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NSA Mapping Networks of Major Telecom/Finance/Oil/Manufacturing Companies, Including From US & Five Eyes Countries

In Archive, Canada, Five Eyes, NSA, NSA Files, Surveillance, UK, USA on March 22, 2015 at 6:32 PM

nsa-private-networks-sigdev

03/17/2015

Colin Freeze/Christine Dobby/Globe&Mail (1)(2)(3):

The U.S. National Security Agency has been trying to map the communications traffic of corporations around the world, and a classified document reveals that at least two of Canada’s largest companies are included.

A 2012 presentation by a U.S. intelligence analyst, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail, includes a list of corporate networks that names Royal Bank of Canada and Rogers Communications Inc.

The presentation, titled “Private Networks: Analysis, Contextualization and Setting the Vision,” is among the NSA documents taken by former contractor Edward Snowden. It was obtained by The Globe from a confidential source, and has not previously been disseminated or analyzed publicly.

Canada’s biggest bank and its largest wireless carrier are on a list of 15 entities that are visible in a drop-down menu on one of the presentation’s 40 pages. It shows part of an alphabetical list of entries beginning with the letter “R” that also includes two U.K.-headquartered companies – Rolls Royce Marine and Rio Tinto – and U.S.-based RigNet, among other global firms involved in telecom, finance, oil and manufacturing.

The name of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. appears in the presentation as well, and the NSA appears to have had a keen interest in isolating the corporation’s data channels. “These links are likely to carry Huawei traffic,” reads one slide.

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The document does not say what data the NSA has collected about these firms, or spell out the agency’s objective, but it states that “private networks are important.”

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It notes that high-level NSA “targets,” such as foreign countries’ armed forces and diplomats, use private networks. But it also mentions the Brazilian energy firm Petrobras, the Belgium-based SWIFT network of global electronic payments, and even global “Google infrastructure” controlled by the California technology giant.

The presentation obtained by The Globe describes SigDev techniques for finding targets – one is an NSA software program called “ROYALNET”, that can help analysts “identify communicants of private networks” or determine the best “access points for a target’s communications.”

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Another technique featured in the presentation involves sorting captured telecommunications traffic into “realms,” which the document says are “a label assigned by the intelligence community.”

A realm appears to be a continually updated list of everything the NSA can gather about how a specific corporation routes communications on the Internet, and any known device on its private networks. One slide in the presentation titled “Realms in Analyst Tools,” shows the drop-down menu listing 15 firms, which is where “RoyalBankOfCanada” and “RogersWireless.ca” are listed.

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The list is not visible beyond the letter R entities shown on a screen shot in the presentation, and it is not known whether other Canadian corporations are listed.

Previous leaks show the NSA and its allies indiscriminately capture telecommunications data from Internet routes. In this presentation, the agency appears to be using that “bulk” collected data to map out specific networks. The NSA is not trying at this stage to get at any data inside individual computers, such as specific transactions or customer records.

A comparison of this document with previous Snowden leaks suggests it may be a preliminary step in broad efforts to identify, study and, if deemed necessary, “exploit” organizations’ internal communication networks.

Christopher Parsons, a researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, who reviewed the leaked document with The Globe, said the activity described could help determine useful access points in the future: “This is preparing the battlefield so it could later be used. This is … watching communications come in and out of a network and saying, ‘Okay, these are the places we need to go in.’”

Markings on the document, which is labelled “top secret,” indicate it was shared with the NSA’s Canadian counterpart, the Communications Security Establishment.

“While CSE cannot comment on intelligence capabilities or operations – our own or our allies – there is no evidence in the document in question that intelligence activities have been directed at any Canadian entity, company or individual,” spokesman Ryan Foreman said in an e-mailed statement.

(The Globe did not provide a copy of the document to CSE.)

The Canadian companies named in the document say they have no reason to believe their computer systems or customer records were compromised and insist their networks are secure.

“If such surveillance is taking place, we would find that very troubling,” Rogers spokeswoman Patricia Trott said.

“We have not provided the NSA access to our network,” RBC spokesman Don Blair said.

A spokesman for Huawei Canada declined to comment on Tuesday, as did representatives for Britain-based Rolls Royce Marine and Rio Tinto. U.S.-based RigNet, which was also named, did not respond to requests seeking comment.

When The Globe asked the NSA for comment, agency spokeswoman Vanee Vines urged the newspaper not to publish names of intelligence employees. Asked about the interest in Rogers and RBC, she said the NSA “will not comment on specific, alleged foreign intelligence activities.” Vines added that the spy agency never collects intelligence “to provide a competitive advantage to U.S. companies.”

