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Glenn Greenwald: The NSA Can 'Literally Watch Every Keystroke You Make'

'TAO is basically a unit that is designed to cultivate the most advanced hacking operations and skills of any unit, any entity on the Earth.'

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AG: So, I mean, just to be really specific, you order a computer, and it’s coming UPS, or it’s coming FedEx, and they have it redirected to their own — you know, to the NSA, and they put in the malware, the spyware, and then send it on to you?

GG: Correct. That’s what the Der Spiegel report indicates, based on the documents that they’ve published. But we’ve actually been working, ourselves, on certain stories that should be published soon regarding similar interdiction efforts. And one of the things that I think is so amazing about this, Amy, is that the U.S. government has spent the last three or four years shrilly, vehemently warning the world that Chinese technology companies are unsafe to purchase products from, because they claim the Chinese government interdicts these products and installs surveillance, backdoors and other forms of malware onto the machinery so that when you get them, immediately your privacy is compromised. And they’ve actually driven Chinese firms out of the U.S. market and elsewhere with these kinds of accusations. Congress has convened committees to issue reports making these kind of accusations about Chinese companies. And yet, at the same time, the NSA is doing exactly that which they accuse these Chinese companies of doing. And there’s a real question, which is: Are these warnings designed to steer people away from purchasing Chinese products into the arms of the American industry so that the NSA’s ability to implant these devices becomes even greater, since now everybody is buying American products out of fear that they can no longer buy Chinese products because this will happen to them?

AG: The story is reported by Jacob Appelbaum, Laura Poitras and a group of Der Spiegel reporters. Is this based, Glenn, on Edward Snowden’s revelations, the documents that he got out and shared with you and Laura Poitras?

GG: Der Spiegel doesn’t actually indicate the origin of the documents, so I’m going to go ahead and let them speak to that themselves. What I can tell you is that there are documents in the archive that was provided to us by Edward Snowden that detail similar programs. Whether these specific documents that Der Spiegel published come from them or from a different source is something I’m going to go ahead and let them address.

AG: Talk about the beginning of this piece. "In January 2010, numerous homeowners in San Antonio, Texas, stood baffled in front of their closed garage doors." Take it from there, Glenn. Glenn, are you still with us? We may have just lost Glenn. I’ll just read a little more, until we reconnect with Glenn.

“In January 2010, numerous homeowners in San Antonio, Texas, stood baffled in front of their closed garage doors. They wanted to drive to work or head off to do their grocery shopping, but their garage door openers had gone dead, leaving them stranded. No matter how many times they pressed the buttons, the doors didn’t budge. The problem primarily affected residents in the western part of the city, around Military Drive and the interstate highway known as Loop 410.

“In the United States, a country of cars and commuters, the mysterious garage door problem quickly became an issue for local politicians. Ultimately, the municipal government solved the riddle. Fault for the error lay with the United States’ foreign intelligence service, the National Security Agency, which has offices in San Antonio. Officials at the agency were forced to admit that one of the NSA’s radio antennas was broadcasting at the same frequency as the garage door openers. Embarrassed officials at the intelligence agency promised to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, and soon the doors began opening again.