MaxManus June 7, 2013 5:53 PM

@Sweden is the US new lapdog –

Good find. After the treatment of the Piratebay guys, it’s not surprising.

When we restore justice, these wiretappers and torturers will be tried for treason and crimes against humanity. Everyone affiliated with any wiretapping program, or torture program will be charged with conspiracy and treason, civilian, corporate officers, every one of these people. The Internet cuts both ways. The bad people may be able to read our every email, but they also can’t erase their own crimes against humanity.

You may recall that Streicher was Hitler’s favorite “journalist” and shaped the predicate of the Holocaust with his Nazi propaganda. You may also recall that he met a fitting end at Nuremberg in 1946.

The law will be restored eventually.


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed: And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. – Percy Bysshe Shelley

AC2 June 7, 2013 9:39 PM

If one was to give a counterpoint to Bruce’s increasing despondency around the inevitability of full servaillance well then this one certainly isn’t it

As a non US frickin person even if I go to a comms provider with no links to the US-UK-AUS-ETC axis of do-no-evil its no use as all my friends and family wont so rather pointless… unless I want to talk to just myself

Petréa Mitchell June 7, 2013 10:44 PM

A reminder that PRISM and the Verizon call tracking are nothing new (despite the title of that article):

The [2002] Senate-House report said the NSA simply could not keep up with the explosion of information technology. “Only a tiny fraction” of the NSA’s 650 million daily intercepts worldwide “are actually ever reviewed by humans, and much of what is collected gets lost in the deluge of data,” the report said.

So the NSA was being suffocated by its data hoard even back then, and somehow the solution turned out to be… gathering even more data. And did it help any?

The challenge is that even now, in spite of these programs, the intelligence community remains overwhelmed by data, and as the Boston Marathon bombings in April showed, it is very difficult to piece together clues in time to stop an attack. “There are massive gaps in our ability to actually analyze data. Much of the data just sits there and nobody looks at it,” says one former NSA official who would discuss classified programs only on condition of anonymity.

The first few Congresspersons to comment the Verizon news yesterday said that it was something which had been in place for years and was automatically extended every few months. In light of that, it seems reasonable to hypothesize that this sort of thing keeps happening because by the time those theoretically overseeing the program have enough seniority to affect it, they’ve become acclimatized to the idea that it’s all normal, and every step forward is just doing the same normal thing again, only with new technology.

Some modest proposals June 8, 2013 6:01 AM

Given that it is now apparently OK that the state, out of benign concern for the risks we face from “terrorism”, maintains that it is in our interest that we should sacrifice privacy for “100% security”, perhaps we should consider some other programmes for helping protect us from risks?

Of course the risk from terrorism is actually tiny, so perhaps we should focus on other risks which are much more significant? I’m thinking of perhaps cars and obesity?

Perhaps we can have a “war on car death”. My basic proposal is that all cars, roads, filling stations, car parks, drivers, and garages and car production factories would be covertly instrumented in a secret programme by the state. It would not be in our interest that we know this or that there should be oversight over the programme. We should trust the state. Every journey, every turn, who is in the car, where they start, where they go, how much fuel is used, the kind of car, the various accelerations, the other cars they were near, what is loaded into the car and what is taken out, the use of the controls, the lights, the indicators and so on would all be recorded. A secret department of the state would monitor all of this information, to calculate who was a risk to themselves and to others. We could not be told that this is happening, because it might reduce the effectiveness of the programme. Agencies of the state could detain drivers who were thought to be a risk to themselves or others, they could be prevented from driving on motorways for instance, or they could be subject to detention, or denied a driving license. This could save thousands of lives a year. Deaths though road traffic accidents hugely outweigh those from terrorism, so this seems like a very sensible approach.

