9 February 2014
Poitras and Greenwald Gamed
Date: Sun, 09 Feb 2014 10:27:01 +0300
From: ianG <iang[at]iang.org>
To: noloader[at]gmail.com, John Young <jya[at]pipeline.com>
CC: cpunks <cypherpunks[at]cpunks.org>, cryptome[at]freelists.org,
cryptography[at]metzdowd.com, Cryptography List
Subject: Re: [cryptography] Snowden Drop to Poitras and Greenwald Described
On 9/02/14 09:11 AM, Jeffrey Walton wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 8, 2014 at 6:28 PM, John Young <jya[at]pipeline.com>
> That should be titled, "How Greenwald nearly missed the scoop of
> millennium". It appears the man did nearly everything in his power
> undermine the contacts and the meetings.
One of the things I read that really helped understand this process was an
old novel (not sure title/author) about the IRA bombers. In that novel (and
do note that the spy novelists typically craft their plots with as much reality
as they can steal) the theme was about chasing the chief IRA bomber and beating
But, the bomber also learnt, and adopted his tradecraft. So what British
Intelligence did was to switch gears and harass his operations to make them
as difficult as possible. Instead of trying to necessarily stop the bombs,
they pushed gear across that made bomb making risky, and aggressively clamped
down on 'safe' gear where they could. In effect, making unstable explosives
and detonators available, and controlling the market for the quality stuff.
So the bomb maker was forced into employing ever more risky techniques ...
This tactic of harassing the enemy to make mistakes more likely is rather
well known. In war as in business. And it can and is applied to the media.
Since Iraq-I the technique of embedding has allowed the media to be corralled
and gelded, a technique the Americans got from the Brits who developed it
in the Falklands. What is left is a clear trail of those very few who decline
to be embedded.
So, all of the legal, political, business and intel machines can be used
to harass and challenge the targets. In that story, Poitras was detained
40 times at airports. This is deliberate harassment not to punish her, but
to try to slow her down, and to force her to make mistakes. Recall PRZ? They
tried to break him. Recall the IETF and its difficulty in getting good crypto
deployed? Good stuff was harassed, crap was rewarded.
Given this level of harassment, it really is entirely logical that Greenwald
-- he's a journo fakrisake -- took every excuse to avoid getting in deep.
And both he and Poitras felt entrapment was a likely direction, another sign
that harassment was a real tactic.
They were acting entirely to the enemy's game plan, in the role cast for
them. Be suspicious, be nervous, make like a rabbit. Snowden's challenge
was to beat the plan, although reading the story, I'm suspecting that he
didn't recognise that game plan per se, and got through with persistence,
luck and desperation.
(And the next guy that tries that process is going to be caught, but that's
part of their story, not this one.)