How the NSA fakes out the courts

Ars TechnicaIn order to obtain a copy of the NSA's main XKeyscore software, whose existence was first revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013, Germany's domestic intelligence agency agreed to hand over metadata of German citizens it spies on. According to documents seen by the German newspaper Die Zeit, after 18 months of negotiations the US and Germany signed an agreement that would allow the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamtes für Verfassungsschutz—BfV) to obtain a copy of the NSA's most important program, and to adopt it for the analysis of data gathered in Germany. This was a lower level of access compared to the non-US "Five Eyes" nations—the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand—which had direct access to the main XKeyscore system. In return for the software, the BfV would "to the maximum extent possible share all data relevant to NSA's mission."

In other words, NSA made a deal with German intelligence to provide software in return for access to data retrieved using that software. And I am pretty sure that software isn't being provided to Germany on a CD; instead, it sounds like they are adding German intelligence sources to the existing NSA installation. Meaning they have access to US data just like we get access to German data. And this is hardly news; the NSA has been making intelligence data deals with foreign governments for decades to get around constitutional limits on spying on Americans. Because if the NSA wants to spy on an American and for some reason a court objects (they never do, but hypothetically) the NSA can simply ask German intelligence to run their queries and share the results; German intelligence has different limitations.

They've been doing this all the way back to the Clinton administration.

This entry was published Sun Sep 13 09:58:13 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2015-09-13 09:58:13.0. [Tweet]

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