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.
Datenbank-Recherche
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

Outsourcing NSA, THE NEOCON POWER GRAB AT NSA AND AN ATTEMPT TO STIFLE THE PRESS (2005)

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:

CANUCKS
DOLLAR
EASTCAKE
HEALYCUFF
MUDDYSWELT
NEEDYWHAT
RIMTITLE
RISKDIME
ROWLOAD
SEAWATER
CURACAO
HALF
HEALYMINK
LEARNGILT
LINEFURL
MOBLOOSE
SPELLBEAK
THOSEHOT

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

ADVERSARY
ADVERSARY GOLD
CHECKMATE
FANBELT
FANBELT II
FIREBLAZE
GALE-LITE (the primary owner of which is DIA)
GALLEYMAN
GALLEYPROOF
JAGUAR
KAFFS
MAGNIFORM
MAINCHANCE
OILSTOCK
PATHSETTER
PINSETTER
SIGDASYS FILE II, III, and KL
TEXTA SPOT

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

ABEYANCE, ACROPOLIS, ADROIT, ADVANTAGE, AGILITY, AIRLINE, AIRMAIL, ALERT, ALCHEMIST, ANTARES, APPLEWOOD II, ARCHIVER, ARCVIEW GIS, ARROWGATE, ARROWWOOD, ARTFUL, ASPEN, ASSOCIATION, ATOMICRAFT, ATTRACTION, AUTOPILOT, AUTOSTAR, AXIOMATIC

BABBLEQUEST, BACKSAW, BANYAN, BARAD, BASERUNNER, BEAMER, BEIKAO, BELLVIEW, BIRDSNEST, BISON, BLACKBIRD, BLACKBOOK, BLACKFIN, BLACKHAWK, BLACKNIGHT/SHIPMASTER, BLACKMAGIC, BLACKONYX, BLACKOPAL, BLACKSEA, BLACKSHACK, BLACKSHIRT, BLACKSMYTH, BLACKSNAKE, BLACKSPIDER, BLACKSTAR, BLACKSTORM, BLACKSTRIKE, BLACKWATCH PULL, BLOODHUNTER, BLACKSWORD, BLOSSOM, BLUEBERRY, BLUESKY, BLUESTREAM, BOTTOM, BOTTOMLINE, BOWHUNT, BRAILLEWRITER, BRICKLOCK, BRIGHTENER, BROADWAY, BRIO INSIGHT, BUCKFEVER, BUILDINGCODE, BULK, BUMPER

CADENCE, CAINOTOPHOBIA, CALLIOPE, CALVIN, CANDID, CANDELIGHTER, CANDLESTICK, CAPRICORN, CARNIVAL, CARRAGEEN, CARTOGRAPHER, CAT, CATCOVE, CELLBLOCK, CELTIC II, CELTIC CROSS, CENTERBOARD, CENTERCOIL, CENTERPOINT, CENTRALIST, CERCIS, CHAGRIN, CHAMELEON, CHAMITE, CHAPELVIEW, CHARIOT, CHARMANDER, CHARTS, CHATEAU, CHECKMATE, CHECKWEAVE, CHERRYLAMBIC, CHEWSTICK, CHICKENOFF, CHILLFLAME, CHIMERA, CHIPBOARD, CHUJING, CIVORG, CHUCKLE, CLEANSLATE, CLIPS, CLOSEREEF I, CLOUDBURST, CLOUDCOVER, CLOUDCOVER II, CLUBMAN, COASTLINE, COASTLINE COMPASSPOINT, CLIENT, CODEFINDER, COMMONVIEW, CONCERTO, CONDENSOR, CONESTOGA, CONFRONT, CONTRIVER, CONUNDRUM, CONVEYANCE, COPPERHEAD, CORESPACE, CORTEZ, COUNTERSINK, COUNTERSPY, CRAZYTRAIN, CRISSCROSS, CRUISESHIP, CRYSTALLIZE, CYBERENGINE, CYGNUS

