Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Privacy

Secret Documents Say NSA Had Broad Scope, Scant Oversight: Report

WASHINGTON – The US National Security Agency has been authorized to intercept information “concerning” all but four countries worldwide, top-secret documents say, according to The Washington Post.

“The United States has long had broad no-spying arrangements with those four countries – Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand,” the Post reported Monday.

WASHINGTON – The US National Security Agency has been authorized to intercept information “concerning” all but four countries worldwide, top-secret documents say, according to The Washington Post.

“The United States has long had broad no-spying arrangements with those four countries – Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand,” the Post reported Monday.

Yet “a classified 2010 legal certification and other documents indicate the NSA has been given a far more elastic authority than previously known, one that allows it to intercept through US companies not just the communications of its overseas targets but any communications about its targets as well.”

The certification – approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and included among a set of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — says 193 countries are “of valid interest for US intelligence.”

The certification also let the agency gather intelligence about entities such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the report said.

“These documents show both the potential scope of the government’s surveillance activities and the exceedingly modest role the court plays in overseeing them,” Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union who had the documents described to him, told the Post.

The report stresses the NSA did not necessarily target nearly all countries but had authorization to do so.

It should come as cold comfort to Germany which was outraged by revelations last year that the NSA eavesdropped on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone, as well as about wider US surveillance programs of Internet and phone communications.

Germany’s parliament is investigating the extent of spying by the US National Security Agency and its partners on German citizens and politicians, and whether German intelligence aided its activities.

The privacy issue is a particularly sensitive one in formerly divided Germany.

Ties between Washington and Europe more broadly, as well as other nations such as Brazil, have been strained since the revelations, despite assurances from US President Barack Obama that he is ending spy taps on friendly world leaders.

The Obama administration has insisted the NSA needs tools to be able to thwart terror attacks not just against the United States, but also its allies.

Snowden, a 30-year-old former NSA contractor was granted temporary asylum by Russia last August after shaking the American intelligence establishment to its core with a series of devastating leaks on mass surveillance in the US and around the world.

Written By

AFP 2023

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

Cybercrime

The FBI dismantled the network of the prolific Hive ransomware gang and seized infrastructure in Los Angeles that was used for the operation.

Ransomware

US government reminds the public that a reward of up to $10 million is offered for information on cybercriminals, including members of the Hive...

Ransomware

The Hive ransomware website has been seized as part of an operation that involved law enforcement in 10 countries.

Cybercrime

No one combatting cybercrime knows everything, but everyone in the battle has some intelligence to contribute to the larger knowledge base.

Cybersecurity Funding

Los Gatos, Calif-based data protection and privacy firm Titaniam has raised $6 million seed funding from Refinery Ventures, with participation from Fusion Fund, Shasta...

Privacy

The EU's digital policy chief warned TikTok’s boss that the social media app must fall in line with tough new rules for online platforms...

Cybercrime

The owner of China-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato was arrested in Miami along with five associates in Europe

Privacy

Meta was fined an additional $5.9 million for violating EU data protection regulations with WhatsApp messaging app.