In a 2008 law, the FRA [Sweden’s secretive NSA-like security organization] had been given expansive powers by the Swedish government to vacuum up all communications traveling over fiber optic networks into and out of Sweden—including e-mails, text messages, and telephone calls. This was of great interest to the NSA, not least because a large percentage of Russian communications traveled through Sweden. In 2011, the Swedes began sharing their surveillance data with the NSA, which included—as NSA officials described it at the time of the meeting—a “unique collection [of communications data] on high-priority Russian targets such as leadership, internal politics, and energy.”
Good thing we oppose foreign interference in a nation’s affairs, or we might be up to all manner of mischief with this intelligence!
How likely is it Swedes are cooperating with the Deep State coup against Trump? The NSA and the FRA are tight:
Noting the Swedish spy agency’s unusual technical abilities and reputation for secrecy, NSA officials also viewed it as an ideal collaborator on its hacking and cyberwarfare project, called Quantum. One of the Quantum programs was an ambitious operation called WINTERLIGHT, which aimed at secretly hacking into high-value foreign computers and computer networks to obtain not only communications data but also any information stored on the hard drives or servers in question. Possible targets might be the administrators of foreign computer networks, government ministries, oil, defense, and other major corporations, as well as suspected terrorist groups or other designated individuals. Similar Quantum operations have targeted OPEC headquarters in Vienna, as well as Belgacom, a Belgian telecom company whose clients include the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Note “other designated individuals” leaves plenty of room for domestic political opposition. WINTERLIGHT hijacks computers, intercepts online data and enables spies to replace web pages and the like with fake ones on target computers.
According to NSA documents, WINTERLIGHT was using a complex attack strategy to secretly implant a malware program on the targeted computer or network. The NSA’s malware would then divert any signals between those computers and the Internet through “rogue” high-speed surveillance servers, called “FoxAcid” servers, allowing the NSA to access in stealth almost any of the user’s personal data—and even to tamper with data traveling from one user to another. The implications for both spying and offensive cyber operations were far-reaching. Wired has described how the attack on the Belgian telecom was able to
[map] out the digital footprints of chosen workers, identifying the IP [internet protocol] addresses of work and personal computers as well as Skype, Gmail and social networking accounts such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Then they set up rogue pages, hosted on FoxAcid servers, to impersonate, for example, an employee’s legitimate LinkedIn profile page.
The Swedes are ambitious and aggressive in their spying. The New York Review of Books article above goes on to note “[s]ignificantly, while WINTERLIGHT was a joint effort between the NSA, the Swedish FRA, and the British GCHQ, the hacking attacks on computers and computer networks seem to have been initiated by the Swedes.”
British law and qualms and Sweden’s 2008 law freeing up surveillance have allowed Sweden to elbow ahead of the UK and enjoy “bilateral” spying arrangements with the US. The nation’s self-styling as the world’s “moral superpower” may be debatable, but it’s definitely punching above its weight to rank among the surveillance superpowers. How much of this is toadying up to the US and how much of it is driven by its own self-inflicted Muslim terrorist risk? A bit of both I imagine.
The Swedes’ work with WINTERLIGHT prompted the NSA to share with it XKeyscore, which it presumably has been doing for the last five years, according to this from 2013:
Firstly, the NSA has granted the Swedish intelligence agency Försvarets Radioanstalt (the National Defense Radio Establishment known as the FRA) access to its XKeyscore program. XKeyscore is the front end that gives NSA agents and contractors the ability to search its huge databases. Using it, Edward Snowden told the Guardian in June, “I, sitting at my desk,” he said, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.”
One particular document found by SVT, headed, “SwedUSA 2013 Strategic Planning Conference” shows that the FRA is seeking an update on a Quantum project known as Winter Light, and that the FRA has access to XKeyscore.
“If the Swedish FRA now has access to the system, as the Snowden documents Indicate, this suggests that the FRA is all part of the unlimited mass surveillance of millions of people worldwide – including Swedes,” reports SVT. Gallagher also suggests, “The English public should be made aware that the FRA has access to the system,” alluding to the GCHQ Tempora program that taps the fiber cables between the UK and the US.
Trump’s election of course changes the relationship. It would be naive to think there’s no cooperation between Swedish and American deep-staters opposed to Trump. At the same time, Trump’s political and personal instincts and actions so far indicate he has no problem with aggressive spying, as this week’s surveillance bill which pertains directly to such as data derived from Sweden’s global hall monitors shows. Neither does his opposition, of course, and the bill is a rare bipartisan win.
It’s long been noted Muslim immigration necessitates government surveillance powers and that is a feature not a bug for our hostile elite. It doesn’t need to be by design: greater surveillance powers will be turned on indigenous domestic dissent, if that isn’t happening already. The surveillance state awaits its Reichstag Fire.
Sweden wants to lead the way. Things will get truly interesting if a genuinely Muslim government comes to power, a la Houellebecq, which I don’t think impossible in a place like Sweden someday, thus inheriting the spying apparatus and data.
There’s an old saying: “Faster than thin shit through a tall Swede.” Thus did things go terribly wrong for the West, historically speaking. Just like that.