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German Govt. Skype Interception Trojans Revealed

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the trojan-man dept.

Your Rights Online 172

James Hardine writes "Wikileaks has released documents from the German police revealing Skype interception technology. The leaks are currently creating a storm in the German press. The first document is a communication by the Ministry of Justice to the prosecutors office, about the cost splitting for Skype interception. The second document presents the offer made by Digitask, the German company secretly developing Skype interception, and holds information on pricing and license model, high-level technology descriptions and other detail. The document is of global importance because Skype is used by tens or hundreds of millions of people daily to communicate voice calls and Skype (owned by Ebay, Inc) promotes these calls as being encrypted and secure. The technology includes interception boxes, key forwarding trojans and anonymous proxies to hide police communications."

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172 comments

Germany (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193070)

Germany still seems to have a lot of it's old attitudes lying around. Installing trojans on the computers of it's citizens for the purpose of listening to skype calls is way beyond what I would expect from a country like Germany. Then again, they still can't have video games with Nazis or blood in them. How long before someone packages up a Linux live CD with Skype preinstalled so that you can ensure you're computer isn't compromised when making phone calls?

Re:Germany (2, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193130)

Germany still seems to have a lot of it's old attitudes lying around. Installing trojans on the computers of it's citizens for the purpose of listening to skype calls is way beyond what I would expect from a country like Germany. Then again, they still can't have video games with Nazis or blood in them. How long before someone packages up a Linux live CD with Skype preinstalled so that you can ensure you're computer isn't compromised when making phone calls?
1. It is legal (if you get permission from a judge etc.) to listen in to phone conversations. 2. With Skype using 256 bit encryption, the police cannot do in practice what it is allowed to do legally. 3. Some company makes software/hardware that enables the police to do what they are allowed to do legally.

It seems to be necessary to install some software on the user's computer to achieve this. As long as this software doesn't do anything but opening up Skype communications, it doesn't do anything that would affect the user's rights. All their Skype communications can only be heard by people who are legally allowed to hear it - even though one of them is the police, which is not the _intended_ recipient.

Re:Germany (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193164)

The police are allowed to tap regular phone lines because they don't have to intrude on your property to do it. Just like they can stake out your house from a van on the road. They aren't allowed to walk into your house and watch you all day. Once they start installing trojans on computers for listening to skype calls, it's not a far stretch from them installing trojans to record every action you do on your computer.

Re:Germany (3, Insightful)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193478)

The police are allowed to tap regular phone lines because they don't have to intrude on your property to do it.
No, they're allowed to tap phone lines because they get court orders saying they can. Do you think courts have never issued warrants allowing police to place bugs on a suspect's property?

Re:Germany (4, Insightful)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193694)

So? It's a trojan, meaning that one has to willingly open it; more bluntly, it means that the police will need to trick people into opening them. Also, with this information out in the open now, anyone with a lick of sense will be even more wary of such rogue email attachments.

tl;dr - No one has to convince you to pick up a tapped phone.

Re:Germany (2, Interesting)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194536)

So? It's a trojan, meaning that one has to willingly open it; more bluntly, it means that the police will need to trick people into opening them.

Here in the USA, the police will break into your house to install keyloggers and such. Hardware keyloggers, usually. They will only send something through email if they don't know who you are (such as virus writers) and they do it to find out who, and where you are, not to listen to your phone calls. The problem with sending software trojans is that it usually doesn't work, and might get noticed.

Re:Germany (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22195468)

Thanks for enlightening me on that. I admit I didn't RTFA and took the word 'trojan' at face value, while 'personal delivery' is also listed in TFA. I'll definitely be looking at a hardware VOIP solution to brag about my plans of world domination after reading this.

On another note, I'm quite surprised that only Windows 2k/XP are mentioned in the article. Police quietly breaking in and installing spyware would never cross my mind otherwise, but if I'm going to come home to a different OS I might get suspicious.

Re:Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22194798)

Well - it is not strictly a trojan, it uses unpatched, original Skype as a vector - there is nothing you could do against this short of not using Skype, which is not that convenient given how widely used and proprietary Skype is.

Re:Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22195140)

the way I see it, Skype, much like like MSN Messenger, or SMS for that matter, has never been a secure channel anyway.

you just can't trust proprietary, closed software, people.

btw; why does slashdot try to connect to port 8080 on my computer (which belongs to proxomitron) when I click submit or preview?

Re:Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22194840)

Since the Government has the opportunity to read your emails, who says they couldn't intercept an email from some buddy of yours that says "lol check diz shit out!1" and has an executable file attached to it, replace the file or alter it so it contains the trojan?

AntiVirus companies will (or are they already?) be forced to get their scanners to ignore Government trojans, that way you'll never find out.

Re:Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22195182)

Because you may already know what the expected file size/checksum is - any discrepancy could easily be checked.

Re:Germany (1)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22195352)

The police are allowed to tap regular phone lines because they don't have to intrude on your property to do it. Just like they can stake out your house from a van on the road.
Um, they are allowed to tap your regular phone lines or intrude on your property as long as they have a warrant. They can do both with one, and neither without one.

Re:Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22194004)

1. It is legal (if you get permission from a judge etc.) to listen in to phone conversations.
2. With Skype using 256 bit encryption, the police cannot do in practice what it is allowed to do legally.
3. Some company makes software/hardware that enables the police to do what they are allowed to do legally.
"Legal" but not necessarily ethical.

It seems to be necessary to install some software on the user's computer to achieve this. As long as this software doesn't do anything but opening up Skype communications, it doesn't do anything that would affect the user's rights. All their Skype communications can only be heard by people who are legally allowed to hear it - even though one of them is the police, which is not the _intended_ recipient.
You probably mean "doesn't affect the user's legal rights" but how this adds up ethically is more to the point. Most of Nazi Germany's and Stalinist Russia's abominations were legal at the time according to their nation's laws! Judging a governmental authority in legal terms does not really amount to saying much when they create the laws we judge them by. We need a less transient ethical framework for that purpose (preferably one which includes the right-to-privacy, innocent until proven guilty etc. etc.).

Re:Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22194286)

"It seems to be necessary to install some software on the user's computer to achieve this. As long as this software doesn't do anything but opening up Skype communications, it doesn't do anything that would affect the user's rights."

I would presume that any software installed would take up memory, CPU and network bandwidth that I own.

These things belong to me. For the police to take them away from me would seem problematic, if not downright illegal.

Of course, there is also the problem of trojans and rootkits in general - what if they have a flaw that gives OTHERS control of my system? (e.g. sony rootkit)

Re:Germany (2, Insightful)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193150)

An to do the same without public announcement is better? Or what "old attitudes" have CIA and NSA? Are they Nazis too? Or worse?

Re:Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193930)

The CIA uses Gestapo practices because many Gestapo officers surrendered to the US forces when the war was going badly post-Bulge. So, yes, the CIA is basically Gestapo 2.0

Re:Germany (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194794)

THE CIA NAZI CONNECTION

Posted By: Phoenix
Date: Sunday, 9 December 2001, 3:12 a.m.

In Response To: THE BUSH FAMILY CIA & NAZI PAST (Phoenix)

                This posted at Emperor's Clothes is about an article in The San Francisco Bay Guardian that discusses the recently unclassified CIA files.

                There are also many more references at the end of Part Two.

                Part 1 - WORST KEPT SECRETS OF THE BUMBLING BEAR - the CIA/NAZI marriage

                URL for this article: http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/gehlen2.htm [emperors-clothes.com]

                Please feel free to reprint and re-post any Emperor's Clothes article. Also, please include the article's Web address and author(s).

                www.tenc.net * [Emperor's Clothes]

                WORST KEPT SECRETS OF THE BUMBLING BEAR (Part 1 of 2)
                by Jared Israel
                [Originally Posted 22 May 2001]
                [Reposted 2 December 2001]

                Below is an article from the 'San Francisco Bay Guardian', entitled, 'The CIA's Worst-Kept Secret.' It discusses some recently unclassified CIA files. These documents, 18,000 pages in all, confirm that U.S. intelligence recruited and protected Nazis starting at the end of World War II.

                I am posting and writing about this article for two reasons. First, it includes some useful information about the Nazi-CIA marriage. Second, it presents that information from a perspective that I consider at once mistaken and widespread; hence worth discussing.

                The article was written by Martin Lee. Mr. Lee argues that after World War II, Nazi spies duped the U.S. into hiring them, thereby protecting themselves and their networks from prosecution.

