Recently released documents reveal that the joint NSA-CIA unit called the Special Collection Service (SCS) very likely targeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone. Merkel’s phone number is a ‘Selector Value’ in the documents, and dates and active status also indicate that monitoring of her number began in 2002 and was active in June of 2013.
The SCS has sites in around 80 locations, including two in Germany. Der Spiegel reports that the SCS sets up equipment to intercept cellular signals, wireless networks and satellite communication from US embassies:
Senior officials in the US government provided the NSA with contact phone numbers of foreign political and military leaders, which were monitored for foreign intelligence information. The US government informants were dubbed “rolodexes”, and an internal NSA memo reveals that one official handed over 200 contact numbers, which included those of 35 world leaders. Although those contacts did not ultimately provide much “reportable intelligence”, the memo indicates that they provided leads to several other numbers to monitor.
Read more at the Guardian: NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) has filed a lawsuit at the British Columbia Supreme Court, in response to revelations from Edward Snowden of Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) surveillance operations. The suit argues that CSEC activities are unconstitutional, violating two aspects of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protections against unreasonable search and seizure: interception of the private communications of Canadians and collection of metadata information produced by Canadians.
Read more at the BCCLA website: Stop Illegal Spying – Case Details
This background document for a visit to NSA by offcials from France’s Directorate for External Security and National Systems Security shows that US involvement in a May 2012 cyber-attack on the French Presidency was one of the issues up for discussion: see Le Monde article The NSA’s intern inquiry about the Elysée hacking revealed, 25 October 2013.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called US President Obama on 23 October 2013, demanding an explanation of evidence that US intelligence agencies had tapped her mobile phone.
Merkel made it clear that, should these indications turn out to be true, she “unequivocally disapproves” of such methods and finds them “totally unacceptable” her spokesman Steffen Seibert said. “This would be a grave breach of trust,” he added. “Such practices must immediately be put to a stop.”
The White House has responded by stating: “The United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel,” refusing to comment on the past tense of the same statement.
Originally posted 10 October 2013 on the Guardian website
Editors around the world expressed their support of the journalistic work that has gone into the publications of NSA and GCHQ mass surveillance programs, following a flurry of UK media headlines including accusations that the Guardian paper was aiding terrorists.
On 9 October 2013 the Telegraph published an article with the extraordinary title, ‘GCHQ leaks have “gifted” terrorists ability to attack “at will”, warns spy chief’. The article quoted extensively from a speech given by the UK’s new MI5 Director-General Andrew Parker and emphasised that leaks of GCHQ classified information had given terrorists a significant advantage. The following day, the Daily Mail published a comment accusing the Guardian of being a paper that helps Britain’s enemies and causes real damage by leaking information about GCHQ to the public.
Le Monde has published slides on the NSA’s PRISM program which show that the agency targeted two well-known French telecommunications companies, Wanadoo and Alcatel-Lucent. In addition, the NSA’s Boundless Informant program shows that more than 70 million digital communications from France were collected over a single month.
French officials have responded to the reports, calling the American breach of privacy unacceptable and summoning the US Ambassador for an explanation.
Read more: France in the NSA’s crosshair: Wanadoo and Alcatel targeted
The NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division was able to exploit a key mail server in the Mexican Presidencia domain in May 2010 to gain access to the President’s public email account in an operation codenamed Flatliquid. Documents published recently have also shown that Brazilian politicians were also a target for the NSA. According to Der Spiegel, the targeting of the Brazilian and Mexican Presidents were not isolated incidents, as Brazil and Mexico were both ranked high among US surveillance priorities.
Read the full article: Fresh Leak on US Spying: NSA Accessed Mexican President’s Email
This Boundless Informant slide shows the number of French phone records collected day-by-day between 10 December 2012 and 8 January 2013: see the Le Monde article France in the NSA’s crosshair: phone networks under surveillance, 21 October 2013.
An Osama Bin Laden associate named Hassan Ghul, who was captured in 2004 and spent two years in a CIA prison, was killed in a drone strike after NSA signals intelligence pinpointed his location. The Washington Post reports that the documents provide an account of NSA-CIA collaboration in the drone campaign. A secret NSA unit called Counter-Terrorism Mission Aligned Cell, or CT MAC, spent a year tracking Ghul before he was killed.
Read more: Documents reveal NSA’s extensive involvement in targeted killing program