According to documents released by Edward Snowden, the NSA hacked into secured communications of journalists and executives at Al Jazeera. Part of the hack was designed to reveal the identity of sources who spoke with Al Jazeera journalists.
The United States intelligence agency was so interested, in fact, that it hacked into Al Jazeera’s internal communications system, according to documents from former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowdenthat have been seen by SPIEGEL.
One such document, dated March 23, 2006, reveals that the NSA’s Network Analysis Center managed to access and read communication by “interesting targets” that was specially protected by the news organization. The information also shows that the NSA officials were not satisfied with Al Jazeera’s language analysis.
Isn’t hacking a crime? Didn’t the NSA violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), especially given their attempt to obtain protected information on a news organization that operates in the United States?
The same documents also noted a hack into Russian Airline Aeroflot’s ticketing system.
As far as Aeroflot is concerned, the hacked reservation system may not have been the last incident involving US spying on the airline. While Snowden was staying at the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, the Internet was awash with rumors that he was going to catch an Aeroflot flight headed for Cuba.
In mid-July, an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Havana deviated off course, FlightAware live flight tracking indicated. The news sparked a rash of online speculation that Snowden may have been aboard the flight.
What authority does the NSA have to hack into news organizations and airlines?
The NSA seems to believe it can commit cyber crimes with complete immunity, so have they hacked into other journalists’ communications? How about Glenn Greenwald? Why not Barton Gellman? Why not anyone asking questions about the NSA?