Five Eyes

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The "Five Eyes", often abbreviated as "FVEY", refer to an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries are bound by the multilateral UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence.[1][2][3]

The origins of the FVEY can be traced back to World War II, when the Atlantic Charter was issued by the Allies to lay out their goals for a post-war world. During the course of the Cold War, the ECHELON surveillance system was initially developed by the FVEY to monitor the communications of the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, although it allegedly was later used to monitor billions of private communications worldwide.[4][5]

In the late 1990s, the existence of ECHELON was disclosed to the public, triggering a major debate in the European Parliament and, to a lesser extent, the United States Congress. As part of efforts in the ongoing War on Terror since 2001, the FVEY further expanded their surveillance capabilities, with much emphasis placed on monitoring the World Wide Web. The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the Five Eyes as a "supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn't answer to the known laws of its own countries".[6] Documents leaked by Snowden in 2013 revealed that the FVEY have been spying on one another's citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on domestic spying.[7][8][9][10]

Despite the impact of Snowden's disclosures, the consensus among some experts in the intelligence community holds that no amount of global concern or outrage will affect the Five Eyes relationship, which, to this day, remains the most extensive known espionage alliance in history.[11][12]

Overview[edit]

As processed intelligence is gathered from multiple sources of varying origins, the intelligence shared is not restricted to signals intelligence (SIGINT) and often involves defence intelligence as well as human intelligence (HUMINT). The following table provides an overview of most of the FVEY agencies involved in such forms of data sharing.[1]

Country Agency Abbr Role[1]
 Australia Australian Secret Intelligence Service ASIS HUMINT
Australian Signals Directorate ASD SIGINT
Defence Intelligence Organisation DIO Defence Intelligence
 Canada Chief of Defence Intelligence CDIS Defence Intelligence
Communications Security Establishment Canada CSEC SIGINT
Canadian Security Intelligence Service CSIS HUMINT
 New Zealand Directorate of Defence Intelligence and Security DDIS Defence Intelligence
Government Communications Security Bureau GCSB SIGINT
New Zealand Security Intelligence Service NZSIS HUMINT
 United Kingdom Defence Intelligence DI Defence Intelligence
Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ SIGINT
The Security Service MI5 Security intelligence
Secret Intelligence Service MI6 HUMINT
 United States Central Intelligence Agency CIA HUMINT
Defense Intelligence Agency DIA Defence Intelligence
Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI Security intelligence
National Security Agency NSA SIGINT

History[edit]

Origins (1940s–1950s)[edit]

Cover page of the first version of the secret UKUSA Agreement, which was disclosed to the public in 2011

The origins of the Five Eyes alliance can be traced back to the Atlantic Charter, which was issued in August 1941 to lay out the Allied goals for the post-war world. On 17 May 1943, the British–U.S. Communication Intelligence Agreement, also known as the BRUSA Agreement, was signed by the British and U.S. governments to facilitate co-operation between the U.S. War Department and the British Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS). On 5 March 1946, the secret treaty was formalized as the UKUSA Agreement, which forms the basis for all signal intelligence cooperation between the NSA and the GCHQ to this day.[13][14]

In 1948, the treaty was extended to include Canada, followed by Norway (1952), Denmark (1954), West Germany (1955), Australia (1956), and New Zealand (1956).[14] These countries participated in the alliance as "third parties". By 1955, the formal status of the remaining Five Eyes countries was officially acknowledged in a newer version of the UKUSA Agreement that contained the following statement:

At this time only Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be regarded as UKUSA-collaborating Commonwealth countries.[14]

The "Five Eyes" term has its origins as a shorthand for a "AUS/CAN/NZ/UK/US EYES ONLY" (AUSCANNZUKUS) classification level.[1]

Cold War (1950s–1990s)[edit]

During the Cold War, the GCHQ and the NSA shared intelligence on the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, and several eastern European countries (known as Exotics).[15] Over the course of several decades, the ECHELON surveillance network was developed to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies.[16]

