NSA broke into networks of Brazil's president; state oil company, Google Brazil, and SWIFT, for "economic" reasons




Is there a problem they can’t create on the way to not solving anything?

How much are we shelling out for this?


It seems to have been lost amidst the original Snowden avalanche that ‘economic wellbeing’ is used, at least by GCHQ, as fair grounds for spying http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa

I would have thought ‘economic wellbeing’ could mean everyone from union reps to business-owners, politicians to lawyers, financial journalists to academics, people who criticise capitalism to, well… anyone who participates in economies?


Now that you mention it, I suppose Pinks smashing the heads of Wobblies would also describe their work as protecting “economic wellbeing.”


See, this is the leaks telling us something we didn’t already know. I keep up with the news, and I wasn’t even remotely surprised by most of the leaked info we’ve seen so far. Just a few months ago, though, our government was bitching about the PLA hacking a bunch of American companies, and the government. At that point, I was opining that US companies were at a disadvantage, because, while the NSA was obviously better at hacking other governments’ computers than the PLA, they weren’t going to waste their time giving sensitive info to US companies about their competitors’ operations, because they had bigger fish to fry. Whatever PLA people were doing the hacking, on the other hand, would almost certainly be shopping their data around to any Chinese company they thought could use it. This leak pretty much says that my assessment of that was completely wrong, and our government is operating a whole lot more like the CCP than I would have expected, despite my not being particularly idealistic about things like that.


In our politically-correct age, they prefer the term “a uniquely holistic approach to corporate risk management”. (Also for restructuring reasons, most of their ground-level jackboots will be seen wearing the ‘Securitas’ logo.)


Yup, it’s a divinely broad term. And presumably the economy whose ‘wellbeing’ is being ‘defended’ is the country of whoever happens to be doing the spying at the time.

Gah, internets is broke.


Basically, the NSA and GCHQ are positioning themselves to be “inside traders” on every legitimate deal, as well as every dirty deal, and free themselves from having any dependency on governments for funding.

Once that happens, they will be unstoppable and a constant, persistent and pernicious presence in everyone’s life.

They will stop all crime other than their own and any they deem useful to their aims.

One objection to Pointexters’ original T.I.A. was that if it was allowed to operate without total openness and strict operational monitoring and oversight, it was going to find ways to operate outside the laws of any end every country.

It may be too late


This is not really a new development. It was widely reported more than a decade ago that the NSA used their ECHELON system to conduct economic espionage against ‘friendly’ nations. Whether or not this has been confirmed, Wikipedia claims that EU member states have been advised to use cryptography to defend against ECHELON. (It remains to be seen how much good that does them, in the light of new revelations about the NSA’s ability to compromise or decrypt widely-used cryptographic systems).


Quelle surprise. At this point, it’s hard to even raise an eyebrow over the NSA’s behavior. The organization has become its own stereotype for misguided, unprincipled over-reach…ironically, an officially sanctioned American agency caroming down some very un-American roads to Hell. Even late-night comedy can’t do justice to the inanity.


Confessions of an Economic Hitman


Hey, I stuck up a liquor store for “economic reasons.” Will that fly as a defense in court?


Get the NSA in an honest court and they will be convicted. The NSA is operating much like Al Capone, their crimes are so vast that you can get them on something. In Al Capone’s case it was tax evasion. I’m sure if your open their books and files you will find a vast criminal empire.


I remember the overall reaction to the Echelon revelations: “it’s all tinfoil-hattery and unsubstantiated rumours”. For years, just talking about it would label one as a clueless conspiracy theorist.

Now we have loads of original, undebatable documents saying it’s all true. All there, black on white from the horse’s mouth. This is game-changing on so many levels.

And please, let’s stop with all this “it’s not surprising” bull*. If it was common knowledge, how come that Edward Snowden will never be able to go home? That laws and international agreements were abused to down the Ecuadorean President’s plane? That UK police abused antiterrorist legislation to get their hands over a couple of flash drives? If it was all unsurprising, how come that one Mr. Clapper was found lying not once, not twice but three times, addressing either the public or Congress? How come that the Brazilians are mad, that Germans are marching in the streets?


I’m familiar with one in front of Congress, with his famous head-rubbing tell … would you happen to be able to describe or have links for the other two?


Jody Westby of Forbes argued that due to the revelations, the American public should ask Clapper to resign from office, arguing that “Not only did Mr. Clapper give false testimony to Congress, even his June 6 statement was false. We now know — since the companies identified by the Washington Post have started fessing up — that lots more than telephony metadata has been collected and searched.”

And then the latest press release stating that their spying of Petrobras was not done with the intent of giving national companies an undue advantage, when everyone knows that US intelligence and US companies have a number of agreements and programs to exchange classified information (e.g. http://rt.com/usa/us-firms-trade-information-684/ but there are plenty of pre-Snowden stories out there, particularly related to the energy sector).


The FBI seems to have a focus on “economic” issues as well – often duplicating stuff that is the responsibility of their siblings in customs and border protection.


This is just begging for a Most Interesting Man in the World meme: “I don’t always break into websites, but when I do it’s for economic reasons.”


Picture of Clapper: “I don’t usually talk to Congress, but when I do, I just lie”.

Picture of Alexander: “I don’t usually spy on the internet, but when I do, I read everyone’s email”


What’s amazing to me is that they broke into SWIFT… That banking exchange moves 15 million plus financial transactions a day for 9000+ banks around the world. I don’t know of any viable competitor and this is sure to have worldwide financial impacts…