US spy agency broke encryption on UN communications, report says

Aug 25, 2013
Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, is seen on the television screens during a General Assembly vote on November 29, 2012 at UN headquarters in New York. The US National Security Agency broke the encryption securing the United Nations' internal video conferencing at its New York headquarters, German news weekly Der Spiegel reported Sunday, citing secret NSA documents.

The US National Security Agency broke the encryption securing the United Nations' internal video conferencing at its New York headquarters, German news weekly Der Spiegel reported Sunday, citing secret NSA documents.

The move provided the agency with "a dramatic improvement of data from video teleconferences and the ability to decrypt this ," the magazine quoted an NSA document as saying.

It said the NSA, which for months has been at the centre of revelations by intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, broke the encryption in the summer of 2012 and within nearly three weeks, had bumped up the number of decrypted communications from 12 to 458.

The NSA, on one occasion, also allegedly caught the Chinese secret services eavesdropping on the UN in 2011, it added, quoting an internal report.

Der Spiegel also claims that the US agency kept tabs on the European Union after it moved into new offices in New York in September 2012. Among documents provided by Snowden were plans of the EU's premises, which the NSA codenamed "Apalachee."

Earlier reports in Der Spiegel and Britain's the Guardian newspaper had detailed alleged widespread covert surveillance by the NSA of EU offices, including diplomatic missions in Washington and at the United Nations in New York, as well as at the 28-member bloc's Brussels headquarters.

The US administration has scrambled to defend spying programmes in the wake of the leaks by Snowden, a former IT contractor at the NSA.

Revelations about PRISM and other programmes by the NSA to capture and store personal information gleaned from emails, phone calls and web searches have sparked outrage in Europe.

Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia on August 1 but is wanted by Washington on espionage charges linked to his media disclosures.

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User comments : 39

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betterexists
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 25, 2013
What guarding What?
freethinking
2.5 / 5 (11) Aug 25, 2013
Just another "Phony Scandal."
It's not like they're running guns… Oops, they are.
It's not like they're using the IRS to attack enemies.. Oops, they are.
It's not like they're using the EPA as an intimidation force… Oops, they are.
It's not like they're using the DOJ to destroy adversaries… Oops they are.
It's not like they're building a secret police that bigger than the military…..
It's not like they're blaming a unknown movie producer for the killings in Libya.... Oops they are
Q-Star
3 / 5 (10) Aug 25, 2013
I'm shocked. Shocked and horrified. A spy agency breaking someone's encryption on communications. Who would have guessed that such shenanigans would be done by a spy agency? What kind of miscreants are these agencies hiring who would do such a despicable thing?

Get a grip people,,, spies spy. That is their job description. Snoop, spy, collect, assemble, and always be on the lookout for better methods to do it.

What do ya want, a spy with a reticence to gather information ANY way he could? Wouldn't be very good at his job,,,,, there is a reason they are called "SPIES"..

By the By: Now I could be wrong, but I suspect that spies have been doing this kind of stuff since O'Adam fell out of his tree. Spying on friend, foe, and sister and brother, information is power,,, that is the human condition.
Sean_W
1.3 / 5 (7) Aug 25, 2013
Only people as diseased as the NSA and the Chinese Communists would want to listen in on what those rat bat-stars have to say.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (5) Aug 25, 2013
"Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia on August 1 but is wanted by Washington on espionage charges linked to his media disclosures."

Snowden is a Russian name. He knows who the good guys are and who kisses bankster butt. Good fucking luck with the desperate flailing
Kedas
4 / 5 (4) Aug 26, 2013
Right, spies spy, but not on your own, not to change the negotiations with a partner.
That's just cold war again while pretending to be friends.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (7) Aug 26, 2013
there is a reason they are called "SPIES"

Yeh. But usually spies spy on enemies - not friends. And there are agreements in place (diplomatic immunity and such) for very good reasons.

When it turns out that what you thought were friends are really treating you like enemies then that is a revelation worth talking about. And currently it looks like the US views the entire world as enemies - not just some selected parts of it.
This does not mesh with the "defender of democracy and free world" image.

The hypocrisy of US foreign policy isn't exactly new. But this is a new level. And currently the best course of action would be to boycot the US and put it on a par with North Korea until it learns enough manners to come sit at the grown-ups table again.
alfie_null
2.3 / 5 (4) Aug 26, 2013
When it turns out that what you thought were friends are really treating you like enemies then that is a revelation worth talking about. And currently it looks like the US views the entire world as enemies - not just some selected parts of it.

