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Author Topic: Sweden 'spied on Russian leaders for US'  (Read 3413 times)

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Pez

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Sweden 'spied on Russian leaders for US'
« on: 11. December 2013., 10:41:03 »
Sweden 'spied on Russian leaders for US'



Swedish signals intelligence agency FRA spied on Russian leaders and shared the data collected with the US, local media report citing Edward Snowden leaks. Sweden’s ‘cable access’ made its position ‘unique’ in the eyes of the NSA.

The NSA eyes the FRA as a ‘leading partner’ among the US agencies foreign partners in the global data collection program,  reported Sweden’s Sveriges Television (SVT) citing documents provided by the fugitive whistleblower through US journalist Glenn Greenwald.

"The FRA provided NSA … unique collection on high-priority Russian targets, such as leadership, internal politics," reads one NSA document from dated April 18, 2013.

Ahead of a meeting with officials from FRA, NSA bosses were instructed to praise the Scandinavian partners, another said.

“Thank Sweden for its continued work on the Russian target, and underscore the primary role that FRA plays as a leading partner to work the Russian Target, including Russian leadership, … and … counterintelligence," SVT cited it as saying.

“FRA’s cable access has resulted in unique SIGINT reporting on all of these areas,” it continues, using an abbreviation for signals intelligence.

The SVT report didn’t name any particular individuals and organizations in Russia, which were the subjects of FRA interest. It did not detail the exact methods, which the intelligence agency used to collect information, although the mentioning of cable may refer to internet traffic.

In 2011, the WikiLeaks website revealed US diplomatic cables, which said that FRA was able to monitor some 80 percent of Russia’s internet traffic, which passed through Sweden, and that the country had adopted a new wiretapping law to allow such actions due to Washington pressure.

Nils Hanson, chief editor of the swedish TV program ‘Mission: Investigate’ which helped break the latest Snowden leaks, told RT that while allegations of collaboration between the FRA and US intelligence were nothing new, “now we can show documents proving this relationship between Swedish authorities and the Americans.”

Currently the FRA is authorized to monitor cable-bound communications to track "external threats" against Sweden. Permits are authorized by a secret court, the Defense Intelligence Court.


Orginal article: Published time: December 05, 2013 10:06
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Sweden 'spied on Russian leaders for US'
« on: 11. December 2013., 10:41:03 »




Pez

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Sweden spied on Russia for NSA: report
« Reply #1 on: 11. December 2013., 10:45:44 »
Sweden spied on Russia for NSA: report

Sweden helps the United States National Security Agency (NSA) spy on Russia, leaked documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal.



Information collected about Russian politicians by Sweden's main signals intelligence agency, the National Radio Defence Establishment (Försvarets radioanstalt, FRA), was handed over to the US spy agency, according to documents reviewed by Sveriges Television (SVT) investigative news programme Uppdrag gränskning (UG).

The documents describe FRA as a "leading partner" in the NSA's international cooperation to monitor communications traffic around the world.

"The FRA provided NSA (…) unique collection on high-priority Russian targets, such as leadership, internal politics," reads one NSA document from dated April 18th, 2013.

The documents don't go into detail about how leading Russian politicians are monitored, such as whether their phones are tapped or information about their phone calls and internet use are registered. Nor is it clear if Russian President Vladimir Putin or other leaders are the target of the spying.

However, it appears the NSA is satisfied with the cooperation provided by FRA, which the US spy agency describes as "unique".

Ahead of a meeting with officials from FRA, NSA bosses are instructed to praise the Swedes, according to the investigative news programme.

“Thank Sweden for its continued work on the Russian target, and underscore the primary role that FRA plays as a leading partner to work the Russian Target, including Russian leadership, (…) and (…) counterintelligence," one of the documents reviewed by SVT reads.

"FRA’s cable access has resulted in unique SIGINT reporting on all of these areas," it continues, using a common abbreviation to refer to signals intelligence.

According to UG, neither FRA or the NSA was willing to comment on the report.

"The quote you read here is the type of information that's hard for us to comment on," FRA spokesman Fredrik Wallin told SVT.

The NSA said only that "the US government has made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations".

The reports comes amid revelations about the extent of US-led international signals intelligence activities, with Sweden having been named previously as an important partner.

British journalist Duncan Campbell claimed earlier this year that Sweden, via FRA, had become "the biggest partner to (British intelligence agency) GCHQ outside the English-speaking countries".

Both FRA and the Swedish government have pointed out that Sweden's laws allow for international cooperation, but won't specify with which countries.

"A partner can't control us; what we cooperate on with lies within the framework of the direction the Swedish government has given us," Dag Hartelius, the recently installed head of FRA, said a month ago.

FRA is authorized to monitor cable-bound communications traffic to track "external threats" against the country. The intelligence gathering can only be directed toward foreign countries.

The government, military, Swedish Security Service (Säpo), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) can order intelligence material from FRA. The agency can also share information with other countries.

Permits are authorized by a secret court, the Defence Intelligence Court (Försvarsunderrättelsedomstolen).

