Thursday, January 22, 2009

NSA ENGAGED IN MASSIVE SPYING ON JOURNALISTS



MSNBC INTERVIEW

Raw Story - Former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice, who helped expose the NSA's warrantless wiretapping in December 2005, has now come forward with even more startling allegations. Tice told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann that the programs that spied on Americans were not only much broader than previously acknowledged but specifically targeted journalists.

"The National Security Agency had access to all Americans' communications -- faxes, phone calls, and their computer communications," Tice claimed. "It didn't matter whether you were in Kansas, in the middle of the country, and you never made foreign communications at all. They monitored all communications."

Tice further explained that "even for the NSA it's impossible to literally collect all communications. . . What was done was sort of an ability to look at the metadata . . . and ferret that information to determine what communications would ultimately be collected."

According to Tice, in addition to this "low-tech, dragnet" approach, the NSA also had the ability to hone in on specific groups, and that was the aspect he himself was involved with. However, even within the NSA there was a cover story meant to prevent people like Tice from realizing what they were doing.

"In one of the operations that I was in, we looked at organizations, just supposedly so that we would not target them," Tice told Olbermann. "What I was finding out, though, is that the collection on those organizations was 24/7 and 365 days a year -- and it made no sense. . . I started to investigate that. That's about the time when they came after me to fire me."

When Olbermann pressed him for specifics, Tice offered, "An organization that was collected on were US news organizations and reporters and journalists."

"To what purpose?" Olbermann asked. "I mean, is there a file somewhere full of every email sent by all the reporters at the New York Times? Is there a recording somewhere of every conversation I had with my little nephew in upstate New York?"

Tice did not answer directly, but simply stated, "If it was involved in this specific avenue of collection, it would be everything." He added, however, that he had no idea what was ultimately done with the information, except that he was sure it "was digitized and put on databases somewhere."

Tice first began alleging that there were illegal activities going on at both the NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency in December 2005, several months after being fired by the NSA. He also served at that time as a source for the New York Times story which revealed the existence of the NSA's wireless wiretapping program.

Progressive Review, 2000- NICK FIELDING AND DUNCAN CAMPBELL, SUNDAY TIMES, LONDON: Spy agencies in Britain and America eavesdropped on Diana, Princess of Wales and Mark Thatcher, son of the former prime minister, as part of a global system of monitoring communications, according to former intelligence officials . . . The officials also revealed that charities such as Amnesty International, Christian Aid and Greenpeace were secretly spied on. Overseas targets have even included the Vatican: messages sent by the Pope and the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta have been intercepted, read and passed on to Whitehall intelligence officers, the sources say.

Code named Echelon, the monitoring system is part of a worldwide network of listening stations capable of processing millions of messages an hour. At least 10 Echelon stations operate around the world. Canada, Australia and New Zealand participate, as well as Britain and the United States. Former intelligence officials have spoken out after a decision by the European parliament to launch an inquiry into Echelon's operations. Officially, the British and American governments continue to deny the network's existence. Wayne Madsen, who worked for 20 years at America's National Security Agency and other agencies, said last week: "Anybody who is politically active will eventually end up on the NSA's radar screen" . . .

"I just think of Echelon as a great vacuum cleaner in the sky which sucks everything up," said Mike Frost, a former Canadian intelligence officer. "We just get to look at the goodies." Frost, who retired in 1992 after 20 years' service, has also revealed that Canada's equivalent of GCHQ was used by Margaret Thatcher to monitor two cabinet colleagues. "She wanted to find out not what they were saying," Frost said, "but what they were thinking" . . .

Progressive Review, 1998 - A story in the London Daily Telegraph confirms what TPR and a few other alternative news sources have been reporting for some time: that the National Security Agency routinely eavesdrops on telephone, e-mail and fax communications around the world. A recent report of the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament notes that "within Europe all email telephone and fax communications are routinely intercepted by the United States National Security Agency transferring all target information from the European mainland by satellite to Fort Meade in Maryland via the crucial hub at Menwith Hill in the North York moors in the UK." The report continues:

"Unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the Cold War, ECHELON is designed primarily for non-military targets: governments, organizations and businesses in virtually every country. The ECHELON system works by indiscriminately intercepting very large quantities of communications and then siphoning out what is valuable using artificial intelligence aids like MEMEX to find key words."

The Daily Telegraph notes that:

"The NSA, the world's biggest and most powerful signals intelligence organization, received approval to set up a network of spy stations throughout Britain. Their role was to provide military, diplomatic and economic intelligence by intercepting communications from throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The NSA is one of the shadowiest of the US intelligence agencies."

Today, the practice continues albeit in modern garb. According to the Computer Fraud and Security Bulletin, the National Security Agency is already spying on the Internet by "sniffing" data at key router and gateways hosts. NSA is also said to have made deals with Microsoft, Lotus and Netscape to prevent anonymous e-mail or encryption systems on the Net.

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