Talk by the Former Head of French SIGINT

The former head of French SIGINT gave a talk (removed from YouTube) where he talked about a lot of things he probably shouldn't have.

If anyone has 1) a transcript of the talk, or 2) can read the French articles better than I can, I would appreciate details.

EDITED TO ADD (9/13): Better link to the video. Improved translation of the Le Monde article. Summary of points from the first article. English article about the talk.

Posted on September 7, 2016 at 5:57 AM • 55 Comments

Comments

François BouffardSeptember 7, 2016 7:00 AM

The LeMonde article is paywalled. But here's a quick translation of the 20minutes.fr article:

///

Former Head of DGSE Reveals Secrets to Engineering Students
Updated on 2016-09-03 12:10

Confidences were made in June on a table corner...

On the corner of a table, with microphone in hand and in front of students from the CentraleSupélec engineering school -- where he got his own degree -- Bernard Barbier, former technical head of the DGSE (General Directorate of External Security) revealed several state secrets in June. Le Monde managed to watch a video of the talk which did not leak so far, and summarizes the best parts.

"Lambasting Americans, a great moment of my professional career"

In front of the students, Bernard Barbier revealed the truth about the computer hack aimed at the Élysée between the presidential election rounds of 2012. It was indeed the Americans, using malware, that got in using the Facebook account of an Élysée worker. "I got the mandate, from Sarkozy's successor, to go to the US and lambaste Americans. Thtat was April 12, 2013, and this was a great moment of my professional carreer", said the former technical head of the DGSE from 2006 to 2014.

Bernard Barbier recounted a French hacking operation that was caught by the Canadians. "They found out that the hacker nicknamed his malware 'Babar' and signed it 'Titi'. They concluded that he was French. Indeed he was." The former technical head also said how French Secret Services assembled a state-sponsored hacking team as early as 1992.

Among Bernard Barbier's revelations, there was blurbs about an eventual fusion of the French DGSE and the German BND, which never happened, and his opinion on Edward Snowden. "A traitor to his country [...] who have shown to the world that spying between allies exists [...] As such, Snowden was mostly helpful to us."

///

EllendhelSeptember 7, 2016 7:03 AM

Disclamer: this is a quick and dirty translation and summary, just after morning coffee. You probably want to have other people checking on this.

First: "20 minutes" is not a very reliable source of information. It's the type of free newspaper that you can get at your metro or bus station. "Le Monde" is the most respected French newspaper in France.

So, this Monsieur Barbier ("Mr. Barber") was working few years ago for the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE), that is compared to the NSA in the article (the DGSE probably does something similar to the NSA and the CIA). As a technical director he has been able to get more resources (+5,000,000 Euros in budget, +800 employees) to modernize the organization.

When the Elysée (French President residence and offices; the French White House) was attacked in 2012, he has figured some similarities with an attack against the European Community in 2010, and he realized that attack was coming from the USA by checking on metadata (this has been confirmed by the Snowden revelations later on).

Was he's proud of, is the fact that Mr. Sarkozy, French President at the time, give him instruction to go to the US and to give a lecture to the NSA about this (the original word is "engueuler" and it's pretty strong, I'm not quite sure about a good translation).

He also explains that it's currently difficult for Europeans countries to work together (depending from one country to another), that there is a lack of coordination and resources. According to the article, the NSA as 60,000 employees, the DGSE only 3,000. He has given some recommendations to change this (working with Germany especially), but this seems to have never been applied.

Regarding terrorism he explains that it's pretty difficult to get intelligence about the terrorist cells, since it's difficult to get close and receive the trust from someone. Also, the French military is not cooperating with other organization easily (it seems to gets better).

His opinion about Snowden is that he's probably a traitor from an American point of view, but all the papers have been pretty helpful. Like for instance to show the dependency for some technical equipment from the US (Cisco namely).


FrenchSeptember 7, 2016 7:27 AM

I saw few articles on this in French newspapers. Here are some points (from [1]).

This guy (Bernard Barbier) is the former DGSE's technical division (kind of like the NSA) head (from 2006 to 2014) and created the DGSE's mass spying capabilities, trying to catch up with the NSA, GCHQ et al. He obtained €500M and 800 jobs for that. According to him, today they need to hire between 200 and 300 additional people.

