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INTERVIEW: EX-AGENT SAYS: ECHELON THREATENS DANISH REGISTERS - Sigint/Surveillance/Denmark
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- Subject: INTERVIEW: EX-AGENT SAYS: ECHELON THREATENS DANISH REGISTERS - Sigint/Surveillance/Denmark
- From: Bo Elkjaer <[email protected]>
- Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2000 20:05:40 +0100 (CET)
- Delivered-To: [email protected]
- Old-Subject: INTERVIEW: EX-AGENT SAYS: ECHELON THREATENS DANISH REGISTERS - Sigint/Surveillance/Denmark
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In 1972 Denmark started registering people by the socalled CPR-numbers -
Central Personal Registration-numbers. We all have one and they follow us
from birth to grave. Its a 10-digit number. First six digits being the
birth-date and year, the last four a unique code. You're not forced to
divulge the last four digits - but then again, habits have a way of
groving on people and you can't buy shit - unless w. cash of course -
without giving out the full number. All governmental (and practically
all private) registries use the CPR-number. Tax. Welfare. Criminal registers.
School-records. Anything and everything is connected to this
little 10 digit code. In 1996 the danish government privatized the
computer-company that runs the CPR databases - and sold 75 percent of the
stock to Computer Science Corporation. The remainging 25 percent was
kept by our ministry of finance. This fall CSC bought the remaining
25 percent. With this sale danish governmental representation on the board
of CSC Denmark was terminated.
The following article was printed in Ekstra Bladet in Denmark, nov. 28.
EX-AGENT: ECHELON THREATENS DANISH REGISTERS
"The NSA are spies and have no understanding of the rights of privacy. It
is like asking Pol Pot to understand the essence of human rights," says an
ex-agent to Ekstra Bladet.
"There is a great risk that highly sensitive information about Danish
citizens will end up at the American intelligence agency, the NSA," says
former spy Wayne Madsen. The NSA is the organization behind the global
surveillance network known as Echelon.
For two years he worked for the very same intelligence agency where he was
employed as a computer security expert at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade
and at RCA. And from 1990 to 1997, he was employed by a large American
company with close connections to the NSA. This company is now operating
on Danish soil.
The company is called Computer Science Corporation (CSC) where Wayne
Madsen worked for almost seven years.
Moreover with Madsen's background as a computer specialist in the American
Navy and the NSA, it wasn't difficult to get a responsible position as
special consultant for the company's Corporate Computer Staff.
"At first, I was actually quite pleased with working there, but the job
really deteriorated up through the nineties. As CSC received increasing
number of large contracts with the American military, the bad influence of
the National Security Agency became greater and greater."
WARNS AGAINST THE NSA
We meet Wayne Madsen for a couple of days in the US capital, Washington
DC. An impressive city with large white buildings, the most famous being
the White House - for which Madsen has also worked, after undergoing a
diplomatic security check.
We go for a long autumn walk. The leaves have been rustling on the trees
for weeks. It's almost like they refuse to fall off. The sky is constantly
blue, it is 18° C (64° F), and the good weather feels like it will never
Wayne Madsen has a lot of time to enjoy the good weather, because today he
doesn't have a permanent job. He works as a freelance journalist and
author and is also an active watchdog for the EPIC, a civil rights group.
Though he made his own decision to quit working for the NSA, he was
pressured out of his job at CSC.
"When I started working for CSC, I had the NSA experiences in my luggage,
and I warned the company's managers against the influence exerted by this
large intelligence agency. Rumor of my comments reached the NSA, and they
finally phoned my supervisors. My supervisors candidly informed me that my
presence at CSC could harm the intelligence agency, and that was the way
they got me thrown out of the company."
The influence Madsen warned his supervisors about has now become reality
and is also significant for Denmark's national security and the rights of
privacy of Danish citizens.
On a world-wide level, CSC earns its living by guaranteeing the security
of the registers they administer for a great number of governmental
institutions in many companies. They have been operating in Denmark for
the past three years. In 1996, CSC took over the operations of Denmark's
governmental files, including the files of the National Police, the
national ID files, the registers of the Ministry of Finance, of the
Customs and Excise Department and some of the Defense Department's
DANISH REGISTERS THREATENED
Is this close cooperation with the US significant for Denmark?
"Yes, I am sure of it. There is a real risk that classified Danish
information falls into the hands of the NSA. It is also the kind of
information they're looking for. And who knows who is working for them in
Denmark. They could be former or active intelligence agents, for example.
That's what they do here in the US."
Are you sure?
"I have worked both places and they cooperate closely in several ways. For
example, CSC has a training and testing center in connection with the
NSA's headquarters at Fort Meade. They also have a project called 'Soft
Here, the NSA pays the first year's wages to former spies if they want to
be transferred to permanent positions in private business."
"In '96, they awarded a contract to CSC for around 140 million DKK (20
mill. USD). It's called 'Soft Sourcing' and means that CSC's employees
work directly on projects for the NSA. That is how the NSA increases its
influence on private business and industry. So it is sometimes very
difficult to tell the difference between the employees of private
companies from NSA spies because the collaboration is so close."
Do you have any examples of this?
"I have actually worked with CSC people who felt a greater sense of
loyalty to the National Security Agency than to the company they were
So what you are saying is that since CSC is knowledgeable of the systems
that give access to the various registers, there is a risk that the NSA
will also get their hands on them?
"I believe this fear is justified, yes. It is absurd that CSC is hired to
protect the registers, when in reality the company itself may pose the
greatest threat against them."
BY: BO ELKJÆR AND KENAN SEEBERG
COPYRIGHT 1999. EKSTRA BLADET - COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
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