However, some documents show the U.S. intelligence community has not ruled out such activities in the future. One previously leaked strategy document envisions a future, in 2025, when U.S. companies are falling behind and policy makers push government spies to conduct aggressive economic-espionage campaigns.

Today, under the terms of a 66-year old reciprocal accord, Washington and Ottawa are supposed to refrain from spying on the communications of each other’s citizens and entities.

For decades the NSA and CSE have spied in co-operation with agencies from Britain, Australia and New Zealand, and are together known as the “Five Eyes.” The powerful alliance relies on near complete trust and sharing, as well as general agreements not to spy on each other.

Because of this, any revelations about member nations directly targeting their own or each other’s citizens or corporations are explosive. A previously leaked U.S. guide for keeping intelligence documents under wraps suggests that the NSA would strive to keep any such spying quiet for decades.

Five Eyes partners “are among NSA/CSS’s strongest,” that document says. “Revealing the fact that the NSA/CSS targeted their communications at any time … could cause irreparable damage.” (CSS refers to the NSA’s military adjunct, the Central Security Service.)

The original source document was not published in this article. All screenshots are from a previous video report via Fantástico and Glenn Greenwald‘s book “No Place to Hide“. More below:

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Related Links:

(NSA Programs) Treasure Map: Near Real-Time Interactive Map of Internet, Any Device, Anywhere, All the Time; Packaged Goods: Tracks Traceroutes, Accessed 13 Servers in Unwitting Data Centers

NSA/GCHQ TREASUREMAP Docs: “Map the Entire Internet” for “Computer Attack/Exploit Planning”

HACIENDA: Five Eyes Program Port Scanning Entire Countries for IT Vulnerabilities

MORECOWBELL: NSA’s Covert DNS Monitoring System

Cisco Using Dead Drops for Sensitive Customers to Avoid NSA Interdiction

In Archive, Cisco, Hacking, NSA, Surveillance, TAO on March 22, 2015 at 6:12 PM

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03/18/2015

Jeremy Kirk/PCWorld/Darren Pauli/TheRegister:

One of the most successful U.S. National Security Agency spying programs involved intercepting IT equipment en route to customers and modifying it.

At secret workshops, backdoor surveillance tools were inserted into routers, servers and networking equipment before the equipment was repackaged and sent to customers outside the U.S.

The program, run by the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group, was revealed by documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and reported by Der Spiegel and Glenn Greenwald.

One of the leaked Snowden documents, dated June 2010, has two photos of an NSA interdiction operation, with a box that said Cisco on the side.

The document, labeled top secret, goes on to say that supply-chain interdiction operations “are some of the most productive operations in TAO, because they pre-position access points into hard target networks around the world.”

During a panel session at the Cisco Live conference in Melbourne last week, Cisco’s chief security and trust officer John Stewart disclosed that the company had started shipping equipment to alternative addresses with fake information for its most sensitive customers.

“We ship [boxes] to an address that’s has nothing to do with the customer, and then you have no idea who ultimately it is going to,” Stewart said. “When customers are truly worried … it causes other issues to make [interception] more difficult in that [agencies] don’t quite know where that router is going so its very hard to target – you’d have to target all of them.”

In theory, that makes it harder for the NSA to target an individual company and scoop up their package. But supply chains are tough to secure, Stewart said, and once a piece of equipment is handed from Cisco to DHL or FedEx, it’s gone.

“If a truly dedicated team is coming after you, and they’re coming after you for a very long period of time, then the probability of them succeeding at least once does go up,” Stewart said. “And its because they’ve got patience, they’ve got capacity and more often than not, they’ve got capability.”

Stewart said some customers had also begun driving up to distributors to pick up their hardware at the door.

Stewart was asked if Cisco ever identified any strange hardware put inside any of its products. “No, we couldn’t, because the only people who would know that for sure is the NSA,” Stewart responded.

In May 2014, Cisco CEO John Chambers sent a letter (PDF) to President Barack Obama, arguing that the NSA’s alleged actions undermine trust with its customers and more broadly hurt the U.S. technology industry. Cisco also asserted that it does not work with any government to intentionally weaken its products.

What Went Wrong with the FISA Court – Brennan Center Report

In Archive, CIA, FBI, FISA, FISC, NSA, Politics, Surveillance on March 21, 2015 at 2:56 AM

03/18/2015

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court is no longer serving its constitutional function of providing a check on the executive branch’s ability to obtain Americans’ private communications. Dramatic shifts in technology and law have changed the role of the FISA Court since its creation in 1978 — from reviewing government applications to collect communications in specific cases, to issuing blanket approvals of sweeping data collection programs affecting millions of Americans.

