Data Surveillance with Global Implications

By Marcel Rosenbach, Holger Stark and Jonathan Stock, Der Spiegel, June 10 2013

The American intelligence director and the White House have finally confirmed what insiders have long known: The Obama administration is spying on the entire world. Politicians in Germany are demanding answers.

South of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, the National Security Agency (NSA), a United States foreign intelligence service, keeps watch over one of its most expensive secrets. Here, on 100,000 square meters (1,100,000 square feet) near the US military’s Camp Williams, the NSA is constructing enormous buildings to house superfast computers. All together, the project will cost around $2 billion (€1.5 billion) and the computers will be capable of storing a gigantic volume of data, at least 5 billion gigabytes. The energy needed to power the cooling system for the servers alone will cost $40 million a year.

Former NSA employees Thomas Drake and Bill Binney told SPIEGEL in March that the facility would soon store personal data on people from all over the world and keep it for decades. This includes emails, Skype conversations, Google searches, YouTube videos, Facebook posts, bank transfers — electronic data of every kind.

“They have everything about you in Utah,” Drake says. “Who decides whether they look at that data? Who decides what they do with it?” Binney, a mathematician who was previously an influential analyst at the NSA, calculates that the servers are large enough to store the entirety of humanity’s electronic communications for the next 100 years — and that, of course, gives his former colleagues plenty of opportunity to read along and listen in.

James Clapper, the country’s director of national intelligence, has confirmed the existence of a large-scale surveillance program. President Barack Obama further explained that Congress authorized the program — but that American citizens are exempt from it.

A top-secret document published last week by the Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian shows where the NSA may be getting the majority of its data. According to the document, which was allegedly leaked by former CIA employee Edward Snowden, the intelligence agency began seeking out direct access to servers belonging to American Internet companies on a wide scale in 2007. The first of these companies to come onboard was Microsoft. Yahoo followed half a year later, then Google, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype and AOL. The most recent company to declare its willingness to cooperate was Apple, in October 2012, according to the secret government document, which proudly states that this access to data is achieved “directly from the servers” of the companies. Continue reading

CIA, MI6 under scrutiny after secret files reveal Gadhafi rendition deals

The CIA struck rendition deals with Libya as early as 2002
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15365413,00.html

 

With the Gadhafi regime in tatters and the Libyan leader on the run, secret files in Tripoli have come to light which detail the depth of cooperation between the US and UK with Libya on the rendition of terror suspects.

The United States and Britain face embarrassing questions after reams of confidential documents discovered in Libya’s External Security agency headquarters exposed the depth of cooperation between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the UK’s foreign intelligence service MI6 and fugitive dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s secret service.

The documents, uncovered by officials from the Libyan transitional authority and researchers from Human Rights Watch during a sweep of government buildings, show that both the US and British intelligence services developed very close relations with Gadhafi. This cooperation took place even before the former Libyan leader was rehabillitated in the wake of his pledge to help in the war on terror and his renouncing of nuclear-weapons in 2004. Continue reading