Thursday, October 24, 2013

Germany, France united in anger over US spying accusations! What about us? Our prime minister is badly dented in scandals and scams.Most of the politicians, policy makers,diplomats, executives stand badly involved in money laundering.Hence, these gentlemen and ladies do not deserve to lead India.Their foreign tour has single agenda just to sell off India in US interest.That`s all.

Germany, France united in anger over US spying accusations! What about us?

Our prime minister is badly dented in scandals and scams.Most of the politicians, policy makers,diplomats, executives stand badly involved in money laundering.Hence, these gentlemen and ladies do not deserve to lead India.Their foreign tour has single agenda just to sell off India in US interest.That`s all.

Palash Biswas

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)'s hacking of the e-mail account of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon drew strong criticism from its Foreign Ministry, and made Mexico the latest in the growing list of nations, which includes India, that were targets of covert U.S. surveillance.

  • In the overall list of countries spied on by NSA programs, India stands at fifth place, with billions of pieces of information plucked from its telephone and internet networks just in 30 days. File Photo: AP

Mr Prime minister! What is you stand on US spying against India and Indian citizens?

Among the BRICS group of emerging nations, which featured quite high on the list of countries targeted by the secret surveillance programs of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) for collecting telephone data and internet records, India was the number one target of snooping by the American agency.

Germany, France united in anger over US spying accusations!

What about us?

Our rulers do everything in accordance with Washington dictate.

We opted for biometric digital citizenship by passing the parliament and allowed US spying all the way.

The ministry configuration as well as opposition and  the next government options are finalised in Washington.

We,the citizens of the democratic republic have to endorse a readymade mandate thrust upon us by the omnipotent corporate zionist imperialism.

We dare not settle bilateral diplomatic issues skipping US interests, thus we have been segregated in this geopolitics beyond repair and south asia continues to bleed.

It is our fault.

Pakistan government allowed drone killings.Goverenment of India incs and multinational companies ruling India deployed drones not only in the skies all over the untouchable geography racially discriminated, but drones roam over our metro cities.

Kolkata is under constant drone survallience since Durga Puja and VVIP security arrangement has to be ensured with drone deployment.

That`s it.

What does it mean?

How safe is the Nation?

How safe are we, the people?

Just we have to wait to happen what happens in Pakistan or elsewhere?

It must be kept in mind,governments in India has not done anything to decode the Assassination of Indian leaders Mrs Indira Gandhi,Rajiv Gandhi and ex president Zail Singh.

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This week the continuing exposés on the U.S. National Security Agency's covert surveillance programmes raised alarm among civil liberties groups and human rights advocates when a report suggested that the Agency is extensively involved in President Barack Obama's "targeted killing" programme using drone strikes.

Citing documents made available by whistleblower Edward Snowden, a report in the Washington Post on Thursday said it was the NSA's eavesdropping on e-mails that led to the killing of Hassan Ghul, an al-Qaeda associate who provided "a critical piece of intelligence that helped the CIA" find Osama bin Laden, in a drone strike in Pakistan's tribal belt in October 2012.

The NSA trawls through millions of "innocuous e-mails" such as those sent every day by spouses with updates on the situation at home, and it was in one such e-mail that the agency came across intelligence on Ghul, the Post report said.

The e-mail from Ghul's wife "about her current living conditions" was said to contain a sufficient level of detail to confirm the coordinates of their household, according to a document summarising the mission, and "This information enabled a capture/kill operation against an individual believed to be Hassan Ghul on October 1."

While the U.S. Congress has grilled the intelligence community — including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and NSA chief Keith Alexander — on several occasions since Mr. Snowden's revelations, the continuing ambiguity on guidelines followed by the NSA — in principle supplied by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court — has caused consternation among civil liberties groups.

In comments made to The Hindu, Hina Shamsi, National Security Project Director at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the Post's report underscored "how little we know about both the CIA's targeted killing programme and the uses for information collected by the NSA".

Ms. Shamsi added that it was impossible for the public to evaluate the rules that the government had set up for itself if it insisted on keeping virtually every aspect of them hidden.

"One thing we do know from credible media reports is that the targeted killing programme has killed thousands of people, including many hundreds of civilian bystanders, yet there has been virtually no transparency about who has been killed, why, and under what rules," she said.

The corporate fed economists redefining every definitions, doctoring every scale to write a virtual growth story against the social reality of an existing infinite killing fields.

Our government has  entrusted US and Israel  agencies to address our internal security challenges and we have been reduced as a subordinate partner in strategic atomic anti people global alliance led by US,Israel and Britain.

Germany has summoned the US ambassador in Berlin over claims that the US monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.

Mind you, latin american nations already took stern action against US spying as they happen to be sovereign nations.We are not.

Our prime minister is badly dented in scandals and scams.Most of the politicians, policy makers,diplomats, executives stand badly involved in money laundering.Hence, these gentlemen and ladies do not deserve to lead India.Their foreign tour has single agenda just to sell off India in US interest.That`s all.

Amusing it sounds, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said he wasn't "above the law" and was ready to be questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the coal block allocation scam.What  moral right has he to lead India,specifically abroad as his entity is doubtful.

We may not imagine such an action what if our national leaders and icons stripped naked in public in US security network. Our government treats Indian people no better than scape goats.

The Hindu reports: In the overall list of countries spied on by NSA programs, India stands at fifth place, with billions of pieces of information plucked from its telephone and internet networks just in 30 days.

According to top-secret documents provided to The Hindu by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the American agency carried out intelligence gathering activities in India using at least two major programs: the first one is Boundless Informant, a data-mining system which keeps track of how many calls and emails are collected by the security agency; and the second one is PRISM, a program which intercepts and collects actual content from the networks. While Boundless Informant was used for monitoring telephone calls and access to the internet in India, PRISM collected information about certain specific issues — not related to terrorism — through Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Apple, YouTube and several other web-based services.

Asked by The Hindu why a friendly country like India was subjected to so much surveillance by the U.S., a spokesman of the U.S. government's Office of the Director of National Intelligence said: "The U.S. government will respond through diplomatic channels to our partners and allies. While we are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity, as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations. We value our cooperation with all countries on issues of mutual concern."The DNI spokesman chose not to respond to questions about how the NSA managed to pick so much data from India — 13.5 billion pieces of information in just one month — especially from its telephone networks, and about whether it had received the cooperation of Indian telecom companies.

Though top Indian officials have been rather dismissive of the disclosures, with Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid even defending the U.S. surveillance program by saying that "it is not… actually snooping," the NSA documents obtained by The Hindu show that Boundless Informant not only keeps track of emails and calls collected by the NSA, it is also used by the agency to give its managers summaries of the intelligence it gathers worldwide, thus making it the foundation of the global surveillance programs created by the world's biggest and most secretive intelligence agency.

This SIGINT (signal intelligence) system collects electronic surveillance program records or internet data (DNI) and telephone call metadata records (DNR), which is all stored in an NSA archive called GM-PLACE.

Boundless Informant summarises data records from 504 separate DNR and DNI collection sources called SIGADs, the documents show.

Collection of metadata is serious business. Several Information Technology experts The Hindu spoke to said a detailed account of an individual's private and professional life can be constructed from metadata, which is actually the record of phone number of every caller and recipient; the unique serial number of the phones involved; the time and duration of each phone call; and potentially the location of each caller and recipient at the time of the call. The same applies to e-mails and other Internet activities of an individual. The high volume of metadata taken from India — 6.2 billion in just one month — means that the U.S. agency collected information on millions of calls, messages and emails every day within India, or between India and a foreign country.

The information collected is part of a bigger surveillance system.

According to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) memo, an "Unclassified" and "For Official Use Only" document which has been obtained by The Hindu, Boundless Informant is a tool of the NSA's Global Access Operations (GAO), whose motto is "The Mission Never Sleeps," for a self-documenting SIGINT system. The tool, says the FAQs memo, "provides the ability to dynamically describe GAO's collection capabilities (through metadata record counts) with no human intervention and graphically display the information in a map view, bar chart, or simple table". The memo even describes how "by extracting information from every DNI and DNR metadata record, the tool is able to create a near real-time snapshot of GAO's collection capability at any given moment."

It's the maps, which provide snapshots of the Boundless Informant data that actually show how intensely India was targeted by the NSA. As per one "global heat map" seen by The Hindu, just in March 2013, the U.S. agency collected 6.3 billion pieces of information from the Internet network in India. Another NSA heat map shows that the American agency collected 6.2 billion pieces of information from the country's telephone networks during the same period.

Three "global heat maps," which give each country a colour code based on how extensively it was subjected to NSA surveillance, clearly show that India was one of the hottest targets for U.S. intelligence. With the colour scheme ranging from green (least subjected to surveillance) through yellow and orange to red (most surveillance), the heat maps show India in the shades of deep orange and red even as fellow BRICS nations like Brazil, Russia and China — all monitored extensively — sit in green or yellow zones.

In the first heat map, showing the aggregate of data tracked by Boundless Informant in March 2013, with 14 billion reports, Iran was the country where the largest amount of intelligence was gathered. It's followed by 13.5 billion from Pakistan. Jordan came third with 12.7 billion, Egypt fourth with 7.6 billion, and India fifth with 6.3 billion.

In the heat map that gives the overview of internet surveillance (DNI), with 6.3 billion pieces of intelligence taken from its networks, India is placed between Iran and Pakistan (both red) and China and the U.S. (both light orange). Both Brazil and Russia are coded in light green in this map, while China is shown in light orange.

In the third heat map, depicting collection of telephone records (DNR), India is shown in deep orange, with 6.2 billion pieces of information plucked from its telephone networks. In the case of DNR collection, India is the only BRICS country to share the same colour as the other highly-monitored countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Venezuela; the other four emerging nations are in the green zone in this map.

Though India raised the issue of NSA surveillance when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited New Delhi on June 24 to take part in the India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue, New Delhi seemed to have bought the official American version of the story. "We had an issue, which was discussed when Secretary Kerry was in India," Mr. Khurshid had said on July 2. "He [Mr. Kerry] made a very clear explanation that no content has been sought or received of any email… So, I think as far as we are concerned, there is no issue today," the Indian minister had said.

It's true that Boundless Informant doesn't intercept content, but the top-secret documents obtained by The Hindu show that this internal NSA tool focusses on counting and categorising the telephone calls and Internet records as well as on storing and retrieving it, which could give intelligence-gathering agents the records of calls and message times, identities, addresses and other information needed to track people or pick content.

Because this metadata is machine-readable, and therefore searchable, it makes intensive surveillance possible as the record of a person's email logs, phone records and clickstream — all the websites visited ever — are available to NSA agents, without a warrant or court order. Citizen's rights groups see it as a serious violation of people's privacy and personal data. "By accessing metadata, you can learn an awful lot about an individual. With mobile phones, location data has now been added to metadata. With the Internet, you can in addition understand someone's location in a social network in much more detail, as well as understand how that network relates to other networks. If you put all of this together, you get quite a detailed map of someone's movements, who they hang out and what drives their lives," said Anja Kovacs, project director at Internet Democracy Project, a New Delhi-based group working for online freedom of speech.

In a recent example of how metadata can be misused by the government, a couple of Associated Press reporters were subpoenaed by the U.S. Justice Department in a case involving a national security issue. The journalists were sent notices after the department procured the details of their calls with their sources, sparking a conflict between the media and the White House over press freedom.

The Hindu reports:

Nation's strategic, commercial interests may have been compromised

The public assertions made by Indian and American officials that no content was taken from India's internet and telephone networks by U.S.'s National Security Agency (NSA) and that the American surveillance programs just looked at "patterns of communication" as a counter-terrorism measure are far from the truth, if not outright misleading.

According to a top secret document disclosed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and obtained by The Hindu, the PRISM programme was deployed by the American agency to gather key information from India by tapping directly into the servers of tech giants which provide services such as email, video sharing, voice-over-IPs, online chats, file transfer and social networking services.

And, according to the PRISM document seen by The Hindu, much of the communication targeted by the NSA is unrelated to terrorism, contrary to claims of Indian and American officials.

Instead, much of the surveillance was focused on India's domestic politics and the country's strategic and commercial interests.

This is the first time it's being revealed that PRISM, which facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications as well as stored information, was used by the world's largest surveillance organization to intercept and pick content on at least three issues related to India's geopolitical and economic interests. They are: Nuclear, Space and Politics.

The top-secret NSA document, which carries the seal of "Special Source Operations", is called "A Week in the Life of PRISM reporting" and it shows "Sampling of Reporting topics from 2-8 Feb 2013". Marked with a green slug that reads "589 End product Reports'', the document carries the brand logos of companies like Gmail, Facebook, MSN, Hotmail, Yahoo!, Google, Apple, Skype, YouTube, and AOL on the top of the page.

"End products" are official reports that are distillations of the best raw intelligence.

In a section titled "India", the document clearly mentions numerous subjects about which content was picked from various service providers on the worldwide web in just one week early this year.

This document is strong evidence of the fact that NSA surveillance in India was not restricted to tracking of phone calls, text messages and email logs by Boundless Informant, an NSA tool that was deployed quite aggressively against India. "As politics, space and nuclear are mentioned as "end products" in this document, it means that emails, texts and phones of important people related to these fields were constantly monitored and intelligence was taken from them, and then the NSA prepared official reports on the basis of raw intelligence. It means, they are listening in real time to what our political leaders, bureaucrats and scientists are communicating with each other," an official with an India intelligence agency told The Hindu, speaking strictly on condition of anonymity.

But, top ministers and officials have continued to live in denial.

After it was reported by The Guardian on June 7 that the PRISM program allowed the NSA "to obtain targeted communications without having to request them from the service providers and without having to obtain individual court orders", both U.S. and Indian officials claimed that no content was being taken from the country's networks and that the programs were intended to "counter terrorism".

Kerry's dissembling

During his visit to New Delhi on June 24 to take part in the India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry denied that the American agency programmes were accessing online content. "It does not look at individual emails. It does not listen to people's telephone conversation. It is a random survey by computers of anybody's telephone, of just the numbers and not even the names…It takes those random numbers and looks whether those random numbers are connected to other numbers, that they know, by virtue of other intelligence, linked to terrorists in places where those terrorists operate," Mr. Kerry had said, stressing that only when an "adequate linkage" is formed, the authorities go to a special court to get permission to obtain further data.

Even Indian officials have been repeating these lines since the NSA activities in India were disclosed. Replying to a question in Rajya Sabha on August 26, Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said the U.S. agencies only "trace origin and destination of the data, but never try to get access to the content, which requires a court approval". "It would be a matter of concern for government if intrusive data capture has been deployed against Indian citizens or government infrastructure. Government has clearly conveyed these concerns to the U.S. government," the minister had said, adding that the violation of any Indian law relating to privacy of information of ordinary Indian citizens by surveillance programs was "unacceptable".

This "unacceptable" line might have been crossed by the NSA millions of times through the PRISM program as, according to the documents disclosed by Mr. Snowden, it is able to reach directly into the servers of the tech companies that are part of the programme and obtain data as well as perform real-time collection on targeted users. "The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other U.S. internet giants," The Guardian had said in its June 7 report, quoting from a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program.

Foreigners are fair game

Tech firms have denied that they allow unfettered access to the NSA. In strongly worded denials of participation in any government surveillance program, they have claimed they allow access to any data to the agency only when required by law.

Here lies the catch. Contrary to denials by tech firms and claims by India's communication minister that the U.S. agency "requires a court approval" to look into any online content, the NSA used the changes in U.S. surveillance law that allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms "who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US". This law, known as FISA Amendment Act or FAA, was introduced by President George W Bush and renewed under President Barack Obama in December 2012, allows for electronic surveillance on anyone who is "reasonably believed" to be outside the U.S.

