WikiLeaks scolds Guardian over NSA reporting

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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WikiLeaks scolded the Guardian on Twitter Thursday for redacting the names of two National Security Agency surveillance programs later revealed by The Washington Post.

A new National Security Agency slide depicting the relationship between two agency Internet surveillance programs was revealed Wednesday by the Washington Post, provoking WikiLeaks to call the Guardian’s coverage “worrying.”

“Guardian has done good work on the NSA story but censoring 9/10 PRISM slides and NSA codewords STORMBREW and OAKSTAR is worrying. #snowden,” said WikiLeaks.

“Guardian also censored the names of the 100 corrupted UK companies thieving humanity’s data on behalf of the NSA/GCHQ,” said WikiLeaks.

The slide obtained by the Washington Post depicts the difference between “two types of collection” methods: the direct collection of user data from Internet service providers via PRISM, and Upstream collection of “communications on fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past.”

The slide focuses on a section of North America, while a similar slide revealed by the Guardian on June 8 depicts a more global view of the undersea cables — the locations of which are public knowledge.

The Guardian’s slide also blacks out two programs related to Upstream collection, naming Fairview and Blarney; the Post’s slide names two additional programs — Stormbrew and Oakstar. The slides encourage analysts to use both methods.

“Guardian should insure [sic] its readers know why it has withheld information. When it has a forced move, the nature of it should be explained,” said WikiLeaks.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, published on June 14, Snowden claimed that the U.S. government hacks “network backbones,” describing them as “like huge Internet routers” that gives the NSA “access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one.”

The Associated Press, in a June 15 piece, described how the two methods work together, stating that PRISM “makes sense of the cacophony of the Internet’s raw feed.”

The NSA’s Upstream collection, the AP reported, “has been known for years, copies Internet traffic as it enters and leaves the United States, then routes it to the NSA for analysis.”

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