How large is the United States part in Global Surveillance?

The tradition of intelligence sharing between NSA and its Second party partners has deep and widespread roots that have been cultivated for almost three quarters of a century. During World War II, the U.S. Army and Navy each developed independent foreign SIGINT relationships with the British and the Dominions of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. These relations evolved and continued across the decades. The bonds, forged in the heat of a world war and tempered by decades of trust and teamwork, remain essential to future intelligence successes. [1]

The Acting Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Honorable the Secretary of War and encloses a copy of an Aide-memorie dated July 8. 1940 from the British Embassy proposing a general interchange of secret technical information between the United States and British Governments. particularly in the ultra short wave radio field. [2]

London No. 401, September 5, 1940.
Are you prepared to exchange full information on German, Italian and Japanese code and cryptographic information therewith? Are you prepared to agree to a continuous  exchange of intelligence intercept, in connection with the above? Please expedite reply.
       This message for Chief of Staff from Strong.  Lee [2]

Foreign intelligence gathering formally started with the informal agreement known as the Atlantic Charter, issued by the Allies on August 14, 1941 to lay out their goals for a post-war world.

Winston Churchill’s edited copy of the final draft of the Atlantic Charter

Printed copy of Atlantic Charter distributed as propaganda

Adherents of the Atlantic Charter signed the Declaration by United Nations on January 1, 1942, stressing their solidarity in the defense against Hitlerism which became the basis for the modern United Nations.

The secret treaty was renewed on May 17th with the passage of the 1943 BRUSA Agreement, (the UK and U.S. governments signed treaty to facilitate co-operation between the U.S. War Department and the British Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS)), before being officially enacted on March 5, 1946 by the UK and USA.

The 1943 BRUSA Agreement was a formal agreement to share intelligence information following British information on “Ultra”, the successful decoding of German signals and Americans information on the Japanese “Purple machine”. It covered:

  • the exchange of personnel
  • joint regulations for the handling and distribution of the highly sensitive material

The security regulations, procedures and protocols for co-operation formed the basis for all signals intelligence (SIGINT) activities of both the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)

National Security Agency

Since modern processed intelligence is gathered from multiple sources, the intelligence shared is not restricted to signals intelligence (SIGINT) and often involves defense intelligence as well as human intelligence (HUMINT) and geospatial intelligence (GEOINT).

On March 5, 1946, the signing of the BRUSA (formally known as UKUSA) Agreement marked the reaffirmation of the vital WWII cooperation between the United Kingdom and United States. Over the next 10 years, appendices to the Agreement, some of which are included with this release to the public, were drafted and revised. These appendices and their annexures provide details of the working relationship between the two partners and also address arrangements with the other Second Parties (Australia, Canada, and New Zealand). [1]  [This coordinated grouping later became known as FIVE EYES (FVEY)]

[3] Part I
1) SPECIAL INTELLIGENCE is the agreed name for the highly secret information obtained by cryptographic means from enemy high grade ciphers.
2) Lower grade cryptographic material classed in general as “Y” Intelligence is not included in the definition of SPECIAL INTELLIGENCE

This secretive (and consistently denied) co-operation was itself the product of a mutual agreement stretching back to the first world war, expanded in the second, and finally signed in 1946 then ratified in 1948 in the so-called UKUSA agreement. [4]  During the course of the Cold War, the ECHELON surveillance system was initially developed by the FVEY to monitor the communications of the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, although it is now used to monitor billions of private communications worldwide.

The UKUSA Community: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States


In early 2000s, in an almost forgotten report, the European parliament completed its investigations into a long-suspected western intelligence partnership dedicated to global signals interception on a vast scale.
Evidence had been taken from spies and politicians, telecommunications experts and journalists. In stark terms the report detailed a decades-old arrangement about an intelligence alliance which had seen the US and the UK at first – later joined by Canada, New Zealand and Australia to make up the so-called “Five Eyes” — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States — plus more secretive Germany), – a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence collaborating to access satellites, transatlantic fibre-optic cables and radio signals on a vast scale.

