Wednesday, August 24, 2016

NSA formulating American foreign policy in secret By The Wayne Madsen Report

NSA formulating American foreign policy in secret

By The Wayne Madsen Report

The recent disclosures of classified National Security Agency documents liberated from NSA databases by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal that the signals intelligence agency has been heavily involved in formulating American foreign policy. Information contained in a series of internal NSA newsletters called "SID Today," SID meaning the Signals Intelligence Directorate, describe a foreign policy bureaucracy, rivaling that of the State Department and Pentagon, existing within the intelligence agency. The degree to which NSA now influences U.S. foreign policy represents a sea change in the role of an agency originally charged with eavesdropping on foreign diplomatic and military traffic and protecting U.S. government communications from surveillance.

Many of the detailed foreign policy decisions by NSA are carried out by SINIOS, or
SIGINT National Intelligence Officers, assigned particular areas of responsibility. For example, there are SINIOs for Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, East Asia, Strategic Programs and Arms Control, Science and Technology issues, and Global and Multilateral Issues, the latter including the operations of the United Nations. The SINIOs meet at regular and ad hoc SINIO Council meetings that assess and prioritize the most critical foreign policy issues facing the United States. The SINIOs operate under the aegis of the NSA's SID Customer Relationships Directorate. This top secret foreign policy apparatus operates with little oversight from the Congress and little, if any, input from the State Department. The proceedings of the SINIO Council and even its very existence would have never been known to the public or the press had it not been for Snowden's disclosures.

A July 17, 2003, SID Today item dealt with ways to eliminate Liberian President Charles Taylor's government in Liberia. The SINIO for Sub-Saharan Africa prepared a top secret report on Taylor and elimination options, titled "Charles Taylor -- West African Pariah;    Down But Is He Out?" 

In October 2003, the SINIO for Global and Multilateral Issues proposed ways to deal with a recalcitrant Germany and France, which opposed a UN Security Council imprimatur on an Iraq reconstruction donors' conference in Madrid. Other disclosed NSA classified documents described how NSA authorized "surge" surveillance of the UN missions of members of the Security Council, including those of Germany and France. The SINIO Council called such opponents of U.S. policy in Iraq, the "Coalition of the Unwilling" in an August 6, 2003 SID Today. The SINIO Council also aped the Bush administration's "Axis of Evil" terminology to describe Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.

Other SINIO Council meetings held in 2003 dealt with deterring Vladimir Putin's Russia, dealing with "political Islam" in the Middle East and South Asia, and how the United States, Japan, and South Korea could best deal with a "rising China."

On July 22, 2003, the SINIO Council was briefed by an outside entity called the Eurasia Group. The SID Today announcement stated: "Ian Bremmer, head of Eurasia Group, and severa colleagues will be coming to speak at NSA. Eurasia Group is a research and    consulting firm that focuses on global political-risk analysis, as well as country-specific    and industry research for emerging markets. The name is a bit deceiving, as their    country research coverage includes more than 65 countries in Africa, East and Southeast Europe, Former Soviet Union, Latin America, Middle East, and Southeast and East Asia." The focus on the briefing was on oil and natural gas, terrorism, and Iraqi reconstruction. Bremmer is an advocate of the "weaponization of finance," the use of sanctions, trade embargoes, and asset freezes to supplement America's military power. It is easy to see why NSA was enthused about Bremmer's ideas about waging economic warfare since that eventually became a main focus of NSA's and its US Cyber Command's offensive information warfare strategy.

Bremmer was not the only dalliance by NSA, then headed by General Michael Hayden, with war-hungry neoconservatives. A November 2013 seminar at NSA on "China Rising: Implications of Military Modernization" had, as one of its speakers, a representative from Frank Gaffney's extreme neoconservative Center for Security Policy.

NSA's role in formulating U.S. foreign policy can be traced back to 1971, when the agency created its own International Affairs Institute (IAI), a top secret version of the Council on Foreign Relations. The IAI became its own bureaucracy, inviting hundreds of intelligence community and outside speakers to address NSA audiences and publishing a number of foreign policy papers. In August 2003, NSA and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) conducted a joint classified seminar on the instability of the south Caucasus region at the secure FANX facility near the NSA's Fort Meade headquarters. FANX is an acronym for the "Friendship Annex," a reference to Friendship Airport, the old name for Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The seminar discussed ways to pursue America's interests in the region.

Under Michael Hayden, now a major opponent of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, NSA received foreign policy briefings from the ultra-neocon Center for Security Policy.

A December 2003, NSA three-day foreign policy seminar dealt with ways for the U.S. to deal with "populist and left-of-center leaders in Latin America over the past five years." This seminar undoubtedly dealt with the ill-fated April 2002 coup attempt by the U.S. to overthrow Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The coup had the support of the CIA and NSA.

The initial goal of the IAI was to promote an interest among NSA employees in international events and affairs. NSA's foreign affairs "interest" has now grown to include foreign policy formulation.

Through NSA's Foreign Affairs Directorate (FAD), the agency even decides on major foreign policy initiatives with its FIVE EYES signals intelligence partners in Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand outside of the civilian foreign policy infrastructures of the five nations. These initiatives included the decision in 2003 to jointly target communications in Burma, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia by NSA, the Australian Defense Signals Directorate (DSD), and New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

A June 12, 2003, SINIO Council meeting dealt with Turkey. It is clear that NSA had suspicions, along with the Turkish military's General Staff with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is also highly probable that the recent abortive coup attempt against Erdogan was carried out by U.S.-aligned members of the Turkish General Staff, aided and abetted by certain elements within the U.S. military-intelligence complex, including defense and intelligence contractor companies. WMR has a string reason to believe that these elements hatched the coup plot in February of this year but without a Presidential Finding from Barack Obama or a green light from CIA director John Brennan, both of whom have close ties to fellow travelers of Erdogan's Islamist leanings. The 2003 NSA briefing discussed how the "pro-Islam Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Turkish General Staff (TGS), guardian of Turkey's    secular democracy, view each other with mutual suspicion. The strategic relationship with the U.S. is seriously weakened, so the U.S. is unlikely to champion Turkey's cause in Europe or with the IMF/World Bank as fervently."

The presence of a super-classified U.S. foreign policy apparatus buried deep within the bowels of the NSA is yet another indication that American democracy died a slow death when intelligence bureaucracies like the NSA were given a wide berth to operate. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the last two and current NSA directors are hard core neoconservatives who believe in American global supremacy.