Friday, July 4, 2014

July Fourth

In the July 10th issue of the New York Review Of Books, Sue Halpern reviews No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald 
"Within days of the publication of No Place to Hide by the journalist Glenn Greenwald, a photograph began circulating on the Internet that showed National Security Agency operatives surreptitiously implanting a surveillance device on an intercepted computer. After nearly a year of revelations about the reach of the NSA, spawned by Edward Snowden’s theft of tens of thousands of classified documents, this photo nonetheless seemed to come as something of a surprise: here was the United States government appropriating and opening packages sent through the mail, secretly installing spyware, and then boxing up the goods, putting on new factory seals, and sending them on their way. It was immediate in a way that words were not.

That photo itself was part of the Snowden cache, and readers of Greenwald’s book were treated to the NSA’s own caption: “Not all SIGINT tradecraft involves accessing signals and networks from thousands of miles away,” it said.
In fact, sometimes it is very hands-on (literally!). Here’s how it works: shipments of computer network devices (servers, routers, etc.) being delivered to our targets throughout the world are intercepted. Next, they are redirected to a secret location where Tailored Access Operations/Access Operations…employees…enable the installation of beacon implants directly into our targets’ electronic devices. These devices are then re-packaged and placed back into transit to the original destination. All of this happens with the support of Intelligence Community partners and the technical wizards in [Tailored Access Operations]."