'NSA pushed for forming EU bazaar of spy networks'

'NSA pushed for forming EU bazaar of spy networks'
Sat Mar 8, 2014 17:05:35

American spy agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has told the European Parliament that the US National Security Agency (NSA) pressures its EU allies to adopt measures to further enable broad and indiscriminate electronic surveillance.

“One of the foremost activities of the NSA's FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure or incentivize EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance,” Snowden said on Friday during a testimony delivered remotely from Russia.

He further was cited as saying in an RT report that NSA Lawyers, as well as those of the British GCHQ spy agency, “work very hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance operations that were at best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers.”

“These efforts to interpret new powers out of vague laws is an intentional strategy to avoid public opposition and lawmakers’ insistence that legal limits be respected,” Snowden emphasized.

The NSA lobbied heavily for leaders in Sweden, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Germany to authorize mass surveillance operations, including programs in which intelligence is gathered and then shared across borders with allied nation-states abroad, said the former intelligence contractor for CIA and NSA spy agencies.

“Each of these countries received instruction from the NSA, sometimes under the guise of the US Department of Defense and other bodies, on how to degrade the legal protections of their countries' communications,” he noted.

Pressuring those countries to increase their surveillance capabilities and adopt new technology created a “European bazaar” that enabled EU member states to essentially funnel intelligence to spy firms around the globe, Snowden said.

Snowden further cautioned the EU body that there are “many other undisclosed programs” that will likely impact the rights of citizens there once they are made public, but said he “will leave the public interest determinations as to which of these may be safely disclosed to responsible journalists in coordination with government stakeholders.”

In his statement, Snowden also denounced allegations that he has a relationship with the government of Russia.

“I would also add, for the record, that the United States government has repeatedly acknowledged that there is no evidence at all of any relationship between myself and the Russian intelligence service,” Snowden said.

“For the record, I also repeat my willingness to provide testimony to the United States Congress, should they decide to consider the issue of unconstitutional mass surveillance,” he said.


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