New Snowden Documents : NSA/DEA Warrantless Intercepts

Check out the latest from The Intercept (Ryan Devereaux, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras), Data Pirates of the Carribean, on an NSA and DEA program called "SomalGet", which is part of MYSTIC.

NSA and the DEA have been recording every phone call in the Bahamas without the knowledge of the Bahamian government.

[The NSA] appears to have used access legally obtained in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to open a backdoor to the country’s cellular telephone network, enabling it to covertly record and store the “full-take audio” of every mobile call made to, from and within the Bahamas – and to replay those calls for up to a month.

The program has also been used in Mexico, the Philippines, and Kenya.

[W]hile MYSTIC scrapes mobile networks for so-called “metadata” – information that reveals the time, source, and destination of calls – SOMALGET is a cutting-edge tool that enables the NSA to vacuum up and store the actual content of every conversation in an entire country.

Here is a 2012 memo written by an official in the NSA's International Crime & Narcotics division describing the program. [More....]

The interceptions have been used to target drug traffickers and alien smugglers, "a far cry" from terrorists with weapons of mass destruction. See this slide.

Intercept says:

One memo indicates that SOMALGET data is covertly acquired under the auspices of “lawful intercepts” made through Drug Enforcement Administration “accesses”– legal wiretaps of foreign phone networks that the DEA requests as part of international law enforcement cooperation.

When U.S. drug agents need to tap a phone of a suspected drug kingpin in another country, they call up their counterparts and ask them set up an intercept. To facilitate those taps, many nations – including the Bahamas – have hired contractors who install and maintain so-called lawful intercept equipment on their telecommunications. With SOMALGET, it appears that the NSA has used the access those contractors developed to secretly mine the country’s entire phone system for “signals intelligence” –recording every mobile call in the country.

The DEA has morphed from a drug agency into an agency of Global Holy Warriors.

“DEA is actually one of the biggest spy operations there is,” says Finn Selander, a former DEA special agent who works with the drug-reform advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “Our mandate is not just drugs. We collect intelligence.”

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    This Snowden kid... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Dadler on Thu May 22, 2014 at 03:32:50 PM EST
    ...is a hero. Period. We'd know none of this without him. And knowing it is SO important, so indispensable.

    Of course they are using this sh*t for so many things other than terrorism. "They" told us it wouldn't be, but we knew better, we said bullsh*t. And now "they" have delivered that bullsh*t to our doorsteps. "They" are power-crazy, pathological liars. And "they" must be eliminated as a governmental force. Phuckers.

    (END NOTE: The quotes around "they" are a rhetorical device, intended to stop and provoke thought. If they fail in that respect, it's on me.)