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Edward Snowden Is Not Alone: US Gov't Seeks Another Leaker 204

Posted by timothy
from the well-maybe-he's-just-that-good dept.
bobbied (2522392) writes Apparently Edward Snowden is not alone. CNN is reporting that recent leaked documents published by The Intercept (a website that has been publishing Snowden's leaked documents) could not have been leaked by Snowden because they didn't exist prior to his fleeing the USA and he couldn't possibly have accessed them. Authorities are said to be looking for a new leaker.
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Edward Snowden Is Not Alone: US Gov't Seeks Another Leaker

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  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @07:23PM (#47610537)
    Despite the NSA's back to business reaction post-Snowden,

    and the lack of meaningful change from the initial outrage,

    Maybe, just fucking Maybe, Snowden's legacy will be his inspiration to leagues of others who are driven to reveal outrages instead of ignoring them like good little soldiers.

  • Re:What else ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @07:25PM (#47610551) Homepage Journal

    Heh. "Second Leaker" is a little less damaging to the NSA than "Persistent, undetected back door access".

    It's a form of disinformation as misdirection, related to "plausible deniability" [wikipedia.org] and "limited hangout" [wikipedia.org].

  • Believable, but considering that the CIA said that nobody had access to the senate's subnet, and then it turned out that common IT workers had access AND USED IT -- and Snowden was in a similar position -- and I'd take anything said by NSA leadership with a grain of salt. Often at that level, "he didn't have access to" really means "the policies stated he shouldn't access that." It doesn't mean that it wasn't possible, just that it was outside accepted policies and procedures, and that at some point, someone SHOULD have airgapped it and added in the appropriate ACLs such that it wouldn't be possible.

    But I'd believe more that Snowden was the one who escaped with the data, but there are actually a number of people who were involved in obtaining it in the first place. And now that Snowden has opened things up but prevented himself from providing other leaks, the rest have found an alternate route that didn't involve a courier in the same manner.

    The thing is, if they can leak like this, that means it's just as easy for other actors to be leaking to people who might want the information but who won't tell about it. This shows that access control at the NSA is still thoroughly broken, no matter who the leak was.

  • Re:What else ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by plover (150551) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @08:03PM (#47610835) Homepage Journal

    It could also be used as a convenient excuse to prosecute any undesirable person as a potential "Second Leaker".

  • Re:More than one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @08:08PM (#47610861) Journal

    If one person does it, they'll think he's a traitor.
    If two people do it, they'll think they're both faggots.
    If three people do it--imagine! Three people walking in, leaking information, and walking out? They'll think it's a terrorist organization.
    And can you imagine 50 people walkin' in, leakin' information, and walkin' out?! They'll think it's a terrorist movement!

    (Apologies to Arlo Guthrie...)

  • backdoor? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @08:12PM (#47610875) Journal

    Is it possible that Snowden still knows a way to get into the machines he used to manage?

    A long time ago, I left a company where I had been the sole admin for several years. I had been training up a PFY who eventually replaced me. His last assignment was to find my back door and close it. From my new job, I'd occasionally log into my old machines, have a look around, and send him an email to watch for this thing or fix that thing. He eventually figured out that the usenet news service account had a password.

    I know I know, but it was a different time.

    Point is, maybe there's new leaks because Snowden still has a back door into his old machines?

  • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @08:48PM (#47611059)

    I briefly read the headline as: Snowden is Not Alone. US Seeks Another Leaker. As in: From the US Citizens: You're not alone, Snowden! We're with you! And we're looking for other brave souls to come forward and keep us informed about what the NSA is really doing! Then I reread the headline correctly, and realized I far preferred my earlier interpretation.

    I'm not quite as bullish on Asange. When he revealed the war-related documents he did without sanitizing them, he put the lives of many Iraqi and Afgani citizens who worked with our forces at risk, and didn't appear to give a shit if they lived or died. If they worked with the evil American empire, they apparently deserved whatever fate they get at the hands of folks who have a history of doing really awful things to their fellow human beings. That alone makes me pretty uncomfortable, regardless of whatever positive things he's done or established.

