Mercury Rising 鳯女

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EvilOlive, ShellTrumpet, MoonlightPath, Spinneret, Transient Thurible, XKS DeepDive: NSA’s answer to the Fourth Amendment

Posted by Charles II on June 27, 2013

The program code names are the first step in figuring out exactly what the NSA was really doing. It seems to me that a good question to ask is whether they had our allies do what would have been illegal in the US (frail though our legal protections may be).

Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian:

The NSA called it the “One-End Foreign (1EF) solution”. It intended the program, codenamed EvilOlive…

This new system, SSO stated in December, enables vastly increased collection by the NSA of internet traffic.

It continued: “After the EvilOlive deployment, traffic has literally doubled.”

The scale of the NSA’s metadata collection is highlighted by references in the documents to another NSA program, codenamed ShellTrumpet.

On December 31, 2012, an SSO official wrote that ShellTrumpet had just “processed its One Trillionth metadata record”.


Another SSO entry, dated February 6, 2013, described ongoing plans to expand metadata collection. A joint surveillance collection operation with an unnamed partner agency yielded a new program “to query metadata” that was “turned on in the Fall 2012”. Two others, called MoonLightPath and Spinneret, “are planned to be added by September 2013.”

A substantial portion of the internet metadata still collected and analyzed by the NSA comes from allied governments, including its British counterpart, GCHQ.

An SSO entry dated September 21, 2012, announced that “Transient Thurible, a new Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) managed XKeyScore (XKS) Deep Dive was declared operational.” The entry states that GCHQ “modified” an existing program so the NSA could “benefit” from what GCHQ harvested.

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