Apart From Snooping, Here’s Why The NSA Has Been In The News

by
Fatimah Mazhar
It doesn’t really matter if internet giants like Google and Yahoo refuse to hand over data to the National Security Agency (NSA), there is a backdoor through which almost all the electronic information in the world can be easily intercepted – the fiber optic cables that connect those massive computers at data centers.

NSA Cables

In case you missed it, here’s the latest National Security Agency (NSA) round-up from the past few days.

NSA May Have Intercepted Internet Cable Links

It doesn’t really matter if internet giants like Google and Yahoo refuse to hand over data to the National Security Agency (NSA), there is a backdoor through which almost all the electronic information in the world can be easily intercepted – the fiber optic cables that connect those massive computers at data centers.

The Washington Post reported in October that NSA, in collaboration with its British counterpart British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), hacked main communications links connecting Yahoo and Google data centers around the world through a secret surveillance program called MUSCULAR. Almost a month later, The New York Times, citing anonymous sources with knowledge of Google’s and Yahoo’s systems, revealed on Monday, that fiber optic giants such as Verizon Communications, BT Group and especially Level 3 Communications may have helped NSA tap data transmission lines.

Read More: “F*ck You”: Google Employees Blast NSA For Spying Internal Data Networks

At the end of the day, if the Justice Department shows up at your door, you have to comply,” Lowell C. McAdam, Verizon’s chief executive, was quoted by the NYT. “We have gag orders on what we can say and can’t defend ourselves, but we were told they do this with every carrier.”

This is almost similar to what Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said in September during a technology conference. She admitted that sensitive data was handed over to the government and that they faced jail time if NSA surveillance secrets were revealed.

Releasing classified information is treason and you are incarcerated,” she said.

White House Refused NSA Director's Offer to Resign 

While chief executives who disclose classified information are subject to criminal offence in the U.S., the ones in the government who illegitimately collect it are not. According to Wall Street Journal, shortly after former government contractor Edward Snowden revealed himself as the source of the NSA leaks, the agency's director, Gen. Keith Alexander, offered to resign. It was immediately declined by the Obama administration reportedly because White House officials were concerned that Alexander's resignation would give Snowden victory over them.

Related: Ex-NSA Spy Chief Off-The-Record Interview On An Amtrak Train Overheard, Live-Tweeted By Fellow Passenger

Edward Snowden A 'Hero' For NSA Disclosures, Wikipedia Founder Says

The U.S. government may not want the whistleblower to win but for many he is already a champion. The co-founder and promoter of the online non-profit encyclopedia Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, on Monday, called on Barack Obama to restrain NSA snooping as he called Snowden "a hero" during an interview with Al Jazeera’s talk show Head to Head.

Watch: Julian Assange, Founder Of WikiLeaks Says Edward Snowden Is A Hero

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