No Indian citizen, government department or organisation has any legal protection from NSA surveillance. In a Joint Statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency on August 21, 2013, it was stated that "FISA is designed to allow the U.S. Government to acquire foreign intelligence while protecting the civil liberties and privacy of Americans."

So the NSA had no obstacle — technical or legal — in deploying the PRISM tool against India and Indian citizens. Armed with the FAA and with the active cooperation of the world's biggest internet brands, the NSA was able to tap specific intelligence from India about the issues which have huge implications for its strategic interests in India. While India's "nuclear" and "space" programmes have clearly significant commercial value for American firms, the surveillance of "politics" has huge implications for its foreign policy objectives in the region.

"If Americans are listening to our politicians and tapping the phones or reading mails of individuals who handle nuclear and space programmes, they have huge advantage over us in all business and diplomatic negotiations. Even before we go to the table, they know what we are going to put on it. It's not just violation of our sovereignty, it's a complete intrusion into our decision-making process," said a senior official of the Ministry of Home Affairs, who admitted in private that the reports about the scale of NSA surveillance have "rattled" the government.

The NSA document also has names of several Asian, African and Latin American countries from where the American agency picked data about subjects ranging from oil to WTO to government policies, making it clear that the NSA spying was focused on commercial and business areas, and not on its stated objective of national security. "If the American intelligence agencies and business corporations are hunting in pairs, we are bound to lose," added the Indian official.

More than anything, the targeting of India's politics and space programme by the NSA busts the myth of close strategic partnership between India and US. The document seen by The Hindu is populated with the countries that are generally seen as adversarial by America. When the PRISM program was disclosed first time in June, a U.S. official had said that information "collected under this program is among the most important and valuable intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats."

APGLENN GREENWALD: 'The U.S.'s primary tactic is to try to scare citizens of the world by constantly manipulating the threat posed in order to induce submission … This has been particularly exposed with these NSA stories.'

For some time now, people around the world have suspected their emails are being read and phone conversations tapped into by government agencies. But there never was any proof. Everybody's worst fears came true in June when Edward Snowden, a system administrator with the U.S. National Security Agency, disclosed information about mass electronic surveillance programmes being run by the agency since 2007. Glenn Greenwald broke that story for The Guardian.

Since then the American journalist, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, has done a series of hard-hitting stories that have exposed the reach of the NSA's secret surveillance operations. His expose about the NSA snooping on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's phones and email has already led to the cancellation of her state dinner at the White House.

Now collaborating with The Hindu on a series of stories about the NSA's spying activities in India, Mr. Greenwald spoke to Shobhan Saxena in the course of their meetings in hotel lobbies and at his house, which he shares with his partner David Miranda, 10 dogs and one cat, in the middle of Tijuca forest in Rio. Excerpts from the interview:

What do you think has been the most important impact of your stories?

It's that not only Americans, but people around the world, now understand the true aim of the U.S. surveillance system: collect, store, and analyse all forms of electronic communication between human beings. In other words, their goal is, by definition, to eliminate privacy globally. And this realisation has produced profound and intense debates on every continent about the value of individual privacy and internet freedom, the dangers posed by secret U.S. surveillance, and more broadly, the role the U.S. plays in the world.

Your reports have revealed the United States to be a massive surveillance state. This image is very different from the US own projection of itself as beacon of individual liberty, freedom and protector of individual privacy. How have these revelations affected the image of U.S. in the world?

In the beginning, people assumed that the primary focus (of our reports) was going to be on what the National Security Agency is doing and what the U.S. surveillance policy is, and what was going to change was how Americans thought about spying and how people in the world thought about privacy. But what actually changed the most from these stories was how people think about America generally — exactly the way you just asked.

These stories revealed a surveillance programme that functioned without the knowledge of not just people around the world but also of Americans who supposedly hold their government democratically accountable; the U.S., it is clear, does not observe any legal limits or ethical constraints in its pursuit of power. It's completely contrary to the image it presents to the world.

Is this process irreversible because both the Republicans and Democrats in the US now talk the same language on matters of national security? The way the Obama administration has reacted to the reports, it seems there is no soul searching happening in Washington.

I don't think anything is irreversible when it comes to political trends. We saw in the last three to four years how the most entrenched tyrannies in the Arab world were weakened, subverted and even uprooted. There are all kinds of examples in history of radical changes that people never anticipated. So, I don't think it's irreversible. I do think it's difficult to change it because of this bipartisan embrace by both the parties of not just the national security state in general but also America's role in the world as an empire. But one of the things you are already seeing in the five-six weeks since we have been reporting the story is a scrambling of partisan divisions. So, half of the most vocal support for the reports has come from Republicans, conservatives and libertarians; the other half has come from liberals and people on the left.

It really has scrambled the normal ideological categories in ways that's unprecedented; you also see in public opinion polls a huge increase in the number of people who are genuinely concerned about the excesses of the surveillance state, civil liberty abuses and privacy infringements. All this suggests that change is probably inevitable when it comes to these sorts of questions as a result of these disclosures.

Your partner David Miranda was detained in London under an anti-terror law. Do you think they were really after the documents he was carrying or were they trying to intimidate you?

There is no question their primary goal was intimidation. If their goal was to take what he was carrying, they could have done that by detaining him for 9 minutes. Instead, they detained him for 9 hours, the maximum allowed by law. And they not only detained him, but did so under an "anti-terrorism" law. Especially for non-U.S.-and-U.K. citizens, it's an incredibly terrorising thing to hear that you're being detained by the U.K. pursuant to a "terrorism" investigation given that country's awful human rights record over the last decade.

A U.S. official told Reuters that the purpose of David's detention was to "send a message" to those of us reporting on these stories that we should stop. It was a thuggish attack on press freedoms.

There have been attempts in the U.S. to criminalise journalism, as happened in the case of Fox News and AP? Doesn't this bother you?

They are already succeeding in creating a climate of fear against whistleblowers and sources. That's why some federal lawyers have told me that, at least for now, I shouldn't go back to the U.S. and I should not try to enter the country. It's pretty extraordinary for American lawyers to tell an American journalist that you should not try to re-enter your own country for fear that they may try and arrest you.

So you have not been to the U.S. since you published the stories?

No, I have not. I have been to Hong Kong and back to Brazil through Dubai. I am not saying that I will get arrested, but just the fact that it's even on the table for discussion and that a lot of people feel publicly free to advocate this without losing their position or their credibility, makes it a real possibility. When you talk about being charged by the US government under espionage statutes, it's not a risk that you can casually dismiss.

Why do you think the NSA has targeted the diplomatic missions and other interests of India, which has friendly ties with the U.S.?

India is an increasingly important country in virtually every realm: economic, political, diplomatic and military. The U.S. goal is to subject virtually everyone to mass surveillance, but it is not surprising that India has become an important surveillance target. Ultimately, it's a question of power: the more the US knows about what other countries are doing — not just their governments but their companies and populations — the more power the U.S. has vis-à-vis that country.

One of the most shocking revelations in your reports was the involvement of several western democracies like the U.K. and Germany in these secret surveillance programmes. It seems few countries are willing to stand up to the U.S.

I think the world can be very broadly divided, when it comes to the relationship of states with the United States, in three categories. One is states that are incredibly subservient to the U.S. and always capitulate to its dictates. The other part is the states that are generally hostile to the U.S., and then there is a majority of countries in the middle that are independent. They ally with the U.S. if their interests suggest they should and they oppose the U.S. if they have to.

Most European states are very squarely in the first camp, namely the governments that always capitulate meekly and subserviently to the dictates of the United States. So you saw lots of feigned anger and artificial indignation when these revelations first emerged because the citizens of European states were targeted and they actually care about privacy. So the governments had to pretend to be angry but what you saw was their true colours when U.S. basically told them to deny airspace rights to the plane of (Bolivian President) Evo Morales. They complied in really extreme ways by denying the airspace to the president of a sovereign country. The reason they did that is they are complicit in it: virtually all these western European governments; whereas in Latin America and to some an extent in Asia, certainly in the Middle East in some countries, there is a lot more independence. So the anger that is being expressed is to some degree artificial but it's also more genuine.

There seems to be hardly any anger against technology firms like Facebook, Skype, Google, which almost collaborated with the U.S. government in collecting information about people around the world. Now these firms claim they didn't have any choice. Did they have the option of saying 'no' to the NSA?

There are legal frameworks that require them to collaborate with the US government in its surveillance programme but they have gone beyond what's legally required, just like the telecom companies did during the Bush years. The reason is that they benefit massively in all sorts of ways from positive relationships with the government. Just the benefits they get from collaborating with the U.S. government in terms of this massive spying programme vastly outweigh what they think are the costs to their customer relation or to their goodwill in the world from doing that. One of the reasons they made that calculation was because they have been able to do all this in secret; nobody knew they were cooperating to this extent and one of the benefits of disclosing what they have been doing is that it alters the calculus for them because if people start perceiving that these companies are so complicit with the US government and their communications are not safe, they will start looking for alternatives.

The problem right now is that Facebook, Google and Skype are such mammoth entities that it's almost impossible to avoid using them. If you are a 22-year-old, you may be bothered by the fact that Facebook is invading your privacy, but when all your friends, all your peers, all your employers are on Facebook and demand you to be, it's very difficult to take a principled stand and say 'I am not going to continue to use Facebook or Skype'.

Your reports have in a way also exposed the so-called mainstream media like the New York Times and CNN, which ran more stories about Edward Snowden's personal life than the U.S. surveillance programme. Even you came under attack in some newspaper columns. Do you think the space for good journalism and investigative reporting is shrinking in global media?

Yes and no. I think it was completely predictable what they were going to do. Even before we disclosed the identity of Snowden I ran a column with the intent of predicting that they would try to distract attention from the revelations because serving the government's interest is what their function is. They are going to demonise him along with anybody, including journalists, who work with him for transparency. That's what they do in every single case. They did that to Daniel Ellsberg 30 years ago, 40 years ago. They did that to Wikileaks, Bradley Manning. We knew they are going to do that to Snowdon and eventually to me.

But it hasn't really mattered. The space for investigative reporting in some sense has diminished because of how corporatized mass media has become, but the way the internet has given rise to all sorts of alternative models the space for investigative journalism is larger than it ever was. I am a creature of the internet. I started my own blog seven years ago and even now when I work for the Guardian, I did so by demanding total editorial independence. I have my own voice that I am not worried about. My career doesn't depend upon currying favour with people in power. I was able to develop this alternative model because of the power of the internet and finding my own audience and not having to rely on these big institutions. There are lots of other people who are doing that in all different realms, in all different cultures, in all different places on the planet and it has definitely transformed journalism. There is a lot of soul-searching going on inside the New York Times and other media outlets on why they were completely frozen out of one of the biggest — if not the biggest — media scoops in many years. And the reason is that Snowden didn't trust them to report the story aggressively. He didn't trust them to resist the demands of the US government, just like Bradley Manning didn't trust the New York Times or Washington Post and went to Wikileaks. So you are going to see more of that as more stories like this end with places or people like me or with Wikileaks, rather than in the New York Times andWashington Post. Their model of journalism is increasingly going to become discredited. It's happening already.

You are working on a book on this whole affair. Is the book also about Edward Snowden?

Only a part of the book is going to be about my time, my story about how I ended up involved in this story and how I ended up with developing a relationship with Snowden as my source, how I got the documents, how I reported them, my experiences in Hong Kong and afterwards. But the bulk of the book is going to be about what the US has done in constructing this surveillance state and what the implications and dangers of it are. There are going to be new revelations as well based on the documents.

Some people have suggested that Mr. Snowden could be a false flag. Naomi Wolf even wrote an article arguing that this all could be a set-up. Did you have any doubt whatsoever about Snowden or authenticity of the documents before you sat down to write your stories?

No, to buy this theory would be so stupid that I didn't spend a second of my time and energy on it. Part of what we all do as human beings is based on intuition. You have to make judgments about who is lying to you and who is telling the truth, who is not credible, who is tricking you and who is being authentic. When I went to Hong Kong, my only goal for the first four or five days was to understand everything I possibly could about Edward Snowden and to ensure that there was nothing he was hiding and he was genuine about what he was claiming. As I had never met him before, I spent dozens and dozens of hours with him in the first week alone. Speaking face to face with him — four feet away from where he was sitting and looking into my eyes — and I had no doubt about what he said and who he was. I would rather have people who are excessively sceptical rather than excessively gullible but that particular theory deserves nothing but contempt.

You have been living in Rio de Janeiro for eight years now. How do you feel living in Brazil?

I love Brazil. That's why I have been living here for so long. Of course, I was here because of the discriminatory law in the United States that prevents my partner from emigrating there even though I could emigrate here.

But there is really a robust CIA presence in Rio de Janeiro; the station chief of Brazil and Rio is notoriously aggressive in his methods. So I assume that I have been spied on and monitored. We had an incident, when my partner's laptop disappeared from the house. But I feel as safe here as I would anywhere else. I don't feel particularly unsafe here. You are only so safe when you are carrying in your bag 10,000 top-secret documents of the most secretive agency of the most powerful government in the world. You don't have complete safety, but I don't feel unsafe either.

What a shame that the prime minister has to issue such a statement as he is supposed to lead the nation,not any damned political party.Manmohan Singh Thursday said he and "all sane persons should be worried about the politics of hate sweeping the country" and the government would take all precautions if there is any danger to the life of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.

To a query on what he thought about Rahul Gandhi saying in a speech that his grandmother Indira Gandhi and his father Rajiv Gandhi, both prime ministers, had been killed and he could be killed too, the prime minister said in a reference to the BJP: "Well, I and all sane persons should be worried about the politics of hate which is now sweeping the country."

"As regards the threat to the life of Rahul Gandhi, the government will take all possible precautions that this threat does not materialise,Â" he said answering questions on way back from his visit to Russia and China.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is aggressively campaigning for the 2014 elections and the assembly polls to five states later this year with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate.

Modi was the chief minister during the 2002 Gujarat sectarian riots that saw over 1,000 people killed, mostly Muslims, in reaction to the Godhra train burning. His government is accused of not having done enough to stop the rioting, a black mark that still sticks.

However,India is "reasonably satisfied" that China is as serious as New Delhi in ensuring peace and tranquillity on the border, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today asserting that the purpose of his two-nation tour has been served and results have been achieved.

Mr Prime minister! What is you stand on US spying against India and Indian citizens?

A day after India and China reached a comprehensive agreement to avoid tensions on the 4000-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC), Singh said there is a commitment on the part of both the countries that peace and tranquillity on the border is a pre-requisite for progress in bilateral relationship.

"So there is a recognition and on the whole there has been peace and tranquillity on the India-China border. So, I am reasonably satisfied that the Chinese leadership is as serious as we are in ensuring peace and tranquillity on the India-China border," he told reporters accompanying on his return home from a trip to Russia and China.

The Prime Minister was asked whether India stands a chance of resolving the boundary question with China given the new agreement and the experience of dealing with Pakistan.

He said both these visits have served their purpose and he was satisfied with the results that India have been able to secure both in Russia and China.

Singh said his visit to China was to follow up on the process of getting to know the new Chinese leadership better.

"China is our largest neighbour, a significant economic partner and a country with increasing global presence. While we have our differences, there are many areas, bilateral, regional and multilateral, where cooperation among us is to our mutual benefit. It is only through a process of intense engagement that we will be able to move forward in all areas," he said.

Asked about the agreement on trans-border rivers with China and what impact he expected to have in the north-east which he represents in the Rajya Sabha, Singh said because he represented the region he was emphatic that cooperation between China and India on the trans-border river system should move forward.