    Snowden, on the other hand, is a patriot of the highest order, in my opinion. He made the ultimate conscientious decision after seeing an unconscionable overreach of government authority, throwing absolutely everything away in an effort to bring this to light. If you hear him explain his decision, you get a sense that he doesn't have an ax to grind, nor is he some sort of glory-seeker, but was simply motivated to do the right thing for the right reasons. He got nowhere in a sincere effort to work through legitimate channels before ultimately resorting to leaks. The intransigence of the government in admitting any wrongdoing is, I feel, evidence enough that his internal efforts could never have been fruitful.

    There are a few things he released that I actually wish he hadn't. For instance, I think the details on technologies and methods used for targeted surveillance, for instance, should have remained secret. If you think about it, that's *precisely* what the NSA should be doing: precision strikes, rather than carpet bombing, so to speak. I'm not opposed to their mission of finding legitimate threats to US citizens and interests, but don't put the entire damned country under mass surveillance to do so. It defeats the entire purpose if we have to turn into a police state to remain secure. But overall, he's done a pretty good job of releasing only relevant documents that highlight abuses, since he likely has information that, if released, would actually harm our national security or legitimately put people at risk.

    Ultimately, I feel the country is in better shape thanks to Snowden. What we learned needed to be known, and thanks to him and the price he paid (and is paying), we can start trying to address the problem. I wish he would get pardoned, but I doubt that will happen.

  • Mole? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sir Holo (531007) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:01PM (#47611115)
    The CNN talking-head calls the leaker a "mole." WRONG.

    A Federal Whistle-blower is not a "mole," but simply a whistle-blower.

    This is similar to the concept of "jury nullification," whereby a jury can find an accused guilty of breaking a law, but can also recommend ZERO punishment, as jury nullification is a mechanism for citizens to nullify unjust laws.

    It was used a lot in the civil-rights era, but has been buried by Attys. and judges alike, leading to a lack of awareness by potential jurors.

    PS – Want to get out of jury duty? Get informed, and assert your faith in Jury Nullification in open court during voire dire.

    They hate being held to account, and prefer an ignorant "jury of peers."
  • Hedging a bet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by s.petry (762400) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:00PM (#47611429)

    Since the US media has become useless in terms of actual journalism, I don't think they care. TV based media simply ignores leaks, so the population that relies on TV media for news is just as clueless as if the leak never happened. Not a new tactic mind you, just lots easier with TV Propaganda^wNews today. They are probably betting that people will just forget. Happens all the time with Government and has for decades.

    There are a few good radio stations that will talk about these issues, but none are nationally syndicated. Anything that receives lots of airtime gets bought out by Fox^wClearchannel and changed to a "Sports" station. Before you say it, Alex Jones sold out long ago and is now just a more extreme version of Rush Limbaugh (sometimes okay for scaring people awake to problems, but not often).

    Newspapers? WTF is a Newspaper? Well, more seriously the few that are left are all controlled like Radio and TV.

    I would be willing to bet that there are more leakers than just Snowden. If I was going to leak I may blame him since that might save me from a likely life term in "pound me up the ass prison". As long as Snowden is in Moscow he probably does not mind, it keeps him popular and relevant which I'm sure leads to a bit of income.

    Having spent 10 years in the DOD I can tell you that security is possible (Not to brag, well maybe a little bit, I built the first NISPOM compliant secure networks off of a military installation). At at the time I left (8 years ago) they were trying to skimp and even offshore work. One of many reasons for me leaving mind you. Systems can be secured and audited, but it's expensive and everyone in the management and executive chain wants bigger bonus checks. Politicians want bigger kick backs, so the money train works against security as often as possible.

    This shows that access control at the NSA is still thoroughly broken, no matter who the leak was.

    I would have to agree, because you don't change a decade of shit security in a year. You would need to re-architect a decade worth of systems, and I'd bet a box of donuts that they just tried slapping bandaids on things.

  • Re:Another leaker (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <wwoodhull@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:26PM (#47611545) Homepage Journal

    Of course there are other leakers.

    What is remarkable about Snowden is not that he was able to obtain all this "secret" information, but that he went public with it. Rather than selling it to someone like maybe one of those rich guys who are paying ISIS's way. It is some of the other "leakers" who are unquestionably doing that.

