back to article Report: Secret British spy base in Middle East taps region's internet

Among the vast haul of information lifted from secret networks by former US intelligence sysadmin Edward Snowden are details of a top-secret British spy base placed in the Middle East to tap into undersea communications cables and eavesdrop on the region's internet, it has been reported. According to the Independent, the …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Pat O'Ban

    Reason for 2008 cable cuts?

    At the time it was thought to be sabotage.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_submarine_cable_disruption

    1. nexsphil

      At the time it was thought to be sabotage.

      And when the second and third cable cutting episodes occurred in quick succession, they were coincidence. Didn't want to be a filthy "tinfoil hat wearer" did we? How hollow and ridiculous that slur sounds now. We deserve what is coming. Stupidity of this magnitude shouldn't exist.

    2. Javapapa

      Re: Reason for 2008 cable cuts?

      I'm thinking the publicly reported cuts (with no surface shipping at the time) were a diversion from covert cuts, with complicity of Cable & Wireless and AT&T. Monitoring taps probably run into Malta. Read "Blindmans' Bluff" for how we Yanks put induction pickups over Russian cables. Oh sugar, now I'm on the NSA watch list. Hello, boys!

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        I will barge in at the start and link to Glenn saying there is something fishy

        Snowden: UK government now leaking documents about itself -- The NSA whistleblower says: 'I have never spoken with, worked with, or provided any journalistic materials to the Independent'

        The Independent's Oliver Wright just tweeted the following:

        "For the record: The Independent was not leaked or 'duped' into publishing today's front page story by the Government."

        Leaving aside the fact that the Independent article quotes an anonymous "senior Whitehall source", nobody said they were "duped" into publishing anything. The question is: who provided them this document or the information in it? It clearly did not come from Snowden or any of the journalists with whom he has directly worked. The Independent provided no source information whatsoever for their rather significant disclosure of top secret information. Did they see any such documents, and if so, who, generally, provided it to them? I don't mean, obviously, that they should identify their specific source, but at least some information about their basis for these claims, given how significant they are, would be warranted. One would think that they would not have published something like this without either seeing the documents or getting confirmation from someone who has: the class of people who qualify is very small, and includes, most prominently and obviously, the UK government itself.

  2. Christoph Silver badge

    Another possibility

    Or of course the reference to "lives at risk" and the extreme concern felt by the British (and US) governments regarding Snowden's revelations may not be related to the cable-tapping base at all, but to something else as yet undisclosed.

    Or it could just be that they are lying in their teeth.

    1. g e

      Jobs at risk

      More realistically, so far

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Christoph Re: Another possibility

      "....Or it could just be that they are lying in their teeth." In the case of the UK bases in Cyprus still have married quarters and families as well as troops, and as such they are quite vulnerable to attack. I was at Akrotiri during the attack in August 1986 and I suspect the bases still do not have any form of anti-mortar defense other than radar warning. The Fakeistinian "freedom fighters" that carried out that attack (not out of idealism, but as paid mercenaries for Ghadaffiduck) were all over the island after the Israelis evicted the PLO out of Beiruit in 1982, and the different Fakeistinian factions spent their time smuggling drugs, weapons and cigarettes and killing each other (I was witness to one of their gangland spats one night in Limassol - AKs on auto despite the area being crowded with Cypriots and tourists). Whilst security has improved in Cyprus in general, that's mainly because the Russian Mafia have taken over the smuggling, but there are still plenty of PLFP-GC and similarly fanatical splinters groups hiding out in Cyprus. The UK bases will not be welcoming any renewed attention if only for that fact.

      Besides, if I was looking to tap coms between the Middle East and Asia it would have to be East of Suez. Tapping cables from the Middle East to Europe or Latin America would be easier from Malta or just the UK. I'd be looking more at islands in the Indian Ocean.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Matt B

        ""....Or it could just be that they are lying in their teeth." In the case of the UK bases in Cyprus still have married quarters and families as well as troops, and as such they are quite vulnerable to attack. "

        Maybe. But failure of the British Bunglement to provide appropriate defences is no excuse for invading my privacy. And mass communications interception won't protect military personnel unless AQ are in the habit of issuing embargoed press releases before the event. Maybe you believe this "twarted attacks" guff, I don't. All the attacks thwarted in the UK, for example came from tip offs and normal low tech policing.

        More pressingly, the biggest risks our military and our population face are caused by sh1theaded foreign policy that p1sses off deranged and armed foreigners. So conducting illegal hobby wars in Iraq was a major grudge that contributed to the motives of the 7/7 attacks. The persistent cosying up to Israel is another example of foreign policy that raises the threat to the UK. Likewise decades of support for selected dictators and autocrats across the Middle East. Even the very purpose of Akrotiri is suspect - we've no empire to need a staging post for, nor do we have a Suez canal to defend.

        Personally I'd rather our foreign policy was very clear on protecting British interests, but not interfering in unstable areas where no good will come of it. And whilst they make that policy change and place William Hague in a small enclosure in London Zoo, they can also largely shut down GCHQ and its Stasi-esque programmes, and work to shut off our data from the Yanks' attempts to fashion their own local KGB.

        Instead, sadly, successive foreign secretaries display behaviours that suggest if they walked past a hornet's nest they wouldn't be able to resist getting a big stick and giving it severe and unwarranted poke.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: @Matt B

          "..... Maybe you believe this "twarted attacks" guff, I don't....." Well, it's pretty obvious what you want to baaaaaaah-lieve, regardless of any evidence.

          "..... All the attacks thwarted in the UK, for example came from tip offs and normal low tech policing....." OK, just for comedy value, please do explain how do you know this? Don't let the pointing and laughing distract you.

          ".....the biggest risks our military and our population face are caused by sh1theaded foreign policy that p1sses off deranged and armed foreigners....." Male bovine manure. The Muslims have been killing each other and other local religions for hundreds of years before the West got involved, so all this crap about "it's all our fault, if only we had a more supine and appeasing foreign policy they'd leave us alone" is simply too stupid for words. That kind of idiotic thought led to us giving shelter to Islamists like Abu Qatada, only to find they thanked us by actively trying to harm us.

          "....Personally I'd rather our foreign policy was very clear on protecting British interests, but not interfering in unstable areas where no good will come of it....." Those of us not children realise you can/'t have one without the other. Blinding yourself to prove your moral superiority just leaves you vulnerable to those that consider you morally bankrupt regardless.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Matt B

            "..... Maybe you believe this "twarted attacks" guff, I don't....." Well, it's pretty obvious what you want to baaaaaaah-lieve, regardless of any evidence.

