Germany is NSA's largest listening post, according to new report based on Snowden leaks

A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) during break of dawn in Bad Aibling south of Munich, July 11, 2013. Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended Germany's cooperation with U.S. intelligence, dismissing comparisons of its techniques to those used in communist East Germany in an attempt to ease tensions a day before talks on the thorny issue in Washington.   REUTERS/Michael Dalder


A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) during break of dawn in Bad Aibling south of Munich, July 11, 2013. Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended Germany's cooperation with U.S. intelligence, dismissing comparisons of its techniques to those used in communist East Germany in an attempt to ease tensions a day before talks on the thorny issue in Washington. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Using documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel reports that the NSA has turned Germany into its most important base of operations in Europe. "NSA is more active in Germany than anywhere else in Europe," reports the paper, "And data collected here may have helped kill suspected terrorists."

The German archive provides the basis for a critical discussion on the necessity and limits of secret service work as well as on the protection of privacy in the age of digital communication. The documents complement the debate over a trans-Atlantic relationship that has been severely damaged by the NSA affair.

They paint a picture of an all-powerful American intelligence agency that has developed an increasingly intimate relationship with Germany over the past 13 years while massively expanding its presence. No other country in Europe plays host to a secret NSA surveillance architecture comparable to the one in Germany. It is a web of sites defined as much by a thirst for total control as by the desire for security. In 2007, the NSA claimed to have at least a dozen active collection sites in Germany.

The documents indicate that the NSA uses its German sites to search for a potential target by analyzing a "Pattern of Life," in the words of one Snowden file. And one classified report suggests that information collected in Germany is used for the "capture or kill" of alleged terrorists.

"New NSA Revelations: Inside Snowden's Germany File" [Der Spiegel]

Related:

Majority of Americans think Snowden was right to leak


A forthcoming Yougov survey found that 55 percent of Americans believe Edward Snowden was right to leak the details of Prism (it's not clear whether they were surveyed on other leaks).

Read the rest

Crowdfunding for Cryptome, oldest radical secrets-leaking site online

nya-kick.largeWithout Cryptome.org, there would have been no Wikileaks, though the two organizations' history and methods of operation couldn't be more different. I'm pretty sure it's the oldest continuously-running website devoted to the public exposure of secret documents for the public good, and has weathered constant attack and intimidation by entities who would rather that websites like Cryptome not exist.

The website run by John Young and Deborah Natsios has a kickstarter campaign, and it's worth considering kicking in if radical transparency is something you support.

Read the rest

NBC airs Edward Snowden's first US TV interview

140527-edward-snowden-jms-1846_6908feb78dc51d2345105e53cf6cb759.nbcnews-fp-1440-600

NBC released a preview clip from a widely-promoted Brian Williams interview with whistleblower Edward Snowden, which airs tonight, Wednesday May 28, at 10pm EDT. The hour-long interview is the former NSA contractor’s first US television interview since leaking NSA documents to reporters.

Read the rest

The VA whistleblower speaks out

The sign in the front of the headquarters building at the Department of Veteran Affairs is seen as a man walks past in Washington. (Reuters/Larry Downing)


The sign in the front of the headquarters building at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington, DC. (Reuters)

The Veterans Administration worker who leaked damning information about the federal agency has a name: Sam Foote. He is an internist, and for 19 years was a VA outpatient clinic director.

Read the rest

White House leaks name of Kabul CIA chief, yet no one goes to prison

Soldiers take photos as U.S. President Barack Obama (C) shakes hands with troops after delivering remarks at Bagram Air Base in Kabul, May 25, 2014. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)


Soldiers take photos as U.S. President Barack Obama (C) shakes hands with troops after delivering remarks at Bagram Air Base in Kabul, May 25, 2014. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

The identity of the top CIA officer in Afghanistan was exposed over the weekend by the White House when his name was included by mistake on a list given to news organizations of senior officials participating in President Obama’s surprise visit with US troops.

Read the rest

Guilty plea in Fox News leak case shows why Espionage Act prosecutions are unfair to reporters' sources


Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. Image: Stephen Kim Legal Defense Trust.

Former State Department official Stephen Kim announced today he will plead guilty to leaking classified information to Fox News journalist James Rosen and will serve 13 months in jail.

The case sparked controversy last year when it was revealed the Justice Department named Rosen a “co-conspirator” in court documents for essentially doing his job as a journalist. But a largely ignored ruling in Kim’s case may have far broader impact on how sources interact with journalists in the future.