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Orginal article: Published: 05 Dec 2013 07:11 GMT+01:00
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FRA spying on “energy” and “Baltics” for USA
« Reply #2 on: 11. December 2013., 10:48:34 »
FRA spying on “energy” and “Baltics” for USA



The Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) is not only spying on foreign military interests. Now Uppdrag Granskning is able to report that the Baltic region and civilian targets such as the Russian energy sector are also targets of the FRA’s espionage. The information is then shared with the United States, which expresses great appreciation for the Swedish contribution.

In documents drawn up for a meeting in April this year between the US intelligence agency NSA and the Swedish FRA show that Sweden is spying on Russian energy interests and the countries in “the Baltic region”. And that the information collected is passed on to the United States.

”Thank Sweden for its continued work on the Russian target, and underscore the primary role that FRA plays as a leading partner to work the Russian target, including Russian leadership, energy [REDACTED]. “FRA`s [REDACTED] access has resulted in unique SIGINT reporting on all of these areas”, NSA writes.

Civilian targets such as the energy sector are controversial for a government espionage organization to focus on but a source in the Swedish
intelligence service that Uppdrag Granskning talked to does not want to call the activities industrial espionage, even though they deal with private
companies.  “Put it this way: there is a very obvious interest in looking at the Russian companies. That’s a part of our mission. What taps are available, what infrastructure. Long-term plans and short-term political decisions.” 

Uppdrag granskning: Is this companies like Gazprom? “Gazprom is one possible… But there are many other, smaller players. Don’t
forget that we get an extreme amount of information back [from the US]; we’re not slaves.”

The NSA documents do not reveal what energy interests are of interest to the United States. No companies are mentioned by name, nor are specific installations.

The US government often states that the NSA and its espionage are necessities for US security, and that it differs from Russian and Chinese
espionage, which in the west is often claimed to specifically target economic interests.

However, several of the other documents that have turned up in material leaked by Edward Snowden show examples of similar espionage that is not related to military targets or combating terrorism.

In September this year, the Brazilian current affairs programme “Fantastico” from O Globo Television disclosed material from the NSA that revealed a secret operation called “Black Pearl”. Among other things, it targeted the national Brazilian oil company Petrobras, one of the world’s 30 largest companies.

The international bank network Swift, of which most international – and all Swedish – banks are members who use it to carry out large currency
transactions, is also a target of the NSA, according to material that Fantastico published.

One of Ericsson’s greatest competitors, the Chinese tech company Huawei, has also been targeted by the NSA’s espionage, according to the Brazilian TV network O Globo. Its programme showed an NSA training manual dated May 2012, which mentioned by name not only Huawei and Swift, but also a Saudi bank.

Huawei, one of the world’s largest companies, with over USD 35 billion in sales in 2012, said in a press release that they were “utterly disturbed”
about what they call these “illegal practices”. 

But this is not just about espionage against the Russian leadership and the Russian energy sector. One of the documents, a top-secret report from the NSA’s Sweden desk, states that the FRA conducts: ”unique collection on …[REDACTED] the Baltic region include countering foreign intelligence and military.”

Another source in the Swedish intelligence service confirms to Uppdrag granskning that the Baltic region is a target for the FRA.

“The formulation ‘the Baltic region’ is difficult to interpret in any other way than as meaning the Baltic States, and likely also Poland, “our source says. “The FRA had a mission there when [the countries in] the Baltic region became free. They had a role to play in seeing where things were headed. Now they’ve found a new niche.”  The source says with reference to the FRA’s tapping of the cable traffic from the Baltics and Russia, a large portion of which goes through Sweden.

Neighboring country Latvia is not surprised over the Swedish espionage, or the fact that the information is turned over to the US. “I would be upset if it was about spying on me, for example, but spying on Latvian territory, for example on Russian interests, that does not surprise me,” says Latvian defence minister Artis Pabriks to Uppdrag granskning. “I think most countries that have the capacity to do so, conduct espionage in Latvia. In addition, it’s important to us that our allies in the EU and NATO are aware of conditions here.”

On Friday, Artis Pabriks met with the Swedish Minister for Defence Karin Enström for discussions in Riga. According to Pabriks, the disclosures about the Swedish espionage against Russia were not on the agenda and Enström had nothing to say about the Swedish intelligence gathering activities in the Baltic region.

“No, we did not discuss that. It was a very good meeting,” says Pabriks. “We discussed security in the region.”
 
The FRA did not want to comment on the information that they are spying on civilian companies and neighboring EU countries.

Uppdrag granskning: According to information from the NSA’s internal documents, the FRA is spying on Russian energy interests, and sharing this
information with the US. “The FRA does not spy, we conduct intelligence gathering according to instructions from our Swedish principals,” says Fredrik Wallin, FRA spokesman. “This may include a variety of foreign-policy circumstances that are of interest to Swedish international, security and defence policy. But in general we cannot comment on this type of information regarding intelligence targets or our intelligence operations.”

Uppdrag granskning: the data from the NSA also show that the FRA is spying on Baltic nations and sharing that information with the US. “I cannot comment on that type of information either.”

Uppdrag granskning: But your answer does not rule out that you do spy on neighboring EU countries? “I cannot confirm or deny information about specific intelligence targets,” says Fredrik Wallin.