He confirmed that the malware attack on the Élysée during 2012's presidential election was perpetrated by the US, and he was one of two officials that met Keith Alexander to complain about it. Alexander then said to him that he was "disappointed", and that he didn't think they would be caught. "Vous êtes quand même bons" ("You are good").

He also confirmed that France was behind a 2009 worldwide attack against Iran, but also Canada, Spain, Greece, Norway, Ivory Coast, Algeria, and some french targets. Canadian intelligence agencies suspected that France was behind it, and according to Barbier, they were right.

France began hacking operations in 1992, and bought between 1990 and 1995 an american Cray supercomputer to crack passwords.

All of this seems to be embarrassing because the French gov always said that they weren't conducing offensive operations, only defensive. That's probably why the video was deleted.

He accused French politicians of not being ambitious enough on SIGINT, and told some officials that they need to merge the DGSE and Germany's BND (in Europe, he says that the Swedish are the best in intelligence related to the number of habitants, the Italians are bad, Spain is better but doesn't have enough money, and the GCHQ is good but "are they really Europeans ?"). But the officials never followed.

He recalled convincing the DGSE's "Service action" (Covert Operations, [2]) to work with the technical division in Mauritania, and helped them modelize the terrain before attacking a terrorist camp. It was effective, and they were killed when they woke up. This was a revolution in French services, because the commandos always wanted to do everything by themselves. He was offered one of the terrorist's Kalashnikov to thank him.

And finally, some words on Snowden : for him, he's a traitor, but showed that American equipment was backdoored by US agencies, and he therefore aided the french agencies more than he damaged them. He also thinks that there is little risk of a french Snowden, because our agencies only hire insiders with 10~20 years of experience as sysadmins, as opposed to the NSA which uses external , private contractors.

I tried to summarize the article as completely as possible, sorry if it's not very well written or easy to read.

[1] : (paywalled) http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2016/09/03/les-confessions-d-un-maitre-de-l-espionnage-francais_4991935_3224.html?xtmc=renseignement&xtcr=13

[2] : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_Division

Jykell MaxonSeptember 7, 2016 7:29 AM

A few extra details.
Bernard Barbier is the former Technical Deputy Director of DGSE, which in NSA terms translates in Director, SID. His technical directorate had about 2500 people out of the 5000 of the agency. The agency combines HUMINT, SIGINT and Special OPS with a military arm in the form a commando regiment (not located in the Paris HQ).
In the interview, BB gives an example of a combined SIGINT/commando operation to "neutralize" a terrorist cell in Mauritania. The head of the commando brought him back the AK47 seized on a "neutralized enemy" that sits on his desk. This soldier died a couple of years later when trying to rescue an agency operative held hostage by the shababs in Somalia (3 commandos were killed in the operation).
BB gave a series of anecdotes on the value of SIGINT that are worth listening to but the audio is just terrible.

ab praeceptisSeptember 7, 2016 8:51 AM

"engeuler" is somewhere in the range of reprimanding or growling at someone.

"My boss did 'engeuler' me" indicates that he did dress me down and that he did so in a gross manner.

Hint: "geule" means snout in french. "Ta geule!" is roughly equivalent to "Shut (the f*ck) up!"

This interesting insofar as one would assume a certain polite formality when high ranking agency officials meet.

Clive RobinsonSeptember 7, 2016 10:03 AM

The most interesting thing was the must be hackers whilst just teenagers. It's almost certainly correct, the brain pathways are still malleable then. By the time you are 18 it's pretty much over. All that happens through Uni is you slightly refine what you have thinking/processing wise, then check a load of facts on top. If you have the right pathways, you come out with a First Class Degree wondering why you wasted your time and either get rich or end up doing research for love and a pittance, if of course you can get employment. If you don't have the pathways then you will be lucky to get a third, and any job you might get is not going to make you rich, and you will have wasted three years of climbing the greasy pole to junior management.

@

This interesting insofar as one would assume a certain polite formality when high ranking agency officials meet.

Only "in company" or "in public" the rest of the time the bitch about each other, score points off of each other, give others stupid names thinking they are being clever and in all other ways try to bolster their sense of superiority. They are the worst of people to work with and from my experience actually achieve rather less than you might otherwise expect from outwardly quite intelligent people. Thankfully I can avoid them and other time serving bureaucrats almost completely these days.

