Donate for the Cryptome archive of files from June 1996 to the present

13 June 2013

NSA Architecture of Oppression


2013-0649.pdf         Advanced Network Technology-Architecture         June 15, 2013
2013-0648.pdf         Technical Aspects of Electronic Surveillance     June 15, 2013
2013-0647.htm         Electronic Surveillance - 1997 Repost            June 15, 2013
2013-0643.htm         NSA-Affiliated IP Resources 15 - 2007 Repost     June 14, 2013
2013-0642.htm         NSA-Affiliated IP Resources 14 - 2007 Repost     June 14, 2013
2013-0636.pdf         Who Owns North American Internet - Text          June 13, 2013
2013-0635.pdf         Who Owns North American Internet - Map           June 13, 2013 (1.1MB)
2013-0634.htm         TeleHouse Europe US Equinix Hubs 2008 Repost     June 13, 2013
2013-0633.htm         NYC Telephone Switching Hubs 2002 Repost         June 13, 2013
2013-0632.htm         Trans-Atlantic Cable Landings 2002 Repost        June 13, 2013
2013-0631.htm         Trans-Pacific Cable Landings 2002 Repost         June 13, 2013

Edward Snowden's use of "architecture of oppression" to indicate NSA's global surveillance should not be seen as metaphorical but literally about the spying infrastructure through which NSA can directly access communications and data in technical if not legal disregard of lawful restrictions. He is not exaggerating about the technological architecture for accessing any telephone in the world, including Obama's.

It is likely the NSA PRISM slides and other documents Snowden holds about this technology and its supporting infrastructure which are being withheld from the public, along with the details of what telecommunications "metadata" can be used to reveal.

There have numerous descriptions of this infrastructure from David Kahn's The Codebreakers to New Zealander Nicky Hager's groundbreaking Echelon report, Echelon reports by British journalist Duncan Campbell and Canadian Mike Frost, to Appraisal of the Technologies of Political Control, to James Bamford's The Puzzle Palace, other books and essays on the NSA, to Mark Klein's revelation of ATT cooperation with NSA, and much more.

Using these sources, Cryptome, among others, has collected and published graphic material on the surveillance infrastructure, particularly maps and satellite photos of the joint governmental and commercial facilities. Deborah Natsios, of Cryptome, has created graphical essays of global surveillance. None of this is secret, but mostly overlooked, usually in favor of verbal and textual accounts which do not adequately convey the underlying "architecture of oppression" which Edward Snowden is proficient at operating.

Much of the underlying architecture is inadvertently, or deliberately, concealed by diverting verbal accounts, lack of direct access to facilities and inadequate skills at grasping and delineating physical infrastructure.

Snowden, and others, could provide keys and material to understand the architecture and those who operatte it without which global surveillance could not occur and cannot be understood.

In the Church Committee investigation of NSA in the 1970s, an NSA technician revealed "massive surveillance" that had been denied by senior NSA officials. Asked by the committee why the technician had not revealed this before, he answered, "nobody asked me."

The failure of intelligence oversight derives from not being briefed on, diverted by verbiage of deceit by senior officials, the details of the surveillance infrastructure. This deceit applies to the media, high office holders and chiefs and lawyers of corporations.

The devil is always in the details, in architecture as in spying concealed by facades.