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FC: Former spy divulges ECHELON details, from Danish new

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 09:57:20 -0500 To: From: Declan McCullagh <> Subject: FC: Former spy divulges ECHELON details, from Danish news articles Send reply to:


>Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 14:36:03 +0100 (CET)
>From: Bo Elkjaer <>
>A couple of months ago I promised that I would have some articles
>translated that I and my colleague Kenan Seeberg has written since
>june about the Echelon network, the UKUSA pact and danish
>participation herein as third party-member of the pact. We have
>written approx. 50 articles (Something like that, anyway), and have
>been very busy, so translation has been moving at a crawl. Anyway,
>things should start to shape up, so the first articles should be
>online within the next few weeks. We plan to put up the whole show on
>our papers website soon. Pictures, interviews, documents etc. Most of
>it will remain in danish though.
>Meanwhile, the danish parliament discussed Echelon SIGINT and
>surveillance two weeks ago. They all agreed that danish citizens
>communications are intercepted on a regular basis - but they also
>agreed that they would _not_ start any examinations of the
>interceptions. For fear of disturbing our allies, it seems.
>Copies of the debate are available online - in danish - at the
>parliaments own website I will pick out links and
>post them later. 
>On a side note the parliament agreed that strong free crypto is the
>only means of protection against these kinds of interception. There
>will be a hearing in Copenhagen about how strong unregulated
>encryption should be made available to the danish people.
>No need to be too optimistic though, as there are opposing trends
>within government on the subject of unreguleated unbreakable
>I will post all translated articles here, as I get them. They will be
>long. Please bear with any inconveniences.
>Bo Elkjaer, Denmark
>Ekstra Bladet meets former Echelon spy. In spite of illness and
>angst, she now reveals how illegal political surveillance was carried
>by Bo Elkjær and Kenan Seeberg. Photos: Martin Lepee
>LAS VEGAS (Ekstra Bladet): “Even though I felt bad about what we were
>doing, I was very pleased with the professional part of my job. I
>don’t mean to brag, but I was very good at what I did, and I actually
>felt like Echelon was my baby.” 	Ekstra Bladet meets Margaret Newsham
>in her home in a sleepy Las Vegas suburb. For obvious reasons we are
>omitting the name of the town where Margaret Newsham is trying to
>lead a normal life. She has never mentioned her past to her
>neighbors. 	A past in which Margaret Newsham has been in close
>contact with the very core of the most secretive world of all worlds.
>	Margaret Newsham helped build the electronic surveillance system
>known as Echelon. 	Today she has broken off connection with the world
>of espionage and lives in constant fear that ‘certain elements’ in
>the NSA or CIA will try to silence her. As a result, she sleeps with
>a loaded pistol under her mattress, and her best friend is Mr.
>Gunther - a 120-pound German shepherd that was trained to be a guard
>and attack dog by a good friend in the Nevada State Police. 	She sent
>the dog to a ‘babysitter’ before we arrived, since “he doesn’t let
>strangers come in to my house,” she says with a faint smile. 	Only
>once before has Newsham told anybody about her work as an Echelon
>spy: during closed, top-secret hearings held by the US Congress in
>1988. Today, Margaret breaks eleven years of silence by telling the
>press for the very first time about her work for the most extensive
>espionage network in the world. Margaret Newsham decided to talk with
>Ekstra Bladet even though her doctor advised her not to meet with us.
>“Since I have high blood pressure, my doctor thinks it’s risky for me
>to talk with you, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.”
>	Newsham has gone through hell ever since she was fired from her job
>at Lockheed Martin where she designed programs for Echelon’s global
>surveillance network. When asked to work on a project in 1984, she
>refused because she believed it could harm the US government.
