investigation of Mr. Snowden in 2011, though he didn’t provide any details. The 2011 background check of Mr. Snowden was a re-investigation for his security clearance.

    “We do believe that there may be some problems,” Mr. McFarland said during the hearing.

    USIS, a Falls Church, Va., company owned by private-equity firm Providence Equity Partners LLC, has more than 7,000 employees and conducts 45% of OPM investigations done by contractors, officials said. Last year, USIS received $200 million for its work, Ms. McCaskill said.

    In a statement, USIS said it turned over records last year in response to a subpoena from the agency’s inspector general, but that it had never been informed it is under criminal investigation. With regards to Mr. Snowden’s security check, the company said it wouldn’t comment on confidential investigations.

    The nation’s background-check system has come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of Mr. Snowden’s revelations.

    The federal agency spends more than $1 billion a year to conduct 2 million investigations of people seeking security clearances for jobs doing everything from cleaning offices at the State Department to working as covert operatives overseas. Most of that money goes to contractors like USIS.

    Of the roughly 2 million investigations in 2012, more than 770,000 involved people requesting new or continued access to classified information.

    The system has been plagued by massive backlogs and delays of more than a year for completion of investigations. Current and former investigators have complained the process is antiquated and focuses more on making sure applicants properly fill out a 127-page application form than on thorough background checks.

    On Thursday, Mr. McFarland warned that the investigative process is so flawed that it poses a security risk. “There is an alarmingly insufficient level of oversight of the federal investigative-services program,” he told lawmakers. “A lack of independent verification of the organization that conducts these important background investigations is a clear threat to national security,” he said.

    One concern for lawmakers is the pressure on contractors to quickly complete cases to bring in more money for their firms.

    Since 2007, 18 people have been convicted of falsifying records while conducting background checks, officials said. Eleven of those were federal workers; seven were contractors.

    The latest case came Thursday when Ramon Davila, a former Virgin Islands police commissioner who worked as an independent contractor conducting background checks, pleaded guilty to making false statements about his work. Mr. Davila, who worked at one time for USIS, admitted he didn’t conduct a thorough inquiry while working as a contractor for the agency in 2007.

    On Thursday, Mr. McFarland said such cases may be the tip of the iceberg. “I believe there may be considerably more,” he told lawmakers. “I don’t believe that we’ve caught it all by any stretch.”

    Federal officials were pressed to explain why USIS could continue to conduct sensitive investigations while under criminal investigation.

    Formerly a branch of the federal government, U.S. Investigations Services LLC was spun out of the Office of Personnel Management in 1996. It was renamed USIS after it was acquired by private-equity firms Carlyle Group LP and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe in early 2003 for about $1 billion. Those firms flipped the Falls Church, Va., company to fellow private-equity firm Providence four years later for about $1.5 billion.

    Providence, which specializes in buying and selling media, telecom and data companies, has since combined USIS with pre-employment-screening firm HireRight Inc., corporate-investigations firm Kroll Inc. and others under the name Altegrity Inc.

    —Ryan Dezember and Evan Perez contributed to this article.
    Write to Dion Nissenbaum at dion.nissenbaum@wsj.com

    By Dion Nissenbaum
    Updated June 21, 2013 3:56 a.m. ET

    Find this story at 21 June 2013

    Copyright 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

    Contractors Providing Background Checks For NSA Caught Falsifying Reports, Interviewing The Dead from the the-talking-dead dept

    The fallout from Ed Snowden’s leaks has taken many forms, one of which is the NSA taking a long look at its contractors’ hiring processes. Snowden claims to have taken the job solely to gathering damning info. This revelation, combined with some inconsistencies in his educational history, have placed the companies who perform background and credit checks under the microscope.

    What these agencies are now discovering can’t be making them happy, including the news that one contractor’s investigative work apparently involved a seance.
    Anthony J. Domico, a former contractor hired to check the backgrounds of U.S. government workers, filed a 2006 report with the results of an investigation.

    There was just one snag: A person he claimed to have interviewed had been dead for more than a decade. Domico, who had worked for contractors CACI International Inc. (CACI) and Systems Application & Technologies Inc., found himself the subject of a federal probe.
    It’s not as if Domico’s case is an anomaly.
    Domico is among 20 investigators who have pleaded guilty or have been convicted of falsifying such reports since 2006. Half of them worked for companies such as Altegrity Inc., which performed a background check on national-security contractor Edward Snowden. The cases may represent a fraction of the fabrications in a government vetting process with little oversight, according to lawmakers and U.S. watchdog officials.
    Who watches the watchers’ watchers? It appears as if that crucial link in the chain has been ignored. Give any number of people a job to do and, no matter how important that position is, a certain percentage will cut so many corners their cubicles will start resembling spheres.

