Did you hear the story about the NSA collecting information on millions of phone calls in France and Spain?
That was the big scoop this week from our pal Edward Snowden, but it was completely and utterly wrong.
From the Wall Street Journal
U.S. intelligence officials studied the document published by Le Monde and have determined that it wasn’t assembled by the NSA. Rather, the document appears to be a slide that was assembled based on NSA data received from French intelligence, a U.S. official said.
Based on an analysis of the document, the U.S. concluded that the phone records the French had collected were actually from outside of France, and then were shared with the U.S. The data don’t show that the French spied on their own people inside France.
U.S. intelligence officials haven’t seen the documents cited by El Mundo but the data appear to come from similar information the NSA obtained from Spanish intelligence agencies documenting their collection efforts abroad, officials said.
To recap — the NSA did not collect the data. French and Spanish intelligence collected the data. French and Spanish citizens were not included in the data. French and Spanish intelligence collected data on overseas targets and then shared that data with the NSA.
And there’s nothing wrong with any of that. Not a single thing.
France and Spain are members of NATO that share intelligence with their allies, including the United States, on a regular basis.
Of course the all-spying, all-invasive, all-usurping NSA of yore is now an urban legend that will be talked about at UFO conventions for decades to come. It doesn’t matter how inaccurate the reports are.