"I have been discussing this earlier also with the Chinese leadership. I raised this issue again and there is incremental progress. They have agreed to supply data for more number of days. Also they have recognised that the behaviour of the trans-border river system is of interest to all riparian states. So our concerns have been put on the table. I hope there will be progress in years to continue," he said.

Asked about the mention of the problem of terrorism, extremism and radicalism emanating from the region as a matter of concern and how Russia and China saw them, Singh said both in Russia and China he found growing recognition that terrorism was a threat to all the countries of the region.

They found that terrorism and extremism were both enemies of progress and that they must work together, pool intelligence and information system to deal with this menace.

Asked about the proposed liberalised visa regime with China, the Prime Minister said that is an aspiration that both the countries have and hoped that they can find a workable mechanism to realise this goal.

German and French accusations that the United States has run spying operations in their countries, including possibly bugging Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone, are likely to dominate a meeting of EU leaders starting on Thursday.

The two-day Brussels summit, called to tackle a range of social and economic issues, will now be overshadowed by debate on how to respond to the alleged espionage by Washington against two of its closest European Union allies.

For Germany the issue is particularly sensitive. Not only does the government say it has evidence the chancellor's personal phone was monitored, but the very idea of bugging dredges up memories of eavesdropping by the Stasi secret police in the former East Germany, where Merkel grew up.

Following leaks by data analyst Edward Snowden, which revealed the reach of the US National Security Agency's vast data-monitoring programmes, Washington finds itself at odds with a host of important allies, from Brazil to Saudi Arabia.

In an unusually strongly worded statement on Wednesday evening, Merkel's spokesman said the chancellor had spoken to President Barack Obama to seek clarity on the spying charges.

"She made clear that she views such practices, if proven true, as completely unacceptable and condemns them unequivocally," the statement read.

White House spokesman Jan Carney said Obama had assured Merkel that the United States "is not monitoring and will not monitor" the chancellor's communications, leaving open the possibility that it had happened in the past.

A White House official declined to say whether Merkel's phone had previously been bugged. "I'm not in a position to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity," the official said.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has summoned the US ambassador to Berlin to discuss the issue. Germany's frustration follows outrage in France since Le Monde newspaper reported the NSA had collected tens of thousands of French phone records between December 2012 and January 2013.

President Francois Hollande has made clear he plans to put the spying issue on the summit agenda, although it is not clear what that will ultimately achieve.

While Berlin and Paris are likely to find sympathy among many of the EU's 28 member states, domestic security issues are not a competence of the European Union.

The best that may be hoped for is an expression of support from leaders and calls for a full explanation from the United States. "Between friends, there must be trust. It has been shaken.

We expect answers from Americans quickly," European commissioner for financial regulation Michel Barnier, a Frenchman, said in a message on Twitter.

The furore over the alleged espionage could encourage member states to back tougher data privacy rules currently being drafted by the European Union.

The European Parliament this week approved an amended package of legislation that would overhaul EU data protection rules that date from 1995.

The new rules would restrict how data collected in Europe by firms such as Google and Facebook is shared with non-EU countries, introduce the right of EU citizens to request that their digital traces be erased, and impose fines of 100 million euros or more on rule breakers.

The United States is concerned that the regulations, if they enter into law, will raise the cost of doing business and handling data in Europe.

Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and others have lobbied hard against the proposals. Given the spying accusations, France and Germany - the two most influential countries in EU policy - may succeed in getting member states to push ahead on negotiations with the parliament to complete the data regulations and make them tougher.

That could mean an agreement is reached early next year, with the laws possibly coming into force in 2015. For the United States, this could substantially change how data privacy rules are implemented globally.

It may also complicate relations between the United States and the EU over an agreement to share a large amount of data collected via Swift, the international system used for transferring money electronically, which is based in Europe.

Among the revelations from Snowden's leaks is that the United States may have violated the Swift agreement, accessing more data than it was allowed to.

The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to suspended Swift and the spying accusations may make EU member states support a firm line, complicating the United States' ability to collect data it says is critical in combatting terrorism.

Despite the outrage in Paris and Berlin, the former head of France's secret services said the issue was being blown out of proportion and no one should be surprised by US spying. "I'm bewildered by such worrying naivite. You'd think the politicians don't read the reports they're sent - there shouldn't be any surprise," Bernard Squarcini told Le Figaro.

"The agencies know perfectly well that every country, even when they cooperate on anti-terrorism, spies on its allies. The Americans spy on us on the commercial and industrial level like we spy on them, because it's in the national interest to defend our businesses. No one is fooled."

APThe NSA selected India's U.N. office and the embassy as "location target" for infiltrating with hi-tech bugs, which might have given them access to vast quantities of Internet traffic. File photo.

They were penetrated by NSA bugs that can copy entire hard disks

Two of the most important nerve-centres of Indian diplomacy outside the country — the Permanent Mission of India at the United Nations and the embassy in Washington, DC — were targets of such sophisticated bugs implanted by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) that entire computer hard disks might have been copied by the American agency. The U.N. Mission building in New York and the embassy premises, including its annex, in Washington were on a top-secret list of countries and missions — many of them European allies of the U.S. — chosen for intensive spying.

According to a top-secret NSA document obtained by The Hindu, the NSA selected India's U.N. office and the embassy as "location target" for infiltrating their computers and telephones with hi-tech bugs, which might have given them access to vast quantities of Internet traffic, e-mails, telephone and office conversations and even official documents stored digitally.

Since the NSA revelations began in June, U.S. President Barack Obama and other top American officials have all claimed that the surveillance activities were aimed exclusively at preventing terrorist attacks. But the targeted spying of Indian diplomatic buildings could have been done for political and commercial reasons — not the core responsibility of the NSA.

According to the 2010 COMINT (communication intelligence) document about "Close Access SIGADs", the offices of Indian diplomats and high-ranking military officials stationed at these important posts were targets of four different kinds of electronic snooping devices:

Lifesaver, which facilitates imaging of the hard drive of computers

Highlands, which makes digital collection from implants

Vagrant, which collects data of open computer screens, and

Magnetic, which is a collection of digital signals

All the Indian "targets" in the list are marked with an asterisk, which, according to the document, means that they "have either been dropped or are slated to be dropped in the near future." The NSA document doesn't say when and how the bugs were implanted or how much of data was lifted from Indian offices, but all of them were on the "target" list for more than one type of data collection bugs.

Asked by The Hindu, why India's U.N. mission and embassy, which clearly pose no terrorism threat to the U.S., were targeted by the NSA, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said: "The U.S. government will respond through diplomatic channels to our partners and allies. While we are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity, as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations. We value our cooperation with all countries on issues of mutual concern."

But the spokesman didn't answer The Hindu's specific questions about why the top-secret document about spying on Indian missions shouldn't be revealed or "reproduced by this newspaper in full or part".

The document obtained by The Hindu reveals a scary scenario of breach of official secrecy of Indian missions and violation of privacy of Indian diplomats and other staff working in the three premises that were targeted.

Located between 2nd and 3rd Avenue on 43rd Street in the eastern part of Manhattan, the office of India's permanent representative to the UN was on top of the list of Indian targets. Designed by the legendary Indian architect, Charles Correa, the building with a red granite base and a double-height penthouse porch at the top has the offices of India's permanent representative, deputy permanent representative, a minister and political coordinator, six counsellors, a Colonel-rank military advisor and several other secretaries who look after different areas of India's engagement with the world.

It was this building that was the main target of all four NSA bugs: from Lifesaver, which can send to the NSA copies of everything saved on the hard drives of office computers, to Vagrant, which can pick data straight from computer screens.

Though emails sent to India's New York mission have remained unanswered so far, an Indian diplomat told The Hindu that the NSA eavesdropping might have done "extensive damage" to India's stand on many international issues ranging from UN Security Council reforms to peacekeeping operations. "If they could implant bugs inside communications equipment of European Union office here and tap into their communications cables as well, there is no reason to believe that they didn't snoop on us," said the diplomat, speaking strictly on condition of anonymity. "We are still assessing the damage. If they managed to copy our hard drives, nothing is left to imagination."

Second to the UN mission on the "target" list was the chancery building of the Indian Embassy located at 2107, Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, DC. Consisting of two adjacent buildings, one constructed in 1885 and the other in 1901, the chancery has offices of the Indian ambassador, the deputy chief of mission, several ministers and counsellors who head political, economic, defence and industry sections and three Defence Attachés representing the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy. This building, from where India maintains its diplomatic, trade and strategic ties with the U.S., was on the "target" list for three bugs that can make images of hard drives, pick digital signals and copy data of computer screens.

The third Indian building targeted by the NSA is the embassy annex located on 2536, Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, DC. The annex has three very important departments: the consular section, headed by a minister, looks after visa services; the commerce department, also headed by a minister, is involved in a broad range of trade issues and negotiations besides assisting the Indian businesses; and an office of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), represented by a counsellor, takes care of cooperation between two countries in the field of space. This building was on the NSA "target" list for Highlands and Vagrant, which collect data from implants and computer screens respectively. It's important to recall here that India's space programme was targeted by another NSA tool PRISM, which intercepts and collects actual content on internet and telephone networks (as reported by The Hindu on Tuesday).

But officials at the Indian embassy claim that the premises are safe. "Adequate measures are in place in this regard and all steps taken to safeguard the national interest," wrote an official in an email response to queries by The Hindu. Though no Indian official was willing to talk on record specifically about the NSA bugs mentioned in the top secret document, in private they admitted that it's a violation of all norms and security. "If these bugs were implanted physically on our machinery, telephones and computers, it means a serious breach in security. Who did that job for them? It's very alarming situation. Even if they accessed our data remotely, it is quite a serious matter because we try to de-bug our systems constantly," said an Indian diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The document obtained by The Hindu doesn't say if the bugs were placed physically or if the machines at the Indian Mission and embassy were targeted through the internet network, bugs similar to those aimed at Indian offices were actually "implanted" in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at missions such as that of the European Union. In a recent expose, The Guardian had revealed that the NSA infiltrated the internal computer network of several European embassies and the EU to intercept their communications. That had led to a roar of protests from European capitals.

Alarm bells have been ringing in New Delhi too since July when it was first reported that 38 embassies and diplomatic missions, including the Indian embassy in Washington, were targeted by the NSA. Reacting to the reports, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had expressed concern at the "disconcerting" reports and said that the government would take up the concern with the Americans. But at that time, the Indian government was neither aware of the fact that the UN mission in New York too was a "target" of NSA bugging nor did the officials know a thing about the nature and capabilities of the bugs used for snooping on their offices.

The Indian mission to the UN has so far not reacted to either the reports of snooping on foreign missions nor to The Hindu's queries sent to its office in New York, but the embassy officials have discussed the issue with their American counterparts. "Our government has expressed concerns over the reports of monitoring of the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. by U.S. agencies, and the Embassy in Washington D.C. has raised these concerns with the U.S. government," said an embassy official in an email repose to The Hindu's queries, without elaborating at what level and in which meeting the issue was raised or what was the response of American officials.

But the U.S. officials have already made it clear that they would not "apologise" to anyone for the bugging of foreign mission, including the Indian embassy and New York office, as shown in NSA documents. "While we're not going to comment publicly on the specifics of alleged intelligence activities, as a matter of policy we've made clear that the U.S. gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations," U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell had told reporters at his daily news conference on July 2, a day after the spying on European embassies was revealed for the first time in reports where India was just mentioned in a passing reference.

NSA harvested e-mail addresses: report

APThis Sept. 19, 2007 photo shows the National Security Agency building at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Top-secret documents on U.S. government surveillance provided by whistleblower and former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden revealed this week that the agency has been harvesting millions of e-mail addresses from contact lists of users of sites such as Facebook, Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo.

Documents that Mr. Snowden shared with The Washington Post and remarks from unnamed intelligence officials were said to show that during a single day last year, the NSA's Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 e-mail address books from Yahoo; 105,068 from Hotmail; 82,857 from Facebook; 33,697 from Gmail; and 22,881 from unspecified other providers.

Reports referenced an internal NSA PowerPoint presentation which suggested that the figures represented a "typical daily intake… [and] correspond to a rate of more than 250 million a year".

The latest exposé comes in the wake of assurances given by U.S. President Barack Obama in June that the NSA's e-mail collecting program "does not apply to U.S. citizens". In its report this week, The Post however quoted two senior U.S. intelligence officials who acknowledged that though the collection of e-mail address lists took place overseas, "it sweeps in the contacts of many Americans", possible numbering in the "millions or tens of millions".

Shawn Turner, Spokesman for the Directorate of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA, reportedly said the Agency was "focused on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets like terrorists, human traffickers and drug smugglers. We are not interested in personal information about ordinary Americans".

However, the PowerPoint presentation shared by Mr. Snowden suggested that the contact lists stored online supplied the NSA with "far richer sources of data than call records alone", and this data included telephone numbers, street addresses, and business and family information, in addition to basic names and e-mail addresses.

The Agency's surveillance programmes are in theory operated under the rules prescribed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court. However neither the FISA Court not the U.S. Congress was said to have authorised this particular data collection activity, and according to officials the programme may even be "illegal" under U.S. law.

After the revelations, the reverberations


APBrazil has meanwhile made itself a rallying point for global opposition to the long reach of U.S. electronic espionage, after it emerged that the NSA had bugged President Dilma Rousseff and her aides, and targeted the country's state-run oil company, Petrobras. File Photo

America and Britain are losing 'soft power' in the controversy over intelligence agencies

French outrage at the scale of NSA espionage is the latest in a series of aftershocks around the world triggered by Edward Snowden's revelations about U.S. and British espionage that have shaken relations with their allies and partners.

However, in France as in other cases, distinguishing short-term embarrassment from long-term damage is complicated. Much of the backlash has been rhetorical, often from countries with well-developed electronic intelligence capabilities of their own, without immediate concrete consequences for political and economic ties.

But there are prominent exceptions to the general rule, and in many ways the knock-on effects for trade and investment relationships, in Europe and beyond, are only now beginning to make themselves felt. Long-stalled European privacy legislation has been dusted off in the wake of revelations by Snowden — a former NSA contractor now living under temporary asylum in Russia — about the bulk collection of the private phone and Internet communications of European consumers, and the targeting of EU missions in New York and Washington for surveillance.

Brazilian pivot

Brazil has meanwhile made itself a rallying point for global opposition to the long reach of U.S. electronic espionage, after it emerged that the NSA had bugged President Dilma Rousseff and her aides, and targeted the country's state-run oil company, Petrobras. Ms Rousseff put off a trip to Washington and delivered a stinging denunciation of US surveillance from the podium of the U.N. General Assembly in New York recently.

While the economic and security fallout from the Snowden spy scandal has yet to crystallise fully, there is no little doubt that the U.S. and Britain's soft power, their ability to build alliances on the claim of moral leadership for example, have suffered a tangible blow.

The initial European reaction to the exposure of the U.S. Prism and the British Tempora programmes was muted.

With Prism, the NSA had a window on the everyday Internet communications of millions of users of the world's biggest email and social media service providers. The Tempora programme, meanwhile, allowed Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to tap directly into the backbone of the global Internet infrastructure, the trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables, scooping up phone and Internet data of much of the world, including millions of Europeans.

Data protection

European leaders like Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel voiced displeasure and unease, but let the matter drop. The German interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, said he accepted U.S. assurances the spy programmes would not affect ordinary citizens.

In the European parliament, however, the revelations lit a slow-burning fire. After two years on the shelf, new regulations on European data protection standards have been revived that could impose multibillion-dollar fines on U.S. Internet providers if they transfer European data abroad in contravention to European law, which is far stronger on privacy than its U.S. counterpart.