            It would be of great assistance if you could give solid evidence that covert mass interception did thwart terrorist attacks, TIA

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: @Matt B

              "...It would be of great assistance if you could give solid evidence that covert mass interception did thwart terrorist attacks...." So that would be you admitting you can't prove that all arrests came from tip offs and none from intercepts, as you stated as a fact? This is my surprised face, honest.

              1. BlueGreen

                Re: @Matt B

                I posted once as AC asking the question. Another AC may have claimed something; it was not me. I had hoped by posting AC you could actually provide some evidence and we wouldn't get into yet another ego- and opinion-fueled argument.

                Perhaps we still can avoid it, perhaps I can still learn something - please show the proof requested.

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: @Matt B

                  "....please show the proof requested...." Presuming you mean this post - "....It would be of great assistance if you could give solid evidence that covert mass interception did thwart terrorist attacks....", you could start with Najibullah Zazi in the US, who was monitored by the NSA after a tip-off from the GCHQ interception of emails from an AQ-linked cell of Pakistanis in Northern England in 2009. Exactly what the NSA turned up on Zazi was never shown in court as Zazi pleaded guilty rather than go to court, so chances are it was pretty solid evidence.

                  1. BlueGreen

                    Re: @Matt B re. Zazi & evidence

                    Hmm. A bit of web searching shows a trend that disagrees with you strongly.

                    "

                    Public Documents Contradict Claim Email Spying Foiled Terror Plot - While the court documents don’t exclude the possibility that PRISM was somehow employed in the Zazi case, the documents show that old-fashioned police work, not data mining, was the tool that led counterterrorism agents to arrest Zazi. [...] and call into question a defense of PRISM first floated by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, who suggested that PRISM had stopped a key terror plot / The path to his capture, according to the public records, began in April 2009, when British authorities arrested several suspected terrorists. According to a 2010 ruling from Britain’s Special Immigration Appeals Commission, one of the suspects’ computers included email correspondence with an address in Pakistan... The Security Service’s assessment is that the user of the sana_pakhtana [email] account was an Al Qaeda associate .[...] Instead, this is the sort investigation made possible by ordinary warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; authorities appear simply to have been monitoring the Pakistani email account that had been linked to terrorists earlier that year.

                    "

                    from <http://www.buzzfeed.com/bensmith/public-documents-contradict-claim-email-spying-foiled-terror>

                    .

                    "NYC Bomb Plot Details Settle Little In NSA Debate - Zazi, an Afghan-American cab driver living in the Denver suburbs, was an al-Qaida-trained bomber. In September 2009, he sent a coded message to a Yahoo email address in Pakistan. Months earlier, British officials had linked the Yahoo address to a known al-Qaida operative.

                    "

                    from <Zahttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/11/nyc-bomb-plot_n_3423721.html>

                    .

                    Several other press stories say much the same.

                    Further, and rather interestingly

                    "

                    Another complaint, this against an FBI informant who was charged with making false statements in a terror investigation, shows that Border Patrol and Customs had been aware of Najibullah Zazi when he traveled to Pakistan, ostensibly for terrorism training in August of 2008, returning to NYC in January of 2009.

                    "

                    from <http://sitrep.globalsecurity.org/articles/130619909-did-the-nsa-foil-the-zazi-pero.htm>

                    .

                    So the NSA did nothing here that wasn't available the old fashioned way. I don't think you know much about this subject.

                    And you said "Exactly what the NSA turned up on Zazi was never shown in court as Zazi pleaded guilty rather than go to court, so chances are it was pretty solid evidence."

                    Actually one cannot derive anything from a lack of information, so I can't accept that it is 'pretty solid evidence' ex-nihilo.

                    I am not impressed.

                    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                      FAIL

                      Re: Bluegreen Re: @Matt B re. Zazi & evidence

                      "Hmm. A bit of web searching shows a trend that disagrees with you strongly....." All your web search shows is a lot of people desperate to deny the fact that eavesdropping led the FBI to Zazi. The Border report on Zazi had not been given to the FBI. Try Googling for Zazi and section 702, you will find the undisputed fact that the FISC issued a Section 702 order relating to Zazi, that is an order allowing the NSA to go to town on him. That info gave the FBI a telephone number to monitor, three email accounts to watch, and a recording of a phone conversation between Zazi and an imam who was a known AQ operative. All that info, from PRISM, allowed the FBI to get search warrants that then led, through detective work, to building the rest of the case against Zazi. Those are all simple facts widely reported and undisputed. Without the tip-off from GCHQ, and without the details supplied by PRISM, Zazi would probably not have been detected until the after he had completed his planned attacks. If you want to keep on sticking your head in the sand then go ahead, just don't expect those of us with a clue to join you.

                      1. BlueGreen

                        Re: Bluegreen @Matt B re. Zazi & evidence

                        Well, matt, strange that you provide no links but ask others to google. I provided refs, you do not. A quick look shows nothing that contradicts what I've posted except blanket claims from those services that "we done good (but you'll have to trust us)". If that's where you drink from, whatever. You are the trusting type for sure.

                        What I posted contradicts what you said, in somewhat more detail. But it's not about accuracy or facts but about someone's ego, right?

                        Being the one lone voice doesn't always mean one has an unacknowledged truth. It can also mean one is a galactic level idiot. Which is it, hmmm, difficult, I dunno, I'll back to you on that one...

                        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                          FAIL

                          Re: BkueGreen Re: Bluegreen @Matt B re. Zazi & evidence

                          "Well, matt, strange that you provide no links but ask others to google...." Stop expecting to be spoonfed, you could start by Googling for the FBI affadavit on Zazi , the court papers, or a hundred reports on the matter, but you're probably just waiting for your herders to spoonfeed you more approved links, right? In short, I can't be bothered to waste the time on you.

                          "...,What I posted contradicts what you said...." What you posted was a load of wishful thinking and male bovine manure, thoroughly debunked all over the 'Net. You want to baaaaaaah-lieve, you simply ignore all evidence to the contrary. Such a sad waste of bandwidth.

                          "....Being the one lone voice doesn't always mean one has an unacknowledged truth...." You really need to get outside your tiny circle of deluded friends. I know these articles attract a load of libtard know-nothing's that all seem to like grouping together and holding hands in the dark, but you are not the 99%, you are not even 1%.

      2. James Micallef Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Christoph Another possibility

        "if I was looking to tap coms between the Middle East and Asia it would have to be East of Suez"

        Makes sense, US also has a lot of friends in the region. I'm sure the Saudis would be willing to turn a blind eye if needed.

