The Lebanese army successfully defused a 50-kilogram bomb discovered Monday in a southern Beirut suburb, a military official said on Tuesday.
A Jeep Grand Cherokee packed with explosives was discovered in the Maamoura neighborhood of Dahiyeh, which has been swarming with security forces since two car bombs exploded in July and August.
The July 9 attack on the Dahiyeh neighborhood of Bir al-Abed injured 53 people. On August 15, a massive explosion killed 27 people in the nearby Roueiss neighborhood.
In remarks carried by Lebanon’s National News Agency, an army spokesperson said the booby-trapped vehicle discovered Monday contained a 50-kilogram bomb, three anti-tank mines and six cluster bombs wired to 20 kilograms of an explosive chemical compound and “multiple detonators.”
Investigators are looking for those responsible for planting the car bomb, the spokesperson added.
Attacks have increased on Beirut’s southern suburbs, where Hezbollah draws strong support, since the powerful Shia movement publicly announced earlier this year that its troops had joined the war against Syria’s anti-government rebels.
Hezbollah erected dozens of checkpoints in Dahiyeh following the August 15 car bomb in attempt to stem further attacks.
Lebanese army and Internal Security Forces took over those checkpoints last month.
Obama Administration Forbids NSA-Critical Novelist Entry to USA
On September 30th, as he was about to fly from Brazil to Denver, Colorado, where he had been invited to attend and address a German Studies conference, the German novelist Ilija Trojanow (pronounced “llya Troyanov”) was informed that he would not be allowed to board the flight on which he was booked.
He was told, after some 45 minutes of waiting while his passport and various computer screens were examined, that his case was “special” and that no further explanation was available. To this date, none has been offered.
But the explanation was and is obvious to anyone aware of Mr. Trojanow’s recent political history, in the context of the Obama administration’s increasingly jaundiced and vehement campaign against whistleblowers and critics of its surveillance-state apparatus. Despite the President’s absurdly facile talk of “welcoming the debate” on NSA data-gobbling and Orwellian tactics, the war on internet freedom is reaching a new high point. The US government is determined to achieve full access to all digital data, and has no intention of compromising with its critics, of which internationally known intellectuals appear to represent a particularly worrisome species.
Asked how the scholars at the conference in Denver had reacted to the government’s action in blocking his entry, Trojanow said that they were “…enormously angry. A great deal of prepared work was carried out in vain. Now they want to write an open letter. It is, obviously, ironic that this should happen in connection with – of all things — an event that was intended to bring the USA and Germany together. The theme of the seminar was ‘transnationalism’”.
Less than two weeks earlier, on September 18th, an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel accompanied by the signatures of 67,000 supporters — including a number of prominent literary and legal figures – had been delivered to the Chancellery in Berlin by Trojanow’s friend and fellow novelist Juli Zeh, its initiator. One of the first signatures was Trojanow’s. The two are co-authors of the book “Angriff auf die Freiheit” (“Freedom Under Attack”), published in 2010 by DTV Deutscher Taschenbuch, the subtitle of which translates to “Security Madness, Surveillance State and the Dismantling of Civil Rights.” Three years before the Snowden revelations, Mr. Trojanow, a native Bulgarian whose family fled political persecution there in the dark ages of Eastern Bloc state repression, had become a prominent critic of policies in the West that had an all-too-familiar smell. The Snowden documents and emerging NSA scandal now brought new urgency to this work.