On the “War on obesity”, this would unfold in a similar way. A secret programme of surveillance, all bathroom scales, weighing machines, etc. would be instrumented and feed data to a central repository. All food items would be RFID tagged with a unique identifier. All public places, would be instrumented with photographic recording systems which would covertly identify people from the images, identify body mass index deviations. All purchases in shops would be logged and recorded, and correlated against a means of payment. All health systems would be required to be integrated with portals that allow the state to extract records of medical examinations and any data e.g. height, body mass etc. A huge data centre and various correlation mechanisms could then be constructed to harvest all the data, and alerts triggered when people were thought to be either risking their own health or that of other people. These people who are a risk to themselves and others could be collected together and detained for re-education, compulsory exercise classes, and training in how to cook healthy meals. This could save many thousands of lives every year and reduce our requirement for doctors, nurses, hospitals, medication etc saving huge sums of money.

These two programmes could save many orders of magnitude more lives than the state surveillance that protects us from terrorism. Something should be done, and this is something, so let’s get on with it and accept that if we want to be 100% safe in our cars and 100% not at risk from an early death through obesity, then we should welcome this benign intervention by the state to protect us.

Navy Squid June 8, 2013 7:18 AM

For U.S. citizens hand-wringing about the recently revealed NSA programs, think about this: the domestic program is digging for metadata on foreign entities with the oversight of Congress and the Federal Courts; meanwhile, the service providers are SELLING your personal information to anyone outside the government. The other program seems to be focused on networks operated entirely outside the U.S., again targeting foreign entities. For more information, read the FISA and the 2008 amendment on

securityflakes2 June 8, 2013 10:44 AM

Environmentally safe electronics that also vanish in the body – The Stasi Would Be Proud

“Researchers at the University of Illinois, in collaboration with Tufts University and Northwestern University, have demonstrated a new type of biodegradable electronics technology that could introduce new design paradigms for medical implants, environmental monitors and consumer devices.


Figureitout June 8, 2013 12:10 PM

–Pretty neat if used appropriately (lol). If these start showing up in consumer devices, like phones; one could sabotage your device simply w/ water (I guess one can already, kind of). On the flip side brings whole new meaning to “disposable phones” and carrying out attacks and cleaning the evidence.

Navy Squid
–Is this what you were referring too? If so, typical very outraging legal writing and has loopholes nearly every other sentence. They didn’t care to define “conspiratorial activities” that could be one of the exceptions. Bruce has blogged before how seemingly trivial actions have now been classified “suspicious”.

Jurjen June 8, 2013 12:12 PM

The motto of the NSA appears to be: “If you are looking for a needle in a haystack, add more hay.”

RSaunders June 8, 2013 1:13 PM

I’ve got to agree with Navy Squid. If the NSA is reading this message as I type it, at least they have a narrow charter to analyze and report on it. As the IRS and DoJ scandals make super clear, if a government person or agency does something wrong with the data they are intrusted with, huge backlash results. There is not such insight on what Amazon, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft do with the data they collect. Or what Visa and their credit card buddies do with the purchase data they collect. Governmental big brother leaks in the end, there is always a leak. Government mistakes get someone resigned/fired. There isn’t any such recourse in the commercial sector. That’s a lot more scarey.

Now that we know the US government knows all the call details for all the calls made in the US, I’d like to see that information made accessible to the FTC. If they were to take the 5000 numbers that made the most calls (which are all telemarketers and robo-callers) and compare the numbers they call to the do-not-call list we’d have useful surveillance. They could send those callers a $16K fine for each call. Either this would end telemarketing as a viable business or repay the national debt. Frankly, I’m OK either way.

e__williams June 8, 2013 1:18 PM

Does anybody else think it is weird that they are holding the trial for Bradley Manning, the soldier who spilled the beans on Iraq to wikileaks, at the NSA? Why is there a courthouse at the NSA, and who else have they tried there? Secret spy court orders are one thing, but an actual spy court seems over the top.

Rikke Jensen June 8, 2013 1:29 PM


From their site:

“The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency supported this work”

One more reason to pass on all of those “free samples” offered at some events and skip on non-sealed goods.