The NSA says in a written comment to SVT: “We are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity, and the US
government has made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations"


CREDITS: Sven Bergman, Joachim Dyfvermark, Ryan Gallagher, Glenn Greenwald and Fredrik Laurin

 
Original article: Publicerad: 07 december 2013 08:58
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Sweden key partner for U.S. spying on Russia: TV
« Reply #3 on: 11. December 2013., 10:55:28 »
Sweden key partner for U.S. spying on Russia: TV



An undated aerial handout photo shows the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland.


(Reuters) - Sweden has been a key partner for the United States in spying on Russia, Swedish television reported on Thursday, citing leaked documents from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

Swedish television said it had obtained the documents from Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who brought NSA contractor Edward Snowden's leaks about mass surveillance by the agency to world attention.

Greenwald tweeted on Thursday that the close relationship between the United States and Sweden could not be "overstated" and that this was the first of many revelations to come.

Earlier this year, Snowden leaked details of a global spying program by the NSA, stirring international criticism. The U.S. has said much of the information was a result of cooperation with other intelligence services.

Swedish television cited a document dated April 18 saying Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA), which conducts electronic communications surveillance, had helped in providing the United States with information on Russia.

"The FRA provided NSA ... a unique collection on high-priority Russian targets, such as leadership, internal politics," it quoted the document saying.

Sweden's defence minister said on Thursday that it cooperates with some other countries but does not say which.

"It is very important to have a defence intelligence cooperation so that we can keep track of external threats to Swedish interests," Karin Enstrom told Swedish news agency TT.

"That we cooperate is something very natural. We build our security in cooperation with other countries and other organizations."

In a separate document, high level NSA employees were told to "thank Sweden for its continued work on the Russian target, and underscore the primary role that FRA plays as a leading partner to work the Russian target, including Russian leadership … and … counterintelligence."

Snowden is in Russia, where he was granted asylum in August for at least a year.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson and Mia Shanley; Editing by Ralph Boulton and Catherine Evans)


Original article: STOCKHOLM  Thu Dec 5, 2013 11:02am EST
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Re: Sweden 'spied on Russian leaders for US'
« Reply #4 on: 11. December 2013., 17:45:57 »
...

(Reuters) - Sweden has been a key partner for the United States in spying on Russia, Swedish television reported on Thursday, citing leaked documents from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

Swedish television said it had obtained the documents from Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who brought NSA contractor Edward Snowden's leaks about mass surveillance by the agency to world attention.

...

Who would assume this... I am very surprised, of course negatively. :thumbsdown:

Thanks P.

Pez

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Re: Sweden 'spied on Russian leaders for US'
« Reply #5 on: 12. December 2013., 09:47:31 »
As Swedish, I have known it for some time already. It has been published in the Swedish press in the past week. But it has not been published in English before, so it has been difficult to provide references to this in the past because it is so controversial.

Their is also a rumour in the Swedish press that the "simulated" Air strike from Russia in 29 mars 2013 was a training / deterrent attack against Swedish signals intelligence agency FRA headquarter on an island "Lovön" in the Stockholm archipelago.

More about the Russian "simulated" Air strike below. But I have not find anything yet in English translation about that it had the Swedish FRA headquarter as the target.
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Russia Simulated A Large-Scale Aerial Night Attack On Sweden
« Reply #6 on: 12. December 2013., 10:05:36 »
Russia Simulated A Large-Scale Aerial Night Attack On Sweden

Erik Arnberg, a reader of The Aviationist, brought to my attention an episode that occurred on the night of Mar. 29, 2013, when Russian military aircraft simulated a large scale bomb run on Sweden.

The episode got a lot of media attention among the Swedish media outlets on Apr. 22, when more details about the simulated attack surfaced.

According to the Svenska Dagbladet, after midnight on Mar. 29 (Good Friday), the Swedish radars detected six fast planes coming from the east, originating from the St. Petersburg area and overflying the Gulf of Finland.

In reality, the route the aircraft were flying wasn't suspect: Russian bombers periodically fly across the Baltic Sea to reach the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, located between Lithuania and Poland.

However, on Mar. 29, the two Tu-22M3 Backfire heavy bombers, capable of carrying cruise missiles and nuclear weapons, and their four Su-27 Flanker fighter jets escort got dangerously close to the Swedish airspace and, at 2 AM local time, they skirted Gotland island, some 30-40 kilometers off the Swedish territorial waters.

After they carried out their mock attacks (on targets in the Stockholm area and Southern Sweden, according to Swedish military sources who talked to Svenska Dagbladet) they turned back and returned towards Russia.

The episode is similar to those Soviet Union exercises typical of the Cold War, when bombers carrying the traditional Red Star flew quite close to the Swedish airspace boundaries and got caught by Swedish interceptors. Such “visits” ended in 1992 but returned in 2011 when Putin resumed the long-range flights of its strategic bombers.

Although some Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers flew over the Baltic Sea in the last year, what’s unusual in Mar. 29 incident is that the Russian activity took place at night and, above all, it found the Swedish Air Force totally unprepared.

At least two JAS-39 Gripen should always be in a QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) and ready for take off in case of alarm, but quite surprisingly there were no interceptors ready on Good Friday night.

