Monday, June 15, 2015

It Takes a Leak

 Guardian: "UK under pressure to respond to latest Edward Snowden claims"
The reports first appeared in the Sunday Times, which quoted anonymous senior officials in No 10, the Home Office and security services. The BBC also quoted an anonymous senior government source, who said...
Milton: Of Reformation in England, the Second Book
To be plainer, sir, how to solder, how to stop a leak, how to keep the floating carcass of a crazy and diseased monarchy or state, betwixt wind and water, swimming still upon her own dead lees, that now is the deep design of a politician!

4 comments: said...

This whole Sunday Times story on the supposed cracking of the encryption of Snowden's files does not add up. Curiously, the WaPo had a small story simply from Reuters on it that they put on p. A8 yesterday. Nobody in Washington is saying poop about this. I think this has to do with some divergent politics in London and Washington, with some very weird games going on.

So, as reported in the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times on two days ago, Russia and China hacked the encryption of Snoden's 2013 era downloaded NSA files. This apparent recent event (or maybe it was two years ago?) caused British security agencies (although none of them are publicly commenting on this) to pull agents from "certain countries" as they were somehow in danger due to this breaking of the code (or were these removals of agents two years ago). The British Foreign Secretary denounced Snowden, and anonymous sources in the Home Ministry were even harsher, claiming "incalculable damage" done by Snowden, and saying that obviously he must have given Putin something for Putin to grant him asylum.

This last is where things really start not to add up. If somehow this cracking was done by both Russia and China, then if somehow Snowden either gave them the files, which were not sufficiently securely encrypted, then how did the Chinese also get into the act? Did Putin authorize giving the Chinese these files? Did the Chinese hack into the Russian version of the files? Or is it that Snowden did not give anybody anything, but that the Russians and the Chinese managed to finally gain access to these files, wherever the heck they are, and then hack them? There are rather big differences here, with none of this remotely clarified. said...

There is more, and this looks rather blatantly political in the end. The Reuters story brings out at its end that the Cameron government is trying to pass new legislation to increase the power of the GCHQ (not named in the article) to engage in surveillance of British citizens, exactly what the reporting on Snowden's files exposed that the NSA was doing. So, there is clearly an interest by some in the Cameron admin to leak stories making Snowden look bad.

This now raises the question why we have heard nothing of this from US sources? Indeed, the US Congress just passed legislation going in exactly the opposite direction, trimming the sails of NSA power to do this stuff. I would think that if indeed US agents had been endangered by all this supposed Russian and Chinese hacking of his two year old files, they would have leaked it to help make the case to maintain their surveillance authority. But there have been no reports, although thinking for more than half a second shows that certainly if Brit agents have been endangered, a whole lot more US agents would have been too. Given the political high stakes this means either the Cameron government people are lying, misinformed, or something else. What that something else is, and what is really going on with all this, given the total silence of the US government and the general incoherence of the story (see why Russians would give this super sensitive stuff to the Chinese) is highly mysterious.

Sandwichman said...

"...and this looks rather blatantly political in the end."

I would say it looks rather blatantly political from the get go. Sending "anonymous sources" to slime a whistleblower with unsubstantiated allegations is pretty sleazy business. Calumny is a mortal sin. said...

A followup is that in today's WaPo there was a much larger story than yesterday's from Reuters about this supposed break of encryption of Snowden's files by the Russians and the Chinese about the Chinese hacking of files, personnel files especially with lots of sensitive information, in a bunch of US government agencies. It is pretty clear that this has a lot more attention and concern from the US government than whatever it is that has been going on with the Brits and all this stuff about Snowden's files.

Again, looks like Brit govt smearing Snowden to try to increase their surveillance files, even though (or perhaps especially because) it was because of those files that the US Congress reduced the surveillance powers of the NSA, without a whisper from them about anything about any of this regarding some hacking of Snowden's files.