NSA Participated In the Worst Abuses of the Iraq War

NSA Spied On UN to Make Sure Iraq War Resolution Passed … and Assisted with Torture and Assassinations

You know the CIA was involved with some of the least savory aspects of the Iraq War.

But the NSA got its hands dirty, as well.

The Intercept reports:

In the first months of the Iraq War, SIDtoday [an internal NSA newsletter] articles bragged about the NSA’s part in the run-up to the invasion and reflected the Bush administration’s confidence that Saddam Hussein had hidden weapons of mass destruction.

At the United Nations, readers were told, “timely SIGINT [signals intelligence – i.e. spying on electronic and related communications, which is what NSA does] played a critical role” in winning adoption of resolutions related to Iraq, including by providing “insights into the nuances of internal divisions among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.”

Specifically:

SIGINT support [by NSA] to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations [i.e. American diplomats] has enabled and continues to enable the diplomatic campaign against Iraq. Your efforts have been essential to the plans of the U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador John D. Negroponte [a lovely gentleman], as well as to the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative, HMA Sir Jeremy Greenstock.

(S//SI) Ambassador Negroponte took time in February 2003 to provide unsolicited feedback on the quality, timeliness, and quantity of NSA reporting. He said that he could not imagine better intelligence support for diplomatic activity than he receives from the daily NSA reporting on Iraq and the UN. He was especially grateful for the timeliness of the information and asked our representative at the U.S. Mission to the UN, … to pass his thanks to the many people involved in its production and delivery. His only complaint was that “there’s just so much good stuff to read and so little time to do it!” Ambassador Negroponte has been an avid user of SIGINT for many years and visited NSA in February 2002, exclaiming that he has never received better support in his 40-year diplomatic career. It is our hope that the Ambassador will visit NSA again when the frenzy of the Iraqi crisis subsides.

***

For his part, Ambassador Greenstock, on the very day in February that he tabled the UK-US-Spain “second resolution” on Iraq, intrigued by the close UK-US intelligence cooperation, said that SIGINT insights into the nuances of internal divisions among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the “P5”) were highly useful, enabling him to decide what line to take with P5 counterparts in New York and Washington and to temper the language of his diplomatic forays. On 5 February, the day that Secretary of State Powell made his presentation at the UN Security Council and, as a direct result of SIGINT reporting, a last-minute amendment was made to the UK Foreign Secretary’s speech, making the point that UNMOVIC inspections had already been substantially reinforced.

And:

SIGINT support to USUN’s [U.S. ambassadors to the UN] diplomatic efforts concerning Iraq has been exceptional. Timely SIGINT played a critical role in the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council Resolutions 1441 (strengthened the inspection regime and demanded Iraq disarm or face serious consequences) and 1472 (revised the humanitarian aid program for Iraq).

Remember, the NSA conducts widespread industrial espionage on our allies, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations, the Vatican and the Pope, France, the leaders of Germany, Brazil and Mexico, the European Union, the European Parliament, the G20 summit, and at least 35 world leaders.

And the United States Trade Representative is one of the “customers” of NSA data.

As Edward Snowden wrote about mass surveillance by the NSA:

These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.

Too bad the Iraq War was a total fiasco …

In a separate article, the Intercept notes that the NSA participated in torture:

Personnel from the National Security Agency worked alongside the military, CIA, and other agencies on interrogations at Guantánamo in the early days of the war on terror, new documents show.

***

The NSA’s liaison, or NSA LNO, would “coordinate” with interrogators “to collect information of value to the NSA Enterprise and Extended Enterprise” and be “responsible for interfacing with the DoD, CIA, and FBI interrogators on a daily basis in order to assess and exploit information sourced from detainees.” In some instances, the relationship would go the other way, with the NSA providing “sensitive NSA-collected technical data and products to assist JTF-GTMO [Joint Task Force Guantánamo] interrogation efforts.”

***

An NSA liaison reported back on his trip. “On a given week,” he wrote, he would “pull together intelligence to support an upcoming interrogation, formulate questions and strategies for the interrogation, and observe or participate in the interrogation.”

Outside work, “fun awaits,” he enthused. “Water sports are outstanding: boating, paddling, fishing, water skiing and boarding, sailing, swimming, snorkeling, and SCUBA.” If water sports were “not your cup of tea,” there were also movies, pottery, paintball, and outings to the Tiki Bar. “Relaxing is easy,” he concluded.

***

NSA analysts were also intimately involved in interrogations in Iraq; a December 2003 call for volunteers to deploy to Baghdad as counterterrorism analysts with the Iraq Survey Group, which was leading the search for Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, said that “the selectee will, in all likelihood, be involved in the interrogation/questioning of potential leads,” as well as “the evaluation and analysis of interrogation reports and other HUMINT-based reports.”

Too bad torture decreases our national security

In 2014, the Intercept pointed out that NSA has also been key in targeting people for assassination by drone. Too bad we don’t know who most of the people we’re killing are …

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  • EarlyMedievalSerf

    American exceptionalism

  • Walt Hess

    Anyone who lies and deceives the American people in matters of life and death is a traitor – and traitors should be hung