Showing posts with label Snowden Wiki-leaking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snowden Wiki-leaking. Show all posts

September 15, 2016

Zachary Quinto and “Snowden"

Zachary Quinto, far right, plays Glenn Greenwald, one of three people (including Melissa Leo's Laura Poitras and Tom Wilkinson's Ewen MacAskill) who helps Joseph Gordon-Levitt's whistle-blower leak damning documents in Oliver Stone's "Snowden."

   
It’s never a walk in the park making a movie for Oliver Stone. For Zachary Quinto, it was more rough than usual. The filmmaker’s latest film is “Snowden,” which tells the story of CIA and NSA employee-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who learns that the government can and has been snooping in on anyone with a computer of gadget. Quinto plays Glenn Greenwald, the journalist, then working for The Guardian, who met Snowden in Tokyo as he was about to leak the intel that proved malfeasance. The “Heroes” and “Star Trek” actor, now 39, talks to us about how the film made him much more aware of how technology makes us vulnerable.

You’re not only making a movie about the infringement on privacy, but one by Oliver Stone. Did that make you even more worried about what Snowden revealed?
Like most people, I was pretty cavalier about my relationship to online security. I didn’t think about it that much. When this story initially broke, my reaction was, ‘Wow, that’s intense — and it probably has nothing to do with me.’ The more I learned about the documents that were released and how far-reaching and wide-spread this dragnet operation went — and how many tens of millions were exposed and vulnerable as a result — it made me recognize we’re all in this and against it together. 

“It has nothing to do with me” is a pretty common line. Most of us probably think that.
It’s a complacent attitude to adopt, because you never know when the definitions are going to shift or change. You never know when someone might find themselves in opposition to either the government or on the wrong side of the lines. It makes them more of a target. By that time the attitude of “I have nothing to hide” has allowed groups to collect all kinds of information and all kinds of data, and use it against you when it serves them to do so.

It’s hard to imagine there being a revolution in which people give up their smartphones.
That’s what it would require, whether it was voluntary or brought about by catastrophic undercurrents. If you look at the power that technology has in the cyber world, everything is filtered through online networks. All of our infrastructure is controlled by this technology. If there’s some kind of cyber-attack on any of these systems, the ramifications are very real and very dire.

Reading Glenn [Greenwald]’s book “No Place to Hide” was really tough. It delves into a lot of information on these programs — how they evolved, how they found themselves re-appropriated to serve the interests in the NSA and the CIA, and how they infiltrated different aspects of our lives. It was hard to wrap my head around how when you log onto wireless Internet networks, they can be rerouted and observed. Certain hardware can be intercepted by the CIA and tampered with to put in catch-alls, so that any information that goes through it is rerouted to collection stations and archived. It’s this endless labyrinth.

Have you changed your tech habits since?
Only to the extent that I have tape over the camera on my laptop [as Snowden did], I changed all my passwords, I did a two-step verification on all my devices. I did the things we can do. But the reality is at the level we’re talking about, we’re still vulnerable. We can strengthen ourselves against lower-level interference. But it’s when you get to the top of the pyramid, you think, ‘How safe can we ever be at this point?’ That’s the question this film asks audiences to consider and discuss.


Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge 

October 6, 2015

A Home Sick Hero [Edward Snowden] Wants to Come Home Even if its in a Jail


An American Hero………
                                                                             


Edward Snowden says he has offered to return to the United States and go to jail for leaking details of National Security Agency programs to intercept electronic communications data on a vast scale.

The former NSA contractor flew to Moscow two years ago after revealing information about the previously secret eavesdropping powers, and faces U.S. charges that could land him in prison for up to 30 years.

Snowden told the BBC that he'd "volunteered to go to prison with the government many times," but had not received a formal plea-deal offer.
He said that "so far they've said they won't torture me, which is a start, I think. But we havent gotten much further than that."

In an interview broadcast Monday on the BBC's "Panorama" program, Snowden said he and his lawyers were waiting for U.S. officials "to call us back."
Earlier this year, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said a plea deal with Snowden was a possibility.

Snowdens revelations about the NSA, Britain's GCHQ and other intelligence agencies set off an international debate about spies' powers to monitor personal communications, and about the balance between security and privacy.