Ewan MarshallSeptember 7, 2016 10:04 AM

I hope the lecture/lambasting the Americans went something like this:

General Keith Alexander, I would like to arrange a talk on analysis of political maleware attacks in the name of inter-agency cooperation between NATO partners. I have a most illumination case study to use to demonstrate our methodology, maybe your agency can learn some things.

And then you have a room full of agents and analysts whose faces look great a way into the talk when they start realising where the evidence is leading...

AmusedSeptember 7, 2016 10:43 AM

I continue to find it amusing the number of countries that have come forward over the years with some version of the following:

(a) Snowden is a traitor to his country. :-(
(b) Thank God for American traitors! :-)))

GrauhutSeptember 7, 2016 11:15 AM


If i understand this right Keith Alexander confessed to Barbier they made the Regin trojan. Nothing new, but it confirms the Snowden docs indirectly. :)


"Barbier mentions that they randomly discovered the malware through existing signature which was similar to the 2010 hack of the European Commission — which had been reversed by his team of reverse engineers."

https://medium.com/@msuiche/nsa-hacked-france-in-2012-414d8de4bdcf?swoff=true#.oa506ceho


"Complex malware known as Regin is the suspected technology behind sophisticated cyberattacks conducted by U.S. and British intelligence agencies on the European Union and a Belgian telecommunications company"

https://theintercept.com/2014/11/24/secret-regin-malware-belgacom-nsa-gchq/


"The “20123.sys” is a kernel mode part of the keylogger. As it turns out, it was built from source code that can also be found one Regin module, the “50251” plugin."

https://securelist.com/blog/research/68525/comparing-the-regin-module-50251-and-the-qwerty-keylogger/

Joe KSeptember 7, 2016 11:32 AM

For the moment, it looks like a full copy of the paywalled le monde article is here:

http://zinc.mondediplo.net/messages/36006

@ Nadri, Thank you for sharing your improvements to the automated translation.

@ ab praeceptis: so, basically, capturing that mode of discourse characteristic of hollywood drill sergeants, engueuler means "to chew out". "Sarkozy's successor sent me to the US to chew them out."

Casting a BoutSeptember 7, 2016 12:08 PM

When they make the movie, they should cast R. Lee Ermey as Barbier.

"Wheech woan of you leetle tweenkle-toed coke-suckairz zhost sahned hees own death worr-rant?"

ab praeceptisSeptember 7, 2016 12:11 PM

Here's an interesting part (particularly the 2nd paragraph. Hint: note the change between past tense and present):

I got the order to go to the united states to dress them down by president sarkozy's successor. That was on april 12 2013 and that was really a great moment in my professional career. We were certain that it was them. At the end of the meeting keith alexander was unhappy. When we were in the bus he tells me that he was wrong because they thought that they would never be detected. And he adds "But you are pretty good". One doesn't spy on the great allies. The fact that the americans break that rule, that was a shock.
When Le Monde was about to publish the internal nsa document prepararing our visit of april 12 2013 I asked my liaison of nsa Paris to give me a copy of that. He responds that he can't because the secrecy level of that paper is such that only president obama could declassify it. I reacted saying that ten million frenchmen would read that paper in case I wouldn't get access to it. Finally I had it one day before its publication.

Finally a sidenote. So, that man is a fan of the german bnd. That, Pardon me, strongly suggests that either he telling a fairy tale or he is less well informed that he thinks. After all, in germany there has been a series of scandals, some of which undisputably show the bnd being not much more than a cia outpost.

ab praeceptisSeptember 7, 2016 12:14 PM

Sorry, it seems the software wants cite tags around each paragraph.

Note that the 2.nd paragraph (from "When Le Monde" to "before its publication." is from Le Monde while the last paragraph is a remark of myself.
Sorry

Mee YowSeptember 7, 2016 12:33 PM

The mass collection of electronic data in Europe, including meta data is illegal. To quote an in famous American tyrant named Cheney, "So what?"

Our parallel globalist corporate-military masters made it clear they exempt themselves from any law that's not consistent with their goal of world domination, and somehow they always get away with it.

