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<nettime> Le Monde: CIA + NSA = SCS


   28 February 2000. Thanks to anonymous.
   See also: 
   Translation by Cryptome. More information on Special Collection
   Service invited:
   Le Monde, February 23, 2000
A Secret Alliance Between the CIA and the NSA

   Updated Tuesday February 22, 2000
   In the United States, the NSA and the CIA have created a common
   agency, named Special Collection Service (SCS), whose activities are
   highly secret and whose role is to give to Americans, in all
   clandestinity, information on new means to overcome the difficulties
   encountered by interception operations caused by progress in
   encryption for protection of world communications.
   The existence of the SCS is not officially recognized. It is known
   only that this new federal agency brings together CIA and NSA teams
   expert in decrypting of transmissions especially protected against any
   intrusion which comes from the outside.
   Indeed, the NSA usually carries out its remote interceptions
   relatively "passively:" it intercepts what it is asked to oversee.
   However, the encryption of communications by the same parties which
   transmit them has become increasingly effective. It requires time -
   and money - to access these communications, and it becomes difficult
   "to crack" without reliable and easy access to suspected equipment.
   It is thus necessary to find processes which allow authentic - but
   secret - intrusions into the targeted systems, i.e., "active"
   electronic and data-processing mechanisms, like, for example, the
   possibility of introducing viruses, of collecting key words which will
   facilitate their locations with impunity, and of infiltrating
   computers or communication networks. Only the CIA, thanks to its
   agents specialized in "covert actions" - in other words clandestine
   operations on the ground - is able to intervene. This is the reason of
   this alliance between the CIA and the NSA, through joint teams which
   work to the benefit of the SCS.
   J. I.
   Le Monde, February 23, 2000
Une alliance secrète entre la NSA et la CIA

   Mis à jour le mardi 22 février 2000
   AUX ÉTATS-UNIS, la NSA et la CIA ont créé une agence commune, dénommée
   Special Collection Service (SCS), dont les activités sont très
   secrètes et qui a pour rôle de donner au renseignement américain des
   moyens nouveaux lui permettant de s'affranchir, en toute
   clandestinité, des difficultés rencontrées par les interceptions,
   liées aux progrès dans le cryptage et la protection des communications
   dans le monde.
   L'existence de la SCS n'est pas officiellement reconnue. On sait
   seulement que cette nouvelle agence fédérale réunit des équipes de la
   CIA et de la NSA expertes dans le décodage de transmissions
   particulièrement préservées contre toute intrusion qui viendrait de
   En effet, la NSA effectue habituellement ses écoutes à distance, et de
   façon relativement « passive » : elle intercepte ce qu'on lui demande
   de surveiller. Or, le cryptage des communications (lire page 3), par
   ceux-là mêmes qui les émettent, se fait de plus en plus efficace. Il
   requiert du temps - et de l'argent - pour en venir à bout, et il
   devient difficile à « casser » sans une véritable effraction
   volontaire dans les équipements incriminés.
   Il faut donc trouver des procédés qui permettent des intrusions
   authentiques - mais secrètes - dans les systèmes adverses,
   c'est-à-dire des mécanismes électroniques et informatiques « actifs »,
   comme, par exemple, la possibilité d'introduire des virus, de
   collecter des mots-clés qui faciliteront les repérages en toute
   impunité, et de s'infiltrer dans les ordinateurs ou dans les réseaux
   de communication. Seule la CIA, grâce à ses agents spécialisés dans
   les « coverts actions », autrement dit les opérations clandestines sur
   le terrain, est en mesure d'intervenir. C'est la raison de cette
   alliance entre la CIA et la NSA, au travers d'équipes conjointes qui
   travaillent au profit du SCS.
   J. I.
   Le Monde daté du mercredi 23 février 2000
   The Village Voice, February 24-March 2, 1999
   Jason Vest and Wayne Madsen
   When probing the world of espionage, rarely does a clear picture
   emerge. But according to a handful of published sources, as well as
   assessments by independent experts and interviews with current and
   former intelligence officers, the U.S. government's prime mover in
   Iraqi electronic surveillance was most likely a super-secret
   organization run jointly by the the CIA and the NSA-- the spy agency
   charged with gathering signals intelligence (known as SIGINT)-- called
   the Special Collection Service. Further, there is evidence to suggest
   that the Baghdad operation was an example of the deployment of a
   highly classified, multinational SIGINT agreement-- one that may have
   used Australians to help the U.S. listen in-- months after the CIA
   failed to realize the U.S. objective of overthrowing Saddam Hussein
   through covert action.
   According to former UNSCOM chief inspector Scott Ritter, when the U.S.
   took over the group's intelligence last year, a caveat was added
   regarding staffing: only international personnel with U.S. clearances
   could participate. "This requirement," says Ritter, "really shows the
   kind of perversion of mission that went on. The U.S. was in control,
   but the way it operated from day one was, U.S. runs it, but it had to
   be a foreigner [with a clearance] operating the equipment."
   Under the still-classified 1948 UKUSA signals intelligence treaty,
   eavesdropping agencies of the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Australia,
   and New Zealand share the same clearances. According to Federation of
   American Scientists intelligence analyst John Pike, this gives the
   U.S. proxies for electronic espionage: "In the context of UKUSA, think
   of NSA as one office with five branches," he says. As UNSCOM
   demonstrates, though, sometimes the partnership gets prickly; the
   British, according to Ritter, withdrew their personnel following the
   U.S.'s refusal to explain "how the data was going to be used."
   (According to a longtime British intelligence officer, there was
   another reason: lingering bad feelings over the NSA's cracking a
   secret UN code used by British and French peacekeepers during a
   Bosnian UN mission.) At this point, says Ritter, he was instructed to
   ask the Australian government for a "collection" specialist. "We
   deployed him to Baghdad in July of 1998," recalls Ritter. "In early
   August, when I went to Baghdad, he pulled me aside and told me he had
   concerns about what was transpiring.
   He said there was a very high volume of data, and that he was getting
   no feedback about whether it was good, bad, or useful. He said that it
   was his experience that this was a massive intelligence collection
   operation-- one that was not in accordance with what UNSCOM was
   supposed to be doing."
   Frontline, PBS, April 27, 1999
   Barton Gelman, Washington Post reporter:
   Now what the CIA did not tell UNSCOM is that the people that they sent
   to install these radio relays were also covert operatives. And they
   rigged this equipment to have a second purpose. It's actually a joint
   operation of the CIA and the National Security Agency. They operate a
   service called the Special Collection Service, and it's quite skilled
   at building hidden antennae and covert listening devices. And these
   are quite large mass, these antennas, and they're spaced throughout
   the Iraqi countryside and they beam signals. They're like repeater
   stations used in commercial radio transmissions.
   But they built into these a hidden antenna capable of detecting
   microwave communications. This is not their open purpose. And they
   stationed some of these antennae near critical nodes of Iraqi
   microwave communications. Now what do the Iraqis use these microwaves
   for? These are very high band width, high capacity communications
   links that operate from hilltop to hilltop, in line of sight. They
   beam a very tight, narrowly focused beam from one point to the other,
   which makes them relatively harder to intercept. They can't be
   intercepted, usually, from space or from aircraft, because the angle's
   too oblique and the signal gets dissipated. If you want to get at
   their signals, you need someone nearby on the ground to do it. So they
   essentially built a Trojan horse with these radio masts that they
   built for UNSCOM that was also feeding other Iraqi traffic back to the
   CIA. So you learned a lot about Iraq's military from that. Most of it
   was not related to special weapons or to UNSCOM's mission.

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