Category: SECRET SERVICES
WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency monitored the communications of other governments ahead of and during the 2009 United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, according to the latest document from whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The document, with portions marked "top secret," indicates that the NSA was monitoring the communications of other countries ahead of the conference, and intended to continue doing so throughout the meeting. Posted on an internal NSA website on Dec. 7, 2009, the first day of the Copenhagen summit, it states that "analysts here at NSA, as well as our Second Party partners, will continue to provide policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries' preparations and goals for the conference, as well as the deliberations within countries on climate change policies and negotiation strategies."
"Second Party partners" refers to the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, with which the U.S. has an intelligence-sharing relationship. "While the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference remains uncertain, signals intelligence will undoubtedly play a significant role in keeping our negotiators as well informed as possible throughout the 2-week event," the document says.
The Huffington Post published the documents Wednesday night in coordination with the Danish daily newspaper Information, which worked with American journalist Laura Poitras.
The December 2009 meeting in Copenhagen was the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which brings together 195 countries to negotiate measures to address rising greenhouse gas emissions and their impact. The Copenhagen summit was the first big climate meeting after the election of President Barack Obama, and was widely expected to yield a significant breakthrough. Other major developed nations were already part of the 1997 Kyoto..
The National Security Agency is involved in industrial espionage and will take intelligence regardless of its value to national security, the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has told a German television network.
In a lengthy interview broadcast on the public broadcaster ARD TV on Sunday, Snowden said the NSA did not limit its espionage to issues of national security and cited the German engineering firm Siemens as one target.
“If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to US national interests – even if it doesn't have anything to do with national security – then they'll take that information nevertheless,” Snowden said in the interview conducted in Russia, where Snowden has claimed asylum.
Snowden also told the German public broadcasting network he no longer had possession of any documents or information on NSA activities and had turned everything over to select journalists. He said he did not have any control over the publication of the information.
Questions about US government spying on civilians and foreign officials arose last June, when Snowden leaked documents outlining the widespread collection of telephone records and email to media outlets including the Guardian.
Reports that the NSA monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone have added to anger in Germany, which has been pushing for a “no-spy” agreement with the US, a country it considers to be among its closest allies.
Snowden also talked about US reports..
(CNN) — Edward Snowden douses the idea of his returning to the United States — where he faces charges of espionage and theft of government property for leaking sensational details of spy programs — saying he won't come back unless laws are changed.
Asked by CNN's Jake Tapper in an online chat Thursday about conditions for a return home, Snowden said that while his coming back "is the best resolution" for all parties, "it's unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistle-blower protection laws."
He pointed out that the government's Whistleblower Protection Act doesn't cover someone like him, a former government contractor.
"There are so many holes in the laws, the protections they afford are so weak, and the processes for reporting they provide are so ineffective that they appear to be intended to discourage reporting of even the clearest wrongdoing," he wrote. "… My case clearly demonstrates the need for comprehensive whistle-blower protection act reform."
Snowden offered his remarks from Russia, where he's been since June having been granted a one-year asylum.
From there, he has continued to speak out to journalists and online. Thursday's chat — coordinated by The Courage Foundation, an organization set up to support Snowden and his cause — was one example of his outreach, letting him answer questions from anyone who posed a question online.
The U.S. government hasn't stayed silent on his case either. On Thursday, around the time that Snowden was answering questions..
On a cold day in early 2003, two senior CIA officers arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw to pick up a pair of large cardboard boxes. Inside were bundles of cash totaling $15 million that had been flown from Germany via diplomatic pouch.
The men put the boxes in a van and weaved through the Polish capital until coming to the headquarters of Polish intelligence. They were met by Col. Andrzej Derlatka, deputy chief of the intelligence service, and two of his associates.
The Americans and Poles then sealed an agreement that over the previous weeks had allowed the CIA the use of a secret prison — a remote villa in the Polish lake district — to interrogate al-Qaeda suspects. The Polish intelligence service received the money, and the CIA had a solid location for its newest covert operation, according to former agency officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the interrogation program, including previously unreported details about the creation of the CIA’s “black sites,” or secret prisons.
