It Was Verizon, with the Fiber Cable, Under the Atlantic

Egads. Nate is right. The SZ report is old — from August. Folks were chatting about it, I think, in conjunction with the new attention on the 12333 collection overseas, which is why I pointed to it. Thanks for pointing it out.

Remember when former Verizon COO John Stratton accused the Internet companies of “grandstanding” for objecting to having their data stolen?

In a media briefing in Tokyo, Stratton, the former chief operating officer of Verizon Wireless, said the company is “compelled” to abide by the law in each country that it operates in, and accused companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo of playing up to their customers’ indignation at the information contained in the continuing Snowden leak saga.

Stratton said that he appreciated that “consumer-centric IT firms” such as Yahoo, Google, Microsoft needed to “grandstand a bit, and wave their arms and protest loudly so as not to offend the sensibility of their customers.”

“This is a more important issue than that which is generated in a press release. This is a matter of national security.”

Stratton said the larger issue that failed to be addressed in the actions of the companies is of keeping security and liberty in balance.

“There is another question that needs to be kept in the balance, which is a question of civil liberty and the rights of the individual citizen in the context of that broader set of protections that the government seeks to create in its society.”

Grandstand this, baby:

On Friday Germany’s Süddeutsche newspaper published the most highly sensitive aspect of this operation – the names of the commercial companies working secretly with GCHQ, and giving the agency access to their customers’ private communications. The paper said it had seen a copy of an internal GCHQ powerpoint presentation from 2009 discussing Tempora.

The document identified for the first time which telecoms companies are working with GCHQ’s “special source” team. It gives top secret codenames for each firm, with BT (“Remedy”), Verizon Business (“Dacron”), and Vodafone Cable (“Gerontic”). The other firms include Global Crossing (“Pinnage”), Level 3 (“Little”), Viatel (“Vitreous”) and Interoute (“Streetcar”). The companies refused to comment on any specifics relating to Tempora, but several noted they were obliged to comply with UK and EU law.

Not that we didn’t already know this. Mostly, I’m just surprised AT&T is not included in this list.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

12 replies
  1. der says:

    Lord Grantham: “Carson be sure to remind the footmen to be careful what they say around the young girls, women’s sensibilities are more delicate than our own.”

    We need manly men minding the castle, not some arm waving protesting pussy.

    – “…the rights of the individual citizen in the context of that broader set of protections that the government seeks to create in its society.”

    Those Founders of the Republic, such dreamers and from the minds of hunter gathering cave dwellers too. It’s like our fearless leaders woke up on 9/12 and – airplanes! terrorists! where did all these people come from? WMD’s!

    Led by fools. Manly fools.

  2. lysias says:

    At the time of 9/11, Verizon’s General Counsel (and Executive Vice President) was Bill Barr, Bush pere’s Attorney General and a former CIA operative. Needless to say, Verizon did not object to NSA’s warrantless eavesdropping the way Qwest did, in February 2001.

    A friend of mine once attended an interdepartmental meeting of the Bush I administration, at which Barr said, “Fuck international law!” when somebody said international law prohibited what they were planning to do.

  3. orionATL says:

    “…On Friday Germany’s Süddeutsche newspaper published the most highly sensitive aspect of this operation – the names of the commercial companies working secretly with GCHQ, and giving the agency access to their customers’ private communications…”

    over and over i’ve read this: “the most highly sensitive aspect” of nsa or gchq electronic spying.

    now why might that be?

    this deep concern by the spymasters with the “privacy” of their stool pidgeon telecorps is so very touching.

    it also screams, “if this gets out, we may not retain their willing help and will have to severely limit our spying.”

    i wonder if this is where feinstein’s weird bill is slyly wending?

    or do we need another amnesty bill?

  4. allan says:

    For giggles, read Verizon’s privacy policy, which is headlined (Verizon’s bold),
    Verizon is Committed to Protecting Your Privacy.
    Forunately, there’s also
    How to Limit the Sharing and Use of Your Information,
    although I don’t see any “Don’t share with NSA or GCHQ” button.

  5. Snoopdido says:

    This is off topic, but did the US Special Forces operation to take Latif Mehsud from Afghan intelligence earlier this month (via the New York Times – U.S. Disrupts Afghans’ Tack on Militants – lead to today’s drone strike that killed the leader of the Pakistan Taliban (via the New York Times – Stream of Reports Say Pakistani Taliban Leader Died in Drone Strike –

    From the New York Times latest piece:

    “The Americans tracking Mr. Mehsud were “nearly certain” of his location ahead of the strike, the American official said, and collected intelligence afterwards that led them to conclude he was dead.”

    Was that certainty obtained from the interrogation of the previously captured Latif Mehsud? I’ll bet it was.

  6. Nate says:

    Um. That Guardian story is datelined 2 August, so it’s three months old. I recall it being discussed extensively online, especially the telco names. Not that it’s not still relevant, but the way you’ve written that post suggests that this is a 2 November revelation, which it isn’t. What’s the particular angle that brings it to your attention today?

  7. scribe says:

    The one day I don’t read the Suddeutsche Zeitung (work committments) is the day they break a big story.

    Ain’t that the way.

  8. bloodypitchfork says:

    quote:”Mostly, I’m just surprised AT&T is not included in this list.”unquote

    My my my…you too? I haven’t seen AT&T mentioned one single time in conjunction with Snowden’s revelations. This is impossible. Someone is working overtime to keep AT&T out of the picture..entirely. It’s as if AT&T simply vanished off the face of the earth. Although, since AT&T is the only net provider in my area, and they just brought out and connected a brand new modem for me it appears they are alive and well. Vs their service.. which SUCKS. However, yesterday, every single political site that I have bookmarked, was blocked by AT&T by virtue of redirecting to an AT&T modem “Warning” page stating there was a problem with it. Funny I could click on any number of NON-political problem. I’ll be contacting them Monday.

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