Press TV has conducted an interview with Wayne Madsen, former NSA officer, from Tampa, Florida over the latest disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden about NSA spying on 38 embassies.
What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.
Obviously with your experiences as a former NSA officer, this Snowden affair keeps getting wider in scope. Tell us the extent of spying and please refer to this article in the Guardian which was pretty much released and taken off for whatever reasons that had; some interesting details of behind the extent of spying program.
Well, the espionage conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) is extensive and what the Guardian article pointed to was too declassified documents which I provided them, one from the NSA, one referring to the NSA that was the National Reconnaissance Office; formerly classified top secret document.
In those documents, it basically states that NSA has third party allies. Now, we know who the second parties are, that is the English speaking club of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The third parties on the other hand are mostly European NATO countries; many of whom have been complaining about NSA espionage when in fact they have been for many decades partners of the NSA in collecting this signals intelligence and providing it to the National security Agency.
So, [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel and [French President] François Hollande were crying crocodile tears when they were complaining about the NSA intercepting of communications of their citizens. They have been part and parcel of that interception capability for a long time.
Just recently, I believe it was [French newspaper] Le Monde, now reported that the French government has a very similar system like the NSA metadata collection system that it uses to collect the information on its own citizens. Much of that information has provided under the third party grim with NSA to the national Security Agency.
We have the Guardian, this reported that pretty much 38 embassies reportedly have been at missions which it says it refers as targets in terms of the lists that have come out. The... cover inside knowledge of some global issues, policy disagreements or agreements and also other schisms as they say between member states and also military issues.
So, is not there a chance that perhaps individually these politicians were spied on without their knowledge and then of course the US to use it in terms of any maneuvers they want to have, in terms of talks, etc.?
Well, the intelligence business is a very murky game, is not it? We have leaders of countries that know a little bit about what their intelligence agencies do and others and then we have leaders that know very little about what their agencies are up to.
For example, the former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange who passed away few years ago; when he was prime minister, he said he did not even know what his equipped one of the NSA was doing. He was not even briefed on their mission. So, sometimes it comes as a shock to some leaders, sometimes it does not.
Now, one thing about the embassy bugging; I have believed this from the very beginning that Edward Snowden, probably when he was attached to the US mission in Geneva was working for a very little known joint NSA-CIA operation called this Special Collection Service. It is headquartered in Beltsville, Maryland and NSA is known internally as F6.
This operation does that for living. It goes into embassies and bugs embassies, puts devices everywhere and that was probably when he was doing, when he was with the US mission in Geneva. This has been written about before as well; A Guinean Mark Frost who worked for the Canadian equipped one to the NSA, [Communications Security Establishment Canada] the CSEC, wrote a book about this. His co-author has been a press secretary for [former Canadian] Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
So, this information came out of course nearly 90s. The Special Collection Service does bug embassies and that obviously is what Edward Snowden knows about. He knows awfully a lot about these operations and that is why the US took this extraordinary move to force down the Bolivian President Evo Morales’ aircraft.
It forced it to land in Vienna, tried to search the flight, because the high stakes involved; these are the crowned Jews at the US Intelligence Community and people whether it is President [Barack] Obama or President [George W.] Bush before him; we have already heard Bush defended PRISM, he said since he started it. It does not matter what party, the presidents are member of ..; they want to protect the crown Jews at the US Intelligence Community.
We can argue whether these procedures are acceptable or not, but they in fact represent some of the closest secrets of the US Intelligence Community.
I would like to get you r reaction, Wayne Madsen, of the US president, not to mention [US Secretary of State] John Kerry, US president said, “I guarantee that European capitals are people who want to find out what I am eating for breakfast,” and he said that, “You know, my talking points might be something they are interested in. That is how Intelligence services operate. John Kerry thinks spying on allies is not unusual.”
They probably both are being spied on, without them knowing, but do you think the way that they have handled the reactions has not calmed the situation with in the US which is the way I would like this debate to go; because many Americans are not happy about this disclosure that Snowden has made.
This is a club. General Keith Alexander, the head of the US National Security Agency which also, he wears the hat as the head of the US Cyber Command; he has attended five meetings of the very secret of Bilderberg Group. He did not go this year outside of London, but he was at the previous five.
Now, what is he discussing with these individuals who represent the industry and political leadership of Western Europe in North America? He is not talking about the weather. He is talking about NSA capability.
So, for these European leaders to claim this is all a great shock, they have gotten a briefing on this from the very top guy at the NSA. This is why all the Bilderberg meetings are off the record, because we can know what our head of our NSA is telling people in the way of information and intelligence.
If you look at the NSA, it says no foreign dissemination. That applies to everybody but the Director of NSA, General Alexander apparently. So, the issue with the email is yes; if you are going to twitter something or you want to put it out on the web; yeas, anybody can read it, but this issue goes into the nature of what NSA is doing with the Internet service providers and the other providers of services, of the Facebook, the Google, etc., because one of the slides that the Guardian revealed, what the Glenn Greenwald’s article was on PRISM and the slide mentioned direct access to the servers of these Internet service providers.
That is very key, because if you are encrypting your email or your other transactions, you can get the decrypted part of that message by hacking in or getting in to the service of these providers. Otherwise it is going over the Internet; it is embedded in packets you are not going to get it, because it is encrypted.
That is why the direct access slide is very very critical to this entire debate and that is why Greenwald and the Guardian were attacked, because they hit the third veil, when they showed that slide that stated direct access was capable between NSA and the servers of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc.
This is just part of the game, this extensive surveillance that includes spying, surveillance that does the good for the National Security, but spying that goes as far as even tapping into servers’ fiber optic, etc.
Do we have a case over here which the US is..., I am asking this question, because yesterday was Independence Day and I am wondering, do Americans have a lot to be independent about, when it comes to their privacy?
Well, one part of the game has changed awfully a lot. When I was at the NSA, we had a governing instruction or regulation called the United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18, USSID 18; that basically enforced the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was passed after all the abuses of [former US Presidents] [Richard] Nixon and [Lyndon] Johnson and [former Director of FBI] J. Edgar Hoover, it imposed these restriction, when the NSA could or cold not do.
Foreign communications were always fair game for NSA; they continued to that even with the FISA Court, but after the FISA Court was implemented, the rules were, if any US person’s communication was intercepted; US person is an individual, or a green card holder in the United States or even a US corporation, that message, that traffic was to be minimized, in another words it was to be taken out of the citizen, it was to be thrown away, unless some many controversial court order was needed to be produced to some of the ...FBI, it was thrown away, discarded.
That is not happening today; USSID 18 has been overwritten by all this secret Patriot Act. We have too senators, top diplomats; there is a secret annex to the Patriot Act. USSID 18, the FISA laws originally existed, is dead and that is what changed the game awfully a lot and that is why the people in NSA, not just Snowden but other individuals like [NSA whistle blowers] Tom Drake, Kirk Wiebe and Bill Binney and Ross Tice, all came forward and said this procedure being conducted by the NSA is illegal under our constitution and they were supported by Justice Department Prosecutor named Tom Tam.
Many of these people were harassed, indicted even by the FBI for coming forward to say that the NSA is breaking the law and they are breaking the law as I speak right now.
It appears any way that the US reputation is damaged, at least across the Atlantic with the EU, who has come out, condemning US, wanting an answer. Is that the case?
US reputation is damaged but also Angel Merkel’s reputation is damaged. Even though the Guardian took off the article that I was quoted in, developed, put it back up on line with my quotations; so she is facing a huge problem right now amongst the German people; her re-election is by no means an assured thing at this point of time.