The Snowden affair will certainly have caused many headaches in Washington. A former CIA technical analyst drew the world’s attention to the National Security Agency’s clandestine electronic spy operations last summer by leaking a huge cache of highly classified documents. The leaks have continued to come in over time. Glenn Greenwald, a renowned journalist who was pivotal in breaking those stories and is believed to be in possession of even more leaked files, reveals in his new book that the NSA is intercepting network equipment being shipped out of the U.S. to plant backdoors.
The book, No Place to Hide, cites a June 2010 report from the head of NSA’s Access and Target Development department which shows that the agency routinely receives or intercepts network equipment such as servers, routers and other devices before they’re exported from the U.S. to international customers.
Apparently backdoor surveillance tools are implanted in the devices which are then repackaged with a factory seal before being shipped off. This gives the NSA easy access to large scale and potentially high-security networks deployed at private corporations and even government facilities around the world.
It merits mentioning here that the U.S. has long accused Chinese companies of this behavior. Huawei and ZTE have both being accused of building backdoors in their networking products, allowing the Chinese governemnt to snoop. A House Intelligence Committee even warned private sector entities in the U.S. to reconsider doing business with both companies due to “long-term security risks.” As a result of these allegations Huawei pulled out of the U.S. market last year.