>	Shortly after, Echelon’s wirepullers in the National Security Agency
>(NSA) made sure that she was fired by Lockheed Martin. Immediately
>afterward, she sued her former employer for wrongful dismissal and
>contacted the internal security commission, DCAA, which arranged the
>closed hearings. 	“Ever since, I have felt like I was under so much
>pressure that it has had a fatal influence on my health,” says
>Margaret Newsham, who up to now has survived a seizure which left her
>totally paralyzed. All she had left was her sense of hearing when she
>was admitted to the hospital. 	“I could hear the doctor pronouncing
>my death sentence, while my husband and three children stood by my
>side. The only thing that kept me going was the thought that if I
>died, I would lose my case. That thought was what brought me back to
>life.” 	After regaining her mobility, Newsham suffered a cardiac
>arrest, and two years ago she underwent surgery for a malignant
>tumor. Today, she dryly states that she is living on borrowed time,
>which perhaps explains why she chooses to stand forward at this time.
>	“To me, there are only two issues at stake here: right or wrong. And
>the longer I worked on the clandestine surveillance projects, the
>more I could see that they were not only illegal, but also
>unconstitutional.” 	Margaret Newsham is not pleased with herself for
>participating in spying on ordinary people, politicians, interest
>groups and private companies, which is exactly what she did for 10
>years, from 1974 to 1984. 	Both the satellites and the computer
>programs were developed at Lockheed’s headquarters in Sunnyvale
>California, and in 1977, she was stationed at the largest listening
>post in the world at Menwith Hill, England. 	“On the day at Menwith
>Hill when I realized in earnest how utterly wrong it was, I was
>sitting with one of the many “translators”. He was an expert in
>languages like Russian, Chinese and Japanese. Suddenly he asked me if
>I wanted to listen in on a conversation taking place in the US at an
>office in the US Senate Building. Then I clearly heard a southern
>American dialect I thought I had heard before.” 	“Who is that?” I
>asked the translator who told me that it was Republican senator Strom
>Thurmond. ‘Oh my gosh!’ I thought. We’re not only spying on other
>countries, but also on our own citizens. That’s when I realized in
>earnest that what we were doing had nothing to do with national
>security interests of the US.”
>In all its complicated simplicity, the American intelligence agency,
>NSA, together with intelligence agencies in England, Canada,
>Australia and New Zealand, has established a system of satellites and
>computer systems that can monitor by and large all electronic
>communication in the world: phone conversations, e-mails, telexes and
>telefaxes. A number of other countries are affiliated as third or
>fourth party participants, including Denmark. 	The fundamental
>concept of the system is to get access to all important political
>movements in hostile and allied countries alike and to keep an eye on
>all important economic movements. Knowledge is power, and the NSA
>knows it. Furthermore, NSA’s spies function as the only primary
>authority to supervise who receives what information and what it is
>used for. “Even then, Echelon was very big and sophisticated. As
>early as 1979 we could track a specific person and zoom in on his
>phone conversation while he was communicating. Since our satellites
>could in 1984 film a postage stamp lying on the ground, it is almost
>impossible to imagine how all-encompassing the system must be today.”
>	Who came up with the name Echelon?
>	“The NSA. Lockheed Martin’s alphanumeric code was P415.
>	What did you actually do?
>	“Unfortunately, I can’t tell you all my duties. I am still bound by
>professional secrecy, and I would hate to go to prison or get
>involved in any trouble, if you know what I mean. In general, I can
>tell you that I was responsible for compiling the various systems and
>programs, configuring the whole thing and making it operational on
>main frames [large computers, ed.].” 	Which part of the system is
>named Echelon? 	“The computer network itself. The software programs
>are known as SILKWORTH and SIRE, and one of the most important
>surveillance satellites is named VORTEX. It intercepts things like
>phone conversations.”
>	You worked as an agent for the NSA, but were employed by a private
>company? 	“Yes, it is almost impossible to tell the difference
>between NSA agents and civilians employed by Lockheed Martin, Ford
>and IBM. The borderlines are very vague. I had one of the highest
>security classifications which required the approval of the CIA, the
>NSA, the Navy and the Air Force. The approval included both a lie
>detector test, and an expanded personal history test in which my
>family and acquaintances were discretely checked by the security
>agency.” 	The sky darkens over the cascading neon lights of Las Vegas
>when Margaret Newsham tells of countless infringements of security
>regulations and about her colleague who suffered brain damage when
>she partipated in the development of the Stealth bomber. Though
>Margaret Newsham is totally exhausted, she also seems relieved.