Under today’s foreign intelligence surveillance system, the government’s ability to collect information about ordinary Americans’ lives has increased exponentially while judicial oversight has been reduced to near-nothingness. This report concludes that the role of today’s FISA Court no longer comports with constitutional requirements, including the strictures of Article III and the Fourth Amendment. The report lays out several steps Congress should take to help restore the FISA Court’s legitimacy.

PDF

Related Links:

Complete List of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judges Since 1978

The Door to the FISA Court

The Top Secret Rules That Allow NSA to Use US Data Without a Warrant

DNI Releases Original FISA Court Order Authorizing NSA Metadata Surveillance Program

How FISA Court Secretly Reinterpreted Law, Weakening Privacy Restrictions and Expanding Mass Surveillance of Americans

FISA Court Approves NSA Surveillance on 193 Countries, World Bank, IMF, EU, IAEA

US Gov’t Threatened Yahoo with $250k/day Fine for Failure to Participate in NSA PRISM Program / Declassified 2008 FISCR Transcript of Yahoo Oral Argument Re: NSA PRISM Participation

Judges Who OK’d NSA Spying Own Lots of Stock in Telecom Companies / The Judges Approving the NSA’s Surveillance Requests Keep Buying Verizon Stock

Declassified CIA Nat’l Intel Estimate Proves Bush Admin Lied Us Into Iraq War

In Archive, Bush, CIA, Iraq on March 21, 2015 at 12:23 AM

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03/19/2015

Jason Leopold/VICE:

Thirteen years ago, the intelligence community concluded in a 93-page classified document used to justify the invasion of Iraq that it lacked “specific information” on “many key aspects” of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.

But that’s not what top Bush administration officials said during their campaign to sell the war to the American public. Those officials, citing the same classified document, asserted with no uncertainty that Iraq was actively pursuing nuclear weapons, concealing a vast chemical and biological weapons arsenal, and posing an immediate and grave threat to US national security.

Congress eventually concluded that the Bush administration had “overstated” its dire warnings about the Iraqi threat, and that the administration’s claims about Iraq’s WMD program were “not supported by the underlying intelligence reporting.” But that underlying intelligence reporting — contained in the so-called National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that was used to justify the invasion — has remained shrouded in mystery until now.

The CIA released a copy of the NIE in 2004 in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, but redacted virtually all of it, citing a threat to national security. Then last year, John Greenewald, who operates The Black Vault, a clearinghouse for declassified government documents, asked the CIA to take another look at the October 2002 NIE to determine whether any additional portions of it could be declassified.

The agency responded to Greenewald this past January and provided him with a new version of the NIE, which he shared exclusively with VICE News, that restores the majority of the prewar Iraq intelligence that has eluded historians, journalists, and war critics for more than a decade. (Some previously redacted portions of the NIE had previously been disclosed in congressional reports.)

For the first time, the public can now read the hastily drafted CIA document that led Congress to pass a joint resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, a costly war launched March 20, 2003 that was predicated on “disarming” Iraq of its (non-existent) WMD, overthrowing Saddam Hussein, and “freeing” the Iraqi people.

Read Jason Leopold’s breakdown of the NIE and government’s lies here.

Related Links:

How the Iraq War Was Sold – Fmr CIA Analyst Melvin A. Goodman

I Tried to Make the Intelligence Behind the Iraq War Less Bogus – Fmr CIA Analyst Nada Bakos

How the Media Fueled the War in Iraq

David Frum, the Iraq War and OilGlenn Greenwald

Contractors Reap $138 Billion from Iraq War, Cheney’s Halliburton #1 with $39.5 Billion

Secret Transcripts Reveal How FBI Turned “Retarded Fool” Into a Terrorist with “Hollywood Ending” – Sami Osmakac Sting

In Archive, False Flag, FBI, Terrorism on March 20, 2015 at 6:06 PM

03/16/2015

Trevor Aaronson/TheIntercept:

In the video, Sami Osmakac is tall and gaunt, with jutting cheekbones and a scraggly beard. He sits cross-legged on the maroon carpet of the hotel room, wearing white cotton socks and pants that rise up his legs to reveal his thin, pale ankles. An AK-47 leans against the closet door behind him. What appears to be a suicide vest is strapped to his body. In his right hand is a pistol. 

“Recording,” says an unseen man behind the camera.

“This video is to all the Muslim youth and to all the Muslims worldwide,” Osmakac says, looking straight into the lens. “This is a call to the truth. It is the call to help and aid in the party of Allah … and pay him back for every sister that has been raped and every brother that has been tortured and raped.”

The recording goes on for about eight minutes. Osmakac says he’ll avenge the deaths of Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere. He refers to Americans as kuffar, an Arabic term for nonbelievers. “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth,” he says. “Woman for a woman, child for a child.”

