[Documents menu] Documents menu

From owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu Wed Mar 12 17:00:49 2003
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 21:22:06 -0600 (CST)
From: Gregory Elich <gelich@worldnet.att.net>
Subject: Leaked Memo Suggests US Manipulating UN
Article: 153588
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

TV Pprogram Broadcast
Location: abc.net.au > Lateline > Archives
URL: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/s800897.htm

Leaked memo suggests US manipulating UN

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Broadcast, March 6, 2003

Tonight Tony Jones speaks to Martin Bright, a journalist with the Britain's Observer, about a leaked memo the paper claims to have received. The memo is allegedly from a US intelligence bigwig and requests telephone and email intercepts upon UN delegates in order to give the US an 'edge' in convincing the security council nations of their agenda.

Reporter: Tony Jones

TONY JONES: Back to our top story now: the intense negotiations for a new resolution in the UN Security Council.

This week Britain's Observer newspaper published what it says is a leaked memo written by a top official of the US National Security Agency.

Dated January 31, the memo was authored by Frank Koza, chief of staff in the regional targets section of the NSA.

That agency is chiefly responsible for intercepting communications around the world.

Koza's memo was to his own senior agents and to what the newspaper coyly describes as a friendly intelligence service.

Koza is calling for phone and email intercepts on foreign UN delegates to provide what he calls the whole gamut of information that could give US policy makers an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off surprises.

Well, joining us now in London is Martin Bright, the journalist who broke the story.

That's a bare precis I've given of the memo.

Who were the targets of this spying operation and how was it to be carried out?

MARTIN BRIGHT, JOURNALIST, 'THE OBSERVER': Precisely the targets were what's

become known as the 'middle six nations', or at least five of the 'middle six nations'.

We're talking about Angola, Cameroon and Guinea in Africa and Chile and Pakistan.

The other nation that was targeted was Bulgaria but clearly that targeting operation was successful because they've come over to the American side now.

Curiously the country that was left out was Mexico.

Our suspicion is that the Americans had other means of twisting the arms of the Mexicans.

TONY JONES: Are we just talking about phone and email intercepts here or just electronic surveillance or something more?

MARTIN BRIGHT: Electronic surveillance is what the NSA does in the States.

It's absolutely crucial to the operations of the American espionage community.

It's a huge, huge operation.

We know that there are at least 18,000 car parking spaces for instance at the NSA headquarters.

So when you say, just electronic monitoring, that is absolutely central to any country's spying operations.

TONY JONES: Do you know what they were hoping to get?

Was it personal information about the people?

Was it national information about strategies these countries were adopting?

MARTIN BRIGHT: It's quite clear what they were going for was not only the voting patterns and the voting plans and the negotiations with other interested parties such as the French or the Chinese, it wasn't just the bare bones, it was also the office telephone communications and email communications and also what are described as 'domestic coms', which is the home telephones of people working within the UN.

This can only mean that they were looking for personal information.

That is, information which could be used against those delagates.

It's even clear from the memo that this was an aggressive operation.

It wasn't simply a neutral surveillance operation.

Frank Koza, the man who wrote the memo, says this is an operation against those countries, which is why some of those countries are so angry about what's happened.

TONY JONES: I want to ask you a little bit about Frank Koza, but what efforts did you go to to confirm that this memo was genuine?

MARTIN BRIGHT: We had the memo for 2.5 to three weeks before we published.

We went to enormous efforts to verify it.

In fact, there were three journalists named on the report.

Five journalists worked on the piece altogether, including two other journalists who have expertise within the intelligence field.

We also called in analysts and experts from America and from the UK to look at the memo and look at whether it had internal consistency and internal logic and whether the language used was the language used by the NSA.

This all then tied up.

We then had to verify the existence of Frank Koza within the NSA.

That took some time but we got a lucky break and got a phone call through to his office.

The final verification came after publication, it must be said, when American officials were asked about the memo, including Ari Fleischer and Donald Rumsfeld.

Neither used the opportunity they had to deny the veracity of the memo.

That would have been crazy because of course they carry on this kind of operation.

TONY JONES: Have you been able to find out in this case how high up the political chain this operation was authorised?

MARTIN BRIGHT: We haven't had it confirmed for sure, but we're told this kind of operation needs to be authorised from the highest level.

The NSA doesn't have any kind of operational agency.

It's not allowed to instigate operations on its own.

It's a neutral tool for the intelligence services.

Our sources in the States suggest that this came from a level at least as high as Condoleezza Rice, who is the President's National Security Adviser.

TONY JONES: The section of the memo directed to a friendly foreign intelligence agency calls for whatever valuable information they may have from their product lines.

