Title: Starting Up a New Mission at the European Security Operations Center: End-to-End Sigint

Release Date: 2014-06-18

Document Date: 2007-12-05

Description: This internal NSA post from 5 December 2007 describes one official’s experiences at the European Security Operations Center (ESOC) at Darmstadt, Germany: see the Der Spiegel article Terrorverdächtige: NSA nutzte Erkenntnisse aus Deutschland-Filiale für Tötungen, 15 June 2014.

Document: (S//SI//REL) Starting Up a New Mission at the European Security
Operations Center: End-to-End SIGINT


Intelligence Analysis Intern
Run Date; 12/05/2007

(S//SI//REL) When considering possible TDY and deployment locations, many of my
Intelligence Analysis Development Program (IADP) colleagues have opted for Iraq,

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Afghanistan, or an SCS site. At least for now, I chose to avoid the heat and sand and
took advantage of a different opportunity for my fourth IADP tour. From
May-September 2007, I completed a TDY from Ft, Meade to the European Security
Operations Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany,


(S//SI//REL) ESOC, which stood up in April 2004 (see some background!, is a joint
Army/NS A SIGINT operations center and serves as the S2/Analysis & Production
arm of NSA/CSS Europe (NCEUR), ESOC's personnel mix consists of I05th MI
Battalion soldiers, a small Marine detachment, contractors, Department of the
Army civilians, and NS A civilians in Darmstadt and Stuttgart in Germany as well as
in Molesworth, England, and Mons, Belgium, ESOC's missions include African
Regional Targets, North African and European Counter-Terrorism missions, Force
Protection/Indications & Warning, and theatre SIGDEV

(S//SI//REL) During my tour, I was assigned to the Africa Division and provided
ESOC with target development support for the Gulf of Guinea Hydrocarbon
Security mission, consisting primarily of Nigerian and Angolan targets. My
particular focus was to launch the Africa Division's energy security mission
covering Angola,

(S//SI//REL) Working African missions often present unique challenges, and both
the Nigerian and Angolan energy sectors were certainly no different. While ESOC
had worked the Nigerian energy security mission for over two years, due to
resource constraints, relatively little development work had been done against the
Angolan target, The larger Gulf of Guinea Hydrocarbon mission consisted of
several analysts, a branch manager, and a technical leader, but it was largely up to
me to do the bottom-up target development work in building the Angola mission.

(U) The Gulf of Guinea and surrounding region

(S//SI//REL) The task was somewhat daunting, Angola's state-owned oil firm,
Sonangol, is a massive entity with its own airline, logistical service firms, and
importantly, its own telecommunications subsidiary, Sonangol partners with several
major Western and Chinese oil companies, and Chinese firms are heavily involved
in the telecommunications sector. Our collection was minimal, and our day-to-day
Angola team was essentially one deep: me,

(S//SI//REL) We compiled a detailed assessment and established good baseline
knowledge of our current SIGINT posture in Angola, We reviewed existing SCS
First Instance Reporting, and had several fruitful exchanges with SCS Luanda in
Angola, We also worked closely both with ESOC's in-house SIGDEV elements and
the European Technical Center to begin a target templating process and draft
collection requirements. Through collaboration with CIA and EUCOM JAC*, Africa
Division's understanding of our customer and partner requirements improved

(S//SI//REL) In order to gain a SIGINT window into Angola's telecom sector and
energy industry, we chose to continue to chip away at Sonangol, Relying on skills
and contacts acquired in previous IADP tours, I conducted intensive SIGINT

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research on Sonangol seed selectors using chaining, metadata analysis, and
visualization tools such as Cmap and Renoir. My target development work spanned
both the DNI and DNR realms. We were able to identify and unlock Sonangol target
domains, locate and task e-mail selectors in CADENCE, and identify several new
targets in the Angolan oil and telecommunications sectors,

(S//SI//REL) A key part of my tour at ESOC was identifying new potential collection
accesses. Using open source, PINWALE. DLACKPEARL, NKD. ROADBED, and
SURREY. I successfully located, identified, and submitted several new targets for
FQRNSAT and SCS collection. Partnering with ESOC SIGDEy SCS, and FORNSAT
collection staff at Ft. Meade and elsewhere, we were able to draft and submit the
first collection requirement for the Angola energy mission. By the end of my tour
ESOC had seen a significant increase in Angola energy traffic. We also were able to
issue the first product of the Angola mission, a jointly issued report between the
Africa division and ESOC SIGDEV

(S//SI//REL) My tour at ESOC was an excellent exercise in end-to-end SIGINT to
include initial research and target development, collection access discovery and
tasking, and issuing products. My understanding of the SIGINT process improved
greatly during my time at ESOC, The recent stand-up of the U.S. African Command
(AFRICOM), co-located with EUCOM in Stuttgart, Germany is certain to create
even more opportunities for analysts to support ESOC's missions in a dynamic
environment. * *

(U) Notes:

* (U) EUCOM JAC = the European Command Joint Analysis Center

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