Here is the USA, they simply order Congress to promulgate a new law making it all legal. I suppose they will do the same over there, now that the cat is formally out of the bag.

Dirk PraetSeptember 7, 2016 1:22 PM

@ Ewan Marshall

I hope the lecture/lambasting the Americans went something like this ...

Probably something more along the lines of: "Messieurs les Américains, c'est avec un profond regret que je me vois obligé de vous dire que vous êtes une bande de tarlouzes et que l'on vous emmerde".

@ Casting a Bout

When they make the movie, they should cast R. Lee Ermey as Barbier.

Only because Peter Sellers can't be resurrected. Another really good pick would be Benoit Poelvoorde. For those interested in cult films, check out his "C'est arrivé près de chez vous" (1992), AKA "Man bites dog" in those parts of the world where people don't understand French. More violent and surreal than anything Tarantino has ever done.

engeulerSeptember 7, 2016 4:40 PM

"Engeuler"--

Russell Crowe in "State of Play" acknowledging rude stonewalling of colleague: "I gave her some snout."

Nick PSeptember 7, 2016 5:02 PM

@ Dirk Praet

"Distinguished Americans, it is with deep regret that I am compelled to tell you that you're a band and we tarlouzes fuck you" (Google Translate)

Hmm. It was great on the first half. Sort of fell off the wagon after that. So, I'll just substitute an alternate reality where the Frenchman quotes an American warrior to the Americans' faces:

"Parce que je suis un phoc et vous etes les phocees."

F fondrementSeptember 7, 2016 5:47 PM

Things he probably shouldn't have? There's no way a mouche would have said that without knowing exactly what he was doing. This is clearly intended to embarrass the US government and get them to shut up a little with the Russian electoral-interference nonsense, which verges on illegal war propaganda. As a secondary goal he can get people thinking hard about a cyber arms race mobilized for Hobbesian war of all against all.

For some time the theme in Eurasia has been, the US state is so uncouth, uncivilized, and out of control that they've voided the gentlemen's agreement. Foreign intelligence agencies are publicizing their take instead of using it covertly because its best and highest use is to focus shame and disgrace on the US regime. France was the original leader of this movement. France led Security Council resistance to illegal US war in Iraq. France was in the thick of the European mutiny against US torture. Russia took over when it became clear that nothing short of threatened ecocidal nuke war will stop the USG.

Even Barbier's venue is symbolic. US dips (the ones with half a brain) worry that after decades of effective USA-USA-USA propaganda, the plain facts are going to lose them a generation in Europe, quote, unquote. The US has gone well beyond the acculturation zone - European diplomats now know that the US regime has to be treated like a caveman clubbing all the men and dragging off the women by their hair. NATO will not survive this. Good.

Clive RobinsonSeptember 7, 2016 6:32 PM

@ F fondrement,

European diplomats now know that the US regime has to be treated like a caveman clubbing all the men and dragging off the women by their hair. NATO will not survive this. Good.

The bad news for you is that "of course NATO will survive" in fact it will probably thrive.

The reason is that all the decision makers have been bought and payrd fpr ny the MIC, thay needs the NATO market place for it's profits.

Why do you think Obama said that NATO members had to stump up atlrasy 2% of GDP, it's so that the US MIC gravy train keeps running.

If you draw up a graph of nations spending on "defence", you will find that those who spend the least have better economies than those who spend the most.

GrauhutSeptember 7, 2016 6:51 PM

@Clive: Have a look across the channel to the Hague.

www.google.com/search?q=eu+intelligence+hague

Looks a little as if they were prpping something. ;)

Dirk PraetSeptember 8, 2016 3:25 AM

@ Nick P.

"Distinguished Americans, it is with deep regret that I am compelled to tell you that you're a band and we tarlouzes fuck you" (Google Translate)

Google apparently choked on "tarlouzes", which is slang. Second part translates to "that you are a bunch of faggots and that you can go *bleep* yourselves". It just sounds so much more civilized in French.

Clive RobinsonSeptember 8, 2016 5:19 AM

@ Dirk Praet,

It just sounds so much more civilized in French.