During the Vietnam War, Australian and New Zealand operators in the Asia-Pacific region worked directly to support the United States, while GCHQ operators stationed in the former British colony of Hong Kong were tasked with monitoring North Vietnamese air defence networks.[17][18] During the Falklands War, the British received intelligence data from its FVEY allies such as Australia, as well as from third parties such as Norway and France.[19][20][21] In the aftermath of the Gulf War, a technician of the ASIS was used by SIS to bug Kuwaiti government offices.[20]

In the 1950s, SIS and the CIA jointly orchestrated the overthrow of Iran's Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.[22][23][24][25] In the 1960s, SIS and the CIA jointly orchestrated the assassination of the Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba.[26][27][28] In the 1970s, the ASIS and the CIA jointly orchestrated the overthrow of Chile's President Salvador Allende.[29][30][31][32] During the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, SIS and the CIA took part in Operation Yellowbird to rescue dissidents from the Chinese regime.[33]

ECHELON network disclosures (1990s–2000)[edit]

By the end of the 20th century, the ECHELON surveillance network had evolved into a global system capable of sweeping up massive amounts of private and commercial communications, including telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic. This was done through the interception of communication bearers such as satellite transmission and public switched telephone networks.[34]

In 1996, a detailed description of ECHELON was provided by New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager in a book titled "Secret Power – New Zealand's Role in the International Spy Network", which was cited by the European Parliament in a 1998 report titled "An Appraisal of the Technology of Political Control" (PE 168.184).[35] On 16 March 2000, the Parliament called for a resolution on the Five Eyes and their ECHELON surveillance network, which, if passed, would have called for the "complete dismantling of ECHELON".[36]

3 months later, the Temporary Committee on ECHELON was set up by the European Parliament to investigate the ECHELON surveillance network. However, according to a number of European politicians such as Esko Seppänen of Finland, these investigations were hindered by the European Commission.[37]

In the United States, congressional legislators warned that the ECHELON system could be used to monitor U.S. citizens.[38] On 14 May 2001, the U.S. government cancelled all meetings with the Temporary Committee on ECHELON.[39]

According to a BBC report in May 2001, "the US Government still refuses to admit that Echelon even exists".[16]

War on Terror (2001–present)[edit]

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the surveillance capabilities of the Five Eyes were greatly increased as part of the global War on Terror.

During the run-up to the Iraq War, the communications of UN weapons inspector Hans Blix were monitored by the Five Eyes.[40][41] The office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was bugged by British agents.[42][43] An NSA memo detailed plans of the Five Eyes to boost eavesdropping on UN delegations of six countries as part of a "dirty tricks" campaign to apply pressure on these six countries to vote in favour of using force against Iraq.[42][44][45]

SIS and the CIA forged a surveillance partnership with Libya's ruler Muammar Gaddafi to spy on Libyan dissidents in the West, in exchange for permission to use Libya as a base for extraordinary renditions.[46][47][48][49][50]

As of 2010, the Five Eyes also have access to SIPRNet, the U.S. government's classified version of the Internet.[51]

In 2013, documents leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the existence of numerous surveillance programs jointly operated by the Five Eyes. The following list includes several notable examples reported in the media:

  • PRISM – Operated by the NSA together with the GCHQ and the ASD[52][53]
  • XKeyscore – Operated by the NSA with contributions from the ASD and the GCSB[54]
  • Tempora – Operated by the GCHQ with contributions from the NSA[55][56]
  • MUSCULAR – Operated by the GCHQ and the NSA[57]
  • STATEROOM – Operated by the ASD, CIA, CSEC, GCHQ, and NSA[58]

In March 2014, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Australia to stop spying on East Timor. This marks the first time that such restrictions are imposed on a member of the FVEY.[59]

Future enlargement[edit]

The Five Eyes alliance is sort of an artifact of the post World War II era where the Anglophone countries are the major powers banded together to sort of co-operate and share the costs of intelligence gathering infrastructure...The result of this was over decades and decades some sort of a supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries.

