Amy Goodman and James Bamford Omit ECHELON, UKUSA Agreement from NSA Discussion (14/10/2008)
Amy Goodman and James Bamford Omit ECHELON, UKUSA Agreement from NSA Discussion
The way they’ve sort of contorted the new amendments to the act, it’s hard to tell what’s legal and what isn’t, because they’ve taken the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court largely out of the mix. And so, much of what is being done is governed by secret rules known as USSID 18, United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18, which is above top-secret. It’s top-secret code words. So what is legal, what isn’t legal, it’s very hard to tell.
And I think that’s why you really need a congressional committee to really take a look at this. What really needs to happen is a very in-depth examination of NSA post/11—actually, pre-9/11 and post-9/11, the kind that was done in the mid-1970s by Senator Frank Church, the Church Committee. I think that’s really the only way to get to the bottom of whether NSA messed up before the attacks on 9/11 and whether they’re doing things that are illegal or improper after 9/11.
Immediately following the Second World War, in 1947, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand signed a National Security pact known as the ‘Quadripartite’ or ‘United Kingdom-United States’ (UKUSA) Agreement. Its intention was to seal an intelligence bond in which a common national security objective was created. Under the terms of the agreement, the five nations carved up the earth into five spheres of influence, and each country was assigned particular signals intelligence (SIGINT) targets.
The UKUSA Agreement standardised terminology, code words, intercept handling procedures, arrangements for co-operation, sharing of information, Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) clearances and access to facilities. One important component of the agreement was the exchange of data and personnel.
The strongest alliance within the UKUSA relationship is the one between the US National Security Agency (NSA), and Britain’s Government Communi-cations Headquarters (GCHQ). The NSA operates under a 1952 presidential mandate, National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) Number 6, to eavesdrop on the world’s communications networks for intelligence and military purposes. In doing so, it has built a vast spying operation that can reach into the telecommunications systems of every country on earth. Its operations are so secret that this activity, outside the US, occurs without any legislative or judicial oversight. The most important facility in the alliance is Menwith Hill, an Air Force base in the north of England. With over two dozen radomes and a vast computer operations facility, the base has the capacity to eavesdrop on vast chunks of the communications spectrum. With the creation of Intelsat and digital telecommunications, Menwith Hill and other stations developed the capability to eavesdrop on an extensive scale on fax, telex and voice messages.
In June 1999, the US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ordered the NSA to hand over documents relating to Echelon. The NSA, for the first time in the Committee’s history, refused to do so, claiming attorney/client privilege. In May 1999, Representative Bob Barr, worried by the potential breach of constitutional privacy rights, introduced an amendment to the Fiscal 2000 Intelligence Authorization Act requiring the Director of Central Intelligence, the director of NSA and the Attorney General to submit a report outlining the legal standards being employed within project Echelon to safeguard the privacy of American citizens.
United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18:
FISA is restricted only to targeting by American agencies, leaving the British liaison officer with a major loophole. The restrictive language added to FISA left unchanged the arrangement under which the British wiretapped American suspects and then passed on the information to the NSA.
To this day Congress does not realize that the British liaison officers at the NSA are still free to use American equipment to spy on American citizens. And, in fact, they are doing just that. Congress has been kept in the dark deliberately. This is a fact, not a matter of conjecture or a conclusion based on anonymous sources.
John Loftus, Secret War Against The Jews, Pg 192. Loftus’ source is Bamford, Puzzle Palace, Pg 372.
The NSA and Domestic Espionage (Part One), (Part Two), (Part Three), (Part Four).
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