US tracked Wikileaks Web traffic and encouraged action against its founder: NSA leak

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US spy agency, the NSA, and its British equivalent, the GCHQ, deployed Internet surveillance technologies against Wikileaks in a campaign that also encouraged international governments to take action against the website’s founder, according to newly leaked documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The information is reported by The Intercept — the newly launched website headed by ex-Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald — and suggests that a range of tactics were used to monitor Internet traffic to Wikileaks. Operatives reportedly tapped into fiber optics cables and other parts of the ‘backbone’ of the Internet in order to collect the IP addresses of visitors to Wikileaks, details of search terms used to find the site, and more.Documents from the NSA show that Wikileaks, which rose to prominence by publishing leaked government documents, was labelled a “malicious foreign actor.”

A screengrab taken from Anticrisis Girl, a surveillance system used by the NSA, shows data captured from the Wikileaks website:

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A data collection initiative like this would have almost certainly swept up information from Internet users across the US and the rest of the world. The US administration has always maintained that it doesn’t track US citizens, but this new leak raises serious concerns about whether Wikileaks donors, supporters or even those who simply read the site once became legitimate NSA targets, as The Intercept notes:

In short, labeling WikiLeaks a “malicious foreign target” would mean that anyone communicating with the organization for any reason – including American citizens – could have their communications subjected to government surveillance.

Aside from surveillance, the leaks also suggest that the US government urged foreign regimes involved in the Afghanistan conflict to file charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Wikileaks has been a vocal critic of the war efforts in the country, and published leaked war logs.

A statement from Assange within a Wikileaks press release criticized the “reckless and unlawful behavior” of the NSA, and called on President Obama to investigate the allegations. The organization also showed its funny side by releasing a cartoon in response to the information contained within the leaked documents:

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Image via BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
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After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.

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