It seems likely the new legislation will further entangle the already fiendishly complicated negotiations over a new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership under way between the U.S. and Europe which both sides had been counting on for an economic boost.

Ankara reacted furiously to the emergence of GCHQ documents that the U.K. had spied on its finance minister and up to 15 others in the Turkish delegation visiting Britain for G20 meetings in 2009, calling the economic espionage operation against a Nato ally "scandalous."

The U.K. Ambassador was summoned and reprimanded, but there has been little sign of fallout since, in part because both countries have more immediate shared concerns over the fate of Syria. However, the fact that GCHQ set up Internet cafés at the London summit to spy on foreign diplomats has done nothing to enhance its reputation as a reliable host.

The news that GCHQ had tapped then President Dmitry Medvedev at the 2009 G20 summit, has done limited long-term harm to the bilateral relationship. U.K.-Russian ties were at such a low ebb already, as a consequence of previous spy rows and a deep rift over Syria, that the Medvedev tapping story caused no perceptible ripples.

Brazil qualifies as the most persistently outraged victim of the western electronic espionage laid bare in the Snowden files. President Rousseff's snub to Obama and withering indictment of U.S. surveillance at the U.N. General Assembly was not just a deep embarrassment for Washington but a significant rift in relations between the biggest economies in the North and South American continents.

Rousseff appears determined that there should be real world consequences for the spy scandal. She has called for the construction of a national Internet infrastructure in Brazil that would not be so vulnerable to foreign tapping, raising the prospect of the fragmentation of the world wide web. She has also summoned a global meeting on Internet governance, aimed at diminishing the U.S.'s dominant position as the world's Internet hub.

On India

As an increasingly powerful global power, Brazil's leadership has brought others along in its wake. India — which had been initially muted in its response to the revelations — has this week joined the challenge to U.S.-based Internet regulating agencies, like the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which governs resources like domain names. — (Julian Borger is the Guardian'sdiplomatic editor.) — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2013


This article has been updated to incorporate the following correction:

The expansion of ICANN is Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and not International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers as given in The Guardian report, After the revelations, the reverberations (Op-Ed, October 23, 2013).

Correction and Clarifications — October 24, 2013

>>The expansion of ICANN is Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and not International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers as given in The Guardian report, After the revelations, the reverberations (Op-Ed, October 23, 2013).

>> It is KLT Automotive and not KTL Automotive as mentioned in the heading and in some paragraphs of a report KTL Automotive plans to step up investment in Tamil Nadu ("Business," October 23, 2013).

Brazil to host summit on internet governance

APIn this November 12, 2007 photo, people use the internet during the Internet Governance Forum in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has announced a plan to host a global meeting on Internet governance in April 2014.

With a wave of anger sweeping the South American nations, especially Brazil, the April 2014 meeting could be a game-changer for the management of the world wide web.

As the scandal involving the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) got bigger, Brazil got bolder in opposing its mass surveillance and global spying activities.

After blasting the NSA at the U.N. General Assembly last month, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff this month announced a plan to host a global meeting on Internet governance in April.

"We have decided that Brazil will host in April 2014 an international summit of government, industry, civil society and academia," Ms. Rousseff had tweeted, after holding consultations with Fadi Chehade, head of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Los Angeles-based organisation responsible for the coordination of global internet systems.

With a wave of anger sweeping the South American nations, especially Brazil, in the wake of revelations on the extent of snooping by the NSA, the April meeting could be a game-changer for the management of the world wide web. Representatives of many countries, enraged by the spying programmes, are expected to take part .

Since June, when NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden escaped to Hong Kong from the U.S., a series of articles in various publications, including The Hindu, have exposed the NSA's mass surveillance activities. India, from where more than 13 billion pieces of information were picked by the agency's clandestine programmes such as Prism in just one month, was one of its biggest targets.

While Indian officials have been rather meek in their response to NSA revelations, Brazilia has been outraged by reports of how the NSA monitored the online activity of Brazilian citizens, kept a watch on its diplomatic activities, intercepted the personal communication of Ms. Rousseff and spied on the state-owned oil giant Petrobras.

To protest against these activities, Ms. Rousseff put off a state visit to the U.S., demanded an apology from President Barack Obama.

Her principled stand has sparked a global debate on how the Internet is run. "She spoke for all of us that day. She expressed the world's interest to actually find out how we are going to all live together in this new digital age," Fadi Chehade of ICANN told a news agency earlier this month.


"The trust in the global internet has been punctured and now it's time to restore this trust through leadership and institutions that can make that happen."

Brazil has not limited its protests to making noises. An official probe by the country's legislators is on to find out the extent of foreign surveillance in greater detail. Called the Commission of Parliamentary Inquiry or CPI, the probe was set up after it was revealed by The Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald in September that NSA had even intercepted Ms. Rousseff's online communication.

Mr. Greenwald and his partner David Miranda, who was detained by the British police at the Heathrow airport in August, appeared before the Brazilian Senators investigating the evidence of U.S., British and Canadian espionage last week.

The CPI inquiry is also trying toschedule teleconferencing sessions with Mr. Snowden to understand the extent of NSA penetration of the country's communication networks.

Explain spying by NSA: France

APFrench Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced in Luxembourg he has summoned the U.S. ambassador to explain why the Americans spied on one of their closest allies.

We were warned in June about Prism and reacted strongly, says French Foreign Minister Laurant Fabius

Paris has suddenly decided to sit up and take formal notice of spying on its national interests by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

Foreign Minister Laurant Fabius on Monday demanded to see U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin and asked for an explanation.

Ever since Edward Snowden disclosed in June that the NSA had been spying not just on America's enemies but its closest allies as well, several countries have lodged formal complaints with Washington only to receive bland assurances that the allegations of spying would be looked into and "an adequate answer given".

France made a few noises but protests were extremely muted after it was revealed that France's agency for internal security carried out widespread spying of its own people.

Brazil's President Dilma Roussef cancelled her meetings with President Obama while Germany's Angela Merkel let the U.S. know that their actions were considered "unfriendly".

Comparatively, the French response remained mild.

However, since the daily Le Monde disclosed on Sunday that the NSA was engaged in spying on French citizens, top French industries and government bigwigs, Paris appears to have woken up with a start. Based on the same Snowden reports revealed earlier, Le Monde reported that the U.S. monitored over 70 million phone calls, e-mails and internet traffic over 30 days and that the spying included industrial espionage and listening-in to top level government conversations.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he was "shocked" that a friendly nation should be indulging in acts of such a nature while Foreign minister Laurant Fabius called the U.S. behaviour "unacceptable".

The U.S. Ambassador to Paris Charles Rivkin said after his meeting with Mr. Fabius that he could not comment on what had been said but that transatlantic security ties had never been so good.

"We must quickly ensure that these practices aren't repeated. We were warned in June about the Prism programme and we reacted strongly but obviously we need to go further," Mr. Fabius said.

Mexico blasts NSA

he U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)'s hacking of the e-mail account of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon drew strong criticism from its Foreign Ministry, and made Mexico the latest in the growing list of nations, which includes India, that were targets of covert U.S. surveillance.

Germany's Der Spiegel, one of the select publications that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shared confidential documents with, said that an NSA division called "Tailored Access Operations" (TAO) devises "special methods for special targets", and in May 2010 this included Mexico.

A "top secret" report said: "TAO successfully exploited a key mail server in the Mexican Presidencia domain within the Mexican Presidential network to gain first-ever access to President Felipe Calderon's public e-mail account."

According to the newspaper, the e-mail domain in question was also used by cabinet members, and contained "diplomatic, economic and leadership communications which continue to provide insight into Mexico's political system and internal stability". The NSA reportedly described the President's office as "a lucrative source".

Numerous reports quoted the Mexican Foreign Ministry condemning the latest allegations about "suspected acts of spying carried out by the NSA".

Snowden says Russia, China, did not get NSA documents

APA file picture of Edward Snowden.

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor-turned whistleblower, has denied that Russian or Chinese officials obtained any part of the trove of confidential documents on the NSA's global surveillance programmes that he handed over to journalists writing for the Guardian andWashington Post newspapers earlier this year.

Mr. Snowden, who became a fugitive after the Obama administration slapped him with charges under the Espionage Act, said in a rare interview with the New York Times this week that his passage through Hong Kong and successful asylum application to Moscow did not result in any data falling into the hands of agents in either country.

He was certain of this fact, he said, because he gave all of the classified documents in his possession to journalists that he met in Hong Kong before flying to Moscow, and did not keep any copies for himself. He added that he did not take the files to Russia "because it wouldn't serve the public interest".

Speaking to NYT reporter James Risen, himself the target of the U.S. Department of Justice's effort to clamp down on reporters seeking to protect confidential sources, Mr. Snowden said, "There's a zero per cent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents."

In his comments, Mr. Snowden also appeared to rebut allegations against him by some in the U.S., including that he had endangered national security through his whistleblowing.

Expressing confidence that his inside knowledge of Chinese intelligence methods made him certain that no confidential information fell into their hands, he said, the NSA had "not offered a single example of damage from the leaks. They haven't said boo about it except 'we think,' 'maybe,' 'have to assume' from anonymous and former officials."

In the interview Mr. Snowden also recounted several instances when, during his time working as a technician in the Geneva station of the CIA, he faced repercussions for questioning his supervisors about weaknesses within the spy agency's IT systems and what he believed to be evidence of wrong-doing within NSA surveillance programmes.

He said that his experience facing such "reprisals" from within made him believe that if he questioned the NSA's operations any further his efforts "would have been buried forever," and he would "have been discredited and ruined."

Assassination of Indira Gandhi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article needs additional citations for verificationPlease help improve this article byadding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(January 2009)
Memorial at the place of assassination, 1, Safdarjung Road, New Delhi

Indira Gandhi, the 3rd Prime Minister of India, was assassinated at 9:20 AM on 31 October 1984, at her 1, Safdarjung RoadNew Delhi residence.[1][2] She was killed by two of her Sikhbodyguards,[3] Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star, theIndian army's June 1984 assault on the Golden Temple in Amritsar which left the temple heavily damaged.[4]



At about 9:20 AM on 31 October 1984, Indira Gandhi was on her way to be interviewed by the British actor Peter Ustinov, who was filming a documentary for Irish television. She was walking through the garden of the Prime Minister's Residence at No. 1, Safdarjung Road in New Delhi towards the neighbouring 1 Akbar Road office.[1]

As she passed a wicket gate guarded by Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, they opened fire. Sub-Inspector Beant Singh fired three rounds into her abdomen from his sidearm.[5] Satwant Singh then fired 30 rounds from his Sten gun into her after she had fallen to the ground.[5] After the shooting, both threw their weapons down and Beant Singh said "I have done what I had to do. You do what you want to do." In the next six minutes Tarsem Singh Jamwal and Ram Saran, soldiers in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, captured and killed Beant Singh in a separate room because Beant Singh tried to pull a gun on the officers in the room.[6] Satwant Singh was arrested by Gandhi's other bodyguards along with an accomplice trying to escape, and was seriously wounded in the attack initiated by Beant Singh.[7] Satwant Singh was hanged in 1989 with accomplice Kehar Singh.[8]

Salma Sultan gave the first news of assassination of Indira Gandhi on Doordarshan's evening news on October 31,1984,more than 10 hours after she was shot.[9][10] It is alleged that R. K. Dhawan, Mrs. Gandhi's secretary, overruled intelligence and security officials who had ordered the removal of Sikh policemen, including her eventual assassins, as a security threat.[11]


Beant Singh was one of Gandhi's favorite guards, whom she had known for ten years.[5] The other assassin, Satwant Singh, was 21 years old when the assassination occurred and had been assigned to Gandhi's guard just five months before the assassination.[5]


Indira Gandhi's blood-stained saree and her belongings at the time of her assassination, preserved at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum in New Delhi.

Indira Gandhi was brought at 9:30 AM to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS-New Delhi), where doctors operated on her. She was declared dead at 2:20 PM. The postmortem examination was conducted by a team of doctors headed by T. D. Dogra. He stated that as many as 30 bullets struck Gandhi, from two sources, a Sten gun and a pistol. The assailants had fired 33 bullets at her, of which 30 had hit; 23 had passed through her body while seven were trapped inside. Dogra extricated bullets to establish the identity of the weapons and to correlate each weapon with the bullets recovered by ballistic examination. The bullets were matched with respective weapons at CFSL Delhi. Subsequently, Dogra appeared in the court of Shri Mahesh Chandra as an expert witness (PW-5). The testimony lasted several sessions. The cross examination was conducted by Shri P. N. Lekhi, the defense counsel.[12] Her body was brought in a gun carriage through Delhi roads on the morning of 1 November to Teen Murti Bhawan where her father stayed, and where she lay in state.[1] She was cremated on 3 November, near Raj Ghat (a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi) at an area named Shakti Sthal.


Main article: 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Over the next four days, thousands of Sikhs were killed in retaliatory violence.

The Justice Thakkar Commission of Inquiry set up to probe Indira Gandhi's assassination recommended a separate probe for the conspiracy angle behind the assassination. The Thakkar Report stated that the "needle of suspicion"[citation needed] pointed at R.K. Dhawan for complicity in the conspiracy.

Satwant Singh and conspirator Kehar Singh were sentenced to death. The sentence was carried out on 6 January 1989.

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up to:a b c "25 years after Indira Gandhi's assassination"CNN-IBN. 30 October 2009.
  2. Jump up^ "Assassination in India: A Leader of Will and Force; Indira Gandhi, Born to Politics, Left Her Own Imprint on India"The New York Times. 1 November 1984. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  3. Jump up^ "1984: Assassination and revenge"BBC News. 31 October 1984. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  4. Jump up^ "1984: Indian prime minister shot dead"BBC News. 31 October 1984. Archived from the original on 17 January 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d Smith, William E. (12 November 1984). "Indira Gandhi's assassination sparks a fearful round of sectarian violence".Time. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  6. Jump up^ Crossette, Barbara (6 January 1989). "India Hangs Two Sikhs Convicted In Assassination of Indira Gandhi"The New York Times. p. 8.
  7. Jump up^ "Questions still surround Gandhi assassination"Times Daily (New Delhi). AP. 24 November 1984. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  8. Jump up^ Dr. Sangat Kr. Singh, The Sikhs in History, p. 393
  9. Jump up^
  10. Jump up^
  11. Jump up^
  12. Jump up^ Dr. Dogra's Expert Evidence in trial of assassination of Late Mrs Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India (Witness No. PW 5) Raina Anupuma, Lalwani Sanjeev, AIIMS, N. Delhi. Indian Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, Year: 2009, Volume: 7, Issue: 4 (

External links

Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The stone mosaic that stands at the location where Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated inSriperumbudur

The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the ex-Prime Minister of India, occurred as a result of a suicide bombing in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, in Tamil NaduIndia on 21 May 1991. At least 14 others were also killed.[1] It was carried out by Thenmozhi Rajaratnam, also known as Dhanu. The attack was blamed on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE), a separatist organization from Sri Lanka; at the time India had just ended its involvement, through the Indian Peace Keeping Force, in the Sri Lankan Civil War. Subsequent accusations of conspiracy have been addressed by two commissions of inquiry and have brought down at least one national government.[which?]


