consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More evidence of wretched excess from our ever-overvigilent NSA.

USA Today, here, carrying an AP feed, reports:

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations said Monday that it will contact the United States about reports that the National Security Agency hacked its internal communications, and the world body emphasized that international treaties protect its offices and all diplomatic missions from interference, spying and eavesdropping.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said Monday that the United Nations will "reach out" to U.S. officials about the reports of eavesdropping, as it has in the past when such allegations have been raised.

Haq added that "the inviolability of diplomatic missions, including the United Nations and other international organizations, whose functions are protected by the relevant international conventions like the Vienna Convention, has been well-established international law."

The German magazine Der Spiegel reported Sunday that documents it obtained from American leaker Edward Snowden show the NSA secretly monitored the U.N.'s internal video conferencing system by decrypting it last year.

Der Spiegel also reported that the NSA installed bugs in the European Union's office building in Washington and infiltrated the EU's computer network.

The 1961 Vienna Convention regulates diplomatic issues and status among nations and international organizations. Among other things, it says a host country cannot search diplomatic premises or seize its documents or property. It also says the host government must permit and protect free communication between the diplomats of the mission and their home country.

That extended excerpt captures almost all of the USA Today/AP item, with the caveat that the media, like me, apparently were not walked through details of whatever underlying base evidence there is. Or if more evidence was presented to the media, they choose to report largely hearsay of one statesman and of Snowden.

However, that alone should suffice to have the evidence dug up and reviewed by a panel of objective and independent security experts, in an unfortunately lengthy but thorough fashion. With all reported, none redacted for "national security" reasons.

And next a grain-of-salt caveat - some allege that blue-ribbon panels can occasionally be convened to cover up more than to discover and disclose.

Yet on the basis of best evidence now reported to the public, how much is too much?

And, why are heads as yet not rolling? The time seems ripe for it. Even overripe.

USA Today/AP coverage did not give Spiegel links. For Crabgrass readers, online English language Spiegel links of interest related to the AP feed are here, here, here, and here. That makes up a starting assist to any reader wanting to read more.

Readers are encouraged to bookmark Spiegel's English language online outlet:

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