AnimalFarmPig June 8, 2013 2:09 PM

With regard to monitoring of communications, I think Petréa is right to refer to the difficulty of making predictions or improving security with such a “deluge of data.”

While using comms records to identify and individual doing something bad is difficult, having all of an individual’s comms records makes it much easier to find something “bad” that they’ve done.

So, their database has little value for keeping us safe, but it provides a very good way to gain leverage over individuals and social groups.

While the former might be more valuable to the public, I imagine that the latter makes Power salivate.

Nick P June 8, 2013 3:29 PM

@ e__williams

“Does anybody else think it is weird that they are holding the trial for Bradley Manning, the soldier who spilled the beans on Iraq to wikileaks, at the NSA? Why is there a courthouse at the NSA, and who else have they tried there?”

Bradley Manning is being court martialed by the military in a military court. Fort Meade isn’t just NSA: the Army is there, too. They may or may not have uncommon reason for choosing that particular court, but an Army court for an Army court martial is pretty standard.

QnJ1Y2U June 8, 2013 11:44 PM

As the IRS and DoJ scandals make super clear … huge backlash results.

As the Laura Poitras, Saadiq Long, and David House cases demonstrate, huge backlash does not always result when the federal security apparatus is used against political opponents.

Figureitout June 9, 2013 12:01 AM

Rikke Jensen
–Yeah, ha. Makes me rethink my liking of fruit rollups; and Costco, one can basically eat a full meal on freebies. Gov’t supports way more than one may initially think. Good if gov’t smart or good supply of smart engineers, otherwise…maybe failures documented.

Figureitout June 9, 2013 12:18 AM

–I’ve got to disagree w/ Navy Squid, laws don’t matter when they’re broken and people lie. At least these companies have to make new products, otherwise they die (or offer critical gov’t services and live like parasites). Google glass sucks a$$ but self-driving cars are something no one else appears to know how to do. Gov’t OTOH gives congress automatic pay raises for doing such a good job; absolutely no return. And what if the buyers of the data is the gov’t…

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons June 9, 2013 5:08 AM


And so it begins…

The Presidential Policy Directive, PD 20 available 7 June 2013, issued as the U.S. policy respecting cyber warfare, is just that, cyber warfare gone wild. I know Bruce has commented often on this amorphous term…but…the powers and consequences of a war-like response is codified in this document. My summation is that this is beyond the pale. The United States government sees itself, and I mentioned this before, as preeminent–the people follow somewhere down the chain. In other words, the exercise of this power is allowed in the context that the citizenry relevance is minimized. The lack of restraint is unbelievable, if this power were reflected in “meat-space” there would be detractors from every corner of the political spectrum.

The hope is to complete an analysis of this document by next week, anyone else care to take this on…

This piece of work, I’ve written of this during the winter of 2013,, remember Agent Smith of the Movie “The Matrix”…this is it.

On this blog I described the incursion of the DoD into the civilian space of the United States. The original analysis described just this operational model. This is not a warning–this is how it is. It exceeds the original thesis I posited, it is the attack scenarios that I can see in this that present significant violations of justice, due process, posse comitatus, etc.. Constraint is not what you will find in this document–the primacy of the U.S. Government seems obvious.

The violations of constitutional law is unbounded. The release of requirements that include the declaration of war, is permanently affixed to a dust bin and allows the executive through a chain of actors (for example, DOE could bring cause to execute a unilateral action related to a cyber threat–DOE could produce a destructive response to events deemed imminent.

Sleep hopeful, wake resolved

Jack June 9, 2013 9:51 AM

Petréa Mitchell

[‘PRISM’, et al, nothing new]

I think most netizens, nationally in the US, and Globally, just assume the US does listen to everything.

None of these disclosures prove that corruption has taken place. It simply says the new weapon inventions are being used for good, and with very poor controls.

