Germans, MIT CSAIL Targeted (Redux) — NSA Double Agent Unmasked


For those of you looking for a more technically detailed, English language writeup of yesterday’s disclosures about the XKeyscore filtering rules, you now have one. [1]

It turns out that besides one German student’s server, the NSA is also targeting everyone who searches for or uses — not just Tor — but also “HotSpotShield, FreeNet, Centurian,, MegaProxy, and an anonymous email service called MixMinion as well as its predecessor MixMaster.”

This means that a certain server hosting MixMinion at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory is also under surveillance, despite being firmly within a Five Eyes country. Like I noted yesterday, “exceptions to the exception” ostensibly protecting people.

Another “exception to the exception”? Linux Journal magazine, which was singled out as an “extremist” forum. No, not by accident — this is in the source code comments. [3] (Also worth noting — both Cory Doctrow [4] and Bruce Schneier [5] think the XKeyscore filter rules are not from Snowden.)

Somewhat more epic was the testimony of Bill Binney and his comrade-in-whistleblowing Thomas Drake in front of the German parliament’s commission to investigate the NSA (and the German intelligence services’ roles in the scandal).

In a nutshell — “Binney accused the NSA of having a “totalitarian mentality” and wanting “total information control” over citizens in breach of the US constitution. It was an approach that until now the public had only seen among dictators, he added.” [2]

But… that is by far not the best bit.

The most epic news of the day is so fresh off the presses that nobody in the English-speaking press appears to have picked it up just yet.

Specifically, a 31-year-old employee of the German foreign intelligence service was arrested on Wednesday [8] for spying. He’d offered his services to the Russians, this was noted and they arrested him. [6] But… then… they started interrogating him.

And he confessed to spying, alright.

But not for the Russians.

For the NSA.

On the German parliamentary commission charged with investigating the NSA.

Specifically, he claims to have been passing information to an American handler for the last two years over the course of three secret meetings in Austra. For a total of 218 secret documents from the German foreign intelligence service (3 of them related to the NSA commission) he received 25,000 EUR. [7]

The bit about the Russians had just been his way of adding a little more to his income, and appears not to have gone anywhere. Of course it’s possible that the bit about working for the NSA was made up, authorities are still investigating. But, at this point, I consider it highly unlikely the story will turn out to be false.

According to Germany’s “third major intelligence service,” the man apparently sent the US embassy in Berlin an email (!!) offering “interesting documents from the BND [foreign intelligence].” [9] He had a fourth meeting scheduled with his American handler on July 9th, to take place in Prague, but it looks like he’s not going to make that one.










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