Wednesday, July 31, 2013

 

Leaked docs give new insight into NSA's searches

The UK's Guardian newspaper published details about XKeyscore, a program the National Security Agency uses to intercept and collect data.


NSA's XKeyscore: Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Dianne Feinstein question Obama administration officials about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs
Leaker Edward Snowden says NSA programs like XKeyscore have given America the ability to spy on "the vast majority of human communications."
LONDON —  Documents published by the Guardian newspaper are providing new insight into the National Security Agency's surveillance of world data, giving an over-the-shoulder look at the programs and techniques U.S. intelligence analysts use to exploit the hundreds of billions of records they gather each year.

Dozens of training slides published Wednesday divulge details about XKeyscore, one of a family of NSA programs that leaker Edward Snowden says has given America the ability to spy on "the vast majority of human communications."


Some of the slides appear to carry screenshots showing what analysts would see as they trawled the intercepted conversations, including sample search queries such as "Show me all encrypted word documents from Iran" or "Show me all the word documents that reference Osama Bin Laden."

In an indication of the program's scope, one slide says that XKeyscore has led to the capture of more than 300 terrorists. In a statement, the NSA said that figure only included captures up to the year 2008, and pushed back against any suggestion of illegal or arbitrary collection of data.

"These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully — to defend the nation and to protect U.S. and allied troops abroad," the statement said.


How and from where the program draws its data isn't completely clear, but one slide said XKeyscore was supported by 700 servers and 150 sites across the globe. Another slide seemed to show the program drawing data from a body codenamed SSO — an apparent reference to the NSA's Special Source Operations, which previous Guardian articles have described as capturing large numbers of communications between the United States and other countries.

The volume of data available to analysts through XKeyscore appears to be vast. The Guardian quoted one slide as saying that nearly 42 billion records had been captured by the system during a one-month period in 2012 — a rate of half a trillion records every year. So much content was being collected, the newspaper said, that it could only be stored for short periods of time — generally just a few days.

"At some sites, the amount of data we receive per day (20+ terabytes) can only be stored for as little as 24 hours," the Guardian quoted one document as saying.

In a message forwarded to The Associated Press by Guardian spokesman Gennady Kolker, journalist Glenn Greenwald said the article about XKeyscore drew on half a dozen documents supplied to him by Snowden in Hong Kong. One of them — a 32-page overview of the program — was published in its entirety, albeit with several pages redacted.

The documents are the first to have been published in the Guardian since Snowden, who remains stuck at a Moscow airport, applied for temporary asylum in Russia on July 16.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he'd be inclined to accept on condition that Snowden agreed not to hurt U.S. interests — implying that the American would have to stop leaking secrets. But Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said Wednesday that the material for the article was provided long before Snowden promised to stop leaking.

"He warned me that he had already sent to the press an array of revealing information and secret documents and, unfortunately, could not stop its publication," Kucherena was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Tags : , , ,

Share

Social

The idea behind the text.
Respect for the truth is almost the basis of all morality.
Nothing can come from nothing.



Follow

Popular Topics

Read

Well, the way they make shows is, they make one show. That show's called a pilot. Then they show that show to the people who make shows, and on the strength of that one show they decide if they're going to make more shows.

Like you, I used to think the world was this great place where everybody lived by the same standards I did, then some kid with a nail showed me I was living in his world, a world where chaos rules not order, a world where righteousness is not rewarded. That's Cesar's world, and if you're not willing to play by his rules, then you're gonna have to pay the price.

You think water moves fast? You should see ice. It moves like it has a mind. Like it knows it killed the world once and got a taste for murder. After the avalanche, it took us a week to climb out. Now, I don't know exactly when we turned on each other, but I know that seven of us survived the slide... and only five made it out. Now we took an oath, that I'm breaking now. We said we'd say it was the snow that killed the other two, but it wasn't. Nature is lethal but it doesn't hold a candle to man.

You see? It's curious. Ted did figure it out - time travel. And when we get back, we gonna tell everyone. How it's possible, how it's done, what the dangers are. But then why fifty years in the future when the spacecraft encounters a black hole does the computer call it an 'unknown entry event'? Why don't they know? If they don't know, that means we never told anyone. And if we never told anyone it means we never made it back. Hence we die down here. Just as a matter of deductive logic.