Friday, October 25, 2013

the snowden snowball just keeps on rolling and growing...,


Guardian | The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The confidential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its "customer" departments, such the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their "Rolodexes" so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems.

The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately "tasked" for monitoring by the NSA.

The revelation is set to add to mounting diplomatic tensions between the US and its allies, after the German chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday accused the US of tapping her mobile phone.

After Merkel's allegations became public, White House press secretary Jay Carney issued a statement that said the US "is not monitoring and will not monitor" the German chancellor's communications. But that failed to quell the row, as officials in Berlin quickly pointed out that the US did not deny monitoring the phone in the past.

The NSA memo obtained by the Guardian suggests that such surveillance was not isolated, as the agency routinely monitors the phone numbers of world leaders – and even asks for the assistance of other US officials to do so.

The memo, dated October 2006 and which was issued to staff in the agency's Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID), was titled "Customers Can Help SID Obtain Targetable Phone Numbers".
It begins by setting out an example of how US officials who mixed with world leaders and politicians could help agency surveillance.

4 comments:

Nakajima Kikka said...

Merkel and the other 34 world leaders shouldn't be surprised at all by this. The U.S. government has kept allied foreign leaders under some form of surveillance as far back as at least the 1920's. When conducting any kind of government-to-government negotiations on trade agreements, military treaties, etc., even with allies, it's very helpful to know what your counterparts on the other side are thinking, and what "minimum deal" they're willing to accept in such negotiations. The history of the Washington Naval Treaty is a good example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Naval_Treaty#Cryptanalytic_influences_on_the_treaty


My questions to Merkel et al are the following: When you use your cell phone, are your conversations automatically encrypted, or are everything you say "in the clear"? If "in the clear", is that wise? If "automatically encrypted", you might want to consider the possibility that your country's diplomatic codes have been broken by the NSA, and what the national security implications of that are on your country.

CNu said...

All codes are now subject to practical and achievable brute force compromise. Matter fact, that facility in Utah that keeps blowing its power circuits exists to grind away at ~15 years worth of accumulated encrypted data whose decryption will put the past generation's global social networking into the clear for leisurely visualization, analysis, and discretionary operations.

Nakajima Kikka said...

By brute force.


That's such an American way to do things...

CNu said...

lol, unless as the worshipful, rumor-mongering fanboys would have us believe, there are lots of qubits involved....,

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