Snowden Files Provide New Insight On The NSA And The Power It Wields

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by Elizabeth Vos, Disobedient Media:

New Zealand Internet Party leader Suzie Dawson and this author have continued to analyze Snowden Files that have so far never received public scrutiny. Disobedient Media previously reported on findings stemming from Batch Three of the Intercept’s Snowden File archives. Dawson and this author have analyzed over 100 documents from the Intercept’s Batch Four of the Snowden Files to date, and have noted numerous items of key significance revealed in the never-before-publicized data. The collaboration, under the title DecipherYou, will continue until some time in early 2018. A selected group of our findings is presented here, with the rest of Batch Four findings to be discussed at a later date.

One of the first documents in batch Four discussed the NSA’s definition of Denial and Deception. The document advertises a seminar which would be presented by Dr. Larry Gershwin, the National Intelligence Officer for Intelligence Assurance and Chairman of the Foreign Denial and Deception Committee (FDDC). The description of Gershwin’s presentation reads in part:

Dawson noted that while the definition of ‘denial’ was marked secret, the description of ‘deception’ was marked unclassified.

Another finding of interest from episode 10 of DecipherYou was in regards to the definition of the ‘Office of Target Pursuit.” The Snowden File read in part:”After completing a 6-month tour in a TOPI, interns choose two additional tours from other S2 target offices, the Target Analysis Center, Cryptologic and Exploitation Services SIGDEV elements (including the Office of Target Pursuit and the Network Analysis Center).” With the help of a viewer, we were able to find definitions in regard to the initial file in a Wikileaks pdf document.

The document states that Special Source operations oversees the PRISM program, one of the most infamous examples of mass surveillance revealed by the publication of the Snowden Files. The Washington Post and other outlets have reported extensively on PRISM. The Verge describes the program: “PRISM is a tool used by the US National Security Agency (NSA) to collect private electronic data belonging to users of major internet services like Gmail, Facebook, Outlook, and others. It’s the latest evolution of the US government’s post-9/11 electronic surveillance efforts, which began under President Bush with the Patriot Act, and expanded to include the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) enacted in 2006 and 2007.”

While PRISM is a relatively recent development, Special Source Operations are decades older.

Another document revealed that the US does indeed intervene militarily in order to secure the flow of oil to the US and its allies. The admission was made in a file relating to a seminar on “African Petro-Politics.” The document reads in part: “By 2015, the United States will depend on West African oil for 25% of its oil imports… Oil production in Sudan has been a factor in the Sudanese civil war, with oil wealth sharing being a primary negotiating issue in the peace process. Oil has played a role in the extent of corruption and in sustaining military might in several African countries… Finally, threats to – and security of – the oil producing areas in West Africa will be discussed (including U.S. engagement to improve security).”

This afterthought in the description of a Petro-Politics seminar is particularly relevant in light of the recent deaths of US Service members in African countries. News of their deaths struck a chord of dismay in much of the American public, who were largely caught off guard at the news that the US was active in African nations. Reuters noted in October this year that US deaths in Niger highlighted “Military Mission Creep” in the continent, writing: “[the deaths] shine a light on Washington’s increasingly aggressive Special Forces-led counter-terrorism strategy in Africa and its risk of casualties.” The Washington Post described the incident as indicative of a “Shadow War.”

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