However, since 2004, NATO has a QRA detachment in Lithuania’s First Air Base in Zokniai/Šiauliai International Airport, whose aim is to guard the airspace over the three Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The task is shared by several NATO members; since Jan. 2013, the Baltic air policing task is assigned to the Royal Danish Air Force.

On Mar. 29, two RDAF F-16 fighter jets took off from Siuliai to shadow the Russian bombers and fighters from distance as the formation headed east towards Russia.

Analysts believe the massive restructuring process that downsized the Swedish Air Force — from 20 squadrons and over 400 planes to four divisions and less than 150 planes — is to blame for the lack of preparedness of the Swedish air defense.

For sure the Russian military activity didn’t come unannounced. As said, it was neither the first time nor will be the last to see Moscow’s bombers, fighter jets performing simulated attacks on strategic targets around the world.

On Feb. 26 and 27, after Russian Tu-95 had skirted Guam airbase, Tu-22M Backfires simulated strikes on a U.S. Aegis cruiser in the Pacific and ground-based radar station in Japan.

And, in the future, Russia could detach its advanced, stealth PAK-DA, destined to replace the current aging fleet of 63 Tu-95 Bear and 13 Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers.

Sweden, Japan and U.S. you’d better be prepared.

This post originally appeared at The Aviationist. Copyright 2013. Follow The Aviationist on Twitter.

CHECK OUT:  Russia's fourth-generation jet fighter could be the best thing in on the market

Original article: David Cenciotti, The Aviationist, Apr. 23, 2013, 4:26 PM

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"Russia rehearsed attack on FRA"
« Reply #7 on: 12. December 2013., 10:50:18 »
This is a few related google translate articles about this from the big Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that also refer to the other big newspaper in Sweden Expressen. The reference link is to the Swedish untranslated articles en the newspapers web site.

"Russia rehearsed attack on FRA"

The Russian bomber that simulated an attack against Sweden on 29 March this year had a specific goal:
FRA's headquarters on Lovön outside Stockholm.
The conclusion drawn in the Armed Forces analysis of the acclaimed exercise, according to Expressen.


Early on March 29 of this year, two Russian bombers model Tu -22 , a dummy attack against Swedish goal. Shortly after midnight suddenly appeared six Russian fighter jets up in the Swedish Armed Forces' air monitoring.

- I can confirm that there were two bombers - Tu -22 with fighter escort of Su-27 aircraft , said Lieutenant-General Anders Silwer to SvD then.

The bomber , which can carry cruise missiles and nuclear weapons, should have focused on the Stockholm area and Southern Sweden - goals are two of Sweden's most important military installations, according to SvD's sources.

Had FRA as goal

After the attack exercise became known , the Armed Forces refused to talk about the specific goals that the Russian plan had . But according to data to Expressen , these are about FRA's headquarters on Lovön outside Stockholm .

- It was about FRA, practicing bombing Lovön . After Musts ( Military Intelligence and Security Service, editor's note ) analyzed the sequence of events came to that conclusion , says a source in the Armed Forces to Expressen .

According to the magazine data have also been presented to the Swedish Government. But the Swedish military would not confirm details .

- We have really no reason to comment on data from Expressen said Richard Kjaergaard , officer in charge of Communications at the Armed Forces.

But can you confirm or deny the reports ?

- That said, we can not confirm or deny unnamed data from Expressen . It is left for them , he says.

The base for reconnaissance against Russia

It is from Lovön that FRA conducts signals intelligence against including Russian goal. SVT's Mission Review (Uppdrag Granskning) revealed Thursday that the FRA has long been spying on Russia after having taken note of the documents leaked by the whistle- blower Edward Snowden . The information should then be shared with the American secret NSA.

In a document of April 18 this year says:

" NSA's cooperation with the FRA, an extraordinarily skilled, technically innovative and reliable partner , continues to grow. FRA gave the NSA access to their collected data cable 2011 and provided thus unique data on high-priority Russian goal , "writes SVT.

Aftonbladet has sought Defense Minister Karin Enstrom for comment.

Original article in Swedish: Aftonbladet  2013-12-09 Björn Barr   




Russian plane rehearsed attack on Sweden

Over view map of the incident with Swedish comment

Middle of the night simulated Russian bomber attack on the Stockholm and southern Sweden.
The exercise took place on Good Friday outside Gotska Sandon, reveals Swedish Dagbladet today.
Two Danish NATO Plane lifted from Lithuania and shadowed the Russian aircraft at a distance - but no Swedish fighter planes were on standby.


The incident during the early hours of Good Friday, March 29 has been kept secret for almost a month .

Today, however, reveals Swedish Dagbladet how the Russian military train to attack targets in Sweden .

After midnight, suddenly appeared six Russian fighter jets up in the Swedish Armed Forces' air monitoring. The aircraft from bases in the St. Petersburg region would usually cross the Gulf of Finland and east of the archipelago and then swerve to the south.

That night swung plan in place against Sweden .

- I can confirm that there were two bombers - Tu -22 with fighter escort of Su-27 aircraft , said Lieutenant-General Anders Silwer to SvD.

