Map in latest Edward Snowden leak points to possible NSA spy server in Thailand.
This is one of a 32-slide presentation taken from secret NSA servers by the fugitive Edward Snowden and published Thursday in the British newspaper The Guardian.
NSA internet-snooping program using Thailand
The US National Security Agency uses computer servers in Thailand to help run a massive networked collection of information about internet users, and to store and analyse the data
This is one slide from a 32-slide presentation taken from secret NSA servers by the fugitive Edward Snowden and published Thursday in the British newspaper The Guardian.
Revelations about operation XKeyscore came Thursday from Edward Snowden, America's most-wanted fugitive Russia granted Mr Snowden a one-year amnesty and he finally left the Moscow airport.
According to secret information leaked by Mr Snowden through presentation" >The Guardian newspaper, XKeyscore is a massive programme that sweeps up email, social media activity and all browsing history.
The data according to NSA slides detailing the programme, is analysed, sifted and stored on servers around the world - more than 700 servers at approximately 150 sites, as the "top secret" slide states.
A small-scale world map locates the sites with the use of red dots (see slide above). There are three dots which may also cover Myanmar, Vietnam or Cambodia. But at least one of the dots sits atop the image of Thailand.
While locating NSA spy technology in Thailand is unsurprising, few details are known. The servers would have to be large computer arrays by definition but they could be anywhere, from the US Embassy to almost any office building in Bangkok or up-country
The NSA has a long history of using Thailand in its long-range interception programmes. In the Vietnam war era, the NSA was the agency behind the huge electronic Ramasun spy station south of Udorn Thani.
The secret surveillance system known as XKeyscore, revealed by Mr Snowden and The Guardian on Thursday, allows US intelligence to monitor "nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet," according to the leaked documents
Citing classified documents provided by the fugitive the British daily said the programme was the most wide-reaching operated by the NSA.
Russia on Thursday granted Mr Snowden temporary asylum and let him leave the Moscow airport where he had been staying for almost five weeks.
Mr Snowden left Sheremetyevo airport for an undisclosed destination his Russian lawyer Anataloy Kucherena said in televised comments at the airport.
He said that Russian authorities had granted Snowden temporary asylum for one year. TV footage showed Kucherena holding up a copy of a Russian refugee ID with Snowden's photo, name, and an expiry date of July 31, 2014.
The lawyer explained that Mr Snowden's location would not be revealed because of safety concerns "He is one of the world's most-sought persons," he said. Kucherena said Snowden had left the airport in a taxi.
The Guardian said the existence of XKeyscore proves the truth of Snowden's earlier claim denied by some US officials that before he left the NSA he could "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email."
The White House insisted however, that access to such tools is only available to those who are assigned to use them and that multiple "checks and balances" are in place to prevent abuse.
"As we've explained and the intelligence community has explained, allegations of widespread, unchecked analyst access to NSA... data are false," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
The NSA on Thursday (Thailand time) also refuted as false "the implication" that its information collection is "arbitrary and unconstrained."
On its website, The Guardian published a batch of slides from what appears to be an internal US intelligence training briefing laying out the capabilities of the XKeyscore program.
The paper had blacked out four of the 32 slides because "they reveal details of specific NSA operations," but the remainder of the document lays out the operation of the programme in detail.
The slides are marked "Top Secret" and restricted to authorised personnel from the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They were produced in 2007 and not due to be declassified until 2032.
According to the slides XKeyscore allows US spies to monitor in real time the emails, web browsing, Internet searches, social media use and virtually all online activity of a target.
The system's computer infrastructure is based on a "massive distributed Linux cluster" and has "over 500" servers distributed around the world, including Thailand.
A map included in the briefing suggests that these servers are located on every continent, on the territory of US allies and of rivals like Russia, China and Venezuela.
Where XKeyscore appears to differ from other US surveillance programs that have already been revealed is that it can index and make searchable virtually any online activity.
"No other system performs this on raw unselected bulk traffic," the document boasts.
XKeyscore does not require an intelligence analyst to have a "strong selector" such as an email address to find a target - agents can work back from a general search to find an individual.
The examples it gives are if someone is using an unusual language for his area, such as German in Pakistan, or using Google Maps to scout targets for attack.
The document boasts that XKeyscore has allowed US agents to capture "over 300 terrorists" but pages that apparently relate to specific operations have been redacted by The Guardian.
The slides also say that XKeyscore is being updated to make it more powerful and faster and to broaden the range of data it can search to include, for example, the EXIF data embedded in digital photographs.
The Guardian interviewed Mr Snowden in June, when he was in Hong Kong after fleeing his job at the NSA in Hawaii carrying a trove of top secret files.
The paper did not say why it had not published details of XKeyscore in June, when it revealed the existence of a less capable US surveillance system known as Prism.
But the leak coincided with a hearing of the US Senate judiciary committee at which top intelligence officials are to be grilled by lawmakers concerned that spy agencies have exceeded the law.
The NSA in its statement acknowledged the existence of XKeyscore for the sake of clarification and said it "is used as part of NSA's lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system."
"Public release of this classified material about NSA collection systems, without context, does nothing more than jeopardize sources and methods, and further confuse a very important issue for the country," it added.
It is illegal in the United States for intelligence agencies to monitor US citizens without a court order, but Snowden's leaks have shown that Americans are regularly caught up in monitoring sweeps.
