Just yesterday, The Intercept reported that documents released to them by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA has been covertly running an operation called SOMALGET in the Bahamas which is,
“…secretly intercepting, recording, and archiving the audio of virtually every cell phone conversation on the island nation of the Bahamas.”
It is important to understand that here in the U.S. the NSA controversy was mainly over them collecting metadata, which includes info like locations, times, and where calls are going to and coming from.
The program in the Bahamas records full-length conversations and stores them for 30 days before wiping them. On top of that, the program manually selects millions of shorter clips and sends them to long term storage, where they can be accessed even after the original full conversation has been wiped.
The program is part of a larger NSA program known as MYSTIC, which has also been collecting metadata from Mexico, Kenya and the Philippines.
But the Bahamas are not the “big fish” for MYSTIC. Apparently, the Snowden document which revealed the surveillance in the Bahamas also listed another country that was being heavily monitored using SOMALGET.
It seems that the revelation of this second country will cause some serious shock-waves though. Even Glenn Greenwald, who was the first person to break the original Snowden story to the world, said on his Twitter that they hadn’t revealed the name of the second country because they were “very convinced” that this particular revelation would lead to deaths.
Despite the dangers, however, WikiLeaks announced on their Twitter earlier this morning that they will be revealing the identity of the mystery country within 72 hours.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 20, 2014
However, WikiLeaks isn’t believed to have full access to the Snowden documents, so whether or not founder Julian Assange will be able to deliver on the promise remains to be seen.
Read more from the South China Morning Post here.