Ass-Hacked Journalism

June 16, 2015

pt_948_11108_oOvercast with thick-gray clouds this early Tuesday on California’s north coast, supposedly another episode in a mundane weather routine — fog tainted with sunlight, rinse and repeat.
However, I do so-prefer here than the three-digit temperatures found in the interior, away from these shoreline breezes. We’ll top in the mid-60s today most-likely.

Seems little Eddie Snowden popped back upon the news-cycle’s front burner this past weekend in a story of incompetence and pure asshole-stupidity of spies coupled with bad journalism.

(Illustration found here).

Of course, Snowden needs no introduction. In my estimate, one of the better guys nowadays, and the adventure he set out upon two years ago altered government’s accountability toward an internal surveillance apparatus — a major, major historical event, those initial disclosures.

The latest escapade starts with one of Rupert Murdock’s UK newspapers relating how Snowden has “blood on his hands” because of the NSA leaks — all bullshit.
ArsTechnica from yesterday has a most-excellent synopsis:

The Sunday Times dropped a bombshell this weekend, reporting that the top secret files leaked by Edward Snowden have been obtained by the Russian and Chinese governments.
The story claimed Western intelligence agencies were “forced into rescue operations” to mitigate the damage, and one UK government source claimed that Snowden had “blood on his hands.”
It would be a major blow to Snowden and the journalists who worked with him — if it were true.
But the bold claims started falling apart shortly after it was published this weekend.
The story is behind a paywall but available elsewhere. It’s based entirely on anonymous British officials and contains some glaring inaccuracies.
Snowden confidante Glenn Greenwald immediately attacked it as “journalism at its worst.”
Greenwald is a predictable critic, to be sure, but Times reporter Tom Harper was later questioned about his story on CNN and admitted he’s been unable to check out any of the far-reaching claims told to him by government sources.
The reporter answered one question after another with some version of “I don’t know,” admitting he has no idea how any “hack” took place, how or when any foreign governments got the files, or if the files were encrypted at all.
Harper simply maintained that the Snowden hacking story was the “official position of the British government.”

The story asserts that it isn’t clear “whether Russia and China stole Snowden’s data, or whether he voluntarily handed over his secret documents.”
Of course, if Snowden handed over the documents willingly, it isn’t clear why they would need to be “cracked” by foreign governments in the first place.
Further, Snowden and the journalists working with him have stated he kept no files after handing them to journalists in Hong Kong.
The quote suggesting Snowden has “blood on his hands” is immediately followed by a statement noting that there was “no evidence of anyone being harmed.”

Another good nutshell of the story can also be found at International Business Times, and probably all over the Internet.
And a good feature on “cracking” those encrypted files at Wired, as most-likely Russia and China do have the Snowden files, but most-likely, too, gained them by ‘hackery‘ as witnessed by the recent giant hacks on US government files — the lesson:

In this kind of environment, we simply have to assume that even our classified networks have been penetrated.
Remember that Snowden was able to wander through the NSA’s networks with impunity, and that the agency had so few controls in place that the only way they can guess what has been taken is to extrapolate based on what has been published.
Does anyone believe that Snowden was the first to take advantage of that lax security?
I don’t.
This is why I find allegations that Snowden was working for the Russians or the Chinese simply laughable.
What makes you think those countries waited for Snowden? A
And why do you think someone working for the Russians or the Chinese would go public with their haul?

I am reminded of a comment made to me in confidence by a US intelligence official.
I asked him what he was most worried about, and he replied: “I know how deep we are in our enemies’ networks without them having any idea that we’re there. I’m worried that our networks are penetrated just as deeply.”

George Orwell would scream WTF!

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