Re: US' NSA monitors all e-mail, telephone and FAXes in Europe

Christopher Whipple (
Sat, 31 Jan 1998 18:56:07 -0500 (EST)

Have you ever seen the NSA building? Or how much fiber they have running
into it? I've heard that an excessive amount - which I thought would be
used to spy on Americans - not until now did I ever think that perhaps the
economic situation in Europe would warrant such attention by the NSA.
Maybe it should be called the ISA...


On Sat, 31 Jan 1998, Dan Clemmensen wrote:

> Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> [SNIP]
> > [quoting someone]
> > A draft ("consultation version") of a report by the European Parliament's
> > Office for Scientific and Technological Option Assessment (STOA) entitled
> > the EuroParl's Civil Liberties and Interior Committee. Several IT-relevant
> > excerpts are now available at John Young's widely respected crypto-politics
> > website: <<>
> >
> > "[...] Within Europe, all e-mail, telephone and fax communications are
> > routinely intercepted by the United States National Security Agency,
> > transferring all target information from the European mainland via the
> > strategic hub of London then by satellite to Fort Meade in Maryland via the
> > crucial hub at Menwith Hill in the North York Moors of the UK."
> >
> This causes my bullshit alarm to ring loudly.
> 1)The bandwidth of "all e-mail, telephone and fax communications" in Europe
> would be quite high--higher than any feasible satellite channel.
> 2) Where are the signals intercepted by NSA? nearly all are land-line
> only, with no radio component, so physical taps would be necessary. This would
> certainly require colusion of the European PTTs, which are mostly run by
> European governments. Why would they permit NSA to do this?
> 3) With serious compression, a phone call can be squeezed to an average of
> perhaps 500bytes/sec. There are probably an average of at least one million
> simulatneous phone calls in europe at any time. This is 500 megabytes (4 gigabits)
> per second, requiring 43.2 terabytes of storage per day. the compression would
> require roughly one million very competent DSPs. automatic keyword recognition
> equipment would require at least an additional 2 miooion DSPs.
> I might believe that NSA attempts to intercept as much military microwave voice
> as they possibly can in Russia, and that they used to do a lot more of that in
> eastern Europe, but modern commercial landlines are a different story entirely.