Critics say his disclosures harmed the ability of the United States and its allies to fight terrorism. FBI deputy director Mark Giuliano told the BBC that Snowden was a traitor.
"The question is, if I was a traitor, who did I betray?" Snowden said.   gave all of my information to American journalists and free society generally.

"I have paid a price but I feel comfortable with the decisions I've made," he added. "If I'm gone tomorrow, I'm happy with what I had. I feel blessed."
In September, Snowden officially joined Twitter. He is following just one account back: the NSA.

The previous week, Snowden appeared in New York via video to launch a campaign promoting an international treaty to protect privacy.
The former National Security Agency systems analyst appeared from Moscow via a video link at a forum in Manhattan about the so-called "Snowden Treaty."
Advocates say the treaty would curtail mass surveillance of phone calls and online activity.

Snowden called the surveillance "a global problem" that affects everyone.
The treaty also would give international protection to people who expose illegal domestic spying.

The gathering coincided with the United Nations General Assembly. Organizers say diplomats have shown interest in a draft of the treaty. But the organizers have declined to name what nations theyre from.

June 11, 2014

Al Gore Says Snowden Provided an Important Service for the American people

Edward Snowden
National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. 
(Photo credit: AP Photo/The Guardian)
Former Vice President Al Gore did not exactly break new ground when he said Tuesday that Edward Snowden had “provided an important service” by revealing to the extent to which the American government spies on people in the United States and abroad.
Yes, Secretary of State John Kerry and others in the Obama administration and in Congress may casually toss around words like “traitor” when discussing the former National Security Administration contractor. But The New York Times has made the case that
[c]onsidering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.
Some in Congress have gone further.
Having argued that Snowden revealed “a massive and pervasive violation of our constitutional rights,” Congressman Alan Grayson says, “Give him clemency.”
Congressman Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, says, “I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s more of a whistle-blower than a villain.… I think the outrage people in the administration have expressed toward Edward Snowden ought to be more focused on how the NSA broke privacy laws.”
So Gore was, in many senses, simply restating a relatively mainstream view when, during a session at Tennessee’s Southland Technology + Southern Culture Conference, he was asked what PandoDaily refers to as the “Is he a traitor or a hero?” question. Gore responded:
I’m like most people, I don’t put (Snowden) in either one of those categories. But I will be candid—if you set up a spectrum, I would push it more away from the traitor side. He clearly violated the law; you can’t say OK what he did is alright. It is not.
But what he revealed in the course of violating important laws included violations of the Constitution that were way more serious than the crimes he committed. In the course of violating important laws he also provided an important service because we did need to know how far this has gone.
But it does matter when a former vice president, who also happens to be the former presidential nominee of the party that now holds the White House, is rejecting the simple calculations of many top Democrats regarding Snowden, who has chosen to remain in Russia rather than return to the United States and face charges of espionage and theft.
And it matters even more when one of the most tech-savvy public figures in the United States says of NSA surveillance: “This is a threat to the heart of democracy.”
Indeed, what Gore has been saying about the state of US democracy in recent years has been very important—and very true. “Our democracy has been hacked in the United States,”he says. “The operating system has been taken over and it no longer serves the purposes our founders intended it serve.” 
Gore’s right about that. And he is right when he says, as he did on Tuesday, that the democratic discourse its harmed—as are basic concepts of individual freedom and liberty—when citizens feel intimidated.
“Democracy is among other things a state of mind,” explained the former congressman, senator and vice president.
If any of us are put in a position where we have to self censor, and think twice about what we write in an e-mail, or what we click on for fear that somebody reading a record of this may misunderstand why we looked up some disease or something, some young people who might otherwise get help with a medical condition, might think oh my gosh if I put down a search for bipolar illness I will be stigmatized if my online file is hacked or accessed by my employer. That kills democracy.
John Nichols  