The CIA prison in Poland was arguably the most important of all the black sites created by the agency after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It was the first of a trio in Europe that housed the initial wave of accused Sept. 11 conspirators, and it was where Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-declared mastermind of the attacks, was waterboarded 183 times after his capture.
Much about the creation and operation of the CIA’s prison at a base in one of the young democracies of Central Europe remains cloaked in mystery, matters that the U.S. government has classified as state secrets. But what happened in..
WASHINGTON — An independent federal privacy watchdog has concluded that the National Security Agency’s program to collect bulk phone call records has provided only “minimal” benefits in counterterrorism efforts, is illegal and should be shut down.
The findings are laid out in a 238-page report, scheduled for release by Thursday and obtained by The New York Times, that represent the first major public statement by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which Congress made an independent agency in 2007 and only recently became fully operational.
The report is likely to inject a significant new voice into the debate over surveillance, underscoring that the issue was not settled by a high-profile speech President Obama gave last week. Mr. Obama consulted with the board, along with a separate review group that last month delivered its own report about surveillance policies. But while he said in his speech that he was tightening access to the data and declared his intention to find a way to end government collection of the bulk records, he said the program’s capabilities should be preserved.
The Obama administration has portrayed the bulk collection program as useful and lawful while at the same time acknowledging concerns about privacy and potential abuse. But in its report, the board lays out what may be the most detailed critique of the government’s once-secret legal theory behind the program: that a law known as Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the F.B.I. to obtain business records deemed “relevant” to an investigation, can be legitimately interpreted as authorizing the N.S.A. to collect all calling records in the country.
The program “lacks a viable legal foundation under Section 215, implicates constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments, raises serious threats to privacy and civil liberties as a policy matter, and has shown only limited value,” the report said. “As a result, the board recommends that the government end the program.”
While a majority of the five-member board embraced that conclusion, two members dissented from the view that the program was illegal. But the panel was united in 10 other recommendations, including deleting raw phone records after three years instead of five and tightening access to search results.
The report also sheds light on the history of the once-secret bulk collection program. It..
A major independent commission headed by the Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, was launched on Wednesday to investigate the future of the internet in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations.
The two-year inquiry, announced at the World Economic Forum at Davos, will be wide-ranging but focus primarily on state censorship of the internet as well as the issues of privacy and surveillance raised by the Snowden leaks about America's NSA and Britain's GCHQ spy agencies.
The investigation, which will conducted by a 25-member panel of politicians, academics, former intelligence officials and others from around the world, is an acknowledgement of the concerns about freedom raised by the debate.
Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister, said: "The rapid evolution of the net has been made possible by the open and flexible model by which it has evolved and been governed. But increasingly this is coming under attack.
"And this is happening as issues of net freedom, net security and net surveillance are increasingly debated. Net freedom is as fundamental as freedom of information and freedom of speech in our societies."
The Obama administration on Friday announced the initial findings of a White House-organised review of the NSA. There are also inquiries..
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden denied accusations that he was working for a foreign government when he stole countless classified documents detailing U.S. surveillance programs and efforts to gather information on world leaders.
In an interview with the New Yorker, published Tuesday evening on the magazine’s Web site, Snowden said claims that he may have been working for the Russians as a spy were “absurd.”
On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Snowden a “thief.” Rogers said he believed somebody must have helped Snowden steal the documents.
Rogers rejected the notion that it was a coincidence that Snowden eventually found refuge in Russia. But the lawmaker offered no proof that Snowden was working in concert with Russian intelligence.
Snowden told the magazine that he “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.” He said the allegations wouldn’t “stick,” adding that they were false and that “the American people are smarter than politicians think they are.”
The CIA’s Counterintelligence Center has been conducting an exhaustive investigation to determine whether Snowden had help or whether someone assisted him unwittingly. So far, the CIA and the FBI have not turned up evidence that another country recruited Snowden to take the documents.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also did not rule out that Snowden received assistance. “He may well have,” she said on “Meet the Press.”
Speaking from Moscow, Snowden said, “It’s not..