                He cites the example of General Reinhard Gehlen. Gehlen had been chief of Nazi intelligence in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. According to Mr. Lee, Gehlen fooled spymaster Allen Dulles, who later became Director of the CIA, in the following way:

                "Gehlen was quickly spirited off to Fort Hunt, Va. The image he projected during 10 months of negotiations at Fort Hunt was, to use a bit of espionage parlance, a "legend" --one that hinged on Gehlen's false claim that he was never really a Nazi, but was dedicated, above all, to fighting Communism. Those who bit the bait included future CIA director Allen Dulles, who became Gehlen's biggest supporter among American policy wonks. " (From the text below)

                There's a bit of a problem here.

                Starting more than a decade earlier, Allen Dulles, a leading diplomat and spy, and his brother, John Foster, a Wall Street insider, had created a financial-intelligence apparatus to assist the Nazis. So Dulles had long-standing, friendly relations with Nazis. That being the case, why would Dulles be upset if he 'learned' that Gehlen (a top Nazi spy) was a Nazi? (1)

                Moreover, Gehlen had not been some cloistered spy. His job had not been simply to coordinate the gathering of information. He had been a key leader of the work of fascist groups in the occupied East, such as the Iron Guard in Romania, the Latvian Vanagis and the Croatian Ustashe. These groups committed the most unimaginably brutal atrocities against 'Untermenschen', Jews, 'gypsies', Serbs and other Slavs and Orthodox Christians, as well as against anti-Nazis, both Communist and non-Communist, including various Nationalist groups, which resisted the Nazis. Gehlen was a leading war criminal.

                Did Allen Dulles know all this? Of course he knew all this. He was a U.S. spymaster with almost three decades experience and he had worked with the Nazi leadership for two decades. Dulles arranged to have Gehlen secretly brought to the U.S. precisely so that the Russians wouldn't get hold of him and put him on trial for war crimes and hang him.

                Once they had Gehlen safely in the U.S., Allen Dulles and other top U.S. Intelligence operatives met with Gehlen and planned a nightmare creation: a vast European spying-and-subversion apparatus, controlled by Washington but staffed by hundreds and then thousands of Nazi war criminals. The Nazis may have lost the war but Nazism had found new life. (6)

                Since Allen Dulles knew that Gehlen commanded an army of monstrous war criminals in Eastern Europe and Russia, what is the significance of Dulles' supposed (though frankly unbelievable) belief that Gehlen was not a Nazi?

                Mr. Lee's suggestion that Dulles' rescue and empowerment of Gehlen was somehow less monstrous because he was 'fooled' about Gehlen's Nazi beliefs is typical of the way the mass media has been whitewashing American foreign policy since 1945.

                According to this reasoning, it is a crime if Nazis (or Islamist terrorists) go out and commit atrocities on their own. But if they commit atrocities at the behest of American leaders who are a) naive about who these Nazis (or Islamist terrorists) are and b) are only using these Nazis or terrorists in pursuit of good American values, then it is OK. This treats the American foreign policy establishment as if it were some perpetual teenager who may have fallen in with a bad crowd, but heck, he'll grow out of it.

                Very few of us will ever read the declassified Nazi-CIA documents. Articles like Mr. Lee's from the 'San Francisco Bay Guardian', a left-leaning newspaper, must inform our view. Throughout the article, Mr. Lee portrays Washington as naive, trapped by a Cold War mentality into recruiting Nazis (or, as he suggests at the end of his article, by recruiting too many of them...you know, Nazis are OK, but only if taken in moderation...)

                Can it be that a smart guy like Mr. Lee really believes that the very sophisticated men who shaped US foreign policy over the past 50 years unknowingly blundered into bed with the worst butchers of the century? I cannot say; but by making this absurd idea the theme of his article, Mr. Lee, the critic, makes himself an apologist for the thing he is seemingly attacking.

                DID THE NAZI-CIA MARRIAGE TAKE PLACE BECAUSE WASHINGTON WAS IN A "COLD WAR MENTALITY"?

                This notion, which is put forward by Mr. Lee, is contradicted by two important facts:

                Fact # 1 - No, Because It Started Too Early

                Washington began working with high-placed officials in the Vatican at the end of the war to set up Nazi escape routes. Some of the Nazis whom they cooperated in rescuing were spies. Others were just Nazi butchers.

                The escape routes, appropriately called 'ratlines', started in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, particularly Croatia, and terminated in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Latin America, and so on. How could it be true that the U.S. got swept up in organizing the ratlines due to a Cold War mentality when the Cold War hadn't yet begun? (2)

                Mr. Lee is aware that the U.S. began rescuing Nazis before the Cold War began. He points out that this:

                "...belies the prevalent Western notion that aggressive Soviet policies were primarily to blame for triggering the Cold War."

                Point well taken. But at the same time, Mr. Lee writes:

                "The early courtship of Gehlen by American intelligence suggests that Washington was in a Cold War mode sooner than most people realize." (From the text below)

                What does this mean? If aggressive Soviet policies were not to blame for triggering the Cold War, why does Mr. Lee say that "Washington was [already] in a Cold War mode" at the end of World War II? Doesn't a "Cold War" require two sides?

                What Mr. Lee probably means is that at the end of W.W. II; Washington was in an "Attack Russia!" mode. Indeed, it was precisely Washington's belligerent and criminal actions, such as rescuing Nazi war criminals, that created the international climate of hostility and threat which became known as the "Cold War".

                In the decade and a half before World War II, Washington and Wall Street, including the the Dulles brothers and the grandfather and great grandfather of President Bush, played a dangerous game. They helped put the Nazis in power and aided them once they got in power. With their assistance, the shattered German war industry was rebuilt in record time.

                Why did Dulles and the Walker/Bush family and others in the U.S. Establishment help finance the creation of a powerful, fascist state in Germany? They did it in large measure because they planned to use the Nazis to attack Soviet Russia.

                Alas, as the poet says, the best laid plans of mice and men often fail. Instead of settling for their assigned role, of conquering Russia, the German Nazi/Corporate state decided to conquer everyone. Washington and London responded to this unacceptable ambition in a measured fashion. First, they allowed the Nazis to inflict maximum damage on the Soviet Union. Then they opened a Second Front (the Normandy Invasion) in order to prevent the USSR from liberating all of Europe and to make sure the Nazis were not completely crushed.

                After World War II Washington didn't go into "Cold War mode." It simply continued with its plan of using Germany and the Nazis against the USSR. Except now the Nazi apparatus existed all over Eastern and Southern Europe (including in Russia) and Soviet influence was far more extensive as well.

                Fact # 2 - No, because the U.S. Foreign Policy Establishment Didn't Use the Nazis Only to Spy

                The Nazi murderers whom the U.S. helped rescue, in violation of law and decency, were not simply spies. Many of them were monstrous war criminals. And these war criminal/spies were not simply rescued, dumped in various countries, and then forgotten.

                Instead the U.S. maintained a great network of the 'escapees' and their contacts all over Europe with three purposes:

                * to spy;

                * to nurture networks of fascists dedicated to infiltrating, subverting and sabotaging the socialist and non-socialist states of Europe, a network linked to U.S. intelligence (and to Germany);

                * and to prepare a force that could be sent back into the socialist countries, especially the strategic Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and into the Balkans states, especially Yugoslavia, when the time was ripe.

                The Nazi and pro-Nazi 'refugees' were maintained at the expense of U.S. taxpayers through programs such as the 'Assembly of Captive Nations' (3)

                In the late 1980s and early 1990s many of the U.S.-protected Nazi war criminals (and/or their children) were shipped back to Eastern Europe and the Balkans where they helped to launch secessionist movements, install U.S. and German puppet governments, assassinate those who resisted and foster national hatreds. For example, returning Fascists helped Franjo Tudjman's neo-Nazi group, the Croatian Democratic Union, or HDZ, take over the Croatian Republic and launch a secessionist war against Yugoslavia in 1991. (4)

                THE BUMBLING BEAR THEORY OF U.S. FOREIGN POLICY

                Why do critics of U.S. foreign policy so often present Washington as a passive force? Why are we constantly told that the U.S. is being 'used by the Cuban exiles for their own agenda' or that the U.S. has 'screwed up once again by backing the Kosovo Liberation Army' and that 'sooner or later the Americans will find out what kind of monsters these Albanian secessionists are' and so on. (5)

                Two explanations come to mind.

                First, wittingly or unwittingly, people tend to censor themselves in confrontation with reckless power.

                When one is criticizing an Establishment that bombs pill factories because it doesn't like the government (as the U.S. did in Sudan), that bombs Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq with radioactive weapons and then sends its own and allied troops into the contaminated areas, that refuses to punish submarine commanders who cause the deaths of Japanese fishermen while performing daredevil stunts with nuclear submarines - in criticizing such an Establishment one may experience the temptation to exercise restraint.

                If, for example, one argues that Washington was tricked into working with Nazis one may feel reasonably secure. One is not challenging the basic legitimacy of the Wall Street-Washington axis. But if one argues that the nightmares of U.S. foreign policy have been, like most large-scale human activities, planned, then one will be accused of being conspiratorial, or extremist, or worse. One may find that certain doors, previously open, are now shut tight. Or worse.