At two o'clock in the night were the two bombers and four fighters outside Gotska Sandon , three or four mil from Swedish territory , the newspaper said .

At The approach against Sweden shared the six plan into two Tater and conducted simulated attacks against certain Swedish goal, according to SvD's military sources.

Missing preparedness

The bomber , which can carry cruise missiles and nuclear weapons, targeted the Stockholm area and Southern Sweden - goals are two of Sweden's most important military installations, according to SvD's sources.

Lieutenant-General Anders Silwer , Defence Forces operation manager, would not comment on details of the drill targets but says to SvD

- They stayed in international airspace at Gotska Sandon and implemented some form of exercise. Then they turned back the way they had come.

The exercise received the alarm going at NATO sent up two Danish F16s stationed in Lithuania. They never had time to catch up with the Russian fighter planes but shaded them from a distance.

But Sweden lacked preparedness. Neither aircraft or pilots were ready for a sustained effort Friday night , writes SvD.

- No, we did not plan in incident preparedness , says Anders Silwer to the newspaper.

Sweden should really have a response capability where two Gripens should be ready to start to identify and document the alien plan. And be prepared to reject intruders.

Preparedness should be every day , but how many hours are secret.

" Reminiscent of the Cold War "

Russia held exercises at Easter was rewritten by including a Russian news agency , yet had not Sweden increased preparedness. As a "normal good ," according to Anders Silwer .

- The idea of ​​incident preparedness is to show the other state , " we see you, we meet you, we have an eye on you." Here was apparently no contingency and track . It is serious , a source said to SvD .

The newspaper said the incident " is reminiscent of the Soviet Union's actions during the Cold War ," then attack aircraft could fly straight towards the Swedish air bases to suddenly turn fully on before the Swedish border.

After not having flown with bombers over the Baltic Sea since the 1990s, Russians began again in 2011 - but then in the daytime.

The Russian plan must also have practiced attacks against American targets in the Pacific and a radar station in Japan in late February this year.


Original article in Swedish: Aftonbladet   2013-04-22 Niklas Eriksson
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Codename 'Apalachee': How America Spies on Europe and the UN
« Reply #8 on: 14. December 2013., 08:16:10 »
Codename 'Apalachee': How America Spies on Europe and the UN

President Obama promised that NSA surveillance activities were aimed exclusively at preventing terrorist attacks. But secret documents from the intelligence agency show that the Americans spy on Europe, the UN and other countries.

The European Union building on New York's Third Avenue is an office tower with a glittering facade and an impressive view of the East River. Chris Matthews, the press officer for the EU delegation to the United Nations, opens the ambassadors' room on the 31st floor, gestures toward a long conference table and says: "This is where all ambassadors from our 28 members meet every Tuesday at 9 a.m." It is the place where Europe seeks to forge a common policy on the UN.
 
 To mark the official opening of the delegation's new offices in September 2012, EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso and EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy flew in from Brussels, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was on hand as guest of honor. For "old" Europe -- which finances over one-third of the regular UN budget -- this was a confirmation of its geopolitical importance.
 
For the National Security Agency (NSA), America's powerful intelligence organization, the move was above all a technical challenge. A new office means freshly painted walls, untouched wiring and newly installed computer networks -- in other words, loads of work for the agents. While the Europeans were still getting used to their glittering new offices, NSA staff had already acquired the building's floor plans. The drawings completed by New York real estate company Tishman Speyer show precisely to scale how the offices are laid out. Intelligence agents made enlarged copies of the areas where the data servers are located. At the NSA, the European mission near the East River is referred to by the codename "Apalachee".

The floor plans are part of the NSA's internal documents relating to its operations targeting the EU. They come from whistleblower Edward Snowden, and SPIEGEL has been able to view them. For the NSA, they formed the basis for an intelligence-gathering operation -- but for US President Barack Obama they have now become a political problem.

Just over two weeks ago, Obama made a promise to the world. "The main thing I want to emphasize is that I don't have an interest and the people at the NSA don't have an interest in doing anything other than making sure that (...) we can prevent a terrorist attack," Obama said during a hastily arranged press conference at the White House on August 9. He said the sole purpose of the program was to "get information ahead of time (...) so we are able to carry out that critical task," adding: "We do not have an interest in doing anything other than that." Afterward, the president flew to the Atlantic island of Martha's Vineyard for his summer vacation.

Wide Range of New Surveillance Programs

Obama's appearance before the press was an attempt to morally justify the work of the intelligence agencies; to declare it as a type of emergency defense. His message was clear: Intelligence is only gathered because there is terror -- and anything that saves people's lives can't be bad. Ever since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, this logic has been the basis for a wide range of new surveillance programs.

With his statement delivered in the White House briefing room, Obama hoped to take the pressure off, primarily on the domestic political front. In Washington the president is currently facing opposition from an unusual alliance of left-wing Democrats and libertarian conservatives. They are supported by veteran politicians like Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, one of the architects of the Patriot Act, which was used to massively expand surveillance in the wake of 9/11. On July 24, a bill that would have curtailed the power of the NSA was only narrowly defeated by 217 to 205 votes in the House of Representatives.

