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WikiLeaks: NSA Recording All Telephone Calls In Afghanistan 241

On Monday, The Intercept reported that the NSA is recording the content of every cell phone call in the Bahamas. At the time of publication, The Intercept said there was another country in which the NSA was doing this, but declined to name it because of "specific, credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence." Now, reader Advocatus Diaboli points out that WikiLeaks has spilled the beans: the country being fully monitored by the NSA is Afghanistan. Julian Assange wrote, "Such censorship strips a nation of its right to self-determination on a matter which affects its whole population. An ongoing crime of mass espionage is being committed against the victim state and its population. By denying an entire population the knowledge of its own victimization, this act of censorship denies each individual in that country the opportunity to seek an effective remedy, whether in international courts, or elsewhere. Pre-notification to the perpetrating authorities also permits the erasure of evidence which could be used in a successful criminal prosecution, civil claim, or other investigations. ... We do not believe it is the place of media to 'aid and abet' a state in escaping detection and prosecution for a serious crime against a population. Consequently WikiLeaks cannot be complicit in the censorship of victim state X. The country in question is Afghanistan."
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WikiLeaks: NSA Recording All Telephone Calls In Afghanistan

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  • Re:Well duh! (Score:4, Informative)

    by jythie ( 914043 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:01AM (#47073555)
    Not as long as you might think. The technology needed for this level of data collection is only a few decades old at best. 20-30 years ago even tracing a call in an industrialized nation could be a laborious task and collection like this was just undoable.
  • Re:Well duh! (Score:5, Informative)

    by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:02AM (#47073561)

    There seems to always be the obligatory "didn't we all know this already" comment in these NSA discussions. Every time it can be found. I'm tired of it.

    No, we didn't know. Beginning with the revelations by Edward Snowden, people's eyes have constantly opened more and more to the things that are happening behind the scenes. Some of it is crazy Orwellian crap that many of us couldn't make up in their wildest dreams.

  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:21AM (#47073677)

    I'd like to point out that:

    1) It's perfectly legal for the NSA to spy on Britons, which it is documented as doing
    2) It's perfectly legal for the NSA to give that information to GCHQ, which it is documented as doing
    3) It's perfectly legal for GCHQ to spy on Americans, which it is documented as doing
    4) It's perfectly legal for GCHQ to give that information to the NSA.

  • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:37AM (#47073771) Homepage

    Now they have to hire thousands of Afghan translators. It will give all the liberal arts graduates something to do.

    A great deal of linguistic support for the NSA comes from the branches of the military, where enlisted people are sent to Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California to train in the language if skills-testing shows they have linguistic aptitude. A prior university degree -- let alone a liberal arts one -- is not necessary.

  • I thought the NSA were only supposed to operate locally

    Not sure if this is tongue in cheek or not, but I'll answer it. The NSA is specifically barred from domestic spying. They and the CIA are supposed to be focused on foreign intelligence. The agency that would operate locally is the FBI.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @10:50AM (#47074303)

    Greenwald has been dropping hints in interviews that it's specific groups of Americans being targeted, for non-obvious (i.e."terror") reasons. I'm guessing it will also describe some of the uglier uses of NSA info by say the DEA and FBI, like illegal wiretaps and backfeeding cases against criminal but non-terrorist Americans to agents.

I've got a bad feeling about this.