negati0596 different angle, different view, different outcome   – photo: susanne.haerpfer@bits.de

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Er war Mitglied des Beirats der National Security Agency NSA.

Und er war Reporter der Londoner Sunday Times.

Er schrieb 12 Bücher über security- und Geheimdienst-Themen.

Er leitete die Nachrichtenagentur upi.

Heute ist er consultant und führt seine Inhaber-basierte Adams strategy group:

James Adams.

http://www.adamsstrategygroup.com/about.html

Rupert Murdoch ließ ihn eine neue Druckerei bereithalten für den Wechsel vom klassischen offset-Druck zum Computer-Druck.

Die Abhörskandale bei der Sunday Times erscheinen vor diesem Hintergrund in neuem Licht.

Ebenso die aktuelle Debatte über die NSA.

2009 interviewte ich James Adams per mail.

Damals interessierte sich in Deutschland kein Journalist für die NSA. Daher blieb der Text unveröffentlicht. Aus dem Anlaß der aktuellen Debatte stelle ich meine Arbeit online. Aufträge auf dieser Grundlage nehme ich gern entgegen

susanne.haerpfer@bits.de

In public the NSA´s got the image of t h e ultrasecret organization – whereas with “James²” it seems that there are already two experts and authors in the same person on NSA issues – how would you describe the delicate relation of media versus intelligence?

I assume you mean James Bamford and myself? I’ve not been in the media business for more than 10 years. I was on the Board of the NSA and Chairman of their Technology Oversight Panel and hold Top Secret security clearances so perhaps see things a little differently. When I first got involved with NSA, I argued (and they agreed) that it was much better to bring the journalists inside than keep them outside trying to look through the keyhole. That has worked well although there is still a great deal of rubbish written about NSA and the intelligence community.

I have been reading about the Clinton papers at the NSA. Does this imply that the phone conversations of the whole government has been and still is intercepted and if so on which legal basis with which consequence?

Conversations that occur between US government officials and foreign government officials are routinely recorded. There is a US law, known as USID 18, which means that NSA cannot listen to any conversations that involve an American entity whether inside the US or overseas. That law is rigorously enforced.

Did the Whitewater papers result from a leakage by the NSA?

No.

To which extent and by whom are the employees with access to this information controlled and what does this imply for the checks and balances in general?

Lawyers run the intelligence community like any other part of government and there is much less risk taking as a result. Of course, as we saw with the torture memos, lawyers give terrible advice sometimes. My experience though is that the intelligence community in general is very conservative and risk averse. That means they avoid physical risk wherever possible and political risk also.

According to the books the NSA documented the relation of Monzer Al Kassar to Iran and South Africa – how is it documented? What relevance does this have on the current trial on Kassar? Did the described biz relations occur approx. in the 80´s?

Monzer Al Kassar has been a person of interest to many intelligence agencies for many years and that includes the US and most of the European countries. Information that was gathered on him by different agencies was shared widely as he was considered a threat to everyone.

It has been described that companys such as Western Union were intercepted – can this be said up till now? If so on which legal basis, how is it documented and what does this mean in the context of the line of interpretation, Islamic terrorists did their financial transactions by Western Union? What is more – what does this imply for legal prosecutors claiming not being able to investigate phishing attacks and money laundering activities carried out via Western Union?

Know terrorists or financiers of terrorists used all aspects of the international banking system, including Western Union to move money around. That said, the US is very constrained about how much it can monitor a US entity. There is no general collection against such a target but only very specific action that are court authorized and that relate to a specific target of interest. I’m not aware of phishing attacks being carried out via Western Union. Such attacks are carried out via the web using many different fronts and are largely not monitored by the intelligence communities unless they involve national security targets.

Obviously BP and Exxon were intercepted as well. Can this be said up till today, if so on which legal basis and what consequence does it have for the companies? The same is true for the transactions carried out by Burger King – are they still being intercepted? If so on which legal basis, with which consequence and which counter measures are taken by the companies?

You say ‚obviously‘ but I’m not aware of any of this.

I read about the export control of weapons and computers as well as on conferences and publications about cryptology being of the same security relevance as the export of information. Can this be said till today, if so on which legal basis and how is it documented?

There are export controls on a wide range of advanced weapons and computers and applications to export such items are routinely reviewed by the Commerce Department with input from various agencies. Cryptography is more complicated. For years, all host governments have tried to control the dissemination of crypto from their country of origin but given the nature of the web, such controls are largely impossible. The reality is that if you use a 256bit encryption key from a decent software company, it is very difficult to crack. That is why all intelligence agencies have placed increasing emphasis on intercepting data at rest (before it is encrypted) rather than data on the move (already encrypted).

In the Bamford books it is described that especially Greek tourist offices were monitored. Can this be said till today, if so why and is there a link to German prosecutor papers on the export of WMD via Greece in the 80´s? In addition was the arrest of the German terrorist Pohle been carried out by this means and if so was the story of a German “student of journalism” having identified him just a cover story? As with much of Bamford’s material, this relates more to history than the present.

Greece was considered a lawless place and a huge center for both espionage by all nations (replacing Beirut) and for terrorists. There is much less emphasis today because terrorism and the world has moved on to different concerns. I know nothing about the Pohle case.

Would you elaborate more detailed on the use of ships for intel purposes and what does this imply for the current piracy debate?

This is a huge subject that would take too long to address. As far as I know, no intel gathering ship has been seized by pirates.

Kein Schiff, das für Überwachung und Abhören genutzt wurde, fiel bislang in die Hand von Piraten. Das ist news. Darum geht es also auch beim Kampf gegen Piraterie – um den Schutz der Abhör-Flotte. James Bamford schrieb über Geheimdienst-Schiffe in seinem Buch Puzzle Palace. Und ich schrieb über diesen Aspekt Bamfords Buch für Heise/Telepolis. susanne.haerpfer@bits.de