The U.S. Post Office work with intelligence services too
The scandal around the espionage by U.S. intelligence services acquires new details. Information slackening on Edward Snowden had scarcely felt, The New York Times has published a new material on espionage. According to the newspaper, the U.S. Postal Service hands over information about addressees and senders of letters the intelligence services. Employees of post offices take pictures of outside surfaces of packages and envelopes of all kinds of correspondence.
Meanwhile it is not known how long this information is stored in government databases. As for the program itself, it has operated since 2001, when dozens of letters with anthrax arrived to the address of editors of American newspapers, government agencies and politicians.
It is worth noting that in 2012 the U.S. registered more than 160 billion items of mail.
It was reported earlier that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA have access not only to the data of citizens, but also to the data of employees of diplomatic missions of the European Union. The scandal with the leak has caused a sharp reaction in the European countries, especially Germany and France.
In connection with the scandal, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls raised the question of imposing a ban on espionage among the allied countries.
In this case, French media reports say that France has its own system of wiretapping of international communications, similar to the American PRISM. French intelligence agencies intercept and record an enormous number of phone calls, texts and e-mails sent from abroad. This system operates secretly and illegally. Although officially the French system is aimed at revealing terrorist organizations, it can be also used to spy on anyone, French media note.
On Wednesday, the official representative of the French government said that France will temporarily suspend the negotiations between the EU and the U.S. on the establishment of a free trade area in the light of the arisen information about wiretapping of European offices.
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom has sent a written request to the U.S. authorities, stating:
“We are experiencing a delicate moment in our relations with the U.S., our strongest ally. Mutual trust and confidence have been seriously eroded, and I expect the U.S. to do all that it can to restore them. If you fail to demonstrate the utility of programs for tracking ways of financing terrorists and registration of details of passengers-citizens of the EU, as well as the fact that you implement them in full accordance with the law, I will be forced to reconsider the decision that the terms of the programs are so far observed.”
In Germany the first time, all parties reached a consensus and require a comprehensive response from the Obama administration.
The German secret services claim that they were not aware that their American counterparts were spying on each step of 38 embassies and taped talks of ministers and heads of EU states. Berlin called it ‘monstrous’ and accused the United States of espionage and theft of industrial technologies.
Speaker of the German Government Steffen Seibert said it was ‘unacceptable’.
“The Cold War is over,” the Voice of Russia cites his words.
SPD Bundestag member Thomas Oppermann also expressed his extreme dissatisfaction.
“The U.S.’ actions are out of control. We need to thoroughly discuss the value of personal life in the XXI century. The state can not do everything that is technically feasible. But it is precisely this that the U.S. seems to be engaged - without distinction, with friends or enemies,” said the deputy.
Before it became known that the deputies of the European Parliament approved a resolution condemning the U.S. intelligence services’ activities. The demand from Washington to give all the information of the PRISM wiretapping program and to immediately resume negotiations on an agreement between the EU and the U.S. on the protection of personal data.
Recall that in early June, the British Guardian, referring to a document provided by the ex-CIA and NSA officer Edward Snowden, wrote about a secret program of electronic surveillance of users of Internet companies and social networks code-named PRISM, which is implemented by FBI and NSA. These structures for some years have had a direct access to the servers of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Skype, YouTube, PalTalk, AOL and Apple.
Note that the Obama administration still has not fully replied to the questions of European politicians. It remains to wait for continuation.