Why the FBI is investigating software companies that build software for the NSA
- by admin
The FBI is looking into software companies for allegedly creating software for a secret government program that can intercept phone calls and other electronic communications, according to court documents filed in a federal court in San Diego.
The documents, unsealed Tuesday, say the FBI believes software companies built software for what it calls “the National Security Agency’s (NSA) National Security Information Exchange Program.”
The documents were released on the same day the Justice Department sued Apple and Microsoft for allegedly aiding the NSA in its massive data collection program.
Apple and Microsoft denied the allegations in court documents last month, saying they were cooperating with the FBI.
The government has said the two companies complied with the court orders, which also prohibit them from disclosing the existence of the program.
The NSA’s National Security Exchange Program was designed to facilitate the transfer of data between the NSA and the private companies involved in the program, according the documents.
The FBI’s case, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, also alleged that a company called Secunia Software built a software tool that was used to allow the NSA to intercept communications between users of Google and Yahoo.
The FBI said Secunia was working for the U.N. as a contractor for the agency.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The documents also allege that Secunia “created a computer virus” to create a backdoor into the phones of American and British citizens.
The companies also were accused of allowing the NSA “to intercept communications of other nations” through a program called BLEEP, or “Bulk Electronic Messaging and Reception of E-mails.”
The FBI said in the court filing that it had uncovered evidence of BLEEEP “that was used by the NSA” and that “it was intended to intercept the communications of nations and countries that the United States is not at war with.”
“This data collection, which involves interception of communications from both domestic and international organizations, is designed to assist the NSA’s overseas cyber operations,” the FBI wrote in the filing.
The NSA declined to comment on the FBI’s allegations.
The Justice Department has said that it has no knowledge of the software program, but said it does not comment on pending litigation.
The program, called the BLEECH program, was originally designed to enable the NSA intercept the data of foreign governments that were not at peace with the U, and it is believed to have been the source of some of the intelligence obtained by the agency during its massive collection of phone records from the Verizon phone network.
The surveillance program, first announced in 2014, has led to the arrest of former NSA contractor Reality Winner, the daughter of a former National Security Council official, and other people, including her husband, who have been charged in connection with the program that was first disclosed in January.
The court filings were filed in response to a court order to unseal more than 100,000 pages of documents related to the case.
In a statement, the Justice Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the FBI had provided information that was “not in the public domain” and had been used for “legitimate government purposes.”
“We are confident in our ability to comply with this court order and are confident that our legal team will follow all of the appropriate procedures,” it said.
The bureau also said it was looking into the possibility of a separate lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has alleged that the government illegally used Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor and collect information from U.K. and American Internet companies.
The FBI is looking into software companies for allegedly creating software for a secret government program that can intercept phone…
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