In 1948, the treaty was extended to include Canada, followed by Norway (1952), Denmark (1954), West Germany (1955), Australia (1956), and New Zealand (1956). These countries participated in the alliance as “third parties”. By 1955, the formal status of the remaining Five Eyes countries was officially acknowledged in a newer version of the UKUSA Agreement that contained the following statement: At this time only Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be regarded as UKUSA-collaborating Commonwealth countries.
The “Five Eyes” term has its origins as a shorthand for a “AUS/CAN/NZ/UK/US EYES ONLY” (AUSCANNZUKUS) classification level.  [5]

A map of the Five Eyes countries.
United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence covered:
Australia monitors South Asia and East Asia.
Canada’s geographical proximity to the Soviet Union provided considerable eavesdropping advantages during the Cold War. Canada continues to monitor the Russian and Chinese interior while managing intelligence assets in Latin America.
The Waihopai Valley Facility – base of the New Zealand branch of the ECHELON Program.
In addition to Southeast Asia, New Zealand is responsible for the western Pacific and maintains listening posts in the South Island at Waihopai Valley just south-west of Blenheim, and on the North Island at Tangimoana.
Europe, European Russia, Middle East, and Hong Kong.
The U.S. is focused on the Middle East, China, and Russia, in addition to the Caribbean and Africa. [5]

Global surveillance – Echelon

The existence of ECHELON was disclosed to the public in the late 1990s,, triggering a major debate in the European Parliament and, to a lesser extent, the United States Congress. As part of efforts in the ongoing War on Terror since 2001, the FVEY further expanded their surveillance capabilities, with much emphasis placed on monitoring the World Wide Web. [6]

Much of the sharing of information is performed via the ultra-sensitive STONEGHOST network, which has been claimed to contain “some of the Western world’s most closely guarded secrets”. [5]

Prism Logo

XKeyscore provides a “series of viewers for common data types”,

XKeyscore or XKEYSCORE (abbreviated as XKS) is a formerly secret computer system first used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analyzing global Internet data, which it collects on a daily basis. [7]

PRISM is a codename for a program that collects internet communications from various U.S. internet companies.  PRISM began in 2007 in the wake of the passage of the Protect America Act under the Bush Administration. The program is operated under the supervision of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court, or FISC) pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  Several technology companies participate in the PRISM program, including Microsoft (2007), Yahoo! (2008), Google (2009), Facebook (2009), Paltalk (2009), YouTube (2010), AOL (2011), Skype (2011) and Apple (2012). [8]

The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the Five Eyes as a “supra-national intelligence organization that doesn’t answer to the known laws of its own countries”. Documents leaked by Snowden in 2013 revealed that the FVEY have been spying on one another’s citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on surveillance of citizens.

In spite of continued controversy over its methods, the Five Eyes relationship remains one of the most comprehensive known espionage alliances in history.

NSA 1st Emblem 1963 The most interesting feature of the new emblem was the substitution of the words “United States of America” for “Department of Defense.”

During the 2013 NSA leaks Internet spying scandal, the surveillance agencies of the “Five Eyes” had been accused of intentionally spying on one another’s citizens and willingly sharing the collected information with each other, allegedly circumventing laws preventing each agency from spying on its own citizens.

The 2013 NSA leaks are not entirely new, but rather, they are a confirmation of earlier disclosures about the UK-USA espionage alliance. For example, the British newspaper The Independent reported back in 1996 that the U.S. National Security Agency “taps UK phones” at the request of the British intelligence agency MI5, thus allowing British agents to evade restrictive limitations on domestic telephone tapping.

The mutual surveillance and sharing of information between allies of the UK and USA resurfaced again during the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures. As described by the news magazine Der Spiegel, this was done to circumvent domestic surveillance regulations:

  • “Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency can spy on anyone but British nationals, the NSA can conduct surveillance on anyone but Americans, and Germany’s BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) foreign intelligence agency can spy on anyone but Germans. That’s how a matrix is created of boundless surveillance in which each partner aids in a division of roles.
  • They exchanged information. And they worked together extensively. That applies to the British and the Americans, but also to the BND, which assists the NSA in its Internet surveillance.”

According to The Guardian, the “Five Eyes” community is an exclusive club where new members “do not seem to be welcome”:

  • It does not matter how senior you are, and how close a friend you think you are to Washington or London, your communications could easily be being shared among the handful of white, English-speaking nations with membership privileges.

In 2013, Canadian federal judge Richard Mosley strongly rebuked the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) for outsourcing its surveillance of Canadians to overseas partner agencies. A 51-page ruling says that the CSIS and other Canadian federal agencies are illegally enlisting U.S. and British allies in global surveillance dragnets, while keeping domestic federal courts in the dark. [5]

The cover page of the first version of the secret UKUSA Agreement in 1946, which was disclosed to the public in 2011. “TOP SECRET” Stamped

While we have covered the “Five Eyes” community being part of an extensive alliance of Western countries sharing signals intelligence with each other, there are others that have joined into the mass surveillance system. These allied countries include NATO members, other European countries such as Sweden, and allies in the Pacific, in particular Singapore and South Korea. In the 1950s several Nordic countries joined the community as “third party” participants. They were soon followed by Denmark (1954) and West Germany (1955).

