• September 2013
    M T W T F S S
    « Aug   Oct »
  • Pages

  • Marginalia

  • Accumulations

With Snowden’s Assistance, Fantástico on NSA PowerPoint


NSA monitored telephones and e-mails of President Dilma

Source: O Globo |  Portal ClippingMP.

ABC News carried the same story last evening, in roughly the same time slot, and based on the same single witness, this Greenwald fellow. According to ABC, the Brazilians are thinking of boycotting a state dinner scheduled for later this year.

The story provides an interesting glimpse of the industrial applications of Social Network Analysis. Would it not be possible to produce such an SNA of political ties using only open sources?

This is at least the second piece of investigative journalism based uncritically on Snowden aired by Fantástico. Above, from July 11.

The NSA monitored the content of phone calls, e-mails and cell phone messages of president Dilma Rousseff and an undetermined number of “key aides” in the Brazilian government.

Along with Dilma, the NSA spied on the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, — when he was still a candidate for the office — and nine members of his team. The information was revealed yesterday by [Globo network variety show] “Fantástico,” which had access to a confidential presentation produced by the NSA in June 2012

The document is one of several provided to British journalist Glenn Greenwald by Edward Snowden, a technician who worked at the agency and is currently an asylum seeked in Russa.

Last night, when he learned of the reporter, Justice Minister Eduardo Cardozo, called the espionage “a grave matter” and said that if the monitoring of Dilma and aides turns out to be true, the episode will have been a “clear violation of Brazilian sovereignty. ”

Cardozo also gave notice that he will present a formal request for explanations from the U.S. and that the episode will be presented to the UN.  — If the report is accurate, these facts should be considered extremely serious, characterizing a clear violation of Brazilian sovereignty  — the minister said.

— This is a complete violation of the standard of confidence between two members of a strategic partnership, such as the U.S. and Brazil.  Based on these facts, we will demand formal explanations from the U.S. government. The foreign ministry will summon the U.S. ambassador to explain the case and submit the case to all the appropriate forums at the UN.

The presentation in which Dilma Rousseff and Mexican presidential candidate  Enrique Peña Nieto are cited and appear in photos consists of 24 slides and contains no e-mails or telephone calls of the Brazilian head of state.

The title is  “Inteligently filtering your date: Brazil and Mexico case studies” and its classificatio indicates that it can only be ready by member states of a group the NSA calls the “five eyes’  These are: U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

In this same document, which dates from June 2012, the NSA explains in considerable detail, using diagrams, how it tapped into telephone calls, e-mails and cellular messages of the two Latin American leaders. In conclusion, its authors were congratulated for the success” of the operation.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who received the documents from Snowden and collaborated with the production of the  “Fantástico” report, the slide show makes it clear that the NSA’s first step is to identify its targets, their telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.

Next, using at least three software packages — Cimbri, Mainway and  Dishfire ( the latter is capable of finding a key word in an immense field of data)—, the agency filters the communications that merit attention. To illustrate this processing of data, the slideshow presents an image of two cell phones.

The first of these, captured during a communication between two collaborators of Mexican presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, is identified by the target’s initials EPN. The second, extracted from Peña Nieto’s personal cell, yield a revelation: the name of the person who will be named, several days later, as the government’s secretary of communications.

On this slide, the number 85.489 is visible on the top right corner. Greenwald belives the number could signifiy the total number of messages intercepted by NSA in a network centered on Peña Nieto. The hypothesis has not been proven, however.

In bringing to light the Brazilian case study, the purpose of the NSA slideshow is  “incrase our understanding of the means of communication” used by Dilma Rousseff and her key advisers. In the next slide, the agency presents, without naming names, the web of the president’s relationships and how thes individua relate to one another. In Greenwald’s view, this is a way for the U.S. to identify the principal interlocutors of the Brazilian government. Further, as the document obtained by “Fantástico” shows, the effort has borne fruit. In the conclusion to its study of the Brazilian case, NSA says it is “possible to apply these techniques successfully against significant targets, including the Brazilians aned Mexicans, who normally protect their communications by electronic means (the so-called OPSEC-savvy system).

José Eduardo Cardozo preferred not to anticipate diplomatic meaures to be taken in the case if the allegations are proven true, but he did offer a harsh criticism: “Espionage affects not just Brazil, but the sovereignty of any number of countries who may have been spied upon in a manner completely contrary to international law,” he said.

“You cannot have an indiscriminate collection of data in Brazil without a court order. I represented Brazil in Washington in meetings on this topic, where it was poposed that a protocol of understanding be draft that would protect and defend international sovereignty, but the U.S. did not accept the accord.

But the interest of the NSA in the Brazilians did not stop there. A second document revealed last night indicates that the U.S. continues to have doubts about its evaluation of Brazil. In a PowerPoint slide titled “Identifying Challenges for the Future” passed to Greenwald by Snowden, the NSA asks: “Friends, enemies or obstacles?”

Under that heading is a ranked list comprising Egypt, India, Iran, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Turkey and Yemen. Classified  “FOUO” (“for official use only”) the presentation has 18 slides and is intended to inspire the agency to reflect on the period 2014-2019. The document is also classified as confidential and available only to the “five eyes’ countries with which NSA says it “regularly exchanges information.” The third and final document provided to  “Fantástico by Greenwald reveals that at the largest security agency in the world, a team is responsible for monitoring commercial matter in 13 European nations and in “strategic partners ” the world over. Among the 151 members of this list are Brazil, México, Japan, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

According to this document, these are countries who share in common the fact that they are important to the U.S. economy and “defense matters.” This special division of the NSA is also said to provide “intelligence on military and intel activities” of these countries.

Greetings from Siberia

During the production of this piece, Fantástico chatted with Snowden using a communicator protected against interception. Hiding somewhere in Russian territory, he says that the local government has demanded he not comment on the contents of the papers, but said he is following their repercussions throughout the world, including in Brazil.

Fantástico: How can we evaluate the document and know whether these operations were carried out rather than reflecting mere plans?”

“It is very clear, from these papers, that the espionage was already conducted, because their are not discussing this as something they are merely planning. They are celebrating the succcess of the espionage operation,” afirmou Glenn.