        "Tapping cables from the Middle East to Europe or Latin America would be easier from Malta or just the UK"

        The main cables don't have an endpoint in Malta, they just pass to the north in what is fairly deep water for the Med. Cyprus has endpoint connections for these cables so would seem an easier choice. I'm not sure tapping the UK part would work either, since a lot of teh traffic from Middle east to Central Europe would by-pass the UK node and go 'ashore' in Italy or France.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Christoph Another possibility

          Actually they run both North and South of Malta. Gibraltar, Malta and Cyrus all would be possible locations - Cyprus the most likely imo.

      3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Christoph Another possibility

        after the Israelis evicted the PLO out of Beiruit in 1982

        Hell yeah. That's was a success story. Don't remind me.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Destroyed All Braincells Re: Christoph Another possibility

          ".... Hell yeah. That's was a success story. Don't remind me." Well, to remind you would mean having you actually know something about the background in the first place, which you obviously don't. For the Israeli civilians, living in the internationally-recognised State of Israel, that were the target of continued cross-border attacks from Lebanon, the Israeli operation was a definite success.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Destroyed All Braincells Christoph Another possibility

            What about all the Israelis that invaded and were living in occupied Palestine? And all the original Arab residents of Israel that were forceably expelled via terrorist attacks and death marches, and then denied access to their lands and property by the apartheid 'right of return laws' that only apply to Jews?

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Clueless Coward Re: Destroyed All Braincells Christoph Another possibility

              "What about all the Israelis that invaded and were living in occupied Palestine?...." History shows the Arabs attacked the Jews, not the other way around. You might know that if you had actually done any historical reading, but I hear the imams are not vey big on letting the sheep learn stuff for themselves.

              ".....And all the original Arab residents of Israel that were forceably expelled via terrorist attacks and death marches, and then denied access to their lands and property by the apartheid 'right of return laws' that only apply to Jews?" Oh, you mean the ones that fled because (a) they had attacked Jews and feared retaliation, or (b) the ones that were told to get out of the way by the invading Arabs so they could kill the Jews unhindered? And then there is the LARGER number of Jews that were expelled from Arab countries but were integrated into smaller Israel, compared to the Arab Fakeistinians that were herded into refugee camps by their Arab "brothers" and deliberately kept there.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Clueless Coward Destroyed All Braincells Christoph Another possibility

                "History shows the Arabs attacked the Jews, not the other way around"

                History actually shows that the Jews attacked Palestinian villages and forced them to leave. Here is an example of many such events: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deir_Yassin_massacre

                These indigenous residents were not responsible for the actions of neighbouring states. Most Israeli leaders to date have been known terrorists with a history of involvement in these atrocities. These type of attacks still continue today with Jewish settlers frequently attacking the Palestinians whose land they occupy.

                What you claim bears no resemblance to very well documented history. See http://guardian.150m.com/palestine/death-march.htm

                Whatever might have happened in neighbouring countries is not the fault of the Palestinians. They were then denied return to their homes and villages by apartheid laws that remain to this day.

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: Clueless Coward Destroyed All Braincells Christoph Another possibility

                  "....History actually shows that the Jews attacked Palestinian villages....." So the armies of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Transjordan and Syria invading the legal State of Israel was just a figment of the imagination? Someone better tell Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Arab–Israeli_War).

                  And Dir Yassein? Standard anti-Semite attempt to imply all Palestinian Arab villages received the same. Please do try again, without the hyperbole and faux indignation. There were massacres on both sides, but neither had much impact on the Fakeistinain Arab refugees seeing as the majority had already left at the bidding of their Arab brethren, as is shown by this refugee's admission (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FuGqpFxogRg&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DFuGqpFxogRg). But maybe one Fakeistinian refugee just isn't enough for you, maybe you want to read up on Jamal al-Husayni, spokesperson for Palestinian Arabs to the UN, who admitted the origin of the orders to Palestinian Arabs to "get out of the way" of the invading Arab armies was the Arab Higher Committee in Amman. The Syrian Prime Minister of the day, Khalid al-Azm, admitted to the same truth in his memoirs. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri as-Said was later quoted as saying: "We will smash the country with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews shelter in. The Arabs should conduct their wives and children to safe areas until the fighting has died down." Face facts - the Arabs created the refugee issue, lost the war, then kept the refugees as a cruel bargaining card.

                  "....These type of attacks still continue today with Jewish settlers frequently attacking the Palestinians whose land they occupy....." Firstly, there is no such people as the "Palestinians". Palestine is an area, not a country. Prior to the 1948 war it was inhabited by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, of Arab and non-Arab origin. The Arabs are not native to the area, having arrived around 700AD as part of the Islamic expansion out of the Saudi Peninsula, about two-thousand years AFTER the Jewish empire in the area. The Palestinian Arabs could have had a country called Palestine in 1948 if they had accepted the UN separation plan, but killing Jews was more important to them than building a nation. Which, secondly, means it is a fact that there was no country called Palestine and means that legally Israel is not in occupation of anything. The lie that the Palestinian Arab Muslims are the only legal owners of the whole area is a myth created by the PLO and the KGB. Indeed, the term "Palestine" for the area was created by the Romans in an attempt to de-Jeduaise the area after the Jewish revolt of 132-135AD. This is all the funnier given that the Arabs have no hard "p" in their language, and so can't even pronounce "Palestine", having to use "Falastin" instead, leading to the mocking term "Fakeistinians".

                  Go do some historical reading, you have a lot to learn.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    WTF is a "de-Jeduaise" ?

                    @Matt Bryant > ".... de-Jeduaise ...."

                    Does this mean trying to kick the "Fakejooz" out of "Fakeistine" ?

                    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                      FAIL

                      Re: WTF is a "de-Jeduaise" ?

                      "....Does this mean trying to kick the "Fakejooz" out of "Fakeistine" ?" I know you lot have a problem with historical research, it seems that when reality clashes with your deeply-held faith you have a habit of choosing the fairytales over reality, so you'd best not read this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish–Roman_wars#Aftermath) as we know you religious types really fear a bit of education.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Clueless Coward Destroyed All Braincells Christoph Another possibility

                Just to comment regarding the use of the term "Fakeistinians" - I assume that this is meant to refer to the time old Israeli supporter claim that Palestine as such didn't exist before Israel did.

                To correct that inaccuracy, the Ancient Egyptians mention Palestine before the original state of Israel even existed.....

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: Clueless Coward Destroyed All Braincells Christoph Another possibility

                  "....I assume that this is meant to refer to the time old Israeli supporter claim that Palestine as such didn't exist before Israel did....." And your proof is... Oh, you don't have any. This is my surprised face, honest.