                Second, American TV and films, viewed by people all over the world, project an image of the Innocent American official: kind hearted, too powerful for his own good; easily fooled and manipulated. This plays a big role in conditioning people to think of the U.S. government as a bumbling bear.

                Since the movies are partly responsible for this nonsensical image of American leaders, let me paraphrase a famous movie speech by way of refutation:

                "Don't be too sure we're as naive as we're supposed to be. That sort of reputation might be good business, toning down the critics and making it easier to deal with the enemy." (With apologies to Sam Spade in the 'Maltese Falcon', for which see http://www.filmsite.org/malt.html [filmsite.org] )

                Was Washington an innocent bystander during World War II? It was most surely not. The OSS, predecessor of the CIA, was engaged all over Europe. OSS operatives knew - and reported - that monstrous crimes were being committed by Nazis, following which Washington recruited these same Nazis into its burgeoning covert apparatus, the most sensitive branch of the U.S. government.

                Think about this. The OSS was a small organization. The Nazi apparatus was huge and well organized. Absorbing the Nazis into U.S. intelligence was like a garter snake eating a rat. What does this mean? It means the most powerful forces in the U.S.A. had decided that the CIA was to be, in essence, a Nazi organization.

                Washington's goal was to break up the USSR and other Socialist states and bring them under U.S. domination. The way Washington planners viewed things, Nazis had many virtues. They respected capitalism. They despised a host of groups (including Serbs and other Slavs, 'Gypsies', other dark-skinned people, etc.) who tended to resist U.S. domination. They were good at playing on prejudice against these groups. Moreover, the intensity of their hate gave an energy of persistence to their work. They were skilled at demagoguery, subversion, assassination, and torture.

                Numerous virtues; only one fault: a very bad reputation, regarding which, no problem unless the truth came out. And should the truth come out, (as it is indeed trickling out today) the important thing from Washington's point of view was and is to make sure the inevitable criticism has the proper slant. Let the critics declare that it was all a terrible, stupid, unforgivable mistake and we should learn 'our' lesson and never never do such bad things again.

                Better to be attacked for being unforgivably stupid than for being unforgivably evil. To this end, President Clinton set up an 'Interagency Working Group' (IWG), made up of "scholars, public officials, and former intelligence officers who helped prepare the CIA records for declassification." It would appear that Mr. Lee has accepted the IWG's spin on the Nazi-CIA connection.

                Below is the 'San Francisco Bay Guardian' article.

                Following the article I have posted a few dissenting remarks.

                -- Jared Israel, 21 May 2001

                The CIA's Worst-Kept Secret
                From 'San Francisco Bay Guardian', May 7, 2001

                Newly Declassified Files Confirm United States Collaboration with Nazis
                by Martin A. Lee

                "Honest and idealist ... enjoys good food and wine ... unprejudiced mind ..."

                That's how a 1952 Central Intelligence Agency assessment described Nazi ideologue Emil Augsburg, an officer at the infamous Wannsee Institute, the SS think tank involved in planning the Final Solution. Augsburg's SS unit performed "special duties," a euphemism for exterminating Jews and other "undesirables" during the Second World War.

                Although he was wanted in Poland for war crimes, Augsburg managed to ingratiate himself with the U.S. CIA, which employed him in the late1940s as an expert on Soviet affairs. Recently released CIA records indicate that Augsburg was among a rogue's gallery of Nazi war criminals recruited by U.S. intelligence shortly after Germany surrendered to the Allies..

                Pried loose by Congress, which passed the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act three years ago, a long-hidden trove of once-classified CIA documents confirms one of the worst-kept secrets of the Cold War-- the CIA's use of an extensive Nazi spy network to wage a clandestine campaign against the Soviet Union.

                The CIA reports show that U.S. officials knew they were subsidizing numerous Third Reich veterans who had committed horrible crimes against humanity, but these atrocities were overlooked as the anti-Communist crusade acquired its own momentum. For Nazis who would otherwise have been charged with war crimes, signing on with American intelligence enabled them to avoid a prison term.

                "The real winners of the Cold War were Nazi war criminals, many of whom were able to escape justice because the East and West became so rapidly focused after the war on challenging each other," says Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations and America's chief Nazi hunter. Rosenbaum serves on a Clinton-appointed Interagency Working Group committee of U.S. scholars, public officials, and former intelligence officers who helped prepare the CIA records for declassification.

                Many Nazi criminals "received light punishment, no punishment at all, or received compensation because Western spy agencies considered them useful assets in the Cold War," the IWG team stated after releasing 18,000 pages of redacted CIA material. (More installments are pending.)

                These are "not just dry historical documents," insists former congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, a member of the panel that examined the CIA files. As far as Holtzman is concerned, the CIA papers raise critical questions about American foreign policy and the origins of the Cold War.

                The decision to recruit Nazi operatives had a negative impact on U.S.-Soviet relations and set the stage for Washington's tolerance of human rights' abuses and other criminal acts in the name of anti-Communism. With that fateful sub-rosa embrace, the die was cast for a litany of antidemocratic CIA interventions around the world.

                The Gehlen Org

                The key figure on the German side of the CIA-Nazi tryst was General Reinhard Gehlen, who had served as Adolf Hitler's top anti-Soviet spy. During World War II, Gehlen oversaw all German military-intelligence operations in Eastern Europe and the USSR.

                As the war drew to a close, Gehlen surmised that the U.S.-Soviet alliance would soon break down. Realizing that the United States did not have a viable cloak-and-dagger apparatus in Eastern Europe, Gehlen surrendered to the Americans and pitched himself as someone who could make a vital contribution to the forthcoming struggle against the Communists. In addition to sharing his vast espionage archive on the USSR, Gehlen promised that he could resurrect an underground network of battle-hardened anti-Communist assets who were well placed to wreak havoc throughout the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

                Although the Yalta Treaty stipulated that the United States must give the Soviets all captured German officers who had been involved in "eastern area activities," Gehlen was quickly spirited off to Fort Hunt, Va. The image he projected during 10 months of negotiations at Fort Hunt was, to use a bit of espionage parlance, a "legend" --one that hinged on Gehlen's false claim that he was never really a Nazi, but was dedicated, above all, to fighting Communism. Those who bit the bait included future CIA director Allen Dulles, who became Gehlen's biggest supporter among American policy wonks.

                Gehlen returned to West Germany in the summer of 1946 with a mandate to rebuild his espionage organization and resume spying on the East at the behest of American intelligence. The date is significant as it preceded the onset of the Cold War, which, according to standard U.S. historical accounts, did not begin until a year later. The early courtship of Gehlen by American intelligence suggests that Washington was in a Cold War mode sooner than most people realize. The Gehlen gambit also belies the prevalent Western notion that aggressive Soviet policies were primarily to blame for triggering the Cold War.

                Based near Munich, Gehlen proceeded to enlist thousands of Gestapo, Wehrmacht, and SS veterans. Even the vilest of the vile -- the senior bureaucrats who ran the central administrative apparatus of the Holocaust -- were welcome in the "Gehlen Org," as it was called, including Alois Brunner, Adolf Eichmann's chief deputy. SS major Emil Augsburg and Gestapo captain Klaus Barbie, otherwise known as the "Butcher of Lyon," were among those who did double duty for Gehlen and U.S. intelligence. "It seems that in the Gehlen headquarters one SS man paved the way for the next and Himmler's elite were having happy reunion ceremonies," the Frankfurter Rundschau reported in the early1950s.

                Bolted lock, stock, and barrel into the CIA, Gehlen's Nazi-infested spy apparatus functioned as America's secret eyes and ears in central Europe. The Org would go on to play a major role within NATO, supplying two-thirds of raw intelligence on the Warsaw Pact countries. Under CIA auspices, and later as head of the West German secret service until he retired in 1968, Gehlen exerted considerable influence on U.S. policy toward the Soviet bloc. When U.S. spy chiefs desired an off-the-shelf style of nation tampering, they turned to the readily available Org, which served as a subcontracting syndicate for a series of ill-fated guerrilla air drops behind the Iron Curtain and other harebrained CIA rollback schemes.

                Sitting ducks for disinformation ...Third Reich veterans often proved adept at peddling data -- much of it false -- in return for cash and safety, the IWG panel concluded. Many Nazis played a double game, feeding scuttlebutt to both sides of the East-West conflict and preying upon the mutual suspicions that emerged from the rubble of Hitler's Germany.

                General Gehlen frequently exaggerated the Soviet threat in order to exacerbate tensions between the superpowers. At one point he succeeded in convincing General Lucius Clay, military governor of the U.S. zone of occupation in Germany, that a major Soviet war mobilization had begun in Eastern Europe. This prompted Clay to dash off a frantic, top-secret telegram to Washington in March 1948, warning that war "may come with dramatic suddenness."