What does that mean, 'product lines' in intelligence lingo?

MARTIN BRIGHT: A good question, and it's crucial, that third photograph of the memo, you've spotted something very important.

Product in intelligence terms is quite simply the product of phone taps or interception of communications or interception of emails.

What's happening there is that this individual, Frank Koza, who's very senior within the NSA, is asking what we describe as a friendly intelligence agency to help in the operation.

It is this which is probably the key to the whole story, the key to the whole leak.

What's happened is the Americans have quite grandly, simply sent out a memo saying to foreign agencies, Give us a hand on this, could you?

And someone somewhere has been so angered by the high-handed manner of the American request that they've seen fit to leak to it a British newspaper.

TONY JONES: It appeared obvious it had come from one of the foreign intelligence agents, rather than the Americans.

By the way, it was written ... are you able to say which friendly intelligence agency we're talking about here?

MARTIN BRIGHT: I don't want to give away our story for Sunday's newspaper.

But what I can say is that more details will be revealed later in this week.

Also what we have been able to identify is that, with a certain degree of authority, is that what's happening here is a message is going out to what's called Echelon, which is an international coalition of intelligence surveillance agencies, which includes agencies from your own country, from New Zealand, Canada and from Britain.

So I suspect that a similar memo arrived in the inbox of officials in your own country.

One can only speculate that if they had leaked then they would have leaked to an Australian newspaper and not a British newspaper.

So I think you can draw your own conclusions about where this came from.

TONY JONES: You've no evidence that, for example, the Australian intelligence service acted upon this memo, I take it.

MARTIN BRIGHT: Well, this is another very interesting question.

I think that it's beholden on the politicians in the various countries that do cooperate with the Americans to ask their government, when this request went out, that their intelligence services cooperated.

Did the Australians also provide signals and communications information?

Did the New Zealanders?

Did the Canadians?

And, as this went to a British newspaper, did the British?

There are so many questions still unanswered here.

Was this a huge, aggressive intelligence operation to swing the votes the right way that came from all these Anglofone countries?

We don't know the answers yet and it's up to the governments in these countries to give them, I think.

TONY JONES: How have the individual countries whose delegates were targeted reacted to this story, since it's now out there in the open and certainly widely publicised in Europe at least?

MARTIN BRIGHT: Some of them are very scared.

It must be said you're talking about very small countries who don't necessarily want to put their heads above the parapet.

The country that's reacted the most strongly, and this is very significant, is the Chileans.

The Chileans, of course, when they see the words US dirty tricks, look back on their own history and the history of coups and American-backed dirty wars and they don't like this kind of thing at all.

We know that this has already caused an enormous diplomatic rift between the

Chileans and the Americans and the UK.

There have been demands for explanations from the highest level from the President of Chile to the UK PM, Tony Blair, to explain this, to explain whether, or to demand whether the British intelligence services were involved.

And the Chileans yesterday issued a statement saying that they, with as much certainty as they can have, believe that this memo is real.

They've reacted extremely strongly.

TONY JONES: Do you get the impression it's going to alter the way any of these countries vote, rather critically?

MARTIN BRIGHT: I think it will have a very significant effect on the way that Chile votes.

It will be very difficult for the Chilean Government to vote in favour of backing the Americans when it seems that the Americans have been mounting a dirty tricks operation on their country, something which the Chilean people feel very strongly about for historical reasons.

So I think politically, domestically, this now makes it very difficult for the the Chileans to support an American motion.

There's a certain anger with the Pakistanis as well because they've cooperated with the Americans under very difficult circumstances to round up various al- Qa'ida members.

And also it does seem that the Cameroonians now are starting to show a little bit of bottle and are beginning to show their unhappiness at what's going on.

TONY JONES: One of the very intriguing things about this story is it seems to have got very little coverage in the US.

You'd think it would have been huge coverage there.

Is it true that a number of US television networks which scheduled interviews with you cancelled them at the last minute?


It's as well not to get too paranoid about these things and too conspiratorial.

I'm sure on your own show from time to time you bump people at the last minute for perfectly innocent reasons.

And I have to believe that this was why this was happening with the American broadcasters.

However, it did happen three times within the period of about 24 hours.

It happened with NBC, Fox TV and CNN, who appeared very excited about the story to the extent of sending cars to my house to get me into the studio, and at the last minute, were told by their American desks to drop the story.

I think they've got some questions to answer too.

TONY JONES: Thankfully we didn't decide to drop you at the last minute.

Thanks for talking the time, but we have to leave it there, though.

MARTIN BRIGHT: Thanks for inviting me.