"Enemies" is a mis-characterization. Anthropomorphizing nations can be misleading. Allow that the United States (or, at least part of the government) is intensely curious about everyone else.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (5) Aug 26, 2013
"Enemies" is a mis-characterization. Anthropomorphizing nations can be misleading. Allow that the United States (or, at least part of the government) is intensely curious about everyone else.

The US (NSA) categorizes nations/institutions into several levels of 'enemy' (with only the UK, New Zealand and Australia categorized at the 'friendly' level according to the paper released by Snowden).
BTW this includes the likes of germany as an 'enemy' (with the accompanying aggressive spying policies).

Not cool. I think the US might be able to save a lot of money in the future, though. Their diplomatic corps is pretty much superfluous at this point in any nation except the above mentioned three.
freethinking
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 26, 2013
One thing I forgot to add to my list....
It's not like they're posting on Physorg.......Oops, they are:
http://www.thebla...e-wrote/

.....makes you wonder why so many people who comment on Physorg are pro-Obama....
freethinking
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 26, 2013
Only the evil, only the tyrants and want to be tyrants consider those who want freedom, justice, and liberty for all to be terrorists.

http://radio.foxn...sts.html

Q-Star
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 26, 2013
Right, spies spy, but not on your own, not to change the negotiations with a partner.
That's just cold war again while pretending to be friends.


If ya read the history of diplomacy and state relations, ya would know that it is part and parcel of negotiating with friends and foes alike. And has been in all of recorded history.

It doesn't matter if the entity is a "partner" or friend, "knowing" what they know, and what they think, and what they may do is always advantageous. And ALWAYS sought. Nations do it (even friendly nations), businesses do it, the person on the street will do, the more ya know, the more ya can obtain in any transaction. That's not rocket surgery or brain science. That is the human condition. And always has been.

There is nothing new or shocking here. It patently obvious, patently rational, and patently normal in human interactions.
Shakescene21
1.3 / 5 (6) Aug 26, 2013
@Antialias -- Do you honestly believe that Germany isn't spying on the US? The German government is not that negligent in its responsibilities.
The German government operates intelligence gathering networks across the globe, and I'm sure Germany has covert agents gathering secret data. The main difference is that the Germans are probably more careful and efficient than Americans.
Regarding Snowden's memo which alleges that Germany is a US enemy and British are friends, this is obviously misinterpreted or wrong. If the memo is genuine it probably refers to the level of collaboration between intelligence agencies of various countries.
_ilbud
3 / 5 (4) Aug 26, 2013
It's always amusing to see what the effect of so much low grade propaganda is on the naturally frightened WASP mind. The core problem is that the U.S. are the baddies and the mental gymnastics required to pretend otherwise is enough to sprain any brain, never mind one pre conditioned to fear.
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 26, 2013
Do you honestly believe that Germany isn't spying on the US?

Not to the extent of bugging Obama's office - no.

I'm certain gemany aren't the goddy-two-shoes of the world. But that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. That country X also does something doesn't make it any more right. And ALL countries should take a good, hard look at the mess their secret services are getting them into. But that NSA thing is way, way, WAY out of proportion.

Regarding Snowden's memo which alleges that Germany is a US enemy and British are friends, this is obviously misinterpreted or wrong.

I'm not entirely shure by what twist of logic one could interpret fully formulated attack plans on one's information and energy infrastructure as 'friendly'. Snowdens releases detailed that the NSA has such plans regarding 'enemy' nations (including germany). That seems to me pretty hard to 'misinterpret'. That's pretty fucking unfriendly if you ask me.
Shakescene21
1 / 5 (6) Aug 26, 2013
"I'm not entirely shure by what twist of logic one could interpret fully formulated attack plans on one's information and energy infrastructure as 'friendly'. Snowdens releases detailed that the NSA has such plans regarding 'enemy' nations (including germany). "

@antialias -- Before you get a Herzinfarkt over this, you should wait and see these alleged "fully formulated attack plans" on Germany's infrastructure. Snowden is poorly educated clown and a liar as well, so you would do well to focus on the scientific issues you understand well and wait for the facts from Snowden.
kochevnik
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 26, 2013
@Snakescene21 Snowden is poorly educated clown and a liar as well, so you would do well to focus on the scientific issues you understand well and wait for the facts from Snowden.
That coming from an agency which does NOTHING but lie? Your government has lost all credibility. And now trying to start another war along Russia's borders? Your words are the kind which come from a duplicitous bureaucratic shill who would send Paul Revere to Guantanamo on terrorism charges
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 27, 2013
Snowden is poorly educated clown and a liar as well

He's an IT professional. Hired by the NSA after tests for ability. So he's far from 'poorly educated' or a 'clown' (whatever that derogatory word may mean in your particular fantasy world).
so you would do well to focus on the scientific issues you understand well and wait for the facts from Snowden.

