NSA Allegedly Intercepts Shipments of Servers To Install Spying Backdoors

Today in a published excerpt of his forthcoming book, No Place to Hide, Glenn Greenwald reports, citing documents from 2010, that the NSA intercepts routers and servers being shipped from the United States overseas and compromises them.

The document that the revelation is based on, according to Greenwald, will be released tomorrow.

Backdooring American technology not only dramatically undercuts its potential attractiveness to potential foreign purchasers, but also represents an almost comical hypocrisy given that the U.S. government has repeatedly fretted that China could be compromising technology from local firms such as Huawei.

A taste from 2013:

Chinese telecom provider Huawei represents an unambiguous national security threat to the United States and Australia, Gen. Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) […]

When asked to confirm that hard evidence exists that Huawei has spied on behalf of the Chinese government, Hayden said, “Yes.”

As Greenwald notes in the excerpt: “It is quite possible that Chinese firms are implanting surveillance mechanisms in their network devices. But the US is certainly doing the same.”

Intercepting devices, which is called “interdiction,” is part of the NSA’s toolbox. It was previously reported that the NSA intercepts laptops and other electronic devices. That it would do so with American servers to foreign countries is therefore not too surprising.

Currently in the U.S. Congress, the USA Freedom Act, a bill to reign in the NSA, has a chance of passing. TechCrunch is tracking the issue, and if it clears the House we’ll let you know.