.thenation.com 

May 30, 2014

Is a President’s Executive Order Have the Same Precedence as law? Snowden asks

Accused government whistleblower Edward Snowden is seen on a screen as he speaks via video conference with members of the Committee on legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe during an hearing on ''mass surveillance'' at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, April 8, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
Accused government whistleblower Edward Snowden is seen on a screen as he speaks via video conference with members of the Committee on legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe during an hearing on ‘'mass surveillance'' at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, April 8, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/VINCENT KESSLER  
(Reuters) - An email exchange released on Thursday shows that Edward Snowden questioned the U.S. National Security Agency's legal training programs, but provides no evidence the former contractor complained internally about vast NSA surveillance programs that he later leaked to the media.
The release of the April 2013 emails between Snowden and the NSA's legal office is the latest round in a battle between Snowden, who casts himself as a crusading whistleblower, and U.S. security officials, who say he failed to report his concerns to superiors before acting.
In an interview with NBC News on Wednesday, Snowden said he had raised alarms at multiple levels about the NSA's broad collection of phone, email and Internet connections.
"I have raised the complaints not just officially in writing through email to these offices and these individuals but to my supervisors, to my colleagues, in more than one office," Snowden told the network.
"Many, many of these individuals were shocked by these programs," Snowden said, adding that he was advised: "If you say something about this, they're going to destroy you."
The emails were first released by the office of Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
In a statement, the NSA said: "The e-mail did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse, but posed a legal question that the Office of General Counsel addressed."
"There are numerous avenues that Mr. Snowden could have used to raise other concerns or whistleblower allegations. We have searched for additional indications of outreach from him in those areas and to date have not discovered any engagements related to his claims," it said.
The undramatic email exchange appears to be the first internal communication by Snowden, while he was working for the NSA, to be publicly released.
In an April 5, 2013, email to the NSA's Office of General Counsel, Snowden questioned the contents of a mandatory legal training course.
The course, he wrote, cited the U.S. Constitution as the nation's top legal authority, followed by "Federal Statutes/Presidential Executive Orders (EO)."
"I'm not entirely certain, but this does not seem correct, as it seems to imply Executive Orders have the same precedence as law," Snowden wrote. "Could you please clarify? Thank you very much, Ed."
An unidentified official in the General Counsel's office wrote back three days later that executive orders, issued by a U.S. president, "have 'the force and effect of law.' That said, you are correct that E.O.s cannot override a statute."
Snowden accessed what U.S. officials say is roughly 1.5 million classified documents and leaked many to news media. The documents exposed highly classified eavesdropping programs, including one to collect details of, but not the actual content of, Americans' telephone calls.
Snowden left the United States for Hong Kong last May, before he was granted temporary asylum by Russia. He was later indicted in the United States under the Espionage Act.
Reuters reported in August that Snowden began downloading secret documents while working for Dell Inc in April 2012. [ID:nL2N0GF112]
(Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by David Storey and Mohammad Zargham)

January 13, 2014

Snowden is Not a Whistle Blower by Law Just a Patriot






Edward Snowden is many things to many people, and in recent days The New York Times and The Guardian have favorably editorialized about the overdue debate he has initiated. Rightly so, but both newspapers were wrong to prematurely declare him a whistleblower. Whistleblowers expose illegality and wrongdoing, and no matter what we think of its actions, it is not yet clear that the National Security Agency has been operating illegally or unconstitutionally. So, rather than blow a whistle, Mr. Snowden has shone a light on the extent to which technology, in particular cloud computing, has outstripped our laws and the Patriot Act may have exceeded its usefulness.

First, the matter of whistleblower. The Cambridge dictionary defines the term as “A person who tells someone in authority about something they believe to be illegal that is happening, especially in a government department or a company.” The Whistleblower Protection Act applies to federal employees who disclose “illegal or improper government activities.”  Those who argue that the contractor Ed Snowden is a whistleblower, therefore, are deploying different definitions that are not currently rooted in law.

The 2001 Patriot Act lowered the barriers to legal surveillance by allowing the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to approve requests to suspend privacy rights. The surveillance court only hears arguments from the Justice Department and not opposing views, and Chief Justice Roberts has unilateral power to select its members. The surveillance court has been criticized from all points on the political spectrum, and one federal judge has deemed NSA collection of American telephone records to be likely unconstitutional. Another has ruled the other way, making it possible that the Supreme Court will ultimately have to rule on the issue, assuming the program isn’t suspended or materially altered earlier by the administration or Congress.

As of June 2013, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had received more than 33,900 surveillance requests and turned down just 11 of those. In July 2012, the Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, declassified government documents that showed the court had deemed some NSA data collection “unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” The NSA claims to have addressed those concerns. We have no way of knowing whether or not they have actually done so: the chief judge of the surveillance court, Reggie B. Walton, has himself said that his body cannot verify whether the mistakes the NSA reports as unintentional were indeed that, or whether the agency has reported all of its violations.

