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China Encryption Government The Media

Glen Greenwald: Don't Trust Anonymous Anti-Snowden Claims 222

Glen Greenwald casts a scathing look at the claims (such as by the Sunday Times) that Edward Snowden's leaked information had been cracked by Russian and Chinese spy agencies. Greenwald compares Snowden to some other public figures against whom underhanded tactics were employed by the U.S. government. A slice: There’s an anonymously made claim that Russia and China “cracked the top-secret cache of files” from Snowden’s, but there is literally zero evidence for that claim. These hidden officials also claim that American and British agents were unmasked and had to be rescued, but not a single one is identified. There is speculation that Russia and China learned things from obtaining the Snowden files, but how could these officials possibly know that, particularly since other government officials are constantly accusing both countries of successfully hacking sensitive government databases?
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Glen Greenwald: Don't Trust Anonymous Anti-Snowden Claims

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2015 @05:48AM (#49912543)

    Anyone who has been following these Snowden-related news already knew the US government officials lied, lied, and lied repeatedly, lied to the world, lied to their own people, lied to their Congress, all without any consequences.

    Anyone who still believed them would need to have zero capability in logical thinking, so what's the point in pointing out flaws in the logic of these statements?

    • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @05:53AM (#49912557) Journal

      After all, China and Russia are supposed to be the bad dude, and Snowden is supposed to be a traitor

      Who are us to argue with the mighty Uncle Sam?

      • Sarcasm, I know. But this claim came from the UK government. DO they have an expression like 'Uncle Sam' over there?
    • by rvw ( 755107 )

      Anyone who has been following these Snowden-related news already knew the US government officials lied, lied, and lied repeatedly, lied to the world, lied to their own people, lied to their Congress, all without any consequences.

      Anyone who still believed them would need to have zero capability in logical thinking, so what's the point in pointing out flaws in the logic of these statements?

      The point is propaganda. The method they use: the strict father model - if daddy says so, it must be true. No matter if he is wrong, is he says so you have to accept it. And "daddy" here is the government, the NSA, or that good and reliable Sunday Times. Critical intelligent people think otherwise, but they are lost and this propaganda is not for them.

      • Critical intelligent people think otherwise, but they are lost and this propaganda is not for them.

        Critical intelligent people are open minded. They are quite aware of the fact that a professional liar will tell the truth when the truth coincidentally serves the liar's interests.

        A person that automatically believes the NSA is lying is really not much different than a person that automatically believes the NSA is telling the truth.

        • by Smauler ( 915644 )

          A person that automatically believes the NSA is lying is really not much different than a person that automatically believes the NSA is telling the truth.

          The NSA has lied about many things regarding the Snowden case, and Snowden hasn't (as far as I know). Critical thinking should help you figure out which is more likely to be a reliable source now.

          No one's claiming that _everything_ that the NSA says is a lie, that's a straw man. However, since they have repeatedly been shown to have lied in the past, y

          • The plausibility of the idea that Russia or China has access to Snowden's data has little to do with NSA statements. Having physical access to Snowden increases that plausibility. Having Snowden's data in the hands of journalists greatly increases that plausibility.

            Many commenters are acting as if breaking the crypto would be necessary. That is severely misguided. Hacking and technical espionage are all that is required. It is quite plausible for Snowden's data to have "leaked".

            The reliability of the
    • Like I said in the previous article, Proof aside, If Russia or China had access to the file store, they've cracked it by now.

      A Large government (with virtually unlimited funding) will crack any commodity encryption scheme. Considering that it's years of your Adversaries Espionage data, It's priceless in the espionage world and spending millions of dollars on a decryption operation would be worth every penny. It wouldn't surprise me in the least that the KGB pulled a Bletchley Park-esque operation to decrypt

      • by hawkinspeter ( 831501 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @08:52AM (#49913173)
        So, you're happy to believe that Russia/China can decrypt our strongest encryption (unless you think Snowden just ROT-13ed the files) and have chosen to go after Snowden's files (despite the fact that they could just use rubber-hose cryptanalysis instead) rather than infiltrate live systems?

        If a foreign country can decrypt anything we've got then you'd expect them to be able to keep it reasonably secret and they'd especially try to keep it secret when Gov'ts are hunting round for reasons to snoop on everything.

        It's far more likely to be a political ruse that's completely made up just for the purpose of rail-roading the public.
        • by rvw ( 755107 )

          So, you're happy to believe that Russia/China can decrypt our strongest encryption (unless you think Snowden just ROT-13ed the files) and have chosen to go after Snowden's files (despite the fact that they could just use rubber-hose cryptanalysis instead) rather than infiltrate live systems?.

          Decrypting those files is not the way to go. Better hack the laptop that decrypts the file, and record keystrokes.