Try it in Itallian and "they will love you for it" ;-)

Especially if his appraisal of the Italians is acurate and not just a "Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys" Bush style bloviate =:)

Anyway to quote "Peter Paul and Mary" 'my bags are packed, I've got to go' as 'the taxi's blowing his horn' (or very soon will be). Hopefully though I do 'know when I'll be back again'.

F FondrementSeptember 8, 2016 9:20 AM

@Clive, true, Europe's western-oriented gentlemen are bought and paid for and usually blackmailed for good measure. Even so, 2% is a joke. The only states that meet it are Greece and Lithuania, and that's accidental cause their GDP imploded.

It's useful to remember that the Warsaw Pact broke up not from tensions between the USSR and its satellites but from divergent policies of hard-line and soft-line satellites. The North/South schism is of interest here. Another potential fault line separates five-eyes Britain and the second-class citizens of the continent. Europe overall has stronger civil society than the US, so dissolution of the NATO bloc, if it happens, is more likely to propagate inward from outside, the way the Warsaw Pact went: Budapest>>DDR>>USSR. The Western-bloc analog might be

PIGS>>Scotland>>France>>Germany>>USA.

Drk PraetSeptember 8, 2016 10:02 AM

@ Clive

Try it in Itallian and "they will love you for it"

Err, (cotton balls in cheeks): "Signori dottori grandi specialisti, siamo spiacenti di informarla che siete un gruppo di finocchii e che habiamo stronzo su di voi". Unfortunately, my Italian is not as good as my French, so a native speaker can probably pull off something way more subtle. I did avoid the more traditional "vaffanculo", though.

Take it easy there at your mandatory timeshare and try to get back out as soon as possible.

Another_frenchSeptember 8, 2016 10:16 AM

There's no way [Barbier] would have said that without knowing exactly what he was doing.
I quite doubt that:
* He is just an old guy that just got canned from an important position into a boring job (Sogeti is basically French Oracle: doing big boring IT contracts for corporates and government). He's only too happy to find young people willing to listen to his stories. In short, he is neither a diplomat, nor field agent, nor a politician, he is an engineer so we know he can't resist bragging about what he's been doing to anyone willing to listen. If it's fake he's really a great actor because it sounds so natural.
* also he just drools in too many eccentric subjects like creating a French-German intelligence agency or his time playing rugby at school
* the story has been sitting idle for like 3 month before anyone noticed the fluke
* if this was some sort of false flag operation it would really make no sense at all. It doesn't bring anything that wasn't suspected already but gives incidentally formal confirmation that France attacked quite a bunch of countries. I can't see how France could benefit of this.
Short story long, I can't see how that would make any sense as any kind of spy operation and you have to accept it's basically the guy candidly speaking his mind because even being good at maths and cryptography he doesn't really get how that Youtube thing works.
Funny is the same mix of brilliance and amateurism was found in the spying tools that, while being pretty sophisiticated, were filled with Opsec failures like abundant comments, typically french mispellings, compiler set to french language and so on...

WaelSeptember 8, 2016 10:22 AM

@Dirk Praet,

"vaffanculo", though.

And I always thought it was ""baffanculo". Foreign "Bulgar Bocabulary" list updated...

F FondrementSeptember 8, 2016 10:56 AM

@Another_french. No doubt. Most spooks are clowns, although the tendency is most pronounced in the US. That's their job. But traditionally, once they're put out to pasture spooks are permitted to speak some of the obvious truths they had to deny to keep their jobs. So however accurate those ad hominem arguments are, the stopped clock still tells the right time twice a day: the USA treacherously spies on enemies and allies alike, recklessly imposing lawless chaos, and Europe is fed up.

Ignazio PalmisanoSeptember 8, 2016 12:03 PM

@Drk Praet

Fairly decent italian, but I reckon tarlouze's definition, "person lacking strength", is more adequate. It would go something like:

"Miei cari signori Americani, sono spiacentissimo di informarvi che siete una banda di smidollati; mi auguro che durante il vostro ritorno a casa uno stormo di piccioni vi ricopra di uno spesso strato di guano."

Dirk PraetSeptember 8, 2016 1:12 PM

@ Ignazio Palmisano

It would go something like: "Miei cari signori Americani, ..."