                Gehlen's disinformation strategy was based on a simple premise: the colder the Cold War got, the more political space for Hitler's heirs to maneuver. The Org could only flourish under Cold War conditions; as an institution it was therefore committed to perpetuating the Soviet-American conflict.

                "The agency loved Gehlen because he fed us what we wanted to hear. We used his stuff constantly, and we fed it to everyone else -- the Pentagon, the White House, the newspapers. They loved it, too. But it was hyped-up Russian bogeyman junk, and it did a lot of damage to this country," a retired CIA official told author Christopher Simpson, who also serves on the IWG review panel and was author of "Blowback: America's Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War."

                CONTINUED, PART 2

                URL for this article: http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/gehlen2.htm [emperors-clothes.com]

                WORST KEPT SECRETS OF THE BUMBLING BEAR - PART 2 (of 2)

                (Note: Mr. Lee's article continues here)

                UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES

                Members of the Gehlen Org were instrumental in helping thousands of fascist fugitives escape via "ratlines" to safe havens abroad --often with a wink and a nod from U.S. intelligence officers.

                Third Reich expatriates and fascist collaborators subsequently emerged as "security advisors" in several Middle Eastern and Latin American countries, where ultra-right-wing death squads persist as their enduring legacy. Klaus Barbie, for example, assisted a succession of military regimes in Bolivia, where he taught soldiers torture techniques and helped protect the flourishing cocaine trade in the late 1970s and early '80s.

                CIA officials eventually learned that the Nazi old boy network nesting inside the Gehlen Org had an unexpected twist to it. By bankrolling Gehlen the CIA unknowingly laid itself open to manipulation by a foreign intelligence service that was riddled with Soviet spies. Gehlen's habit of employing compromised ex-Nazis -- and the CIA's willingness to sanction this practice -- enabled the USSR to penetrate West Germany's secret service by blackmailing numerous agents. ...Slow to recognize that their Nazi hired guns would feign an allegiance to the Western alliance as long as they deemed it tactically advantageous, CIA officials invested far too much in Gehlen's spooky Nazi outfit. "It was a horrendous mistake, morally, politically, and also in very pragmatic intelligence terms," says American University professor Richard Breitman, chairman of the IWG review panel.

                More than just a bungled spy caper, the Gehlen debacle should serve as a cautionary tale at a time when post-Cold War triumphalism and arrogant unilateralism are rampant among U.S. officials. If nothing else, it underscores the need for the United States to confront some of its own demons now that unreconstructed Cold Warriors are again riding top saddle in Washington.

                [MR. LEE'S ARTICLE ENDS HERE]

                *** (C) 'San Francisco Bay Guardian,' Reprinted for Fair Use Only ***

                FURTHER COMMENTS ABOUT THE 'GUARDIAN' ARTICLE
                ONE: CONCERNING FALSE INFORMATION
                by Jared Israel

                Mr. Lee writes that General Gehlen passed Washington false information about a supposed Soviet buildup and adds that:

                "Gehlen's disinformation strategy was based on a simple premise: the colder the Cold War got, the more political space for Hitler's heirs to maneuver. The Org could only flourish under Cold War conditions; as an institution it was therefore committed to perpetuating the Soviet-American conflict."

                First, this is speculation presented as fact. Who knows whether Gehlen invented any particular piece of misinformation, or whether someone in the CIA instructed him to 'invent' it.

                Second, so what if CIA Nazis sometimes made false reports to heighten tensions or make themselves look good. That sort of thing is always possible in intelligence organizations. (Graham Greene's wonderful novel, 'Our Man in Havana,' is about a British intelligence 'asset' in Cuba who manufactures an entire spy network to keep himself employed.)

                Indeed, the CIA is itself famous for telling tall tales about the misdeeds of those resisting U.S. domination. Such statements help create a provocative atmosphere in which aggressive policies seem justified.

                The question is not whether the Nazis sometimes misled Washington, or whether Soviet intelligence could sometimes use the Nazis against Washington. The question is: what were and are Washington's plans?

                Did Washington want to crush the Soviet Union and install puppet governments throughout Eastern Europe and the Balkans? Does Washington now wish to turn the Balkans into a safe rear while it moves NATO bases up to Russian borders in order to facilitate 'low intensity war' against Russia? I would argue that the answer to both questions is: yes.

                The Nazi apparatus was and remains useful in carrying out these strategies.

                TWO: HOW MUCH 'INVESTMENT IN NAZISM' IS TOO MUCH? OR: HOW MUCH IS JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT?

                Mr. Lee writes:

                "Slow to recognize that their Nazi hired guns would feign an allegiance to the Western alliance as long as they deemed it tactically advantageous, CIA officials invested far too much in Gehlen's spooky Nazi outfit. 'It was a horrendous mistake, morally, politically, and also in very pragmatic intelligence terms,' says American University professor Richard Breitman, chairman of the IWG review panel."

                'Feign allegiance'? What evidence is there that the Nazis were feigning? The problem is Mr. Lee is proceeding from his assumption that Washington made a mistake in recruiting the Nazis. This assumption is wrong; that is, it is plainly contradicted by the evidence he presents. Like many people, he finds it awkward to change his assumptions; so instead he offers, by way of compromise, this notion that the Nazis were insincere. (Am I alone in finding that the mind boggles at the notion of the insincere Nazi?)

                And what if these Nazis did sometimes feign loyalty? Many employees 'feign allegiance.' The question the employer asks is: are they getting the job done.

                Says Mr. Lee, "CIA officials invested far too much in Gehlen's spooky Nazi outfit." Earlier he refers to the "Gehlen gambit." And elsewhere he comments that this was "more than a bungled spy caper"!

                This language suggests that that Mr. Lee, like so many Americans, does not fully grasp what is involved here. The 'people' whom Allen Dulles and Co. rescued and recruited into the CIA were not spooky. This was not simply 'more than a bungled spy caper.'

                These unimaginably vicious thugs were rescued to do a job.

                Therefore the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had at the core of its field staff, from the time of its creation, mass murderers. They were used all over the world to do what they had done during World War II.

                What had they done during World War II? What skills did they bring to the CIA?

                Let us consider the Croatian Ustashe. These henchmen of a clerical-fascist regime (the term "clerical" is used to describe the Ustashe because the Catholic clergy controlled this fascist movement) carried out the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and 'Gypsies.'

                "The Ustasa regime in Croatia and particularly this drive... to exterminate and dispossess the Serbs, was one of the most horrendous episodes of World War II. The murder methods applied by Ustasha were extraordinarily primitive and sadistic: thousands were hurled from mountain tops, others were beaten to death or had their throats cut, entire villages were burned down, women raped, people sent on death marches in the middle of winter, and still others starved to death..." ('Encyclopedia of the Holocaust,' Macmillan Publishing Company, 1995)

                Members of the Ustashe were among those whom U.S. intelligence 'rescued' and whose ranks swelled the CIA and other U.S. covert and semi-covert organizations.

                THREE: WAS THE NAZI-CIA MARRIAGE A 'HORRENDOUS MISTAKE'?

                Mr. Lee quotes IWG panel member Professor Richard Breitman to the effect that the CIA-NAZI marriage was a:

                "horrendous mistake, morally, politically, and also in very pragmatic intelligence terms."

                What does it mean for Professor Breitman to describe as a mistake something that was elaborately planned? The recruitment of Nazi's required the movement of thousands of war criminals, setting them up with new identities and financing them for half a century at a cumulative cost of billions of dollars. In the late 1980s and early 1990s they were dispatched with their children to install fascist regimes in power in Croatia and Bosnia; these regimes were universally - and amazingly - described in the Western media and by Western leaders as 'democratic'. Repatriated Nazis were used to install a government in Lithuania that honors pro-Nazi Lithuanians who during World War II massacred local Jews, Orthodox Christians and Bolsheviks.

                By what standard can all of this be described as a 'mistake'? Was it a misake because it didn't work?

                But it did work.

                Or perhaps Breitman and Lee think it was a mistake because it was evil?

                But what makes an evil policy a mistake?

                Professor Breitman is using sloppy reasoning in order, one suspects, to achieve a political effect. By labeling the Nazi-CIA marriage, with its 'ratlines' and 'captive nations', a mistake, he lets Washington off the hook. "This was counter-productive," he tells us and we think, "Well, if it was counter productive then in a sense Washington as suffered a fool's punishment."

                But in fact the U.S. Establishment never paid a price for the monstrous crime of saving the Nazis and then unleashing them, once again, on the world.

                Quite the contrary. It gained mightily from the ruthless use of Nazi monsters. It gained a ready-made apparatus in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. It gained the use of an army of covert operatives ready to carry out any crime any place in the world.