According to Edward Snowden, the NSA has a “massive body” called the Foreign Affairs Directorate that is responsible for partnering with other Western allies such as Israel.

Unlike the “second party” members (that is, the Five Eyes themselves), “third party” partners are not automatically exempt from intelligence targeting. According to an internal NSA document leaked by Snowden, “We (the NSA) can, and often do, target the signals of most 3rd party foreign partners.”

The Five Eyes are cooperating with various 3rd Party countries in at least two groups:

The “NINE EYES”, consisting of the Five Eyes plus Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Norway.

A map of the Nine Eyes countries.
Five Eyes plus Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Norway

The “FOURTEEN EYES”, consisting of the same countries as the Nine Eyes plus Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. The actual name of this group is SIGINT Seniors Europe (SSEUR) and its purpose is coordinating the exchange of military signals intelligence among its members.

A map of the Fourteen Eyes countries.
Nine Eyes plus Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Sweden

Germany is reportedly interested in moving closer to the inner circle: an internal GCHQ document from 2009 said that the “Germans were a little grumpy at not being invited to join the 9-Eyes group.” Germany may even wish to join Five Eyes. Referring to Five Eyes, French President François Hollande has said that his country is “not within that framework and we don’t intend to join.” According to a former top U.S. official, “Germany joining would be a possibility, but not France – France itself spies on the US far too aggressively for that.” [5]

THIS IS NOT OUR FIRST “FIVE EYES” TREK — AND don’t kid yourselves — Germany is definitely #6 — even have an intelligence station there – run by the U.S. … (RESEARCH!!!)

This diagram depicts the relationship between the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the so-called “second parties”, which comprises the UKUSA community, and the “third parties” made up of members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and other Western allies:
NSA and second parties—Extensive mutual sharing of signals intelligence
NSA and third parties—Signals intelligence is funneled to the NSA in exchange for surveillance technology and cash.

As the surveillance capabilities of the FVEY continue to increase to keep up to pace with technological advancements, a global surveillance system has been gradually developed to capture the communications of entire populations across national borders. The following list contains a handful of targets of the FVEY who are public figures in various fields. In order for a person to be included in the list, there must be well-documented evidence based on reliable sources, such as leaked or declassified documents or whistleblower accounts, which demonstrate that the person involved is, or was, intentionally targeted for FVEY surveillance.

In one document, the NSA’s chief Lt Gen. Keith Alexander asks pointedly: “Why can’t we collect all the signals all the time? … Sounds like a good summer project for Menwith” — a reference to GCHQ’s Menwith Hill eavesdropping site in northern England.

On the legal front – as GCHQ’s own lawyers boasted in advice to its US partners – Cheltenham had an advantage to its US partners: “We have a light oversight regime compared with the US“.

Such potential subcontracting has long been at the heart of international legal concerns over how surveillance material is shared between the Five Eyes. The suspicion is that individual states within the agreement can produce material for partners that might be illegal to gather in the other collaborating states, including the US. [4]

Below is a list of a few FVEY notable individual surveillance targets including:

Picture, Name, Lifetime Surveillance agencies, Notes [5]

Charlie Chaplin 1889–1977
Image may contain: 1 person, closeupFBIA British comedian, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the silent era, Charlie Chaplin became one of the most important figures in the film industry through his screen persona “the Tramp”. Due to his alleged ties to communism, he was placed under surveillance in the early 1950s by MI5 agents, who acted on behalf of the FBI as part of a campaign to banish him from the United States.

Strom Thurmond 1902–2003
Image may contain: 1 person, smilingA Dixiecrat candidate in the 1948 U.S. presidential election, Strom Thurmond represented South Carolina in the United States Senate from 1954 until 2003, when he became 100 years old and was recognized at that time as the longest-serving senator in U.S. history. In 1988, Margaret Newsham, a Lockheed employee, told a closed-door session of the United States Congress that Thurmond’s telephone calls were being intercepted by the FVEY via their ECHELON surveillance system.

Nelson Mandela 1918–2013
Image may contain: 1 person, smilingA South African activist, lawyer, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, Nelson Mandela was denounced as a terrorist by critics and was placed under surveillance by British SIS agents. In 1962, Mandela was arrested after details of his terrorist activities were picked up by the CIA and handed over to local authorities.

Jane Fonda 1937–
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeupAn American actress, writer, political activist and former fashion model. Due to her political activism, her communications as well as those of her husband, Tom Hayden, were intercepted by the GCHQ and handed over to the NSA.

