The NSA’s data base contains information obtained during the surveillance of over a hundred world leaders, new leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed. Der Spiegel has looked through a top secret presentation by NSA's Center for Content Extraction, which is responsible for automated analysis of all types of text data. According to the document, the leaders of 122 states were among the high-ranked targets of the US intelligence. Der Spiegel were also shown a weekly report from the Special Sources Operations (SSO) division, which proves that the NSA had received a court order to spy on Merkel. According to the paper, FISA, the special court responsible for intelligence agency requests, provided the NSA with authorization to monitor “Germany” on March 7, 2013. The new Snowden leaks are significant for Germany as they prove that Chancellor Merkel was an official target for surveillance by the US. However, only 12 names were revealed by the German journalists in the publication as an example. Merkel appears on the document between former Mali president, Amadou Toumani Toure, and Syrian leader, Bashar Assad. The document indicates that the German chancellor has been included in the so-called Target Knowledge Database (TKB), which includes “complete profiles” of the individuals under surveillance.
With the heads of state arranged alphabetically by first name, the list begins with ‘A’ as in Abdullah Badawi, the former Malaysian prime minister. He’s followed by Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who appears so high due to being mentioned under his alias, Abu Mazin. The catalogue of world leaders under surveillance goes on with the heads of Peru, Somalia, Guatemala and Colombia right up to Aleksander Lukashenko of Belarus. The list is completed by Yulia Tymoshenko at No.122, who used to be Ukrainian prime minister from February-September 2005 and from December 2007 till March 2010.
The automated name recognition system, Nymrod, which deals with transcripts of intercepted fax, voice and computer-to-computer communications, has provided around 300 citations for Merkel alone, Der Spiegel wrote. The authors of the NSA presentation especially stressed the effectiveness of the automated capture, with manual maintenance of high-ranking targets database being “a slow and painstaking process”.
The office of German Federal Public Prosecutor, Harald Range, still hasn’t made up its mind over suing the National Security Agency. The allegations that the NSA monitored Merkel’s mobile phone and conducted mass surveillance on the communications of millions of Germans are currently under review by the prosecutors.