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Courier International, France

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'How the NSA Spies on the French' (Le Monde, France)

 

"According to documents from the National Security Agency that have been obtained by Le Monde, the telephone communications of French citizens are, in fact, intercepted on a massive scale. ... These papers describe the techniques used to illegally capture secrets or simply the private lives of the French people. The documents provide sufficient information to surmise that the NSA's targets include both people with suspected links to terrorist activities, as well as those targeted simply for their places in business, politics or the French administration."

 

By Jacques Follorou and Glenn Greenwald

 

Translated By Jill Naeem

 

October 22, 2013

 

France Le Monde Original Article (French)

'I demand that the present government protest spying against me - like I never did!' -- Former President Calderon

LA JORNADA, MEXICO

 

BBC NEWS VIDEO, U.K.: Secretary Kerry Tells French on NSA: it's 'Complicated', Oct. 21, 00:00:59RealVideo

According to documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) that have been obtained by Le Monde, the telephone communications of French citizens are, in fact, intercepted on a massive scale. These papers, revealed in June by a former consultant to the agency, Edward Snowden, describe the techniques used to illegally capture secrets or simply the private lives of the French people. Certain aspects of this have been touched on by the German weekly Der Spiegel and British newspaper The Guardian. Others are new.

 

To learn more about the context of Le Monde's revelations read the editorial: Fighting Big Brother.

 

Among the thousands of documents the former NSA employee took with him is a graph that describes the extent of the telephone surveillance carried out in France. It was found that during a 30 day period, from December 10, 2012, to January 8, 2013, 70.3 million recordings of French citizens' telephone calls were performed by the NSA.

 

THE THREE PARTIES

 

The agency has several collection methods. When certain telephone numbers are used in France, they activate a signal that automatically triggers the recording of certain conversations. This surveillance also recovers SMS messages and their contents using keywords. Finally, the NSA systematically stores the call history of every target.

 

This espionage falls under the "US-985D" program. Up to now, no precise explanation of the acronym has been provided, either by the Snowden documents or former members of the NSA. By way of comparison, the acronyms used by the NSA for the same type of interceptions in Germany are "US-987LA" and "US-987LB." This series of numbers corresponds to a circle categorized by the U.S. as the "third party," which includes France and Germany, as well as Austria, Poland and Belgium. The "second party" concerns the English-speaking countries historically close to Washington: the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, known by the moniker "The Five Eyes." The "first party" concerns the sixteen U.S. secret services.

 

Read: The Magnitude of Global Espionage by the NSA

 

The techniques used for these interceptions appear under the code names "DRTBOX" and "WHITEBOX." Their characteristics are not understood, but we know that under the first code (DRTBOX), the data from 62.5 million telephone records were collected in France between December 10, 2012, and January 8, 2013. Under the second (WHITEBOX), 7.8 million items were recorded over the same period. The documents provide sufficient information to surmise that the NSA's targets include both people with suspected links to terrorist activities, as well as those targeted simply for their places in business, politics or the French administration.

 

http://worldmeets.us/images/boundless-informant-nsa_graphic.png

Click Graphic for Interactive Version

 

The NSA graph shows an average of 3 million data intercepts per day, with peaks of almost 7 million on December 24, 2012 and January 7, 2013. But from December 28 to 31, no interceptions seem to have occurred. This apparent cessation of activity could be explained by the time required, in late December 2012, for the U.S. Congress to renew Section 702 of the law governing wire-tapping abroad. Similarly, nothing happened on the 3, 5 or 6 of January, 2013, although this time, no plausible reason has been advanced. Many questions remain, starting with the precise identity of the targets and the justifications for such a large-scale collection of data on foreign territory against a sovereign ally.

 

Interactive Media: Diving into the Octopus of NSA Cyber-Surveillance

 

When asked, American authorities didn't wish to comment on the documents, which they consider "classified." Nevertheless, they referred to a statement made June 8 by U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: "For those targeted outside our frontiers, we cannot go after them without legally valid grounds, such as a terrorist threat, hostile cyber activity or nuclear proliferation." [translated quote].

 

UNIVERSAL INFORMANT

 

France is not the country in which the NSA intercepts the most digital or telephone connections. The "Boundless Informant" system, revealed in June by Edward Snowden through the Guardian, gives an overview of information gathered by the NSA's various wire-tapping systems in real time from around the world. "Boundless Informant" collects not only telephone data (DNR - Digital Number Recognition), but also data from digital networks (DNI - Digital Network Intelligence).

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One of the documents, which Le Monde has been able to consult, notes that between February 8 and March 8, the NSA collected 124.8 billion DNR and 97.1 billion DNI items from across the world, including, of course, war zones like Afghanistan, as well as Russia and China. In Europe, only Germany and the United Kingdom exceeded France in terms of the number of interceptions. For the British, however, this was done with the consent of their government.

 

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Posted By Worldmeets.US Oct. 22, 2013, 012:24am