    These are the people entrusted to help ensure our nation’s harvested data remains in safe hands, or at least, less abusive ones. Those defending the NSA claim this data is well-protected and surrounded by safeguards against abuse. Those claims were always a tad hollow, but this information shows them to be complete artifice. The NSA, along with several other government agencies, cannot positively say that they have taken the proper steps vetting their personnel.

    USIS, the contractor who vetted Ed Snowden, openly admits there were “shortcomings” in its investigation of the whistleblower. Perhaps Snowden’s background check was a little off, but overall, calling the USIS’ problems “shortcomings” is an understatement.
    Among the 10 background-check workers employed by contractors who have been convicted or pleaded guilty to falsifying records since 2006, eight of them had worked for USIS, according to the inspector general for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The personnel agency is responsible for about 90 percent of the government’s background checks.

    In one case, Kayla M. Smith, a former investigative specialist for USIS, submitted some 1,600 falsified credit reports, according to the inspector general’s office.
    Smith spent 18 months turning in these falsified reports, which accounted for a third of her total output. One might wonder how someone like Smith ends up working for a background check contractor. The answer? This problem isn’t confined to one level.
    [T]he investigator who had vetted Smith was convicted in a separate falsification case, Patrick McFarland, inspector general for the personnel office, said at a June 20 hearing held by two Senate panel.
    Will it get better? USIS is already ceding market share to other contractors but it’s impossible to say whether its competitors will be more trustworthy. McFarland says his office doesn’t have enough funding to perform thorough probes, which indicates what’s been caught so far is just skimming the surface. These agencies harvesting our data (and their defenders) all expect Americans (and others around the world) to simply trust them. Meanwhile, the reasons why we shouldn’t continue to mount unabated.

    A couple of senators are hoping their new piece of oversight legislation will fix the problem. It would provide McFarland’s office with more investigation funding, but simply adding more “oversight” isn’t going to make the problem go away. The NSA’s mouthpieces continue to insist that everything it does is subject to tons and tons of “oversight,” but that has done very little to improve its standing in the “trustworthy” department. There are systemic issues that need to be addressed, both in these agencies and the contractors they hire and expecting to paper over the cracks with a little legislation will only result in more revelations of wrongdoing, rather than fewer occurrences.

    by Tim Cushing
    Wed, Jul 10th 2013 8:49am

    Find this story at 10 July 2013

    Top-Secret Crate Packers Among Legions Hired With Leaker

    To the growing list of U.S. jobs that require Top Secret clearances add this one: packing and crating.

    A June 2 job posting on the website of CACI International Inc. (CACI), a government contractor that works for the Defense Department and intelligence agencies, seeks a full-time “packer/crater” to prepare products such as “chillers, generators, boats and vehicles” for shipping.

    The listing says the candidate must have a high-school diploma and hold a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance, the type held by Edward Snowden, 29, the former National Security Agency contractor who says he passed information about classified electronic surveillance programs to two newspapers.

    From packers to computer specialists, the number of U.S. military and intelligence jobs requiring Top Secret clearances has risen since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as the federal government expanded efforts to track and stop terrorists globally. That has made the government more dependent on contractors such as Arlington, Virginia-based CACI to fill many of these roles, and it has increased the workload on investigators who must process security clearances.

    “Perhaps the government should take a look at the number of people being granted access to sensitive information” and the security risks of that proliferation, said Robert Burton, a partner at the law firm of Venable LLP in Washington who served as acting administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in President George W. Bush’s administration.
    About 1.4 Million

    About 1.4 million Americans held Top Secret clearances as of October, including about 483,000 who worked for contractors, according to data from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Packer/Crater is listed among occupational specialties on the Central Intelligence Agency’s jobs website, which says the job pays $23.94 an hour and requires a polygraph examination.

    Access to Sensitive Compartmented Information, or SCI, is limited to those cleared for specific Top Secret programs or information.

