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


Reader Comments

The First Word

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 May 2014 @ 1:55pm

    Re: does UPS necessarily know?

    Does UPS necessarily know?

    Does UPS corporate necessarily know that there are “package interdiction teams” routinely working inside UPS parcel sorting facilities?—yanking boxes off the conveyor belts?

    Take People v Kaslowski (Mich. Ct. App. 2000):
    Trenton Police Officer James Nardone testified at defendant's preliminary examination that on December 14, 1994, he was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration Parcel Interdiction Team. While inspecting "next day air" parcels at a United Parcel Service (UPS) branch, he intercepted what he determined to be a suspicious package. . . .

    An undercover police officer posing as a UPS delivery man delivered the parcel to the house at 1940 Champaign and obtained a signature for the parcel. . . 
    The events related there occurred in 1994. Would UPS corporate know if someone had borrowed a UPS delivery van twenty years ago? As long as they brought it back in one piece?

    So now consider the more recent case of Luckl v Commonwealth (Ky. Ct. App., 2012)
    The charges in this case arose in February of 2008, as part of a drug-interdiction program at the Louisville airport. Detective Steve Boughey, a member of the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) narcotics unit, testified that he was working at the airport interdiction unit in February of 2008. . . .

    On February 21, 2008, the package at issue was pulled aside. The package was addressed to a "Craig Perkins" at 717 Lampton Street in Louisville. Detective Boughey noted that the package was overly wrapped and sent via overnight express. He also noticed that the package was shipped from a United Parcel Service (UPS) retail outlet . . .

    The package was subsequently delivered to 717 Lampton Street by an undercover officer posing as a UPS delivery driver. . . .

    Do you think UPS corporate knows about practices that have been occurring over two decades?

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.