The German Chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union, who as opposition leader during the Social Democratic/Green Party coalition government,and later as Chancellor, had given George W. Bush uncritical support for his Iraq policies among many others, was staying true to form in the face of Snowden’s assertion that Germany’s intelligence services were deeply involved in the surveillance scandal. After weeks of evasion and “salami” tactics by which admissions regarding the Snowden charges were made piecemeal once they could no longer be denied; after a highly-publicized trip to Washington by her Interior Minister (analogous to Minister of Homeland Security in the USA), who was photographed at the table with top American intelligence officials, and returned to assure Germans that the US took the issue very seriously and had guaranteed him that no German laws were being broken; after an appearance by Merkel’s Minister of the Chancellery before a special investigative committee to which he had been summoned by an outraged opposition in the German Bundestag (an appearance generally assessed to have been characterized by flippant and insubstantial responses to penetrating questions regarding German complicity alleged by Snowden); after a press conference in which the Chancellor blithely declared that she “preferred to wait and see” what the truth about the allegations might be; and after declaring in a vaguely irritated tone in a TV debate with her Social Democratic challenger in the eminent election – on almost the same day that the letter and petition were presented in Berlin — that she “had no reason to mistrust the NSA,” Merkel was comfortably reelected on September 22nd despite the fact that more than two-thirds of Germans had been polled as being unsatisfied with the government’s response to the scandal. While the conservatives in Berlin and the Obama administration may have breathed a sigh of relief, someone in Washington was apparently not yet ready to forget about Trojanow’s work in the actions which had produced the following document (translated from the original German for Mr. Trojanow by myself):
Honored Madame Chancellor,
Since Edward Snowden made public the existence of the PRISM program, the media have turned their attention to the biggest wiretapping scandal in modern German history. We citizens have, through published reports, become aware that foreign intelligence services — even in the absence of any concrete grounds for suspicion – skim and record our telephone and electronic communications. Through the storage and evaluation of metadata, our contacts, friendships and relationships are apprehended. Our political positions, our “movement profiles” and, in fact, even our daily moods and emotional status are transparent to the security authorities. The “transparent man” has thus become reality.
We have no defenses. There is no means of redress or airing of grievances, no opportunity for access to the files. While our private lives are made transparent, the secret services assert a right to a maximum of opacity regarding their methods. In other words: we are experiencing an historic attack upon our democratic rule of law, namely, the reversal of the principle of a “presumption of innocence” into a millionfold general suspicion.
Madame Chancellor, you stated in your summer press conference that Germany is “not a surveillance state.” Since the Snowden revelations, however, we have no choice but to say: unfortunately, it is. In the same connection you summarized your approach to the investigation of the PRISM affair with the apt phrase: “I prefer to wait and see what happens.”
But we do not wish to wait. It is increasingly difficult to avoid the impression that this behavior by the American and British intelligence services is tacitly accepted by the German government. For that reason we ask you: is it politically desirable that the NSA conducts surveillance of German citizens in a manner that is forbidden to the German authorities by the constitution and the German Federal Constitutional (Supreme) Court? Do the German intelligence services profit from information received from the US authorities, and is that the reason for your hesitant reaction? How can it be justified that the BND (“Bundesnachrichtendienst”, federal intelligence authority) and the Verfassungsschutz (“Constitutional Protection”, federal domestic intelligence agency) deploy the NSA spy-program XKeyScore, for which there is no legal basis, in the surveillance of search engines? Is the German Federal Government in the process of taking a detour around the rule of law, instead of defending it?
We call upon you to tell the people of this nation the full truth about the electronic spying. And we want to know what the federal government proposes to do against it. You are charged by the constitution with protecting Germany’s citizens from harm. Madame Chancellor, what is your strategy?
/ Juli Zeh / Ilija Trojanow / Carolin Emcke / Friedrich von Borries /Moritz Rinke / Eva Menasse / Tanja Dückers / Norbert Niemann / Sherko Fatah / Angelina Maccarone / Michael Kumpfmüller / Tilman Spengler / Steffen Kopetzky / Sten Nadolny / Markus Orths / Sasa Stanisic / Micha Brumlik / Josef Haslinger / Simon Urban / Kristof Magnusson / Andres Veiel / Feridun Zaimoglu / Ingo Schulze / Falk Richter / Hilal Sezgin / Georg Oswald
(Translation from the German original: Gregory Barrett)
Trojanow was awarded the 2006 Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair for his adventure novel “Der Weltensammler” (“The Collector of Worlds”). He delivered the laudatory speech for the Nobel Prizewinner Herta Müller at the ceremony marking her acceptance of the Franz Werfel Human Rights Prize. In Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, he had been a guest writer at the invitation of the Goethe Institute. On October 5th he was to speak at the conference of the German Studies Association in Denver about his most recent novel “EisTau” (“Ice Thaw”). Ms. Zeh is best known to the German-speaking public as the author of several novels including “Adler und Engel” (“Eagles and Angels”), which has been translated into 31 languages, and “Nullzeit” (“Zero Hour” or “Out of Time”), but also holds impressive law degrees and has worked at the United Nations. The forum afforded the two highly-respected intellectuals in various media, from the powerful news magazine “Der Spiegel,” to the national public radio network Deutschlandradio, to popular national television talk shows may well be making the Merkel government nervous about the possibility that the surveillance issue — which had appeared to be fading in the public consciousness as the Chancellor and her allies had hoped — could still catch fire with the help of the continued revelations being parceled out by Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and a growing network. Such coverage has given the German writers’ campaign a visibility seldom granted to the usual suspects on the German left.