Meanwhile, the broader societal migration to cloud computing is one of the underappreciated factors that motivated Snowden to reveal what the NSA was doing, and has generated so much of the ensuing apprehension about his revelations. Cloud computing is nothing new—anyone who searches on Google, uses a web-based email program, or works on shared documents via Dropbox has experienced the power of cloud computing. What is new in cloud computing is its sheer scale, as well as the acceleration of our transition away from a reliance on computing power and software applications that reside on hardware we own. With the cloud, all any user needs to access vast computing power is a web browser and a login password.

Cheap and powerful cloud computing potentially serves the interests of companies, consumers, and democracy alike. It also poses a great challenge. Whatever aspect of your life has been uploaded to the cloud does not currently have the same constitutional protection as the same information stored in a drawer in your home. The Fourth Amendment requires government to justify to a court why it has a compelling interest in your personal information. It protects the contents of your laptop from illegal search and seizure, but once you deposit something up in the cloud, you lose that protection. While there are some protections that treat emails like sealed letters, Fourth Amendment protection largely ends where virtual reality begins, since Americans are volunteering to share in this way, not being coerced to do so.

It initially looked as though tech companies were collaborating with the NSA by honoring requests for information, but we now know that the NSA also rummaged through Google’s and Yahoo’s fiber-optics links without consent. The NSA did not believe it needed company consent since the data was extracted from outside US territory. Is that illegal under the Patriot Act and its 2011 extensions, which President Obama signed into law? That is a question for courts to decide.

What is clear is that the Patriot Act coupled with cloud computing has worrisome implications for the privacy rights of American citizens, America’s relationships with allies, and American commerce.  Snowden’s revelations have undercut the world’s trust in American companies at the same time they are seeking to extend the range of their influence and appeal in the move to the cloud era.

The NSA is tasked to protect the American people in a dangerous world to the full limits of the law.  A panel of presidential advisors has urged President Obama to rein in NSA data mining, finding “persistent instances of noncompliance” but no “illegality or other abuse of authority.” The jury is therefore still out on whether the NSA has really “routinely and deliberately broken the law” as the concluding paragraph of the Times editorial argues, or instead whether the laws themselves are in need of an overhaul or further clarification.

According to the currently available evidence, Snowden is not yet a whistleblower. Yet he doesn’t need to be a whistleblower to have rendered a great public service by exposing the potential gap between current government practices—legal or illegal—and American values.

By Allison Stanger
QuartZ

This post originally appeared at The Weekly Wonk, New America’s digital magazine. 

December 19, 2013

It Took a Bush Appointed Judge to Side with SnowdenVs.Obama: NSA Spying” Unconstitutional”


