In an article dated August 29, 2013, The Washington Post reported on the NSA's "hacking unit" called Tailored Access Operations (TAO).
The Post wrote:
According to a profile by Matthew M. Aid for Foreign Policy, it's a highly secret but incredibly important NSA program that collects intelligence about foreign targets by hacking into their computers, stealing data, and monitoring communications.
(...) Dean Schyvincht, who claims to currently be a TAO Senior Computer Network Operator in Texas, might reveal the most about the scope of TAO activities.
He says the 14 personnel under his management have completed "over 54,000 Global Network Exploitation (GNE) operations in support of national intelligence agency requirements."
On the NSA's network ops page, there is no program with the acronym GNE - only CNE and,
Computer Network Attack (CNA): Includes actions taken via computer networks to disrupt, deny, degrade, or destroy the information within computers and computer networks and/or the computers/networks themselves.
Computer Network Defense (CND): Includes actions taken via computer networks to protect, monitor, analyze, detect, and respond to network attacks, intrusions, disruptions, or other unauthorized actions that would compromise or cripple defense information.
Across the slide top and bottom a stripe reads, "REL TO USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, NZL."
These are the so-called "Five Eyes" nations -- which include the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
NRC cites an example of Britain's intelligence service GHCQ, being found to use spoofed LinkedIn pages to install surveillance malware on target computers in Belgium telecom, Belgacom (translated):
One example of this type of hacking was discovered in September 2013 at the Belgium telecom provider Belgacom.
For a number of years the British intelligence service - GCHQ - has been installing this malicious software in the Belgacom network in order to tap their customer's telephone and data traffic.
The Belgacom network was infiltrated by GCHQ through a process of luring employees to a false Linkedin page.
NRC concludes its explosive article by telling us that the Dutch government's intelligence services has its own hacking unit, but is prohibited by law from performing the type of operations the NSA appears to have done in the CNE slide.
Unlike the feeling here in the US, where it's starting to feel like an ordered state against which a transgression can be measured has nearly vanished, and is almost forgotten.