US, UK hammered secret deal on all Britons’ private data in last days of Blair

21 November 2013 — RT

NSA ‘reserved the right’ to analyze unwitting UK citizens’ ‘pattern of life’

The US National Security Agency has subverted an international agreement in order to save and examine the phone, internet, and other communication records of UK citizens not suspected of any wrongdoing, according to a new report.

The Guardian report is based on a 2007 NSA memo revealing that the shadowy agency specifically sought to “unmask” the personal data that British residents wanted to keep private. Where American and British lawmakers have repeatedly claimed that the far-reaching clandestine programs first revealed in June were designed to combat terrorism, Wednesday’s leak makes those claims problematic and point to a loose interpretation of what data can be collected to that end. 

It indicates that the NSA was previously forced to remove the cell phone numbers, fax numbers, emails, and IP addresses caught in its clandestine efforts. Those restrictions loosened in 2007 after an agreement between the US and UK no longer required the agency to “minimize” its data records. 

The records are also being made available to US intelligence and military agencies other than the NSA. 

The documents were published in a collaborative effort by the Guardian and Channel 4 News in Britain. It is the latest report assembled from classified documents released to the press by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who has fled the US and is now living under temporary asylum in Russia. His disclosures have sparked international anger, with US allies condemning the surveillance. 

Personal information belonging to UK residents were “incidentally collected” by the dragnet, indicating the individuals in question were not thought to have committed any crime, much less terrorism, nor were they the actual targets of the surveillance. 

NSA leaders have admitted that intelligence analysts will collect information within “three hops” from the surveillance target, meaning they investigate the communications of a friend of a friend of a friend from that person. If starting its focus on one Facebook user this strategy, according to research conducted by the Guardian, could yield information for more than five million people. 

The memo in question shows the NSA has been using the data collected from the UK for so-called “pattern of life” or “contact-chaining” inquiries, which are connected to the “three hops” examinations. 

The link between the Americans and the British intelligence agencies constitutes the main partnership of the “Five Eyes” data-sharing alliance. Also involved are Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; however it seems to have always been an understanding that the nations will not collect information on the public of any other. 

The NSA document describes the Five Eyes agreement as one that “has evolved to include a common understanding that both governments will not target each other’s citizens/persons.” 

Yet a separate NSA memo from 2005 outlines a proposed classified procedure that would give the agency access to another Five Eye nation, even when that partner has explicitly denied the US access. 

This document, as viewed by the Guardian, plainly states to intelligence analysts that the targeted Five Eye nation must not be able to identify an American surveillance effort or the procedure that would allow it. A stipulation in the document notes that government “reserved the right” to monitor other Five Eyes’ citizens “when it is in the best interests of each nation.” 

“Therefore,” it continues, “under certain circumstances, it may be advisable and allowable to target second party persons and secondary party communications systems unilaterally, when it is in the best interests of the US and necessary for US national security.”

One thought on “US, UK hammered secret deal on all Britons’ private data in last days of Blair

  1. Tad Davison says:

    I would say on balance, that the routine prying into the personal lives and communications of law-abiding people, is likely to make enemies out of friends, and only an absolutely paranoid despotic lunatic does that.

    There was a time when even as a British citizen, I would have readily answered a call to arms to defend the US homeland, had they been faced with a threat to their peace and security. Not so now – they can get stuffed!

    The label ‘The Great Satan’ that I once dismissed, looks ever more apt. But that doesn’t apply to the ordinary US citizen, it applies to the pyramid of corruption that is the US establishment. The greatest enemy of the people of the United States are those who surreptitiously contrive to control them for their own gain. They are not above taking the innocent lives of their own countrymen, if it serves their push to maximise their profits and personal wealth. The members of the ‘secret societies’ Kennedy denounced in 1961, which may have brought about his assassination in 1963.

    As we know, there is already a huge and growing body of evidence that places grave doubts upon so-called ‘acts of terrorism’ perpetrated against the US in the past. That those same acts were in some way deliberately contrived, looks more credible. Designed to bring sympathy to the US, and to place the focus of resentment upon those accused of the crime, to give an excuse to invade a sovereign territory for gain, and to simultaneously clamp down on the freedom of the US citizen at home. That isn’t without historical precedent.

    Sooner or later, the US will be found out.

    I just hope the eavesdroppers are listening now, as the ones at the lower end of the spectrum who are the information gatherers, are perhaps, just unwitting instruments of the greater fraud upon the American people whom they mistakenly believe they are seeking to protect by obediently carrying out the work.

    Thankfully, the internet has so far escaped the regulated and controlled meddling of the various states who have a hidden agenda. We should treat with the utmost suspicion, those who would seek to control it. Be my guest and take a look to see where the finger of suspicion ultimately points. That is very telling. The ones with the most to hide, are not innocent civilians like myself, they are the ones who will try any tactic and employ any law, to stop us communicating freely, and getting at the truth.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge UK


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