June 30, 2013–Two news articles are enclosed. Note, the first article is published in today’s Observer (Guardian on Sunday) but has been pulled from the newspaper’s website, “pending further investigation” (of its sources). That story is told here.
Revealed: secret European deals to hand over private data to America
Germany ‘among countries offering intelligence’ says former US defence analyst
By Jamie Doward, The Observer, June 30, 2013
At least six European Union countries in addition to Britain have been colluding with the US over the mass harvesting of personal communications data, according to a former contractor to America’s National Security Agency, who said the public should not be “kept in the dark”. Wayne Madsen, a former US navy lieutenant who first worked for the NSA in 1985 and over the next 12 years held several sensitive positions within the agency, names Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Italy as having secret deals with the US.
Madsen said the countries had “formal second and third party status” under signal intelligence (Sigint) agreements that compels them to hand over data, including mobile phone and internet information to the NSA if requested. Under international intelligence agreements, confirmed by declassified documents, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is first party while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy second party relationships. Germany and France have third party relationships.
In an interview published last night on the PrivacySurgeon.org blog, Madsen, who has been attacked for holding controversial views on espionage issues, said he had decided to speak out after becoming concerned about the “half story” told by EU politicians regarding the extent of the NSA’s activities in Europe. He said that under the agreements, which were drawn up after the second world war, the “NSA gets the lion’s share” of the Sigint “take”. In return, the third parties to the NSA agreements received “highly sanitised intelligence”.
Madsen said he was alarmed at the “sanctimonious outcry” of political leaders who were “feigning shock” about the spying operations while staying silent about their own arrangements with the US, and was particularly concerned that senior German politicians had accused the UK of spying when their country had a similar third party deal with the NSA.
Although the level of co- operation provided by other European countries to the NSA is not on the same scale as that provided by the UK, the allegations are potentially embarrassing. “I can’t understand how Angela Merkel can keep a straight face, demanding assurances from Obama and the UK while Germany has entered into those exact relationships,” Madsen said.
The Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Ludford, a senior member of the European parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said Madsen’s allegations confirmed that the entire system for monitoring data interception was a mess, because the EU was unable to intervene in intelligence matters that remained the exclusive concern of national governments. “The intelligence agencies are exploiting these contradictions and no one is really holding them to account,” Ludford said. “It’s terribly undermining to liberal democracy.”
Madsen’s disclosures have prompted calls for European governments to come clean on their arrangements with the NSA. “There needs to be transparency as to whether or not it is legal for the US or any other security service to interrogate private material,” said John Cooper QC, an international human rights lawyer. “The problem here is that none of these arrangements has been debated in any democratic arena. I agree with William Hague that sometimes things have to be done in secret, but you don’t break the law in secret.”
Madsen said all seven European countries and the US have access to the Tat 14 fibre-optic cable network between Denmark and Germany, the Netherlands, France, the UK and the US, allowing them to intercept vast amounts of data, including phone calls, emails and records of access to websites. He said the public needed to be made aware of the scale of the communication-sharing arrangements between European countries and the US, which became of strategic importance during the cold war.
The covert relationship between the countries was first outlined in a 2001 report by the European parliament, but their explicit connection with the NSA was not publicised until Madsen decided to speak out last night.
The European parliament’s report followed revelations that the NSA was conducting a global intelligence-gathering operation, known as Echelon, which appears to have established the framework for European member states to collaborate with the US. “A lot of this information isn’t secret, nor is it new,” Madsen said. “It’s just that governments have chosen to keep the public in the dark about it. The days when they could get away with a conspiracy of silence are over.”
This month, another former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, revealed to the Guardian previously undisclosed US programmes to monitor telephone and internet traffic. The NSA is alleged to have shared some of its data, gathered using a specialist tool called Prism, with Britain’s GCHQ, although the British government denies any suggestion that it was obtained illegally. In return, GCHQ has allegedly provided huge amounts of data to the NSA.
“The European parliament must intervene,” said Simon Davies, who runs the Privacy Surgeon blog. “MEPs should put the interests of citizens above party politics and create meaningful reforms.”