We do not yet know if these inventions are being used for evil. We understand that the controls are very weak, and they could be used for evil.

On this forum, there are a lot of old hat security people. They understand that you do not leave poor controls out there on powerful areas. You do not make a house with a billion dollars inside and leave the door unlocked.

But that is all the situation is now, isn’t it? Those surveillance powers are extraordinary and so an immense source of power. Of value. And the door is unlocked to that house.

But Obama and other trustworthy people are saying, “It is not really locked, we have trustworthy safeguards against the abuse of it”.

Dirk Praet June 9, 2013 12:32 PM

@ Jack

I believe we will see the full discussion on this forum unfold when Bruce in the next days posts his Atlantic article here.

As you say, several whistleblowers have been telling this for a while, and most infosec people suspected it. Call it the vindication of the tinfoil hats, if you like.

I may be totally wrong – and I sure hope I am – but in the long term I expect only minimal political backlash in the US. Despite the usual flipflops and CYA-tactics, both parties are in on it, and courtesy of NewsCorp/Fox the average American seems to be more concerned with celebrity nipslips and the lives of the Kardashians than the implications of a full surveillance state on democracy and civil liberties anyway.

It may however be an entirely different story on the other side of the Atlantic. USG intelligence and surveillance initiatives may very well – and at least in part – be the reason for the increased lobbying by US corporations against the Draft European Data Protection Regulation. If this is being picked up by the European Commission, it is not impossible that the tech companies involved in PRISM (Microsoft, Google, Facebook etc.) as well as other US-based cloud providers (Amazon, Rackspace) are facing a world of pain if they were to lose their self-certified “Safe Harbour” status under the EU Data Protection Directive. This would hurt them immensely.

If there’s any truth to the story that UK’s GCHQ has been using PRISM through the US DoJ, there may be some serious parliamentary questions on that too for violating UK law and European Directives/Regulations requiring judicial orders to obtain such data. I’m not entirely sure that this kind of thing would fall under the exact same arrangements as Menwith Hill.

In the words of Peter Schaar, German data protection and freedom of information commissioner: “The U.S. government must provide clarity regarding these monstrous allegations of total monitoring of various telecommunications and Internet services”.

In the US, DNI may be outraged, POTUS may downplay it, DoJ/NSA may persecute the source of the leaks and mass media may even approve of it, but I guess it’s safe to say that in EMEA (especially in Brussels) and APAC all leaves of absence for US diplomats and lobbyists are revoked until further notice for much needed damage control. And at the risk of being very cynical: those parties that cannot be coerced into submission in the end can still be offered a free PRISM membership just like the Brits were.

Figureitout June 9, 2013 2:59 PM

Now he can never expect to have a nice sleep; he better start barricading…But that’s awesome.

Petréa Mitchell June 9, 2013 7:03 PM

A call for a boycott of any service easily surveillable by the US government:

It means that non-US Western businesses need to start using “not subject to US law” as a marketing point. We need cloud providers and software vendors that don’t have a US presence, no US data centers, no US employees – no legal attack surface in that nation of any kind.

twofish June 9, 2013 9:35 PM

About Snowden:

Beijing is not going to be involved in the decision as to whether or not to extradite Snowden. HK has a separate legal system from Mainland China, and Beijing is going to keep hands off unless Snowden crosses the border into Shenzhen.

There is going to be very strong local pressure to keep him from being extradited. The pro-China people are going to scream if he is, and the pro-democracy people are pro-democracy, they aren’t pro-US.

One reason for choosing HK is that the HK courts have struck down the local government’s ability to do wide scale surveillance. These decisions don’t apply to the central government, but local telecoms are just not going to cooperate with Beijing, and Beijing has too much sense to ask them to.

I do think it is weird that Snowden ended up in Hong Kong, and that all this was released the day of the Xi summit. I’ve considered the possibility that the Chinese Ministry of State Security is involved, but I just don’t think that they are quite capable of “turning” someone like Snowden.

twofish June 9, 2013 9:50 PM

Looking over the Guardian article.