                  "...,To correct that inaccuracy, the Ancient Egyptians mention Palestine before the original state of Israel even existed....." Not true. The Egyptians refer to the land of Peleset from around 1150BC, not Palestine. The Egyptians only made later reference to what the Greeks labelled Syria-Palestina, a larger area covering South Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and modern-day Israel. This area was home to many racial croups but largely dominated by another racial group called the Assyrians and nothing at all to do with the Arabs, who originated in the Saudi peninsula and spread Northwards through jihad. The Greek scholars often abbreviated the name to Palaistina, but did not refer to Palestine or a Palestinian people. The Romans ressurected the name to punish the Jews after the Second Romano-Jewish War. If you wish to baaaaaaah-lieve otherwise that is your choice of ignorance, but if you want to maintain that myth on this forum I would suggest you should provide some links to verifiable proof.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Christoph Another possibility

        "AKs on auto despite the area being crowded with Cypriots and tourists"

        Sort of like the Israelis are with Palestinian women and children about then? Big difference between a terrorist organisation and a whole terrorist state though....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another possibility

      Wouldn't surprise me if the current pile of shits in "power" could lie through every disgusting orifice in their vile bodies.

      1. Dylan Fahey
        Megaphone

        Re: Another possibility

        That's a level 19 skill to spout bullshit out of any orifice on command. It takes years of training for 007's.

        "Quiet, no one is listening."

        I never understood the reality of that Russian quote until I found out my own government was doing it to me.

        1. Fatman Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Another possibility

          That's a level 19 skill to spout bullshit out of any orifice on command. It takes years of training for 007's.

          WRONG!!!!!!

          It IS a job requirement for manglers, politicians, lawyers shysters, bankers wankers, PR mouthpieces PAID LIARS, etc.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That seems like a very sensitive revelation

    Perhaps pissing off journalists may not be the best approach.

    1. g e
      Go

      Re: That seems like a very sensitive revelation

      Well if the Miranda thing was a journo counterintelligence sting and his USB stick was full of lolcatz then HMG have no idea still what the Graun has which must worry the hell out of them.

      Good.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: That seems like a very sensitive revelation

      Sensitive perhaps but not necessarily anything not already suspected nor necessarily life endangering - unless taking the side of the spooks where any disclosure of anything can be said to be potentially life endangering.

      That's the real battle; over where the line is drawn in an allegedly free society. Do we just bow to the spooks and say 'yes sir, anything you say, you know best, sir' or do we have some scope to discuss things despite some risk in allowing such discussion?

      Though the spooks seem to believe it is best for all of us if all discussion is shut down when they say it should be I don't think that is society's belief. It is ultimately who works for whom. Do we collectively decide what risks we will accept or do we let them tell us what risks we will accept? If we accept their dictating what we can say then what notion of free speech is left?

    3. Psyx

      Re: That seems like a very sensitive revelation

      It's hardly a revelation

      "On the face of it an obvious location for spying on submarine cables leading to Middle Eastern nations such as Syria, Lebanon and Israel would be Cyprus, which is an undersea cable nexus for the region. "

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayios_Nikolaos_Station

      Old news, really...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This drip drip drip

    Is doing nobody any good, except helping sell a few news papers!

    Kudos to Snowdon for risking his life and freedom like this, but if people want change, then giving small and piece meal information is doing no good, except given governments chance to counter it. Just release the cache of documents, then lets see where the chips settle.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: This drip drip drip

      People can only deal with so much information at once. Also it is keeping the govs from any 'drastic' action against snowden to know more is out there.

      If he released everything now people would be interested for the next 5 mins and the govs get away with it. And the US do not in any way have any involvement in whatever accident makes snowden die or disappear.

      Also to release it all could be seen as terrorism by everyone. Drip by drip exposing illegal actions is terrorism in the opinion of the US gov.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: This drip drip drip

        The US spooks are probably preparing the 'rolled umbrella with the poisoned tip' as we speak.

        {dammed yanks, can't invent anything can they...}

        1. Richard Jones 1
          Unhappy

          Re: This drip drip drip

          Sorry the umbrella weapon of personal destruction was a KGB trick from those ever so friendly Snowden hosts. You know the ones who are having such a good time defending that bit of pond life Asad (and their naval base in his bit of the Mediterranean pond).

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "Just release the cache of documents, then lets see where the chips settle"

      That would hardly be a responsible thing to do. We're not talking about a cache of cat pictures. There will be names and places and dates in those documents, and neither you nor I have the slightest idea of what could happen if those data points became public knowledge without being carefully overviewed first.

      See where the chips settle ? How about a a number of bodybags, is that what you want ? Or do you not care because you don't know them ? Well I'm ready to wager that if anyone did die, it wouldn't be anybody responsible for the NSA or the clusterfuck that this whole thing is heading for. So I'm against doing that.

      If, on the other hand, there were only the names of those responsible for flaunting worldwide privacy so casually, well then yeah, let the chips fall...

    3. g e
      Holmes

      Re: This drip drip drip

      Drip drip drip, however, keeps the topic in the public mind whereas a large flood of information can quickly be forgotten by many with a simple media distraction like, perhaps, something happening in Syria at the same time, for example. Or X-Factor. Or football.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: This drip drip drip: Really Cranks Up Your Bills

        Every new revelation forces governments to issue more contradictory statements and even more backfiring double speak.

        We've gone from "nope we don't do that", to "we might have done that in the past" to "yep, we did that but it was a mistake" to "yes, we do spy on everyone".

        So far doling out the information slowly has been extremely effective.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This drip drip drip: Really Cranks Up Your Bills

          > So far doling out the information slowly has been extremely effective.

          The "WTF next ?" strategy is designed to keep the buggers constantly on the back foot.

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: This drip drip drip

      If it was released en masse 99.9% of it would be ignored and forgotten about a week later.

      Dripfeeding work best with plants and also with minds - the same reason a teacher doesn't dump all the coursework on the class on day 1

  5. JaitcH
    Happy

    Why the diificulty?

    There are essentially two pinch points in the Middle East - see < http://submarine-cable-map-2013.telegeography.com/ > and these are Egypt and Yemen.

    Given that the USA has seemingly kissed Egypt off but deploys numerous drones over Yemen, my money is on Yemen.

    Still, given the wealth in the Mid-East, surely they can afford to rent a cable ship and have it check out all the cables and when they find some some suspicious joints / splices thy problem is solved.

    Then, Up Yours! GCHQ and NSA. Of course, it would be much better, as well satisfying, if Greenwald spilt the beans - a little bit of payback.

    1. Paul Dx

      Re: Why the diificulty?

      There's an awful lot cables going into Oman and UAE.

      We're very friendly with both countries and have a long history of military co-operation with Oman going back 60 years.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why the diificulty?

