Sunday, October 27, 2013

Is Stephen Harper also an NSA target?

A couple of news stories speculating on whether Prime Mnister Harper will also turn out to be an NSA target:

Jim Bronskill, "U.S. tapping Stephen Harper's phone? Unlikely, says intelligence expert," Canadian Press, 26 October 2013

Jessica Murphy, "Canada could be drawn into U.S. spying controversy," Sun News, 25 October 2013

Wesley Wark, quoted in the Bronskill piece, considers it unlikely that Stephen Harper will turn out to be a target (as does Roland Paris in the Murphy article), although Wark concedes it might happen under extreme circumstances.

There does indeed seem to be an agreement among the UKUSA SIGINT agencies that they will not spy on each other, although where exactly the lines of what they may consider acceptable conduct are drawn is unclear, and whether this agreement is always honoured remains a question.

Certainly, none of the documents leaked by Edward Snowden that have been revealed to date have provided any indication that NSA is monitoring the leaders of its Five Eyes partners. This suggests either that there are no such indications in those documents or that there has been a deliberate decision by the journalists working with those files to withhold that bombshell -- and it certainly would be a bombshell -- for a future date.

Still, a number of former Canadian security officials have suggested that NSA probably does target Canada and that Canadians would be naive to believe otherwise.

In any case, Canadians would do well to remember this BOUNDLESS INFORMANT chart, which demonstrates that NSA does indeed have access to a significant amount of information about Canadian communications.

Indeed, NSA's access to Canadian Internet communications appears to be nearly as great as its access to Mexican Internet communications, and it is clear that Mexico is an important NSA target.

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