Even stalwart Obama supporters like Democrat Nancy Pelosi, minority leader in the House of Representatives, are now calling into question the work of the intelligence agency. Pelosi says that what she reads in the newspapers is "disturbing." It wasn't until late last week that news broke that the NSA had illegally collected tens of thousands of emails over a number of years.

Obama's public appearance was aimed at reassuring his critics. At the same time, he made a commitment. He gave assurances that the NSA is a clean agency that isn't involved in any dirty work. Obama has given his word on this matter. The only problem is that, if internal NSA documents are to be believed, it isn't true.

The classified documents, which SPIEGEL has seen, demonstrate how systematically the Americans target other countries and institutions like the EU, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna and the UN. They show how the NSA infiltrated the Europeans' internal computer network between New York and Washington, used US embassies abroad to intercept communications and eavesdropped on video conferences of UN diplomats. The surveillance is intensive and well-organized -- and it has little or nothing to do with counter-terrorism.

Targeting Foreign Governments

In an internal presentation, the NSA sums up its vision, which is both global and frighteningly ambitious: "information superiority." To achieve this worldwide dominance, the intelligence agency has launched diverse programs with names like "Dancingoasis," "Oakstar" and "Prism." Some of them aim to prevent terrorist attacks, while others target things like arms deliveries, drug trafficking and organized crime. But there are other programs, like "Blarney" and "Rampart-T," that serve a different purpose: that of traditional espionage targeting foreign governments.

Blarney has existed since the 1970s and it falls under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, at least according to the NSA documents, which state that it is based on the cooperation of at least one US telecommunications company that provides services to the agency. The NSA describes the program's main targets as "diplomatic establishment, counter-terrorism, foreign government and economic." These documents also say that Blarney is one of the "top sources" for the President's Daily Brief, a top-secret document which briefs the US president every morning on intelligence matters. Some 11,000 pieces of information reportedly come from Blarney every year.

No less explosive is the program dubbed "Rampart-T" by the NSA and which, by the agency's own accounts, has been running since 1991. It has to do with "penetration of hard targets at or near the leadership level" -- in other words: heads of state and their closest aides.

This information is intended for "the president and his national security advisors." Rampart-T is directed against some 20 countries, including China and Russia, but also Eastern European states.

The Americans recently drew up a secret chart that maps out what aspects of which countries require intelligence. The 12-page overview, created in April, has a scale of priorities ranging from red "1" (highest degree of interest) to blue "5" (low interest). Countries like Iran, North Korea, China and Russia are colored primarily red, meaning that additional information is required on virtually all fronts.

But the UN and the EU are also listed as espionage targets, with issues of economic stability as the primary concern. The focus, though, is also on trade policy and foreign policy (each rated "3") as well as energy security, food products and technological innovations (each rated "5").

Bugging the EU

The espionage attack on the EU is not only a surprise for most European diplomats, who until now assumed that they maintained friendly ties to the US government. It is also remarkable because the NSA has rolled out the full repertoire of intelligence-gathering tools -- and has apparently been taking this approach for many years now. According to an operational overview from September 2010 that is rated "secret," not only have the Americans infiltrated the EU mission to the UN in New York, but also the EU embassy in Washington, giving the building in the heart of the American capital the code name "Magothy."

According to this secret document, the NSA has targeted the European missions in three ways:

◾The embassies in Washington and New York are bugged.

◾At the embassy in New York, the hard disks have also been copied.

◾In Washington the agents have also tapped into the internal computer cable network.

 
 The infiltration of both EU embassies gave the technicians from Fort Meade an invaluable advantage: It guaranteed the Americans continuous access, even if they temporarily lost contact with one of the systems -- due, for instance, to a technical update or because an EU administrator thought that he had discovered a virus.
 
The embassies are linked via a so-called virtual private network (VPN). "If we lose access to one site, we can immediately regain it by riding the VPN to the other side and punching a whole (sic!) out," the NSA technicians said during an internal presentation. "We have done this several times when we got locked out of Magothy."

Of particular note, the data systems of the EU embassies in America are maintained by technicians in Brussels; Washington and New York are connected to the larger EU network. Whether the NSA has been able to penetrate as far as Brussels remains unclear. What is certain, though, is that they had a great deal of inside knowledge from Brussels, as demonstrated by a classified report from the year 2005 concerning a visit by top American diplomat Clayland Boyden Gray at Fort Meade.


Original article: In Spegel online By Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark



Part 2: 'Best Friends' at the NSA


Gray was on his way to Brussels as the new US ambassador to the EU. Before he left the country, he was invited by the corresponding NSA department to Fort Meade, where he was allowed to peek inside their treasure chest. The ambassador was "apprised of NSA's capabilities and limitations in collecting communications in Europe," the documents note.

Gray was presented with a selection of intercepted and bugged reports relating to diplomacy, business and foreign trade along with information on his future contacts at the EU. "I had no idea I would receive such detailed information," the ambassador said afterwards in amazement, according to NSA documents. That was "fabulous," he told them, adding: "You people at the NSA are becoming my new best friends."

Beyond their infiltration of the EU, the Americans are also highly interested in intelligence on the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA. The IAEA has been given a red "1" in the area of arms control, while the focus at the UN is on foreign policy ("2") along with human rights, war crimes, environment issues and raw materials (each "3").

