US Officials: Phone Records Given to NSA by European Intelligence Services
Today we learn that the latest stories on NSA collection of phone records in France and Spain are, well, completely bogus. The truth is exactly the opposite of the media reports and the hype from Glenn Greenwald: Phone Records Given to NSA by European Intelligence, Officials Say.
WASHINGTON — Leaked U.S. documents appearing to show that the National Security Agency collected data on tens of millions of European phone records, an issue that has sparked outrage among U.S. allies, actually represented data handed over to the NSA by European intelligence services as part of joint operations, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
The claim refutes reports in leading French and Spanish newspapers suggesting that the NSA had vacuumed up French and Spanish telephone records without the knowledge of those governments. U.S. officials now say that the NSA didn’t collect the data — the intelligence services of those countries did.
Exactly how the telephone records were used is unclear, but U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss classified programs portrayed the operation as related to counter-terrorism efforts and force protection in Afghanistan.
U.S. intelligence officials had disputed the newspaper stories, but had avoided citing the complicity of European spy agencies until now because of diplomatic sensitivities about exposing the role of foreign intelligence partners.
Greenwald was boasting about this story two days ago:
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 27, 2013
And he’s continuing to defend it today:
The NSA's own document about what the Boundless Informant documents published in France and Spain shows http://t.co/Zz55h3htL4
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 29, 2013
The document to which Greenwald is linking does not support his claims that the NSA collected this data; it’s about a database management tool called “Boundless Informant,” and it says nothing about where the data comes from.
A major screw-up by Glenn Greenwald. He misinterpreted the information in Snowden’s stolen documents and jumped to incorrect conclusions — not for the first time, but this may be the most egregious case of Greenwald’s malfeasance yet.