NSA partnering with Saudi regime ‒ Snowden leak

The Saudi interior ministry building in Riyadh (AFP Photo/Bilal Qabalan)

The Saudi interior ministry building in Riyadh (AFP Photo/Bilal Qabalan)

The National Security Agency has increasingly been working hand-in-glove with the repressive Saudi Arabian government since 2013, sharing intelligence and assisting with surveillance, according to the latest Snowden leak.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden sent a top secret memorandum to The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald that describes the secretive US agency’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. The NSA primarily works with the Saudi Ministry of Interior (MOI) and Ministry of Defense (MOD).

After the first Gulf War in 1991, the document says, the NSA had “a very limited [signals intelligence (SIGINT)] relationship” with the Saudi government, but is now “experiencing a period of rejuvenation.” The increased cooperation came after Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper approved an expansion of the SIGINT relationship in December 2012.

Even before that authorization, however, the NSA was collaborating with the Saudi Defense Ministry on a “sensitive access initiative” that began in 2011, and focused on “internal security and terrorist activity on the Arabian Peninsula.” It was conducted “under the auspices of CIA’s relationship with the MOI’s Mabahith (General Directorate for Investigations, equivalent to FBI).”

Now the NSA offers “technical advice on SIGINT topics such as data …read more

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