                Among other things, this apparatus helped destroy the Soviet Union, which had been a major obstacle to the U.S. drive for world domination.

                FOUR: IF NOTHING ELSE...

                The author concludes with the following comment:

                "If nothing else, it [that is, the revelations about CIA-Nazi ties] underscores the need for the United States to confront some of its own demons now that unreconstructed Cold Warriors are again riding top saddle in Washington."

                First, why should "nothing else" be done? Why does Washington have the right to set up War Crimes Tribunals to punish people (for instance, Serbian leaders like Milosevic) whose only crime is that they resisted Washington, but when it comes to Washington's own very real war crimes - such as rescuing and unleashing these Nazi monsters - "confronting some of its own demons" is sufficient? (8)

                And second, what about this "now that unreconstructed Cold Warriors are again riding top saddle in Washington"?

                "Again"?

                If by "Cold Warriors" Mr. Lee means advocates of empire, then pray tell, when did they leave the saddle? Does Mr. Lee mean that William Clinton was not an Imperial warrior, but Mr. Bush is?

                For all or part of its eight years in office, the Clinton administration waged unrelenting proxy military wars against the people of Yugoslavia, the former Soviet Union, Colombia, Congo, Rwanda, waged a war of sanctions against 70 countries, routinely bombed Iraq while starving its children, and so on. It continued to employ 'captive nations' Nazis in Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe. It greatly developed the use of the National Endowment for 'Democracy', USAID and other government and semi-private agencies and NGOs to create a Fifth Column apparatus in countries around the world.

                To be sure, the Bush administration is continuing these efforts. But the notion that Bush's foreign policy represents some sea change from Clinton's foreign policy is without foundation in fact.

                -- J.I. 21 May 2001

                FURTHER READING:

                (1) Concerning Allen Dulles and the Nazis, see: "Nazis in the Attic." The article is broken into 6 parts. Parts 3 and 5 deal specifically with Mr. Dulles.
                The article begins at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/randy/swas1.htm [emperors-clothes.com]

                The sections that deal specifically with Allen Dulles are part 3, at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/randy/swas3.htm [emperors-clothes.com]
                and part 5 at:
                http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/randy/swas4.htm#5 [emperors-clothes.com]
                Part 5 also deals with involvement of the Bush family, since the 1920s, in helping the Nazis.

                (2) For a brief introduction to the ratlines see 'The Vatican, Croatia and the Nazi Gold' by Seán Mac Mathúna at
                http://www.flamemag.dircon.co.uk/the_vatican.htm [dircon.co.uk]

                (3) See excerpts from 'Blowback' by Christopher Simpson which can be read at http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Fascism/BareFists_B_CS.html [thirdworldtraveler.com] and http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Fascism/Pipelines_B_CS.html [thirdworldtraveler.com]

                (4) For more on U.S. support for Nazi butchers after World War II, see the book, "Blowback: America's Nazis and Its Effect on the Cold War" by Christopher Simpson, April 1988. You can find it on Amazon.com For more on the Nazi-like state re-created in Croatia during the early 19900s, see http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/backin.htm#a [emperors-clothes.com]

                (5) Washington was a key force in creating the Albanian secessionist movement in Kosovo. The evidence is there, every step of the way. We will soon post an article, 'Dole Does Kosovo', which documents Washington's open attempt to foster secessionism in Kosovo in 1990. Eight years later, Washington used the cover of the Kosovo Verification Mission to import intelligence operatives and military experts to (attempt to) train the Kosovo Liberation Army so it could function as a modern Army. See:
                * 'The Cat is Out of the Bag' by Jared Israel at http://emperors-clothes.com/news/ciaaided.htm [emperors-clothes.com] .

                and
                * 'Why Albanians Fled Kosovo During NATO Bombing' at http://emperors-clothes.com/interviews/keys.htm [emperors-clothes.com]

                This interview includes information unavailable elsewhere. It is well worth reading if you want to understand just how sophisticated and ruthless 'poor, mistake-prone' Washington really is.

                (6) For more on General Gehlen, see
                http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/gehlen2-a.htm [emperors-clothes.com]

                (7) The assault on Yugoslavia has occasioned perhaps the most extreme examples of the Washington's foreign policy doctrine, which might be paraphrased as follows: "The lie is mightier than the sword."

                Case in point: the Kosovo Liberation Army.

                The U.S. and Germany created this terrorist group. It's strategy, as described by the pro-NATO publication, 'Jane's Defense Weekly', was and remains: to commit acts of terror in order to provoke a government response which can be misportrayed as ethnic repression and thereby used to justify NATO intervention.

                In other words, the KLA is openly terrorist. In addition it is openly racist - it appeals to and encourages hatred of Slavs (especially Serbs) and 'Gypsies.'

                Here's the point: At a rally two years ago, Senator Joe Lieberman described this bunch of terrorist-Nazis as follows:

                "[The] United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and principles ... Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values." ('Washington Post,' April 28, 1999)

                The lie is mightier than the sword.

                For more on Senator Joe Lieberman, see 'SENATOR JOE LIEBERMAN - APOLOGIST FOR THE FASCIST KLA' at
                http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/garris/duringthe.htm [emperors-clothes.com]

                8) On Slobodan Miloshevich, see 'KLA Attacks Everyone. Media Attacks...Miloshevich?' Can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/expan.htm [emperors-clothes.com]

                and "Statement of President Slobodan Milosevic on The Illegitimacy of The Hague 'Tribunal'" Can be read at http://www.icdsm.org/more/aug30.htm [icdsm.org]

Re:Germany (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193158)

How long before the gestapo packages up a Linux live CD with Skype preinstalled and distrubutes it as secure?

Fixed

Re:Germany (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194936)

this is moderately funny. it is also insightful. people are forgetting that you don't have to have a computer any more to use skype. what about those who purchase skype enabled phones that connect to your home router? or skype wifi phones? those phones do come with some sort of OS installed and skype software. who is to say that the makers of the phones won't eventually modify the phones they sell to add the 'features' that the police or government want them to have when distributing to say, Germany... and soon after America (if it isn't already here as might seem likely)?

Re:Germany (4, Insightful)

trewornan (608722) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193182)

Germany still seems to have a lot of it's old attitudes lying around.

Yeah, because other governments would never do something like this - talk about naive. Did anybody here not realise that skype calls were going to be intercepted?

Re:Germany (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193258)

Skype pretty much admits allowing wire-taps by refusing to answer whether they do or not, and given the law that makes them do it, and the current administration's love of secret Internet monitoring, you pretty much have to assume your Skype calls are about as public as Slashdot. What's interesting about this article is to find the Germans doing it. They had seemed so progressive lately, I'm quite surprised.

Naive people..... (2, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194148)

> talk about naive. Did anybody here not realise that skype calls were going to be intercepted?

That is exactly why all the uproar. Too many stupid people looked at the magic encryption pixie dust eBay was splashing around Skype and thought it was safe. A closed implemntation of crypto by a closed corporation subject to the laws of most countries by virtue of being a multi-national. If the crypto didn't have bugs[1] a court order from any jurisdiction eBay does business in would be all that is needed to open calls to police ears.

If you want security it has to come from public crypto protocols implemented by open software running on open platforms. And even then, after you install openBSD, and carefully encrypt all of the partitions (even swap), you better make damned sure you keep physical control lest somebody install a keylogger and recover the passphrases.. and 'they' almost certainly can even manage it in laptops or handhelds!

[1] A really big IF, requiring a 'willing suspension of disbelief' if ever anything did to buy.

Re:Germany (5, Insightful)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193322)

As someone else has pointed out, it is legal in Germany for police to monitor phone calls, when they get appropriate authorization from a judge. Contrast this with the United States, where the administration is trying to award retroactive immunity to itself and telcos for years of illegal phone surveillance.

Re:Germany (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194266)

is trying to award retroactive immunity to itself and telcos for years of illegal phone surveillance.

The key word being "TRYING" (though they may get it). Keep in mind that it was 4 years only, not YEARS. Basically, it was just this admin, started in 2002 and was finished by 2006. Hopefully the dems will NOT allow this to go unpunished.

Re:Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22194528)

Keep in mind that it was 4 years only, not YEARS.

> 1 year = "years"

4 > 1

Do you have a problem with plurals..?

Re:Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22195104)

Not the OP, but as 'years' is a minimum of 2*(1 year), then it could accurately be said to have been going on for years and years.

Re:Germany (4, Insightful)

Yahma (1004476) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194436)

My thoughts exactly. While our administration has allowed for unwarranted illegal wiretapping with full cooperation from most of the major telco's, the American public is mostly either unaware of the issue, or seemingly apathetic. The German public, on the otherhand, is almost in an uproar over the revelations that the German gov't can/may listen in on Skype calls LEGALLY.