    Among those with Top Secret clearances was Snowden, who had been working as a computer technician for government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. (BAH) for less than three months after previously holding a position with the CIA. Booz Allen said yesterday it had fired Snowden, who it said had a salary of $122,000 a year, for “violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy.”

    For Booz Allen, based in McLean, Virginia, almost a quarter of annual revenue comes from work for intelligence agencies, according to its annual regulatory filing. About 27 percent of its employees held Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearances, according to the company.
    Lockheed, SAIC

    The company, which reported sales for the year ending March 31 of $5.76 billion, was acquired in 2008 by the Washington-based private-equity firm Carlyle Group LP, which still holds 67 percent of the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    Booz Allen, the 13th-largest federal contractor, competes with Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), SAIC Inc. (SAI), CACI and other companies for U.S. intelligence contracts.

    Jobs seeking candidates with Top Secret clearances are among the five most-advertised requirements in the U.S., according to Wanted Technologies, a Quebec City-based company that collects and analyzes job ads.

    While postings for Top Secret jobs declined about 23 percent in March from a year earlier, there were still 20,000 such ads posted online, according to “Hiring Demand Indicators” published in April by Wanted Technologies. All of the top five job categories were related to computer technologies.
    Security Clearances

    Government agencies must turn to contractors for almost a half-million workers with Top Secret clearances because agencies can’t meet their needs for such “highly prized” workers from within, said Stan Soloway, president and chief executive officer of the Professional Services Council, an Arlington, Virginia-based group that represents contractors such as SAIC and CACI.

    The danger of leaks isn’t exacerbated by having workers for contractors holding Top Secret clearances, Soloway said.

    “You’d still have an overwhelming number of people” working in this area, even if the government was hiring federal workers rather than contractors, Soloway said. “The sheer growth in the intel community increased the potential for leaks.”
    Background Investigations

    The demand for workers with security clearances has grown so much that many of the background investigations that once were done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Personnel Management are now farmed out to contractors as well, said Charles Tiefer, a University of Baltimore law professor and former member of the U.S. Commission on Wartime Contracting.

    “You couldn’t fill a need as large as it is today if you still depended on the FBI to do field work on every job applicant for a clearance in the government or as a government contractor,” Tiefer said. “So many clearances are being granted that they are doing it by having contractors process the clearances.”

    The boost in jobs requiring Top Secret clearances has another effect too: It costs money.

    The U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a July 2012 report that the Director of National Intelligence hadn’t provided other government agencies with a clear policy and instructions for determining which civilian jobs needed that clearance.
    ‘Investigative Workload’

    “Developing a sound requirements process is important because requests for clearances for positions that do not need a clearance or need a lower level of clearance increase investigative workload and costs unnecessarily,” according to the GAO report.

    To issue a Top Secret clearance, the government or a designated contractor conducts a Single Scope Background Investigation, which includes a review of everywhere an individual has lived, attended school and worked, according to the GAO. Investigators also interview four references who have social knowledge of the individual, talk to former spouses and conduct a check of financial records. Top Secret clearances must be renewed every five years. Some also require a polygraph examination.

    The U.S. spent $1 billion in 2011 to conduct background investigations for a variety of classifications, the GAO said.

    In 2012, each investigation to issue a new Top Secret clearance costs about $4,000 with a renewal cost of $2,711, compared with the base price of $260 for a more routine Secret clearance, according to the GAO.

    “A lot of security reform efforts have been focused on other aspects” of how intelligence agencies work, Brenda Farrell, author the GAO report said in a phone interview. “This one definitely needs attention.”

    To contact the reporters on this story: Gopal Ratnam in Washington at gratnam1@bloomberg.net; Danielle Ivory in Washington at divory@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephanie Stoughton at sstoughton@bloomberg.net; John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

    By Gopal Ratnam and Danielle Ivory – Jun 12, 2013

    Find this story at 12 June 2013

    ®2013 BLOOMBERG L.P.

    C.I.A. Warning on Snowden in ’09 Said to Slip Through the Cracks

    WASHINGTON — Just as Edward J. Snowden was preparing to leave Geneva and a job as a C.I.A. technician in 2009, his supervisor wrote a derogatory report in his personnel file, noting a distinct change in the young man’s behavior and work habits, as well as a troubling suspicion.

    The C.I.A. suspected that Mr. Snowden was trying to break into classified computer files to which he was not authorized to have access, and decided to send him home, according to two senior American officials.

