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Did We Spy on the Pope? US Feels the Heat on NSA
Did We Spy on the Pope? US Feels the Heat on NSA

By Seth Fitzgerald
October 31, 2013 11:02AM

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Former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden released new documents this week detailing how the NSA and its British counterpart spied on the users of Google, Facebook and Yahoo by tapping the fiber optic lines leading to their servers. By tapping those lines, the NSA was able to copy e-mail and other user data from the services.
 



Things continue to get worse for the U.S. as new National Security Agency documents and policies come to light as a result of Edward Snowden's decision to go against the U.S. and release classified information he had access to while working for the NSA as a contract employee.

In the past week, the U.S. has had to deny claims that the NSA spied on the Vatican and also had to find ways to minimize its spying on more than 30 countries and their leaders. Officials in Germany, Italy, France, Brazil and others have all registered protests in response to the revelations that the NSA was spying on them.

Spying on the Pope?

Although spying between countries is no surprise, it is not normally talked about, which is why the NSA's spying activities becoming a topic of conversation is such a big issue for the U.S. While countries frequently spy on each other, new reports suggesting that the NSA spied on the Vatican are quite unusual and the agency is denying them.

Calls to and from the Vatican were allegedly tapped between Dec. 10, 2012, and Jan. 8, 2013. These calls were divided into four groups, leadership intentions, threats to the financial system, foreign policy objectives and human rights.

It is assumed that the information came from Snowden but the magazine that first published the accusation did not cite sources.

While a cardinal from Argentina voiced his concerns regarding the report and feared that the NSA may have tapped the phone lines until Pope Francis' election, Vatican officials have been quiet.

"The National Security Agency does not target the Vatican," said an NSA spokesperson. "Assertions that NSA has targeted the Vatican, published in Italy's Panorama magazine, are not true."

Social Networks and Search Engines

Snowden released new documents this week detailing how the NSA and its British counterpart spied on the users of Google, Facebook, and Yahoo by tapping the fiber optic lines leading to their servers. By tapping those lines, the NSA was able to copy e-mail and other user data from the services.

Yahoo has yet to come out with a detailed response but it has denied having any knowledge of the NSA tapping fiber lines. Facebook has been strongly against spying after it was named as one of the many companies cooperating with the NSA in its PRISM program.

Google's legal team came out in full force to respond to these most recent reports, and did so in a way that suggests the reports are accurate.

"We have long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping, which is why we have continued to extend encryption across more and more Google services and links," said Google's David Drummond in a statement. "We do not provide any government, including the U.S. government, with access to our systems. We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform."
 

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Marcus Quintilian:

Posted: 2013-10-31 @ 11:31am PT
All my emails are crap anyway. The Canadian novelist Robertson Davies wrote a novel which included a scientist who was interested in examining human waste products to learn more about people.



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