Constitution of the United States
 
Judge Richard J. Leon, a Bush appointee to the federal district court of the District of Columbia, is an interesting figure in U.S. history to have changed the ongoing game of Obama v. Snowden.  His biography includes stints working for Congress on other historic game changing events: the flawed investigations into both of the (covertly) related “October Surprise” and “Iran-Contra” scandals.
Judge Leon has published a persuasive 68 page legal opinion averaging more than one explanatory fine-print footnote per page in Klayman v. Obama (12/16/2013) holding that the dragnet data sweep by Obama’s NSA “almost certainly does violate a reasonable expectation of privacy” by the American people.  This satisfies the definition for the kind of “search” that falls within the prohibition of the Fourth Amendment.  Judge Leon answers the second question determining whether such a search could be justified under the Fourth Amendment “reasonable” exception, by  finding the search “unreasonable” when compared to the embarrassing absence of evidence that these searches have played any significant role in serving its purported purpose of detecting terrorists.
Indeed, tacitly invoking the prevailing conservative “originalist” test of constitutional interpretation, Judge Leon cogently surmises that “the author of our Constitution, James Madison… would be aghast” at the scope of the constitutional violation by Obama.  Both these findings permanently legitimize Snowden’s similar responses on these questions of reasonableness, and Snowden’s willingness to risk his future life on his own reading of whether the data sweeps were Fourth Amendment “searches.”  No one can now argue that Snowden’s judgment on these questions was unreasonable as a matter of law.
Former VP Al Gore had earlier said that Snowden “revealed evidence of what appears to be crimes against the Constitution of the United States.”  Judge Leon has now put legal teeth and consequence behind that broadly held judgment.
Whatever an appellate court might eventually do with Judge Leon’s decision it will stand permanently through American history for the proposition that one conservative, undeniably reasonable person could conclude that as a matter of well-considered fact that the people of the United States would neither find dragnet searches of their “meta-data” to be consistent with their “reasonable expectations” nor to be a reasonable way to fight the risk of terrorism.
This decision changes the game because no matter what the ruling of any subsequent judge, Judge Leon’s decision should, depending on the public’s response, make it difficult to remove these two factual questions from a jury when the time comes to present either Snowden’s Fourth Amendment defense to prosecution before a jury in a criminal trial for “espionage” or placing the case against Obama and his snoops for damages to a jury in a civil trial.
The constitutional challenge now facing the country is to insist upon the public’s original constitutional right to have this question decided ultimately by juries and not by judges appointed by and generally loyal to the very same corrupted government that has so blatantly violated the Fourth Amendment.  The framers wrote the Fourth Amendment to assign to the people not the government the resolution of factual question as to what is expected and reasonable in connection with searches.   See ”Obama’s Constitution, Snowden’s Constitution and Criminal Law.”
The potential for such a struggle to defend original fundamental constitutional rights changes the game from solely the criminal prosecution against Snowden on “three felonies,” according to Obama, what could be labeled Obama v Snowden.  The new game is the civil case for damages that puts Obama’s own skin in the game.  It can be filed by virtually anyone and may generically be labeled Snowden v. Obama.   Although Larry Klayman, a conservative legal activist is the named plaintiff in the particular suit Judge Leon decided, the man who actually initiated the strategic political resistance which transcends any particular tactical legal action is the hero of the story, Edward Snowden.
Judge Leon’s decision now shifts Snowden and citizens who support him to the offense rather than strictly defense.  And the target is Obama, the lead defendant in the Klayman suit.  He is lead defendant not just because he sits at the institutional desk where the buck stops for excesses within his administration that went out of control due his incompetent management.  Well beyond just poor management, Obama has been an active participant as propagandist and liar in chief in his public defense of the Fourth Amendment violations.   See “Obama Vs. Snowden: Parsing the Presser.”
Snowden’s success in gaining worldwide popularity for his David and Goliath struggle on behalf of hisand apparently the ACLU’s, and now Judge Leon’s and many American’s version of the Constitution forced Obama, as front man for the national security state, to publicly enter the fray.  Obama understood the high-stakes in the popularity contest between himself and Snowden.  But by embracing the violations with a disingenuous propaganda offensive Obama now personally owns the outrageous Fourth Amendment violations that Judge Leon has described.
Rob Hager is a public-interest litigator who filed a Supreme Court amicus brief in the 2012 Montana sequel to the Citizens United case, American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullockand has worked as an international consultant on legal development and anti-corruption issues.

by ROB HAGER

November 5, 2013

Snowden Clemency Appeals to the US is Headed towards Rejection


This photo provided by The Guardian newspaper shows Edward Snowden, who worked at the National Security Agency, in Hong Kong on June 9, 2013.


Edward Snowden’s plea for clemency in the United States appears headed to rejection.

A White House adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, during an appearance on the news program “This Week,” said no clemency offers were being discussed and that the NSA leaker should return to the U.S. to face charges.

"Mr. Snowden violated U.S. law," Pfeiffer told Reuters. "He should return to the U.S. and face justice."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also appeared to be against granting any kind of concession to Snowden.

Rogers said clemency was a “terrible idea,” and Feinstein said Snowden should have reported his concerns through official channels.

She called his actions a "enormous disservice to our country."

The comments come in the wake of Snowden’s “manifesto” published in the German magazine Der Spiegel in which he pled for clemency, saying his revelations about the scope of NSA surveillance was spurring a valuable debate.

“Instead of causing damage, the usefulness of the new public knowledge for society is now clear because reforms to politics, supervision and laws are being suggested," he wrote.

Snowden remains in Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum.