The NSA has its own team stationed at the UN, with each of the specialists disguised as diplomats. A secret crew from Washington regularly comes to town to bolster the team's ranks before each session of the General Assembly.

But the Americans also eavesdrop wherever possible during the day-to-day -- and they have been particularly successful at it for quite some time, as the corresponding department proudly reported in June 2012. In a status report they wrote that they had gained "a new access to internal United Nations communication."

Spies Spying on the Spies

Furthermore, NSA technicians working for the Blarney program have managed to decrypt the UN's internal video teleconferencing (VTC) system. The combination of this new access to the UN and the cracked encryption code have led to "a dramatic improvement in VTC data quality and (the) ability to decrypt the VTC traffic," the NSA agents noted with great satisfaction: "This traffic is getting us internal UN VTCs (yay!)." Within just under three weeks, the number of decrypted communications increased from 12 to 458.

Occasionally this espionage verges on the absurd in a manner that would fit in perfectly with a John le Carré novel. According to an internal report, the NSA caught the Chinese spying on the UN in 2011. The NSA managed to penetrate their adversary's defenses and "tap into Chinese SIGINT (signals intelligence) collection," as it says in a document that describes how spies were spying on spies. Based on this source, the NSA has allegedly gained access to three reports on "high interest, high profile current events."

The internal NSA documents correspond to instructions from the State Department, which then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed off on in July 2009. With the 29-page report called "Reporting and Collection Needs: The United Nations," the State Department called on its diplomats to collect information on key players of the UN.

According to this document, the diplomats were asked to gather numbers for phones, mobiles, pagers and fax machines. They were called on to amass phone and email directories, credit card and frequent-flier customer numbers, duty rosters, passwords and even biometric data.

When SPIEGEL reported on the confidential cable back in 2010, the State Department tried to deflect the criticism by saying that it was merely helping out other agencies. In reality, though, as the NSA documents now clearly show, they served as the basis for various clandestine operations targeting the UN and other countries.

Experts on the UN have long suspected that the organization has become a hotbed of activity for various intelligence agencies. After leaving Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet, former British Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short admitted that in the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003 she had seen transcripts of conversations by then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Snooping on Partners

Short's statement, which sparked a vehement reaction at the time it was made, has now been confirmed for the first time by the NSA. According to an internal document, the intelligence results had a key influence on "American negotiating tactics at the UN" in connection with the Iraq War. Thanks to the intercepted conversations, the NSA was allegedly able to inform the US State Department and the American Ambassador to the UN with a high degree of certainty that the required majority had been secured before the vote was held on the corresponding UN resolution.

Snooping on negotiating partners is so rewarding that the NSA engages in this activity around the world, and not just on its home turf. There are secret eavesdropping posts in 80 US embassies and consulates around the world, internally referred to as the "Special Collection Service" (SCS) and jointly operated with the CIA.

The presence of these spying units ranks among the agency's best-guarded secrets. After all, they are politically precarious: There are very few cases in which their use has been authorized by the local host countries.

The small SCS teams (motto: "Vigilantly keeping watch around the world") intercept communications in their host countries. The required antennas and dishes are usually disguised. According to the documents seen by SPIEGEL, such "concealed collection systems" as they are internally referred to at the NSA, can be hidden behind "roof maintenance sheds" on embassy buildings. Highly classified technical surveillance operations in diplomatic missions such as embassies and consulates are referred to internally in the NSA under the codename "Stateroom."

The SCS teams are often disguised as diplomats and their actual mission is "not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff." According to the Snowden documents, such an SCS branch exists in Frankfurt, another one in Vienna. The existence of bugging units in embassies and consulates is to be kept secret under all circumstances, as it says in the material: If it were leaked, this would "cause serious harm to relations between the US and a foreign government."

'Thou Shalt Not Get Caught'

With few exceptions, this electronic eavesdropping not only contravenes the diplomatic code, but also international agreements. The Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations of 1946, as well as the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, long ago established that no espionage methods are to be used. What's more, the US and the UN signed an agreement in 1947 that rules out all undercover operations.

But even in UN circles a little bit of spying has always been viewed as a minor offense and, according to statements made by former government employees, the Americans have never paid much attention to the agreements. But this could change with the revelations of US spying on the EU. "The US has violated the 11th commandment of our profession," says a high-ranking US intelligence official: "Thou shalt not get caught."

The spying scandal has strained relations between the trans-Atlantic partners more than any other security-policy issue in recent history. The espionage is "absolutely unacceptable," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius inveighed after it became known that the French embassy in Washington was also on the surveillance list. "We cannot negotiate on a large trans-Atlantic market if there is the slightest suspicion that our partners are spying on the offices of our chief negotiator," European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding angrily said.

Even a conservative politician like the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the European Parliament in Brussels, Elmar Brok -- a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) -- spoke of an "enormous loss of trust." Other parliamentarians have threatened to pressure the US by suspending talks on a free trade agreement, and an EU delegation has traveled to Washington and confronted the Americans with the allegations.

Clean?

