[ArsTechnica] New Snowden leaks reveal “collect it all” surveillance was born in the UK

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The radical shift in the NSA’s surveillance strategy to « collect it all » began in the UK, according to new revelations in the latest cache of documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

During a June 2008 visit to the Menwith Hill monitoring station in North Yorkshire, then-director of the NSA Keith Alexander asked: « Why can’t we collect all the signals, all the time? » He went on: « Sounds like a good summer homework project for Menwith! » […]

VSAT surveillance was used to direct military operations: one document provided by Snowden speaks of « 30 enemy killed » in Afghanistan as a result of signals intelligence passed to those in the field. Another leak speaks of Menwith Hill Station analysts finding « a new way to geolocate targets who are active at Internet cafes in Yemen. » […]

As the Intercept points out, « The description of GHOSTWOLF ties Menwith Hill to lethal operations in Yemen, providing the first documentary evidence that directly implicates the UK in covert actions in the country. » That’s problematic, because Yemen is not a war zone, so those targeted by drones there would not be considered « combatants » and anyone involved in their killing would not be entitled to « combatant immunity. » […]