(chuckle) A level of eloquence I can only aspire to. May I take it you live in Rome, cause that's kinda common over there every fall? But still exactly why I find Italian the most beautiful language in the world. You're right about "tarlouzes", but on the streets it's also a synonym for pufters, just like "tapettes".

@ Wael

And I always thought it was ""baffanculo"

You're confusing with Spanish. It's them who pronounce the written 'v' as a 'b', as in "Porque te vas?". Greeks actually do the exact opposite, pronouncing a written 'b' as a 'v', which is a problem with foreign words like 'beer', which they then write as 'mpeer' (mpirra), 'mp' being pronounced as 'b'. In some parts of Asia, like Indonesia and the Philippines, most folks can't pronounce the letter 'f', saying 'p' instead ("No more pish. Pish pinished.") and which makes Philippinos the only people in the world that can't correctly pronounce the name of their own country. Now choke on that, Rodrigo Duterte 8-)

WaelSeptember 8, 2016 1:27 PM

@Dirk Praet,

It's them who pronounce the written 'v' as a 'b',...

Several nationalities have difficulties with the pronunciation of certain foreign letters. Many jokes revolve around this theme.

albertSeptember 8, 2016 3:14 PM

Amusing comments, and as a bonus, so appropriate considering the subject.

To quote Major Hochstetter, "What is this man doing here?", and, "BAH!"
. .. . .. --- ....

Mick E. SpillaneSeptember 9, 2016 7:30 PM

@Dirk Praet

The way I heard it, "In Philippines, Duterte chokes you." ;)

I'll show myself out now.

SkepticalSeptember 10, 2016 7:00 AM


@the.usual: The US has gone well beyond the acculturation zone - European diplomats now know that the US regime has to be treated like a caveman clubbing all the men and dragging off the women by their hair. NATO will not survive this.

NATO is already in the process of increasing its forces, due to Russian aggression. This is fluff - a little elbowing among allies, nothing more. Russian annexation of Crimea, its provocative and aggressive actions in eastern Ukraine and elsewhere - that's much more.

I did enjoy the part where he takes a dig at some of his competitors and pretends that he's simply talking public policy (you don't want to buy any equipment from those American manufacturers who set industry standards... let me show you what we have, and you can trust us) - along with the note about only hiring sysadmins with 20 years of experience inside the French Government (but of course - this is the French Government after all).

Gerard van VoorenSeptember 10, 2016 8:26 AM

@ Skeptical,

"NATO is already in the process of increasing its forces, due to Russian aggression. This is fluff - a little elbowing among allies, nothing more. Russian annexation of Crimea, its provocative and aggressive actions in eastern Ukraine and elsewhere - that's much more."

Do you even know where the Crimea is? I bet you have to look it up. I can tell you three things: One, it's very far from the USofA, second it's very close to Russia and third it's also quite far from the Atlantic (the A in NATO).

The moment NATO interferes in any conflict is the moment of escalation, vast destruction and massive killing, not the moment of rebuilding. In fact NATO always disappears when rebuilding is required.

Also watch the Jeremy Corbyn talk about NATO. Note: It's all fact.

And btw, tomorrow it's the 15th anniversary of 9/11. If you want to know at how good America is in rebuilding countries, look no further than Afghanistan and Iraq. These countries are today, 15 years after the invasions, at the top of the most corrupt countries in the world. I say: Bravo! Job well done USofA!

IanashA_TitocIh_001September 10, 2016 12:21 PM

To: @Clive, @Skeptical, @Gerard, @Dirk, @Wael, @FigureitOut, @Thoth, and others
From: IanashA_TitocIh_001 (I am not a self hating American*; This is the only country I have.)_001 (*Apologies to Canada, and Central and South America, if warranted.)

Since this post is somewhat off topic, it is also being posted in the current Squid:
https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/09/friday_squid_bl_543.html

Question 1) Who does the US MIICLE (Military-Industrial-Intelligence-Congressional-Law Enforcement) complex want for president in the US? What might the competing interests be?


Assumptions:

1) Given the 60 Minutes piece on SS-7 I assume almost all, if not all, politicians in this country can be blackmailed.

2) Regarding the Crimea and Ukraine, we know from the Cuba Missle Crisis how the US might react to adversarial missle related hardware being placed in, or near, Mexico or Canada, for example.

