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Wikileaks and Anonymous Join Forces Against US Intelligence Community 268

Posted by samzenpus
from the when-our-powers-combine dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "The most recent bombshell of confidential documents dropped by infamous watchdog organization Wikileaks is already looking to have an enormous impact on our understanding of government security practices. Specifically, intimate details on the long-suspected fact that the U.S. has been paying a whole lot of money to have private corporations spy on citizens, activists and other groups and individuals on their ever-expanding, McCarthy-style naughty list. But perhaps more importantly, the docs demonstrate something very interesting about the nature of U.S. government intelligence: They haven't really got much of it."
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Wikileaks and Anonymous Join Forces Against US Intelligence Community

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  • Surprising? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sbates (1832606) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:10PM (#39203437)

    It's only surprising if you believe Hollywood hype. The halls of the White House are not bristling with people hell-bent on preventing the next disaster. Life is extraordinarily mundane. The majority of the people in government are moving pages and pages of some of the most sleep-inducing content available. I'm far more apt to believe Tom Clancy's novels depicting CIA, FBI etc getting their intelligence from CNN.

  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:11PM (#39203443) Journal
    And so many people thought the rebellion would be started by traditional heroes - macho men with guns and explosives.

    Instead, it's up to a bunch of unethical misbegotten nerds from 4Chan to save the day.

  • by icebike (68054) * on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:14PM (#39203477)

    It would appear that Wikileaks doesn't have much intelligence either. I mean I haven't seen anything really secret or seriously sensitive in any of their releases, mostly stuff equating to gossip or which was already known. I've read all the Gee Wow articles about all the secret cables, and other documents, but found them much to do about nothing, and the expected fallout from their release amounted to nothing.

    It would appear they have no access to the truely secret stuff. Which is not the same thing as the Government not having any secret stuff. It just means anonymous and wikileaks go after soft targets.

  • by ClintJCL (264898) <clintjcl+slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:16PM (#39203495) Homepage Journal
    "The fact that they "spy" on activists or whatever their corporate clients pay them to do has ZERO to do with US intelligence agencies."

    If US intelligence has access to the results of their spying, OR pays for it, then it has WAY MORE THAN ZERO to do with it.

    Nice try at 2 + 2 = 5, though. It would be commendable if you had the balls to not be anonymous about it.

  • by mrquagmire (2326560) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:17PM (#39203499)
    ...became painfully obvious after the 9/11 attacks and subsequent "WMDs" in Iraq. I could honestly not believe how much our government didn't know about what was going on in our own country, let alone the rest of the world.
  • by The_Wilschon (782534) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:20PM (#39203523) Homepage
    Well, the article appears to be stating the exact opposite of what you have just asserted, to wit, that the US government IS paying private companies to "spy" on activists. Either you or the article must be wrong, since you are making incompatible assertions. Unfortunately, I have neither the time nor the patience to go through the documents in question on wikileaks in order to determine whether the article's depiction of affairs is accurate, based on those documents (and the presumption that they are themselves reliable).
  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:36PM (#39203599)
    Mundane stuff is how you catch the existence of secret stuff. By sifting through a lot of boring sounding data and making connections, things that don't add up are seen, and the right questions to ask are found. That's data mining, and it's not about submarine cars and bullets shooting out of a cigar.

    The reason governments go after Wikileaks is that they know this, and by the time Wikileaks or someone else finds a juicy secret, it's much too late to cover up.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:52PM (#39203743)

    Hint: the CIA and NSA, and every other component of the Intelligence Community, DO NOT COLLECT ON US PERSONS unless specifically and explicitly allowed by law or executive order.

    Does that include the illegal wiretaps that keep getting mentioned?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:04PM (#39203843)

    This guy is talking ignorance while he's pushing the propaganda line. Sure the IC would never violate the law and they certainly have no interest in what private citizens are doing and saying. If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.

  • by decora (1710862) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:18PM (#39203933) Journal

    because you can't have it both ways.

    either wikileaks was innocuous and had no impact on anything, because its documents were pointless gibberish.

    or bradley manning was a traitor to the country and endangered the lives of the troops because wikileaks had such sensitive important information.

    only one of those can be true. not both.