November 2, 2013

Edward Snowden Willing to Meet with German Government


Edward Snowden and Hans-Christian Ströbele in Moscow on Oct. 31

October 31, 2013

Snowden Leaks } Both Google and Yahoo Were Hacked by NSA



A summary of US spying allegations brought about by Edward Snowden’s leak of classified documents 

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has been hacking data links connecting Yahoo and Google's data centres, according to leaks by Edward Snowden.
Millions of records were gleaned daily from the internet giants' internal networks, documents published by the Washington Post indicate.
The agency's director said it had not had access to the companies' computers.
Gen Keith Alexander told Bloomberg TV: "We are not authorised to go into a US company's servers and take data."
But correspondents say this is not a direct denial of the latest claims.
The documents cited in the latest Snowden leaks suggest that the NSA intercepted the data at some point as it flowed through fibre-optic cables and other network equipment connecting the companies' data centres, rather than targeting the servers themselves.
The data the agency obtained, which ranged from "metadata' to text, audio and video, were then sifted by an NSA programme called Muscular, operated with the NSA's British counterpart, GCHQ, the documents say.
The NSA already has "front-door" access to Google and Yahoo user accounts through a court-approved programme known as Prism.
The revelations stem from documents leaked by fugitive ex-US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who now lives in Russia and is wanted in the US in connection with the unauthorised disclosures.
'Inappropriate and unacceptable'
The latest revelations come hours after a German delegation of intelligence officials arrived in Washington for talks at the White House following claims that the US monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.
Two of Mrs Merkel’s most important advisers, foreign policy adviser Christoph Heusgen, and intelligence coordinator Guenter Heiss were sent to take part in the talks - a measure of how seriously Mrs Merkel takes the matter, the BBC's Stephen Evans reports from Berlin.
Next week, the heads of Germany's spying agencies will go to meet their opposite numbers in Washington.

How intelligence is gathered

How intelligence is gathered
  • Accessing internet company data
  • Tapping fibre optic cables
  • Eavesdropping on phones
  • Targeted spying 
This week's meetings are more about how to rebuild trust, while next week's agenda will be more about the detail of how the two countries' agencies might or might not work more in harmony, our correspondent reports.
The head of US intelligence has defended the monitoring of foreign leaders as a key goal of operations but the US is facing growing anger over reports it spied on its allies abroad.
It has also been reported that the NSA monitored French diplomats in Washington and at the UN, and that it conducted surveillance on millions of French and Spanish telephone calls, among other operations against US allies.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that if Spain had been a target of the NSA, this would be "inappropriate and unacceptable between partners".
However Gen Alexander has said "the assertions... that NSA collected tens of millions of phone calls [in Europe] are completely false".
However on Wednesday, the agency denied Italian media reports that it had targeted communications at the Vatican.
The UN said it had received assurances that its communications "are not and will not be monitored" by American intelligence agencies, but refused to clarify whether they had been in the past.

 'Inappropriate and unacceptable'
The latest revelations come hours after a German delegation of intelligence officials arrived in Washington for talks at the White House following claims that the US monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.
Two of Mrs Merkel's most important advisers, foreign policy adviser Christoph Heusgen, and intelligence coordinator Guenter Heiss were sent to take part in the talks - a measure of how seriously Mrs Merkel takes the matter, the BBC's Stephen Evans reports from Berlin.
Next week, the heads of Germany’s spying agencies will go to meet their opposite numbers in Washington. n leaders as a key goal of operations but the US is facing growing anger over reports it spied on its allies abroad.
It has also been reported that the NSA monitored French diplomats in Washington and at the UN, and that it conducted surveillance on millions of French and Spanish telephone calls, among other operations against US allies.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that if Spain had been a target of the NSA, this would be "inappropriate and unacceptable between partners".
However Gen Alexander has said "the assertions... that NSA collected tens of millions of phone calls [in Europe] are completely false".
However on Wednesday, the agency denied Italian media reports that it had targeted communications at the Vatican.
The UN said it had received assurances that its communications "are not and will not be monitored" by American intelligence agencies, but refused to clarify whether they had been in the past.
'Basic tenet'
On Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Gen Alexander testified before the intelligence panel of the House of Representatives.
Gen Alexander said much of the data cited by non-US news outlets was actually collected by European intelligence services and later shared with the NSA.
Meanwhile, Mr Clapper told lawmakers that discerning foreign leaders' intentions was "a basic tenet of what we collect and analyse".
He said that foreign allies spy on US officials and intelligence agencies as a matter of routine.
Mr Clapper said the torrent of disclosures about American surveillance had been extremely damaging and that he anticipated more. Although the pair were not given a tough time by the committee, correspondents say that sentiment is turning within Congress toward tightening up the reach of American intelligence agencies.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied that Moscow used free USB memory sticks and mobile phone charging cables to spy on delegates attending the G20 Summit in St Petersburg last September.
Reports in two Italian newspapers suggested that the USB sticks and cables had bugs on them that could steal data from the delegates.
Spokesman Dmitri Peskov said the reports were an attempt to distract from the problems between European countries and the US.

