NSA caught spying on Al Jazeera, a CNN-like news network of the Arab world

al-jazeera

US National Security Agency (NSA) employees and the agency in general has been accused multiple times of misusing power, which makes it difficult to put trust in this system. But when more information begins to enter the public domain on these practices, you have to wonder, does the NSA not limit itself on what it should or should not do?

According to a report from Spiegel Online, the National Security Agency spied on Arab news broadcaster, Al Jazeera. Apparently, the NSA hacked directly into Al Jazeera’s internal communication systems, which is dubbed as a source of potentially high-level intelligence. Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor now on the run, provided the documents from where Spiegel Online got its information.

Furthermore, the report claims the NSA accessed and read communications from “interesting” targets that were protected by Al Jazeera (as they were news sources). However, despite gaining access to important files, the agency was in no way satisfied with the language analysis of Al Jazeera.

Will there be backlash regarding this in the United States? Probably not, seeing as everything seems to be OK as long as it is done to foreigners. And some may argue Al Jazeera is a legitimate target for the NSA, as it has a lot of sources in the Arab world that feed it news stories. However, the NSA getting caught spying on news broadcast houses in other countries could lead to some serious implications around the world if the agency is not careful.

The U.S. government must get this Spynet-like system under control before the whole thing gets out of hand. Or if this is what “under control” is then I hate to see what out of control is like. With great power comes great responsibility says Spiderman’s uncle — the NSA should have this quote placed on every door.

[via Spiegel Online, image via Studio Briefing]

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5 comments

  1. Coyote

    The real problem is that the NSA is run like a corporation, it has no real oversight or obligation to do what the US people tell them to. Much of our government is now privatized, meaning there are now individuals (executives) in charge instead of approved and/or elected officials. They answer to no one but their agendas and bottom lines.

    The people don’t know and don’t have access to anything they do. And even if they did there is no way to “impeach” a hired private worker. The best we could attempt is to sic the IRS and BBB on them for improper workplace practices. (note IANAL and could be all wrong and maybe our government is just to lazy to control their own watch dogs).

  2. Seamus McSeamus

    [@Machar] Yeah, at this point there is no real newsworthiness to these revelations. I just assume that the NSA is spying on everything and everyone. They didn’t build that huge data center in Utah so they could have LAN parties.

  3. Machar

    Surely no-one is surprised at this ‘revelation’? The only really surprising aspect of the whole NSA fiasco is that covert operations are surely supposed to be… covert, aren’t they? Instead, the NSA, and various other branches of US security, seem to be hopeless at doing anything in secret. Indeed, the US Navy were publicly proud of their authorship of the PlaceRaider malware on Android last year, and more recently it’s taken just one man – not even a full-time employee – to reveal the multitude of other ill-concealed naughtiness that the NSA and their chums been up to.

    I wonder if it’s because typical government employees aren’t quite good enough to get jobs in the private sector? The people running things at the NSA certainly seem to have run into The Peter Principle, i.e. they’ve been promoted to their own level of incompetence.