Osmakac was 25 years old on January 7, 2012, when he filmed what the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice would later call a “martyrdom video.” He was also broke and struggling with mental illness.

After recording this video in a rundown Days Inn in Tampa, Florida, Osmakac prepared to deliver what he thought was a car bomb to a popular Irish bar. According to the government, Osmakac was a dangerous, lone-wolf terrorist who would have bombed the Tampa bar, then headed to a local casino where he would have taken hostages, before finally detonating his suicide vest once police arrived.

But if Osmakac was a terrorist, he was only one in his troubled mind and in the minds of ambitious federal agents. The government could not provide any evidence that he had connections to international terrorists. He didn’t have his own weapons. He didn’t even have enough money to replace the dead battery in his beat-up, green 1994 Honda Accord.

Osmakac was the target of an elaborately orchestrated FBI sting that involved a paid informant, as well as FBI agents and support staff working on the setup for more than three months. The FBI provided all of the weapons seen in Osmakac’s martyrdom video. The bureau also gave Osmakac the car bomb he allegedly planned to detonate, and even money for a taxi so he could get to where the FBI needed him to go. Osmakac was a deeply disturbed young man, according to several of the psychiatrists and psychologists who examined him before trial. He became a “terrorist” only after the FBI provided the means, opportunity and final prodding necessary to make him one.

Informant-led sting operations are central to the FBI’s counterterrorism program. Of 508 defendants prosecuted in federal terrorism-related cases in the decade after 9/11, 243 were involved with an FBI informant, while 158 were the targets of sting operations. Of those cases, an informant or FBI undercover operative led 49 defendants in their terrorism plots, similar to the way Osmakac was led in his.

In these cases, the FBI says paid informants and undercover agents are foiling attacks before they occur. But the evidence suggests — and a recent Human Rights Watch report on the subject illustrates — that the FBI isn’t always nabbing would-be terrorists so much as setting up mentally ill or economically desperate people to commit crimes they could never have accomplished on their own.

At least in Osmakac’s case, FBI agents seem to agree with that criticism, though they never intended for that admission to become public. In the Osmakac sting, the undercover FBI agent went by the pseudonym “Amir Jones.” He’s the guy behind the camera in Osmakac’s martyrdom video. Amir, posing as a dealer who could provide weapons, wore a hidden recording device throughout the sting.

The device picked up conversations, including, apparently, back at the FBI’s Tampa Field Office, a gated compound beneath the flight path of Tampa International Airport, among agents and employees who assumed their words were private and protected. These unintentional recordings offer an exclusive look inside an FBI counterterrorism sting, and suggest that, even in the eyes of the FBI agents involved, these sting targets aren’t always the threatening figures they are made out to be.

On January 7, 2012, after the martyrdom video was recorded, Amir and others poked fun at Osmakac and the little movie the FBI had helped him produce.

“When he was putting stuff on, he acted like he was nervous,” one of the speakers tells Amir. “He kept backing away …”

“Yeah,” Amir agrees.

“He looked nervous on the camera,” someone else adds.

“Yeah, he got excited. I think he got excited when he saw the stuff,” Amir says, referring to the weapons that were laid out on the hotel bed.

“Oh, yeah, you could tell,” yet another person chimes in. “He was all like, like a, like a six-year-old in a toy store.”

In other recorded conservations, Richard Worms, the FBI squad supervisor, describes Osmakac as a “retarded fool” who doesn’t have “a pot to piss in.” The agents talk about the prosecutors’ eagerness for a “Hollywood ending” for their sting. They refer to Osmakac’s targets as “wishy-washy,” and his terrorist ambitions as a “pipe-dream scenario.” The transcripts show FBI agents struggled to put $500 in Osmakac’s hands so he could make a down payment on the weapons — something the Justice Department insisted on to demonstrate Osmakac’s capacity for and commitment to terrorism.

“The money represents he’s willing to do it, because if we can’t show him killing, we can show him giving money,” FBI Special Agent Taylor Reed explains in one conversation.

These transcripts were never supposed to be revealed in their entirety. The government argued that their release could harm the U.S. government by revealing “law enforcement investigative strategy and methods.” U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli not only sealed the transcripts, but also placed them under a protective order.

The files, provided by a confidential source to The Intercept in partnership with the Investigative Fund, provide a rare behind-the-scenes account of an FBI counterterrorism sting, revealing how federal agents leveraged their relationship with a paid informant and plotted for months to turn the hapless Sami Osmakac into a terrorist. Neither the FBI Tampa Field Office nor FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. responded to requests from The Intercept for comment on the Osmakac case or the remarks made by FBI agents and employees about the sting.

Read More…

Related Link: The Newburgh Sting

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