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1 November 2013

NSA Claims Call Spying Reports Are False

Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2013 08:13:57 +0100
Subject: update
From: <xxxxx[at]>
To: Cryptome <cryptome[at]>

In a letter to Dutch Parliament of October 31st [0], the Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (Ronald Plasterk) disclosed the text of an unclassified letter he claims to have received from the NSA:

"statement on articles in European press alleging large numbers of phone call metadata collected by NSA in France, Spain, Italy

The assertions by reporters in France (Le Monde), Spain (El Mundo) and Italy (L’Espresso) that NSA collected 10s of millions of phone calls are completely false. They cite as evidence screen shots of the results of a web tool used for data management purposes, but both they and the person who stole the classified data did not understand what they were looking at. The web tool counts metadata records from around the world and displays the totals in several different formats. The sources of metadata include data legally collected by NSA under its various authorities, as well as metadata provided to NSA by foreign partners. To be perfectly clear, this is not information that we collected on European citizens. It represents information that we and our NATO allies have collected in defense of our countries and in support of military operations."

The Minister earlier stated [1] (you already link to it) that it would be "unacceptable" if the NSA would have obtained metadata on phone calls of Dutch citizens without first consulting the Dutch intelligence services. In fact, that would be *illegal*, as becomes clear from reading the Dutch Intelligence & Security Act [2].

Following [0], Dutch news website reports [3] that the Dutch Public Prosecution Service is currently not investigating this matter.

Whether or not the Dutch intelligence services (AIVD/MIVD) were consulted by the NSA and permitted (and/or actively helped) the NSA to obtain that data, remains unclear AFAIK. In other words: did the AIVD know that the NSA collects metadata on Dutch citizens' phone calls? Did the AIVD agree with that practice?

I cannot exclude the possibility that I overlooked some piece of information that already answers these questions; if that turns out to be the case II will send you updates and/or corrections.