Appeals to the German government for mediation and clarity following the US refusal to allow Mr. Trojanow’s entry into the land of the free have, predictably, been without success at this writing. The novelist himself immediately applied for a new US visa and is determined to elicit a clear statement about the grounds for the ban.
Meanwhile, Trojanow and Zeh are working on a new international appeal, with which they hope to generate broad-based resistance to the massive destruction of civil- and privacy rights worldwide represented by the NSA’s new technological might. There are links already in place to the London-based group “Index on Censorship” and many other groups including Amnesty International, Liberty, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Russian PEN Center. The German writer-activists hope to bring more Americans into their network as well. The signs may be auspicious, too, for legislative activity at the European level: in late September a 36-page report prepared for the European Union stated that “…Prism seems to have allowed an unprecedented scale and depth in intelligence gathering, which goes beyond counter-terrorism and beyond espionage activities carried out by liberal regimes in the past. This may lead towards an illegal form of total information awareness where data of millions of people are subject to collection and manipulation by the NSA.” It went on to point out that “…there are no privacy rights for non-Americans under Prism and related programmes” and that the US probably places “no limitations on exploiting or intruding a non-US person’s privacy.” However, those of us who have watched for many years as the European Parliament and EU Commission have taken one principled position after another against US policies, only to buckle later under pressure, are under no illusion that things will be much different this time. The stark contrast between the Merkel government’s initial protestations of concern over PRISM and other NSA programs for public consumption, and its subsequent low-to-no profile on the issue, demonstrates that below the surface, the European interest in maintaining its often obsequious posture as regards its mighty ally will once again trump other concerns in the absence of a public outcry. Ilija Trojanow and his partners, however, hope to keep the urgency of the issue alive in the international political and literary spheres.
“It is more than ironic that an author who for years has been speaking out about the dangers of surveillance and the secret state within the state should be denied entry into the ‘land of the brave and the free,’ ” writes Trojanow. “No more than a minor, individual case, to be sure: but it’s indicative of the consequences of a disastrous development and it reveals the naivety of the attitude of many citizens who comfort themselves with the mantra, ‘But it’s got nothing to do with me’. That might still be the case – however, the net is tightening. For these citizens the secret services are still just a rumor, but in the not-so-distant future the knock on the door will be very real indeed.”
Gregory Barrett is a translator and musician living in Germany.
Israel will not recognize an Israeli nationality while it seeks to maintain Jewishness at all costs
Israel is almost certainly the only country that deceives the global community every time one of its citizens crosses an international border. It does so because the passports it issues contain a fiction.
When a border official opens an Israeli passport for inspection, he or she sees the passport holder’s nationality stated as “Israeli.” And yet inside Israel, no state official, government agency or court recognizes the existence of an “Israeli” national.
This month the highest court in the land, Israel’s Supreme Court, explicitly affirmed that it could not uphold an Israeli nationality. Instead, the judges ruled, citizenship and nationality in Israel should be considered entirely separate categories, as they have been since Israel’s founding in 1948. All Israelis have Israeli citizenship, but none enjoys Israeli nationality.
This fiction of Israeli nationality, contained in Israeli passports and presented to the international community, is not simply a piece of legal eccentricity on Israel’s part. It is the keystone of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state – and much depends on it.
From this simple deception, Israel has been able to gerrymander its population by excluding Palestinian refugees from their land and homes while allowing millions of Jews to immigrate. And the same deception has served to veil a system of segregation in legal rights – a form of apartheid – between Israeli Jews and the country’s Palestinian minority, who comprise a fifth of the total population.
The need to maintain the state’s Jewishness at all costs, meanwhile, is emerging as the chief obstacle erected by Israel to prevent a peace agreement with the Palestinians from being reached.