3) Given a "Collect it All, ..."* mentality US citizens are subject to as much collection as people anywhere else on earth. In the US, "Collect it All" results might be parallel construction, blackmail, law enforcement interactions (FBI, DHS, DEA, State, Local, etc.) car crashes, and the like, versus drone strikes, rendition, or overt torture in other parts of the world.
* Of course, perhaps 5 Eyes, (plus Israel and others?) are still required to collect information on US citizens and then share it with the US, state, or local governments to keep things legal.

4) iirc the US has around 1 millon people with Top Secret clearances and around 5 million people with Secret clearances (Dana Priest, Washington Post Series). With other jobs to protect and funding sources to protect that is a huge amount of monetary inertia to keep the status quo in the US.


Misc.: I think Thomas Friedman, of the NYTimes, implied awhile back, that a terrorist incident in the US around election-time could throw the US election to Trump. How about a US "wag the dog" war or war escalation to help throw an election? Social media to throw an election? What factions might be for or against Trump and what might they be doing about the life and death games people play?

I imagine the games being played by various actors behind the scenes, in this life and death game, could result in an interesting novel, leak, or non-fiction book.

Question 2) How do the US MIICLE (Military-Industrial-Intelligence-Congressional-Law Enforcement) complex factions work with and against other factions in MIICLE complex to meet their respective desired ends?


Misc. Optional Reading:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/05/26/general-haydens-offensive/
(from the NY Review of Books; at least General Hayden might have helped to prevent war with Iran)

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/09/07/every-move-you-make-obama-nsa-security-surveillance-spying-intelligence-snowden/ (from Bamford, James, the author of the "Puzzle Palace")

ab praeceptisSeptember 10, 2016 3:59 PM

Gerard van Vooren

Indeed.

In fact, Crimea was russian for centuries until a ussr leader (chrustchev was from from ukrane, btw) handed it as a gift to ukraine. It's also noteworthy that his action was grossly anti-constitutional.

But then, as you so aptly remarked, what is to be expected from people who would have a hard time pointing to ukraine on a globe, let alone to Crimea.

Bob SlocumSeptember 10, 2016 7:12 PM

Interesting to see Schneier become another corporate tool for the military industrial complex, hiding thoughtcrime from his corporate supervisors' beady eyes.

RatioSeptember 11, 2016 7:40 AM

@Wael,

Several nationalities have difficulties with the pronunciation of certain foreign letters. Many jokes revolve around this theme.

I hope it's all in good pun. ;)

@Gerard van Vooren,

Do you even know where the Crimea is? I bet you have to look it up. I can tell you three things: One, it's very far from the USofA, second it's very close to Russia and third it's also quite far from the Atlantic (the A in NATO).

It's such a lovely day for ad hominem. :)

But seriously, what does the location of the Atlantic have to do with anything? Does the Paris Agreement concern itself with climate change and related subjects within in a not too large radius around the French capital?

Also watch the Jeremy Corbyn talk about NATO. Note: It's all fact.
Is it now? All of it is fact?

Gerard van VoorenSeptember 11, 2016 8:15 AM

@ Ratio,

"It's such a lovely day for ad hominem. :)"

You know, I did have to look that up. Attacking persons in writing is usually not my style but when they continue spreading propaganda they can have it.

[About the Jeremy Corbyn NATO talk] "Is it now? All of it is fact?"

Everything he said is well documented, but if you find errors please let me/us/him know. Is that enough?

No comments on the rest? Pity.

JeffreySeptember 11, 2016 10:58 AM

How about a US "wag the dog" war or war escalation to help throw an election?

This must have came from a novice (conspiracy) theorist. Since when does who gets elected matter? :)

WaelSeptember 11, 2016 8:06 PM

@Ratio,

I hope it's all in good pun. ;)

Took me a while to get it! Pun ...fun ... Of course!

RatioSeptember 13, 2016 12:53 AM

@Gerard van Vooren,

Everything he said is well documented, but if you find errors please let me/us/him know. Is that enough?

I really don't want to be your/our/his fact-checker, but I'll do the first bit. :)

After he's introduced he says:

Chris, thank you very much. And thank you very much, everyone, for being here today [at] this historic site where the Chartists were gunned down, looking for peace and freedom.

