On April 13, a 21-year-old member of the US Air National Guard was arrested by the FBI. Not long ago, he released a large number of classified documents of the Pentagon of the US Department of Defense to chat rooms and social media.
The information included U.S. eavesdropping on key allies and adversaries as well as blunt assessments of the state of the war in Ukraine, mostly from the CIA and the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. CNN reported that many of the leaked documents were marked top secret.
One stone caused a thousand waves. The spokesman of the United Nations Secretary-General, Dujarric, said that wiretapping and other acts were “inconsistent” with the obligations listed for the United States in the “United Nations Charter” and the “Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations”. express concern.
Many of these documents are suspected to involve South Korea, which has also aroused dissatisfaction among the South Korean people. The “Hankyoreh” criticized that US intelligence agencies eavesdropped on South Korea’s Blue House (presidential office), which is “a long-standing secret.”
In March last year, the newly elected President of South Korea, Yoon Suk-yue, moved the presidential palace from the Blue House to the Ministry of National Defense Building in Yongsan, which is only a few hundred meters away from the US military base in South Korea. Now that the president of South Korea has been exposed to be monitored by the US military, it is unavoidable to arouse people’s imagination.
Although all parties involved are trying their best to deny the authenticity of the document and try to downplay the impact of the incident as soon as possible, but if you look back at history, it is not difficult to find that monitoring/tapping is almost a “traditional art” of the US military or US law enforcement agencies, and this will The move to bring the whole world into the scope of surveillance has already gone far beyond the reasonable scope allowed by law.
The FBI opens the “Magic Box”
Brian Hockman, an associate professor at Georgetown University in the United States who specializes in the study of “data surveillance”, believes that wiretapping technology began long before the advent of the telephone. More than 160 years after California’s 1862 ban on wiretapping was introduced shortly after the Pacific Telegraph arrived on the West Coast — it was originally intended to limit stockbrokers’ ability to profit from wiretapped information.
Edgar Hoover, FBI’s longest-serving director (later colored pictures)
Surveillance/wiretapping is almost a “traditional art” of the US military or US law enforcement agencies.
Large-scale wiretapping in the United States can be traced back to the 1920s. “Smithsonian Institution Magazine” pointed out that wiretapping was originally a sharp weapon of private detectives and companies, used to monitor every move of labor unions, and from 1920 to 1933 when Prohibition was implemented, in order to combat the increasingly rampant gang crimes, wiretapping Wiretapping has become a common tool for law enforcement.
In 1924, a young lawyer who was only 29 years old became the director of the US Bureau of Investigation (BOI, the predecessor of the FBI). At that time, no one would have imagined that it was such a young boy who would apply surveillance technology to various fields of the US domestic intelligence front in the next 48 years.
The man’s name was Edgar Hoover, and he was the longest-serving director of the FBI. As soon as he took office, Hoover successively eliminated Al Capone and other gangsters who were rampant for a while, and became the patron saint of the American people.
Although there is no direct evidence to show how much monitoring has played a role in arresting and prosecuting criminals, the American Gangster Museum has special agent monitoring equipment on display, as well as Hoover’s later love for monitoring, which can also reflect the role of monitoring from the side. .
After the initial victory, Hoover’s monitoring net was cast wider. In 1943, Hoover even heard evidence that first lady Eleanor Roosevelt was cheating, and the president’s marriage almost fell apart.
With the end of World War II, the Iron Curtain of confrontation between the two camps gradually rose. Therefore, the FBI also started a larger-scale operation in the name of “anti-Soviet”. It has become an open secret in American political circles that the FBI eavesdrops on anyone they believe is plotting to subvert the US regime or has certain intelligence value.
Even though Hoover swore in Congress that agents would not be allowed to monitor, no one believed him. So much so that in the 1960s, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson even asked Hoover directly if he had installed a bug on his phone.
In 1975, Hoover died of illness. But once the “magic box” of eavesdropping is opened, it is difficult to close it again. The FBI’s reliance on eavesdropping has not been reduced because of the death of the top leader of the US domestic intelligence community. Deputy Director Mark Felt is Hoover’s “protégé”.
On October 21, 2015, Moscow, Russia, US “Prism Gate” whistleblower Edward Snowden was interviewed by Swedish media
Over the past half century, with the continuous development of information and communication technology, various forms of surveillance have become increasingly difficult to detect. In 2013, US defense contractor Edward Snowden exposed a top-secret surveillance program run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI.
The plan requires all network giants to leave a “back door” for the US intelligence agencies, allowing them to monitor and query any information left by citizens on the Internet at any time. This is the “prism door” that shocked the world.
With the help of those giants who control the Internet and communication technology terminals, the United States can extend the tentacles of intelligence to every corner of the real world. In Snowden’s view, this means that the US security services have the ability to search, seize and read anyone’s communications without any search warrant.
Perhaps as Hockman argues, Americans have accepted the uncomfortable fact that without electronic eavesdropping, there is no such thing as electronic communication.
Allies are not spared
Although it has been repeatedly exposed that the U.S. is conducting surveillance operations by its own countrymen, the scope of U.S. surveillance has never been limited to the country. In 1922, shortly after the smoke of World War I, at the Naval Disarmament Conference in Washington, the United States closely monitored the participating countries, including Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, and monitored and deciphered the communications between the delegation and their respective countries in order to Take more initiative at the negotiating table.
In 1929, U.S. Secretary of State Stimson, who believed in “a gentleman does not read other people’s letters,” ordered the closure of the code-breaking agency, but this state did not last long.