Key US-EU trade pact under threat after more NSA spying allegations
Reports in Der Spiegel that US agencies bugged European council building ‘reminiscent of cold war’, says German minister
Ian Traynor in Brussels, Louise Osborne in Berlin and Jamie Doward, The Guardian, June 30, 2013
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 phone calls and emails from top officials.
The latest reports of NSA snooping on Europe – and on Germany in particular – went well beyond previous revelations of electronic spying said to be focused on identifying suspected terrorists, extremists and organised criminals.
The German publication Der Spiegel reported that it had seen documents and slides from the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicating that US agencies bugged the offices of the EU in Washington and at the United Nations in New York. They are also accused of directing an operation from Nato headquarters in Brussels to infiltrate the telephone and email networks at the EU’s Justus Lipsius building in the Belgian capital, the venue for EU summits and home of the European council.
Without citing sources, the magazine reported that more than five years ago security officers at the EU had noticed several missed calls apparently targeting the remote maintenance system in the building that were traced to NSA offices within the Nato compound in Brussels.
The impact of the Der Spiegel allegations may be felt more keenly in Germany than in Brussels. The magazine said Germany was the foremost target for the US surveillance programmes, categorising Washington’s key European ally alongside China, Iraq or Saudi Arabia in the intensity of the electronic snooping.
Germany’s justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, called for an explanation from the US authorities. “If the media reports are true, it is reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war,” she was quoted as saying in the German newspaper Bild. “It is beyond imagination that our friends in the US view Europeans as the enemy.”
Washington and Brussels are scheduled to open ambitious free trade talks next week following years of arduous preparation. Senior officials in Brussels are worried that the talks would be overshadowed by the latest disclosures of US spying on its closest allies.
“Obviously we will need to see what is the impact on the trade talks,” said a senior official in Brussels. A second senior official said the allegations would cause a furore in the European parliament and could then hamper relations with the US.
Robert Madelin, one of Britain’s most senior officials in the European commission, tweeted that EU trade negotiators always operated on the assumption that their communications were listened to.
A spokesman for the European commission said: “We have immediately been in contact with the US authorities in Washington and in Brussels and have confronted them with the press reports. They have told us they are checking on the accuracy of the information released yesterday and will come back to us.”
There were calls from MEPs for Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European council – who has his office in the building allegedly targeted by the US – and José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European commission, to urgently appear before the chamber to explain what steps they were taking in response to the growing body of evidence of US and British electronic surveillance of Europe through the Prism and Tempora operations.
Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister and leader of the liberals in the European parliament, said: “This is absolutely unacceptable and must be stopped immediately. The American data collection mania has achieved another quality by spying on EU officials and their meetings. Our trust is at stake.”
Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, told Der Spiegel: “If these reports are true, it’s disgusting.” Asselborn called for guarantees from the very highest level of the US government that the snooping and spying is immediately halted.
Martin Schulz, the head of the European parliament, said: “I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices. If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations.
“On behalf of the European parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations.”
There were also calls for John Kerry, the US secretary of state, to make a detour to Brussels on his way from his current trip to the Middle East, to explain US activities.
“We need to get clarifications and transparency at the highest level,” said Marietje Schaake, a Dutch liberal MEP. “Kerry should come to Brussels on his way back from the Middle East. This is essential for the transatlantic alliance. The US can only lead by example, and should uphold the freedoms it claims to protect against attacks from the outside. Instead we see erosion of freedoms, checks and balances, from within.”
Within senior circles in Brussels, however, it has long been assumed that the Americans were listening to or seeking to monitor EU electronic traffic.
“There’s a certain schadenfreude here that we’re important enough to be spied on,” said one of the officials. “This was bound to come out one day. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some of our member states were not doing the same to the Americans.”
The documents suggesting the clandestine bugging operations were from September 2010, Der Spiegel said.
A former senior official in Brussels maintained that EU phone and computer systems were almost totally secure but that no system could be immune to persistent high-quality penetration operations.
“I have always assumed that anyone with a decent agency was listening, hacking if they could be bothered,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me much. Sometimes it’s a form of communication.”
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 it too,” Der Spiegel quoted a passage in the NSA document as saying.
On an average day, the NSA monitored about 20m German phone connections and 10m internet datasets, rising to 60m phone connections on busy days, the report said.