      Exactly, it will be Akrotiri in Cyprus for GCHQ and what they fail to hover up will be done in Djibouti by the NSA.

      Djibouti a country of around 1million with 5 submarine cables I bet the internet access still sucks for the locals !

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: Re: Why the diificulty?

        "....it will be Akrotiri in Cyprus for GCHQ....." Actually, probably not. Akrotiri is RAF, whereas the listening station on Mount Olympus in the Troodos range is Army. If I did think Cyprus was the spot (and I don't), my money would be on Episkopi as it also has the local Army HQ (look up the Episkopi Cantonment on Wikipedia). But I would suspect that, given they need to tap cables going from the Middle East to Asia, not Europe, the "secret base" is more likely to be somewhere where the forces have complete control of the locale, such as Diego Garcia. Cyprus is to open to tourists for "top secret bases" to escape attention.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why the diificulty?

          Possibly, but if you have a lot of spooks those spooks need housing and offices to work out of so I go for Akrotiri as the HQ.

        2. Rob
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Why the diificulty?

          The UN occupies a nice slice running through almost the middle of the country and to the best of my knowledge the UN no-man's land is not open to tourists. The locals can use it for farming but they have to apply for licenses and are monitored. What better place to hide something, less chance of tourists and locals stumbling upon it.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Why the diificulty?

      > rent a cable ship and have it check out all the cables

      The only way to check a cable is to cut it and drag the two halves to the surface and then splice in an extension to get it back down.

      Anyway the taps on the cables are probably at the endpoints in whichever country is currently a beacon of freedom and order in the region (ie a freindly dictatorship) rather than on the seabed

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why the diificulty?

        YAAc, you ought to check out the USS Jimmy Carter's (reputed) capabilities.

        BTW, somewhere very very near the huge cable landing centre in Alexandria would be a good place to do this too.

  6. frank 3

    Relevance

    Odd way to start a paragraph 'Left-wing newspaper...'

    As though that was relevant?

    Do you routinely start sentences with 'Right-wing newspaper' when describing the Torygraph, or 'Risible comic-book wank-rag' when describing the Sun? Not that I've seen, but maybe I'm wrong.

    Weakens your reporting if you chuck in irrelevant canards like this.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Relevance

      This the Reg, they like to troll.

  7. NoneSuch

    Terror laws exist to protect citizens from violent attacks; bombings, chemical, biological and nuclear threats. They are not there to shield governments from questions they don't want to answer about their activities. Nor should they be used to hobble or intimidate the press.

    1. Gordon Pryra

      Much as I agree with that

      If it turns out the guy you are talking about was carrying stuff viewed as "official secrets" then he is at fault and should STFU about his 9 hours and thank his lucky stars it was only that.

      While the home office smashing computers is laughable, so is the newspaper using people to carry sensitive documents across borders. It shows a serious contempt for those people to use them like this.

      The contents of the documents don't really matter here, the intent is to get stuff the Government doesn't was going across the boarders. If it was drugs or kiddy porn people would be calling the cops heros, arguably the Snowden stuff can have the same impact as the two previous examples, especially as it turns out hes doing more than just exposing our fucking evil hypocritical Governments spying on the people etc (giving locations of bases takes things to far)

      The Guardian made a lot of noise about "hitting the poor reporters" but they were using them to break the law, in fact you could almost say they set this poor guy up just to get a story.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Much as I agree with that

        "was carrying stuff viewed as "official secrets" then he is at fault "

        Not unless he had broken the Official Secret Act - and as the secrets were leaked by an American not in the employ of the crown, and they are effectively already in the public domain, this seems highly unlikely.

        The vast majority of offences under the Act can be committed only by persons who, as the case may be, are or have been crown servants, government contractors, or members of the security and intelligence services, can be committed only where the information, document or other article in question is or has been in the possession of the person in question by virtue of their position as such.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Clueless Coward Re: Much as I agree with that

          "....Not unless he had broken the Official Secret Act ...." Fail! Go read the Act, he is in breach if he is an unauthorized person in possession of classified information, full stop. The law covers anyone on UK soil and is regardless of foreign nationality.

          "....The vast majority of offences under the Act can be committed only by persons who, as the case may be, are or have been crown servants, government contractors, or members of the security and intelligence services, can be committed only where the information, document or other article in question is or has been in the possession of the person in question by virtue of their position as such." Bollocks. Any UK citizen is covered by the Act anywhere in the world, and anyone of any nationality on UK territory is covered by it, just as they are covered by UK tax laws or UK motoring laws. You could be a Martian, if you landed in Piccadily Square with a copy of Snowjob's docs relating to GCHQ then you would still be in breach of the OSA. Employees of the Crown sign a chit saying they have been made aware of their responsibilities, this is referred to as "signing the Act", but in reality you are subject to the Act regardless of whether you work for HMG or refuse to sign the chit. Try and get it through your ignorant skull that it is a law of the land, not some form of employment contract.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "Terror laws exist to protect citizens from violent attacks; bombings, and CB&N threats."

      Wrong.

      "They are not there to shield governments from questions they don't want to answer about their activities"

      But in practice that is exactly what they are used for.

  8. Arthur the cat Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    The more I think about Miranda's detention ...

    the less it makes sense. Why was he transiting through Heathrow when he could have flown Rio to Berlin direct? If he was being an errand boy for the Guardian, why didn't they advise him not to carry anything sensitive on his laptop or memory stick? Even I know that's stupid and I'm not a journo with copies of classified documents. If he was picking something up from Berlin, why wasn't it sent over the net in encrypted form instead?

    Unless everyone involved is mind bogglingly stupid about data security and antiterrorism laws, the only explanations I can come up with is that either May et al are lying through their teeth, an obvious assumption, but why isn't the Guardian saying Miranda was carrying nothing significant in that case, or the whole lot's some sort of theatre cooked up between the Guardian and the government, and that way lies tin foil helmets and other lunacies.

    Black helicopter icon for obvious reasons.

    1. g e
      Holmes

      Re: The more I think about Miranda's detention ...

      I think he was an intentional ploy to flush the government out into the open. They'd have expected to be being watched, even tapped.

      A good chance the data sticks were just 20GB of encrypted lolcatz imho. Hope they were, too, would be a great 'you've been framed' moment for SO15.

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: The more I think about Miranda's detention ...

      Never mistake cockup for conspiracy. Its entirely possible that some of the people involved on both sides of this are dumbasses.

      Of course its entirely possible that it takes 9 hours to clone a guys laptop, put some dubious docs on it, "delete" them and then right the clone back over the top - so it looks like inept deletion on the part of the journo.