The talks are scheduled to resume in September. The litmus test will be whether the American government is prepared to offer the EU a no-spy agreement similar to the one that is currently being negotiated with the German government -- and in which both contracting partners pledge not to spy on each other.

Such an agreement can of course also be violated, but it would at least offer the Europeans a modicum of protection. For the Americans, it would mean renouncing exclusive inside views of the EU. It remains to be seen whether the Obama administration is prepared to take this step, despite the president's solemn statements that the surveillance focuses on counter-terrorism. A spokeswoman for the White House told SPIEGEL that the American government will respond to the allegations "via diplomatic channels," adding: "We have made it clear that we gather intelligence abroad just like any other nation."

On Monday of last week, the elevator stopped on the 26th floor of the EU's building on Third Avenue in New York. Press officer Matthews led the way through the delegation's working area, located high above the East River. Those seeking access to this zone must pass through checkpoints consisting of a number of doors made of bulletproof glass. Each door only opens after the door that has just been passed through is locked. A few meters further on, on the right, is the server room, where red lights are blinking. The security systems are new and were just installed over the past few weeks after SPIEGEL first reported on attempts to spy on the EU. The EU has launched an investigation, prompting technicians to search for bugs and check the computer network.

In September, America's Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power will visit the EU offices. The American-European free trade agreement will be on the agenda -- but also the espionage affair.

If the European security experts do everything right, it could be that -- for the first time in a long time -- the Americans won't know what to expect.


Original article: In Spegel online By Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark
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NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts


The NSA memo suggests that such surveillance was not isolated as the agency routinely monitors world leaders. Photograph: 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 as 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.

Arriving in Brussels for an EU summit Merkel accused the US of a breach of trust. "We need to have trust in our allies and partners, and this must now be established once again. I repeat that spying among friends is not at all acceptable against anyone, and that goes for every citizen in Germany."

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.

"In one recent case," the memo notes, "a US official provided NSA with 200 phone numbers to 35 world leaders … Despite the fact that the majority is probably available via open source, the PCs [intelligence production centers] have noted 43 previously unknown phone numbers. These numbers plus several others have been tasked."

The document continues by saying the new phone numbers had helped the agency discover still more new contact details to add to their monitoring: "These numbers have provided lead information to other numbers that have subsequently been tasked."

But the memo acknowledges that eavesdropping on the numbers had produced "little reportable intelligence". In the wake of the Merkel row, the US is facing growing international criticism that any intelligence benefit from spying on friendly governments is far outweighed by the potential diplomatic damage.

The memo then asks analysts to think about any customers they currently serve who might similarly be happy to turn over details of their contacts.

"This success leads S2 [signals intelligence] to wonder if there are NSA liaisons whose supported customers may be willing to share their 'Rolodexes' or phone lists with NSA as potential sources of intelligence," it states. "S2 welcomes such information!"

The document suggests that sometimes these offers come unsolicited, with US "customers" spontaneously offering the agency access to their overseas networks.

"From time to time, SID is offered access to the personal contact databases of US officials," it states. "Such 'Rolodexes' may contain contact information for foreign political or military leaders, to include direct line, fax, residence and cellular numbers."

The Guardian approached the Obama administration for comment on the latest document. Officials declined to respond directly to the new material, instead referring to comments delivered by Carney at Thursday's daily briefing.

Carney told reporters: "The [NSA] revelations have clearly caused tension in our relationships with some countries, and we are dealing with that through diplomatic channels.

"These are very important relations both economically and for our security, and we will work to maintain the closest possible ties."

The public accusation of spying on Merkel adds to mounting political tensions in Europe about the scope of US surveillance on the governments of its allies, after a cascade of backlashes and apologetic phone calls with leaders across the continent over the course of the week.

Asked on Wednesday evening if the NSA had in the past tracked the German chancellor's communications, Caitlin Hayden, the White House's National Security Council spokeswoman, said: "The United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel. Beyond that, I'm not in a position to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity."

At the daily briefing on Thursday, Carney again refused to answer repeated questions about whether the US had spied on Merkel's calls in the past.

The NSA memo seen by the Guardian was written halfway through George W Bush's second term, when Condoleezza Rice was secretary of state and Donald Rumsfeld was in his final months as defence secretary.

Merkel, who, according to Reuters, suspected the surveillance after finding her mobile phone number written on a US document, is said to have called for US surveillance to be placed on a new legal footing during a phone call to President Obama.

"The [German] federal government, as a close ally and partner of the US, expects in the future a clear contractual basis for the activity of the services and their co-operation," she told the president.

The leader of Germany's Green party, Katrin Goring-Eckhart, called the alleged spying an "unprecedented breach of trust" between the two countries.

Earlier in the week, Obama called the French president François Hollande in response to reports in Le Monde that the NSA accessed more than 70m phone records of French citizens in a single 30-day period, while earlier reports in Der Spiegel uncovered NSA activity against the offices and communications of senior officials of the European Union.

The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, this week backed proposals that could require US tech companies to seek permission before handing over EU citizens' data to US intelligence agencies, while the European parliament voted in favour of suspending a transatlantic bank data sharing agreement after Der Spiegel revealed the agency was monitoring the international bank transfer system Swift.


Original article: The Guardian, Friday 25 October 2013
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