    But the red flags went unheeded. Mr. Snowden left the C.I.A. to become a contractor for the National Security Agency, and four years later he leaked thousands of classified documents. The supervisor’s cautionary note and the C.I.A.’s suspicions apparently were not forwarded to the N.S.A. or its contractors, and surfaced only after federal investigators began scrutinizing Mr. Snowden’s record once the documents began spilling out, intelligence and law enforcement officials said.

    “It slipped through the cracks,” one veteran law enforcement official said of the report.

    Spokesmen for the C.I.A., N.S.A. and F.B.I. all declined to comment on the precise nature of the warning and why it was not forwarded, citing the investigation into Mr. Snowden’s activities.

    Half a dozen law enforcement, intelligence and Congressional officials with direct knowledge of the supervisor’s report were contacted for this article. All of the officials agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing criminal investigation.

    In hindsight, officials said, the report by the C.I.A. supervisor and the agency’s suspicions might have been the first serious warnings of the disclosures to come, and the biggest missed opportunity to review Mr. Snowden’s top-secret clearance or at least put his future work at the N.S.A. under much greater scrutiny.

    “The weakness of the system was if derogatory information came in, he could still keep his security clearance and move to another job, and the information wasn’t passed on,” said a Republican lawmaker who has been briefed on Mr. Snowden’s activities.

    Mr. Snowden now lives in Moscow, where he surfaced this week for the first time since receiving temporary asylum from the Russian government over the summer. On Wednesday night, he met with four American whistle-blowers who have championed his case in the United States and who presented him with an award they said was given annually by a group of retired C.I.A. officers to members of the intelligence community “who exhibit integrity in intelligence.”

    In a television interview, one member of the group, Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department official, said that Mr. Snowden “looked great.”

    “He seemed very centered and brilliant,” Ms. Radack said. “Smart, funny, very engaged. I thought he looked very well.”

    Another of the whistle-blowers, Coleen Rowley, a former F.B.I. agent who testified before the Senate about missteps in the agency’s investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said, “We talked about prior examples of great people in history that had themselves been under this kind of pressure, and he’s remarkably centered.”

    On Thursday, Mr. Snowden’s father, Lon, arrived in Moscow to see his son after assurances from Mr. Snowden’s legal aide that there would be “no complications” in organizing a meeting with his father. But in a telephone interview later in the day, Lon Snowden said he had not yet been able to meet with his son.

    “I can’t tell you the where and the when,” the elder Mr. Snowden said. “I have no idea. I hope something happens.”

    It is difficult to tell what would have happened had N.S.A. supervisors been made aware of the warning the C.I.A. issued Mr. Snowden in what is called a “derog” in federal personnel policy parlance.

    “The spectrum of things in your personnel file could be A to Z,” said Charles B. Sowell, who until June was a top official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence working on improving the security clearance process. “There’s a chance that that information could be missed and might not be surfaced.”

    Mr. Sowell, now a senior vice president at Salient Federal Solutions, an information technology company in Fairfax, Va., emphasized that he left the government before Mr. Snowden’s disclosures became public.

    Intelligence and law enforcement officials say the report could have affected the assignments Mr. Snowden was given, first as an N.S.A. contractor with the computer company Dell in Japan and later with Booz Allen Hamilton in Hawaii, as well as the level of supervision he received.

    The electronic systems the C.I.A. and N.S.A. use to manage the security clearances for its full-time and contracted employees are intended to track major rule-based infractions, not less serious complaints about personal behavior, a senior law enforcement official said. Thus, lesser derogatory information about Mr. Snowden was unlikely to have been given to the N.S.A. unless it was specifically requested. As a result of Mr. Snowden’s case, two law enforcement officials said, that flaw has since been corrected and such information is now being pushed forward.

    The revelation of the C.I.A.’s derogatory report comes as Congress is examining the process of granting security clearances, particularly by USIS, a company that has performed 700,000 yearly security checks for the government. Among the individuals the company vetted were Mr. Snowden and Aaron Alexis, who the police say shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard last month.

    “We have a compelling need to monitor those trusted with this sensitive information on a more regular basis and with broader sets of data,” said Kathy Pherson, a former C.I.A. security officer who belongs to an intelligence industry task force that is expected to issue a report on the matter by year’s end.