Sure, it's a historic site and Chartists were shot and killed there. But looking for peace and freedom? Read about the Newport Rising and see if that is what the Chartists were looking for.

He goes on:

Well, we are looking for peace and freedom from wars in this country and all around the world. And tomorrow in Cardiff we'll have the counter NATO summit. And it will have a huge range of international speakers, some of which you've heard from here today, from Russia, from the USA, from Germany, from all over the NATO countries. And why are we meeting? Because I think NATO needs to be taken to task. And this absurd spatchcock of a history that NATO has been treating us to over the last few weeks needs to be challenged.

What spatchcock of a history he's talking about I don't know. Let's say it's all true. The problem is that besides trivial statements about tomorrow's activities there isn't much there. Let's move on.

I'll just give you a few dates. 1948. NATO was founded in order to promote a cold war with the Soviet Union. That resulted in the formation of the Warsaw Pact. That resulted in sixty years of a ludicrous arms race which cost us all billions of pounds and dollars and damaged the civil liberties of people all over the world.

NATO was founded in 1949, not 1948.

Next, NATO was founded to promote a cold war with the Soviet Union. "Promote" is nice and flexible. What is he really saying here? The Cold War was already visibly underway before NATO, so he can't be saying "they" were trying to cause it. (For example, the Berlin Blockade began in mid 1948.) That leaves "promote" in the sense of either "encourage", or "try to popularize", or both. Which is it? Anyway, he's saying that that was/is the reason for NATO's existence? Where's the evidence? Also kindly note the use of the passive voice: who exactly is he accusing? Why did the notably militaristic Iceland (which doesn't even have a standing army) sign up for this sort of thing? Something isn't entirely passing the smell-test.

That resulted in the formation of the Warsaw Pact. What exactly? The formation of NATO? If that's what he means, it sure took a while (from 1949, or 1948 according to his dates, until 1955). Why the wait? Also, without NATO there would have been no Warsaw Pact?

Next, there's this sixty years of a ludicrous arms race. So according to him that would be until 2008 (1948 + 60). Why 2008 (or 2009 if you start in 1949)? Where does he get sixty years?

And finally, he says that this arms race damaged the civil liberties of people all over the world. Sure, people's civil liberties were affected in that period, but saying that the arms race did it? How does that work?

The last bit for a nice round 200 words:

Come the end of the Cold War, in 1990, that should have [... more ...]

I'd say the Cold War ended the year both the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union ceased to exist (1991), but 1990 is not completely unreasonable. Sure, 1990 it is.

So that's the first 200 words (of some 1000, I'd guess). Not exactly all fact, and some of it just plain wrong.

No comments on the rest? Pity.

What is "the rest"?

IanashA_TitocIhSeptember 13, 2016 8:05 AM

Correction

Re: Missing comma, inserted as "","", below in Assumption 3:

3) Given a "Collect it All, ..."* mentality US citizens are subject to as much collection as people anywhere else on earth. In the US, "Collect it All" results might be parallel construction, blackmail, law enforcement interactions (FBI, DHS, DEA, State, Local, etc.)"","" car crashes, and the like, versus drone strikes, rendition, or overt torture in other parts of the world.

Of course car crashes (w or w/o face all smashed in) can happen for a variety of reasons or can involve suspects:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Hastings_%28journalist%29#Alleged_foul_play_controversy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_patton#Accident_and_death

Background information on Hastings:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-runaway-general-20100622
In addition, Hastings, or his former wife, have written some interesting other stuff, too, imho.

IanashA_TitocIhSeptember 13, 2016 11:58 AM

One interesting thing about Schneier on Security (SoS) is the, presumably, large number of International users that post here in addition to the, presumably, large number of US users that post here.

This "Talk by the Former Head of French SIGINT" thread reminds me of that.


@Jeffrey

""How about a US "wag the dog" war or war escalation to help throw an election?"

This must have came from a novice (conspiracy) theorist. Since when does who gets elected matter? :)"

Since this gets somewhat off-topic, it might be better addressed in a Squid. The current Squid is:
https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/09/friday_squid_bl_543.html?nc=65#comment-6734091

You could, of course, re-post there.

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