Known as the "Path of Light", this was the path that Gandhi took before being assassinated

Rajiv Gandhi was campaigning for the upcoming elections. On 21 May, after successfully campaigning in Hyderabad, his next stop was Sriperumbudur. About two hours after arriving in Madras (now Chennai), Rajiv Gandhi was driven by motorcade in a whiteAmbassador car to Sriperumbudur, stopping along the way at a few other election campaigning venues.[2] When he reached a campaign rally in Sriperumbudur, he got out of his car and began to walk towards the dais where he would deliver a speech. Along the way, he was garlanded by many well-wishers, Congress party workers and school children. At 22:21 the assassin, Dhanu, approached and greeted him. She then bent down to touch his feet and detonated an RDX explosive-laden belt tucked below her dress. Gandhi, his assassin and 14 others were killed in the explosion that followed. The assassination was caught on film by a local photographer, whose camera and film was found at the site though the photographer himself died in the blast.

Seven pillars, each featuring a human value surrounds the site of the blast, at the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial in Sriperumbudur.

Security lapses[edit]

The Supreme Court held that LTTE's decision of eliminating Rajiv was prompted by his interview to Sunday magazine (August 21–28, 1990), where he said he would send the IPKF to disarm LTTE if he came back to power again.Rajiv also defended the signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka accord in the same interview. The LTTE decision to kill him was perhaps aimed at preventing him from coming to power again.Thereafter, the Justice J S Verma Commission was formed to look into the security lapses that led to the killing.

The final report, submitted in June 1992, concluded that the security arrangements for the former PM were adequate but that the local Congress party leaders disrupted and broke these arrangements.[3]

The Narasimha Rao government initially rejected Verma's findings but later accepted it under pressure. However, no action was taken on the recommendations of the Commission.

Despite no action, the findings throw up vital questions that have been consistently raised by political analysts. Sources have indicated that Rajiv was time and again informed that there was a threat to his life and that he should not travel to Tamil Nadu. In fact, then governor of Tamil Nadu Bhism Narayan Singh, broke his official protocol and twice warned Rajiv about the threat to his life if he visited the state.

Details revealed by Dr Subramanian Swamy in his book, Sri Lanka in Crisis: India's Options (2007), revealed that an LTTE delegation had met Rajiv Gandhi on March 5, 1991. Another delegation met him around March 14, 1991 at New Delhi.

Journalist Ram Bahadur Rai wrote that:

The message conveyed to Rajiv Gandhi by both these delegations was that there was no threat to his life and that he can travel to Tamil Nadu without fearing for his life. I did a series of articles after his assassination that pointed out how, after these meetings, Rajiv became complacent about his security and broke security rules in more than 40 rallies.[4]


Following his assassination, Rajiv Gandhi's mutilated body was airlifted to New Delhi. From the Palam airport, his body was sent to theAll India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi for post-mortem, reconstruction and embalming.[5]

state funeral was held for Rajiv Gandhi on 24 May 1991. His funeral was telecast live nationally and internationally, and was attended by dignitaries from over 60 countries.[6] He was cremated on the banks of the river Yamuna, near the cremation spot of his mother,brothergrandfather and Mahatma Gandhi. Today, the site where he was cremated is known as Vir Bhumi.


Immediately after the assassination, the Chandrasekhar government handed the investigation to CBI on May 24, 1991. The agency created a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under D R Karthikeyan to find who killed Rajiv. The SIT probe confirmed the role of LTTE in the assassination, which was upheld by the Supreme Court of India.

The interim report of Justice Milap Chand Jain, looking into the conspiracy angle to the assassination, indicted the DMK for colluding with the LTTE. The report concluded that DMK provided sanctuary to the LTTE, which made it easy for the rebels to assassinate Rajiv.

The Commission report stated that the year 1989 signified "the perpetuation of the general political trend of indulging the Tamil militants on Indian soil and tolerance of their wide-ranging criminal and anti-national activities."The report also alleged that LTTE leaders in Jaffna were in possession of sensitive coded messages exchanged between the Union government and the state government of DMK."There is evidence to show that, during this period, some of the most vital wireless messages were passed between the LTTE operatives based in Tamil Nadu and Jaffna. These messages, which were decoded later, are directly related to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi," the report stated.The Congress subsequently brought down the United Front (UF) government of I K Gujral after the report was leaked in November 1998. The party also demanded the removal of DMK from the UF government, arguing that it had a hand in Rajiv's killing.

After examining the SIT investigation report, Justice Verma Commission report and the Jain Commission report, one can conclude that the Rajiv assassination was not a hit-and-run affair but was a meticulously planned operation that involved actors beyond the LTTE.


The assassination was carried out by the LTTE suicide bomber Thenmozhi Rajaratnam also known as Dhanu. Later, the real name of the suicide bomber came to be known as Gayatri.

Supreme Court judgment[edit]

As per the Supreme Court of India judgment, by Judge Thomas, the killing was carried out due to personal animosity of the LTTE chiefPrabhakaran towards Rajiv Gandhi. Additionally, the Rajiv Gandhi administration had antagonised other Tamil militant organisations likePLOTE for reversing the military coup in Maldives back in 1988.[citation needed]

The judgement further cites the death of Thileepan in a hunger strike and the suicide by 12 LTTE cadres in a vessel in October 1987. The judgment while convicting the accused, four of them to death and others to various jail terms, states that absolutely no evidence existed that any one of the conspirators ever desired the death of any Indian other than Rajiv Gandhi, though several people were killed. Judge Wadhwa further states there is nothing on record to show that the intention to kill Rajiv Gandhi was to overawe the Government. Hence it was held that it was not a terrorist act under TADA (Act).[7][8] Judge Thomas further states that conspiracy was hatched in stages commencing from 1987 and that it spanned several years. The Special Investigation team of India's premier special investigation agency CBI was not able to pinpoint when the decision to kill Rajiv Gandhi was taken.[8]


The trial was conducted under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA). The designated TADA court in Chennai gave death sentences to all the 26 accused. This created a storm in India. Legal experts were stunned.[9] Human rights groups protested as the trial did not meet standards of a free trial.[10][11] The trial was held behind closed doors, in camera courts, and the non-disclosure of identity of witnesses was maintained. Ms A. Athirai, an accused, was only 17 years old when she was arrested. Under TADA an accused can appeal only to the Supreme Court. Appeal to the High Court is not allowed as in normal law.[12] Confessions given by the accused to the Superintendent of Police are taken as evidence against the accused under TADA. Under TADA the accused could be convicted on the basis of evidence that would have been insufficient for conviction by an ordinary court under normal Indian law. In the Rajiv Gandhi case confessions by accused formed a major part of the evidence in the judgement against them which they later claimed was taken under duress.[13] On appeal to the Supreme Court, only four of the accused were sentenced to death and the others to various jail terms.Arrested on June 14, 1991, she was sentenced to death, along with 25 others, by a special court here on January 28, 1998. However, the SC confirmed death only on four of the convicts, including Nalini, on May 11, 1999. S Nalini Sriharan is the lone surviving member of the five-member squad behind the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and is serving life impriosonment.Nalini, who was a close friend of an LTTE operative known as V Sriharan alias Murugan, another convict in the case who has been sentenced to death, later gave birth to a girl,Harithra Murugan in prison.Nalini was earlier given the death sentence. On the intervention of Rajiv Gandhi's widow and Congress president Sonia Gandhi petition for clemency for the sake of Nalini's daughter in 2000, the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.Nalini was being treated as 'A' class convict from September 10, 1999 till the privilege was withdrawn in May 2010 after a mobile phone was allegedly recovered from her cell during a surprise check.She "regrets" the killing of the former Prime Minister and claims that the real conspirators have not been booked yet.[14][15] President of India had rejected the clemency pleas of Murugan and two others on death row, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan and A G Perarivalan alias Arivu in August 2011.[16] The execution of the three convicts was scheduled on September 9, 2011. However, the Madras High Court intervened and stayed their execution for eight weeks based on their petitions. Nalini was shifted back to Vellore prison from Puzhal prison amidst tight security on September 7, 2011.In 2010,Nalini had moved the Madras High Court seeking release as she served more than 20 years in prison. She argued that even life convicts were released after 14 years of prison term. However, the state government rejected her request.[17][18][19]Interestingly, Murugan, Santhanand, and Perarivalan, the three convicts condemned to death sentence, claim that they are not ordinary criminals but political prisoners.[20][21][22]


In a report published in 30 October 2012 DNA, K Ragothaman, former chief investigator of the CBI, talks about his new bookConspiracy to Kill Rajiv Gandhi: From the CBI Files and tells the reporter that while the CBI had started a preliminary inquiry in which MK Narayanan, West Bengal Governor and former Intelligence Bureau director, was named a suspect in hiding evidence, the case was buried by the then CBI chief.

Jain Commission and other reports[edit]

In the Jain report, various people and agencies are named as suspected of having been involved in the murder of Rajiv Gandhi. Among them, the cleric Chandraswami was suspected of involvement, including financing the assassination.[23][24][25] One of the accused, Ranganath, said Chandraswami was the godfather who financed the killing.[26] Sikh Militants were also suspected.[27][28] The interim report of the Jain CommIssion created a storm when it accused Muthu and the Tamils of a role in the assassination, leading to Congress withdrawing its support for the I. K. Gujral government and fresh elections in 1998. Also other strong LTTE sympathizersVaiko with MDMK and Thol. Thirumavalavan, with VCK have supported Congress under Sonia Gandhi in the past. However it is worth noting, that Vaiko left the UPA alliance before the 2009 election, partly due to the Sri Lankan issue.In 2001 Norway peace talks Prabhakarn told to press persons that Rajiv killing was an sorrowful event. In 2006, LTTE spokesman Anton Balasingham told the Indian television channel NDTV that the killing was a "great tragedy, a monumental historical tragedy which we deeply regret."[29][30]

Memorial and popular culture[edit]


  1. Jump up^ "1991: Bomb kills India's former leader Rajiv Gandhi"BBC News. 1991-05-21. Archived from the original on 27 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  2. Jump up^ "Assassination in India; Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated in bombing at campaign stop", by Barbara Crossette, The New York Times, May 22, 1991. Neena Gopal of the Gulf News of Dubai was also in the car, in the back seat with Chandrashekhar and a local party official. "A Chance To Be Near The People New Campaigning Style Put Gandhi In Crowds" by Barbara Crossette, New York Times, May 22, 1991, via Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
  3. Jump up^ Patel, Tejas. "Rajiv assassination mystery unsolved".Article. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  4. Jump up^ Patel, Tejas. "Rajiv assassination mystery unsolved".Article. Asian Tribune. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  5. Jump up^ Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi — Shashi Ahluwalia, Meenakshi Ahluwalia. Google Books. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  6. Jump up^ "Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and its aftermath". Knowledge Hub. 1991-05-21. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  7. Jump up^ "Out of the TADA net"The Hindu (Chennai, India).
  8. Jump up to:a b Death Reference Case No. (@ D.NO.1151 OF 1998)
  9. Jump up^ Bhavna Vij & Swati Chaturvedi (1998-01-30). "Legal luminaries divided on death verdict in Rajiv assassination case". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
  10. Jump up^ Despite the lack of a fair trial Indian governor gives green light for executions over Rajiv Gandhi assassination
  11. Jump up^ India: The Prevention of Terrorism Bill. Past abuses revisited | Amnesty International
  12. Jump up^ Human Rights Bulletin on Srfati Lanka
  13. Jump up^ [1][dead link]
  14. Jump up^ "I regret Rajiv Gandhi's assassination: Nalini". The Times of India. PTI. 2008-08-03. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
  15. Jump up^ "My sins washed away, says Nalini Sriharan". DNA India. IANS. 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
  16. Jump up^ "Nalini meets hubby on death row". The Times of India. TNN. 2011-09-11. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
  17. Jump up^ "Rajiv Gandhi assassin Nalini Sriharan not to be freed". India Today. 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
  18. Jump up^ "Rajiv Gandhi's assassin Nalini gets back 'A' class jail facilities". The Times of India. TNN. 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
  19. Jump up^ "Rajiv Gandhi's killer Nalini breaks down". NDTV. 2011-09-07. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
  20. Jump up^ "Nalini Sriharan back in Vellore". DNA India. 2011-09-07. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
  21. Jump up^ TNN Jun 29, 2010, 02.00am IST (2010-06-29). "Nalini shifted from Vellore jail to Puzhal". The Times of India. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
  22. Jump up^ A Subramani (2010-01-21). "After 19 yrs in jail for Rajiv murder, Nalini may be freed". The Times of India. TNN. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
  23. Jump up^
  24. Jump up^ Probe Chandraswami's role in Rajiv case - Jain report
  25. Jump up^ [2][dead link]
  26. Jump up^ "Chandraswami had a hand in the plot"
  27. Jump up^ Jain Commission Report Chapter Ii
  28. Jump up^ Jain Commission Report Chapter Viii
  29. Jump up^ We deeply regret Rajiv's death: LTTE
  30. Jump up^ "Tamil Tiger 'regret' over Gandhi"BBC News. 2006-06-27. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  31. Jump up^ Manoj Mitta, TNN (2012-10-30). "Rajiv Gandhi assassination video suppressed, claims book". The Times of India. Retrieved 2013-09-04.

PRISM (surveillance program)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"PRISM" redirects here. For other uses, see Prism (disambiguation).
Logo for the PRISM program, known to have illegally adapted a photograph by Adam Hart-Davis[1] [2]
National Security Agency.svg
National Security Agencysurveillance
Boundless Informant data collection.svg
Map of global NSA data collection

PRISM is a clandestine mass electronic surveillance data mining program known to have been operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[3][4][5] PRISM is a government code name for a data-collection effort known officially by the SIGAD US-984XN.[6][7]The Prism program collects stored Internet communications based on demands made to Internet companies such as Google Inc. under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. The NSA can use these Prism requests to target communications that were encrypted when they traveled across the Internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier,[8][9] and to get data that is easier to handle, among other things.[10]

PRISM began in 2007 in the wake of the passage of the Protect America Act under the Bush Administration.[11][12] The program is operated under the supervision of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court, or FISC) pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[13] Its existence was leaked six years later by NSA contractorEdward Snowden, who warned that the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew and included what he characterized as "dangerous" and "criminal" activities.[14] The disclosures were published by The Guardian and The Washington Poston June 6, 2013. Subsequent documents have demonstrated a financial arrangement between NSA's Special Source Operations division (SSO) and PRISM partners in the millions of dollars. [15]

Documents indicate that PRISM is "the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports", and it accounts for 91% of the NSA's Internet traffic acquired under FISA section 702 authority."[16][17] The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the FISA Court had been ordering a subsidiary of telecommunications company Verizon Communications to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers' telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.[18][19]

U.S. government officials have disputed some aspects of the Guardian and Washington Post stories and have defended the program by asserting it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant, that it has helped to prevent acts of terrorism, and that it receives independent oversight from the federal government's executivejudicial andlegislative branches.[20][21] On June 19, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Germany, stated that the NSA's data gathering practices constitute "a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people."[22]


United States mass data collection programs[edit]

Prior to 2013, a number of programs had been authorized and executed by the U.S. government which sought to collect communications or communications data on a large scale. Some aspects had been declared unconstitutional[citation needed] (United States v. U.S. District Court)[citation needed], and legislation passed which was expected to resolve this; in at least one case, legal action was impeded by the secret nature of any purported or alleged surveillance (American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency).

The Real Time Regional Gateway was a data collection program introduced in 2005 in Iraq by NSA during the Iraq War[citation needed]. It consisted of gathering all electronic communication, storing it, then searching and otherwise analyzing it. It was effective in providing information about Iraqi insurgents who had eluded less comprehensive techniques.[23] This "collect it all" strategy introduced by NSA director, Keith B. Alexander, is believed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian to be the model for the comprehensive world-wide mass archiving of communications which NSA is engaged in as of 2013.[24]

PRISM media disclosures[edit]

The Slides[edit]

  • Introduction slide.