    While it is unclear what exactly the supervisor’s negative report said, it coincides with a period of Mr. Snowden’s life in 2009 when he was a prolific online commenter on government and security issues, complained about civil surveillance and, according to a friend, was suffering “a crisis of conscience.”

    Mr. Snowden got an information technology job at the C.I.A. in mid-2006. Despite his lack of formal credentials, he gained a top-secret clearance and a choice job under State Department cover in Geneva. Little is known about what his duties were there.

    Mavanee Anderson, who worked with Mr. Snowden in Geneva and also had a high security clearance, said in an article in The Chattanooga Times Free Press of Tennessee in June that when they worked from 2007 through early 2009, Mr. Snowden “was already experiencing a crisis of conscience of sorts.”

    “Anyone smart enough to be involved in the type of work he does, who is privy to the type of information to which he was privy, will have at least moments like these,” she said.

    Later, Mr. Snowden would tell the newspaper The Guardian that he was shocked and saddened by some of the techniques C.I.A. operatives in Geneva used to recruit sources. “Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,” he told The Guardian. “I realized that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good.”

    There were other signs that have since drawn investigators’ attention. In early 2009, someone using Mr. Snowden’s screen name expressed outrage at government officials who leaked information to the news media, telling a friend in an Internet chat that leakers “should be shot.”

    “They’re just like WikiLeaks,” Mr. Snowden — or someone identified as him from his screen name, “TheTrueHOOHA,” and other details — wrote in January 2009 about an article in The New York Times on secret exchanges between Israel and the United States about Iran’s nuclear program.

    He later told The Guardian he was disappointed that President Obama “advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in.”

    “I got hardened,” he said.

    Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting from Washington, and Andrew Roth from Moscow.

    October 10, 2013

    Find this story at 10 October 2013

    © 2013 The New York Times Company

    Exclusive: NSA delayed anti-leak software at base where Snowden worked -officials

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency failed to install the most up-to-date anti-leak software at a site in Hawaii before contractor Edward Snowden went to work there and downloaded tens of thousands of highly classified documents, current and former U.S. officials told Reuters.

    Well before Snowden joined Booz Allen Hamilton last spring and was assigned to the NSA site as a systems administrator, other U.S. government facilities had begun to install software designed to spot attempts by unauthorized people to access or download data.

    The purpose of the software, which in the NSA’s case is made by a division of Raytheon Co, is to block so-called “insider threats” – a response to an order by President Barack Obama to tighten up access controls for classified information in the wake of the leak of hundreds of thousands of Pentagon and State Department documents by an Army private to WikiLeaks website in 2010.

    The main reason the software had not been installed at the NSA’s Hawaii facility by the time Snowden took up his assignment there was that it had insufficient bandwidth to comfortably install it and ensure its effective operation, according to one of the officials.

    Due to the bandwidth issue, intelligence agencies in general moved more slowly than non-spy government units, including the Defense Department, to install anti-leak software, officials said.

    NBC News reported earlier this year that Snowden, who has been charged with espionage but was granted asylum in Russia, took advantage of antiquated security systems to rummage through the NSA’s computer systems but details of the lapses in Hawaii have not previously been reported.

    A spokeswoman for the NSA declined to discuss details of the agency’s schedule for installing anti-leak software in Hawaii. She said the agency has had to speed up its efforts to tighten security in the wake of Snowden’s disclosures.

    “We open our facilities only after we have met all of the necessary regulatory, statutory, and infrastructure requirements,” the spokeswoman said. “NSA has a very large, diverse and complex IT infrastructure across our global enterprise, and many features of that infrastructure evolve over time as new capabilities are developed, refined, and deployed.”

    She added: “NSA and the Intelligence Community at large have been moving forward with IT efficiency initiatives for several years. … The unauthorized disclosures have naturally compelled NSA and the rest of the IC to accelerate the timeline.”

    Raytheon had no immediate comment.


    In December 2010, the White House created a task force, headed by a former senior intelligence officer, to develop plans and systems to tighten access controls for classified information.

    One of the specific initiatives announced by the White House for spy agencies was the installation of a program described as “Enhanced Automated, On-Line Audit Capability: Systems will monitor user activity on all IC classified computer systems to detect unusual behavior.”

    The NSA Hawaii facility, known as a Remote Operations Center, opened in January 2012, replacing an older site located in a nearby World War II-era facility. The facility is focused on intercepting communications from Asia, and the Washington Post has reported that it also is involved in operations in cyberspace such as mapping adversaries’ computer networks and implanting electronic beacons.

