Monday, April 24, 2017

Japan Made Secret Deals With the NSA That Expanded Global Surveillance



As the international confrontation between the two adversaries played out publicly, behind closed doors another problem — which has never before been revealed — was developing. The U.S. and one of its closest allies, Japan, were embroiled in a dispute involving secret surveillance. Soviet officials were flat-out denying they had any role in shooting down the jet. At a spy base on Japanese territory, however, communications had been intercepted proving the Soviet military was the perpetrator. The U.S. wanted to obtain copies of the tapes but had to first receive approval from the head of a shadowy Japanese surveillance organization known as the “G2 Annex.”

After some bureaucratic wrangling, the Japanese eventually signed off on the release and the highly sensitive recordings were sent to Washington. From there, the tapes were forwarded to New York City, where U.S. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick brought them to the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan. On September 6 — just five days after the Korean Airlines jet was shot down — Kirkpatrick attended a meeting at the U.N. Security Council where she blasted the Soviet Union for telling “lies, half lies and excuses” about its involvement in the downing of the plane. She then proceeded to play the copy of the intercepted conversations, stating that the evidence was being presented in “cooperation with the government of Japan.”

The case Kirkpatrick put forward against the Soviets was irrefutable and damning. But Japan’s spying capabilities had now been exposed — and the country’s officials were not pleased about it. The G2 Annex received new orders limiting its cooperation with the U.S., which affected the NSA’s relationship with its Japanese counterparts for the better part of a decade, at least until the Cold War ended in the early 1990s.

The details about the Korean Airlines case are revealed in classified National Security Agency documents, obtained by The Intercept from the whistleblower Edward Snowden. The documents, published Monday in collaboration with Japanese news broadcaster NHK, reveal the complicated relationship the NSA has maintained with Japan over a period of more than six decades.

https://theintercept.com/2017/04/24/japans-secret-deals-with-the-nsa-that-expand-global-surveillance/

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