1) No way the CIA will attempt to kidnap Snowden from Hong Kong.
2) No way that any Triad group will cooperate with the United States.
3) Chinese intelligence may want to talk with him, but no way will they detain him

He appears to be operating under a 90-day tourist visa. That should give him enough time to find some other country (Iceland maybe) that will take him.

Snowden is a very, very smart person that has thought through his actions very carefully.

Nick P June 9, 2013 10:31 PM

@ twofish

“Snowden is a very, very smart person that has thought through his actions very carefully.”

You think so? I think he’s been a bit foolish. The guy who leaked the Pentagon Papers knew that Americans would be outraged and realize they were lied to big time. That helped. Certain members and leakers in Wikileaks case kept their anonymity. They got work done, they lived to work/fight another day. Anonymous attacked HBGary leaking their internal documents, embarrasing them, and destroying them… while mostly remaining untouched and anonymous.

Then, there’s this guy. I respect what he’s doing trying to act on his principles and warn people. However, he’s done the leak in a way that totally ID’s him, brings plenty heat on people he cares about, it’s about an issue Americans have been mostly apathetic about (propaganda worked), and he’s in a country that’s pretty far from his best safe haven opportunities.

If anything, it seems like he’s trying to be a martyr for an ideal rather than simply get something done and get on living.

Clive Robinson June 10, 2013 1:52 AM

@ Dirk Praet,

    At the risk of being very cynical: those parties that cannot be coerced into submission in the end can still be offered a free PRISM membership just like the Brits were

It’s funny that pepole think that “coercion” or “bribes” were involved.

As I’ve said many many times befor this goes back to the BRUSA agrement towards the end of WWII and it was originaly –as far as we can tell– a British idea and was the grit around which has grown the pearl of the (supposed) “Special Relationship”. Since then many if not all WASP nations have signed up and been active participants. In all but one case (NZ) they are still very active “full partners”.

It was not long after the agrement that the “cold war” started to get serious and it became necessary to go on “mole hunts” and a reciprical arangment of spying on citizens started in earnest. As was noted by others back in the 1960’s “The reason is so that US politicians could stand up and loudly say ‘We do not spy on our citizens'”.

Again this came out with the Echelon enquiry (started by a UK investigative journalist, who Maggie Thatcher tried and failed to prosecute as a spy).

The simple fact is that this has been going on for years under the guise of “anti-spy” activity and like the dirty water from the washing machine that has broken under the strain of trying to contain this dirty laundry it has spread with out apparent limit, to leave not just a significant stain but a foul stench as well.

twofish June 10, 2013 2:07 AM

Nick P: However, he’s done the leak in a way that totally ID’s him, brings plenty heat on people he cares about, it’s about an issue Americans have been mostly apathetic about (propaganda worked), and he’s in a country that’s pretty far from his best safe haven opportunities.

He is in the probably the only place in the world that is immune from US pressure.

Also, what he has revealed publicly is probably one percent of what he knows, and I’m sure that right now the US would prefer that he get out of Hong Kong and to some neutral third party country (Iceland? Ecuador?) The longer he stays in Hong Kong, the longer it’s likely that he ends up talking (either intentionally or unintentionally) with someone from Chinese intelligence.

That’s also why he is also not likely to be put under custody in Hong Kong. If he is arrested, then he is going to be questioned, and it’s likely that someone from the Chinese intelligence services will be monitoring the conversation. This is clearly a “defense and foreign policy” issue so it’s likely there will be someone from the Mainland security services present if he is questioned by local police. If the local police seize his hard drive and USB drive, it’s likely that whatever is on his laptop is going to end up in the Ministry of State Security.

He probably knows the system well enough to know that if he leaks anything, it would be quickly traceable to him, so you either shut up, or leak and then reveal yourself quickly.

