Did a Rogue NSA Operation Cause the Death of a Greek Telecom Employee?

And according to a highly classified NSA document provided by Snowden and previously published by The Intercept, covertly recruiting employees in foreign telecom companies has long been one of the NSA’s deepest secrets. A program code-named “Sentry Owl,” for example, deals with “foreign commercial platform[s]” and “human asset[s] cooperating with the NSA/CSS [Central Security Service].” The document warns that information related to Sentry Owl must be classified at an unusually high level, known as ECI, or Exceptionally Controlled Information, well above top secret.

“Human intelligence guys can provide sometimes the needed physical access without which you just can’t do the signals intelligence activity,” Gen. Hayden, the NSA head at the time of the Athens bugging, who later ran the CIA, told me.

Basil’s ties to Greece made him very good at developing local agents. “He was the best recruiter the station had, the best,” said the former CIA associate in Athens. “[Basil] may have been in charge of recruiting the guy on the inside. He may have made the initial recruitment.”

With an agent in place inside the network, the next step would be to implant spyware capable of secretly transmitting the conversations of the NSA’s targets to the shadow phones where they could be resent to NSA computers. Developing such complex malware is the job of the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) organization.

via Did a Rogue NSA Operation Cause the Death of a Greek Telecom Employee?

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