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/snowden-denies-receiving-assistance-from-russian-intelligence-with-nsa-leaks/2014/01/21/a85cca18-830a-11e3-9dd4-e7278db80d86_story.html
It will be a critical moment in Barack Obama's presidency when he steps forward at the Department of Justice and reveals exactly how he intends to curb the perceived abuses by the US intelligence services.
The revelations by Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting a huge amount of data from America's phone calls and internet use shocked many in the country.
Allies like Germany's Angela Merkel were infuriated that their phone calls were apparently tapped.
As government assurances about the scale and efficacy of the operations turned out to be untrue, distrust and suspicion grew.
President Obama has spent a huge amount of time working out what to do. Over the last two weeks there has been a steady stream of visitors to the White House as he hears from senators, congressmen, CEOs of internet companies and civil rights groups.
One of those who have been consulted is Richard Clarke, former national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism and a member of the group set up by the president to advise him on how to respond to this crisis.
They made 46 recommendations and Mr Clarke says this is an important opportunity that won't come again – an opportunity to get the balance right.
"On the one hand, collect enough intelligence to make us safe from terrorist threats, Iranian nuclear proliferation, from drug cartels, the whole panoply of new transnational threats, yet at the same time see if you can do that in a way that preserves our traditional views of privacy and civil liberties," Mr Clarke says.
"The review group says you can do both. But to do both, we have to do,,
For the past five months the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) has been conducting an investigation into electronic mass surveillance of, and conducted by, EU member states. This inquiry, prompted directly by Edward Snowden’s revelations, held the first of its fifteen hearings on 5 September 2013 and is now making amendments to the draft report prepared by Inquiry rapporteur, MEP Claude Moraes.
Over the course of fifteen hearings, a range of witnesses gave testimony to the inquiry – among them journalists, whistleblowers, lawyers, officials and technical experts. A statement from Edward Snowden was delivered to the Inquiry on 30 September.
The focus of several hearings was prompted directly by particular revelations as they appeared in the press (for example GCHQ’s attacks on European telecoms company Belgacom) and as such the proceedings often provide valuable additional insight to the published material.
A summary of subjects covered in each of the hearings follows below. Further detailed information on these hearings has been made available by the European Parliament.
Read more: http://freesnowden.is/_2343.html
America is refusing to enter a bilateral no-spy agreement with Germany and has declined to rule out bugging the calls of German political leaders in the immediate future, according to reports in the German media.
Last October, revelations that the National Security Agency had been bugging Angela Merkel's mobile were met with outrage in Berlin and apologetic soundbites from Washington.
President Barack Obama had reportedly assured the German leader that the US "is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of chancellor Merkel". Barely three months on, the mood seems to have changed.
Initial hopes in Germany that the US would enter into some kind of non-spying pact similar to the one between America and Britain have been dashed, according to information obtained by Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
"We are not getting anything," the newspaper quotes a source from within the German foreign intelligence agency. "The Americans have lied to us," said another source.
As well as refusing to inform German authorities of when the NSA had been bugging the chancellor's mobile phone, the US is not commenting on plans for current or future surveillance activities in relation to German political leaders.
A request for access to what is assumed to be a surveillance centre in the top floor of the US embassy next to Berlin's Brandenburg Gate has also been rejected.
The German government has told the Obama administration it would..
Edward Snowden downloaded 1.7 million intelligence files from US agencies, the most secrets ever to be stolen from the US government in a single instance in the nation’s history, according to lawmakers who have viewed a classified Pentagon report.
Legislators who saw the secret report claimed that many of the documents taken by Snowden regarding military options could put personnel at risk, although they did not delve into specifics.
“This report confirms my greatest fears – Snowden’s real acts of betrayal place America’s military men and women at greater risk. Snowden’s actions are likely to have lethal consequences for our troops in the field,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said in a statement. Rogers had recently ignited some controversy after joking that Snowden should be placed on a military “kill list.”
The whistleblower downloaded all of the material he would eventually leak while earning over $100,000 annually and working at an NSA facility in Hawaii last year. The Washington Post reported that if Snowden did indeed download 1.7 million he may have only released small percentages of that total to individual journalists.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) – the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee – agreed with Rogers, claiming the amount of information Snowden took could “gravely impact” US national security. Yet others, including American Civil Liberties attorney and Snowden adviser Ben Wizden, say government officials are overstating the risk.