Jack June 10, 2013 7:28 AM

@Dirk Praet

[US Mass media approves of it, DNI outraged, POTUS downplays it, Europe is angry now but might buy into it if given access]

What remains lacking in the leaks still is evidence that this total surveillance program is being used maliciously. They have it set up, they must be using it. They are not catching terrorists with it, so who are they tracing out. Hoover used these tools to spy on political opponents and for blackmail, harrassment, and sabotage. Is that still going on today.

On our President and on Senators downplaying this, their opinion, I believe, can not be trusted. All the Presidents after Roosevelt to Nixon had access to the illegal wiretaps of their competing parties from the FBI.

They are all political appointees. Their positions are weak to surveillance. Historically, blackmailing them can be as simple as mentioning things to them about their lives or their families lives which shows that the parties behind illegal surveillance know all of the skeletons in their closet. Historically, none of these leaders came forward at the time to expose the FBI. Some with greater moral fiber left notes exposing him in their memoirs.

In the words of Fonzie in Arrested Development, if someone is trying to bust you on something, simply ‘find something incriminating on them’.

We are told that Patreus’ downfall was accidental. The FBI was sincerely the good guys there, simply looking for threats against him, when, oh my goodness, it turned out that he was having an affair. And it turned out this had to be made public.

We also know that the FBI during the reign of Clinton did not have a good relationship with him, because they had him under investigation just about the entire time. That investigation revealed the shocking, horrible news of his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

There is no Democracy with secret surveillance.

We know that the FBI surveilled Martin Luther King Jr and attempted to destroy him through secret sabotage based on illegal surveillance. We know the FBI did this sort of deliberate sabotage against American Communists. But the record gets limited there.

We also know that terrorism does not mean that all network and phone traffic globally needs to be surveilled. And we know they have not been stopping even terrorism. We also know that we have severe crime problems in the US, but they are using the threat of terrorism to enact all of these measures. In other words, as they are not doing their jobs that they claim they are doing — what are they doing?

We also know Bin Laden was not caught by any of these systems. We know that Bin Laden was caught by people who were not given many resources at all. Again, so what are they using this system for?

The system which has been described so far could be used for extortion – “soft extortion” most likely – it can be used to control just about any politician. It could be used for one corporation against other corporations. It could be used internationally, for the US to have advantages against international competitors.

But is it?

We need more leaks, or we need, if there is a truly black operation working with this system, for that black operation to be exposed by another means.

Dirk Praet June 10, 2013 7:47 AM

@ Clive

There’s no doubt in my mind that there was no bribes or coercion whatsoever involved in the UK-US relation. I was rather referring to other parties that may be less enthusiastic about the entire thing and might require a quid pro quo approach. Mi data es su data, or something.

Jack June 10, 2013 8:25 AM



On this forum, there are a lot of old hat security people. They understand that you do not leave poor controls out there on powerful areas.
Although you might leave nuclear weapons lying around with security cameras that hadn’t worked for 5years

[Story about how some anti-nuclear activists were able to gain entry into a nuclear facility. These activists were peaceful hippy protesters who have been prosecuted as terrorists.]

I take it you are reflecting that this total surveillance program may be the plunder in the jaws of some sort of trap.

That would be impossible and too far reaching for anyone to buy into.

Jack June 10, 2013 8:41 AM


“The longer he stays in Hong Kong, the longer it’s likely that he ends up talking (either intentionally or unintentionally) with someone from Chinese intelligence.”

What American analysts are probably considering right now is that maybe Chinese intelligence in some way wormed their way into his life and encouraged him on this disclosure.

Consider: A top news story has been Chinese hackers, basically, spies. The basic statement to the world is “China is spying on everyone”. But, if China is spying on people within US intelligence, then they already knew about these programs. They probably already knew that the US Government was in no place to condemn them, because they themselves are spying on everyone.

This story shifts focus away from China and towards the US.

