UPS Insists That It Is Not Helping The NSA 'Interdict' Packages To Install Backdoors

from the not-us! dept

After Glenn Greenwald's book came out last week, one of the big stories was the additional revelations about the NSA's interdiction program -- in which the NSA grabs packages of computer equipment that are being shipped, outfits the equipment with backdoors -- and sends them along their shipping route as if nothing happened. Most famously, it included an image of it happening, showing a clear Cisco box:
Cisco has insisted publicly that it has nothing to do with this program and apparently complained directly to the President about this program, and how it harms their reputation. While some people doubt whether or not Cisco is being totally forthright, others wondered if perhaps it wasn't Cisco, but a third party, such as whoever ships Cisco's equipment. It turns out that company is often UPS, and Matthew Keys, writing for TheBlot, got UPS to vehemently deny assisting the NSA as well:

UPS, which Cisco has used since 1997 to ship hardware to customers around the world, said on Thursday that it did not voluntarily allow government officials to inspect its packages unless it is required to do so by law.

“UPS’ long-standing policy is to require a legal court-ordered process, such as a subpoena, before responding to any third-party requests,” UPS spokeswoman Kara Ross wrote in an e-mail to TheBlot Magazine. “UPS is not aware of any court orders from the NSA seeking to inspect technology-related shipments.”

In a follow-up e-mail, Ross said UPS had no knowledge of similar orders from the FBI, CIA or any other federal agency.

Keys also reached out to other popular shipping options, including the US Postal Service, FedEx and DHL. USPS says that they don't participate in any such NSA program (though, some may question the validity of that statement). FedEx and DHL appear to have simply ignored repeated requests for comment from Keys.

Of course, it's not impossible that there are other methods being used to get the equipment -- or that the folks who handle these "special" projects are kept way far away from any official spokesperson. Clearly, however, the NSA can get these packages, and now the doubt is going to spread across pretty much everyone in the logistics chain, no matter what they say.

Filed Under: glenn greenwald, interdiction, nsa, surveillance, tao
Companies: cisco, ups

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2014 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Volunteer vs Conscript

    They do not do it "voluntarily".

    More from U.S. v Souza (10th Cir. 2000). This part comes after Special Agent Rowden has removed the suspect package from UPS property, and then returned it to the UPS facility.
    Detective Sloan took the package and placed it behind him on the floor next to the wall. Subsequently, a UPS employee, April Denning, arrived on the scene. According to Denning's testimony, a conversation was initiated by Detective Sloan who told her that a narcotics dog had alerted to the package and "stated that they couldn't tell me to open the package, they were not authorized to do that, they would have to have a search warrant, but he pointed to where the package was." A couple of minutes later, another officer again told Denning, "I cannot tell you to not open the package, but there it is on the floor." Denning estimated that approximately five minutes passed between the two conversations. She also testified that she was influenced by the statements of the interdiction officers.

    After his conversation with Denning, Detective Sloan continued evaluating other packages that were on the conveyer belt. Approximately a minute or two after Detective Sloan continued with his evaluation, Denning picked the targeted package up, took it a few feet away to where her work station was located, and began opening the package. Detective Sloan watched Denning open the package but did not tell her not to open it because he felt it was "not his right to stop her." He also believed that she was acting within UPS policy in opening the package.[Note 6]

    [Note 6] In fact, Denning testified that as part of her employment with UPS, she could open a package any time she felt that it was appropriate. She also stated that she opened randomly selected packages almost daily.

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