      For the exact same scenario its also entirely possible that Miranda had a laptop which formely held Snowden docs and made the mistake of re-using it. Gawd knows if they had any sense they would have 5 or 6 laptops on the go at once, and it only takes a mistake on whats stored where to pick the wrong one.

      Or another option - its entirely possible Miranda acted the mule multiple times before and got lulled into a false sense of security.

      We may never know - even if it comes to trial.

    3. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: The more I think about Miranda's detention ...

      I have wondered whether the whole Snowden affair is a conspiracy by the Yanks and the Russkies to discombobulate the Chinese. While they are at it they can trash a few bits of UK info.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The more I think about Miranda's detention ...

      Perhaps the US put him on a 'do not fly' list after he had left Berlin. The Brits would then be forced to detain and question him.

  9. Mike Richards

    If GCHQ 'doesn't comment on intelligence matters'?

    Why are we paying for a spokesman?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If GCHQ 'doesn't comment on intelligence matters'?

      For non intelligence matters, obviously: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/aug/07/gchq-guards-consider-strike-action-g4s

  10. ForthIsNotDead

    Sod this...

    You know, what with Google tracking my every move, and Facebook tracking my every move, and wanting to store my entire life's history for ever, and now GOVERNMENTS doing the same, I'm starting to form the opinion that "the Internet" just isn't worth bothering with.

    I've been growing increasingly irked with "the internet" for about three years; it started with Phorm and all these other companies trying to build behavioural profiles on me based on my internet usage. I don't like it and don't want to participate in it. Inparticular, it's the *clandestine* way in which they go about it that I particularly object to.

    I don't have anything to hide from any Government, they're all physcopathic criminals as far as I'm concerned, as I informed them on my last ballot paper. If they decided to investigate my online habits I'm sure they'd find that I lead a very boring life indeed and soon move on to other more interesting people, I'm sure. I just object to the notion that I'm potentially guilty of something that I haven't been caught doing yet, or maybe in the future. Who knows... Maybe government will introduce *retrospective* laws, such that they can prosecute you today for something you did/said online two years ago? Why not? If they have the data on hand then they just need to mine it in a particular way to produce a list of, say, the top one million worst offenders, and prosecute them.

    I'd say if you're a politician, or a local councillor, or a high-ranking policeman, you are by far more at risk of falling foul of the tryrannical style of government which is fast forming all over the world. Particularly if you find yourself on the opposite side of the fence to your government, say, an opposition MP or something. Do you watch the odd porn movie? That's in a database somewhere (and I don't mean the porn company operator's database).

    Perhaps you have a particular fetish, maybe anal, or shemales; something that you have never actually physically engaged in, but are curious about, and so you've watched a few videos online. They know that too. Or, at least, the data is there, waiting to be mined, for when you get a bit too big for your boots. Then they will bring your world crashing down. They don't have to lock you up in jail, there's nothing illegal about watching porn, afterall. They just have to make a call to a "friendly" newspaper editor (who's penchant for, perhaps, teenage boys will be well known, since a newspaper editor would be, by definition, a person of significant interest).

    I am only really just coming to realise it - it's only just beginning to dawn on me, that that nagging kind of uneasy feeling I sometimes get when using the internet, as to whether someone is watching me or not, or, if the website I am reading "alternative" news on the war in Syria from is going to land me in trouble later on down the line after being stopped - is actually a message from my subconcious - telling me to quit using the internet. My internet usage is alreadly probably a tenth of what it was three or four years ago. I'm just getting tired of it all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sod this...

      I too feel the same. I wonder would it help to have a robot visit 1000's of random sites to help camoflauge the real me... sort of steganography, I dunno...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Linux

        Re: Sod this...

        I think many feel the same, PJ of Groklaw being the most prominent example. The worst is that these powerful people have demonstrated repeatedly that they;re also inept. But this is an technology website, and we should be able to reclaim the internet, as it, believe it or not, existed before corporates lured us with their services, by offering "free" services that we now know we pay for in other ways far more disturbing than handing over money.

        But we can do something. We can distribute email, like nature intended, by running our own servers, an increasing easy thing to do and staggeringly cheap, with the Raspberry Pi, designed to help us take back control. We can turn on tls to make things harder for eavesdropping - not secure, but just that bit harder.

        We can use browsers that respect our choices, use add-ons like disconnectme, https-everywhere, noscript.

        We can install software we have greater reason to trust, like Cyanogenmod, choose a bit of diversity among OS choices, and so on.

        Yes, to do all this, we'd need to lift a finger, and all we will be doing is preventing easy or trivial access to our expectation of privacy, but we also take action to make it clear that it is privacy that we expect.

        So I'm beginning to think that the worst thing to do is to do nothing, and go on feeding the systems that make these unacceptable excesses possible. May I suggest that rather than just going dark, you continue to use and enjoy the opportunities for good the Internet offers, while taking easy steps to keep yourself informed and keeping it more difficult for your enjoyment of the net to be subverted.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Sod this...

        "I wonder would it help to have a robot visit 1000's of random sites to help camoflauge the real me."

        There are a few firefox extensions which do exactly that.

    2. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: Sod this...

      I, too, am getting tired of the Internet. Not because it is conspiring against me (which it is) but because (a) it is dumbed down with megabytes of movies instead of kilobytes of text, and (b) many sites expect me to pay them to watch their megabytes of adverts.

      El Reg is a beacon of sanity (creep, creep). Seriously (TWTWTW wise) they are doing a grand job. And theirs is one of the few comment columns where you don't have to send everything to the Disqus branch of the NSA.

      Not sure how much longer they can carry on.

    3. TkH11

      Re: Sod this...

      Does anyone have a fetish for shemales, except other shemales perhaps?

      Yuk...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sod this...

      You can always go join Swampy and live in a tent without technology....

    5. Anonymous (Noel) Coward

      Re: Sod this...

      > " I don't have anything to hide from any Government..... "

      Spook SOP is " If you breathe, you're guilty! "

      There are no innocents!

  11. g e

    What's all the fuss about, anyway?

    If the government has nothing to hide, it has nothing to fear.

    Oh.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This whole situation is crazy, so much so that i'm starting to swing from my pro-Snowden line slightly toward the middle. These kind of revelations will only harm the internet. With British/US spooks tapping undersea cables, people will surely start to look at ways to privatise/secure/ringfence sections of the internet, resulting in a less interoperable situation than we have currently, and therefore restricting freedom of speech more than the snoopers. One has to question how much we should care that the government might be reading our emails and web usage, apart from them knowing a few embarrassing secrets, what do we really have to hide as ordinary citizens, or netizens?

