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NSA and Israel: Spying on Americans and Each Other

By       Message Larry Toenjes     Permalink
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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to None 9/14/13

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"Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security

James Ball, Julian Borger and Glenn Greenwald

Guardian Weekly, 5 September 2013

" NSA and GCHQ unlock encryption used to protect emails, banking and medical records
" $250m-a-year US program works covertly with tech companies to insert weaknesses into products
" Security experts say programs 'undermine the fabric of the internet"

Readers are encouraged to read these articles, as well as the comments attached to them.   The Guardian's version of it can be seen here.

"Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards, the use of supercomputers to break encryption with "brute force", and -- the most closely guarded secret of all -- collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves.

Through these covert partnerships, the agencies have inserted secret vulnerabilities -- known as backdoors or trapdoors -- into commercial encryption software."

According to the article, the "covert partnerships" between the NSA, the GCHQ and commercial Internet companies was not always a partnership entered into knowingly by the privat e companies.

"To help secure an insider advantage, GCHQ also established a Humint Operations Team (HOT). Humint, short for "human intelligence" refers to information gleaned directly from sources or undercover agents.

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This GCHQ team was, according to an internal document, "responsible for identifying, recruiting and running covert agents in the global telecommunications industry.""

The implications of such back doors installed in Internet communications systems was spelled out by Stephanie Pell, "a former prosecutor at the US Department of Justice and non-resident fellow at the Center for Internet and Security at Stanford Law School":

" [An] encrypted communications system with a lawful interception back door is far more likely to result in the catastrophic loss of communications confidentiality than a system that never has access to the unencrypted communications of its users." [emphasis added]

The question for the subject at hand, mainly Israeli spying on US agencies and individuals, is "Do the Israeli-related firms that are involved in the NSA's surveillance also have access to these encryption breakthroughs described in the NSA budget?" Obviously the NSA works hand-in-glove with the UK's GCHQ. Does the same level of cooperation extend to Israel, if only inadvertently by way of the numerous Israeli firms involved?

It is certainly reasonable to ask if individuals with strong alliances to other nations have not infiltrated the NSA in the same manner as did Edward Snowden?

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Laurence A.Toenjes is retired from the University of Houston ?s Department of Sociology where he was a researcher with The Sociology of Education Research Group. Toenjes received his doctorate in economics from Southern Illinois University.

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