  • Slide showing that much of the world's communications flow through the U.S.

  • Details of information collected via PRISM

  • Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

  • Slide showing PRISM's tasking process

  • Slide showing the PRISM collection dataflow

  • Slide showing PRISM case numbers

  • Slide showing the REPRISMFISA Web app

  • Slide showing some PRISM targets.

  • Slide showing two different sources of NSA data collection. The first source the fiber optic cables of the Internet handled by the Upstream program and the second source the servers of major Internet companies handled by PRISM.[25]

  • Slide fragment mentioning "upstream collection", FAA702, EO 12333, and references explicitly in the text.

  • FAA702 Operations, and map

  • FAA702 Operations, and map. The subheader reads "Collection only possible under FAA702 Authority, FAIRVIEW is in the center box.

  • FAA702 Operations, and map. The subheader reads "Collection only possible under FAA702 Authority, STORMBREW is in the center box.

  • Tasking, Points to Remember. Transcript of body:[illegible] your targets meet FAA criteria, you should [illegible] to FAA. Emergency tasking processes exist for [imminent /immediate ] threat to life situations and targets can be placed on [illegible] within hours (surveillance and stored comms). Get to know your Product line FAA adjudicators and FAA leads.

The French newspaperLe Monde disclosed new PRISM slides (See Page 4, 7 and 8) coming from the "PRISM/US-984XN Overview" presentation on October 21, 2013.[26]

Wikimedia Commons keeps copies of the leaked PowerPoint slides, and other associated documents here :Commons:Category:PRISM (surveillance program)


PRISM is a "Special Source Operation" in the tradition of NSA's intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s.[3] A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacksunder the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and challenged as illegal, because it did not include warrants obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[27][28][29][30] PRISM was authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[16] PRISM was enabled under President Bush by the Protect America Act of 2007 and by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which immunizes private companies from legal action when they cooperate with U.S. government agencies in intelligence collection. In 2012 the act was renewed by Congress under President Obama for an additional five years, through December 2017.[4][31][32] According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 "specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant" when one of the parties is outside the U.S.[31]

Edward Snowden[edit]

PRISM was publicly revealed when classified documents about the program were leaked to journalists of the The Washington Post andThe Guardian by Edward Snowden – at the time an NSA contractor – during a visit to Hong Kong.[3][4] The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles.[3][4] The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including Microsoft in 2007, Yahoo! in 2008, Google in 2009, Facebook in 2009, Paltalk in 2009,YouTube in 2010, AOL in 2011, Skype in 2011 and Apple in 2012.[33] The speaker's notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that "98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft".[3] The slide presentation stated that much of the world's electronic communications pass through the U.S., because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world's Internet infrastructure is based in the United States.[16] The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.[4][16]

Snowden's subsequent disclosures included statements that governments such as the United Kingdom's GCHQ also undertook mass interception and tracking of Internet and communications data[34] – described by Germany as "nightmarish" if true[35] – allegations that the NSA engaged in "dangerous" and "criminal" activity by "hacking" civilian infrastructure networks in other countries such as "universities, hospitals, and private businesses",[14] and alleged that compliance offered only very limited restrictive effect on mass data collection practices (including of Americans) since restrictions "are policy-based, not technically based, and can change at any time", adding that "Additionally, audits are cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications",[14] with numerous self-granted exceptions, and that NSA policies encourage staff to assume the benefit of the doubt in cases of uncertainty.[36][37][38]

Extent of surveillance[edit]

Alleged NSA internal slides included in the disclosures purported to show that the NSA could unilaterally access data and perform "extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information" with examples including email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP chats (such as Skype), file transfers, and social networking details.[4] Snowden summarized that "in general, the reality is this: if an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc analyst has access to query raw SIGINT [signals intelligence] databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want."[14] According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be U.S. citizens, but in the process, communication data of some U.S. citizens are also collected unintentionally.[3] Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign U.S. data, "it's nothing to worry about."[3]

According to The Guardian, NSA had access to chats and emails on, Skype, because Microsoft had "developed a surveillance capability to deal" with the interception of chats, and "[f]or Prism collection against Microsoft email services will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption."[39][40] Also according to The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald even low-level NSA analysts are allowed to search and listen to the communications of Americans and other people without court approval and supervision. Greenwald said low level Analysts can, via systems like PRISM, "listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents. And it's all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst."[41] He added that the NSA databank, with its years of collected communications, allows analysts to search that database and listen "to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you've entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future."[41] Greenwald was referring in the context of the foregoing quotes to the NSA program X-Keyscore.[42]

During a House Judiciary hearing on domestic spying on July 17, 2013 John C Inglis, the deputy director of the surveillance agency, told a member of the House judiciary committee that NSA analysts can perform "a second or third hop query" through its collections of telephone data and internet records in order to find connections to terrorist organizations.[43] "Hops" refers to a technical term indicating connections between people. A three-hop query means that the NSA can look at data not only from a suspected terrorist, but from everyone that suspect communicated with, and then from everyone those people communicated with, and then from everyone all of those people communicated with.[43][44] NSA officials had said previously that data mining was limited to two hops, but Inglis suggested that the Foreign Intelligence Secret Court has allowed for data analysis extending "two or three hops".[45]

PRISM at a Glance[edit]

DesignationParent Program Legal AuthoritySee Note Key TargetsType of Information collected Associated Databases Associated Software
US-984XN Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA)Known Targets include[46]
  • Venezuela
    • Military procurement
    • Oil
  • Mexico
    • Narcotics
    • Energy
    • Internal Security
    • Political Affairs
  • Colombia
The exact type of data varies by provider:
  • Email
  • Chat - video, voice
  • Videos
  • Stored data
  • VoIP
  • Filer transfers
  • Video Conferencing
  • Notifications of target activity, logins, etc.
  • Online Social Networking details
  • Special Requests

Unified Targeting Tool

Related U.S. government surveillance programs[edit]

Parallel programs, known collectively as SIGADs gather data and metadata from other sources, each SIGAD has a set of defined sources, targets, types of data collected, legal authorities, and software associated with it. Some SIGADs have the same name as the umbrella under which they sit, BLARNEY's (the SIGAD) summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as "an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks." Some SIGADs, like PRISM, collect data at the ISP level, but others take it from the top-level infrastructure. This type of collection is known as "upstream". Upstream collection includes programs known by the blanket terms BLARNEY, FAIRVIEW, OAKSTAR and STORMBREW, under each of these are individual SIGADs. Data that is integrated into a SIGAD can be gathered in other ways besides upstream, and from the service providers, for instance it can be collected from passive sensors around embassies, or even stolen from an individual computer network in a hacking attack. [47][48] [49][50]

Upstream collection includes programs known by the blanket terms BLARNEY, FAIRVIEW, OAKSTAR and STORMBREW, under each of these are SIGADs, Not all SIGADs involve upstream collection, for instance, data could be taken directly from a service provider, either by agreement (as is the case with PRISM), by means of hacking, or other ways. [51][52][53]

Responses to disclosures[edit]

United States government[edit]

Executive branch[edit]

Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence,James Clapper, on June 7, 2013 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large Internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats.[18] The statement read in part, "The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies."[54] He went on to say, "Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States."[54] Clapper concluded his statement by stating, "The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans."[54] On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does "not wittingly" collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.[55] Clapper later admitted the statement he made on March 12, 2013 was false.[56]

On June 7, 2013 U.S. President Barack Obama, referring to the PRISM program and the NSA's telephone calls logging program, said, "What you've got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout."[57] He also said, "You can't have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we're going to have to make some choices as a society."[57] In separate statements, senior Obama administration officials (not mentioned by name in source) said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.[58]

On June 8, 2013, Director of National Intelligence Clapper made an additional public statement about PRISM and released a fact sheetproviding further information about the program, which he described as "an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government's statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a)."[59][60] The fact sheet stated that "the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and the Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress."[59] The fact sheet also stated that "the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence." It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, "provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency."[59]Democratic Senators Udall and Wyden, who serve on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, subsequently criticized the fact sheet as being inaccurate.[clarification needed] NSA Director General Keith Alexander acknowledged the errors, stating that the fact sheet "could have more precisely described" the requirements governing the collection of e-mail and other Internet content from U.S. companies. The fact sheet was withdrawn from the NSA's website around June 26.[61]

In a closed-doors Senate hearing around June 11, FBI Director Robert Mueller said that Snowden's leaks had caused "significant harm to our nation and to our safety."[62] In the same Senate NSA Director Alexander defended the program.[further explanation needed]Alexander's defense was immediately criticized by Senators Udall and Wyden, who said they saw no evidence that the NSA programs had produced "uniquely valuable intelligence." In a joint statement, they wrote, "Gen Alexander's testimony yesterday suggested that the NSA's bulk phone records collection program helped thwart 'dozens' of terrorist attacks, but all of the plots that he mentioned appear to have been identified using other collection methods."[62][63]

On June 18, NSA Director Alexander said in an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee of Congress that communications surveillance had helped prevent more than 50 potential terrorist attacks worldwide (at least 10 of them involving terrorism suspects or targets in the United States) between 2001 and 2013, and that the PRISM web traffic surveillance program contributed in over 90 percent of those cases.[64][65][66] According to court records, one example Alexander gave regarding a thwarted attack by al Qaeda on the New York Stock Exchange was not in fact foiled by surveillance.[67] Several senators wrote Director of National Intelligence Clapper asking him to provide other examples.[68]

U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told various news outlets that by June 24 they were already seeing what they said was evidence that suspected terrorists had begun changing their communication practices in order to evade detection by the surveillance tools disclosed by Snowden.[69][70]

Legislative branch[edit]

In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens' telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification,[71] and others said that they had not been aware of the program.[72] After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

  • June 9, 2013 "We passed the Patriot Act. We passed specific provisions of the act that allowed for this program to take place, to be enacted in operation."[73]

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee

  • June 9 "These programs are within the law," "part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe," "Human intelligence isn't going to do it."[74]
  • June 9 "Here's the rub: the instances where this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified, that's what's so hard about this."[75]
  • June 11 "It went fine... we asked him (Keith Alexander) to declassify things because it would be helpful (for people and lawmakers to better understand the intelligence programs)." "I've just got to see if the information gets declassified. I'm sure people will find it very interesting."[76]

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

  • June 9 "I'm going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I'm going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit."[73]

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee

  • June 11 "I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information" and "How can you ask when you don't know the program exists?"[77]

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act

  • June 9, "This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows."[78] "President Obama's claim that 'this is the most transparent administration in history' has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans."[78]

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

  • June 9 "One of the things that we're charged with is keeping America safe and keeping our civil liberties and privacy intact. I think we have done both in this particular case."[74]
  • June 9 "Within the last few years this program was used to stop a program, excuse me, to stop a terrorist attack in the United States, we know that. It's, it's, it's important, it fills in a little seam that we have and it's used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States. So in that regard it is a very valuable thing."[79]

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

  • June 9 "I don't think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected." "I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security (Agency) is collecting," "It ought to remain sacred, and there's got to be a balance here. That is what I'm aiming for. Let's have the debate, let's be transparent, let's open this up."[74]

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

  • June 9 "We will be receiving secret briefings and we will be asking, I know I'm going to be asking to get more information. I want to make sure that what they're doing is harvesting information that is necessary to keep us safe and not simply going into everybody's private telephone conversations and Facebook and communications. I mean one of the, you know, the terrorists win when you debilitate freedom of expression and privacy."[79]

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

  • July 11 "I have a feeling that the administration is getting concerned about the bulk phone records collection, and that they are thinking about whether to move administratively to stop it". "I think we are making a comeback".[81]

Following these statements some lawmakers from both parties warned national security officials during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee that they must change their use of sweeping National Security Agency surveillance programs or face losing the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that have allowed for the agency's mass collection of telephone metadata.[45]"Section 215 expires at the end of 2015, and unless you realize you've got a problem, that is not going to be renewed," Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., author of the USA Patriot Act, threatened during the hearing.[45] "It's got to be changed, and you've got to change how you operate section 215. Otherwise, in two and a half years, you're not going to have it anymore."[45]

Judicial branch[edit]

Leaks of classified documents pointed to the role of a special court in enabling the government's secret surveillance programs, but members of the court maintained they were not collaborating with the executive branch.[82] The New York Times however reported in July 2013 that in "more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation's surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks."[83] After Members of the U.S. Congress pressed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to release declassified versions of its secret ruling, the court dismissed those requests arguing that the decisions can't be declassified because they contain classified information.[84] Reggie Walton, the current FISA presiding judge, said in a statement: "The perception that the court is a rubber stamp is absolutely false. There is a rigorous review process of applications submitted by the executive branch, spearheaded initially by five judicial branch lawyers who are national security experts, and then by the judges, to ensure that the court's authorizations comport with what the applicable statutes authorize."[85] The accusation of being a "rubber stamp" was further rejected by Walton who wrote in a letter to Senator Patrick J. Leahy: "The annual statistics provided to Congress by the Attorney General [...] - frequently cited to in press reports as a suggestion that the Court's approval rate of application is over 99% - reflect only the number of final applications submitted to and acted on by the Court. These statistics do not reflect the fact that many apllications are altered to prior or final submission or even withheld from final submission entirely, often after an indictation that a judge would not approve them."[86]

The U.S. military[edit]

The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[87] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[88] A spokesman said the military was filtering out reports and content relating to government surveillance programs to preserve "network hygiene" and prevent any classified material from appearing on unclassified parts of its computer systems.[87] Access to theWashington Post, which also published information on classified NSA surveillance programs disclosed by Edward Snowden, had not been blocked at the time the blocking of access to The Guardian was reported.[88]

Responses and involvement of other countries[edit]


The former head of the Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and CounterterrorismGert Polli, stated he knew the PRISM program under a different name and stated that surveillance activities had occurred in Austria as well. Polli had publicly stated in 2009 that he had received requests from US intelligence agencies to do things that would be in violation of Austrian law, which Polli refused to allow.[89][90]


The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.[91]


Brasil's president, Dilma Rousseff, responded by cancelling a planned October 2013 state visit to the United States, demanding an official apology, which by October 20, 2013, hadn't come.[92] Also, Dilma classified the spying as unacceptable between more harsh words in a speech before the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2013.[93]


Canada's national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, said that commenting on PRISM "would undermine CSE's ability to carry out its mandate." Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada's standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating "We have fallen too far behind" in her report. "While other nations' data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a 'soft' approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest." And, "when push comes to shove," Stoddart wrote, "short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations."[94]

European Union[edit]

On 20 October 2013 a committee at the European Parliament backed a measure that, if it is enacted, would require American companies to seek clearance from European officials before complying with United States warrants seeking private data. The legislation has been under consideration for two years. The vote is part of efforts in Europe to shield citizens from online surveillance in the wake ofrevelations about a far-reaching spying program by the U.S. National Security Agency.[95]


On October 21, 2013 the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, summoned the U.S. Ambassador, Charles Rivkin, to the Quai d'Orsay in Paris to protest large-scale spying on French citizens by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Paris prosecutors had opened preliminary inquiries into the NSA program in July, but Fabius said, "… obviously we need to go further" and "we must quickly assure that these practices aren't repeated."[96]


Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.[97] German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that "the Internet is new to all of us" to explain the nature of the program; Matthew Schofield of McClatchy Washington Bureau said, "She was roundly mocked for that statement."[98] Gert-René Polli, a former Austrian counter-terrorism official, said in 2013 that it is "absurd and unnatural" for the German authorities to pretend not to have known anything.[89][90] The German Army was using PRISM to support its operations in Afghanistan as early as 2011.[99]


Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed[100] the Business Insider article[101] about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program – Verint Systems and Narus.

