MOSCOW, July 26 (RIA Novosti) – The US National Security Agency (NSA) last year significantly expanded its cooperation with Saudi Arabia in spying, despite Washington’s accusations of human rights violations in the country, according to the Edward Snowden’s latest revelation.
An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Snowden to The Intercept detailed that the US agency planned “to provide direct analytic and technical support” to the Saudi regime on “internal security” matters.
The US State Department reported last year that Saudi Arabia’s officials of the Interior Ministry “sometimes subjected prisoners and detainees to torture and other physical abuse.”
While the State Department publicly catalogued the abuses, the NSA worked to provide increased surveillance assistance to the Saudi Arabian ministry that perpetrated them, the Intercept website reports.
The move proves that the Obama Administration has increasingly close ties with the Saudi regime. The memo describes “a period of rejuvenation” for the NSA’s relationship with the Saudi Defense Ministry.
In December 2012, the NSA expanded its “third party” relationship with Saudi Arabia to include the sharing of signals intelligence, or “SIGINT,” capability with the MOD’s Technical Affairs Directorate (TAD).
The goal was “to facilitate the Saudi government’s ability to utilize SIGINT to locate and track individuals of mutual interest within Saudi Arabia.”
The scandal around NSA intelligence gathering started when Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, leaked details about the secret PRISM program. In June 2013, he handed to Washington Post and Guardian several classified documents on Internet surveillance programs used by US and UK intelligence agencies.