But, China finds themselves in a pickle. They know the US is doing all of this illegal, immoral spying on everyone. But, they can not bust them on it. They could, but that would reduce their diplomatic power. Why bust them directly when they could bust them indirectly?

I am not saying that Edward Snowden is anything less then a hero, regardless of whatever forces may have been for this disclosure. I am also not saying that he surely or even likely was encouraged indirectly by China to make these releases. But, this is how it may be seen by some US analysts.

And I am saying that these releases are a strong benefit to China.

However, these releases are a strong benefit to the world, including America. We are at the verge of a potential global (or multi-national) surveillance state. These releases can help ensure that at the very least these corrupt governmental authorities are kept so busy following red herrings and chasing the rabbit through the labyrinth that they are in a poor position to actually protect themselves from true exposure.

Win, win.

Dirk Praet June 10, 2013 9:11 AM

@ Jack

What remains lacking in the leaks still is evidence that this total surveillance program is being used maliciously.

Which most probably is just a matter of time, and for which a defense is already in the pipeline: “This was a reprehensible act by a rogue individual and which management was not aware of.” Has already been used ad nauseam by the financial sector too.

But there really is more to it. I could elaborate in great length but one of the best reads I have come across so far is a piece in The Register here.

While I do not believe in overarching conspiracies of evil, I do believe that the structure and format of the American political system has become so damaged that the corruption of some individuals in positions of power is inevitable.

Nick P June 10, 2013 12:40 PM

@ twofish

Good points about why he might have wanted to be in Hong Kong and what he might be thinking. One caught my eye.

” The longer he stays in Hong Kong, the longer it’s likely that he ends up talking (either intentionally or unintentionally) with someone from Chinese intelligence.”

…makes the perfect case for his “disappearance.” IF he’s really knows as much as he claims. You think Hong Kong is great for hiding. It is if you have plenty of cash, know tradecraft and aren’t being hunted by professionals. In Hong Kong, the man might get killed in a mugging gone wrong, poison himself, jump off his hotel [unassisted of course], and any number of other things. His “I don’t care i just hope for the best” mentality actually sets him up for this. None of these possibilities cost much money or leave evidence leading to the US if their pro’s do it. I say, if he lives, he wasn’t much of a threat to US: just a nuisance they’d like to publicly humiliate and punish.

Note: I’ve posted the rest of my response in the new NSA thread as more people interested in the subject are over there.

@ others re: UK knowledge and corrupt use

We can’t forget Echelon in this. Confirmed details of Echelon included that it wasn’t merely a US system: it was a multinational system that allowed US, UK, Australia and others to spy on people across borders. If they were all OK with it pre-9/11, then they’re undoubtedly OK with it now, esp w/ strong support for surveillance states.

The Echelon system was also accused of industrial espionage. I think anyone concerned with possible abuse of the current system needs to look less at the system and more at the people running it. Have they abused their positions in a way that benefited them or their business partners at the expense of the American people? Did you say “Yes, many times over for both Bush and Obama administrations?” Then, you have your answer as to whether or not they’d do something unethical with it.

If it…

  1. Exists
  2. Gives them near omniscience over opponents.
  3. Lacks accountability
  4. Operates in secrecy.

…then corrupt, selfish power players in the US government will almost certainly use it for corrupt, selfish ends. It’s in their nature. Why wouldn’t they do that?

Jack June 10, 2013 1:19 PM

“What remains lacking in the leaks still is evidence that this total surveillance program is being used

Dirk Praet
“Which most probably is just a matter of time, and for which a defense is already in the pipeline: “This

was a reprehensible act by a rogue individual and which management was not aware of.” Has already been used

ad nauseam by the financial sector too.”


Their tactical & strategic disadvantage here is there is information they want. They are chasing after. This opens them up to following someone else’s lead. So, they can be led. The question would then be, “to where”.