    They were only ever interested in the bad guys, supposedly, and as long as that only stretches to 'you've been doing a lot of research on bombs and the architectural weak-spots of NYC buildings' rather than 'you looked at hardcore porn the other day, which is illegal in your state' I don't know why we should really care.

    Supposedly, they were after the big bad guys. I'm not aware that anyone was arrested for minor offences as a result of high-level government snooping, but then would I be aware? Gosh i'm so torn...debate!

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Regardless of the rights and wrongs of individual cases I think whats scarey about these capabilities is the "and then they came for the Jews" effect. Most of us dont consider we live in a tyranny today - but most of us IT literates are aware that the tools for a sucessful totalitarian regime are getting better every day.

      1. Don Jefe

        I really don't think this information is that dangerous when we've got people like Darrel Issa to give away the locations of secret intelligence bases during televised hearings:

        http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-10-10/opinions/35501217_1_benghazi-darrell-issa-security-lapses

        Total disclosed costs to close the operation, move informants and setup elsewhere with an entirely new team has been nearly $100M.

        You don't see anyone chasing down Darrel Issa for endangering troops, intelligence agents and civilian informers.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        These days

        they come for the Muslims first, then the leakers, then the journalists ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But you would care if you lost your job because the company you worked for lost a contract to a, say, US or UK rival who undercut the price because they had access to your firms email negotiations.

      I'm not saying it happens but the temptation is surely there. Even Snowden worked for a contractor not US gov inc, so it's not outside the bounds of possibility that it's one of the perks of the firms taking on this sort of work.

      Also too is that US takes the view that while Americans are worthy of not being NSA targets, the rest of us have no such privilege. They have no need to consider our privacy, we in the rest of the world are either terrorists or suspects.

    3. Richard Jones 1
      Unhappy

      Crazy

      mbf199t9

      I agree with your assessment that things are a bit out of judgement. One day we hear that 95% or is it 96% of all e-mail is spam then we hear that all e-mail is being Hoovered up. My god there must be a huge spam store somewhere - might be good if that could be processed to find and destroy the sources.

      Given the cash strapped situation, does it not make sense to scan for either, key words, key sources and sinks or key names and trace the patterns. Such pattern tracing tends to work best if you have a large mass of non relevant background 'noise', e.g. the spam sample, so that any true pattern can be detected. Mind you the processing power required does become 'a little bit big'.

    4. xerocred

      There was a case in the uk a while back where a local council used surveillance powers essentially for serious crime to spy on a woman because they thought she didn't live in the catchment area of the school she had applied to for her kids.

      Give them power and they will abuse it.

      Its rather like the case against compulsory DNA collection... just imagine how easy it would be to frame someone you want out of the way (or through laziness, dislike, or vindictiveness) if the authorities already have their DNA on record... now you really have to prove your own innocence.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "There was a case in the uk a while back where a local council used surveillance powers essentially for serious crime "

        Much handwaving, etc but now ALL the councils are doing it.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Snowden denies working with independent

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/23/uk-government-independent-military-base

    He says he never partnered with those journalists to release the information about the base. He's blaming the government for leaking it to show how his leaks are damaging lives.

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Snowden denies working with independent

      <Wolfgang>"Verrry interesting"</Wolfgang>

    2. DrGoon

      Re: Snowden denies working with independent

      So the UK government is leaking information that can more reasonably be claimed to be putting lives at risk in order to have a reason to tar Snowden as a dangerous terrorist rather than a whistleblower? Plausible. If that's the case then, this story is of interest because it suggests to us that:

      1. The well-known monitoring base in Cyprus is now surplus to requirements and the UK government plans to close it, likely resulting in the loss of jobs in the region.

      2. The future closure of the Cyprus base will be blamed on the increased risk which Snowden's revelations have placed British operatives under.

      3. There must already be a new joint monitoring installation in the region which likely uses fewer personnel to maintain. US base in Riyadh perhaps.

      In other words, this is a twofer.

  14. Anomalous Cowshed

    Highly sensitive material...

    ...the disclosure of which could put lives at risk:

    - Brand of jam most regularly ordered at no. 10 Downing Street

    - Breakdown of the moneys nicked by MPs SINCE the Telegraph revelations

    - Amount of bribes paid by UK oil companies and banks, and identity of people to whom paid

    - Amount of times British "citizens"* were unduly spied on by British government agencies over the past few years

    - Amount of times government agencies exchanged surreptitiously gathered data about said British "citizens"

    - Number of false convictions obtained using these handy exchanges of data

    - Details of FUD campaigns organised in the press by various government agencies over the past few years

    * They're not in fact citizens, they're subjects, and there's no constitution, so in fact, you can do anything you want to them, but let's pretend for a moment that they are in fact, citizens, and have some basic rights.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Highly sensitive material...

      If I recall correctly, the UK passport in earlier times referred to subjects, now it refers to citizen.

      Not sure if when this changed, and if it was due to EU legislation.

      Still never mind, roll on 2017 when we all vote to leave the EU, back to being subjects again and

      good old capital punishment, no more pesky Human Rights legislation, or bent bananas

      (or Uprik, theres a plus)

      Need 100 down votes please!!!

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

        Re: Highly sensitive material...

        On my first British passport (I didn't need one when I came over with dear old Julius) I was "British Subject Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies". In 1999 I became "British Citizen". Then I got a euro-mauve thingy saying passport in eleven languages. The latest effort proclaims itself a passport in English, Gaelic, and Welsh.

        Diolch yn mawr.

  15. Spoddyhalfwit

    I wonder if their cable can help them read this story, because on the Daily Mail site its dead.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2270219/U-S-planned-launch-chemical-weapon-attack-Syria-blame-Assad.html

    Fortunately its still in the wayback machine

    http://web.archive.org/web/20130129213824/http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2270219/U-S-planned-launch-chemical-weapon-attack-Syria-blame-Assad.html

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Richard Tobin

    "Legally required to do so"

    We have had several companies stating, like BT, that they "do not disclose customer data in any jurisdiction unless legally required to do so". This makes it sound as if it's something they only rarely do. But it may well be that they government's interpretation of the law is that they are legally required to disclose *all* customer data to the intelligence services. It would be interesting to hear what BT say if asked whether this is true - my guess is that they would refuse to answer.

  17. Maharg

    Questions about Cyprus

    Question 1)

    Have you ever been to Cyprus?

    If - No, go to Question 2

    If- Yes, go to Question 3

    Question 2)

    Cyprus has a number of British forces bases with very large masts, satellite dishes and antennas and a place called the Ayios Nikolaos Station run by the Joint Service Signal Unit (JSSU). What do you think these are used for?