New Zealand[edit]

In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that "under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn't do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information."[102]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has its own surveillance program Tempora, had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. PRISM may have allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material.[103][104] In August 2013, The Guardian newspaper's offices were visited by agents from GCHQ, who ordered and supervised the destruction of the hard drives containing information acquired from Snowden.[105]


The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data "directly from the servers" of several major Internet services providers.[3][4]

Initial public statements[edit]

Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports.[4][106] Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:[107][108]

  • Microsoft: "We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don't participate in it."[107][109]
  • Yahoo!: "Yahoo! takes users' privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network."[107] "Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive."[108]
  • Facebook: "We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law."[107]
  • Google: "Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'back door' into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data."[107] "[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users' Internet activity on such a scale is completely false."[108]
  • Apple: "We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order."[110]
  • Dropbox: "We've seen reports that Dropbox might be asked to participate in a government program called PRISM. We are not part of any such program and remain committed to protecting our users' privacy."[107]

In response to the technology companies' denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies' servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.[18] The Washington Post suggested, "It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing 'collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,' rather than directly to company servers."[3] "[I]n context, 'direct' is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they're transmitted to some other destination.[108]

"If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all," Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.[111]

On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letterissued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant.[112] Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, "I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn't include this. I wouldn't be surprised if they were subject to a gag order."[113]

The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that "Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations."[114] The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely.[114] In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort.[114] The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google andIntel.[114] These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states, "Collection directly from the servers"[25] and the companies' denials.[114]

While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by the FISA Court is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission.[114] Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said.[114] Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information.[114] Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.[115]

Post-PRISM transparency reports[edit]

In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.

On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. government had authorized the communication of "about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range." In a press release posted to its web site, the company reported, "For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000." The company further reported that the requests impacted "between 18,000 and 19,000" user accounts, a "tiny fraction of one percent" of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.[116]

That same day, Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received "between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)" which impacted "a tiny fraction of Microsoft's global customer base."[117]

Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be "a step backwards" from its previous, more detailed practices on its website'stransparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.[118]

Public and media response[edit]


An elaborate graffito in ColumbusOhio, United States, satirizing comprehensivesurveillance of telecommunications.

The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration "has now lost all credibility on this issue,"[119] and lamented that "for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public's calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database."[120] It wrote with respect to the FISA-Court in context of PRISM that it is "a perversion of the American justice system" when "judicial secrecy is coupled with a one-sided presentation of the issues."[121] According to the New York Times, "the result is a court whose reach is expanding far beyond its original mandate and without any substantive check."[121]

James Robertson, a former federal district judge based in Washington who served on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court for three years between 2002 and 2005 and who ruled against the Bush administration in the landmark Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, said FISA court is independent but flawed because only the government's side is represented effectively in its deliberations. "Anyone who has been a judge will tell you a judge needs to hear both sides of a case," said James Robertson.[122] Without this judges do not benefit from adversarial debate. He suggested creating an advocate with security clearance who would argue against government filings.[123] Robertson questioned whether the secret FISA court should provide overall legal approval for the surveillance programs, saying the court "has turned into something like an administrative agency." Under the changes brought by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008, which expanded the US government's authority by forcing the court to approve entire surveillance systems and not just surveillance warrants as it previously handled, "the court is now approving programmatic surveillance. I don't think that is a judicial function."[122] Robertson also said he was "frankly stunned" by the New York Times report[83] that FISA court rulings had created a new body of law broadening the ability of the NSA to use its surveillance programs to target not only terrorists but suspects in cases involving espionage, cyberattacks and weapons of mass destruction.[122]

Former CIA analyst Valerie Plame Wilson and former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, writing in an op-ed article published in The Guardian, said that "Prism and other NSA data-mining programs might indeed be very effective in hunting and capturing actual terrorists, but we don't have enough information as a society to make that decision."[124] Computer security expert John Bambenek from the University of Illinois suggested that use of data mining in national security cases might be prone to inaccuracy and manipulation. [125]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.[126]

The Obama administration's argument that NSA surveillance programs such as PRISM and Boundless Informant had been necessary to prevent acts of terrorism was challenged by several parties. Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said of the case ofNajibullah Zazi, who had planned to bomb the New York City subway system, that interviews with involved parties and U.S. and British court documents indicated that the investigation into the case had actually been initiated in response to "conventional" surveillance methods such as "old-fashioned tip-offs" of the British intelligence services, rather than to leads produced by NSA surveillance.[127]Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is alleged to have conducted the 2013 Boston marathon bombings with his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had visited the Al Qaeda-affiliated Inspire magazine website, and even though Russian intelligence officials had raised concerns with U.S. intelligence officials about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston attacks. Daly observed that, "The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety."[128]

Ron Paul, a former Republican member of Congress and prominent libertarian, thanked Snowden and Greenwald and denounced the mass surveillance as unhelpful and damaging, urging instead more transparency in U.S. government actions.[129] He called Congress "derelict in giving that much power to the government," and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.[130]

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman defended limited government surveillance programs intended to protect the American people from terrorist acts:

Yes, I worry about potential government abuse of privacy from a program designed to prevent another 9/11 — abuse that, so far, does not appear to have happened. But I worry even more about another 9/11.... If there were another 9/11, I fear that 99 percent of Americans would tell their members of Congress: "Do whatever you need to do to, privacy be damned, just make sure this does not happen again." That is what I fear most. That is why I'll reluctantly, very reluctantly, trade off the government using data mining to look for suspicious patterns in phone numbers called and e-mail addresses — and then have to go to a judge to get a warrant to actually look at the content under guidelines set by Congress — to prevent a day where, out of fear, we give government a license to look at anyone, any e-mail, any phone call, anywhere, anytime.[131]

Political commentator David Brooks similarly cautioned that government data surveillance programs are a necessary evil: "if you don't have mass data sweeps, well, then these agencies are going to want to go back to the old-fashioned eavesdropping, which is a lot more intrusive."[132]

Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer worried less about the legality of PRISM and other NSA surveillance tools than about the potential for their abuse without more stringent oversight. "The problem here is not constitutionality.... We need a toughening of both congressional oversight and judicial review, perhaps even some independent outside scrutiny. Plus periodic legislative revision – say, reauthorization every couple of years – in light of the efficacy of the safeguards and the nature of the external threat. The object is not to abolish these vital programs. It's to fix them."[133]

In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA's programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers;[134] the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show's first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a "faux scandal."[134][135] Simon had stated that many classes of people in American society had already faced constant government surveillance.

Political theorist, and frequent critic of U.S. government policies, Noam Chomsky argued, "Governments should not have this capacity. But governments will use whatever technology is available to them to combat their primary enemy – which is their own population."[136]

CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted June 11 through 13 found that 66% of Americans generally supported the program.[137][138][Notes 1] However, a Quinnipiac University poll conducted June 28 through July 8 found that 45% of registered voters think the surveillance programs have gone too far, with 40% saying they do not go far enough, compared to 25% saying they had gone too far and 63% saying not far enough in 2010.[139] Other polls have shown similar shifts in public opinion as revelations about the programs were leaked.[140][141]

In terms of economic impact, a study released in August by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation[142] found that the disclosure of PRISM could cost the U.S. economy between $21.5 and $35 billion in lost cloud computing business over three years.[143][144][145][146]


Unbalanced scales.svg
The neutrality of this section is disputedRelevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (June 2013)

Sentiment around the world was that of general displeasure upon learning the extent of world communication data mining. Some national leaders spoke against the NSA and some spoke against their own national surveillance. One national minister had scathing comments on the National Security Agency's data-mining program, citing Benjamin Franklin: "The more a society monitors, controls, and observes its citizens, the less free it is."[147] Some question if the costs of hunting terrorists now overshadows the loss of citizen privacy.[148][149]

Nick Xenophon, an Australian independent senator, asked Bob Carr, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, if e-mail addresses of Australian parliamentarians were exempt from PRISM, Mainway, Marina, and/or Nucleon. After Carr replied that there was a legal framework to protect Australians but that the government would not comment on intelligence matters, Xenophon argued that this was not a specific answer to his question.[150]

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said, "We knew about their past efforts to trace our system. We have used our technical resources to foil their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far."[151][152] However CNN has reported that terrorist groups have changed their "communications behaviors" in response to the leaks.[69]

China and Hong Kong[edit]

Reactions of Internet users in China were mixed between viewing a loss of freedom worldwide and seeing state surveillance coming out of secrecy. The story broke just before U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California.[153][154] When asked about NSA hacking China, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China said, "China strongly advocates cybersecurity."[155] The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style.[156] Hong Kong legislators Gary Fan and Claudia Mo wrote a letter to Obama stating, "the revelations of blanket surveillance of global communications by the world's leading democracy have damaged the image of the U.S. among freedom-loving peoples around the world."[157] Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, said, "Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it's abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals' privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights."[158]


Sophie in 't Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM "a violation of EU laws."[159]

Digital rights group Digitale Gesellschaftprotest at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin,Germany (June 18, 2013)
Protesters against PRISM in Berlin,Germany wearing Bradley Manning andEdward Snowden masks (June 19, 2013).

The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as "monstrous."[160] He further added that White House claims do "not reassure me at all" and that "given the large number of German users of Google, Facebook, Apple or Microsoft services, I expect the German government [...] is committed to clarification and limitation of surveillance." Steffen Seibert, press secretary of the Chancellor's office, announced that Angela Merkel will put these issues on the agenda of the talks with Barack Obama during his pending visit in Berlin.[161] Wolfgang Schmidt, a former lieutenant colonel with the Stasi, said that the Stasi would have seen such a program as a "dream come true" since the Stasi lacked the technology that made PRISM possible.[98] Schmidt expressed opposition, saying, "It is the height of naivete to think that once collected this information won't be used. This is the nature of secret government organizations. The only way to protect the people's privacy is not to allow the government to collect their information in the first place."[98] Many Germans organized protests, including one at Checkpoint Charlie, when Obama went to Berlin to speak. Matthew Schofield of theMcClatchy Washington Bureau said, "Germans are dismayed at Obama's role in allowing the collection of so much information."[98]

The Italian president of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance dragnet "would not be legal in Italy" and would be "contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation."[162]

CNIL (French data protection watchdog) intimates Google to change its privacy policies within three months or it'll risk fines up to 150,000 euros. AEPD (Spanish Data Protection Agency) is planning to fine Google between 40k and 300k euros, if it fails to clear about the past usage of the massive data of the Spanish users.[163]

William Hague, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, dismissed accusations that British security agencies had been circumventing British law by using information gathered on British citizens by Prism[164] saying, "Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards."[164] David Cameron said Britain's spy agencies that received data collected from PRISM acted within the law: "I'm satisfied that we have intelligence agencies that do a fantastically important job for this country to keep us safe, and they operate within the law."[164][165] Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, said that if the British intelligence agencies were seeking to know the content of emails about people living in the UK, then they actually have to get lawful authority.[165] The UK's Information Commissioner's Office was more cautious, saying it would investigate PRISM alongside other European data agencies: "There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK's own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the U.S. Government."[159]

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, accused western governments of practicing hypocrisy,[166] as they conducted spying on the Internet while they criticized other countries for spying on the Internet.[167] Berners-Lee said that Internet spying can make people feel reluctant to access intimate details or use the Internet in a certain way, and as paraphrased by Steve Robson of theDaily Mail, he said that the Internet "should be protected from being controlled by governments or large corporations."[166]


Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional forum meeting on 2 July 2013[168] in Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei,[169][170] Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid defended the PRISM program saying, "This is not scrutiny and access to actual messages. It is only computer analysis of patterns of calls and emails that are being sent. It is not actually snooping specifically on content of anybody's message or conversation. Some of the information they got out of their scrutiny, they were able to use it to prevent serious terrorist attacks in several countries."[171] His comments contradicted India's initial reaction to the issue, when a Foreign Ministry spokesman warned that any privacy violation would be "unacceptable."[172][173] WhenMinister of Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal was asked about Khurshid's comments, he refused to comment on them directly, but said, "We do not know the nature of data or information sought [as part of PRISM]. Even the external ministry does not have any idea."[174] The media felt that Khurshid's defence of PRISM was because the India government was rolling out the Central Monitoring System (CMS), which is similar to the PRISM program.[175][176][177]

Khurshid's comments were criticized by the Indian media,[178][179] as well as opposition party CPI(M) who stated, "The UPAgovernment should have strongly protested against such surveillance and bugging. Instead, it is shocking that Khurshid has sought to justify it. This shameful remark has come at a time when even the close allies of the US like Germany and France have protested against the snooping on their countries."[180]

The Supreme Court stated on 25 June 2013, that it could not pass any order against the US Government and its agencies, for snooping on Internet data from India, as it had no jurisdiction over them. However, it agreed to a hear the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by SN Singh, a former Dean of Law Faculty of Delhi University, seeking to initiate action against Internet companies for allowing a foreign agency to access information. The Court stated that the petitioner must convince them that the fundamental rights of the people had been violated.[181] Rajya Sabha MP P. Rajeev started an online public petition asking Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to reveal information on Indian data given to the NSA.[176] Rajeev told The Times of India that "The act of the USA is a clear violation of Vienna convention on diplomatic relations. But Khurshid is trying to justify it. And the speed of the government of India to reject the asylum application of Edward Snowden is shameful."[182]

Legal aspects[edit]

United States[edit]

Applicable law and practice[edit]

On June 8, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence issued a fact sheet stating that PRISM "is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program," but rather "an internal government computer system" used to facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information "under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a)."[59]Section 702 provides that "the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence may authorize jointly, for a period of up to 1 year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information."[183] In order to authorize the targeting, the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence need to obtain an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) pursuant to Section 702 or certify that "intelligence important to the national security of the United States may be lost or not timely acquired and time does not permit the issuance of an order."[183] When requesting an order, the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence must certify to the FISA Court that "a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information."[183] They do not need to specify which facilities or property will be targeted.[183]

After receiving a FISA Court order or determining that there are emergency circumstances, the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence can direct an electronic communication service provider to give them access to information or facilities to carry out the targeting and keep the targeting secret.[183] The provider then has the option to: (1) comply with the directive; (2) reject it; or (3) challenge it with the FISA Court. If the provider complies with the directive, it is released from liability to its users for providing the information and is reimbursed for the cost of providing it,[183] while if the provider rejects the directive, the Attorney General may request an order from the FISA Court to enforce it.[183] A provider that fails to comply with the FISA Court's order can be punished withcontempt of court.[183]

Finally, a provider can petition the FISA Court to reject the directive.[183] In case the FISA Court denies the petition and orders the provider to comply with the directive, the provider risks contempt of court if it refuses to comply with the FISA Court's order.[183] The provider can appeal the FISA Court's denial to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review and then appeal the Court of Review's decision to the Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari for review under seal.[183]

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the FISA Courts had been put in place to oversee intelligence operations in the period after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Gage of Slate said, "When they were created, these new mechanisms were supposed to stop the kinds of abuses that men like Hoover had engineered. Instead, it now looks as if they have come to function as rubber stampsfor the expansive ambitions of the intelligence community. J. Edgar Hoover no longer rules Washington, but it turns out we didn't need him anyway."[184]


June 11, 2013 American Civil Liberties Union Lawsuit filed against the NSA citing that the "Mass Call Tracking Program" (as the case terms PRISM) "violates Americans' constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy" and constitutes "dragnet" surveillance, in violation of the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution, and thereby also "exceeds the authority granted by 50 U.S.C. § 1861, and thereby violates 5 U.S.C. § 706."[185] The case was joined by Yale Law School, on behalf of its Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic.[186]
June 11, 2013FreedomWatch USA Class action lawsuit against government bodies and officials believed responsible for PRISM, and 12 companies (including AppleMicrosoftGoogleFacebook, and Skype and their chief executives) who have been disclosed as providing or making available mass information about their users' communications and data to the NSA under the PRISM program or related programs. The case cites the FirstFourth, and Fifth Amendments to theConstitution, as well as breach of 18 U.S.C. §§2702 (disclosure of communications records), and asks the court to rule that the program operates outside its legal authority (s.215 of the Patriot Act). The class includes the plaintiffs and[187]
"other American citizens who, in addition to being members of the Nationwide Class, had their telephone calls and/or emails and/or any other communications made or received through Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Skype, AOL, Sprint, AT&T, Apple, Microsoft and/or PalTalk actually recorded and/or listened into by or on behalf of [the] Defendants."