Ali Khamenei 1939–
Image may contain: 1 person, hat, smoking and closeupA Shia cleric and a former President of Iran, Ali Khamenei is the current Supreme Leader of Iran. During a rare visit to Iranian Kurdistan in 2009, he and his entourage were targeted for surveillance under a high-tech espionage mission involving the analysis and processing of satellite imagery. The operation was jointly conducted by the GCHQ and the NSA

John Lennon 1940–1980
Image may contain: one or more people and beardA British musician, songwriter, and a lead singer of The Beatles, John Lennon engaged in anti-war activism through several iconic songs such as “Give Peace a Chance” and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”. In 1971, he moved to New York City to join activists in the United States to protest against the Vietnam War. Over the next 12 months, the U.S. government launched an extensive surveillance operation to monitor his activities and to deport him back to Britain. The operation was conducted by the FBI with the help of MI5.

Ehud Olmert 1949–
Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and suitAn Israeli politician, lawyer, and a former Mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert is the 12th Prime Minister of Israel. He and the Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, were included in a list of surveillance targets used by the GCHQ and the NSA.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono 1949–
Image may contain: 1 personA former chief military observer of the United Nation Peacekeeping Force in Bosnia and the former President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife were placed under surveillance by the ASD, which shared details of the operation with the NSA.

Angela Merkel 1954–
Image may contain: 1 person, closeupA German politician, former research scientist, and the Chancellor of Germany since 2005, Angela Merkel’s phone communications were monitored by the Special Collection Service, which is part of the STATEROOM surveillance program of the FVEY.

Diana, Princess of Wales 1961–1997
Image may contain: one or more people and closeupA firm opponent of the international usage of land mines, the Princess of Wales was placed under surveillance by the GCHQ and the NSA, which kept a top secret file on her containing more than 1,000 pages. The contents of Diana’s NSA file cannot be disclosed because of national security concerns.

Kim Dotcom 1974–
Image may contain: one or more people and screenA German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur, businessman, and hacktivist, Kim Dotcom (born Kim Schmitz) is the founder of the file hosting service Megaupload. On behalf of the FBI, the GCSB of New Zealand conducted illegal surveillance on Dotcom. Prime Minister John Key later issued an apology for the GCSB’s illegal surveillance.

The new seal now displays all five of the Service Cryptologic Components, which are comprised of the United States Fleet Cyber Command, the United States Marine Corps Director of Intelligence, the United States Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, the 25th Air Force, and the US Coast Guard Deputy Assistant Commandant for Intelligence. Each are equally balanced around a five point star on which is centered the symbol of NSA/CSS, who provides the funding, direction, and guidance to all of America’s SIGINT activities.

The House of Representatives recognized the USCG’s national security objectives in the areas of maritime interception operations, port operations security and defense, military environmental response operations, and peacetime military engagement. The USCG is the only organization responsible for law enforcement, intelligence, and military activities simultaneously. Section 10 of the Authorization added the USCG as an element of the Intelligence Community and placed this organizational element on a par with those of other armed services and agencies. [1]

RELATED to inter country surveillance gathering techniques:

Social media mass surveillance is permitted by law

Mass surveillance of social media is permitted by law, says top officialThe true extent of the government’s interception of Google, Facebook and Twitter – including private messages between British citizens – has been officially confirmed for the first time.
The government’s most senior security official, Charles Farr, detailed how searches on Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as emails to or from non-British citizens abroad, can be monitored by the security services because they are deemed to be “external communications”.

It is the first time that the government has admitted that UK citizens, talking via supposedly private channels in social media such as Twitter direct messages, are deemed by the British government to be legitimate legal targets that do not require a warrant before intercepting. [9]

EDITORS NOTE:  US CONGRESS IS INVESTIGATING HILLARY CLINTON, CLINTON FOUNDATION … URANIUM ONE SALE TO RUSSIA — NO Five Eyes – NSA, CIA, or FBI investigation information found on: Uranium One, Rosatom, ARMZ Uranium Holding Co.– (AtomRedMetZoloto, a contraction of a Russian phrase meaning “Atom Rare Metals Gold”) is a Russian uranium mining company. It is wholly owned by Atomenergoprom, a part of Rosatom.

NOR any investigation information found on: Gulftainer — an independently owned, global port operator with its corporate head office in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — with many ports leased/operated in the United States – most notably “Port of Cape Canaveral”!!!

Today, this global surveillance system continues to grow. It now collects so much digital detritus — e-mails, calls, text messages, cellphone location data and a catalog of computer viruses – that the N.S.A. is building a 1-million-square-foot facility in the Utah desert to store and process it.” — The New York Times (August 2012) [10]




[2] early papers

[3] special interest documents

[4] Guardian

[5] Wikipedia

[6] Wikidepia

[7] Wikipedia

[8] Wikipedia

[9] Guardian

[10] NY Times