The best sort of end game would be something metaphorically like “Angel Heart”, where everybody has a true “come to Jesus” moment.

Leaks were crucial to the first big exposure of US intelligence. Those leaks made the FBI and the Nixon Administration confused and desperate.

With major leaks in the NSC and FBI, Hoover became scared finally and refused to help Nixon. Nixon found himself desperate to fix the leaks, so he created the Plumbers to do so. This, of course, ended up in a watershed moment. In trying to fix the leaks the plumbers ended up breaking open the gates (Watergate).

So, in advocating more leaks, I am just looking at that sort of scenario.

It is true, though. Watergate did lead to the vast exposures of corruption in US Intelligence and law enforcement. But, not many guilty actually went to jail or had any significant change of heart.

Jack June 10, 2013 1:36 PM

Dirk Praet

Well written article, though these guys do not care that they are clearly violating the fourth amendmant in spirit and in truth.

From the wiki article:

“The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. It was adopted as a response to the abuse of the writ of assistance, which is a type of general search warrant, in the American Revolution.”

I guess this is why it is said “the letter of the law kills”. Because snakes find their way around it so easily.

The courts they have created for these moves are secret and issue general search warrants. There is no need for probable cause. One key point Snowden pointed out in his interview was he could search on anyone, at anytime using this illegal information.

A negative side effect of these leaks could be people become even more innured to the danger of these powers. They accept it. And the world might follow suit.

Democracy can not stand if people with illegal surveillance on their side are empowered. They can take down or lift up anyone they want with that power. They have complete control over existing elected officials with this power.

That is all you need to have a bloodless coup.

And that, they have done.

Nick P June 10, 2013 9:43 PM

How about a more lighthearted example of putting trust in the wrong people and whistleblowing on an industry?

This guy is one of those people who con their way onto sets and shows. The funny thing about him is he has many successful appearances, as different characters, on high profile “reality” shows. The article also gives more familiar story of what goes on behind the scenes. Gotta love scammers who specialize in ripping off scammers. Almost poetic justice there.

Figureitout June 10, 2013 11:05 PM

Nick P
–Perhaps you should look inward and maybe have a laugh if you find that funny.

Nick P June 11, 2013 11:16 AM

@ figureitout

“Perhaps you should look inward and maybe have a laugh if you find that funny.”

That link isn’t the time to look inward. Its’ the time to look outward at the world, soaking in what it is. We have shows that pretend to be real, people who take them on faith, people who approach them like they’re real even when definitevely shown they’re not, and the whole thing financially rewards those with the most deceit. A huge number of Americans participate in it passively on their couch, while some think they’ll do more by being a participant in the mockery of human relationships.

And then one guy decided to apply his inner mischief at pushing the limits of this system, exposing its foolishness/corruption, and making it pay him. In the process, he was judged by audiences who stage their reactions, “judges” that stage courtrooms, and talkshow hosts that stage relationship drama. And he broke the rules in every one with no dire consequences to him. Because they were as full of crap as him and attacking him would expose them. It was quite a show, a statement, and demonstration of skill.

And reading the summary of it all sure made me laugh. And a few people I sent it to who watch judge shows and talk shows. They remembered him, then laughed more than me.

Figureitout June 11, 2013 8:30 PM

nick p
–Yeah I was speaking directly to you. You’ve spent too much time in your line of work, and it’s altered your brain. It goes against what you really think. I can’t believe I actually considered you a friendly at one point…live and learn. Continue to be used and fool yourself otherwise.

moo June 12, 2013 12:46 AM

RT interviews whistleblower Bill Binney about the recent NSA leaks:

“BB: My personal view is that the intelligence community is bamboozling Congress and the administration. They are telling them that they have to do this in order to find the bad guys in the networks, and that’s just absolutely false.”

moo June 12, 2013 7:03 PM

The interesting stuff is the statements by Bill Binney, not whatever leading questions RT felt like asking them. Who cares what their angle is.

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