Today’s NSA trawl. US press, so far: crickets
Posted by Charles II on July 1, 2013
Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger, The Guardian:
US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as “targets”. It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target, from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae.
Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey.
One of the bugging methods mentioned is codenamed Dropmire, which, according to a 2007 document, is “implanted on the Cryptofax at the EU embassy, DC” – an apparent reference to a bug placed in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at the mission.
Ian Traynor, The Guardian:
As further details emerged of the huge reach of US electronic snooping on Europe, Berlin accused Washington of treating it like the Soviet Union, “like a cold war enemy”
Less than three months before a German general election, the impact of the fresh disclosures is likely to be strongest in Germany which, it emerged, is by far the biggest target in Europe for the NSA’s Prism programme scanning phone and internet traffic and capturing and storing the metadata.
The documents reviewed by Der Spiegel showed that Germany was treated in the same US spying category as China, Iraq or Saudi Arabia, while the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand were deemed to be allies not subject to remotely the same level of surveillance.
Der Spiegel quoted the Snowden documents as revealing that the US taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany a month. “We can attack the signals of most foreign third-class partners, and we do,” Der Spiegel quoted a passage in the NSA document as saying.
Ian Traynor, Louise Osborne, and Jamie Doward, The Guardian:
The prospects for a new trade pact between the US and the European Union worth hundreds of billions have suffered a severe setback following allegations that Washington bugged key EU offices and intercepted phonecalls and emails from top officials.
Ed Pilkington, The Guardian:
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has warned the US government that no matter what it does to try and apprehend Edward Snowden, the revelations he has unearthed on secret digital surveillance of American citizens will see the light of day.
German leaders are a lot more sauced than The Guardian reporting would suggest. Claus Hecking and Stefan Schultz, Der Spiegel:
Elmar Brok, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in European Parliament added his opprobrium. “The spying has reached dimensions that I didn’t think were possible for a democratic country. Such behavior among allies is intolerable.” The US, he added, once the land of the free, “is suffering from a security syndrome,” added Brok, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats. “They have completely lost all balance. George Orwell is nothing by comparison.”
A further Merkel ally in European Parliament, Markus Ferber, accused the US on Sunday of using methods akin to the feared East German secret police, the Stasi. Like Weber, Ferber is a member of the CSU. “A democratic constitutional state that uses Stasi methods sacrifices all credibility as a moral authority,” Ferber told the German daily Die Welt on Sunday. “It has destroyed trust.”
Green Party officials in Brussels are demanding far-reaching consequences. “This is meltdown of the constitutional state,” said Jan Philipp Albrecht, a Green Party representative in European Parliament. The NSA engaged in nothing less than “espionage against democratic countries and their institutions,” he added. Albrecht was deeply involved in negotiating the EU’s own policies on data privacy. He said that no one is safe from surveillance anymore and demanded that the EU open proceedings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Peter Lee, Asia Times:
Long story short, if Snowden has encrypted his laptops, even if the Russian and Chinese security services were able to copy the hard drives (access “all the digital information”) and get to work on them (and there is no evidence as yet that this has occurred), it is unlikely that they would be able to decrypt them (retrieve “all the documents”) unless they have sustained access to, and active cooperation from, Snowden.
If the United States is really concerned about this happening, that might be a good reason to make some deal with Snowden to bring him home, not to let him continue to hang around Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow under the interested eyes of Russia’s FSB.
The good news is, Snowden has encrypted the data on the insurance files he has salted around the Internet, and it is a safe assumption that he has done the same for his hard drives.
OK, here it is the next day. This is what Google News shows as hits for the European reaction regarding a story by Laura Poitras et al. that came out in Der Spiegel on June 29th, about 36 hours ago:
Guardian 6 hrs ago (actually, the story was up well before that)
HuffPo 9 hrs ago, 22 hrs ago
WaPo 1 hr ago, buried in a story about Kerry
Time, 13 hrs ago
Yahoo, 17 hrs ago
Business Week, 17 hrs ago
NY Mag, 14 hrs ago (which, oddly, dismisses European reaction, saying everyone knew the US spied)
CNN, about 6 hrs ago to judge from comments
Global Post, about 36 hrs ago
On and on– and these results don’t include non-English language papers like El Pais. One major US newspaper is conspicuously missing from the list. The AP just issued a story about Francois Hollande, and had a brief, vaguef item about 4 hours ago. Otherwise, I can’t find anything from them.
Why don’t we just have the State Department run the foreign bureaus our newspapers? It might as well be.
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