The papers he released aren't written by him. If they were then the NSA would have no trouble denying the whole thing and discounting it as some conspiracy theorist going loony.

I can find no angle under which to see these things favorably (and I'm prone to excuse most anyone's mistakes). the US is an enemy. Plain and simple. They say that cyberattacks are an act of war. In that case the US has already, de facto, declared war on the whole world - 'allies' and enemies alike.

The fantasy of the role of the US as the 'beacon of freedom' is over. It's just a different flavor of Russia or China now.
freethinking
2 / 5 (8) Aug 27, 2013
I agree that: the role of the US as the 'beacon of freedom' is over. It's just a different flavor of Russia or China now.

But I do believe it can be restored if we throw out every Progressive, remove the Progressives from the Educational System, remove the Progressives that have infected and have taken over the media.

For America to once again to be a beacon to the world, we need to elect conservatives, we need to call loud and clear the hypocrisy and the hate of the Progressives. We need to restore and strengthen the 1'st, 2'nd and 4'th amendments. We need protection for religion to trump special rights for sexual deviants.
freethinking
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 27, 2013
I agree with Koch and ANT that: (the US) government has lost all credibility.
When you have Obama being protected by the media (the hardest question they dare ask him is does he want ice in his drink), and those who dare question anything from him get investigated by the DOJ, get audited by the IRS,
Where Obama and the Democrats uses the IRS to silence and terrify his opposition
Where Obama and the Democrats sells guns to drug lords
Where Obama and the Democrats blames unknown movie maker of an unknown movie for a terrorist actions, then has the unknown movie maker arrested.
Where Obama and the Democrats take the side of a violent punk because he the punk was shot by a 1/2 white man.

Anyone who voted for a Democrat the late 6 years, is responsible for the loss of American Freedom, and Loss of American credibility.
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 27, 2013
Where Obama and the Democrats

You might want to rethink that line of argument.
If I may jog your memory a bit: Not so long ago (i.e. under the last republican president(s)) it was considered 'unamerican' to question anything the president said or did to the point of persecution - which (at least at the moment) is not a threat the Obama administration levels at its detractors.

No matter that the current administration is evil - they are, compared to their predecessors, a much milder form of evil.
Shakescene21
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 27, 2013

"The fantasy of the role of the US as the 'beacon of freedom' is over. It's just a different flavor of Russia or China now."

I wish that were true, but the USA still thinks it needs to squander its blood and treasure to defend the human rights of non-Americans. Who is going to intervene to stop the Syrian Government from gas poisoning its opponents? It won't be Russia or China, and definitely won't be Germany. The world expects America to do the heavy lifting in Syria, and we'll do it because "its the right thing to do". Germany knows that the smart thing to do is to hold back and let the American chumps squander billions of dollars, risk hundreds of lives, and take the inevitable blame.
freethinking
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 27, 2013
ant, you are very seriously wrong....perhaps you fell for Obama's redefining history....

No clown was ever run out of town for wearing a Bush mask..... but wear an Obama mask....
A movie was made where Bush was killed (very Inappropriate)
Marches galore against Iraq, Afghanistan under Bush.....yet once Obama came in....news of these wars and the massive casualties (actually higher under Obama) never were broadcast.

DOJ went after reporters under Bush.... hardly....
IRS was not used against Progressive groups.... or anti war groups....

Sorry ant, you must be reading Progressive revised history again....

AND if it were true, then YOUR PROGRESSIVE President, and you and all Progressives are nothing more than hypocrite and a liars, for you ALL said he would be different.

Only tyrants and want to be tyrants consider those who love freedom, the constitution, the rule of law, terrorists.
Claudius
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 27, 2013

"The fantasy of the role of the US as the 'beacon of freedom' is over. It's just a different flavor of Russia or China now."

I wish that were true, but the USA still thinks it needs to squander its blood and treasure to defend the human rights of non-Americans.