DAFIF, DANCEHALL, DARKSHROUD, DATATANK, DAYPUL, DAZZLER, DEATHRAY, DECOMA, DELTAWING, DEPTHGAUGE, DESERTFOX, DESOTO, DESPERADO, DIALOG, DIAMONDCHIP, DIFFRACTION, DISPLAYLINE, DITCHDIGGER, DITTO/UNDITTO, DIVINATION, DOITREE, DOLLARFISH, DOUBLEVISION, DRAGONMAKER, DUALIST

EAGERNESS, EAGLESTONE, EASYRIDER, ECTOPLASM, ELATION, ELECTRIFY, ELTON, ELEVATOR, EMPERORFISH, ENCAPSULATE, ENGRAFT, ETCHINGNEEDLE, EXPATRIATE, EXPERTPLAYER, EXTENDER, EXTRACTOR, EUREKA, EYELET

FAIRHILL, FAIRVIEW, FALCONRY, FALLOWHAUNT, FANATIC, FANCINESS, FASCIA II, FATFREE, FENESTRA, FIESTA, FINECOMB, FIREBOLT, FINETUNE, FIREBRAND II, FIRELAKE, FIRERUNG, FIRETOWER, FIRSTVIEW, FISHERMAN, FISHINGBOAT, FISHWAY, FLAGHOIST (OCS), FLASHFORWARD, FLEXAGON, FLEXMUX, FLEXSTART, FLIP, FLOTSAM, FOLKART, FORESITE, FORTITUDE, FOURSCORE, FOXFUR, FPGA GSM ATTACK, FIRSTPOINT, FARMHOUSE, FLODAR, FLOVIEW, FOSSIK, FROZENTUNDRA, FREESTONE, FRENZY/GRANULE, FUSEDPULL

GALAXYDUST, GARDENVIEW, GATCHWORK, GATOR, GAUNTLET, GAYFEATHER, GAZELLE, GEMTRAIL, GENED, GHOSTVIEW, GHOSTWIRE, GIGACOPE, GIGASCOPE B, GISTER, GIVE, GLIDEPLANE, GOLDVEIN, GOLDPOINT, GNATCATCHER-GRADUS, GOKART, GOLDENEYE, GOLDENFLAX, GOLDENPERCH, GOLDMINE, GOMBROON, GOTHAM, GRADIENT, GRANDMASTER, GRAPEANGLE, GRAPEVINE, GRAPHWORK, GREATHALL, GREENHOUSE, GREMLIN, GUARDDOG, GUIDETOWER

HACKER, HABANERO, HAMBURGER, HAMMER, HARPSTRING, HARVESTER, HARVESTTIME, HEARTLAND II, HEARTLAND III, HEDGEHOG, HELMET II, HELMET III, HERONPOND, HIGHPOWER, HIGHTIDE, HILLBILLY BRIDE, HIPPIE, HOBBIN, HOKUSAI, HOMBRE, HOMEBASE, HOODEDVIPER, HOODQUERY, HOPPER, HOST, HORIZON, HOTSPOT, HOTZONE, HOUSELEEK/SPAREROOF, HYPERLITE, HYPERWIDE

ICARUS, ICICLE, IMAGERY, INFOCOMPASS, INNOVATOR, INQUISITOR, INROAD, INSPIRATION, INTEGRA, INTERIM, INTERNIST, INTERSTATE, INTRAHELP, IOWA, ISLANDER, IVORY ROSE, IVORY SNOW

JABSUM, JACAMAR, JADEFALCON, JARGON, JARKMAN, JASPERRED, JAZZ, JEALOUSFLASH, JEWELHEIST, JOVIAL, JOBBER INCOMING, JOSY, JUMBLEDPET, JUPITER

KAHALA, KAINITE, KEBBIE, KEELSON, KEEPTOWER, KEYCARD, KEYMASTER, KEYS, KEYSTONE WEB, KINGCRAFT, KINGLESS, KINSFOLK, KLASHES, KLOPPER, KNOSSOS, KRYPTONITE

LADYSHIP, LAKESIDE, LAKEVIEW, LAMPSHADE, LAMPWICK, LARGO, LASERDOME, LASERSHIP, LASTEFFORT, LATENTHEART, LATENTHEAT, LEGAL REPTILE, LETHALPAN, LIBERTY WALK, LIGHTNING, LIGHTSWITCH, LINKAGE, LIONFEED, LIONHEART, LIONROAR, LIONWATCH, LOAD, LOCKSTOCK, LOGBOOK, LONGROOT, LUMINARY