Read the rest

Snapchat apologizes for and patches leak

After a week of anger, "Team Snapchat" apologizes for letting hackers walk off with more than 4 million phone numbers: "This morning we released a Snapchat update for Android and iOS that improves Find Friends functionality and allows Snapchatters to opt-out of linking their phone number with their username. ... We are sorry for any problems this issue may have caused you and we really appreciate your patience and support."

Jacob Appelbaum's must-watch 30C3 talk: why NSA spying affects you, no matter who you are

Sunday's Snowden leaks detailing the Tailored Access Operations group -- the NSA's exploit-farming, computer-attacking "plumbers" -- and the ANT's catalog of attacks on common computer equipment and software -- were accompanied by a lecture by Jacob Appelbaum at the 30th Chaos Communications Congress. I have seen Jake speak many times, but this talk is extraordinary, even by his standards, and should by watched by anyone who's said, "Well, they're probably not spying on me, personally;" or "What's the big deal about spies figuring out how to attack computers used by bad guys?" or "It's OK if spies discover back-doors and keep them secret, because no one else will ever find them."

Read the rest

Ben Franklin, whistleblowing leaker of government secrets

Benjamin Franklin was a leaker of government secrets, who circulated intercepted letters from the colonial lieutenant governor of Massachusetts Bay to the British government. The letters detailed a scheme to take away colonists' legally guaranteed freedoms "by degrees" and called for more troops to keep order during the process. After the letters were published, Franklin admitted to leaking them, but refused to give up his source. The crown called it "thievery and dishonor" and he was fired from his postmaster general gig (thankfully, there was no Espionage Act on the books at the time). (via Techdirt) Cory 22

Amnesty petition to release Chelsea Manning

Alan sez, "Amnesty International have a petition up that asks for the release of Manning. The petition argues that both on humanitarian grounds and on account of the pre-trial treatment, Manning is deserving of a clemency release."

Read the rest

Leaked UN document: countries want to end War on Drugs and prohibition


A rare, leaked UN document reveals deep divisions among member-states about the war on drugs, with many nations demanding treatment and decriminalization instead of prohibition. The draft document, dating from September, is from the UN's attempt to set a global policy on drugs and drug trafficking. The document shows Ecuador demanding an official statement "that the world needs to look beyond prohibition" and Venezuela seeking recognition of "the economic implications of the current dominating health and law enforcement approach in tackling the world drug problem." Other dissenters include Norway, Switzerland and the EU.

Read the rest

Wikileaks publishes the "Internet Chapter" of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (SOPA's back)

Wikileaks has published the Internet Chapter of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade-deal negotiated between corporate leaders and government reps without any democratic oversight (the US Trade Rep wouldn't share TPP drafts with Congress, and now it is headed for fast-tracking into law). TorrentFreak has parsed out the text, and compares it to SOPA, the brutal US copyright law that collapsed in the face of massive public protest. The treaty is reportedly at a "negotiated stalemate" thanks to the US Trade Rep, who has refused to bend on treaty provisions that other nations objected to.

Read the rest

Ex-NSA director jokes of placing Edward Snowden on kill list, Rep. Mike Rogers offers to help


Former NSA Director Michael Hayden.

Brendan Sasso of The Hill reports that during a Washington Post cybersecurity summit today, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden made a joke about putting Edward Snowden on a kill list.

Snowden, who leaked secret NSA documents to news reporters, has been nominated for the "Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought," considered to be Europe's most prominent human rights award.

According to Sasso Hayden quipped, "I must admit, in my darker moments over the past several months, I'd also thought of nominating Mr. Snowden, but it was for a different list."

"I can help you with that," added his fellow panel member Rep. Mike "CISPA" Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and longtime NSA ally. 

[The Hill's Hillicon Valley]

Rally against mass surveillance, DC, Oct. 26--'Stop Watching Us'

The team behind Stop Watching Us says:

"Since the Snowden leaks started, more than 569,000 people from all walks of life have signed the StopWatching.us petition telling the U.S. Congress that we want them to rein in the NSA. On October 26th, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the US Patriot Act, we're taking the next step and holding the largest rally yet against NSA surveillance. We’ll be handing the half-million petitions to Congress to remind them that they work for us -- and we won’t tolerate mass surveillance any longer."

You can donate to the organizational costs here.

Organizers are in a reddit AMA right now.