Analysis: Speculation rife about NSA’s STELLAR WIND project

Tamm on the cover of Newsweek

Tamm on the cover of Newsweek

The recent voluntary coming forth of Thomas M. Tamm as the whistleblower behind NSA’s warrantless wiretapping scheme has considerably revived speculation about the Agency’s STELLAR WIND project, which appears to have both oral communications and data surveillance components. A superb analysis published in Ars Technica yesterday reasons that the data surveillance component of project STELLAR WIND, which was first revealed in 2006, is in fact far broader and potentially far more controversial than its wireless wiretapping aspect. The article reminds that, in the past, STELLAR WIND has been referred to in public as the Terrorist Surveillance Program, though “that seems to have been invented after the fact to allow officials to testify before Congress on the aspects of STELLAR WIND that had been exposed without admitting to any of the activities that hadn’t yet come to light”. According to earlier revelations, the dada surveillance aspect of STELLAR WIND swept millions of call data of telephone users in the United States, that is, their “telephone [numbers as well as] the time and duration of the calls”. It also collected “the subject lines of e-mails, the times they were sent, and the addresses of both senders and recipients”. The Ars Technica article recounts allegations that the STELLAR WIND data-mining operation “purportedly sucked up the information equivalent of an Encyclopedia Britannica every four seconds”. This would undoubtedly explain the reason for NSA’s soon-to-be-unveiled Texas Cryptology Center, a 470,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to cost “upwards of $130 million” and will be used primarily to store intercepted communications data. [IA]

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

3 Responses to Analysis: Speculation rife about NSA’s STELLAR WIND project

  1. Rich says:

    Well, golly! If that type of activity is illegal, presumedly the data is illegal, so why spend $130M to store it.

  2. intelNews says:

    To quote disgraced former US President Richard Nixon, “when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.” I would add that it’s not illegal until someone cares enough to stop it. Admittedly most don’t care, erroneously believing “they have nothing to hide” from the authorities. [IA]

  3. theironyofwanting myID says:

    google is a surveillance tool of the NSA.
    they demonstrate a similar disregard for presonal privacy, ravenously pursue your data and have been fined for doing so

    google own youtube which they bought a few years ago.
    since then anti-fascist activists have a hard time getting any action and get persecuted themselves (personal experience over years)


    nothing to hide? okay – tell me:

    when you’re not home (i promise not to burgle you)

    where your kids go to school and when (promise i won’t kidnap them to coerce or extort you)

    who you’re having an affair with (promise i won’t blackmail you)

    that time you got drunk at the office christmas party and got snapped and shared privately on facebook photocopying your genitals (smile for the camera – promise we won’t use it against you)

    that police photo of your dead child all over the internet with their head smashed to a pulp after a car accident fatality so 15yo hackers can send you emails and pictures for years to further traumatize you if you don’t co-operate with us (govt, criminals who buy from govt etc) (such pics and pestering already happens.. of course we ‘care’ so much about you we’ll make your average stalker look like mickey mouse)

    what was that about ‘i’ve got nothing to hide’? you DON’T HAVE TO!!!

    my paranoid examples are mere musings.

    with the experts on torture .. oh sorry .. ‘rendition’ they have getting paid by govt for this one they can manipulate you every which way but sunday until you are their little puppy for the rest of your life

    and even if you don’t get ’employed’ by them for whatever purpose for long the mere FEAR of it will sit with you for every day you remain on the planet.

    have fun thinking about that in your ‘brave new world’ where ‘privacy doesn’t really matter’.

    the willful ignorance of the general populace never ceases to amaze me.

    enjoy living in east berlin in the 1950’s .. they’re going GLOBAL!

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