MACEMAN, MACHISMO, MADONNA, MAESTRO, MAGENTA II, MAGIC BELT, MAGICSKY, MAGISTRAND, MAGYK, MAKAH, MAINWAY, MARINER II, MARKETSQUARE, MARLIN, MARSUPIAL, MARTES, MASTERCLASS, MASTERSHIP, MASTERSHIP II, MASTING, MATCHLITE, MAUI, MAVERICK, MECA, MEDIASTORM, MEDIATOR, MEDIEVAL, MEGAMOUSE, MEGASCOPE, MEGASTAR, MERSHIP (CARILLON), MESSIAH, MICOM, MIGHTYMAIL, MILLANG, MONITOR, MONOCLE, MOONDANCE, MOONFOX, MOORHAWK, MORETOWN, MOSTWANTED, MOVIETONE III, MUSICHALL, MUSTANG, MYTHOLOGY

NABOBS, NATIONHOOD, NAUTILUS, NDAKLEDIT, NEMESIS, NERVETRUNK, NETGRAPH, NEWSBREAK, NEWSHOUND, NEXUS, NIGHTFALL 16, NIGHTFALL 32, NIGHTWATCH, NOBLEQUEST, NOBLESPIRIT, NOBLEVISION, NSOC SHIFTER, NUCLEON, NUMERIC

OAKSMITH, OBLIGATOR, OCEANARIUM, OCEANFRONT, OCTAGON, OCTAVE, OFFSHOOT, OLYMPIAD, ONEROOF, ONEROOF-WORD 2000 TRANSCRIPTION, OPALSCORE, OPENSEARCH, OPERA, ORCHID, ORIANA, OUTERBANKS, OUTFLASH, OUTREACH

PADDOCK, PACESETTER, PALINDROME, PAPERHANGER II, PARTHENON, PARTHENON II, PASSBACK, PASTURE, PATCHING, PATHFINDER, PATRIARCH, PAYMASTER, PAYTON, PEDDLER, PEARLWARE, PERFECTO, PERSEUS, PERSEVERE, PICKET, PINWALE, PIEREX, PILEHAMMER, PINNACLE, PINSTRIPE, PITONS, PIXIEDUST, PIZARRO, PLATINUM PLUS, PLATINUMRING, PLUMMER, PLUS, PLUTO, POLARFRONT, POLYSTYRENE, POPPYBASE, POPTOP, PORCELAIN, PORTCULLIS, POSTCARD, POWDERKEG, POWERPLANT, PRAIRIE DOG, PRANKSTER, PREDATOR, PRELUDE, PROSCAN, PROSPERITY, PRIZEWINNER, PROPELLER, PROTOVIEW, PUFFERFISH, PYTHON II

QUARTERBACK, QUASAR, QUEST, QUICKER, QUICKSILVER

RAGBOLT, RAINGAUGE, RAINMAN, RAKERTOOTH, RAMJET, RAP, RAPPEL, RAUCOVER, REACTANT, RECEPTOR, RECOGNITION, RED ARMY, RED BACK, RED BELLY, RED DAWN, RED DEMON, RED ROOSTER, RED ROVER, REDALERT, REDCAP, REDCENT, REDCOATS, REDMENACE, REDSEA, REDSTORM, REDZONE, RELAYER, RENEGADE, RENOIR, RIGEL LIBRARY, RIKER, RIMA, ROADBED, ROADTURN, ROCKDOVE, ROOFTOP, ROOTBEER, ROSEVINE, RUTLEY