So how does this Israeli magician’s trick work? Perversely, nationality in Israel is based not on a shared civic identity, as it is in most places, but on one’s ethnic identity. That means for the overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens, their nationality falls into one of two categories – Jewish or Arab. That is why Israel must lie on its passports: no border official would allow in a person bearing a passport that declared simply that they were “Arab” or “Jewish.”
The peculiarity of this classification system is further underlined by its anomalies. What does Israel do with the small number of non-Jews who marry an Israeli and then choose to naturalize? The answer is that the state can select from more than 130 nationalities. ‘Misfits’– those who are neither Jewish nor Arab – are typically assigned the nationality they held before they naturalized, such as French, British, American, Georgian, Ukrainian, and so on.
A great deal is at stake in this arcane system, which is why since 1948 the Israeli Supreme Court has on three separate occasions ruled against groups of Israeli citizens who have demanded the right to be identified as Israeli nationals.
This month, faced with a petition from a group called “I am Israeli,” the judges argued that recognizing such a nationality would threaten the state’s foundational principles. In the words of Justice Hanan Melcer, uniting Israeli citizenship and nationality would run “against both the Jewish nature and the democratic nature of the state.”
Anita Shapira, a professor emeritus of Jewish history at Tel Aviv University, concurred, saying that the petitioners were making a “revolutionary” demand.
However, Aeyal Gross, a Tel Aviv law professor, took a different view. The ruling, he wrote in the Haaretz newspaper, “will continue to obscure the possibility of having real democracy in Israel.”
So why the court’s aversion to an Israeli nationality? A clue is provided by the concept of citizenship in Israel. Another uncomfortable fact is that Israel has not one, but two citizenship laws: the famous Law of Return of 1950 gives every Jew in the world the right to come to Israel and instantly receive citizenship; the much less known Citizenship Law, passed two years later, confers citizenship, in very restricted circumstances, to non-Jews.
The primary purpose of the 1952 Citizenship Law was to give citizenship, belatedly and reluctantly, to the small proportion of Palestinians who managed to remain inside Israel in 1948 and their descendants. Today they are a substantial minority, and a growing one.
But as Israel has no immigration policy beyond the Law of Return, which applies only to worldwide Jewry, the 1952 law is also the only route by which a non-Jew can naturalize. In practice, that applies only to the tiny number of individuals who marry Israeli citizens each year and are prepared to enter a lengthy and usually antagonistic naturalization process. An additional law prevents most Palestinians outside Israel as well as Arab nationals from naturalizing, even following marriage to an Israeli.
The purpose of all this legal chicanery is to maintain Israel’s existence as a “Jewish state” – meaning the state of the Jewish people. It is, in other words, designed to perpetuate a system that has two main goals: ensuring a commanding Jewish majority inside Israel; and enforcing segregation in citizenship and legal rights based on ethnic belonging.
This segregation is possible because Israel, in addition to recognizing only ethnic nationalities, confers national rights on one national group alone – Jews. From that legal distinction flows much of the structural discrimination in Israel: Palestinians who try to claim equality, even in the courts, face a legal system in which their civic rights, as citizens, are always trumped by the exclusive, and superior, national rights enjoyed by the Jewish population.
Were the government or courts to decide that an Israeli nationality existed, all of that would come to an end. Recognition of an Israeli nationality, as government officials and the courts understand only too well, would entail equality between citizens – or a “state of all Israeli citizens,” a liberal democracy, as Israel’s Palestinian minority have been demanding at the ballot box for nearly two decades.
The reality is that a Jewish state requires structural segregation: in allocation of land, 93 per cent of which has been nationalized for the Jewish people, and resources like water; in residency, with Jews and Palestinian citizens living almost entirely apart; in education, where Jews and Palestinian citizens have separate and unequal schools; in employment, where vast swathes of the economy are defined as security-related, including the water, construction and telecommunications industries, and therefore open only to Jews.
But additionally and equally problematic, a Jewish state also privileges Jews who are not citizens, those living in Brooklyn or London, over Palestinians who actually hold citizenship. It does so through the bifurcation of citizenship and nationality.
