Intel Officials Says French And Spain Intelligence Agencies Did All The Dirty Work In Gathering Data On Millions Of Calls

from the so-many-twists,-from-so-many-twisted-entities dept

All that noise being made by French and Spanish officials over the NSA's collection of millions of phone records is turning out to be just that: noise. The Wall Street Journal reports that, while the NSA did end up with millions of foreign phone records, it didn't do the actual collection.

U.S. officials said the Snowden-provided documents had been misinterpreted and actually show phone records that were collected by French and Spanish intelligence agencies, and then shared with the NSA, according to officials briefed on those discussions.

U.S. intelligence officials studied the document published by Le Monde and have determined that it wasn't assembled by the NSA. Rather, the document appears to be a slide that was assembled based on NSA data received from French intelligence, a U.S. official said.
Rather than being a domestic collection, like the Section 215 program, the records gathered by Spanish and French intelligence agencies apparently only touched calls originating outside of these two nations.
Based on an analysis of the document, the U.S. concluded that the phone records the French had collected were actually from outside of France, and then were shared with the U.S. The data don't show that the French spied on their own people inside France.

U.S. intelligence officials haven't seen the documents cited by El Mundo but the data appear to come from similar information the NSA obtained from Spanish intelligence agencies documenting their collection efforts abroad, officials said.
While this all seems very above-board, both for the NSA and the foreign intelligence agencies, there's still a good chance that this isn't the entire picture. The NSA is still very leery of exposing methods and sources and, despite trying to defuse the current outrage, it will probably still hold some cards close to its chest. Officials are even admitting this sudden burst of clarity still leaves things uncovered.
U.S. officials said the European collection programs were part of long-standing intelligence sharing arrangements between the U.S. and its closest allies. Officials said the figures may not reflect the entirety of the phone records collected by France and Spain.
So, while European officials may be playing this off as a horrible intrusion, the latest statements seem to indicate it isn't. There may still be a layer of intrusion as of yet uncovered and both countries are still presumably doing their own domestic spying. If so, there are undoubtedly more outrages to come, only in this case, the public, rather than officials, will be making the most noise. The NSA's many cozy relationships around the world are now backfiring, even when it's not directly to blame. Making friends with foreign intelligence agencies while alienating foreign officials is a hell of a way to fight terrorism.



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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 1:39pm

    Just the tactic of spreading blame around so we've no specific target.

    Wish you guys would catch on to standard tricks.

    Here's my notions:

    NSA, immense, hidden, and pretty nearly out of reach from citizens, intentionally loosed the whole Snowden "leak" -- and importantly, taking the focus of blame rather than the co-conspirator corporations that have so far just issued blithe denials of NSA having "direct access". All had to come out sometime. (And what's the use of the giant systems unless the dolts know they're surveilled?) And remember, CISPA is to "legalize" what Google and Facebook are already doing; the Internet is just one giant spy grid. Nothing bad has yet happened to NSA or even particular officials, and nothing is going to.

    But as PR, NSA and politicians keep putting out diversions and spreading blame around until the public's interest is exhausted.

    And then they put in place yet more surveillance. Repeat.

    You don't have any actual evidence to contrary, just your hopes, and that's a bad position to be in.

    Don't believe any of this until at least the known criminals are in JAIL.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 1:52pm

    Am I the only one that glanced at the headline and wondered why Intel processor corp was commenting on French and Spanish intel gathering?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    So the French obtained the Spanish records, and the Spanish the French records.
    /conspiracy theory.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    markmeld (profile), Oct 29th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    Am I missing something or are you just recycling he said/she said "reporting" from the WSJ, which is not, in my view, a credible source for facts?

    I've come to expect better from techdirt...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    A Nonny Mouse, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    Why admit this?

    From the perspective of a spy agency, wouldn't it be more beneficial to take their lumps now, come to some sort of agreement (on stuff they apparently are not doing anyway), then continue to collect the information, as the new rules / laws have been made up presuming you were the ones doing the dirty work?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    wavettore, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 2:15pm

    Wavevolution

    Indiscriminate monitoring everywhere did not happen with Obama but with George W. Bush, the author of 9/11. All that is happening is the prelude to the next big surprise. Since George H. Bush was CIA director, the US secret State agencies had played a double role to get to today when every person is constantly monitored by NSA and other agencies not to report information to the US Government but to feed with all data the embryo of a new superpower. At the present time, a small group of Zionists, like a hidden parallel government, with George Bush still today at the head of secret services in the US, UK and Israel, is the destabilizing force behind most terror events and with classified information at disposal and a private army is plotting what now would seem unthinkable to many. The spokesman for this group in the US Congress is John Mc Cain who reports the given orders weighing on the US administration. The aimed targets for this group are a War of Religion and chaos everywhere so that desperate people will soon invoke a New World Order without even knowing what that is.
    There is one single Solution.

    http://www.wavevolution.org/en/humanwaves.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Shmerl, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 2:41pm

    Intel (the company) probably feels weird reading the title ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 2:42pm

    Re:

    No. I read that as "did the NSA bribe and/or blackmail French and Spanish officials" in Intel?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Shmerl, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 2:42pm

    Re:

    That was my first reaction as well :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 29th, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    Re:

    Am I missing something or are you just recycling he said/she said "reporting" from the WSJ, which is not, in my view, a credible source for facts?

    Why not? WSJ has a very good and respected reputation on the reporting side.

    The editorial side is another story, but their reporters are perfectly credible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 9:18pm

    GCHQ style traitors

    This is what annoys me about these agencies.

    NSA came along, offers them some help finding terrorists, and all they have to do is SPY ON THEIR OWN F*ING PEOPLE.

    It's like nobody read NSA's mission statement.

    And now we find out they spy on politicians, activists, campaigners, companies the lot, and we can't trust our own spy agency to protect that part of our democracy because they've been complicit in the spying.

    Dare to reveal what they've been up to and they even attack the free press. So we can't vote for it, or against it, because we can't know about it.

    France and Spain spy agencies, I can well believe they sided with the US, but in doing so they exposed their people (from which their bosses would be elected) to foreign surveillance.

    So who are their bosses now? Because GCHQ in particular isn't taking orders from the democracy part. We rejected Snoopers Charter (again). We saw the 'Parker' order to Cameron to silence the press, make it way down the command tree. We get it, Parker doesn't work for Cameron, Cameron works for Parker.

     

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  12.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:11am

    No surprises. Seems no Government is for the people anymore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:58am

    "the phone records the French had collected were actually from outside of France, and then were shared with the U.S." Wouldn't it be interesting if we found out that "from outside of France" meant "from the United States"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Mike Raffety (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 11:22am

    So intelligence agencies are prohibited from spying on their own citizens?

    So intelligence agencies are prohibited from spying on their own citizens?

    Easy workaround. Every agency indiscriminately spies on people in OTHER countries, then arranges data swaps with their counterparts. France, Spain, Israel, U.K., U.S., ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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