Maurice Wessling on 3 Mar 2001 16:25:54 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] NSA vs Europe

There is an interesting twist to the Echelon investigation
by the European Parliament that does not seem to make the
headlines except for newspapers in France and the

The 'temporary committee on the Echelon interception' of the
European Parliament is investigating the US-UK SIGNIT
network that is spying on all, including EU members. The
committee finds out that the head of the EU code bureau
(responsible for the security of european commission
communications) is a British guy with family and/or friends
at the NSA who has let the NSA check and advise on
counter-measures taken by the EU to protect against the
SIGINT activities of the NSA and others. How can you protect
yourself against US-UK SIGINT if a British national together
with the NSA are evaluating the counter measures?


The original story appeared in Liberation:

EU rejects report US given access to secrets

APws 3/1/01 7:29 AM

  Associated Press Writer
    BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- The European Union's head office denied a
report Thursday that a U.S. intelligence agency had been granted access to
security codes protecting secret EU communications.
    An article in French daily Liberation reported that a European
Commission official responsible for communication security acknowledged the
U.S. National Security Agency was regularly allowed to test the
Commission's encryption systems to ensure they are secure.
    The daily also reported that the official, Desmond Perkins, who is
British, has a family member who works for the Maryland-based NSA, which
gathers intelligence information for the U.S. government and is responsible
for protecting government information.
    Liberation questioned whether the EU compromised its security by letting
the NSA to bug EU encryption machines.
    "This is a major misunderstanding," said EU spokesman Jonathan Faull.
"This is not a system which was cracked by the NSA, and there was no
situation where the Commission opened its system to third parties,
certainly not."
    The Commission purchased its current encoding systems some ten years ago
from German company Siemens AG, which promoted its machines by claiming
that even the NSA couldn't break the coding, Faull said.
    Perkins recently appeared before an ongoing European Parliament
committee investigating an alleged U.S.-led spy network dubbed Echelon.
According to Liberation, he agreed that U.S. intelligence officers could
not crack the EU system, when he asked them to test it after the purchase.
    "In two weeks, (they) were unable to penetrate our encryption systems. I
was very satisfied with that," the paper quoted Perkins as saying.
    Faull said the Commission knew Perkins, who started working for the EU
in 1976, had a family member working at the NSA.
    "His boss was aware of these facts when he worked there," Faull told
reporters. "No one has tried to hide that and we have no reason to believe
that this situation creates any difficulties."
    Faull added that encryption machines are continually tested and upgraded
with new software to avoid any possible lapses of security.
    The parliamentary committee investigating Echelon, has sent a letter to
the Commission asking more information about the EU's relationship with the
NSA. The committee is due to meet again March 5.
    Many Europeans think the NSA is behind the Echelon system which has been
accused of spying on European businesses and passing gathered information
to their U.S. competitors cb-pa

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