    The NSA, etc, needs to be shut down. If only because it is demonstrably true that persons who make a career in climbing bureaucracies lack the kind of intelligence necessary to managing the needed level of security.

    There may or may not be other good reasons for getting the government out of this kind of spying and database management. But just as it would be stupid to hire Cordon Bleu chefs to run an explosives manufacturing plant, it is stupid to put even the very best bureaucrats in charge of this kind of data collection and database management. They might be very good at what they have experience in doing, but this kind of stuff is going to blow up in everyone's face. Explosive technologies cannot be handled with cookbook methods.

    The only sane course is to get USA government out of this activity. It is not something a democratically oriented bureaucracy can do. We need to look to other methods.

  • Re:More than one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:49PM (#47611633)

    I'd prefer to rephrase that last sentence a bit.

    ... those spies did it for a foreign, enemy power. Snowden did it for his own country.

  • Re:Another leaker (Score:4, Interesting)

    by currently_awake (1248758) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @11:55PM (#47611797)
    The NSA needs focus. They are trying to do too many conflicting actions and it just doesn't work. Spin off the foreign spying to the CIA, pass off domestic spying to the FBI, concentrate on securing the network to keep China/Isis etc out of America. Secondly bureaucrats are very good at doing dull repetitive work without making very many mistakes, and that works for security provided you hire the right people. Third: cooking is applied chemistry, so chefs make good bomb makers. There is a reason terrorists use the kitchen to make their home made bombs.
  • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @01:03AM (#47611947)

    It's not so much about the results as the methodology. Assange seemed (at least in the Manning case) to advocate a "publish it all and damn the consequences" approach, not really considering that the consequences could involve risk to real lives. The fact that no one has apparently been harmed as a result doesn't necessarily mean the potential danger wasn't real.

    In contrast, one of the things I admire about Snowden is his method of responsible disclosure. He's been, by all accounts, quite careful to release documents that clearly demonstrate the government's infringements on our liberties and constitutional rights, but has largely limited the scope to that topic. He undoubtedly had access to many other sensitive government documents that could, but has reviewed the documents before release in order to ensure that as little harm as possible is done to actual US security interests.

    It's admittedly a pretty fine line, but I think it's worth noting a distinction there. I'm sure plenty will disagree with me.

  • Re:What else ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jim Sadler (3430529) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @03:44AM (#47612321)
    In a concentration camp one gets some awful housing and some really awful meals usually ending in an execution. In the US one may not be fed at all and get no housing at all and not even receive a coup de grace but allowed to wither and suffer for decades before exposure and neglect finish one off. How innocent are we really when compared to other nations?
  • Re:More than one (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cmdr_tofu (826352) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @06:57AM (#47612843) Homepage

    To me it's not purely a question of numbers. A leak-less intelligence apparatus could exist if the only members were radically different in terms of culture than the rest of the population. People who went to special schools and who at a young age were identified by themselves and/or family members for military/intelligence careers. To me people who go to West Point and the Citadel are not "regular people". They may be fine people, but culturally they are not the same and may have a different set of values.

    However after 9-11, the intelligence apparatus grew so large that it pulled in a lot of ordinary nonmilitary people, some of whom were not raised to unquestioningly follow orders that they perceived to be unconstitutional/immoral/etc resulting in folks like Snowden. So in that sense it is a question of numbers to fill high growth. We may have a movement on or hands but maybe not-

    I think it is possible to have a leakless surveillance state with a military intelligence minority "keeping check" on a non-military freedom-loving-but-freedom-denied majority. People "selected" to work in intelligence would just hve to be people "built inside the system", going to military academies etc from a young age. Just one frightening distopian thought to wake me up if my 2nd cup of tea doesn't work.

    That being said, I don't have any real-world knowledge or experience in the real cloak and dagger world of intelligence and national security, so anything I say is uninformed speculation.

  • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @07:38AM (#47613047)

    That's a pretty ridiculous circular argument you have there.

    It's called accepting the inevitable and attempting to minimize the damage.

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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