More NSA snooping information was released recently, only to be yanked from publication almost immediately after an editor hit the “publish” button. The Guardian-owned Observer posted a new NSA spying scandal story on June 30, but the information disappeared quickly—however, not before some crafty news hounds embedded the most recent allegations. A notice posted on the page where the deleted NSA data mining interview was posted states that the article was taken down pending an investigation.
The National Security Agency report posted in the Guardian appeared to reveal a mass collusion and enormous harvesting of the personal information of American citizens. The post was titled, “Revealed: Secret European Deals to Hand Over Private Data to America” and was written by Jamie Doward.
The journalist was sharing information received from former Navy Lieutenant and 12-year NSA staffer Wayne Madsen. The article also alluded to a collection of similar material of citizens in at least six countries in the European Union. The former Navy officer reportedly held multiple “sensitive” positions within the National Security Agency.
According to Wayne Madsen, the European Union countries had “formal second and third party” status under signal intelligence agreements. The agreements allegedly compelled the countries to turn over data to the NSA if the US federal agency requested the documents. The data mining efforts supposedly included Internet activity and cell phone information.
Declassified intelligence reports confirm that the United States categorizes other countries according to their trust level, hence the second and third party designations. Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia are reportedly held at a second party trust level. Both France and Germany are believed to currently hold a third party trust status by the American government.
Germany is among the countries offering intelligence information to the NSA, if the former staffer’s claims are accurate. Britain is also included on Madsen’s list of data mining partners. Nations also named by the Guardian source include Spain, Denmark, Italy, and the Netherlands.
An excerpt from the now-vanished Guardian NSA article reads:
“In an interview published last night on the PrivacySurgeon.org blog, Madsen, who has been attacked for holding controversial views on espionage issues, said he had decided to speak out after becoming concerned about the ‘half story’ told by EU politicians regarding the extent of the NSA’s activities in Europe.”
The pulled NSA data mining report goes on to state that Madsen detailed international intelligence agreements authored after World War II. He maintains the NSA is granted the “lion’s share” of the information and in return, third party nations garner intelligence deemed to be highly sensitized.
The former NSA employee also expressed his dismay at the reaction of foreign political officials when forced to respond to the NSA data mining claims revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Madsen feels government leaders “feigned shock” about the NSA spying scandal while keeping quiet about their own intelligence sharing agreements with the United States. The Guardian source was extremely concerned about German officials casting accusations against the United Kingdom about spying, when Germany itself engaged in a third party deal with American.
Madsen also had this to say in the Guardian NSA article:
“I can’t understand how Angela Merkel can keep a straight face, demanding assurances from Barack Obama and the UK, while Germany has entered into those exact relationships. A lot of this information isn’t secret, nor is it new. It’s just that governments have chosen to keep the public in the dark about it. The days when they could get away with a conspiracy of silence are over.”
A report by the European Parliament appears to indicate that the National Security Agency was conducting an operation known as Echelon—a worldwide information gathering project. If the report is accurate, Echelon established the framework necessary for European states to network with the United States in information sharing.
Wayne Madsen also maintains that the United States and at least seven European countries all have access to a Tat 14 fiber optic cable which runs through the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and America. The network reportedly allows the interception of copious amounts of personal data, including website user access records, emails, and phone calls.
Naval War College professor John Schindler, an intelligence expert, called Madsen, bats**t crazy. The flurry of activity the Guardian article spawned included a lot of Googling by other media outlets to find out about the former NSA staffer. Wayne Madsen may very well be a controversial figure with ideas which many may find way outside the norm or perhaps even repulsive.
According to the Daily Beast, Madsen has made negative comments about Jewish people, conspiracy claims about 9/11, and allegations about President Obama’s sexual past. Even if all the comments and thoughts attributed to Madsen by the Daily Beast are true, that does not mean he is wrong about the new NSA snooping allegations. Only time will tell if Madsen was merely blowing smoke and seeking to piggy-back on Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing fame, or making a valiant effort to reveal even more information about government intrusion on the privacy of citizens.
The controversial allegations by Madsen come at the same time that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper apologized to Congress for stating that the NSA does not gather data on American citizens. The director stated in the letter to Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein that his answer to the question was “clearly erroneous.” The secrecy and “erroneous” statements by government officials leave the American people to sift through claims by Snowden, Madsen, and future whistleblowers which may not boast a pristine past, but could have the truth at their fingertips.
NSA whistleblower Update
Edward Snowden has applied for asylum in no less than 20 nations, but so far there are no takers for the man many consider a patriot. According to a CBS News report, Snowden’s best (and perhaps last) chance for asylum rests in the hands of the president of Venezuela. The country’s president has reportedly been in Moscow meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. President Nicolas Maduro told reporters during the Russia trip that he had not yet received Snowden’s asylum application.
Although President Maduro appears to be dodging the question about whether or not he would grant asylum to Snowden, he did have this to say about the former NSA staffer:
“He did not kill anyone and did not plant a bomb. What he did was tell a great truth in an effort to prevent wars. He deserves protection under international and humanitarian law.”