>	“This is the first time I have ever told anyone some of the things I
>told you today. But now I want to get Mr. Gunther soon so I feel safe
>again. She measures her blood pressure and looks very alarmed. 	“I
>had better go to the doctor tomorrow morning, so maybe we should meet
>later on in the day.” 	When she returns with Mr. Gunther an hour
>later, the dog inspects every room before Margaret goes in. The last
>thing she does before falling asleep on her king size bed is to check
>her pistol to make sure it is still loaded. 
>Lockheed Martin is the largest supplier of munitions to the US
>military services and to their intelligence agencies, the NSA and the
>CIA. 	During the eighties, Lockheed Martin took over LORAL Space
>Systems and Ford Aerospace which also deliver monitoring equipment to
>the espionage agencies. Margaret Newsham worked for the NSA through
>her employment at Ford and Lockheed from 1974 to 1984. In 1977 and
>1978, Newsham was stationed at the largest listening post in the
>world at Menwith Hill, England. She received on-the-job training at
>NSA headquarters at Fort George Meade in Maryland, USA. 	Ekstra
>Bladet has Margaret Newsham’s stationing orders from the US
>Department of Defense. She possessed the high security classification
>TOP SECRET CRYPTO. 	According to information found by Ekstra Bladet
>in the Pentagon’s databases, the NSA had 38,613 employees in 1995.
>This figure does not include the many employees at private companies
>who work for the NSA. 	Ekstra Bladet has documented the existence of
>Echelon in a long series of articles over the last months. 	Denmark
>is affiliated with the Echelon network as a third party, and the most
>important Danish listening post is located at Aflandshage on the
>island of Amager.
>Copyright 1999 - Ekstra Bladet - Denmark 
>>>Bevar naturen: Sylt et egern.<<
>>>PGP-encrypted mail welcomed and preferred.<<

>Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 14:39:10 +0100 (CET)
>From: Bo Elkjaer <>
>Part II of interview w. Margaret Newsham
>"Denmark's ministers can believe whatever they want to. I know
>Echelon exists, because I helped make the system." For the second day
>running, former Echelon spy Margaret Newsham tells about the 'Black
>World' of espionage - and the fatal consequences it is had on her
>life. Half of her espionage colleagues are dead today. "The
>surveillance was incredibly target-oriented. We were capable of
>singling out an individual or organization and monitoring all
>electronic communication - real time - and all the time. The person
>was monitored without ever having a chance to discover it, and most
>of the information was sent with lightening speed to another station
>using the enormous digital capacity at our command. Everything took
>place without a search warrant." Was all the information forwarded to
>NSA headquarters at Fort George Meade in Maryland? "Not all of it,
>but quite a lot." Does the system use programs that are capable of
>virtually scouring the airwaves based on certain categories and
>trigger words? "That's one of the ways it functions, yes. It's like
>an Internet search engine. By restricting your search to specific
>numbers, persons or terms, you get results that are all related to
>whatever you enter.
>Ekstra Bladet meets the former surveillance spy, Margaret Newsham, in
>her home just outside Las Vegas. By talking to Ekstra Bladet, she
>chooses to break her silence and tell us as much as she considers to
>be reasonably safe. Because Newsham is still subject to the omertà of
>the intelligence services. According to this stringent code of
>silence, she is not allowed to reveal anything about her espionage
>activities for the NSA. "But it is hard for me to live with the fact
>that I sold my life and my freedom of speech to the largest
>intelligence service of the US government." On the whole, it is
>difficult for Margaret Newsham to lead a normal life, even though she
>wants to do that most of all. In 1984, she was dismissed by Lockheed
>Martin, which built espionage equipment for NSA. Ultimately, she
>refused to work on a project which she felt was a security risk. She
>was 'terminated' as they called it - and she sued them for wrongful
>"I experienced security breaches almost every day both at Lockheed's
>headquarters in Sunnyvale, California and at Menwith Hill, England.
