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122 Country Leaders in NSA’s “Target Knowledge Database” – 2009 Document

In Archive, NSA, NSA Files, SCS, Surveillance on March 31, 2014 at 8:51 AM





A secret NSA document dealing with high-ranking targets has provided further indications that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was a target. The document is a presentation from the NSA’s Center for Content Extraction, whose multiple tasks include the automated analysis of all types of text data. The lists appear to contain 122 country leaders. Twelve names are listed as an example, including Merkel’s.

The list begins with “A,” as in Abdullah Badawi, the former Malaysian prime minister, and continues with the presidents of Peru, Somalia, Guatemala and Colombia right up to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The final name on the list, No. 122, is Yulia Tymoshenko, who was Ukrainian prime minister at the time. The NSA listed the international leaders alphabetically by their first name, with Tymoshenko listed under “Y”. Merkel is listed under “A” as the ninth leader, right behind Malawian President Amadou Toumani Touré, but before Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

The document indicates that Angela Merkel has been placed in the so-called “Target Knowledge Database” (TKB), the central database of individual targets. An internal NSA description states that employees can use it to analyze “complete profiles” of target persons. The responsible NSA unit praises the automated machine-driven administration of collected information about high-value targets.

The searchable sources cited in the document include, among others, the signals intelligence database “Marina,” which contains metadata ingested from sources around the world. The unit also gives special attention to promoting a system for automated name recognition called “Nymrod”. The document states that some 300 automatically generated “cites,” or citations, are provided for Angela Merkel alone. The citations in “Nymrod” are derived from intelligence agencies, transcripts of intercepted fax, voice and computer-to-computer communication. According to internal NSA documents, it is used to “find information relating to targets that would otherwise be tough to track down.” Each of the names contained in Nymrod is considered a “SIGINT target.”

The manual maintenance of the database with high-ranking targets is a slow and painstaking process, the document notes, and fewer than 200,000 targets are managed through the system. Automated capture, by contrast, simplifies the saving of the data and makes it possible to manage more than 3 million entries, including names and the citations connected to them.

The table included in the document indicates the capture and maintenance of records pertaining to Merkel already appears to have been automated. In any case, the document indicates that a manual update was not available in May 2009.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told The Intercept that the Obama administration was “not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel.” However, Hayden did not deny that the surveillance had occurred in the past – and declined to rule out spying on other senior German officials going forward. “We have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations,” she said.

via Cryptome:

Filling in some of the missing from Der Spiegel’s “release” of the Target Knowledge Database (TKB) list of 122 world leaders spied on by the NSA in 2009:

Names between Bashar al Asad and Yulia Tymoshenko (NSA Nymrod list alphabetized by first names)