The revelations have also embarrassed Washington abroad, where some have been shocked by the extent of US internet surveillance
Writer: Online reporters with agency reports
Learn from listening
Click "play" to listen to US spying on internet in Thailand? and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.
access: having the opportunity to have or use something - มีโอกาสในการใช้
accountant: someone whose job is to prepare financial records for a company or person - นักบัญชี
agency: a government department that provides a particular service - หน่วยงานราชการ
amnesty: a situation in which a government agrees not to punish, or to no longer punish, people who have committed a particular crime - การนิรโทษกรรม
analyse: to examine the nature or structure of something, especially by separating it into its parts, in order to understand or explain it - วิเคราะห์, ศึกษา, ตรวจสอบ
approximately: used to show that something is almost, but not completely, accurate or correct - โดยประมาณ
array: a group or collection of things or people, often one that is large or impressive - การจัดเรียง, ขบวน
asylum: the right to stay in a country, given by a government to protect someone who has escaped from war or political trouble in their own country - การลี้ภัย
atop: on top of, above - บนยอด
authorities: government officials -
citing: mentioning as a reason - ให้ อ้างอิงเหตุผล
claim: saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
classified: secret government information - ที่เป็นความลับทางราชการ, ที่เปิดเผยเฉพาะเจ้าหน้าที่เท่านั้น
collection: a group of objects, often of the same sort, that have been collected (gathered together over period of time) - การสะสม การเก็บรวบรวม
comment: expressing an opinion - แสดงความคิดเห็น
concern: a worry - ความกังวล
daily: a daily newspaper, a newspaper published every day -
data: facts or information used for making calculations or decisions - ข้อมูล
definition: a statement of what a word or expression means - คำจำกัดความ,คำอธิบาย
deny: to say that something is not true or does not exist - ปฏิเสธ
destination: the place where someone or something is going - จุดหมายปลายทาง
document: a paper or set of papers with written or printed information, especially of an official type - เอกสาร
dot: a spot, a point, one small place in a larger area - จุด
embassy: a building where a group of officials work who represent their government in a foreign country - สถานทูต
existence: the state of being a real or living thing, or of being present in a particular place, time, or situation - การดำรงอยู่,การมีอยู่,การมีชีวิตอยู่,ความเป็นอยู่
expiry: the time that something is finished and expires so cannot be used anymore - การหายใจออก,การหมดอายุ,การยุติ,การตาย, วันหมดอายุ
federal: relating to the central government, and not to the government of a region, of some countries such as the United States - เกี่ยวกับสหพันธรัฐ
footage: film of a particular subject or event - ฟิลม์หรือคลิปภาพยนตร์
fugitive: someone who has been accused of doing something illegal and is trying to avoid being caught by the police - ผู้หลบหนี
grant: to give - ให้
huge: very large - ใหญ่โต
insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
intelligence: information collected about the secret plans of an enemy, criminal organisations, competitors, etc. - ข่าวกรอง ข้อมูลลับ
interception: the process of stopping, hitting, catching or controlling someone or something while they are moving - สกัดจับ
judge: someone whose job is to make decisions in a court of law - ตุลาการ, ผู้พิพากษา
lawyer: an attorney - ทนาย
leak: telling private or secret information to journalists or to the public - การเปิดเผยความลับ
located: where something is - ตั้งอยู่
long-range: not close; from a long distance - ระยะไกล
massive: very large in size, amount or number - ใหญ่โต
monitor: keep track of - ตรวจ, ติดตาม, เฝ้าสังเกต
network: a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย
officials: people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
personal: your own; not belonging to or connected with anyone else - เป็นส่วนตัว
presentation: a formal talk given to an audience on some subject or topic - การนำเสนอ, การนำเสนอข้อมูล
prove: to use facts, evidence, etc. to show that something is true - พิสูจน์
publish: to make something available to the public through books, magazines, the Internet, etc. - เผยแพร่, จัดพิมพ์
refugee: someone who leaves their country or living place, especially during a war or other threatening event - ผู้ลี้ภัย
reveal: to let something become known - เปิดเผย
revelation: a previously unknown and often surprising piece of information - การเปิดเผย
server: computer hardware and software that performs some service for all the computers on a network - เครื่องบริการ, ตัวบริการ๒. โปรแกรมบริการ [คอมพิวเตอร์]
sift: to examine something very carefully in order to decide what is important or useful or to find something important; to put flour or some other fine substance through a sieve/sifter - ค้นหา, ร่อนแยก, กรอง
slide: a presentation slide, one of a series of items (graphs, lists, text, pictures) shown to an audience during a presentation, a powerpoint slide - สไลด์ [เทคโนโลยีการศึกษา]
snoop: when someone secretly tries to get information about another person, ferret, pry - สอดรู้สอดเห็น (คำไม่เป็นทางการ), สอดแนม, สืบดู, แอบดู, ขุดคุ้ย
social media: the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. - เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์
spy: a person who secretly collects and reports information about the activities of another country or organisation - สายลับ, สายสืบ
surveillance: the process of carefully watching a person or place - การเฝ้าตรวจตราอย่างเข้มงวด
sweep up: to round up; to find and bring together a group of people or animals - ไล่จับ (ฆาตรกร, อาชญากร)
temporary: done or used for only a limited period of time, i.e., not permanent - ชั่วคราว
top secret: information that is a very important secret that no one can know about -
typical: having the usual qualities or features of a particular type of person, thing or group - เป็นแบบฉบับ, เป็นสัญลักษณ์
undisclosed: not reported publicly - ไม่เปิดเผย
up-country: in the provinces, outside of Bangkok - ที่อยู่ในชนบท, ที่อยู่ห่างไกลจากเมือง
wiretapping: the act of secretly listening to other people's telephone conversations by attaching a device to the telephone line - การดักฟัง
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