December 2-3, 2013 — Does “ROYAL” classification have roots in Carter administration?
The French have a famous saying, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose or the “more things change, the more they stay the same.” In the often “old tricks” world of intelligence, the French saying may explain the utmost secrecy assigned to two joint National Security Agency/British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) signals intelligence programs codenamed “ROYALNET” and “ROYAL CONCIERGE.”
The first, ROYALNET, is designed to bypass encryption systems, including those used by banks and multinational companies, to read the plaintext of traffic. The unencrypted traffic, including electronic funds transfers, is shared between the FIVE EYES signals intelligence partners of the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
ROYALNET was successfully employed to break the encryption of networks like the Society for Interbank Financial Telecommunications or “SWIFT,” which handles billions of dollars of banking transactions daily. Other ROYALNET targets included the encrypted networks of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Brazil’s PETROBRAS state-owned oil company.
ROYAL CONCIERGE tracked online hotel reservation systems to pinpoint the location of diplomats and other government officials. “Contact chaining” was used to link together the common travel plans of government officials by matching “Reservation email addresses and gov.xx addresses,” including those used for car rentals.
ROYAL CONCIERGE is also used to steer a prospective signals intelligence (SIGINT) and/or human intelligence (HUMINT) target top a certain location by “influencing a hotel reservation” or “canceling their visit.” One UK TOP SECRET STRAP1 slide leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden calls the steering of a target into a hotel trap “Close Access Technical Operations.”
It is clear that ROYAL CONCIERGE was employed against heads of state attending the G8 and G20 summits in Canada held from June 25-17, 2010. The Senior U.S. Liaison Officer Ottawa (SUSLOO), the NSA liaison to Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), coordinated SIGINT monitoring of not only the heads of state and government but also the preparatory meeting of “sherpas.” An NSA document called sherpas “aides and personal representatives of the heads of state and government” who met in Canada onJune 21 and 24. Among those spied upon in their G8 conference hotel rooms in Huntsville, in the Muskoka region of Ontario, and later, at the G20 in Toronto, were Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Saudi King Abdullah, South African President Jacob Zuma, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The NSA surveillance in Canada was done with the agreement of CSEC and many Canadian law experts claim that such secret surveillance violated Canadian law.
Mutharika died from a sudden heart attack two years later on April 5, 2012. He was replaced by the staunchly pro-American Joyce Banda. Zenawi died at the age of 57 on August 20, 2012 after contracting an infection while being treated in a Belgian hospital. Fernandez de Kirchner was diagnosed with thyroid cancer on December 27, 2011 at the age of 58 and underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from her brain on October 27, 2013 at the age of 60. All had been subjected to Close Access Technical Operations while they were at the G20 meeting in Canada.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is an avid fan of all Israeli human rights abuses, including targeted assassinations, personally invited Mutharika and Meles to the summits in Muskoka and Toronto. They were the only African leaders personally invited by Harper to Canada and within a period of two years both died suddenly. Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva planned to attend the summit conferences but he canceled at the last minute because of what he claimed was his need to attend to massive flooding in the northeast region of Brazil. Brazil and its leadership had been under massive surveillance by CSEC and NSA as part of a program codenamed OLYMPIA. In October 2011, Lula was diagnosed with throat cancer.
The CIA has a sordid history of assassinating or trying to assassinate foreign leaders with cancer- and other disease-causing substances. Victims and intended victims include Cuban leader Fidel Castro who survived, Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba who was bayoneted and shot before he could be administered a CIA-produced “exotic” drug, Sukarno of Indonesia who died from kidney failure in 1970 after being ousted in a CIA coup in 1965, and Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, who, like Castro, survived several CIA assassination attempts.
ROYAL CONCIERGE and ROYAL NET appear to be coordinated for events requiring foreign heads of state/government travel by a classified program of the FIVE EYES partners called Extended Shared Enterprise Corporate Service or “ESECS.” ROYAL CONCIERGE also involves HUMINT operations. Although the program monitors hotel and auto rental reservations, little has been written about how such a program could provide surreptitious access to hotel rooms by breaking into the electronic door key networks employed many many hotels and motels.
