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Snowden ‘Leaks’ US/UK’s Spying At G20 Summit

From the UK’s Guardian:

GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians’ communications at G20 summits

Exclusive: phones were monitored and fake internet cafes set up to gather information from allies in London in 2009

Ewen MacAskill, Nick Davies, Nick Hopkins, Julian Borger and James Ball | Sunday 16 June 2013   

Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.

This information is courtesy of Mr. Snowden, and it is real espionage. Snowden is now revealing methods and targets. This is a deliberate attempt to hurt our and the UK’s intel agencies and disrupt their abilities to keep track of foreign governments. Which, after all, is their whole reason for being.

The revelation comes as Britain prepares to host another summit on Monday – for the G8 nations, all of whom attended the 2009 meetings which were the object of the systematic spying. It is likely to lead to some tension among visiting delegates who will want the prime minister to explain whether they were targets in 2009 and whether the exercise is to be repeated this week…

Just like with his ‘leak’ before Obama’s meeting with Xi Jinping, Snowden has timed this to hurt our relations with Putin at the G-20 meeting today. 

The disclosure raises new questions about the boundaries of surveillance by GCHQ and its American sister organisation, the National Security Agency, whose access to phone records and internet data has been defended as necessary in the fight against terrorism and serious crime.

GCHQ is the Government Communications Headquarters, which is the British NSA. In fact, this report is largely about their activities, not NSA’s. But, of course, it will kill these ‘capabilities’ for NSA, too.

The G20 spying appears to have been organised for the more mundane purpose of securing an advantage in meetings. Named targets include long-standing allies such as South Africa and Turkey.

There have often been rumours of this kind of espionage at international conferences, but it is highly unusual for hard evidence to confirm it and spell out the detail. The evidence is contained in documents – classified as top secret – which were uncovered by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by the Guardian.

They reveal that during G20 meetings in April and September 2009 GCHQ used what one document calls "ground-breaking intelligence capabilities" to intercept the communications of visiting delegations.

This included:

• Setting up internet cafes where they used an email interception programme and key-logging software to spy on delegates’ use of computers;

• Penetrating the security on delegates’ BlackBerrys to monitor their email messages and phone calls;

• Supplying 45 analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning who at the summit;

• Targeting the Turkish finance minister and possibly 15 others in his party;

• Receiving reports from an NSA attempt to eavesdrop on the Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev, as his phone calls passed through satellite links to Moscow.

Well, these ‘capabilities’ will be no more, thanks to Mr. Snowden. Who apparently doesn’t believe the US or UK should be spying on other countries. Even our enemies.

So if this isn’t treason, what is?

According to the material seen by the Guardian, GCHQ generated this product by attacking both the computers and the telephones of delegates.

Again, this information is about the UK’s intelligence activities.

One document refers to a tactic which was "used a lot in recent UK conference, eg G20". The tactic, which is identified by an internal codeword which the Guardian is not revealing, is defined in an internal glossary as "active collection against an email account that acquires mail messages without removing them from the remote server". A PowerPoint slide explains that this means "reading people’s email before/as they do".

The same document also refers to GCHQ, MI6 and others setting up internet cafes which "were able to extract key logging info, providing creds for delegates, meaning we have sustained intelligence options against them even after conference has finished". This appears to be a reference to acquiring delegates’ online login details…

A detailed report records the efforts of the NSA’s intercept specialists at Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire to target and decode encrypted phone calls from London to Moscow which were made by the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, and other Russian delegates.

That is their job. That is why we have an NSA. Or used to.

Other documents record apparently successful efforts to penetrate the security of BlackBerry smartphones: "New converged events capabilities against BlackBerry provided advance copies of G20 briefings to ministers … Diplomatic targets from all nations have an MO of using smartphones. Exploited this use at the G20 meetings last year." …

Again, these sources of information will be no more after this article.

Thank you, Mr. Snowden.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, June 17th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Snowden ‘Leaks’ US/UK’s Spying At G20 Summit”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    I’m in disagreement.

    I’m a nobody. A well read nobody, but still a nobody. In 1980 (still have the newspaper clippings) it was revealed by the Times of London how America’s intelligence agencies were working around the Constitutional limitations of turning their spy apparatus inward, on the citizens of the USA. Getting around the 4th Amendment.

    The aforementioned GCHQ.

    Here’s the gimmick. CIA, NSA, NRO, Sigint, etc participated in funding a gigantic network of listening posts in key spots around the globe. Part of the reasons for the Bosnian conflict, for example, are attributed to Soviet anger at out extensive listening center in Albania following Russian withdrawal. Also Bulgaria following the fall of Ceausescu in Romania, we moved in with huge listening posts aimed at Russian influence in the region. Funny how no one wants to mention the largest listening outpost in the world is Russia’s on the western end of Cuba – the Lourdes facility – now operated by China in conjunction with China’s new listening outpost in Bejucal, Cuba. A billion dollar electronic intercept outpost.

    But back to my story – Americans in Washington felt they had to find a way around the 4th Amendment and the founding directives of the CIA that CIA ops were constrained from internal operations. FBI was internal. CIA, external. So, how to obviate the law?

    We spent enormous sums building listening posts which spied on and captured the SIGINT of other nations. Those nations, most notably GCHQ for Britain, returned the favor by spying on and capturing the SIGINT of American communications inside our borders.

    Then all parties would exchange tapes. (magnetic tape in those days)

    We would spy on the by Agreement, They would spy on us by Agreement and a data swap would ensue. We’d give GCHQ what we had on British subjects and GCHQ would give us their take on American citizens.

    Intelligence officers sent to the Hill to testify about spying on Americans could, and did, in that most slippery form of parsing testify under oath they were not spying on Americans.

    Now that off-book work-around of the Constitution began in the mid 1950s. How far do you think that kind of imagineering has progressed since?

    And do you imagine our enemies are unaware of the permutations and capacities of our Services? No. Our enemies have knowledge of sources, methods and purpose exponentially beyond what even those “in the know” … know.

    The only people on the face of the earth who don’t know what I just related are American citizens. Fat dumb happy, well fed and ready for slaughter American citizens for whom relative wealth and leisure (compared to the rest of the world) have rendered them insensate and senseless as cattle.

    Here’s my summation – if I, as a nobody know this stuff how can it be treason? What our agencies are doing is not secret. Methods and sources are not even secret to our enemies. These are secrets only to American citizens. How can it be treason to reveal to stockholders what their corporation is doing with their vested interest?

    I’m a nobody and I know.

  2. Noyzmakr says:

    Well, that does it.

    Snowden is now officially a traitor and LOVED by the left.

    The left loves anyone and any thing that hurts America and her allies, especially if it’s our white allies.

    • Noyzmakr says:

      That didn’t take long.

      From the Hollywood Reporter:
      Oliver Stone Calls Whistleblower Edward Snowden a Hero

      SHANGHAI – Director Oliver Stone brought thunderous applause to a crowd of more than 500 festivalgoers at the 16th Shanghai International Film Festival in China on Monday when he praised whistleblower Edward Snowden as a “hero.”



      These people are so predictable. (sigh)

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