13 Feb, 2020 10:43
The revelation that the CIA (and German Intelligence) was in secret control of the Swiss cryptography firm Crypto AG highlights the hypocrisy of US ‘security concerns‘ over the advance of Huawei and other firms.
The very wise old saying that if you point one finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you, was classically illustrated by this week’s bombshell revelations — published in the Washington Post and on ZDF and SRF – that the CIA and BND (West Germany’s secret service) secretly owned and controlled the Swiss cryptography company Crypto. The real owners of Crypto installed ‘backdoor vulnerabilities’ in its products which allowed the US and West Germany to eavesdrop on communications — from enemies and allies alike — which the senders believed had been successfully encrypted. We’re talking here about top secret communications between leading government officials, spies, diplomats and military figures.
Just imagine that back in the 1970s or 80s you had claimed that the Crypto was a CIA front. You’d have been dismissed as a ‘crank conspiracy theorist, ’and/or ‘totally paranoid‘ by the gatekeepers of that time. But the rumours were true. Once again a ‘conspiracy theory’ has turned out to be not as barmy as once depicted. Truth again proved to be stranger than fiction.
How much intelligence was gathered via Crypto is quite staggering. As RT has reported: “Throughout the 1980s — around 40% of all government transmissions analysed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) ran through Crypto‘s devices.”
What a neat little racket. Over 120 governments of the world, but not the former Soviet Union and Communist China who, to their great credit were distrustful, made use of Crypto’s products. These governments, which included Iran, Libya, Argentina and Egypt were effectively paying the Americans and West Germans to spy on them!
The Germans bowed out of the operation in 1993, but for the next 25 years, the CIA kept it running. Which begs the question: what other US Intelligence fronts of the past and present don’t we know about?
In her 1999 book Who Paid the Piper?: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War, Frances Stonor Saunders detailed how the CIA funded a whole range of publications and artistic enterprises often through the ’Congress for Cultural Freedom’.
Literary journals (who conveniently had a pop at communism) were funded by the CIA. Modern artists were funded by the CIA. Writers, poets and philosophers were funded by the CIA.
And under ‘Operation Mockingbird’ leading journalists were basically recruited to the agency.
According to Carl Bernstein, the CIA had over 400 journalists working for them in the old Cold War.
“In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations,” the American journalist writes.
The CIA‘s own records show that, by 1991, they had relationships with “every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly and television network in the country”.
Now we know they were even behind Crypto too!
Given the organisation’s modus operandi, it is scarcely believable that the CIA doesn’t have similar ‘relationships’ and control mechanisms working today. Why wouldn’t it?
Not only should the Crypto revelations make us more aware of the CIA’s very wide reach, they should also make us see the American objections to the involvement of firms from China and Russia with developing telecommunications infrastructure and new technology in a completely different light.
The Russian anti-virus firm Kaspersky, has seen its software banned from use on US government networks, while the Chinese giant Huawei has been hit with sanctions — and warnings given to other countries about letting it build their 5G networks.
Taking the moral high ground (as always), US officials have said that Huawei could covertly access mobile-phone networks through ‘back doors’.
OMG! You mean like the US did with Crypto?
The Wall Street Journal cites the same US officials saying that “Huawei has had this secret capability for more than a decade.”
What ‘intelligence’ would that be I wonder? The CIA’s?
What seems to be the objection here is that China might end up doing what the US has been doing for years, namely spying on countries through ‘back doors’. How dare they! The hypocrisy as I’m sure you’ll agree is off the scale.
The strength of the objections — and indeed the sanctions already imposed in the US against the company tell us one thing. Huawei, unlike Crypto, Encounter magazine, the ‘National Committee for a Free Europe’, and lots of organisations we probably still don’t know about, is no CIA front.
* Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66