>Sometimes it was utterly absurd. At a barbecue party held by
>colleagues from the department responsible for developing the
>'invisible' Stealth bomber, the barbecue kettle was made of the same
>material that made the bomber invisible to hostile radar systems.
>Another time, somebody had coffee mugs made and all of them were
>covered with prints of highly classified Echelon stations. But they
>were also involved in actual swindling. Lockheed Martin undercut
>other companies to get NSA project contracts, after which they
>illegally transferred money and manpower to meet the contract. Since
>they could swindle others for hundreds of millions of dollars, they
>were capable of anything. That made them very deceitful, and in my
>eyes, they jeopardized the security of the United States Government."
>Was the US Government informed about the clandestine projects? "No.
>That's why we called them 'Black Programs". The government didn't
>really know what was happening or what the many billions were
>actually being used for. And I felt very loyal both to the government
>and to the American Constitution, which was constantly being
>infringed. The world of espionage was also called 'The Black World'
>because most of the operations were carried out in secrecy, beyond
>any control." Since her dismissal, Margaret Newsham has been under
>heavy pressure, because her case against Lockheed Martin could mean
>that an open court case would shed light on the NSA's 'black
>projects'. Among other things, the case deals with swindling for more
>than 10 billion DKK (ca. 1.4 billion USD), and for the time being,
>her lawyer has provided her with legal assistance that is the
>equivalent of 140 million DKK (ca. 20 million USD).
>The case has had a fatal effect on her health. Since '84 she has had
>a seizure that left her totally paralyzed, survived a cardiac arrest,
>and on top of everything else is suffering from cancer. Today, she
>lives on borrowed time and suffers from high blood pressure. "It
>didn't help any when my husband asked for a divorce after I had
>survived my cardiac arrest. He is chief of security at Lockheed
>Martin and has also been under a lot of pressure. He was grossly
>harassed because of his affiliation with me," Newsham says. She lives
>alone now and has struggled to maintain contact with her three
>children and six grandchildren. Today, she lives in a quiet Las Vegas
>suburb. Not even her neighbors know about her past. "NSA's activities
>have not only affected me, but also my former espionage colleagues at
>Lockheed. Nearly half of the people I worked with on clandestine
>projects are either dead or mortally ill today. For example, my
>former boss on the Echelon project, Robert Looper, died prematurely
>of heart failure, and Kay Nickerson, who worked on developing the
>Stealth bomber, died of brain damage." But how could half of your
>former colleagues die prematurely? "I don't know how to explain it,
>but at one point we discovered that Lockheed's headquarters in
>Sunnyvale are built on top of a highly radioactive dumping ground."
>What did they die of? "Heart failure, cancer, inexplicable seizures
>and brain damage. Even I am going to die of cancer before my time.
>But I have my lawyers, my doctor and my children and grandchildren to
>support me. They are the people I am fond of." What gives you the
>courage to continue? "The fact that the NSA, CIA and NRO (National
>Reconnaissance Organization) are carrying on illegal espionage
>against the rest of the world. They say they are doing it to catch
>drug criminals, gunrunners and the like. But that doesn't give them
>the right to do what they're doing. They are constantly breaking the
>In Denmark, leading politicians and ministers deny any knowledge of
>Echelon beyond what they read in the newspapers. "Now they can read
>about me then. I am living proof of Echelon's existence. I configured
>and ran a lot of Echelon's programs." Margaret Newsham shows us the
>order that stationed her at Menwith Hill, the specifications for some
>Echelon programs and other internal documents. We found discarded
>computer remnants at the Aflandshage Listening Post in Denmark
>designated "VAX RED". Does that mean anything to you? "Yes, as a
>matter of fact it means two things. You see, I worked on VAX
>computers myself, and they were used on the Echelon project. "The
>color RED probably refers to the classification level. Because the
>security system is based on the fact that only very few people have
>an overall picture of everything that goes on. Therefore, some
>employees have red tags, some purple, some blue and so on. That means
>that they are only allowed to work with certain parts of the
>projects, i.e. the ones that are classified under the same color. As
>a result, very few employees have a complete picture of what is
>really going on. Since my tag had all the colors, I had a good
>overview. I was also the one who made the back-up files." 