Starting unjustified wars of aggression, targeting civilians. Yes that sounds like defending human rights to me.

The USA can't even defend the rights of its own citizens. Not when the President can target any American for assassination, indefinitely detain and torture without feeling the need to explain or justify, much less any due process.

Mental gymnastics indeed, to try to maintain the USA is in any way interested in human rights. It would be a great joke, if it weren't so sad.
Claudius
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 27, 2013
One thing I forgot to add to my list....
It's not like they're posting on Physorg.......Oops, they are:
http://www.thebla...e-wrote/



It would be interesting to try to identify who is commenting here on salary from some agency such as the NSA or CIA. I would think those who defend the USA as protectors of freedom, democracy and human rights would be right up there at the top of the list.
Claudius
1 / 5 (6) Aug 27, 2013
And trying to characterize this as a progressive issue is just a smokescreen. The "conservatives" are just as dirty on this one as the progressives. It is a false dichotomy. Without any doubt this is disinfo / cointel.
Shakescene21
1 / 5 (4) Aug 27, 2013
"He (Snowden) is an IT professional. Hired by the NSA after tests for ability. So he's far from 'poorly educated' or a 'clown'..."

Snowden has repeatedly lied (or mislead) about his education and his experience. I don't know about his ability, but he was originally hired by NSA as a security guard. Most of his access to top secret data ocurred while he was a private contractor.

Snowden was a high-school dropout from Arundel High School in Maryland, the same school I graduated from decades earlier. (His admirers claim he was too brilliant for high school but in reality he had divorced parents who didn't control him.) He claims he attended my alma mater, the University of Maryland, but in reality he took one class from our adult-education wing and didn't even finish that class. Snowden's resume claims he attended Johns Hopkins, but actually he only took classes from a for-profit organization that rented classrooms from Johns Hopkins. He should have never been hired.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Aug 27, 2013
Snowden has repeatedly lied (or mislead) about his education and his experience. I don't know about his ability, but he was originally hired by NSA as a security guard.

According to newsoutlets he was a Sysadmin and spent some years studying computer science at the university (which isn't the easiest course to take at a university).
A guard would hardly have had access (let alone passwords) for computers with sensitive information.
Then he was a technician at the CIA and IT security expert there. You can't really lie about an ability like that because - unlike management or other 'soft skill' professions - you actually have to DO stuff that works.

That we got a smear campaign after the releases is no wonder (and you fell for it hook, line and sinker). Remember Manning? Same story.
Shakescene21
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 27, 2013
One of Snowden's most infuriating lies is his claim that he "was authorized to see the records of millions of Americans". The truth is that he was a system administrator and was not authorized to read information on a single person. Access to Top Secret records is only on a need-to-know basis, and in this data base there was the additional requirement that a special secret court had to approve any investigation of any person. (As I understand it from the official explanation.) Thus, access to individual records should only be available to NSA analysts after they recieved specific approval, and a system administrator like Snowden would never have been authorized to read individual records.

Snowden was no more "authorized" to read records of millions of Americans than a store clerk is authorized to steal merchandise. I noticed that Snowden's lawyer cleverly restated this to say that Snowden "had the ability to see the records of millions of Americans".
Claudius
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 27, 2013
"He (Snowden) is an IT professional. Hired by the NSA after tests for ability. So he's far from 'poorly educated' or a 'clown'..."

Snowden was a high-school dropout from Arundel High School in Maryland,


- disinfo

"Snowden's father explained that his son had missed several months of school owing to illness and, rather than return, took and passed the tests for his GED at a local community college."
- Wikipedia

he only took classes from a for-profit organization that rented classrooms from Johns Hopkins.


- More disinfo.

"Snowden worked online toward a Master's Degree at the University of Liverpool in 2011."
- Wikipedia

Don't you need a bachelor's degree to work toward a masters?

He should have never been hired.


Well, he was. You need to be pretty highly qualified for that kind of job, I understand. Lucky for us that he was.

By the way, how much is the NSA/CIA paying you to be a disinfo agent?
Claudius
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 27, 2013
Snowden is a Russian name.


"Snowden Name Meaning
English: habitational name from Snowden, a place in West Yorkshire named from Old English snaw 'snow' + dun 'hill', i.e. a hill where snow lies long. "

http://www.ancest...=snowden

We should try to be more careful with our facts here. The smear tactics are just everywhere. Sign of desperation.
Shakescene21
1 / 5 (3) Aug 27, 2013
@Claudius -- Snowden duped you pretty easily, probably because you want to believe it.