Because from Israel’s point of view they are included in its definition of a Jewish national, Jews anywhere in the world – even those who have never stepped foot in Israel – can buy property from the state in much of the 93 per cent of territory that was nationalized, and much of it seized from Palestinian refugees. Palestinian citizens, on the other hand, are mostly restricted to living on the 3 per cent of the land they have so far kept out of the state’s grasp.
In short, Israel conceives of itself as not chiefly representing Israeli citizens, nor even of representing Israeli Jewish citizens but as representing Jews all around the world – those who have citizenship as well as those who have yet to take advantage of it by immigrating under the Law of Return.
What does this have to do with the peace process? As international pressure has mounted on Israel in the past few years to concede a Palestinian state, Israel has raised a new precondition for successful talks: the Palestinian leadership must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Most observers have assumed that this relates to Israel’s desperate need to prevent millions of Palestinian refugees claiming a right of return. They are partly right, but for the wrong reasons.
The future of the refugees has long been part of the final-status issues to be decided in talks. Even most Palestinians doubt that the Palestinian National Authority will insist on more than a symbolic return of a few, mainly elderly, refugees to Israel. So raising this again, in terms of recognizing Israel’s Jewishness, is largely redundant.
Israel’s logic is slightly different. Israel needs the Palestinian leadership’s acceptance of its Jewishness as a way to subvert any future claims for equality from Israel’s Palestinian minority. Were the Palestinian minority able to gain equal citizenship – by ending Israel’s strange conception of nationality – then they could make demands to reverse the perverse realities entailed by Israel’s definition as a Jewish state.
Foremost would be the demand to end the special immigration privileges enjoyed by Jews. The Palestinian minority would insist on an equal immigration law, giving their exiled relatives the same rights to become Israeli citizens as Jews around the world currently enjoy. And that would mean a right of return by other means.
So in shutting the door on an Israeli nationality this month, Israel’s Supreme Court also played another role: pushing the hopes of a peace agreement that bit further out of sight.
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel.
Rendition of Libyan Terror Suspect: What If Abu Anas al-Liby Had Nothing to Do With the Embassy Bombings?
A Libyan terror suspect kidnapped from Libya in a raid by US special forces on October 5 was transferred from the naval ship, where he was being detained and interrogated, into “law enforcement custody” over the weekend.
The Justice Department indicated in a press release that he was “brought directly to the Southern District of New York, where he has been under indictment for more than a decade.” He was expected to be brought before a judge on October 15.
Al-Liby is suspected of being involved in the bombings of US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
Last week, a chief federal public defender, David E. Patton, according to the Los Angeles Times, had pressed a federal judge to order that he be “brought to court immediately,” as he was aboard a ship being interrogated by the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, which is a special task force of personnel from the Pentagon, FBI, CIA and other agencies. He had not been read Miranda rights, which he and other terror suspects have a right to be read if they are being prosecuted under US law. But a federal judge would not issue such an order and would not appoint a defense lawyer to represent him either.
A more critical issue is that al-Liby, whose real name is Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, may not be the dangerous al Qaeda terrorist the United States government believes he happens to be.
American-British foreign correspondent Jamie Dettmer interviewed family members of al-Liby, who suggested just last month he had “talked with the Libyan attorney general and the head of intelligence to say he was keen to clear his name of the bombing accusations and was ready to face any Libyan judicial inquiry they deemed necessary. He was prepared for an American interrogation—in Libya. [Dettmer saw a copy of a letter from the attorney general's office dated September 15, 2013, that confirmed his father's discussions.]
Umm Abdul Rahman, al-Liby’s wife, explained to Dettmer that in the 1990s, at the same time as the bombings, they were living in Britain and “under tight surveillance, with their home being raided frequently and her husband’s computers seized.” Rahman was “sure that if British intelligence had any evidence, they would have acted and the British authorities would have agreed to an extradition request made by the Americans during their stint in the UK.” Al-Liby’s family essentially decided to flee Britain because the surveillance and harassment was no longer tolerable and were allowed to legally leave the country.
Although she admitted he had been affiliated with al Qaeda and was a member for a period, he left at some point in the mid-1990s to join the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which was formed by Islamic dissidents to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. She contended that allegations by the US government that he was now overseeing al Qaeda groups in North Africa were “untrue.” She showed Dettmer a copy of a document that showed he was trying to get back his job as a computer engineer for the Ministry of Oil. [Gaddafi convinced President George W. Bush's administration that LIFG members were jihadists and a number were victims of rendition, detention and torture. They were transferred to Libya where they were abused.]