    If – They are used for decorations to please the local population, go to Question 4

    If – They are used for monitoring communications go to Question 5

    Question 3)

    What do you think those large masts, satellite dishes and antennas you can see from outside the JSSU British forces Ayios Nikolaos Station are used for?

    If – They are used for decorations to please the local population, go to Question 4

    If – They are used for monitoring communications, go to Question 5

    Question 4)

    Are you sure?

    If - Yes, Go to Question 4

    If - No, please read both Questions 2 and 3 again

    Question 5)

    Did you really need to read all these questions?

    If - Yes, well now you know

    If - No, well I hope you at least enjoyed yourself.

  18. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Wifesatrisq?

    Or of course the reference to "lives at risk" and the extreme concern felt by the British (and US) governments regarding Snowden's revelations may not be related to the cable-tapping base at all, but to something else as yet undisclosed.

    My popcorn container is running on empty!

  19. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

    Bad Policies

    ...downloaded the docs "from an internal Wikipedia-style information site called GC-Wiki

    What happened to compartmentalization? How is it that he gained access to such a broad range of information under his own account?

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Bad Policies

      Welcome to SharePoint.

    2. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: Bad Policies

      Snowden was a sysadmin, I believe; able to access many compartments, in what seems to have been a first class carriage.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Bad Policies

      Compartmentalise all you like. If i'm your sysadmin I can see everything.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bad Policies

        "If i'm your sysadmin I can see everything."

        SharePoint is quite capable of denying system admins view access to data. They can of course potentially give themselves rights to view such data, but you would use something like Quest Change Auditor or a similar toolset to alerts on any such unauthorised activities....

  20. HereWeGoAgain

    Rogue states

    1. The USA.

    2. The UK.

    1. Evan Essence

      Re: Rogue states

      3. New Zealand.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rogue states

        > 3. New Zealand.

        According to Kim Doltcom.

  21. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Gimp

    Anyone wondering *why* the Snoopers Charter is costed at £500m/yr by the HO?

    Because it seems to me a hell of a lot of that spying is already being done.

    Is that for more spying over and above what they are doing now?

  22. majorursa
    Holmes

    Snowden: I have never spoken with, worked with, or provided any journalistic materials to the Independent. The journalists I have worked with have, at my request, been judicious and careful in ensuring that the only things disclosed are what the public should know but that does not place any person in danger. People at all levels of society up to and including the President of the United States have recognized the contribution of these careful disclosures to a necessary public debate, and we are proud of this record.

  23. Levente Szileszky

    Oh Tempora...

    ...o mores!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Snowden didn't leak this

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130823/08404424291/snowden-accuses-uk-govt-leaking-documents-he-never-leaked-to-make-him-look-bad.shtml

  25. bpfh Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Cyprus?

    As mentioned in a previous post about the old English numbers station known as the Lincolnshire Poacher, I believe that ham radio enthusiasts managed to triangulate it down to..... An RAF base in Akroiri, Cyprus, so MI6 had some project running already on the island... until their station went off air in December 2009. Maybe they had something else to do after?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincolnshire_Poacher_(numbers_station)

    Looks like I'm on a watch list now. Probably from the DGSE and Frenchalon too as i'm on hols. Hi guys / salut les gars!

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Cyprus?

      "....numbers station known as the Lincolnshire Poacher...." That was outgoing coms, not interception, two very different tasks. To say one proves the other is like saying Akrotiri has a runway and flies the RAF gunnery school course, so it must be a secret base like Area 51. Co-incidence does not mean correlation.

      1. skwdenyer

        Re: Cyprus?

        Actually co-incidence is a form of correlation...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just to reiterate

    snowden's denial: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/23/uk-government-independent-military-base

    perhaps an update to the article would be good?

  27. bpfh Silver badge
    WTF?

    @Matt Bryant

    Please reread my post, I never said one proves the other, just that there was already a history of spooks doing spooky things from a British military base Cyprus. It's interesting, maybe nothing more than a coincidence. Fwiw it would be on my personal shortlist to set up an intercept post given it's position and past services...

  28. miket82

    Legally obliged

    So, if you don't tell us what we want to know (section 7) we will imprison you and destroy all your goods after we have copied your copies. It will all be proportionate and within the law as we interpret it. Bring back carrier pigeons.

  29. Geoff Johnson

    Why not use our internet filtering technology?

    Just sell them our magic filters, you know the ones that will take out all the porn, and include backdoors into them. No undersea splicing required.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quantity of Data ?

    Nobody seems to feel that the quantity of data passing through these cables is relevant to the discussion. It seems to me that the scale of data storage required for these eavesdropping operations would bankrupt even the Saudis.

    Imagine a single cable, transmitting at the published capacity of Emerald Atlantis*. Any interception must be done in the optical domain because carriers and end users would notice any changes in latency. When you split out copies of all messages, you have to save everything until you can process it and select the packets that match up to targeted TCP sessions. You have to match IP packets (Source IP, Source port, Destination IP, Destination Port, Data) with returning data: ( Destination IP, Port, Source IP, Port, Data) and the returning data is NOT guaranteed to travel the same route, although it usually will.

    Imagine that you have a tap like the one the US Navy used against the USSR in the Pacific years ago (Operation Ivy Bells). You would need an additional cable to carry away the intercepted information from the interception point because there is too much data to record it for months on end. This limits the number of places that a such tap can be placed. If there are any such taps, they must be co-located with or nearby major Internet Exchange Points and the processing equipment should be obvious to employees of the local power utility, cable providers, as well as the employees of the IXP and their major clients. You cannot simply build a data centre on top of every buried cable without someone noticing. Interception points must be close to IXPs and they must target traffic in advance or very nearly in real time. There are practical limits to the amount that you can intercept because even the NSA/GCHQ/CSEC have finite resources.

    I am not saying that eavesdropping is impossible, just that it is impractical to record everything. We are as safe as a single capelin in a school that is feeding a pod of whales.

    * Four pairs at 100 x 100 Gbps each => 400 x 100 gbps => 50 x 100 GBps or 5,000 terabytes per second.

  31. briesmith

    If We Weren't...

    Who are these people that whip themselves into a frenzy of paranoia over these stories? Do they live in some kind of Olympus detached from this world?

    If my government wasn't doing all the things they stand accused of, I'd want to know why.

    And, equally, I'd like to know every now and again, that we're good at it and getting better.

    I don't know if they are simple dyed-in-the-wool antis, dreamers or just troublemakers but I wish they'd both shut up and stop damaging essential and vital intelligence gathering by the UK and US.

    As much as they may smirk at what they see as their own cleverness, lives do depend on the effectiveness of our intelligence acquisition programmes.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019