Regarding Arundel High School, Snowden dropped out before his JUNIOR year. If the kid was really brilliant he could have easily made up the lost time from when his parents let him skip school because he was "sick". Arundel is a fairly ordinary public school, not that competitive. He apparently took some make-up classes at Anne Arundel Community College, but according to the Washington Post he didn't finish them either. I'll take his Dad's word that he got a GED somewhere, but I don't think AACC is in that business.
He was able to take on-line master's degree programs from University of Liverpool, without any bachelor's degree. He apparently dropped out of that program like he dropped out of everything else. His misleading resume that implies that he attended University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins is worse than lying.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (3) Aug 27, 2013
Snowden is a Russian name.


"Snowden Name Meaning
English: habitational name from Snowden, a place in West Yorkshire named from Old English snaw 'snow' + dun 'hill', i.e. a hill where snow lies long. "

http://www.ancest...=snowden

We should try to be more careful with our facts here. The smear tactics are just everywhere. Sign of desperation.

If you were Russian you might know about Snowden, Leonard Nimoy being from Ukraine, Leonardo DiCaprio being Ukrainian, Milla Jovovich being Serbian while claiming to be Ukrainian because you were bombing her country at the time, and Joan d'Arc being Serbian not French and moreover being played by Milla Jovovich!
Claudius
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 27, 2013
Snowden's résumé, which is not public and was described to The Times, suggests that the 30-year-old whistleblower/leaker "had transformed himself into the kind of cybersecurity expert the N.S.A. is desperate to recruit," according to The Times.

Around 2007 he became a CIA technician operating under cover as a "diplomatic attaché" in Geneva.

Snowden told Internet forums that he got "six months of classified technical training" and served as "technical adviser to 3rd countries across the region," (which probably refers to Europe).

In 2010 he moved to Japan to work for Dell as a NSA contractor. He supervised computer system upgrades for the spy agency in Tokyo before becoming a "cyberstrategist," an "expert in cyber counterintelligence" at several locations in the U.S., and then handling the company's "Windows infrastructure" in the Pacific.

In April Snowden left Dell to work at Booz Allen.

http://www.busine...k-2013-7

(cont)

Claudius
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 27, 2013
So according to Business Insider, Snowden's resume is "not public." Since the content of his resume is unknown, how can he be accused of lying? Apparently, there was some concern about the resume, but those concerns were satisfied. Doesn't sound like a poorly educated clown to me.

This is similar to Lee Harvey Oswald's career, in which we now know he worked for both the CIA and the FBI. Yet he was smeared as a loser.
freethinking
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 27, 2013
Hey, which of the Obama/Progressive supporter is on the payroll of Cass Sunstein?
http://www.thebla...e-wrote/

Perhaps Snowden could/should reveal that information? My guess it would be the ones that have the most sockpuppets.
It would also be nice to know which members of the News Media is also being paid off directly by Obama?
JohnGee
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 27, 2013
We don't answer to Obama. We get our checks directly from Satan. Hail Satan!
Claudius
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 27, 2013
If you were Russian you might know about Snowden, Leonard Nimoy being from Ukraine, Leonardo DiCaprio being Ukrainian, Milla Jovovich being Serbian while claiming to be Ukrainian because you were bombing her country at the time, and Joan d'Arc being Serbian not French and moreover being played by Milla Jovovich!


For all I know, Snowden is of 100% Russian ancestry. But the name is English. There is even a title of nobility for it:

"Earl of Snowdon is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom."

"Philip Snowden, 1st Viscount Snowden"

"Duke of Edinburgh...The subsidiary titles of the dukedom were Baron of Snowdon, in the County of Caernarvon"

-Wikipedia

I wonder, if he had been given asylum in China, that there would be those who would claim his name was Chinese. Like the recent "Som Ting Wong."
Shakescene21
1 / 5 (3) Aug 27, 2013
I misquoted Snowden's remark that he had authority to access any American's file in his data base. His actual statement was even more false, according to Slate's quote from the Guardian interview:

"I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities [sic] to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal email," he says in a video interview with the paper.

He's a liar and a turd. If he ever abused his position as a computer administrator to illegally arrange a wiretap, even as a "joke" or an ego trip, he would surely be facing jail time. But he's in enough trouble already that this is a moot point, legally-speaking.