Edward Snowden[6]

Germany is reportedly interested in moving closer to the inner circle of the alliance. An internal GCHQ document from 2009 said that the "Germans were a little grumpy at not being invited to join the 9-Eyes group." Germany may even wish to join the Five Eyes.[60][61]

Several members of the United States Congress such as Tim Ryan and Charles Dent are currently pushing for Germany's entrance to the Five Eyes alliance.[62]

According to Edward Snowden, the NSA has a "massive body" called the Foreign Affairs Directorate that is responsible for partnering with foreign countries.[63]

Five Eyes

As of 2014, the Five Eyes consist of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[64][65]

Nine Eyes

The Nine Eyes consist of the Five Eyes plus Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Norway.[64][65]

Fourteen Eyes

The Fourteen Eyes consist of the Nine Eyes plus Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden.[64][65] According to a document leaked by Edward Snowden, the Fourteen Eyes are officially known as SIGINT Seniors Europe, or "SSEUR".[66]

Others

Singapore, Japan, South Korea, etc.[67][68]

Domestic espionage sharing controversy[edit]

In recent years, documents of the FVEY have shown that they are intentionally spying on one another's citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on spying. [7][8][9][10][69] Shami Chakrabarti, the director of the advocacy group Liberty, claimed that the FVEY alliance increases the ability of member states to "subcontract their dirty work" to each other.[70] The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the FVEY as a "supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries".[6]

As a result of Snowden's disclosures, the FVEY alliance has become the subject of a growing amount of controversy in parts of the world:

 Canada

In late 2013, Canadian federal judge Richard Mosley strongly rebuked the CSIS for outsourcing its surveillance of Canadians to overseas partner agencies. A 51-page court ruling asserts that the CSIS and other Canadian federal agencies have been illegally enlisting FVEY allies in global surveillance dragnets, while keeping domestic federal courts in the dark.[71][72][73]

 New Zealand

In 2014, the NZSIS and the GCSB of New Zealand were asked by the New Zealand Parliament to clarify if they had received any monetary contributions from members of the FVEY alliance. Both agencies withheld relevant information and refused to disclose any possible monetary contributions from the FVEY.[74] David Cunliffe, leader of the Labour Party, asserted that the public is entitled to be informed.[74]

 European Union

In early 2014, the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs released a draft report which confirmed that the intelligence agencies of New Zealand and Canada have cooperated with the NSA under the Five Eyes programme and may have been actively sharing the personal data of EU citizens.[75][76]

List of FVEY surveillance targets[edit]

Individuals[edit]

As the surveillance capabilities of the FVEY continue to increase to keep up to pace with technological advancements, a global surveillance system has been gradually developed to capture the communications of entire populations across national borders.[77] The following list contains a handful of targets of the FVEY who are public figures in various fields. In order for a person to be included in the list, there must be well-documented evidence based on reliable sources, such as leaked or declassified documents or whistleblower accounts, which demonstrate that the person involved is, or was, intentionally targeted for FVEY surveillance.