>Can you understand how some people find it hard to believe that a
>system like this really exists? "Yes, but it is real. We are spying
>on our own citizens and the rest of the world - even our European
>allies. If I say 'Amnesty' or 'Margaret Newsham', it is intercepted,
>analyzed, coordinated, forwarded and registered - if it is of
>interest to the intelligence agencies. I spoke with a radiologist
>recently, who had done exactly the same thing I had, only ten years
>later, in 1991, under 'Operation Desert Storm'. If only I could tell
>you everything, then you would understand that Echelon is so big,
>it's immensity almost defies comprehension." Margaret Newsham does
>not regret that she has been a pariah in the US intelligence
>community since her break with the NSA in 1984. A break that cost her
>her husband, her job and her health. Is there anything you would you
>have done differently? "Not for a second. It is important for the
>truth to come out. I don't believe we should put up with being
>controlled by 'Big Brother' in the future. But we put up with it
>For ten years, Newsham worked for the US munitions and computer firms
>Signal Science, Ford Aerospace and Lockheed Martin. They had
>contracts for the development and upgrading of Echelon satellites and
>computers which the companies designed for the intelligence agency
>NSA. The NSA cooperates closely with the CIA and NRO (National
>Reconnaissance Organization). For two years, Newsham shared the
>responsibility for the day-to-day functioning of Echelon's computer
>network at Menwith Hill, England. In classified documents, which are
>in the possession of Ekstra Bladet, Menwith Hill is referred to as
>'the largest station in the service'. Denmark participates on a
>third-party basis in UKUSA, an electronic surveillance agreement.
>>>Bevar naturen: Sylt et egern.<<
>>>PGP-encrypted mail welcomed and preferred.<<

>Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 14:47:41 +0100 (CET)
>From: Bo Elkjaer <>
>Subject: MINISTER ADMITS: Denmark participates in global surveillance
>Printed sept. 27. 99:
>"Denmark participates in a global surveillance system," admitted the
>Minister for the Defense Hans Hækkerup under heavy pressure. As one
>of the first governments in the clandestine Western intelligence
>cooperation, Hækkerup acknowledged during a joint council in the
>Danish Parliament's Europe Committee last Friday that the FE
>(Intelligence Agency of the Danish Armed Forces) participates in the
>interception of electronic communication. Does this occur in
>cooperation with the NSA, which manages the so-called Echelon? "I
>can't confirm that, but I can tell you that the FE has been
>intercepting signals ever since the Second World War - and we're
>still doing it." Can you confirm that this takes place at Aflandshage
>on the island of Amager? "Yes, it does, and the facilities out there
>have been continuously expanded over the years. We both collect and
>process information from satellites. " Is this cooperation in
>compliance with the law? "Yes, it is." The Minister for Defense was
>summoned to a joint council by parliament member Keld Albrechtsen who
>was quite astonished by the Minister's admissions. Up to now, the
>ministries of Defense, Justice and Research have actually denied any
>knowledge of the controversial global surveillance systems. The
>Minister stated that such satellite systems exist and that Denmark is
>included in them, but that this system is not called Echelon. He also
>stated that we have the capacity to collect and exchange information
>with the intelligence agencies of other countries. Do you have any
>guarantee that Danish citizens are not being illegally monitored and
>registered? "No, unfortunately." He evaded the question of whether
>the law is obeyed in regards to the cooperation with the secret
>services of other countries. So this system provides no guarantee for
>the security of life and property for the ordinary citizen. He also
>to refused to go into detail on the question of whether the
>operations occur in cooperation with other countries. Another
>parliament member of the Europe Committee, Knud Erik Hansen, asked at
>the meeting if the facilities also spied on the commercial
>satellites, i.e. the ones that transmit signals like telephone
>conversations. He unfortunately evaded that question, too, but now
>the Minister for Justice must be brought to order so he can assure us
>that both private and commercial communication is not being monitored