      • A Large government (with virtually unlimited funding) will crack any commodity encryption scheme.

        That claim goes against all public analysis of the ciphers in play - what extraordinary evidence do you have to support it? Hollywood doesn't count.

        • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @11:16AM (#49914057)

          A Large government (with virtually unlimited funding) will crack any commodity encryption scheme.

          That claim goes against all public analysis of the ciphers in play - what extraordinary evidence do you have to support it? Hollywood doesn't count.

          Recall that physical access to the hardware trumps most security. In the crypto world physical access to the person who has the cipher keys would be the equivalent. Ignoring coercion, the CIA and KGB performed many amazing technical surveillance feats back in the day. Some of it damn near unbelievable, beyond what hollywood dreams up (ex 1945-52 a listening device with no power supply or active electronics, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]. There is no reason to believe comparable technical feats no longer occur.

      • A Large government (with virtually unlimited funding) will crack any commodity encryption scheme.

        Bollocks. The government would have to be larger than the planet.

      • "A Large government (with virtually unlimited funding) will crack any commodity encryption scheme."

        Do yourself a favour and go learn about encryption, making sure to remain silent on the subject until you do.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @12:17PM (#49914483)

      The first casualty of war is the truth. As the US is at war with everybody and everything these days (all undeclared), including its own population, there is no truth whatsoever to be had from any of its mouthpieces.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Well, I remember when they once told the truth to the question "Do you do illegal thing". The anser was: "Yes, now fuck off."

      I think they lie out of habit, because telling the truth would be so much easier and nothing would change, because how many times have they been caught and what has changed?

    • It's about getting the lies 'right.' Like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see when it's done.

      Snowden created a mess, and the people in charge of covering things up haven't generated a proper 'story' that sits well with the people (the bad people are truly bad, the good people are truly good, etc.). Normally it takes two or three variations to strike the right chord, but with Snowden they've had to resort to random generation and painful iteration to find something that truly resonates.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @06:03AM (#49912585)

    ... the whole "snowden's leaks did it" could be a cover for what other hacks did.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @06:13AM (#49912629) Journal
    Given that we just had the big story about the Office of Personnel Management getting hacked six ways from sunday by parties unknown, 'OMG Snowden' seems unlikely to be the biggest of the US spooks' problems at the moment.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2015 @06:15AM (#49912637)

    The encryption designed, implemented and deployed by the world's leading experts in the field was broken in a couple of years (and this occurred simultaneously in two other countries).

    Yet crooks and criminals are using technology so advanced that GCHQ, NSA, .... cannot break it and governments start proposing ill thought through and half-baked laws about use of encryption and ask for back doors.

    EITHER they were all encrypted with the same details and 'rubber hose' cryptanalysis was used [which would be both unlikely and a massive breach of operating procedures]
    OR our beloved leaders are being at best misguided and/or disingenuous or at worst dissembling schemers [aka 'cock-up vs conspiracy']

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @06:16AM (#49912639) Homepage

    ... the russians and chinese arn't going to suddenly go out and arrest a load of US spies making it obvious that they've cracked it. They'll probably use the information to make high value gains. When the british cracked Enigma in WW2 they made damn sure it wasn't obvious to the germans that it had been cracked and even allowed some of their own ships to be sunk even though they knew where U boats were just so they had the advantage of continuing to decode more important correspondence.

    • There's also the Coventry Blitz [bbc.co.uk] conspiracy.
    • It depends on what those agents are getting access to, and where the greater value lies. With Enigma the far greater value was in not letting the Germans know we'd cracked the code. But had an Enigma message revealed an agent with access to a critical program, site or persons, then the value would have been re-evaluated.

      If the Russkies decide the potential damage is greater if those agents remain in place then they will arrest the agents. If they decide knowing who the agents are grants the greater benef
  • I thought this was a pro-Snowden claim. Am I on the other side of 'your' planet? YES!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2015 @06:18AM (#49912651)

    If there was any danger to British Agents why were they not recalled a year ago when that claim was first made?Also, the whole argument is an attempt to justify the " Snoopers Charter ", as an excuse to spy on British Citizens . They want our information unencrypted because they say they can't do it themselves, yet Russia and China can? It is either a lie or an admission of complete irresponsibility and incompetance on behalf of Western Security.They are saying GCHQ and M.I.6. are unfit for purpose.What an admission. We should also remember that China would not give Snowden asylum,-why then would they want to unencrypt his files?Russia, likewise allowed asylum for a limited period with reluctance.
    Is anyone buying this BS?

  • Secrecy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @06:32AM (#49912687) Homepage

    If Russia and/or China would have decrypted messages, they would most certainly not tell the rest of the world.
    Similarly, they wouldn't publish it if they managed to locate enemy spies.
    If somehow, this DID happen, the US government would most certainly not publish the fact that they knew.

