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1999 11 28 * Ekstra Bladet * Ex-agent : Echelon threatens danish registers * Bo Elkjaer, Kenan Seeberg

"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 ex-agent Wayne Madsen to Ekstra Bladet

 

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Ex-agent for the NSA Wayne Madsen, right: "Your sensitive information is being intercepted." Its Ekstra Bladets Kenan Seeberg to the left.

"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) -- here 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 degrees C (64 F), and the good weather feels like it will never end.

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 registers.

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
Landing'. 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 working for."

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."