Dettmer’s story suggests that the rendition of al-Liby deprived him of a key due process he should have had in Libya. Al-Liby was obviously ready to offer up any information on his past and evidence of crimes could have been passed on to the US government. Rather than allow this to take place, he was abducted.
If the US had requested that he be extradited to face charges for his alleged role in the embassy bombings, he could have challenged the allegations in a court in Libya. He could have argued that if he was tried in the US he would not receive a fair trial and, if convicted, he would likely be held in a supermax prison and subjected to conditions of solitary confinement that were cruel and inhuman. He could have also argued that he might be deprived other due process rights, like a right to a lawyer.
This is what makes rendition a violation of international human rights law. The abduction of a person is clearly intended to bypass a process that he should have been afforded because President Barack Obama’s administration was unwilling to wait for the Libyan government to extradite him.
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan, who was kidnapped and released by militants angry the US raid had occurred, has called the snatch and grab of al-Liby a “kidnapping.” But no clear proof exists yet that Zidan did not privately grant consent to US forces to conduct a raid and remove him from Libya.
Even if Zidan granted consent to the US government, that does not necessarily make it any more lawful. It would mean Zidan had agreed to deprive due process rights to al-Liby and allow him to be transported to a navy ship vessel, where he could not guarantee that al-Liby’s human rights would be protected.
Al-Liby may be suspected of bombing US embassies, and, if there is any evidence to support this serious allegation, he should have been able to defend himself in a court of law before being handed over to US custody.
As Jeremy Scahill has eloquently stated, “Our values are not defined by how we treat the rich and the powerful and the popular. It’s defined by how we treat the least of our people, how we treat the poorest. And it’s also how we treat the most reprehensible.”
Unfortunately for al-Liby, a process may have been set in motion that virtually guarantees he will be imprisoned for a lengthy period of time. He may not be responsible for the bombings but his past history with al Qaeda—even though Britain found no evidence of crimes—may discourage a judge from letting him return to Libya.
That the due process he will be given in the United States is likely to take place under a cloud of fear is why renditions of terrorist suspects should be opposed.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reported that Israeli violations against detained Palestinian children are still ongoing, despite an alleged Israeli decision to improve their conditions, and the methods of interrogation.
In a report published on Monday, the UNICEF said “violations are ongoing,” seven months after an initial report underlined widespread mistreatment of Palestinian teenagers arrested by Zionist forces in the occupied West Bank.
The UNICEF said that despite its earlier report violations against detained children are still ongoing, despite the 38 recommendations that outlined these violations and the manner to address them.
The international body cited 20 sample cases of abuse of youths in the West Bank in the second quarter of this year.
The UNICEF said that heavily armed soldiers would violently break into homes, before they force the children out of their beds, and take them to interrogation facilities, cuffed, blindfolded, and in a state of extreme fear.
It said that Israeli interrogators would question the children about allegations of throwing stones at soldiers and settlers, and that the interrogators would threaten the children with physical violence, death, in addition to sexual assault threats not only against the children, but also against a family member.
The US National Security Agency is collecting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts around the world, according to a new report.
Many of the contacts belong to American citizens, The Washington Post reports, citing senior intelligence officials and documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
According to the report, the super spy agency intercepts millions of email address books every day from private accounts on Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook, and Hotmail that move through global data links. The agency also collects a half million buddy lists from live chat services and email accounts.
It is the latest revelation of the NSA’s practices to be disclosed by Snowden, who lives in Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum. The leaker is wanted in the US for espionage charges.
NSA’s analysts of the collected data can search for hidden connections and map relationships within a much smaller universe of foreign intelligence targets, according to the report.
“The collection depends on secret arrangements with foreign telecommunications companies or allied intelligence services in control of facilities that direct traffic along the Internet’s main data routes,” it says.
Although the collection takes place overseas, the NSA sweeps in the contacts of many Americans too. The agency collects as many as 250 million contacts per year, many them US citizens.
The NSA’s collection of all US call records has already generated controversy in the country since the agency’s program was first revealed in June. NSA officials have defended bulk collection as an essential tool to counter terrorism.