NSA documents expose secret US spying program in Ethiopia
18 September 2017
According to documents released Wednesday by the Intercept, the National Security Agency (NSA) has established an elaborate network of spy facilities in Ethiopia.
The documents, acquired from the trove made public by Edward Snowden in 2013, reveal that the NSA’s Ethiopian operation dubbed “Lion’s Pride” encompasses a surveillance effort by Washington over East Africa of enormous magnitude. The secret program’s broad operational components include not only spying and eavesdropping, such as the indiscriminate gathering up of phone calls, e-mails, and Internet traffic in multiple countries, but also comprises a program of cyber warfare and the infection of networks and computers with spyware.
The program set up by the NSA in Ethiopia is strongly suspected to have utilized FinSpy, a software product marketed by the company Finfisher, that allows the user to hijack other computers by e-mailing the target an “infected” attachment file. This enables the FinSpy user to steal passwords remotely, from the target’s Internet browser, e-mail, and even administration passwords. Essentially, the user of this software can take total control of another computer without the target being aware.
The “Deployed Signals Intelligence Operations Center” was set up by the NSA in 2002 in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, as part of Washington’s “war on terror” in the aftermath of 9/11. According to the document, the spying operation began as a small outpost, employing only twelve Ethiopian officials.
By 2005, the program had expanded its reach and influence to include an additional three remote branches around the country, including one in Gondar, a province in…