  • by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @08:21PM (#39203953)

    It's amazing how little people know about intelligence gathering. The Government is not magic. It is an organization. A big and powerful organization, but an organization nonetheless.

    They have a bunch of databases of information they can use. Shockingly, few people are willing to put their press releases in a format that this database automatically understands. This means that if the government wants to know what an organization posts on it's public website some poor schmuck has to go to the website, read the information, and copy/paste into the official database.

    It shouldn't be surprising that a group like the Yes Men, whose information is in English and written in way that's supposed to be accesible to ordinary Americans, gets looked at by the losers of the intelligence community, Stratfor, and not official agents.

    Without seeing the contract I can't say whether this is losing the government money. This is low-level work, which means people in their first jobs, and the Federal pay structure is such that you make a little more then you're worth in the low pay-grades ($30-$35k out of college, even if you're a Liberal Arts Major), and get full benefits, but then get screwed when you get promoted (Obama only makes $400k, CEOs making that typically oversee less then 1% of the Fed $Trillion budget). Depending on Stratfor's negotiating prowess we could be saving thousands, or being screwed.

  • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:02PM (#39204267)

    or bradley manning was a traitor to the country and endangered the lives of the troops because wikileaks had such sensitive important information.

    The effect of the information he released has nothing to do with whether he's a traitor. It's the fact that he released the information in the first place, violating the oaths and vows that he took upon joining the military. Deciding whether that material was classified was well above his pay grade, and there were/are procedures in place for him to have challenged the information if he had ethical objections. He decided to release the information anyway.

    Treason is in the intent, at least as much as it is the effect. Guy Fawkes still committed treason, even though he never succeeded at blowing up the parliament.

  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:11PM (#39204307)

    Cmdr Taco, where are you...?

    You may have regarded Slashdot as your personal sandbox from time to time, but at least you had the grace and wisdom not to piss in it everyday.

  • by Brannoncyll (894648) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:25PM (#39204375)

    Please tell that to that to the US Government

    No need. They long since have clinked all the wine glasses and slapped all the back, and chuckled at all the jokes. They know exactly what wikileaks has and aren't worried a bit, in spite of the grave face they put on to entertain the naive.

    For people who aren't worried, they do seem to have put in an unusually large amount of effort in trying to shut Wikileaks down and making Bradley Manning out as some kind of arch-villain.

  • by the_bard17 (626642) <theluckyone17@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:35PM (#39204431)

    Manning may have committed treason against the government.

    I'm still not convinced he committed treason against his country. Don't confuse one with the other.

  • Further, the US and its partners discovered 700,000 tons of non-WMD UN-banned weapons when we invaded. Iraq was in violation of not one, not two, but THREE binding and in-force UN Security council resolutions, any one of which allowed for the use of force with no further justification.

    Citation needed.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:15PM (#39204655) Homepage Journal

    the public generally only sees the failures, and almost never the successes

    Well, it's a matter of how 'success' is defined. Sure the CIA was 'succesful' in overthrowing The Sha in Iran, but the results were disastrous (see the front page of any paper). Repeat for any number of South and Central American countries, Pol Pot, etc.

    If you want to claim that there are secret successes that nobody knows about - well, don't expect us to prove the negative.

  • by number11 (129686) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:50PM (#39204827)

    You're a complete and utter dumbass if you believe that US foreign intelligence agencies' primary purpose is going after US citizens.

    I don't think anyone has said that they believe that "US foreign intelligence agencies' PRIMARY purpose is going after US citizens." Interesting, though that you inserted the qualifier "foreign" there. Are you saying that's instead the primary purpose of domestic intelligence agencies?

    Hint: the CIA and NSA, and every other component of the Intelligence Community, DO NOT COLLECT ON US PERSONS unless specifically and explicitly allowed by law or executive order.

    Now, however, you've dropped the qualifier "foreign". Perhaps you're right, though how would we know, so long as some executive orders and warrants are secret? Just have to take your word for it? I do recall a judge on the rubber-stamp Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court saying that at least some of the justifications they had been presented with were BS. Not that it stopped them from issuing warrants. Odd, at the time ATT was tapping the internet backbone and giving access to the government, there was no law permitting it (that was retroactively fixed, later).