The difference in public reaction is likely due to the histories of our respective nations. The Germans populace went through a period where a lunatic dictator brought on the downfall of the nation. Today in Germany, school children from age 5 upwards learn about this terrible time in the Nation's history and because of the openness and recognizance of today's germany with respect to its recent history, its population are very very wary of allowing Government too much power over its people. In the US, on the otherhand, the government have been passing laws stripping our privacy using 9/11 as justification. The recent realization that there will be little to no backlash from the American populace as a whole has only encouraged our government to continue with such laws as the "Patriot Act" that slowly strip away our rights and give the Executive Branch ever more power.

Same old same old (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193398)

The Nazis spied on the German people, the communists spied on the German people, and now this supposedly "democratic" is following their lead. The more things change...

Re:Germany (5, Insightful)

hkl387 (565152) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194704)

This is not about Germany's past, this is a global issue of today.

According to a 2007 International Privacy Ranking [privacyinternational.org] , there is "weakened protection" in Germany, while the UK and the US are ranked as "endemic surveillance societies".

Yes, we are very concerned about German authorities pushing to weaken our rights, but we also need to understand that Citizen's rights are under attack all around the world these days. Stereotypes are not helpful, we've got to stand up for our rights together.

so what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193096)

They already have the ability to spy on you for normal phone calls. This just does the same thing for skype. In fact it's less bad since they can't do it on a mass scale; they have to come to the house of the person they want to install on or risk no knowing enough about your computer systems. What's the big hype? It's a very clear lesson; if you can't afford to protect your machine physically (and very few of us can afford that against something as powerful as the German Govt.) then you can't be 100% sure of your security.

The key thing is that they need a court to approve monitoring and have due legal process. This is what sets Germany apart from totalitarian societies like Saudi Arabia, China, the USA and Sudan.

Re:so what? (1)

cozziewozzie (344246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193232)

The key thing is that they need a court to approve monitoring and have due legal process. This is what sets Germany apart from totalitarian societies like Saudi Arabia, China, the USA and Sudan.


In reality, however, one only has to claim that something you do, or something you know does, or something somebody who knows somebody who knows you does, is somehow unconstitutional, and they can listen to all your communications. You won't even know about it.

So, in practice, there is little fundamental difference, though Germany certainly treats dissidents better than China, Sudan, etc.

Re:so what? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193764)

Well, when you're being investigated because you were accused of a crime (I think it takes more than a mere accusation to get a warrant though) it's pretty normal that the police searches your property, no?

Why should we be surprised? (5, Insightful)

trelayne (930715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193102)

If Germany can do it, do we really think it hasn't already been done in the states? Skype, is very popular and would be a logical means for governments to monitor conversations---especially when said program touts itself as being encrypted and secure. So the German revelations are likely a national security goof.

news??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193212)

if you can get any kind of malware on a computer, you don't need to decrypt anything!
this is your another trojan. nothing more...
uhm... i wonder if anti-virus companies will trust this one or not :)

Re:Why should we be surprised? (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193470)

If Germany can do it, do we really think it hasn't already been done in the states?
Skype, is very popular and would be a logical means for governments to monitor
conversations---especially when said program touts itself as being encrypted and
secure. So the German revelations are likely a national security goof.
More than that, while the Germans have to install this aftermarket snooping program, it wouldn't surprise me if Ebay provided a convenient backdoor in the code so that the U.S. government can do the same thing without going to all the trouble and expense (both of third-party software, and warrants).

How exactly Skype implements encryption has never been made public. Anyone using it for secure communications is a fool. The only person it's good against is some script kiddie on your LAN or in the coffee shop where you're using a hotspot. The only person calling it "secure" is Skype/Ebay, and since they haven't opened the code up for auditing by disinterested third parties (someone like, say, Bruce Schneier), it's really not guaranteed to be anything more than snake oil.

For all you know, every time you make a call, Skype could be forwarding the key to a central server and then sending them in bulk to the FBI. That's the price of using a closed-source security product where the vendor has an obvious interest in selling you out to the authorities.

Re:Why should we be surprised? (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194820)

Or, even IF Skype is not sending data to the FBI all the gov would have to do is get a spy on the inside, pilfer some documentation, send it to the NSA and presto they will have all they need to clandestinely monitor skype conversations.

da (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193104)

Da, zis ceetezens arse iz goodentite.

Nothing is secure if your machine is compromized (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193144)

This is what I hate about so-called security "holes." Nothing is secure if your machine is compromised with malware. TruCrypt, SSL, PGP, encrypted Skype, and anything else are only as secure as the morons using them and the box(es) they are running on.

Skype and firewalls. (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193148)

If the German authorities know how to use Skype as a trojan, then I'll bet that others do too.
I'm not too familiar with skype and its relation to firewalls but wasn't there an article or two(and this [cyberciti.biz] ) about Skype's ability to use voodoo to penetrate firewalls? Any alternative clients? I'm not by any means an expert, by the way :)

Re:Skype and firewalls. (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193816)

Skype falls back to http and https if you don't open the ports it "needs". Close http and https. That's it.... Of course, if you do that, you cannot use Skype anymore ;-) Nor the rest of the web. ;-) It also supports UPnP, but that's a security hole in itself. UPnP is a way for devices to make holes in a firewall on a by-demand basis.

Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (4, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193168)

Does anyone know how a man-in-the-middle attack against SSL, as mentioned in the article, is supposed to work?

The only possibility that I can see is to modify the browser itself, so that when the user tries to get a secure connection to www. criminals.com, the browser contacts www. police.de instead, gets a valid certificate from the police, while the police's computer then makes a secure connection to www. criminals.com.

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (2, Informative)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193190)

mac spoofing, arp poisoning, dns spoofing, and a fake certificate

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (3, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193310)

mac spoofing, arp poisoning, dns spoofing, and a fake certificate
Yes, I forgot that if they are able to install software on your computer, they might also be able to install a root certificate created by the police, and send you a kind-of-genuine certificate for www.terrorists.com, signed by www.police.de. Or they _might_ be able to convince a certificate authority to give them an actual, valid certificate for www.terrorists.com, which would be a bit worrying.

With a minute of thinking: The first method would be much better, because they don't need to know ahead who I am going to contact.

With another minute of thinking: My computer has for example four Verisign root certificates installed. Does that mean that Verisign (I only take them as an example) could technically install a box with a computer into the phone line 50 meters away from my house, and do a man-in-the-middle attack by creating genuine Verisign certificates for any SSL connection that I make, without breaking into my home or doing anything to my computer at all? And the only trace that I would have would be the curious fact that everyone I contact uses certificates signed by Verisign?

With a further minute of thinking: My computer has about 100 root certificates installed that came with Leopard, and similar things happen for Windows users. I have no idea where these certificates come from; I just have to trust Microsoft and Apple. If the police could convince Microsoft and Apple to put a root certificate owned by the police into their installers, then the police could read anyone's SSL connections without breaking into their homes (but breaking into their connection a bit further down the line)?

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (1)

throwaway18 (521472) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193932)

If they have access to your computer to install an extra root certificate they could also patch your web browser to not check root certificates.

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194906)

Yes, I forgot that if they are able to install software on your computer, they might also be able to install a root certificate created by the police, and send you a kind-of-genuine certificate for www.terrorists.com, signed by www.police.de. Or they _might_ be able to convince a certificate authority to give them an actual, valid certificate for www.terrorists.com, which would be a bit worrying.
If they DNS spoof and redirect traffic to one of their servers, and have a valid certificate for "whateversite.com" issued by Verisign, you'd get no warning at all. I doubt this would even have to be at the physical layer.

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (3, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193290)

To redirect the user from www.criminals.com to www.police.de, they only have to intercept DNS calls (unless the criminals have edited their /etc/hosts or Windows equivalent, but if they get a trojan in, that shouldn't be too hard to change as well). The only thing which might be problematic is to get a valid certificate. But then, they probably can get that by just connecting themselves (which they'll do anyway if they do a man-in-the-middle). AFAIK the certificate only contains the domain name, not the server IP, so since the browser thinks it's connected with www.criminals.com, it will accept the original certificate for the fake server. I'm no SSL expert, though, so I may be missing something here.

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (1)

mugenjou (912908) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193616)

I'm no SSL expert, though, so I may be missing something here.
Yes. You need the private part of the server certificate to be able to decrypt the transferred data - in other words: your own certificate.

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193674)

When you connect they send you a PUBLIC key, and they encode the message with their PRIVATE key... you can decode the messages, but if you encode it with the public key, it can't be decoded with the public key again: you'll need the private key...
So you can't do that.

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193950)

If they pass through the original certificate, how do they decrypt the communications?