Officials in Brussels said this reflected Germany’s weight in the EU and probably also entailed elements of industrial and trade espionage. “The Americans are more interested in what governments think than the European commission. And they make take the view that Germany determines European policy,” said one of the senior officials.
Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green party MEP and a specialist in data protection, told the Guardian the revelations were outrageous. “It’s not about political answers now, but rule of law, fundamental constitutional principles and rights of European citizens,” he said.
“We now need a debate on surveillance measures as a whole looking at underlying technical agreements. I think what we can do as European politicians now is to protect the rights of citizens and their rights to control their own personal data.”
Talking about the NSA’s classification of Germany as a “third-class” partner, Albrecht said it was not helping to build the trust of Germans or other Europeans. “It is destroying trust and to rebuild that, [the US] will need to take real action on legislation,” he said.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that at least six European member states have shared personal communications data with the NSA, according to declassified US intelligence reports and EU parliamentary documents.
The documents, seen by the Observer, show that – in addition to the UK – Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy have all had formal agreements to provide communications data to the US. They state that the EU countries have had “second and third party status” under decades-old signal intelligence (Sigint) agreements that compel them to hand over data which, in later years, experts believe, has come to include mobile phone and internet data.
Under the international intelligence agreements, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is defined as ‘first party’ while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy ‘second party’ trusted relationships. Countries such as Germany and France have ‘third party’, or less trusted, relationships.
The data-sharing was set out under a 1955 UK-USA agreement that provided a legal framework for intelligence-sharing that has continued.
It stipulates: “In accordance with these arrangements, each party will continue to make available to the other, continuously, and without request, all raw traffic, COMINT (communications intelligence) end-product and technical material acquired or produced, and all pertinent information concerning its activities, priorities and facilities.”
The agreement goes on to explain how it can be extended to incorporate similar agreements with third party countries, providing both the UK and the US agree.
Under the third party data-sharing agreements each country was given a code name. For example, Denmark was known as Dynamo while Germany was referred to as Richter. The agreements were of strategic importance to the NSA during the cold war.
New leaks show how US is bugging its European allies
Snowden papers reveal 38 targets including EU, France and Italy
Ewen Macaskill in Rio de Janeiro, Julian Borger, The Guardian, July 1, 2013
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.
An NSA document seen by the Guardian which describes American surveillance of EU embassy in Washington DC using the bugging method codenamed Dropmire
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. The list in the September 2010 document does not mention the UK, Germany or other western European states.
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. The NSA documents note the machine is used to send cables back to foreign affairs ministries in European capitals.
The documents suggest the aim of the bugging exercise against the EU embassy in central Washington is to gather inside knowledge of policy disagreements on global issues and other rifts between member states.
The new revelations come at a time when there is already considerable anger across the EU over earlier evidence provided by Snowden of NSA eavesdropping on America’s European allies.
Germany’s justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, demanded an explanation from Washington, saying that if confirmed, US behaviour “was reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war”.
The German magazine Der Spiegel reported at the weekend that some of the bugging operations in Brussels targeting the EU’s Justus Lipsius building – a venue for summit and ministerial meetings in the Belgian capital – were directed from within Nato headquarters nearby.
The US intelligence service codename for the bugging operation targeting the EU mission at the United Nations is “Perdido”. Among the documents leaked by Snowden is a floor plan of the mission in midtown Manhattan. The methods used against the mission include the collection of data transmitted by implants, or bugs, placed inside electronic devices, and another covert operation that appears to provide a copy of everything on a targeted computer’s hard drive.
The eavesdropping on the EU delegation to the US, on K Street in Washington, involved three different operations targeted on the embassy’s 90 staff. Two were electronic implants and one involved the use of antennas to collect transmissions.
Although the latest documents are part of an NSA haul leaked by Snowden, it is not clear in each case whether the surveillance was being exclusively done by the NSA – most probable as the embassies and missions are technically overseas – or by the FBI or the CIA, or a combination. The 2010 document describes the operation as “close access domestic collection”.
Snowden, meanwhile, is in limbo at Moscow airport after his US passport was cancelled. He is believed to be seeking sanctuary in Ecuador.