SAGACITY, SANDSAILOR, SASPLOT, SATINWOOD, SATURN, SAYA, SCANNER, SEALION, SEAPLUM, SCISSORS, SCREENWORK, SEABEACH II, SEARCHLIGHT, SELLERS, SEMITONE, SENIOR GLASS, SENTINEL, SHADOWBOXER, SHADOWCHASER, SHANTY, SHARK, SHARKBITE, SHARKKNIFE, SHARPSHOOTER, SHILLET, SHILOH, SHIPMASTER, SHORTSWING, SIDEMIRROR, SIGHTREADY, SIGNATURE, SILKRUG, SILVERFISH, SILVERHOOK, SILVERLINER, SILVERVINE, SINGLEPOINT, SINGLESHOT, SITA, SKEPTIC, SKILLFUL, SKYBOARD, SKYCAST, SKYGAZER, SKYLINE, SKYLOFT, SKYWRITER, SLAMDANCE, SLATEWRITER, SLIDESHOW, SMOKEPPIT, SNAKEBOOT, SNAKECHARMER, SNAKEDANCE II, SNAKERANCH II, SNORKEL, SNOWMAN, SOAPOPERA, SOAPSHELL, SOFTBOUND, SOFTRING, SORCERY, SPANISH MOSS, SPARKVOYAGE, SPEARHEAD, SPECOL, SPECTAR, SPIROGRAPH, SPLINTER, SPLITTER, SPORADIC, SPOTBEAM, SPRINGRAY, SPUDLITE, STAIRWAY, STAR SAPPHIRE, STARCICLE, STARGLORY, STARLOG, STARQUAKE, STARSWORD, STATIONMASTER, STEAKHOUSE, STELLAH, STONEGATE, STORMCHASER, STORMPEAK, STOWAWAY, STRONGHOLD, SUBSHELL, SUNDIAL, SUPERCODING, SURREY, SWEETDREAM, SWEETTALK, SWEEPINGCHANGE, SWITCHPOINT

TABLELAMP, TALION, TANGOR, TAROTCARD, TARP, TARSIS, TART, TAXIDRIVER, TEAS, TECBIRD, TEL, TELE, TELESTO, TELLTALE, TELLURITE, TEMAR, TERMINAL VELOCITY, THINKCHEW, THINTHREAD, THUNDERWEB, TIDYTIPS III, TIEBREAKER, TIGER, TIMELINE, TIMEPIECE, TIMETRAVELER, TINKERTOY, TINSEL, TIPPIE, TOPSHELF, TOPSPIN II, TOPVIEW, TRACECHAIN, TRAILBLAZER, TRBUSTER, TREASURE, TREASURE TROVE, TRED, TRIFECTA, TRINFO, TRINIAN, TROLLEYTRACK, TROLLEYMASTER, TRUNK MOBILE, TRYSTER, TSUNAMI, TWILIGHT, TWOBIT

UMORPH, UNLIMITED

VIEWEXCHANGE, VEILED DATABASE, VEILED FORTHCOMING, VENTURER II, VICTORY DAEMON, VINTAGE HARVEST, VIOLATION, VISIONARY, VISIONQUEST, VOICECAST, VOICESAIL, VOIP SEED

WARGODDESS, WARSTOCK, WATCHOUT, WAXFLOWER, WAYLAND, WEALTHYCLUSTER, WEBSPINNER, WEBSPINNER — ACCESS TO DBS, WESTRICK, WHARFMAN II, WHITE SEA, WHIRLPOOL, WHITE SHARK, WHITE SWORD, WHITESAIL, WHITEWASH, WILDFIRE, WINDSHIELD, WINTERFEED, WIREDART, WIREWEED, WORLDWIDE, WIZARDRY, WOLFPACK, WRAPUP

XVTUBA

YELLOWSTONE, YETLING

ZENTOOLS, ZIGZAG, and ZIRCON

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

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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”.

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theguardian.com, Thursday 19 September 2013 23.54 BST

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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

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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

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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

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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
By ERIC SCHMITT

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.

INSIDER THREAT

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

© SPIEGEL ONLINE 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.

PLAYING BALL

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find this story at 3 November 2013

© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC.

Listening post revealed on Cocos Islands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Date: November 01 2013

Philip Dorling

 Find this story at 1 November 2013

 

 

Copyright © 2013
Fairfax Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xenophon calls on Government to protect Australians from US surveillance

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

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

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

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

“I think we deserve an answer on that.”

Former NSA executive lifts lid on spy practices

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

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

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

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

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

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

US moves to ease concerns about NSA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spying ‘done behind the veil of secrecy’

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snowden ‘aware his revelations have been explosive’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find this story at 30 October 2013

Copyright © 2013 Yahoo!7 Pty Limited.

Stateroom

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

Find this story at 27 October 2013