Last week, The Intercept published details on the NSA’s programs with partners to tap international communications cables. Most of the article focused on a program called RAMPART-A, which seems to involve Denmark and Germany, with each helping the NSA to spy on the other (while claiming to their own governments that their citizens are protected). But buried in one of the background documents – the US “black budget” for Foreign Partner Access Project – was this titbit:
“Second parties” means the rest of the Five Eyes: the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. And while most of it is through the UK (likely involving this facility and their transatlantic cable taps at GCHQ Bude), all parties are involved. So, we now have an NSA document which says that the US is paying “our” GCSB (something both the GCSB and their spy minister have refused to answer). As for what they’re getting for their money, the obvious conclusion is access to data tapped from cables in the Pacific.
So, “our” spies take foreign money to work for a foreign power. Isn’t there a very ugly word for that?