October 28, 2013

German Newspaper Claims Pres. Obama Was Told About Tapping Chancellor in 2010

Obama 'approved tapping Merkel's phone 3 years ago'
Mr Obama was told of the secret monitoring of Mrs Merkel by General Keith Alexander,
 the head of the NSA, in 2010, according to Bild am Sonntag, a German newspaper. 
 Photo: AFP/GETTY  



President Barack Obama was dragged into the trans-Atlantic spying row after it was claimed he personally authorized the monitoring of Angela Merkel’s phone three years ago allegedly. allowed US intelligence to listen to calls from theGerman Chancellor’s mobile phone after he was briefed on the operation by Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency (NSA), in 2010.
The latest claim, reported in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, followed reports in Der Spiegel that the surveillance of Mrs Merkel’s phone began as long ago as 2002, when she was still the opposition leader, three years before being elected Chancellor. That monitoring only ended in the weeks before Mr Obama visited Berlin in June this year, the magazine added.
Citing leaked US intelligence documents, it also reported that America conducted eavesdropping operations on the German government from a listening post at its embassy beside the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, one of more than 80 such centres worldwide.
Mr Obama’s European allies will now ask him to say what he personally knew about the NSA’s global eavesdropping operation and its targeting of world leaders, including those from friendly states. The White House declined to comment on the German media reports. 
Last week, however, Mr Obama assured Mrs Merkel that her phone is not being monitored now – and will not be in future. But the US has pointedly declined to discuss the NSA’s actions in the past.
Its surveillance operations raises questions about whether US officials breached domestic laws. Hans-Peter Friedrich, the German interior minister, said: “If the Americans intercepted cellphones in Germany, they broke German law on German soil”. He noted that wiretapping was a crime in Germany and “those responsible must be held accountable”.
Even before the latest reports, German intelligence chiefs were preparing to travel to Washington this week to demand answers from the NSA about the alleged surveillance of Mrs Merkel.
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, received a dose of European fury this weekend when he visited Paris and Rome. The trip was arranged to discuss the Middle East peace process, the Syrian civil war and Iran’s nuclear programme. Instead, he was confronted by outrage over the scale of US surveillance operations.
“The magnitude of the eavesdropping is what shocked us,” said Bernard Kouchner, a former French foreign minister, in a radio interview. “Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop too. Everyone is listening to everyone else. But we don’t have the same means as the United States, which makes us jealous.”
According to the leaked documents in Spiegel, NSA officials acknowledged that any disclosure of the existence of the foreign listening posts would lead to “grave damage” for US relations with other governments.
Such posts exist in 19 European cities, including Paris, Madrid, Rome and Frankfurt, according to the magazine, which has based its reports on documents provided by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor.
Mr Obama did not comment, but Republican supporters of the US intelligence community began a fightback on the political talk-shows.
Mike Rogers, the chairman of the intelligence committee in the House of Representatives, said that America’s allies should be grateful for surveillance operations which targeted terrorist threats. “I would argue by the way, if the French citizens knew exactly what that was about, they would be applauding and popping champagne corks,” he told CNN’s State of the Union.
“It’s a good thing. it keeps the French safe. It keeps the US safe. It keeps our European allies safe.”
Peter King, a fellow Republican congressman, said that Mr Obama should not apologise for NSA operations in Europe. “The president should stop apologising, stop being defensive,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “The reality is the NSA has saved thousands of lives not just in the United States but in France, Germany and throughout Europe. Quite frankly, the NSA has done so much for our country and so much for the president, he’s the commander in chief. He should stand with the NSA.”
John Schindler, a former NSA official, noted that planning for the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001 had taken place in Hamburg.
“If 9/11 had happened to Germany and been planned in NY not Hamburg, I’d expect [German] intel to monitor USA top 2 bottom,” he wrote on Twitter.
A German intelligence official, quoted by Die Welt, said: “The Americans did not want to rely exclusively on us after September 11th. That is understandable.”
Another told the newspaper: “Without information from the Americans, there would have been successful terrorist attacks in Germany in the past years.”

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