Why France Shrugs at NSA Eavesdropping Revelations
We have been able to develop an important capacity to intercept Internet traffic , Courbin de Mangoux said. We are also working heavily on imaging. In July, shortly after the disclosures about U.S. spying by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the daily Le Monde published a front-page article under the headline: Revelations about the French Big Brother. The newspaper alleged that the DGSE systematically spied on e-mails, text messages , phone calls and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. These communications were subsequently stored for years, outside any political control or oversight, in computers in the basement of the agencys building in Paris. Specific Permission The government dismissed Le Mondes suggestions of overreach, pointing to a 1991 law that allows surveillance of individuals suspected of terrorism or other specific illegal activities, but only after an independent security committee has signed off. More revealing was the reaction of Jean-Jacques Urvoas , a Socialist Party lawmaker and vice president of the Parliamentary Intelligence Committee, who said it wasnt true that French citizens were subject to a huge and permanent surveillance program that is beyond political control. He drew a curious distinction between French and U.S. spying. The NSA is like a trawler, he said, while Frances DGSE fishes with a harpoon. Whatever the truth, French intelligence operates with some evident disadvantages. France is not part of the Echelon network, which links the NSA to intelligence agencies in Australia , Canada , New Zealand and the U.K. Its intelligence operations are smaller and less well-funded than in the U.K., and are minuscule compared with the NSA. Courbin de Mangoux, the DGSE director, put his agencys staffing at about 5,000 and its budget this year at 655 million euros ($870 million). Britains Government Communication Headquarters has about 1,000 more staff members and twice the budget; the NSA has more than 100,000 employees and contractors and the U.S.
Details about changes in Air France’s business and first class cabins won’t be revealed until the spring of 2014, but Air France said its new economy class will feature a new seat that provides an additional inch of legroom, as well as a revamped headrest and wider tray table. Each seat also will have a power plug and headphone holder. Seats in Air France’s premium economy cabin(a dedicated section first introduced in 2009) will be upgraded and outfitted with an improved seat cushions and multi-position footrests. A new entertainment system will offer high-definition programming and more than 1,000 hours of music, movies and TV on demand. Premium economy also is getting an upgraded meal service with an additional hot entree selection, as well as candies and ice cream. Air France currently operates its daily nonstop flight between Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and Paris on an Airbus 330 widebody plane. An Air France spokesman said Delta Airlines (NYSE: DAL) will operate the service from October through the slower winter months, before Air France-branded planes take over the route again in the spring. Delta and Air France are both members of the SkyTeam global airline alliance. No decision has yet been made about what aircraft Air France will use on the Chicago-Paris route next spring, the spokesman said. Air France said that with the exception of the upgraded premium economy meal service, which began this month, the rest of the onboard cabin enhancements will begin to roll out in the summer, 2014. Air France’s fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft will be the first outfitted with the redesigned and upgraded cabins, a process that is expected to take two years to complete. Related links:
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