>>>Bevar naturen: Sylt et egern.<<
>>>PGP-encrypted mail welcomed and preferred.<<

>Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 14:42:30 +0100 (CET)
>From: Bo Elkjaer <>
>Subject: THEY SPY ON ORDINARY PEOPLE - Sigint/Surveillance/Denmark
>Interview w. Duncan Campbell
>"They spy on companies and interest groups," says Duncan Campbell,
>who has looked at the listening post at Aflandshage near Copenhagen
>in Denmark. "The facilities at Aflandshage are hardly distinguishable
>from the Echelon installation in New Zealand." Physicist and
>technology expert Duncan Campbell has no doubt. Denmark is involved
>in illegal surveillance together with the other primary participants
>in the so-called Echelon system, the US, England, Australia, Canada,
>Hong Kong and New Zealand. "My best guess is that the facilities at
>Aflandshage were additionally expanded shortly after the end of the
>Cold War. In 1990 or perhaps a little later." What does that mean?
>"Well it means that Aflandshage is in any case not part of NATO's
>defense against Russia and the other East Bloc countries like it was
>before. Everything indicates that the large parabolic antennas and
>accompanying buildings are used in the same way as the facilities in
>the other countries: to intercept communication from commercial
>satellites that transmit the phone and fax conversations of ordinary
>people. And to forward the intercepted information."
>In addition to his physics degree, Duncan Campbell is also a
>journalist and has closely cooperated with a group of British women
>who are protesting against the largest listening station in the
>Echelon system. It is located in a beautiful area on Menwith Hill
>near Birmingham, England. With the help of cunning tricks, the women
>have sneaked into the base more than a hundred times and removed
>thousands of classified documents from the secretive base. With the
>help of these papers, and from information from anonymous agents,
>Campbell has acquired a unique knowledge which last year resulted in
>an extensive report on the global surveillance, ordered by the
>European Parliament. "The problem is that most democratic countries
>have laws that protect the sanctity of private life and do not allow
>the lawful political activities of their citizens to be monitored and
>registered. In order to monitor someone, you must have grounds for
>suspicion and be authorized to do so by a judge. Echelon is a total
>breach of these principles. A great number of categories are coded
>into the system, and under each category there are even more code
>words. Many of the words are used in normal daily conversation. Not
>only the rights of ordinary people are infringed; Echelon also
>monitors interest groups like Amnesty International, Greenpeace and
>private companies. Several examples of industrial espionage exist in
>which the US intelligence service has passed on information to US
>companies that was intercepted from satellites. 
>How can you be so sure that this is possible?
>I have seen the footage taken inside the systems while they were in
>operation. Both from Menwith Hill, England and Waihopa, New Zealand.
>TV-Free from New Zealand succeeded in filming in the Waihopa base,
>and the operations room was almost completely devoid of staff. The
>process is totally automated and operates at lightening speed. In
>addition, I also made a documentary for which we set up a tiny
>parabolic antenna beside the base on Menwith Hill. The information it
>intercepted was unbelievable after we positioned it to listen in on
>the same satellite at which the large parabolic antennas in the base
>are aimed." Isn't it reasonable that the system has the capability to
>monitor terrorists and the like? "Sure it is. But there is all the
>difference in the world between conventional surveillance and
>monitoring and this system in which the law is consistently and
>constantly being broken by the very people who should be making sure
>that others obey the law. They are purely and simply exchanging
>information which is illegal for the local intelligence agencies in
>the individual countries to collect." Is it still called Echelon?
>"The code name Echelon is only part of the entire system, and
>everything seems to indicate that they have switched codes. Last I
>heard it was 'Magistrand'."
>>>Bevar naturen: Sylt et egern.<<
>>>PGP-encrypted mail welcomed and preferred.<<

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