Bharrat Jagdeo – Guyana
Binge wa Mutharika – Malawi
Boris Tadic – Serbia
Choummaly Sayasone Shiavong – Laos
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner – Argentina
Daniel Ortega – Nicaragua
Dmitry Medvedev – Russia
Donald Tsang – Hong Kong
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf – Liberia
Ehud Olmert – Israel
Evo Morales – Bolivia
Felipe Calderon – Mexico
Fernando Lugo – Paraguay
Fouad Siniora – Lebanon
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – Philippines
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow – Turkmenistan
Hamid Karzai – Afghanistan
Hashim Thaci – Kosovo
Hassanal Bolkiah – Brunei
Herman Van Rompuy – Belgium
Hosni Mubarak – Egypt
Hu Jintao – China
Hugo Chavez – Venezuela
Hun Sen – Cambodia
Ilham Aliyev – Azerbaijan
Islam Kamirov – Uzbekistan
Ismail Omar Guellah – Djibouti
Johanna Sigurdardottir – Iceland
Jose Ramos-Horta – East Timor
Jose Zapatero – Spain
Joseph Kabila – Dem. Rep. of Congo
Kgalema Motlanthe – South Africa
Kim Jong-Il – North Korea
Konstantinos Karamanlis – Greece
Kurmanbek Bakiyev – Kyrgyzstan
Laurent Gbagbo – Côte d’Ivoire
Lee Myung-bak – South Korea
Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva – Brazil
Ma Ying-jeou – Taiwan
Mahinda Rajapaksa – Sri Lanka
Mahmoud Ahmedinejad – Iran
Manmohan Singh – India
Manuel Zelaya – Honduras
Martin Torrijos – Panama
Mauricio Funes – El Salvador
Meles Zenawi – Ethiopia
Michelle Bachelet – Chile
Mikheil Saakashvili – Georgia
Muammar Qaddafi – Libya
Mwai Kibaki – Kenya
Nedzad Brankovic – Bosnia-Herzegovina
Nicolas Sarkozy – France
Nong Duc Manh – Vietnam
Nouri al-Malaki – Iraq
Nursultan Nazarbayev – Kazakhstan
Omar al-Bashir – Sudan
Oscar Arias – Costa Rica
Paul Kagame – Rwanda
Prachanda – Nepal
Rafael Correa – Ecuador
Raul Castro – Cuba
Recep Tayyip Erdogan – Turkey
Rene Preval – Haiti
Robert Mugabe – Zimbabwe
Sali Berisha – Albania
Sheik Hasina Wajed – Bangladesh
Silvio Berlusconi – Italy
Stjepan Mesic – Croatia
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – Indonesia
Tabare Vazquez — Uruguay
Taro Aso – Japan
Than Shwe – Myanmar
Umaru Yar’Adua – Nigeria
Vladimir Putin – Russia
Yousaf Raza Gillani – Pakistan
Yoweri Museveni – Uganda

Related Links:

NSA Monitored Conversations of 35 World Leaders After US Official Handed Over Their Phone Numbers

NSA/CIA “Special Collection Service” Agents Posing as Diplomats in Embassies/Consulates, 80 Locations Worldwide

Bild: Obama Aware of Merkel Spying Since 2010; LATimes: White House OK’d Spying on Allies; SPIEGEL: “Presidentially Approved”

  1. I’m shocked, shocked to find out that embassies are used for spying. But was there a special collection service before the Special Collection Service? A 2011 online obituary noted that a veteran had retired from an element of the U.S. Army Security Agency, referred to as “Unit 10,” at Arlington Hall Station, Virginia.

    As revealed by unclassified online sources, for possibly thirty years before the establishment of the Special Collection Service, the Army Security Agency, the Army’s signals intelligence branch from 1945 to 1976 – and predecessor of the National Security Agency – operated signals intelligence collection sites in U.S. embassies around the world. Staffed by Morse intercept operators (Army military occupational specialty 058, later re-designated 05H), who were authorized to wear civilian clothes, the Army Security Agency embassy sites were used to collect Morse code radio communications.

    In the 1950‘s and 1960‘s knowledge of “embassy duty“ was widespread within the Army Security Agency as shown by veterans‘ oral history reports and other online sources. Army Security Agency recruiters mentioned the possibility of civilian clothes embassy duty to promising young men to induce them to enlist in the Army Security Agency for four years instead of being drafted into the combat arms for two years. In 1959 an Army Security Agency senior non-commissioned officer wrote “History of Project 78.” Project 78 may not have been related to the Army Security Agency embassy sites, however, the author of its history was, or had been, a member of Unit 10, which controlled the embassy sites, and subsequently was a member of a Unit 10 veterans’ reunion organization called the “Super Group.”

    The Special Collection Service, formed between 1978 and 1982, likely inherited the Unit 10 sites as a result of a signals intelligence reorganization that led to the deactivation of the Army Security Agency.


  2. […] 122 Country Leaders in NSA’s “Target Knowledge Database” – 2009 Document […]


  3. […] LeakSource 0 likesLeaks2009country…DatabaseDocumentknowledgeleadersNSA’sTarget […]


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