Picture Name Lifetime Surveillance agencies Notes Ref.
Charlie Chaplin portrait.jpg Chaplin, CharlieCharlie Chaplin 1889–1977
  • MI5
  • FBI
A British comedian, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the silent era, Charlie Chaplin became one of the most important figures in the film industry through his screen persona "the Tramp". Due to his alleged ties to communism, he was placed under surveillance in the early 1950s by MI5 agents, who acted on behalf of the FBI as part of a campaign to banish him from the United States. [78][79][80]
Strom Thurmond.jpg Thurmond, StromStrom Thurmond 1902–2003
  • Various
A Dixiecrat candidate in the 1948 U.S. presidential election, Strom Thurmond represented South Carolina in the United States Senate from 1954 until 2003, when he became 100 years old and was recognized at that time as the longest-serving senator in U.S. history. In 1988, Margaret Newsham, a Lockheed employee, told a closed-door session of the United States Congress that Thurmond's telephone calls were being intercepted by the FVEY via their ECHELON surveillance system. [81][82][83]
Nelson Mandela-2008 (edit).jpg Mandela, NelsonNelson Mandela 1918–2013
  • CIA
  • SIS
A South African activist, lawyer, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, Nelson Mandela was denounced as a terrorist by critics and was placed under surveillance by British SIS agents. In 1962, Mandela was arrested after details of his terrorist activities were picked up by the CIA and handed over to local authorities. [84][85][86][87]
Jane Fonda Cannes nineties.jpg Fonda , JaneJane Fonda 1937–
  • GCHQ
  • NSA
An American actress, writer, political activist and former fashion model, Jane Fonda is the recipient of two Academy Awards, an Emmy Award and three Golden Globes. Due to her political activism, her communications as well as those of her husband, Tom Hayden, were intercepted by the GCHQ and handed over to the NSA. [88][89]
Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,.jpg Khamenei, AliAli Khamenei 1939–
  • GCHQ
  • NSA
A Shia cleric and a former President of Iran, Ali Khamenei is the current Supreme Leader of Iran. During a rare visit to Iranian Kurdistan in 2009, he and his entourage were targeted for surveillance under a high-tech espionage mission involving the analysis and processing of satellite imagery. The operation was jointly conducted by the GCHQ and the NSA. [90]
JohnLennonpeace.jpg Lennon, JohnJohn Lennon 1940–1980
  • FBI
  • MI5
A British musician, songwriter, and a lead singer of The Beatles, John Lennon engaged in anti-war activism through several iconic songs such as "Give Peace a Chance" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". In 1971, he moved to New York City to join activists in the United States to protest against the Vietnam War. Over the next 12 months, the U.S. government launched an extensive surveillance operation to monitor his activities and to deport him back to Britain. The operation was conducted by the FBI with the help of MI5. [91][92][93][94]
Olmert.jpg Olmert, EhudEhud Olmert 1949–
  • GCHQ
  • NSA
An Israeli politician, lawyer, and a former Mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert is the 12th Prime Minister of Israel. He and the Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, were included in a list of surveillance targets used by the GCHQ and the NSA. [95]
SusiloBambangYudhoyono.jpg Bambang Yudhoyono, SusiloSusilo Bambang Yudhoyono 1949–
  • ASD
  • NSA
A former chief military observer of the United Nation Peacekeeping Force in Bosnia and the former President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife were placed under surveillance by the ASD, which shared details of the operation with the NSA. [96][97][98]
Angela Merkel (August 2012) cropped.jpg Merkel, AngelaAngela Merkel 1954–
  • Various
A German politician, former research scientist, and the Chancellor of Germany since 2005, Angela Merkel's phone communications were monitored by the Special Collection Service, which is part of the STATEROOM surveillance program of the FVEY. [99][100][101]
Diana, Princess of Wales.jpg Princess of Wales, Diana,Diana, Princess of Wales 1961–1997
  • GCHQ
  • NSA
A firm opponent of the international usage of land mines, the Princess of Wales was placed under surveillance by the GCHQ and the NSA, which kept a top secret file on her containing more than 1,000 pages. The contents of Diana's NSA file cannot be disclosed because of national security concerns. [102][103][104]
Kim Schmitz cropped and edited.jpg Dotcom, KimKim Dotcom 1974–
  • FBI
  • GCSB
A German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur, businessman, and hacktivist, Kim Dotcom (born Kim Schmitz) is the founder of the file hosting service Megaupload. On behalf of the FBI, the GCSB of New Zealand conducted illegal surveillance on Dotcom. Prime Minister John Key later issued an apology for the GCSB's illegal surveillance. [105][106][107][108]

Organizations[edit]

Airlines
Broadcasting networks
Financial institutions
Multinational corporations
Oil corporations
Search engines
Telecom operators
United Nations
Universities

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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