    Information is valuable.
    Information the enemy thinks you don't have is invaluable.

    The fact that this is published tells me it's most likely not true.

  • And what agency does this Glen Greenwald work form?
    This is all misinformation so that the false information CIA agent Snowden gave to the Russians and chines is believed.
  • by DrJimbo ( 594231 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @06:54AM (#49912735)

    Snowden was starting to get some very begrudging props for his role in the limited NSA reforms passed by the US Congress. This laughably ridiculous and unsubstantiated attack on him was deployed to help keep Snowden trapped in the traitor role.

    The real danger here is that if the powers that be keep destroying their own credibility like this, eventually they will start to lose control and then all Hell will break loose. They seem to be reacting emotionally, not rationally and they seem to be losing touch with reality. It reminds me of the craziness of the last days of the Nixon White House. Only this time the problem goes much deeper. It is no longer a single person and the tight knit group surrounding him. The insanity has metastasized.

  • The guy's name is Glenn Greenwald. At least spell the names right.

  • As others have pointed out, this hatchet job coming on the heels of the pathetically-accidental discovery of the massive FedGov personnel breach cannot be unrelated. An obvious attempt to divert blame from the stunning incompetence of multiple agencies by laying it at the feet of the evil totem Snowden. But obvious still seems to work on increasingly harried USians with little time left in their days to think critically and ask: who benefits?
  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @08:30AM (#49913061)

    Edward Snowden had no family to take care of. He was a loner who could afford to flee the country. Most other people are not in this kind of position.

    I don't care who you are; people act in their own self-interests. For many government workers, their self-interests include keeping their job, taking care of their families, and not getting thrown into jail. So when a government employee tells you something, you can't trust it. But that's not because they're lying. Most of the time, they're misinformed. Nobody in the NSA knows what anyone else in the NSA is doing. It looks like it's so poorly managed that the management doesn't know what the rest of the organization is doing. (Hey, they should try spying on themselves!) The rest of the time, they're just saying the minimum that is safe to say. The main thing impacting what they say is keeping out of trouble, so they'll say whatever achieves that goal.

    Considering that neither you nor I have the circumstances or cojones to do what Snowden did, we're in no position to judge what he or anyone else has done. Most slashdotters in his position like to talk big right now, but the fact is, you'd be scared shitless and do absolutely nothing. Or maybe if you could manage in this economy, you might try to find a different job. Someone really smart and dedicated would work to gain employee status so they could be covered under whistle-blower laws. But that's neither you nor I. The same applied to every other government position.

    And as I say, everyone else is in the same position. You want to judge the people who work for the federal government. But they act with total self-interest in the same way that we do. Don't make waves, feed your family, don't get arrested. The only way to fix these problems is to change the law, and that is slowly happening. It may take decades, but it'll happen.

    Meanwhile, we all need to be cognizant of the needs to maintain both freedom in our country and also security. We should not sacrifice one for the other. But that makes this a delicate and dynamic balancing act. There are no simple solutions. And on our own, neither you nor I knows the whole solution (in part because the solution has to keep adapting to the ever-changing threats to freedom and security).

    • by Theovon ( 109752 )

      Just to be clear. The government lies. Government workers just say whatever they have to to stay out of trouble. This results in lies, but the individual employees aren't lying, at least not intentionally. Only upper management has culpability for not specifying what to say that is truthful.

  • Other news agencies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sshir ( 623215 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @09:25AM (#49913361)
    By the way, that report was not picked up by most news agencies. BBC had it on their front page but since removed it. It seems that they smell a rat too.
    • It was all over the British press. The BBC did run it but yes, they showed a great deal more skepticism and quoted other skeptical people. The BBC gets ragged on a lot but I tend to find it's still a lot more obviously neutral than newspapers are.

  • Snowden is a hero to me.
  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Monday June 15, 2015 @11:07AM (#49913997)

    So which one's Alien and which one's Predator?

  • Information about CIA, NSA and DoD employees is available directly from the source [slashdot.org].

  • Then I could send him a check, so a) I could say he was working for me, and b) he could argue that he was not doing espionage, but legitimately working for US citizens.....

                mark "all you millenials: go read about the Church Commission, in the '70's"

  • FTFA:
    What Snowden revelaed is just too much unchecked power waiting to be abused. It's a structural flaw in how governments operate that one day is going to cause catastrophic damage to democracy.

    I would not have done what Snowden did just because think of the damage to national security and where's the evidence this power is currently being abused to stifle democratic liberties?

    Where are the bodies and innocent ruined lives?

    Where's the influenced or rigged elections?

    Where 's the blackmail of Senators and

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!

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