There is a interesting new slide in the NSA leak story as reported by the Washington Post. I think it is important to understand this part before the other….
The U.S. government had a problem: Spying in the digital age required access to the fiber-optic cables traversing the world’s oceans, carrying torrents of data at the speed of light. And one of the biggest operators of those cables was being sold to an Asian firm, potentially complicating American surveillance efforts.
Enter “Team Telecom.”
In months of private talks, the team of lawyers from the FBI and the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security demanded that the company maintain what amounted to an internal corporate cell of American citizens with government clearances. Among their jobs, documents show, was ensuring that surveillance requests got fulfilled quickly and confidentially.
This “Network Security Agreement,” signed in September 2003 by Global Crossing, became a model for other deals over the past decade as foreign investors increasingly acquired pieces of the world’s telecommunications infrastructure.
Now the other bombshell from today..
Recent debate over U.S. government surveillance has focused on the information that American technology companies secretly provide to the National Security Agency. But that is only one of the ways the NSA eavesdrops on international communications.
A classified NSA slide obtained by The Washington Post and published here for the first time lists “Two Types of Collection.”
One is PRISM, the NSA program that collects information from technology companies, which was first revealed in reports by the Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper last month. The slide also shows a separate category labeled “Upstream,” described as accessing “communications on fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past.”