On December 8, 1941, in Pearl Harbor, Japanese aerial bombs fell like raindrops, completely igniting the anger of the Americans. Soon after declaring their participation in the war, Britain and the United States began an active exchange of information. In May 1943, the United Kingdom and the United States signed the “Anglo-American Communications and Intelligence Agreement”, which stipulated that the two sides should strengthen cooperation in intelligence, especially encrypted intelligence. This agreement also played a certain role in the counterattack of the Allied forces in the European battlefield.
Although the war ended two years later, the United States invested more energy in intelligence. In 1946, the United Kingdom and the United States signed the “Anglo-American Communications Agreement” on the basis of the original agreement. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand joined in one after another. Since then, an intelligence sharing network across multiple countries has been formed, which is known as the “Five Eyes” (Five eyes).
Espionage operations such as monitoring and assassination have become the most commonly used means of the “Five Eyes Alliance”. The deaths of Congolese Prime Minister Lumumba, Chilean President Allende and other important political figures in other countries are regarded as the “masterpiece” of the members of the “Five Eyes Alliance”.
After the “9.11 Incident”, the United States once again intensified intelligence collection in the name of “anti-terrorism”. In addition to monitoring “enemies”, it also monitors almost everyone, including allies, indiscriminately.
Espionage operations such as monitoring and assassination have become the most commonly used means of the “Five Eyes Alliance”.
Assassinated Prime Minister Lumumba of the Republic of Congo (colored pictures later)
Assassinated Chilean President Allende
Since 2015, Assange, the founder of “WikiLeaks”, has successively exposed a large number of confidential documents, accusing the US national security agency of monitoring other countries’ political leaders for decades. On the long monitoring list, there are not only officials from Norway, Sweden and other countries, but also leaders from countries such as France and Germany who have close cooperation with the United States, such as the three German Chancellors Merkel, Schroeder and Kohl. French President Chirac, Sarkozy, Hollande and so on.
This incident once triggered a crisis of international public opinion. German media said that not only the German Chancellor, but also many senior government officials, including the finance minister, were targeted by the U.S. for eavesdropping. The British “Guardian” accused the US government of trying to use “national security” as an excuse to lobby Congress to extend the validity period of Section 702 of the “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act”.
The article stipulates that U.S. intelligence agencies can monitor selected “foreign targets” and collect their phone calls, text messages and Internet communications without court permission. The “Guardian” reported that the United States is the only one in the world that is so blatantly allowing surveillance of other countries to be enshrined in law.
In addition, according to the statistics of Glenn Greenwall, a reporter from The Guardian who reported the “Prism Gate” incident, the NSA remotely stole 97 billion emails and 124 billion phone data within 30 days. Germany, Brazil, India, France, Countries such as Spain were not spared.
After the recent leaks were exposed, many countries affected have expressed dissatisfaction with the United States. Egypt’s “Daily News” wrote that this incident is a microcosm of the US’s long-term indiscriminate surveillance of the world.
The intelligence department “helps” the business war
In addition to political considerations, surveillance has also been used by the United States in the commercial field. The European Parliament has issued a report stating that US intelligence agencies such as NSA and CIA have played a role like commercial espionage in some commercial wars involving the interests of US business giants.
Compared with general commercial espionage, the business capabilities of these official agencies are usually better, which can be called a dimensionality reduction strike. Therefore, American companies are almost invincible in global commercial negotiations.
WikiLeaks founder Assange
Banksy’s Spy Phone Booth in Cheltenham, England. This work appeared in April 2014, echoing Snowden’s exposure of the “monitoring gate” incident in the United States
The report pointed out that in 1994, the NSA had intercepted the content of negotiations between Airbus of France, Saudi Airlines and the Saudi government, and even had evidence that Airbus had bribed Saudi officials. NSA then resold the information at a high price to Airbus’ opponents—Boeing and McDonnell Douglas of the United States, and finally helped the latter win a large order of US$6 billion.
Also in 1994, another French company was hit hard by wiretapping. At that time, the French defense company Thomson-Alcatel was bidding for the satellite detection project in the Brazilian Amazon Basin, while its opponent was the American company Raytheon.
To this end, the NSA and CIA formulated a detailed monitoring plan, and finally, like the Airbus case, successfully obtained evidence that the French bribed the Brazilians. Under the threat of this handle, the French company finally withdrew from the bidding, and Raytheon successfully won an order of 1.4 billion US dollars.
Regarding the fact that the United States has eavesdropped, the US intelligence agencies do not seem to shy away from it. Long before the European Parliament bombarded the United States, former CIA director James Woolsey published an article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Why We Spy on Our Allies”.
The article did not reflect on whether it is appropriate for the U.S. government to use wiretapping to influence commercial activities. Instead, it stated that the monitoring of companies in other countries is not because the technology of the other country is more advanced and worth stealing, or the price is cheaper, but simply because of the bribery and corruption of these companies. Conduct that affects business fairness.
Many acts of injustice will kill themselves. Although American companies make a lot of money by relying on eavesdropping, they are not without moments of failure. Around 2010, American Boeing and French and Swedish companies confronted each other in the Brazilian Air Force’s arms purchase project. Years of negotiations have not made any significant progress.
However, after the “Prism Gate” incident was exposed in 2013, Brazilian intelligence agencies found that their own president was on the U.S. monitoring list. This made Rousseff, then President of Brazil, quite insecure. An olive branch was thrown to the Swedes.
Whether it is homeland security or promoting anti-corruption, no matter what the purpose is, illegal wiretapping has violated basic human ethics. Citing the United Nations’ view, Snowden said that mass surveillance programs undoubtedly violated human rights.
As Glenn Greenwald said, secrecy laws are not designed to protect national security, but to punish those who violate the interests of those in power. It is a pity that, as far as the current situation is concerned, the United States may not give up monitoring until it really kicks the steel plate and receives enough punishment.