New book says NSA pressured GCHQ to stop British journalists publishing Snowden leaks

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from unexpected-but-also-unfortunately-unsurprising department

A new book written by journalist Richard Kerbaj, detailing the history of the so-called “Five Eyes” surveillance collaboration between the NSA and surveillance agencies in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, reveals some additional postscripts to the Ed The Snowden Story.

Snowden’s first leak appeared almost a decade ago. Since then, spy agencies have been reformed, prosecuted, thoroughly discussed, and ultimately emerged largely unscathed.

The new book contains a few revelations that don’t seem to have been published before. Perhaps most shocking (but perhaps not quite shocking) is the apparent fact that the NSA pressured its British counterpart in the hopes of stopping British journalists from doing journalism.

The US National Security Agency (NSA) tried to persuade its British counterpart to block the Guardian from publishing revelations about NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s secret mass data collection, according to a new book .

Sir Iain Lobban, the head of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), was reportedly called in with the request in the early hours of June 6, 2013, but dismissed the suggestion that his agency should act as censor on behalf of his American partner in electronic espionage.

The head of GCHQ felt comfortable rejecting the NSA’s request to somehow stop publication of Snowden’s early leaks. But he was not so resilient a few days later, when his own government apparently convinced him to show up at the offices of the Guardian and force employees to destroy hard drives believed to contain NSA leaked documents.

What’s not shocking about this is that the NSA would probably have done anything to prevent the leaks from being published, especially if they could persuade a third party in another country to apply pressure. It would free him from any legal liability and allegations of rights violations and make it look like another spy agency was the one who couldn’t handle the pressure and pulled the trigger in an outrageous attempt to save themselves. to the detriment of journalistic freedom.

The supreme self-interest of the NSA is further exposed in the book. NSA officials kept the agency’s so-called “closest partner” in the dark about the source of the leaks, allowing GCHQ to uncover the source’s name along with the rest of them. us non-NSA employees found out.

Kerbaj reports that the US-British intelligence relationship was further strained when NSA chief General Keith Alexander failed to inform Lobban that the Americans had identified Snowden, a Hawaii-based government contractor, as the source of the stories, leaving the British agency investigating within its own ranks in search of the leaker. GCHQ did not discover Snowden’s identity until he went public in a Guardian interview.

Yeah. Apparently the NSA thought that was the best solution to their own problem. Worse still, Ed Snowden’s revelation about himself further infuriated GCHQ officials, who could not believe that a mere government contractor (rather than an official NSA employee) had access to this mine of classified information.

Despite their differences, the spy agencies remain united. They both agree that the public should know no more than they are willing to officially release about spy programs that inadvertently or deliberately target citizens. They will both continue to participate in joint fishing expeditions, pulling communications and data from offshore cables to stay out of the reach of local laws. And presumably they both still agree that Snowden is the real bad guy here, no matter how often they ignored rights and regulations to engage in espionage. But I hope they both realize that history will ultimately vindicate Snowden while the jury remains on the effectiveness of counterterrorism programs that involve dragnet drives.

Filed Under: censorship, ed snowden, gchq, keith alexander, mass surveillance, nsa

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