Iraq War: WARgrams Exposes How NSA Uses Iraq For Surveillance Domination

Iraq War: WARgrams Exposes How NSA Uses Iraq For Surveillance Domination
US Marine Tankin Baghdad U.S. Marine Corps / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

NSA mission archives related to early days of the Iraq war have been released, documenting the agency’s shift to surveillance domination.


According to Vice Motherboard, this is the first time these documents surfaced. The documents explain how the NSA asked employees to provide an unpredictable extent of cooperation during the Iraq war. The cooperation would include setting up the global surveillance infrastructure, which was leaked by Edward Snowden, with the stated objective of fighting terrorism worldwide.

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WARgrams, as these documents are called, were newsletter-style messages sent by then-NSA director Michael Hayden in 2003 and 2004. It was sent to apparently a large group of NSA employees.

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There are areas in the documents that deal explicitly with developing communications and information safety on the Iraq battlefield. In the long run, with Al Qaeda as the established villain, WARgrams talked about trying to expand the agency’s control globally, as reported by RT.

Hayden wrote in WARgrams about the objective. He said that the major aim was to get “unprecedented degrees of cooperation” in U.S. intelligence. He also wrote that this setup was created to keep them all “in the loop” with the newest “developments during the campaign.”

“We will become a pervasive and integral part of the fight,” Hayden wrote.

According to Hayden, NSA would insert its agents inside the U.S. military, which would act as a “force multiplier.”

Speaking about the U.S. media coverage into the Iraq war, Hayden wrote, “As you know, the news media has embedded reporters in those military units that are supporting Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. What you may not know is that NSA also has ‘embedded’ personnel serving in harm’s way.”

It was last month when WARgrams was released in response to a 2008 Freedom of Information Act Request. The documents were published online on Tuesday on Government Attic, an online archive of FOIA-ed federal documents.

Before the release, NSA never publicly acknowledged existence of WARgrams. However, WARgrams had been referred to in one document in Edward Snowden’s leaked files, but it was not included in any of those dumps.

Read the WARgrams documents here: NSA-WARgrams (1998-2004)

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