    Snowden was assigned by Booz Allen Hamilton to the Hawaii facility in late March or early April 2013, after first attending training sessions near NSA’s Maryland headquarters.

    He was only there for a few weeks before he told his employers that he needed time off because of health problems. Snowden then disappeared and turned up several weeks later in Hong Kong. There, he gave a TV interview and a trove of secrets from the NSA and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, to writer Glenn Greenwald, filmmaker Laura Poitras, and journalists from Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

    Reuters reported in August that Snowden began downloading documents describing the U.S. government’s electronic spying on an earlier job working for Dell Inc in April 2012.

    One official said Congressional oversight committees had repeatedly expressed concerns to the administration that agencies across the government, including spy units, had moved too slowly to install updated security software.

    Another official said that U.S. agencies were still not positive they knew the details of all the material which Snowden had downloaded and turned over to journalists.

    (Editing by Tiffany Wu and Grant McCool)

    Fri, Oct 18 2013

    By Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel

    Find this story at 18 October 2013

    © Thomson Reuters 2011.

    Oil Espionage; How the NSA and GCHQ Spied on OPEC

    America’s NSA and Britain’s GCHQ are both spying on the OPEC oil cartel, documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal. The security of the global energy supply is one of the most important issues for the intelligence agencies.

    Documents disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal that both America’s National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have infiltrated the computer network of the the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

    In January 2008, the NSA department in charge of energy issues reported it had accomplished its mission. Intelligence information about individual petroleum-exporting countries had existed before then, but now the NSA had managed, for the first time, to infiltrate OPEC in its entirety.

    OPEC, founded in 1960, has its headquarters in a box-like building in Vienna. Its main objective is to control the global oil market, and to keep prices high. The 12 member states include Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran and Iraq.

    A Treasure Trove of Information

    When the NSA used the Internet to infiltrate OPEC’s computers, its analysts discovered an internal study in the OPEC Research Division. It stated that OPEC officials were trying to cast the blame for high oil prices on speculators. A look at files in the OPEC legal department revealed how the organization was preparing itself for an antitrust suit in the United States. And a review of the section reserved for the OPEC secretary general documented that the Saudis were using underhanded tactics, even within the organization. According to the NSA analysts, Riyadh had tried to keep an increase in oil production a secret for as long as possible.

    Saudi Arabia’s OPEC governor is also on the list of individuals targeted for surveillance, for which the NSA had secured approval from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The documents show how careful the Americans were to suspend their surveillance when the Saudi visited the United States. But as soon as he had returned to Riyadh, the NSA analysts began infiltrating his communications once again.

    Praise from Department of Energy

    According to a 2010 report, one of the analysts’ conclusions was that the Saudis had released incorrect oil production figures. The typical “customers” for such information were the CIA, the US State Department and the Department of Energy, which promptly praised the NSA for confirming what it had suspected for years.

    The British, who also targeted OPEC’s Vienna headquarters, were at least as successful as the NSA. A secret GCHQ document dating from 2010 states that the agency had traditionally had “poor access” to OPEC. But that year, after a long period of meticulous work, it had managed to infiltrate the computers of nine OPEC employees by using the “Quantum Insert” method, which then creates a gateway to gain access into OPEC’s computer system. GCHQ analysts were even able to acquire administrator privileges for the OPEC network and gain access to two secret servers containing “many documents of interest.”

    OPEC appears in the “National Intelligence Priorities Framework,” which the White House issues to the US intelligence community. Although the organization is still listed as an intelligence target in the April 2013 list, it is no longer a high-priority target. Now that the United States is less dependent on Saudi petroleum, thanks to fracking and new oil discoveries, the fact that OPEC is not identified as a top priority anymore indicates that interest in the organization has declined.

    11/11/2013 12:05 AM
    By SPIEGEL Staff

    Find this story at 11 November 2013


    CSEC and Brazil: “Whose interests are being served”? (2013)

    Amusing to see both NaPo and the G&M hosting remarks from former CSIS deputy director Ray Boisvert dismissing the recent Snowden/Greenwald docs which revealed CSEC spied on Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry.

    Snowden was present at the Five Eyes conference where the CSEC presentation on their Olympia spying program on Brazil took place.

    Boisvert in both papers:

    “We were all too busy chasing bad guys who can actually kill people. The idea that we spend a lot of time, or any time at all, on a country like Brazil is pretty low margin stuff, not likely to happen.”

