Thursday, October 17, 2013

Report: NSA Plays Extensive Role in CIA Drone Wars DEMOCRACYNOW.ORG

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Washington Post has revealed how the National Security Agency works extensively with the CIA to gather information on potential drone victims as part of the Obama administration’s assassination program. The article, based on documents from Edward Snowden, describes the case of Hassan Ghul, a Pakistani man who provided key information that helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden. Documents show a secret NSA unit known as the Counter-Terrorism Mission Aligned Cell, or CT MAC, tracked Ghul for a year before an email from his wife was used to locate his household and kill him in a drone strike last October. The NSA deployed an "arsenal of cyber-espionage tools" to find Ghul, "secretly seizing control of laptops, siphoning audio files and other messages, and tracking radio transmissions to determine where Ghul might 'bed down.'" While officials say the NSA has senior analysts deployed alongside CIA counterparts at almost every major U.S. embassy or military base abroad, the article highlights the agency’s vast efforts in northwest Pakistan. One former official compared the NSA’s powers to the CIA’s high-tech Information Operations Center, saying, "if you wanted huge coverage of the [Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan], NSA had 10 times the manpower, 20 times the budget and 100 times the brainpower." The Washington Post said it was withholding "many details" about the missions "at the request of U.S. intelligence officials."