“This is straight from the government’s playbook,” Wizner said. “Remember..
A European Parliament committee voted Thursday to invite former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to testify on U.S. surveillance.
The Civil Liberties Committee will ask Snowden to speak via video conference as part of the committee's investigation into U.S. government surveillance of European officials and citizens.
According to documents released by Snowden, the NSA has monitored the communication of Europeans, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The committee — which voted 36-2 to invite Snowden — is considering a draft report from British representative Claude Moraes, who has been investigating the affect of U.S. surveillance on European privacy.
In December, Moraes encouraged European negotiatiors to reconsider the "safe harbor" agreement between the EU and the U.S. that allows American companies to process data belonging to European citizens. Moraes also called for the creation of an "EU only" cloud, to keep European citizens' data away from foreign governments' surveillance agencies.
Earlier in the year, the committee passed a regulation that would fine foreign companies for any unathorized sharing of European citizens' data with third parties, including government entities.
Moraes reiterated many of those points in his draft report in front of the committee Thursday.
"Large-scale access by U.S. intelligence agencies has seriously eroded transatlantic trust and negatively impacted on the trust for US organisations acting in the EU," he wrote.
The report "calls on the US authorities and the EU Member States to prohibit blanket
A group of former National Security Agency insiders who went on to become whistleblowers have written a letter to President Barack Obama, requesting a meeting with him to offer “a fuller picture” of the spy agency’s systemic problems.
The group of four intelligence specialists – William Binney, Thomas Drake, Edward Loomis and Kirk Wiebe – who worked at the NSA for “a total of 144 years, most of them at senior levels” stressed in the letter the need for Obama to address what they’ve seen as abuses that violated Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights and that have made proper, effective intelligence gathering more difficult.
“What we tell you in this Memorandum is merely the tip of the iceberg,” the group, calling themselves the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), wrote. “We are ready – if you are – for an honest conversation. That NSA’s bulk collection is more hindrance than help in preventing terrorist attacks should be clear by now despite the false claims and dissembling.”
The group criticized the NSA for its vast data collection policies, which they say bars the agency from effectively tracking actual terror plots in advance, such as the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013.
The “NSA is drowning in useless data lacking adequate privacy provisions, to the point where it cannot conduct effective terrorist-related surveillance and analysis,” they write. “A recently disclosed internal NSA briefing document corroborates the drowning, with the embarrassing admission, in bureaucratese, that NSA collection has been ‘outpacing’ NSA’s ability to ingest, process, and store data – let alone analyze the take.”
The letter ridicules current and former intelligence community leaders like Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – for lying to Congress – and current NSA director Keith Alexander and its former chief Michael Hayden for purposely distorting the efficiency and vitality of the agency’s surveillance programs.
“Surely you intuit that something is askew when NSA Director Keith Alexander testifies to Congress that NSA’s bulk collection has ‘thwarted’ 54 terrorist plots and later, under questioning, is forced to reduce that number to one, which cannot itself withstand close scrutiny. And surely you understand why former NSA Director and CIA Director Michael Hayden protests too much and too often on Fox News and CNN, and why he and House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers publicly suggest that whistleblower Edward Snowden be put on your Kill List.”
“Does a blind loyalty prevail in your White House to the point where, 40 years after Watergate, there is not a single John Dean to warn you of a “cancer on the presidency?” Have none of your lawyers reminded you that “electronic surveillance of private citizens … subversive of constitutional government” was one of the three Articles of Impeachment against President Richard Nixon approved by a bipartisan 28 to 10 vote of the House Judiciary Committee on July 27, 1974?”
The VIPS letter indicates the combined insight and expertise of these respected intelligence analysts – all ridiculed and some prosecuted after calling attention to NSA abuses years before anyone had heard of former NSA contractor and leaker Edward Snowden – can be important in the face of an establishment community in Washington seeking to shelter the mass surveillance programs in question.