    Of course, this is slashdot, and everyone believes there is a secret cabal trying to "keep down the common man" and that the IC's near-sole purpose is spying on US citizens

    There's that straw man again. Everyone believes that (some of) the IC does many other things besides spying on US citizens. Well, aside from the NYPD "Intelligence Division", and whoever is on the other end of the wire from those ATT backbone taps. I do hope we're not paying for IC people to make AC posts to /. though. Hopefully they're bright enough to realize that the word of an "Anonymous Coward" doesn't carry much more weight than one would expect, and can figure out how to create a user account.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:18PM (#39204967)

    if they piss off the CIA and NSA... I'm not saying their prized pet poodles will be snatched by black ops and wisked away to secret dungeons to be water boarded... but at a certain point they have so many resources and legal loopholes at their disposal that screwing with them is not a survival trait.

    I think a lot of hackers stay out of jail because no cares enough to track them down and not so much because they're eLiTe or whatever. What this sort of provocative actions do is put a taskforce that will be paid 7 days a week to hunt them. And that means any stupid illegal thing they've doubtless done and gotten away with... might come back to bit them in the ass... and then eat them alive.

    If they hadn't actually broken any laws it might not be a huge issue for them. But I'm pretty sure they've broken lots including some identity theft and credit card fraud. You can go away for years for that. So if they want you... they can throw you in prison somewhere. All they have to do is find you.

    If I were these guys... I'd be doing everything in my power to vanish and disassociate with the larger group.

    Something we learned from the war on terror is that the CIA likes to infiltrate groups by posing as one of them. They do that either by taking out someone and then assuming their identity or simply entering the organization at a lower level.

    A fair number of the people in anonymous at this point might actually be government operatives posing as allied hackers.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:24PM (#39204987) Homepage

    You obviously have no understanding of the law at all. Obeying an order is no excuse, ever. The individual is always bound to obeying the law, it is always their decision what should be kept secret and what should be exposed.

    Only a gutless coward sells out their honour and integrity, with pathetic excuse of they told me too.

    Your lie is a lie, it is always the individuals honour, duty, and legal responsibility to decide what is the appropriate response and what is not.

    If the material released contained evidence of crimes that were not being prosecuted then he adhered to the law. In fact all those others who failed to submit that evidence to the authorities by what ever means necessary should be charged with being accessories after the fact for all the crimes contained within the material they kept secret.

    Your view of the law, you must obey you superiors regardless, is the law of the Nazis, is the law of Stalin and Mao, it is not the law of any democracy and publicly stipulated at the Nuremberg trials http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_trials [wikipedia.org].

  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @12:25AM (#39205327)

    You've raised some fascinating legal points. Unfortunately, in practice, the entire set of legal restrictions are and have been worked around for years.

    For illegal political or industrial espionage, the records and data from existing monitoring are never exposed to judicial review. There's no trustworthy way to verify that the monitoring is _only_ done legally, due to the secrecy of the raw data. This makes it far, far too easy to abuse in extra-legal fashions: the law can be, and is, treated as a meaningless scrap of paper because the courts and Congress at large _are not informed_ of the extent of the monitoring. The best recent case of this is the fiber optic taps on AT&T's core data lines, for which immunity was granted after the taps were publicly revealed by a whistleblower. (This is what whistleblowers are _for_.)

    Another obvious issue is that the US security forces trade internationally for information. We don't need a warrant to obtain US communications that were monitored by UK, German, Turkish, or other allied security forces. We just need to swap data they are interested in that we gathered legally under the very laws you mention. This sort of jurisdictional horse-trading is precisely how the US conducts illegal torture of "terrorist" suspects and ignores international treaties on treatment of prisoners: we simply find a partner who can do it legally, or illegally, in their own country.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @02:35AM (#39205875)

    rephrase please...

    And in regards to the other posts talking about anon fighting the good fight... Not so much. They're mostly masturbating on the internet while committing some amateur credit card fraud.

    I don't think we've seen a single hack out of them that was particularly impressive. Most of it was denial of service stuff or hacking poorly secured websites.

    And what have they accomplished? All they're doing is justifying government spending on computer security. They're also justifying increased classification of documents.

    Over the past 20 years the government was DE-classifying lots of things that past generations would NEVER declassify. Because of wikileaks in particular things are being RE-classified and there is a decrease in what is being DE-classified.

    If the goal is making government more open, that is a complete failure.

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