Involved in ground work for surveillance of the G8/G20 summits was the Economics and Global Issues element within NSA (S17), which is part of the Signals Intelligence Division. Tasking involved S12, which issued a directive on “SIGINT Reporting in Support of the G8 and G20 Summits, Canada, June 2010.”
Many publications and networks have refrained from publishing the names of NSA officers involved in massive communications surveillance, even resorting to redacting” or blacking out names and other identifying information in a manner much like that employed by Freedom of Information Act disclosure teams at U.S. intelligence agencies.. WMR makes no deals with intelligence agencies. In keeping with this policy, the following names of NSA officials have been gleaned from a “SECRET/REL” document titled “NSA Lends Support to Upcoming G8 and G20 Summits in Canada,” — Rick McIntyre (SO121), Jim Vidas, and Susan Dawson. The document states that S12, the National Security Operations Center or “NSOC” at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and the “CTMMC” were all involved in conducting surveillance on the officials gathered in Canada for the G8/G20.
One hotel guest at the G20/G8 in Canada may have provided comic relief for NSA eavesdroppers: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who was arrested on May 14, 2011 by New York Police. Strauss- Kahn later resigned over charges that he had raped a chamber maid at the Sofitel Hotel in New York. It was also alleged that he had made unwanted advances toward other maids at hotels around the world.
The CTMMC abbreviation is close to another NSA cell called CTMAC, or Counter-Terrorism Mission Aligned Cell. CTMAC is involved in targeting individuals for assassination by drone. With two of the leaders under NSA surveillance in Canada dying suddenly and a third falling critically ill twice, it is incumbent on the media to start “naming names” of NSA personnel. They could be in a position to testify about NSA espionage being used to commit capital crimes.
ROYAL has a dark past as a special security caveat dating from the Jimmy Carter administration. Carter’s CIA director, Admiral Stansfield Turner, write that ROYAL was picked as the code name for a special compartmented U.S. intelligence program designed to protect politically sensitive and potentially embarrassing information gathered by means not all of which were considered orthodox. Turner claimed it was Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski who selected the ROYAL designation for critically-sensitive intelligence products, sources, and methods.
Left to right: Ethiopia’s Meles, Malawi’s Mutharika, and Argentina’s Fernandez de Kirchner were all subjected to NSA/CSEC Close Access Technical Operations (CATO) in 2010. Two died from sudden causes and one has been seriously ill twice. Venezuelan leaders claim U.S. intelligence poisoned Hugo Chavez with cancer. Do assassinations figure into CATO, OLYMPIA, and ROYAL CONCIERGE?
At the time of its implementation, ROYAL was considered too vague by some U.S. intelligence officials because it was not tied directly to an established intelligence source or method, such as signals intelligence, imagery intelligence, or communications intelligence. However, it was soon determined that ROYAL covered all intelligence gathered on purely political targets having little to nothing to do with national security. Five intelligence sources were quoted by The Daily Oklahoman of September 6, 1980 as saying ROYAL existed only to protect President Carter from “potential embarrassment.”
ROYAL did not prevent the disclosure of embarrassing intercepts of Libyan government diplomatic communications that described Carter’s brother Billy as “our agent of influence” in the United States. Although the intercepts of Libyan communications mentioning Billy Carter were stamped ROYAL, their contents found their way into the media and caused a huge political headache for President Carter who was being challenged by Ronald Reagan for the presidency.
Other than the President, Brzezinski, Turner, and other select members of Carter’s national security team, only eight members of Congress were cleared for ROYAL. They included Robert Byrd (D-WV), Birch Bayh (D-IN), Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), and Howard Baker (R-TN) in the U.S. Senate and Representatives Tip O’Neill (D-MA), John Rhodes (R-AZ), Edward Boland (D-MA), and Bob Wilson (R-CA).
The eight members of Congress did not have automatic access to ROYAL intelligence. They were forced to ask for access to ROYAL documents and read them in a special secure room where they were not permitted to take notes or share the intelligence with staff members.