“Given the closed circle surrounding you, we are allowing for the possibility that the smell from these rotting red herrings has not yet reached you – even though your own Review Group has found, for example, that NSA’s bulk collection has thwarted exactly zero terrorist plots,” they write, referring to an Obama-appointed panel that was tasked with reviewing NSA procedures."
“The sadder reality, Mr. President, is that NSA itself had enough..
Seven months ago, the world began to learn the vast scope of the National Security Agency’s reach into the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe, as it collects information about their phone calls, their email messages, their friends and contacts, how they spend their days and where they spend their nights. The public learned in great detail how the agency has exceeded its mandate and abused its authority, prompting outrage at kitchen tables and at the desks of Congress, which may finally begin to limit these practices.
The revelations have already prompted two federal judges to accuse the N.S.A. of violating the Constitution (although a third, unfortunately, found the dragnet surveillance to be legal). A panel appointed by President Obama issued a powerful indictment of the agency’s invasions of privacy and called for a major overhaul of its operations.
All of this is entirely because of information provided to journalists by Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who stole a trove of highly classified documents after he became disillusioned with the agency’s voraciousness. Mr. Snowden is now living in Russia, on the run from American charges of espionage and theft, and he faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.
Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea..
A top-secret National Security Agency hacking unit infiltrates computers around the world and breaks into the toughest data targets, according to internal documents quoted in a magazine report on Sunday.
Details of how the division, known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO), steals data and inserts invisible "back door" spying devices into computer systems were published by the German magazine Der Spiegel.
The magazine portrayed TAO as an elite team of hackers specialising in gaining undetected access to intelligence targets that have proved the toughest to penetrate through other spying techniques, and described its overall mission as "getting the ungettable". The report quoted an official saying that the unit's operations have obtained "some of the most significant intelligence our country has ever seen".
NSA officials responded to the Spiegel report with a statement, which said: "Tailored Access Operations is a unique national asset that is on the front lines of enabling NSA to defend the nation and its allies. [TAO's] work is centred on computer network exploitation in support of foreign intelligence collection."
Der Spiegel has previously reported on documents leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The report on Sunday was partly compiled by Laura Poitras, who collaborated with Snowden and the Guardian on the first publication of revelations about the NSA's collection of the telephone data of thousands of Americans and overseas intelligence targets.
On Friday, the NSA phone data-collection programme was ruled legal by a federal judge in New York, days after a federal judge in Washington declared the operations unconstitutional and "almost Orwellian".
On Sunday, appearing on the CBS talk show Face the Nation, former air force general and NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden called Snowden a traitor and accused him of treason. He also accused Snowden of making the NSA's operation "inherently weaker" by revealing not just the material that comes out of the agency but the "plumbing", showing how the system works inside the government.
On NBC's Meet the Press Ben Wizner, a legal adviser to Snowden, said..
MOSCOW — The familiar voice on the hotel room phone did not waste words. “What time does your clock say, exactly?” he asked. He checked the reply against his watch and described a place to meet.
“I’ll see you there,” he said. Edward Joseph Snowden emerged at the appointed hour, alone, blending into a light crowd of locals and tourists. He cocked his arm for a handshake, then turned his shoulder to indicate a path. Before long he had guided his visitor to a secure space out of public view.
During more than 14 hours of interviews, the first he has conducted in person since arriving here in June, Snowden did not part the curtains or step outside. Russia granted him temporary asylum on Aug. 1, but Snowden remains a target of surpassing interest to the intelligence services whose secrets he spilled on an epic scale.
Late this spring, Snowden supplied three journalists, including this one, with caches of top-secret documents from the National Security Agency, where he worked as a contractor. Dozens of revelations followed, and then hundreds, as news organizations around the world picked up the story. Congress pressed for explanations, new evidence revived old lawsuits and the Obama administration was obliged to declassify thousands of pages it had fought for years to conceal.
Taken together, the revelations have brought to light a global surveillance system that cast off many of its historical restraints after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Secret legal authorities empowered the NSA to sweep in the telephone, Internet and..
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/edward-snowden-after-months-of-nsa-revelations-says-his-missions-accomplished/2013/12/23/49fc36de-6c1c-11e3-a523-fe73f0ff6b8d_story.html