NSA's Foreign Partnerships

05/09/2014 22:50

Source: Electrospaces

 

 

For fulfilling its task of gathering foreign signals intelligence, the National Security Agency (NSA) is cooperating with partner agencies from over 35 countries all over the world.

These relationships are based upon secret bilateral agreements, but there are also some select groups in which intelligence information is shared on a multilateral basis, like the SIGINT Seniors Europe (SSEUR), the SIGINT Seniors Pacific (SSPAC) and the Afghanistan SIGINT Coalition (AFSC).

Until recently, very little was known about these foreign relationships, but the Snowden-leaks have revealed the names of all the countries that are cooperating with NSA. This made it possible to create the following graphic, which also shows various multilateral intelligence exchange groups, which will be discussed here too:


 


2nd Party Partners

The closest cooperation is between NSA and the signals intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Formally this is based upon bilateral agreements, the first being the 
UKUSA-Agreement from 1946, but soon the group got a multilateral character, which means partners can exchange information among the other members too (as far as there's a "need to know")

The five partners under the UKUSA-agreement, commonly called the 
Five Eyes, agreed that they would follow common procedures for operations and reporting, and also use the same target identification systems, equipment, methods and source designations. They would not only share end reports and analyses, but also most of the raw data they collect.

As a kind of gentlemen's agreement it is supposed that the Five Eyes countries are not spying on each other, although some of the documents from the Snowden-leaks show that at least NSA secretly keeps that option open.


Since

1946
1946
1949
1952
1952
 
Five Eyes
(FVEY)

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
New Zealand
 
Four Eyes
(ACGU)

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia

 
 
Three Eyes
(TEYE)

United States
United Kingdom

Australia

 


Despite the very close and longstanding relationship between the Five Eyes partners, two sub-groups have been formed for specific military operations in which not all five partners participate. These sub-groups are designated Four Eyes (abbreviation for classification purposes: ACGU) and Three Eyes (TEYE).

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