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193414)

It would only require substituting your certificate for the certificate of the site they are trying to connect to. Then you make your own connection to the site and pass data between it and the client.

Usually this can be detected because the certificate is not going to match the remote site. However, it depends on how Skype is implemented. Skype may not check that the cert matches or maybe if the snoopers were somehow able to get a valid cert from one of the trusted CA's then the user would never know.

Generally speaking most developers implement their crypto poorly and it wouldn't surprise me if Skype has problems.

In this case it sounds like they are doing stuff locally on the client machine (via trojan) so they pretty much have free reign to do anything. I don't even know why they would need to do a man-in-the-middle attack.

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (1)

slarrg (931336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193464)

This is much more simple than most people realize. Think about it, your ISP has one gateway which passes all traffic between you and the Internet. If this gateway begins to spoof traffic, maybe because the government secretly forces the ISP to do so, you'd have no way to know it was happening. Each time you make a request for a page in the web, this gateway could retrieve the page from the remote server and then pass it to you and you'd have no verification that it was not correct. In the case of SSL, the server would send you a bogus certificate that seems to come form Verisign and seems to be for the domain you're contacting and you'd have no way of verifying that it was, in fact, fake. The actual certificate would be used by the gateway to connect to the other server then the contents of the page are encrypted with the fake certificate you were given by the gateway. all requests to the certificate authority would simply be spoofed to the gateway's own certificates and you'd never know the difference.

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194640)

In the case of SSL, the server would send you a bogus certificate that seems to come form Verisign and seems to be for the domain you're contacting and you'd have no way of verifying that it was, in fact, fake.

Really? I thought that was the whole point of PKI and certificates. A bogus certificate would not validate and you would know. In the case of a web browser, you would normally see a dialog box that indicates that the certificate cannot be verified. Most users have by now been conditioned like Pavlov's dogs to just ignore this message and proceed forward, but that isn't the fault of the protocol. Once that happens it's "game over man, game over".

Now what happens within the Skype application when an SSL certificate cannot be validated is known only to the developers of Skype. If, for the sake of "convenience", they ignore it, then a man in the middle attack would indeed be possible and the user would not know the difference.

Either that or the interceptors have gotten a legitimately signed certificate for the site in question from the root CA. If this were true and someone was able to prove it, it would seriously undermine the entire trust model used for the most common form of encrypted communication on the internet.

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193528)

Does anyone know how a man-in-the-middle attack against SSL, as mentioned in the article, is supposed to work?

Probably in the same way that governments perform any other interception methods, full cooperation from corporations.

Look at who Narus, the manufacturer of big honkin' communication vacuums that the NSA has installed at ATT and other telco's, partners with:

http://www.narus.com/partners/index.html [narus.com]

VeriSign offers the entire suite of Narus products to its global customer base as managed services or licensed software. This includes capabilities for security, traffic analysis and lawful intercept.


IIRC, Verisign and it's subsidiaries like Network Solutions, employs and is managed by people formerly part of the intelligence community. Given what we know about ATT and the NSA, it's really not at all surprising that the government would have copies of valid certs that would allow transparent monitoring of SSL traffic.

Re:Man-in-the-middle against SSL? (1)

Mr. Mosty-Toasty (449993) | more than 6 years ago | (#22195456)

As far as I understand the PDF, it is not a MITM attack. It is a plugin or modification for IE and Firefox that will redirect HTTPS traffic and keys to a proxy server where it can be read by the police.

How does this affect admissibility? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193184)

Germany has/had some wonderful privacy legislation, but in the last year or so they're heading in the other direction...

What's interesting here is the collection of evidence by installing spyware: if forensic analysis of a disk means absolutely nothing may be installed/changed/touched on the disk, how are they allowed to install their own software? does this invalidate any evidence they collect for use in a court, or are civil law courts a bit more flexible with such things?

Secondly, the problem here doesn't appear to be with Skype at all. As with any encryption, it doesn't matter how safely you transfer your data, you still have to read/write/speak/listen to it unencrypted. No program can pull that off without requiring you to write your messages or speak encrypted.

"how are they allowed to install their own..." (2, Insightful)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193324)

"....software?"

Good question. The best answer is, the bavarian minister has exactly no idea of software and how it works. He shares his unknowledge with his federal counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble, the guy responsible for the so called "Federal Trojan" (Bundestrojaner).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Sch%C3%A4uble [wikipedia.org]

Re:How does this affect admissibility? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193332)

Of course you could simply do that by having a piece of hardware between your microphone and computer which encrypts the sound before it enters the computer, and another one between computer and earphones which decrypts again. In that case the unencrypted voice data wouldn't even enter the computer, so no sort of software could intercept it.

Indeed, the sender and receiver hardware could even communicate over the sound connection, in order to provide an SSL-like authorization protocol.

Re:How does this affect admissibility? (1)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193474)

I don't think the common 15-$-earphones match the price to contain the logic for encryption between computer an earphone/mic. But a hardware solution is not the question here, because the ministry said explicitely that they want to use software. hides much better than a strange piece of electronics which appears out of the nothing at your line-in.

Re:How does this affect admissibility? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193566)

Well, my reply was about the "speaking encrypted" part. I probably should have been more explicit about that. My point is, if you do it in hardware outside your computer (and if you are really interested in having safely encrypted communication, you'll likely be willing to invest more than $15 for that), then even a trojan will not have a chance to get at the decrypted data. It will be as-if speaking encrypted (except that someone might physically replace your hardware, of course, but that can't be done remotely; also you could take that hardware with you and only plug it in when you want to make an encrypted call).

Re:How does this affect admissibility? (1)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193632)

Maybe it was may fault and my English isn't good enough ;-D But somewhere between Skype and the earphone's driver (you probably need one) the data must be "clear speak" to handle it over to Skype, and at this point the trojan could hook into. Or there must be a interface in Skype implemented, to receive/send encrypted audio streams directly to a headphone.

Re:How does this affect admissibility? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193736)

Of course Skype doesn't come with that extra hardware. The extra hardware I'm speaking of would sit in between your microphone and the microphone jack of your computer (and the same foe your earphone). The audio data your computer (including your earphone driver) received would already be encrypted.

Yes, that's not hardware you get as standard with your computer, but I'd be very surprised if it didn't already exist. After all, conceptionally it's damn easy: Digitize the original sound, encrypt it, and then modulate it into sound waves again, and the reverse at the other end. Each single step is already standard technology, you just have to put it together.

Re:How does this affect admissibility? (1)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193818)

I understand your point and what you mean. But my point is, as long as Skype has no interface to receive send/encrypted audiostreams directly to/from your earphone/mic, the datastream exists somewhere in an unencrpyted form in your computer, otherwise Skype wouldn't be able to handle the datastream. Probably between the drivers of the earphone/mic and the Skype application. Enough for a well written trojan to catch the data. That means your secure hardware attached to the computer is senseless as long Skype doesnÄt support such hardware directly. And even it would support it, you have to trust Skype's programmers since it's closed source*.

*OK, that's not the problem in this case, because they're an US company, and not an German one.

Re:How does this affect admissibility? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193938)

Well, for Skype the externally encrypted audio stream would just be an audio stream like any other (it would encrypt it again, but that wouldn't actually matter). It doesn't have to support your external audio encryption, it just has to faithfully submit your externally encrypted audio stream.

Skype is not securely encrypted. (5, Informative)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193186)

Skype is not securely encrypted. The only client is closed source, and the protocol is not open, nor peer-reviewed. The developers themselves have said that security analysts would probably quickly find holes if they opened the source.

It is less likely that thieves and spies, etc, will be able to eavesdrop on your Skype conversations than with a plain old phone. But don't treat it as secure communications.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype [wikipedia.org]

Re:Skype is not securely encrypted. (2, Interesting)

PGillingwater (72739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193426)

I would have to take issue with your statement.

According to this: http://www.ossir.org/windows/supports/2005/2005-11-07/EADS-CCR_Fabrice_Skype.pdf [ossir.org]

Skype seems to use AES for the VOIP payload, and RC4 for signaling packets.

Naturally, although AES is an excellent algorithm, it will fail if the implementation is weak, especially in the key handling.

I agree that the code is largely obfuscated, and without open source, it would be a nightmare to expect to rely on its security.

However, there was an "independent" review of Skype, which I understand was able to review the source code.

See: http://www.skype.com/security/files/2005-031%20security%20evaluation.pdf [skype.com] for what appears to be the definitie analysis (as of 2005.)

Maybe things have changed since then? I would be surprised if the German government and its subcontractors have seriously been able to compromise Skype through man-in-the-middle attacks, but would not be surprised if a single end-point were compromised.

Re:Skype is not securely encrypted. (2, Informative)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194480)

It's nice that Skype is at least smart enough not to use DES, or ROT-13. AES is good encryption.

