The power without borders enjoyed by the American National Security Agency (NSA) was established with the complicity of “most Western states.”
That is the latest statement from the man responsible for the leaks about the massive global spying of communications in the U.S. and United Kingdom, Edward Snowden, who explained in an interview published by the German weekly Der Spiegel that countries exchange information with the NSA and “do not ask how they got it”.
According to the former employee of the NSA, this willful ignorance serves to “political leaders” as a tool of plausible deniability that spares their backs from the fall out originated in the revelations that they not only knew about the massive spying scheme, but also that they had been cooperating with the NSA’s illegal spying activities.
Germany and the NSA, says Snowden, “are in cahoots” but the political authorities look the other way. This would explain the result of the telephone conversation Wednesday between President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel: despite the glaring scandal revealed a week ago that detailed that Germany is one of the priority objectives of the NSA, the transatlantic chat wasn’t more than a simple “opportunity for intensive exchange on this issue.”
On Saturday, Chancellor Merkel admitted however that Germany has “gained a lot of information” from the United States. However, she assured that “this does not entitle others to spy on anyone by bugging embassies”.
The interview with Snowden was done before he became the world’s most famous fugitive after his leaks. Then, he was in Hawaii, where he debated with civil rights activists about encrypted emails and people’s civil rights.
Snowden’s disclosures has shaken anyone who believed in the privacy of emails and exchanges over the Internet. According to Snowden, the program Tempora from the British intelligence agency GCHQ is “the first” one that follows the principle of “keep everything”. It stores not only the connection data but also the users’ identities and content of the exchanges.
Tempora saves all the content of Internet communications passing through British servers “regardless of what they are or what rights are infringed.” They don’t lose “not one bit” of information. Snowden said then that the spying infrastructure had the ability to “store all the information for three days, but that they were working on improving it.”
Snowden spoke of the Five Eyes. They are the secret services of the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, which work closely in overall snooping. If there are weaknesses in the network, it is due to the limitations of some partners. In the American case, “it has virtually an unlimited capacity in both computing power of processors as in the physical space they have available.”
He explained that they want the new computer center being built in the State of Utah as a centre to store “all communications forever.” It is, in this case, the information about who contacted who from where and by what means. This information is already sufficient to monitor all people very closely, because once consulted it can often reconstruct the communication content.
Snowden says that all multinational corporations involved in communication collaborated in this massive spying scheme. In particular, he cites Facebook. When the NSA puts someone in their sights, it will monitor 100%: all data, everything you write in emails or chats … “your computer will no longer belong to you but to the U.S. government.”
The NSA’s former employee also said that the NSA and the intelligence services of Israel, “wrote together” the Stuxnet virus, a computer program used to harm Iran’s nuclear facilities.