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Shocker! (Not): US Spies On European Countries!

From the UK’s Guardian:

New NSA leaks show how US is bugging its European allies

By Ewen MacAskill, Julian Borger | 30 June 2013

US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as "targets". It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target, from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae.

Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. The list in the September 2010 document does not mention the UK, Germany or other western European states.

This is more of the explosive information the Guardian promised us Snowden would leak. But it’s turning out to be very thin gruel. Every country spies on every other country, and has since time immemorial. ‘There are no true allies, just shared interests, which are temporary.’

Besides, we need to know what our ‘friends’ are doing with our enemies. Such as the French making side deals with the Russkies at the height of the Cold War.

One of the bugging methods mentioned is codenamed Dropmire, which, according to a 2007 document, is "implanted on the Cryptofax at the EU embassy, DC" – an apparent reference to a bug placed in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at the mission. The NSA documents note the machine is used to send cables back to foreign affairs ministries in European capitals.

The documents suggest the aim of the bugging exercise against the EU embassy in central Washington is to gather inside knowledge of policy disagreements on global issues and other rifts between member states…

Germany’s justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, demanded an explanation from Washington, saying that if confirmed, US behaviour "was reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war".

The German magazine Der Spiegel reported at the weekend that some of the bugging operations in Brussels targeting the EU’s Justus Lipsius building – a venue for summit and ministerial meetings in the Belgian capital – were directed from within Nato headquarters nearby.

The US intelligence service codename for the bugging operation targeting the EU mission at the United Nations is "Perdido". Among the documents leaked by Snowden is a floor plan of the mission in midtown Manhattan. The methods used against the mission include the collection of data transmitted by implants, or bugs, placed inside electronic devices, and another covert operation that appears to provide a copy of everything on a targeted computer’s hard drive.

NSA does not plant bugs. But Mr. Snowden probably doesn’t know that.

The eavesdropping on the EU delegation to the US, on K Street in Washington, involved three different operations targeted on the embassy’s 90 staff. Two were electronic implants and one involved the use of antennas to collect transmissions.

Although the latest documents are part of an NSA haul leaked by Snowden, it is not clear in each case whether the surveillance was being exclusively done by the NSA – which is most probable as the embassies and missions are technically overseas – or by the FBI or the CIA, or a combination of them. The 2010 document describes the operation as "close access domestic collection".

It’s not "probable" at all. But the Guardian’s ignorance probably exceeds Snowden’s.

The operation against the French mission to the UN had the covername "Blackfoot" and the one against its embassy in Washington was "Wabash". The Italian embassy in Washington was known to the NSA as both "Bruneau" and "Hemlock".

The eavesdropping of the Greek UN mission was known as "Powell" and the operation against its embassy was referred to as "Klondyke"…

The only real news here is the leaking of the code names for these operations, which is a very damaging breach that at the very least will cost a lot of money to fix, if they are accurate.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, July 1st, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Shocker! (Not): US Spies On European Countries!”

  1. Astravogel says:

    What is amusing is the feigned ‘outrage’ of the countries
    affected. Hoot, they all do it, all the time, everywhere. That’s
    what embassies are for, donchaknow. The time when the
    State Department stated that, “Gentlemen don’t read other
    gentlemen’s mail” has long passed. Fat, dumb, and happy
    countries can’t afford to know what’s going on in the ‘hood,
    or they won’t be fat and happy for very long; just dumb.

  2. GetBackJack says:

    The only people in the entire world who did not know the US Government has empowered themselves to spy on everything everywhere all the time are … the idiot fat dumb and stupid people of America …

    OTOH, nothing like making enemies throughout the world, eh?

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Applies meaning to the phrase, “Some people just want to watch the world burn”.

  3. Kytross says:

    Didn’t they blast Bush for lowering the America’s prestige around the world?

    What has Barry H Obama done to raise our prestige?

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