Snowden was Right, they’re Reading your Mail: How British Intelligence and the NSA are Tag-Teaming US

When President Barack Obama said ‘no one is listening to your phone calls,’ he was either misinformed or was being disingenuous. The British are at least gathering up the voice signals of your phone calls, and sharing 200 million of them a day with the US National Security Agency via a joint database.

According to The Guardian newspaper, the British electronic surveillance agency GCHQ has attached sniffers or packet analyzers to the fiber optic cables that stretch across the Atlantic and emerge from the sea in Britain before going on to Europe and West Asia.The GCHQ charge is “Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much online and telephone traffic as possible.”

The material includes the actual telephone calls, email exchanges, Facebook updates, etc.

It is not only British intelligence that has access to this material. It can be accessed by 850,000 US intelligence workers and private contractors. About 250 NSA analysts have been specifically assigned to sift through it. They theoretically are forbidden to look at material generated inside the United States that is not sent abroad, but the GCHQ trusts their ‘discretion’ in this regard. The British analysts reportedly have much less stringent conditions attached to what information they can access at will.

First they said that telephone calls and private emails of ordinary people were not even being sifted through or collected. But then it comes out that GCHQ is doing exactly that, and giving our NSA access.

13 Responses

  1. All but a very few of our politicians are highly paid liars.
    That’s a top down proposition which finally clarifies the real schism between us and them.
    Why have we, the collective we, let this get so far along?

  2. ‘When President Barack Obama said ‘no one is listening to your phone calls,’ he was either misinformed or was being disingenuous.’
    Very polite – I’d just call him a liar.

    • It is time for the left to admit that Barack Obama is a fraud. I deeply regret my vote for him. Apart from his tepid attention to gonadal identity politics, Obama’s policies are not substantially different from those of the loyal opposition. In some cases, given his rhetoric of change and hope, he is worse.

  3. Dear Professor Cole

    Is it time to dust off Mr Biden’s CV? At what point do you suspect someone will say “Impeachment”?

    LA Times this mornin reports that CIA Special Forces, and mercs have been training Syrian rebels for months link to latimes.com

    Is Mr Obama in charge or or just doing the Front of House TV appearances while the Generals and Spooks run amok?

    • Thank you for the link. That article correctly contains information about the fear that anti-aircraft missiles and posiibly other weaponry will fall into the hands of dangerous Islamic extremist groups.

      What the article does not reveal in that the Syrian anti-Assad forces are highly fragmented and about half the fighters are Islamic fundamentalists in origin.

      Besides the well-publicized Al-Nusra Front, which has an estimated 6,000 fighters under arms, there are:

      (A)the Syrian Islamic Front adhering to Salafist doctrine with about 25,000 combatants whose goal is to make Syria an Islamic state and ruled by Sharia – they consider the Al-Nusra Front an ally;

      (B)the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front with about 40,000 armed personnel principally adhering either to the Muslim Brotherhood or to Salafist principles -they see their organizing principle as Islam but do not consider the extremist Al-Nusra Front as an allied force;

      The danger with the U.S arming and training Syrian rebels is that when and if this long civil war to topple Assad may be over, a second civil war may erupt in this nation of 22 million between the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the equally numerous forces of the aforesaid Islamic fundamentalist groups. An FSA leader has already said the FSA will turn its guns on Al-Nusra once the Russian-backed Assad regime falls.

      It may be Afghanistan revisited.

  4. well, if they only get 200 million communications a day, its only a small fraction of the actual traffic.
    Small consolation.

  5. I wonder if the internet outages in the Middle East a few years back that were due to a damaged undersea cable were a wire tapping effort gone wrong. Did some guy cutting into a cable under the Mediterranean cut the wrong wire? I did notice that Arab countries were affected but not Israel. Curious!

  6. I’d love for someone to spirit out a copy of the algorithms and key word libraries they use to filter and analyze these communications.

    What a boon to ‘transparency’ that would be …

  7. Some of us Collectivites are more interested in being Borg. Consider the following to all be in BOLD text:

    “Preparing for a Career in National Security”

    Mindset

    National security is a broad term that includes military service, law enforcement, homeland security, diplomacy, intelligence, emergency management, and cyber security.

    Interested individuals often report responding to a “call” to serve

    National security offers unique challenges, adventures, and possible dangers

    Individuals who serve in national security display appreciation for tradition and active patriotism

    – See more at: link to hsc.edu

    And for you working mothers, you missed this opportunity to network and stuff:

    2013 Theme: Change Leadership and the Power of Influence

    Increasing women in top leadership roles in the intelligence community is an issue of national security. The Center for Work-Life Policy and the Concours Group recently noted that unless we are prepared to incorporate our talented, educated women into our leadership structure in greater numbers, we risk facing a serious drop in the quality of our professional workforce.

    link to workingmother.com

    We’re not Joining the Oppressor, we’re Improving The Leadership Quality!

    And hey, there’s over 45,000 current GS-11 or higher equivalent openings in the Servicing of your Country right now! Don’t miss out on this well-paid, secure (ahem) Career Opportunity!

  8. Given that the tech companies make large contributions to congress, and that they get hugely profitable contracts from the NSA, their efforts to appear blameless in this snoop-o-rama are disingenuous.

  9. Our peeping culture has been fostered by our television shows. First there were the talk shows, where strangers in the audience comment on guests personal lives. Then came the reality shows, which normalize constant voyeurism and exhibitionism.
    I suspect that when people get access to our personal communications, some will be unable to resist the urge to entertain themselves.

  10. Somewhere in the last 70 years, the reality in the United States of America stopped supporting the proud boast that we “are a nation of laws, not of men.” Meaning that we are protected by a functioning Constitution and a judiciary that enforces it.

    The tacit approval of “black ops” in the early Cold War after 1949, and the effort to come up with a cover story of a “lone assassin” after the Kennedy assassination were most likely two of the key turning points; by the time FBI agents were assassinating Black Panther leaders in ’69-70 the process was well under way.

    We live under a government ruled by men, not by law or the Constitution. The 4th Amendment has been shredded with a series of shrugs by officialdom. And now we need to focus more than ever on the fact the men who run this government are being paid by our alphabet soup of secret intelligence agencies.

    It is extremely difficult to see how ordinary Americans, with all their faults, ignorance and distractions, will ever be able to change this. And that is extremely depressing. Which makes it all the more important for those of us who do wish to change things be clear in our goals, positive in our temperaments, and supportive to our fellow-victims of unaccountable government, no matter how ignorant and distracted they may appear at any moment.

Comments are closed.