Wow, a massive fail by the Guardian/Observer tonight, as their latest BREAKING BOMBSHELL story on NSA spying features Birther (and all-around tin foil hat conspiracy theorist) Wayne Madsen: Revealed: Secret European Deals to Hand Over Private Data to America | World News | the Observer.
The article’s been pulled down now, but here’s a screenshot and the first few paragraphs:
Click to enlarge
At least six European Union countries in addition to Britain have been colluding with the US over the mass harvesting of personal communications data, according to a former contractor to America’s National Security Agency, who said the public should not be “kept in the dark”.
Wayne Madsen, a former US navy lieutenant who first worked for the NSA in 1985 and over the next 12 years held several sensitive positions within the agency, names Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Italy as having secret deals with the US.
Madsen said the countries had “formal second and third party status” under signal intelligence (sigint) agreements that compels them to hand over data, including mobile phone and internet information to the NSA if requested.
Under international intelligence agreements, confirmed by declassified documents, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is first party while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy second party relationships. Germany and France have third party relationships.
In an interview published last night on the privacysurgeon.org blog, Madsen, who has been attacked for holding controversial views on espionage issues, said he had decided to speak out after becoming concerned about the “half story” told by EU politicians regarding the extent of the NSA’s activities in Europe.
He said that under the agreements, which were drawn up after the second world war, the “NSA gets the lion’s share” of the sigint “take”. In return, the third parties to the NSA agreements received “highly sanitised intelligence”.
Madsen said he was alarmed at the “sanctimonious outcry” of political leaders who were “feigning shock” about the spying operations while staying silent about their own arrangements with the US, and was particularly concerned that senior German politicians had accused the UK of spying when their country had a similar third-party deal with the NSA.
Although the level of co-operation provided by other European countries to the NSA is not on the same scale as that provided by the UK, the allegations are potentially embarrassing.
Not half as embarrassing as this article itself.
To make matters even worse, it looks like this has already gone to print as a front-page story in tomorrow’s Observer:
Here’s Google’s cached version of the article (which isn’t permanent): Revealed: Secret European Deals to Hand Over Private Data to America | World News | the Observer.
UPDATE at 6/29/13 5:34:39 pm
Glenn Greenwald is responding in his usual fashion:
But here’s the thing; this article was also prominently featured on the front pages of the Guardian’s websites. Two screenshots from Google’s cache (hat tip: Gus):