    The docs probably only represent “a war gaming exercise,” says Boisvert:

    “They have to do paper exercises and say, ‘OK, let’s say our target in counter-terrorism lives in Mali and we have to go up against the Malian telecommunications system.’ They’ll go look at another country and say, ‘OK, well they have a similar network so let’s do a paper exercise and say ‘what do we need?’” he said. ‘I think that’s all this was.’”

    Because when you’re “busy chasing bad guys who can actually kill people” and stuff, naturally your anti-terrorism war games will entail a cyber-espionage program searching for corporate secrets in a country where 40 of your own country’s mining corporations are operating.

    Wouldn’t have anything to do with looking for info on Brazil wanting to block a Canadian mining company from opening the largest open pit gold mine in Brazil, would it? Brazilian prosecutors say the company has failed to study the impact on local Indian communities and has advertised on its own website “plans to build a mine twice the size of the project first described in an environmental assessment it gave state officials.”

    Ok, foreign media. The Guardian, today:

    Canadian spies met with energy firms, documents reveal

    “The Canadian government agency that allegedly hacked into the Brazilian mining and energy ministry has participated in secret meetings in Ottawa where Canadian security agencies briefed energy corporations.

    According to freedom of information documents obtained by the Guardian, the meetings – conducted twice a year since 2005 – involved federal ministries, spy and police agencies, and representatives from scores of companies who obtained high-level security clearance.

    Meetings were officially billed to discuss ‘threats’ to energy infrastructure but also covered ‘challenges to energy projects from environmental groups,’ ‘cyber security initiatives’ and ‘economic and corporate espionage.’

    The documents – heavily redacted agendas – do not indicate that any international espionage was shared by CSEC officials, but the meetings were an opportunity for government agencies and companies to develop ‘ongoing trusting relations’ that would help them exchange information ‘off the record,’ wrote an official from the Natural Resources ministry in 2010.”

    Thank you, Enbridge, for providing the snacks for the one in May 2013.

    “Keith Stewart, an energy policy analyst with Greenpeace Canada, said: ‘There seems to be no limit to what the Harper government will do to help their friends in the oil and mining industries. They’ve muzzled scientists, gutted environmental laws, reneged on our international climate commitments, labelled environmental critics as criminals and traitors, and have now been caught engaging in economic espionage in a friendly country. Canadians, and our allies, have a right to ask who exactly is receiving the gathered intelligence and whose interests are being served.’”

    Good question. And did no Canadian media request these same FOIs?

    You know, I think I blogged about government security briefings to energy companies a few years ago — I’ll see if I can find it.

    Meanwhile, would be interesting to hear Boisvert’s explanation as to why the CSEC logo appeared on another NSA doc about intercepting phone calls and emails of ministers and diplomats at the 2009 G20 summit in London.

    More “paper exercises”? Filling in an empty spot on the page while chasing bad guys?

    And re the recent NSA spying on Brazil PM Dilma Rousseff and the state oil company Petrobras: Did CSEC help out its Five Eyes partner there too?

    Back in 1983, CSEC spied on two of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet ministers on behalf of Thatcher and Britain’s spy agency GCHQ, so this wouldn’t exactly be new territory for CSEC.

    Fun fact : The annual report on CSEC produced by its independent watchdog commissioner must first be vetted by CSEC “for national security reasons” before it can be released.

    P.S. I pillaged the CSEC slide at top from Lux ex Umbra, where you can view the rest of them.

    Posted by admin on October 10, 2013 · Leave a Comment
    By Alison@Creekside

    Find this story at 10 October 2013

    Copyright © 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Find this story at 3 November 2013

    © Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC.

    Listening post revealed on Cocos Islands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Date: November 01 2013

    Philip Dorling

     Find this story at 1 November 2013



    Copyright © 2013
    Fairfax Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Xenophon calls on Government to protect Australians from US surveillance

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

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

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

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

    “I think we deserve an answer on that.”

    Former NSA executive lifts lid on spy practices

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

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

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

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

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

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

    US moves to ease concerns about NSA

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Spying ‘done behind the veil of secrecy’

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Snowden ‘aware his revelations have been explosive’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Find this story at 30 October 2013

    Copyright © 2013 Yahoo!7 Pty Limited.


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

    Find this story at 27 October 2013

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