Analysis of legal issues[edit]

  • Laura Donohue, a law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and its Center on National Security and the Law, has called PRISM and other NSA mass surveillance programs unconstitutional.[188]
  • Woodrow Hartzog, an affiliate at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society commented that "[The ACLU will] likely have to demonstrate legitimate First Amendment harms (such as chilling effects) or Fourth Amendment harms (perhaps a violation of a reasonable expectation of privacy)... Is it a harm to merely know with certainty that you are being monitored by the government? There's certainly an argument that it is. People under surveillance act differently, experience a loss of autonomy, are less likely to engage in self exploration and reflection, and are less willing to engage in core expressive political activities such as dissenting speech and government criticism. Such interests are what First and Fourth Amendment seek to protect."[189]

Programs sharing the name PRISM[edit]

Besides the information collection program started in 2007, there are two other programs sharing the name PRISM:[190]

  1. The Planning tool for Resource Integration, Synchronization and Management (PRISM) program, a web tool used by US military intelligence to send tasks and instructions to data collection platforms deployed to military operations. [191]
  2. The Portal for Real-time Information Sharing and Management (PRISM) program whose existence was revealed by the NSA in July 2013. This is an internal NSA program for real-time sharing of information which is apparently located in the NSA's Information Assurance Directorate. The NSA's Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) is a very secretive division. It's responsible for safeguarding U.S. government and military secrets by implementing sophisticated encryption techniques.

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up^ The precise question was: [F]or the past few years the Obama administration has reportedly been gathering and analyzing information from major internet companies about audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails and documents involving people in other countries in an attempt to locate suspected terrorists. The government reportedly does not target internet usage by U.S. citizens and if such data is collected, it is kept under strict controls. Do you think the Obama administration was right or wrong in gathering and analyzing that internet data?


  1. Jump up^ Damon Hart-Davis (12 June 2013). "How NSA spooks spaffed my DAD'S DATA ALL OVER THE WEB"The Register. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  2. Jump up^ Mike Masnick (13 June 2013). "NSA Infringed Adam Hart-Davis' Photograph For Its PRISM Logo"Techdirt. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i Gellman, BartonPoitras, Laura (June 6, 2013)."US Intelligence Mining Data from Nine U.S. Internet Companies in Broad Secret Program"The Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  4. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h Greenwald, Glenn; MacAskill, Ewen (June 6, 2013). "NSA Taps in to Internet Giants' Systems to Mine User Data, Secret Files Reveal – Top-Secret Prism Program Claims Direct Access to Servers of Firms Including Google, Apple and Facebook – Companies Deny Any Knowledge of Program in Operation Since 2007 – Obama Orders US to Draw Up Overseas Target List for Cyber-Attacks"The Guardian. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  5. Jump up^ Braun, Stephen; Flaherty, Anne; Gillum, Jack; Apuzzo, Matt (June 15, 2013). "Secret to PRISM Program: Even Bigger Data Seizures"Associated Press. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  6. Jump up^ Chappell, Bill (June 6, 2013). "NSA Reportedly Mines Servers of US Internet Firms for Data"The Two-Way (blog of NPR). Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  7. Jump up^ Staff (June 8, 2013). "PRISM: Here's How the NSA Wiretapped the Internet"ZDNet. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  8. Jump up^ Siobhan Gorman and Jennifer Valentiono-Devries (20 August 2013). "New Details Show Broader NSA Surveillance Reach - Programs Cover 75% of Nation's Traffic, Can Snare Emails".The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  9. Jump up^ "Graphic: How the NSA Scours Internet Traffic in the U.S.".The Wall Street Journal. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  10. Jump up^ Jennifer Valentiono-Devries and Siobhan Gorman (20 August 2013). "What You Need to Know on New Details of NSA Spying"The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  11. Jump up^ Lee, Timothy B. (June 6, 2013). "How Congress Unknowingly Legalized PRISM in 2007"Wonkblog (blog of The Washington Post). Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  12. Jump up^ Johnson, Luke (July 1, 2013). "George W. Bush Defends PRISM: 'I Put That Program in Place to Protect the Country'".The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  13. Jump up^ Office of the Director of National Intelligence (June 8, 2013)."Facts on the Collection of Intelligence Pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act".
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  15. Jump up^ MacAskill, Ewan (august 23, 2013). "NSA paid millions to cover Prism compliance costs for tech companies". Retrieved August 27, 2013.
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  17. Jump up^ John D Bates (October 3, 2011). "[redacted]". p. 71.
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  19. Jump up^ Greenwald, Glenn (June 5, 2013). "NSA Collecting Phone Records of Millions of Verizon Customers Daily – Top Secret Court Order Requiring Verizon to Hand Over All Call Data Shows Scale of Domestic Surveillance under Obama"The Guardian. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  20. Jump up^ Staff (June 6, 2013). "Intelligence Chief Blasts NSA Leaks, Declassifies Some Details about Phone Program Limits". Associated Press (via The Washington Post). Retrieved June 15, 2013.[dead link]
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  22. Jump up^ Madison, Lucy (June 19, 2013). "Obama Defends 'Narrow' Surveillance Programs"CBS News. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  23. Jump up^ Ellen Nakashima; Joby Warrick (July 14, 2013). "For NSA chief, terrorist threat drives passion to 'collect it all,' observers say"The Washington Post. Retrieved July 15, 2013. "Collect it all, tag it, store it. . . . And whatever it is you want, you go searching for it."
  24. Jump up^ Glenn Greenwald (July 15, 2013). "The crux of the NSA story in one phrase: 'collect it all': The actual story that matters is not hard to see: the NSA is attempting to collect, monitor and store all forms of human communication"The Guardian. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
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  26. Jump up^ "Espionnage de la NSA : tous les documents publiés par "Le Monde""Le Monde. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
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  29. Jump up^ "Adopted by the House of Delegates" (PDF). American Bar Association. February 13, 2006.
  30. Jump up^ Staff (February 14, 2006). "Lawyers Group Criticizes Surveillance Program"The Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
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  32. Jump up^ "H.R. 5949 (112th Congress): FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012".
  33. Jump up^ Johnson, Kevin; Martin, Scott; O'Donnell, Jayne; Winter, Michael (June 15, 2013). "Reports: NSA Siphons Data from 9 Major Net Firms"USA Today. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  34. Jump up^ MacAskill, Ewen; Borger, Julian; Hopkins, Nick; Davies, Nick; Ball, James (June 21, 2013). "GCHQ Taps Fibre-Optic Cables for Secret Access to World's Communications – Exclusive: British Spy Agency Collects and Stores Vast Quantities of Global Email Messages, Facebook Posts, Internet Histories and Calls, and Shares Them with NSA, Latest Documents from Edward Snowden Reveal"The Guardian. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  35. Jump up^ Staff (June 22, 2013). "GCHQ Data-Tapping Claims Nightmarish, Says German Justice Minister"BBC News. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  36. Jump up^ Clayton, Mark (June 22, 2013). "When in Doubt, NSA Searches Information on Americans – According to Newly Revealed Secret Documents, the NSA Retains Wide Discretion over Targeting Individuals for Surveillance – Including, Potentially, Americans – Civil Libertarians Say 'It Confirms Our Worst Fears'"[dead link]The Christian Science Monitor (viaYahoo! News). Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  37. Jump up^ Staff (June 20, 2013). "Procedures Used by NSA to Target Non-US Persons: Exhibit A – Full Document – Top-Secret Documents Show FISA Judges Have Signed Off on Broad Orders Allowing the NSA to Make Use of Information 'Inadvertently' Collected from Domestic US Communications Without a Warrant"The Guardian. Rerieved June 29, 2013.
  38. Jump up^ Bump, Philip (June 20, 2013). "The NSA Guidelines for Spying on You Are Looser Than You've Been Told"The Atlantic Wire. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  39. Jump up^ Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras, Spencer Ackerman and Dominic Rushe (July 11, 2013). "Revealed: how Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages".The Guardian. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  40. Jump up^ "Microsoft helped the NSA bypass encryption, new Snowden leak reveals". Russia Today. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
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  42. Jump up^ Revealed: NSA program collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet' by Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian 31 July 2013
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  44. Jump up^ Bump, Philip (17 July 2013). "The NSA Admits It Analyzes More People's Data Than Previously Revealed"The Atlantic Wire. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
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  46. Jump up^ File:Prism-week-in-life-straight.png
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  49. Jump up^ Craig Timberg and Ellen Nakashima (7 July). "Agreements with private companies protect U.S. access to cables' data for surveillance"The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  50. Jump up^ Bamford, James (12 July 2013). "They Know Much More Than You Think". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
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  52. Jump up^ Gallagher, Ryan (September 9, 2013). "New Snowden Documents Show NSA Deemed Google Networks a "Target"". Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  53. Jump up^ "NSA Documents Show United States Spied Brazilian Oil Giant". September 8, 2013. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
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  56. Jump up^ Shane, ScottSanger, David E. (June 30, 2013). "Job Title Key to Inner Access Held by Snowden"The New York Times. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
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  60. Jump up^ "DNI Statement on the Collection of Intelligence Pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act".Director of National Intelligence. June 8, 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
  61. Jump up^ Miller, Greg; Nakashima, Ellen (June 25, 2013). "NSA Fact Sheet on Surveillance Program Pulled from Web After Senators' Criticism"The Washington Post. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
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  63. Jump up^ Press release (June 13, 2013). "Udall, Wyden Call on National Security Agency Director to Clarify Comments on Effectiveness of Phone Data Collection Program". Office ofRon Wyden. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
  64. Jump up^ Gerstein, Josh (June 18, 2013). "NSA: PRISM Stopped NYSE Attack"Politico. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
  65. Jump up^ Nakashima, Ellen (June 18, 2013). "Officials: surveillance programs foiled more than 50 terrorist attacks"Wasington Post.
  66. Jump up^ Chang, Ailsa (June 19, 2013). "Secret Surveillance Credited with Preventing Terror Acts"NPR. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
  67. Jump up^ "NSA Claim of Thwarted NYSE Plot Contradicted by Court Documents". ABC News. June 19, 2013. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  68. Jump up^ "Udall, Bipartisan Group of Senators Seek Answers from DNI Clapper on Bulk Data Collection Program". June 28, 2013. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
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  71. Jump up^ Blake, Aaron (June 7, 2013). "Congress All But Silent on Surveillance of Internet Records"Post Politics (blog of The Washington Post). Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  72. Jump up^ Everett, Burgess; Sherman, Jake (June 7, 2013). "Republican Lawmakers: NSA Surveillance News to Me"Politico. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
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  74. Jump up to:a b c Bohan, Caren (June 9, 2013). "Lawmakers Urge Review of Domestic Spying, Patriot Act". Reuters (via the Chicago Tribune). Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  75. Jump up^ Knowlton, Brian (June 9, 2013). "Feinstein 'Open' to Hearings on Surveillance Programs"The Caucus (blog of The New York Times). Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  76. Jump up^ Van Susteren, Greta (June 11, 2013). "Sen. Feinstein Says Declassifying Info on NSA Program Would Show the Benefits of the Program"Gretawire (blog of Fox News Channel). Retrieved June 16, 2013.
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  78. Jump up to:a b Sensenbrenner, Jim (June 9, 2013). "This Abuse of the Patriot Act Must End – President Obama Falsely Claims Congress Authorised All NSA Surveillance – In Fact, Our Law Was Designed to Protect Liberties"The Guardian. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  79. Jump up to:a b McClanahan, Mike (June 9, 2013). "U.S. Leaders React to Leak Detailing NSA Surveillance Program"WIAT. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  80. Jump up^ Howell, Jr., Tom (June 10, 2013). "Rep. Todd Rokita: No Government Snooping Without Probable Cause"The Washington Times. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  81. Jump up^ Risen, James (June 11, 2013). "Report Indicates More Extensive Cooperation by Microsoft on Surveillance"New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  82. Jump up^ Leonnig, Carol D.; Ellen Nakashima, Ellen; Gellman, Barton(June 29, 2013). "Secret-Court Judges Upset at Portrayal of 'Collaboration' with Government"The Washington Post. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
  83. Jump up to:a b Lichtblau, Eric (6 July 2013). "In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A."The New York Times. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  84. Jump up^ Rosenthal, Andrew (9 July 2013). "A Court Without Adversaries"The New York Times. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  85. Jump up^ John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke (21 June 2013). "The judges who preside over America's secret court"Reuters. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  86. Jump up^ Walton, Reggie B. (29 July 2013). "2013-07-29 Letter of FISA Court president Reggie B. Walton to the Chairmann of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick J. Leahy about certain operations of the FISA Court" Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  87. Jump up to:a b Ackerman, Spencer; Roberts, Dan (June 28, 2013). "US Army Blocks Access to Guardian Website to Preserve 'Network Hygiene' – Military Admits to Filtering Reports and Content Relating to Government Surveillance Programs for Thousands of Personnel"The Guardian. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
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  89. Jump up to:a b Ex-Verfassungsschützer: US-Überwachung auch in Österreich, 2013-07-06.(German)
  90. Jump up to:a b Gert Polli rechnet mit der CIA ab: NEWS-Talk mit dem Ex-Verfassungsschutz-Boss, 2009-11-11.(German)
  91. Jump up^ Talor, Josh (June 11, 2013). "Australian Government to Assess Prism Impact"ZDNet. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  92. Jump up^ "Dilma Rousseff cancels preparations for US trip over spying row", Donna Bowater, The Telegraph, September 5, 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  93. Jump up^ "At U.N. General Assembly, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Blasts U.S. Spying Operations", Dilma Rousseff, Video and transcript, Democracy Now!, September 24, 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  94. Jump up^ Horgan, Colin (June 10, 2013). "Should Canadians Worry About the NSA's PRISM Program? Maybe" Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  95. Jump up^ "Rules Shielding Online Data From N.S.A. and Other Prying Eyes Advance in Europe", James Kanter and Mike Scott, New York Times, 21 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  96. Jump up^ "France Calls U.S. Ambassador Over Spying Report", Adrian Croft, Arshad Mohammed, Alexandria Sage, and Mark John, New York Times (Reuters), October 21, 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  97. Jump up^ Prodhan, Georgina; Davenport, Claire (June 7, 2013). "U.S. Surveillance Revelations Deepen European Fears of Web Giants"Reuters. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  98. Jump up to:a b c d Schofield, Matthew. (June 26, 2013). "Memories of Stasi Color Germans' View of U.S. Surveillance Programs".McClatchy Washington Bureau. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  99. Jump up^ "The German Army was using PRISM to support its operations in Afghanistan as early as 2011."Der Spiegel (in German). 17 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  100. Jump up^ Sadan, Nitzan (June 8, 2013).