Naturally, although AES is an excellent algorithm, it will fail if the implementation is weak, especially in the key handling. I agree that the code is largely obfuscated, and without open source, it would be a nightmare to expect to rely on its security.

I couldn't agree with you more.

However, there was an "independent" review of Skype, which I understand was able to review the source code.

You put "independent" in quotes. After reading the pdf you linked to, I could see why. From the pdf:

You may imagine my delight when, in April 2005, Skype contacted me and invited me to compete for the job of performing an independent evaluation of Skype information security

Skype thinks they are hiring an independent evaluator? I wonder how many independent evaluators they had to go through before they found one who was confident in Skype's security, so that they could display how secure they are.

So to summarize, we have:

+ Skype uses a good, open, proven (no exploits yet) cryptographic algorithm
+ No security flaws have been found in Skype
+ Some guy who works for Skype testifies that Skype is good, solid code (it's worth something)
- The implementation is closed-source. Skype even goes so far as to obfuscate their code
- No independent evaluations have been done on Skype's source code
- Skype does not know what an independent evaluation is

I would recommend against using Skype if security is an issue.

Re:Skype is not securely encrypted. (2, Informative)

PGillingwater (72739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22195426)

Yes, I did quote "independent", because of the conditions under which the inspection was made.

However, before everyone rushes to judgment -- the guy who did the evaluation appears to have impressive credentials for assessing the effectiveness of implementation of encryption algorithms.

Check out his page: http://www.anagram.com/berson/ [anagram.com]

In my opinion, as a crypto dilettante, this guy Tom Berson is the real deal.

Of course, Skype showed him selected parts of the code, which may or may not be in the final product. I think the more rational among us who are interested in secure communications will generally sacrifice convenience (which Skype clearly offers) for security, and use another product which may be peer reviewed. It's also interesting to follow the money -- perhaps we could look into why eBay paid US$2.6 billion for Skype, then two years later wrote off US$1.43 billion -- one wonders if there is some US government interest served by a large USA corporation having control over the closed-source Skype code.

Having said that, I am still a heavy Skype user, and will continue to use it, as it is sufficient for my needs.

Source Audit (1)

fred911 (83970) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193206)

I don't believe for 1 minute that the "encryption" included with Skype is secure or should we say "escrow key free", do you?

Every country does that (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193228)

Please take note that every damn country in the world wants to be in control of what can happen in its territory. In the old times, when communications weren't so widespread, pervasive and fast, having a police force that patrolled the territory, a military one to protect its borders, and a secret service for those dirty jobs a government doesn't want to be associated with was enough; now it isn't anymore. Many things can be effectively done online (move money, transfer sensitive intelligence, trigger bombs, recruitment, etc), therefore the physical presence of the cop, secret agent, soldier has been replaced by the same people aided by technical tools to put them in par with the environment they're dealing with.
It's a natural development of the way every country acts in order to keep that control. Thinking that some countries don't use these methods, even those whose politicians swear they'll never use wiretapping, would be foolish.

Re:Every country does that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22194500)

May I ask why this was tagged as offtopic? Writing that in the digital information era governments want to be in control by using more modern methods than before sounds perfectly on topic to me.

Never again? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193262)

The German government finding ways to spy on its people? Gee, THAT'S never happened before.

The classic /. question..... (2, Interesting)

budword (680846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193296)

Yeah, but does it run on Linux ? Anyone know if said software will end up on your linux box ?

Skype on linux is a bad idea (2, Insightful)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193494)

It's closed, proprietary crap after all.

Re:Skype on linux is a bad idea (1)

budword (680846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22194712)

I want Linux to succeed. That means I want some companies to develop for Linux. If they take the trouble to put out a Linux version, and it works, I don't mind giving them my money. In the end, it'll only help people move to Linux, and hurt the install base that is the biggest club of a certain predatory convicted monopolist. I do prefer OSS, but I also believe that everyone has a choice to make, and sometimes, propritary software is a valid choice. People have the right to write closed source software, and other people have the right to buy it. It's their money. Posted from Kubuntu 7.10, with virtualbox running the couple of windows only apps I can't do without yet. David

I for one (4, Insightful)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193338)

am glad i live in a country where these abuses of privacy are outlawed by the constitution and the government would never even think to monitor our voice and data transmissions.

That is why I am proud to be an American. They what, Oh damn.

What about China? (2, Interesting)

Toddlerbob (705732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193344)

As pointed out in a comment above, if Germany does it, why not the USA? (Especially with all the secrecy and propensity to spy on citizens that the USA feds have these days)

I'm wondering now about China. I remember that Skype was, for a short time, on slippery footing for continued operations in the People's Republic. Then, for some reason, there was no longer a problem. I can't help but suspect that Skype may have opened up its code to China in order to continue operating there. The Chinese government lives and breathes by spying on its people (and anybody else living in its territory, of course).

On the other hand, maybe they didn't open their code, but the Chinese government figured out how to tap into communications, anyway. In the current article, the Germans have shown one way that it's possible.

Not just in Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193346)

The Dutch intelligence agency can also intercept Skype calls, or so they told the audience on a recruitment event

It isn't talking about breaking Skype's encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193390)

but rather seems to be some kind of skype-plugin that just copies all data sent to/from the original skype client. More like a trojan/keylogger...

Off topic, but important: weird CSS here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193412)

For some reason the REPLY link to this story is at the bottom of the page. It is normally just below the story itself. Is this on purpose or some kind of a bug?

FYI: MacBookPro, 2 gig RAM, OS 10.4.10, running Firefox 2.0.0.11. connection: standard DSL from Sympatico in Toronto, ON.

That explains it (1)

MacarooMac (1222684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193440)

So what we're saying is, a large percentage of the trojans and malware targeting our personal details and intercepting our computer communications channels that we constantly read about, probably originates from illegal government-telcom snooping initiatives.
Mind you, back in 1999 the FBI did bust mafioso "Little Nicky" Scarfo [cnn.com] with legally (they had a warrant) installed keylogging software. Don't think they used a trojan though. Makes you wonder what the preferred A-V package of the mafia boys is these days..?

Not Hard to get the details (1)

Cannikan (1206040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193490)

It is not hard to get the details about the Skype Interception Projects used by various governments around the world. To get a complete document of policies, procedures, and best practices, just call up your mother on skype and ask for one.

anybody who believes skype to be safe, .... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193504)

is an idiot. Do you think that the USA, England France, Germany, China, and Russia would allow its citizen to communicate without their knowing? ALL of them have the ability to listen in on the calls. Heck the fact that the calls exist in China tells you that THEY have it. Do you think they cracked it? Nope. They will simply have bought or stolen it from another country (most likely America). And I suspect that even if we (America) did not have it, we would also resort to obtaining it from elsewhere. Afterall, we tried to steal the technology for the squalls.

End to End Only (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193620)

The only encryption worth trusting is end-to-end, where at least one end is verified secure by you (because inevitably you'll have to trust the person at the other end, no matter how secure their tech is). Why would I trust Skype to be the middleman? Either to ensure the encryption works, or not to allow backdoors (designed or unexpected) in their carriage of the signals.

When the network and all its intermediary nodes don't have to be trusted, because they just carry opaque traffic that only the endpoints can decrypt, that's worth calling "secure".

In the meantime, what can be cracked by a private entity can also be cracked by public entities, like police. But of course the police must be bound by oversight. In the US, that would mean no peeking without prior evidence showing probable cause, decided and kept track of by a judge, according to the law. In Germany, they might have their own way of doing it, but if it doesn't require evidence, independent control deciding whether there's enough evidence to warrant the snooping, and public oversight of the overall program and its controls, it's violating their rights. And people whose rights are violated aren't cooperative with the violators in the long run.

Wikileaks author is a jerk... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22193846)

for not poiting out in the translation that they did this because of a criminal investigation. As long as a judge has allowed telephone interception for this case there is really no reason for all this 'German Nazi history' blahblah that slashdotters love to get all worked up about.

The American people are sheep (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193960)

9-11, 9-11, they will cower in fear and let the government do whatever the hell it wants.

Er, wait a sec, did you say Germany? Hmm. Maybe we'll get to see what it looks like when an the public, enraged by the abuses of their government, shows the bastards who's boss.

Maybe, but... (2, Informative)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193970)

...they were never hired by the CIA/NSA. They were all hired by the German Government to found the Bundesnachrichtendienst (Germany's Federal Secret Service) and the MAD (Military Counter Intelligence Service) in 1956 ;-)

misinformation (1)

steveaustin1971 (1094329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22195130)

I purposely send email containing keywords the government looks for... now thinking about playing O.B.L. speaches on skype on loops..., if they want to spy, I want to make it as exspensive and annoying as possible for them to do so. Whether they do it legally or not they have proven to be untrustworthy (the government(s))
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