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The UK Independent has published secret material of the kind that could, perhaps, endanger lives and, in any case, apparently represents an irresponsible use of classified material. The Independent claims that the material comes from Snowden. But is it using clever language to conceal a leak that comes from government sources with the aim of discrediting Snowden and/or Greenwald?  

Is the London Independent acting on behalf of the government, perhaps to discredit Snowden and Greenwald?

It's an odd question, to be sure, but one in response to a very odd event. The Independent is a newspaper that I have traditionally regarded as off the reservation in the very best sense of the term. That is, I have always regarded them as a left-wing newspaper refusing to be marginalized, and demanding that issues of importance to the left receive the same attention as those of interest to the rest of the corporate media.

But Glenn Greenwald has published a piece in The Guardian in which he says (to distill it down) that the Independent's Duncan Campbell, Oliver Wright, James Cusick, and Kim Sengupta have published an article which could, perhaps, endanger lives based, according to The Independent, on "documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden" but which, according to Greenwald "clearly did not come from Snowden or any of the journalists with whom he has directly worked."

For both of those statements to be true, the documents would have to have come from the government (or a contractor) based on a list of the documents that Snowden obtained but has not published. They could, for example, have been based on documents supplied from the government based on the (apparently ineffectual) audit of Snowden's actions or based on decrypts of the materials obtained from Miranda. Once in the public domain, the government could easily use them against Miranda to allege that the materials he has are being used to aid the enemies of Britain.

Greenwald quotes Snowden as saying that:

"It appears that the UK government is now seeking to create an appearance that the Guardian and Washington Post's disclosures are harmful, and they are doing so by intentionally leaking harmful information to The Independent and attributing it to others.
The Independent's Oliver Wright has said,
"For the record: The Independent was not leaked or 'duped' into publishing today's front page story by the Government."
He is presently receiving a torrent of well-deserved Twitter-abuse for publishing dodgy material from dodgy sources for possibly dodgy purposes. The Independent owes us proper sourcing, which it should place outside of its paywall (to be fair, it placed the original article outside the paywall).

To be clear, this story is  not about any of the personalities, but about the appropriate use of classified information and the appropriate way to source leaked information. FWIW, I will stipulate that Greenwald can be an annoying, narcissistic martinet... like many other human beings, including some who post in threads at DK.  

_

The relevant phrases from the Independent are these. They either could serve to identify the site and therefore endanger the lives of personnel or provide information about sourcing for the article:

Britain runs a secret internet-monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept and process vast quantities of emails, telephone calls and web traffic on behalf of Western intelligence agencies, The Independent has learnt.
The Independent is not revealing the precise location of the station but information on its activities was contained in the leaked documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden.
installation is regarded as particularly valuable by the British and Americans because it can access submarine cables passing through the region
Many of them came from an internal Wikipedia-style information site called GC-Wiki
The Independent understands that The Guardian agreed to the Government’s request not to publish any material contained in the Snowden documents that could damage national security.
A senior Whitehall source said: “We agreed with The Guardian that our  discussions with them would remain confidential”.
It [the intercept station] is part of the surveillance and monitoring system, code-named “Tempora”, ...

Across three sites, communications – including telephone calls – are tracked both by satellite dishes and by tapping into underwater fibre-optic cables.

The Middle East station was set up under a warrant signed by the then Foreign Secretary David Miliband
____
Update: Map of Submarine cables from Greg's Cable Map
From Gregs's Cable Map (www.cablemap.info/)
___
Update:  This is a comment I made below that I believe is important enough to promote to the body of the diary.

Proper sourcing = proper journalism (0+ / 0-)

Morgan, anonymous sourcing has one and only one proper function in journalism: to protect a source from retaliation by more powerful opponents.

This clearly does not apply to government officials vs. whistleblowers. The only retaliation the government officials have in talking about whistleblowers to fear is from voters, the courts, or Congress.  

If the Independent has a genuine source inside government providing them with information about this wiretapping site, fine, they should protect that source. But who told them that the documents are among those Snowden has? That could only come from Snowden, journalists he has worked with, or the government. And, since Snowden and the journalists deny that information came from them, the Independent is probably protecting the government.

We ended up in the Iraq war because anonymous government sources were free to feed us bull---t without fear of retaliation from the voters. What the Independent is doing looks a lot like that.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Site sounds like Cyprus. (7+ / 0-)

    When Britain gave independence to Cyprus, part of the agreement was that she retained military bases on the island.  It is on the sea and thus may well be able to access undersea cables.  And it is very near the Middle East.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:02:44 AM PDT

    •  The information is likely widely known (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CroneWit, lysias, koNko, Involuntary Exile

      Could be Cyprus, Crete, Malta, Kuwait...

      But your guess is pretty good.  

      I think the information must be pretty widely known if this is indeed a government leak. Otherwise they wouldn't be willing to risk it.

      •  If I could guess it, how sensitive is it, (4+ / 0-)

        and how many people would revealing it endanger?

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:18:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree, lysias (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CroneWit, Involuntary Exile

          If this is a government leak, it's presumably something that looks sensitive but is actually widely known.

          I have to say that,whatever its motive,  the Indy's leak looks more and more like completely useless journalism.

          •  I think you are dead right (0+ / 0-)

            Leak a mundane fact widely assumed by people in the know, but something about which you can plausibly make the public argument is dangerous. It is this nature of the leak, its timing, and the careful wording of the Independent that leads me to believe this is 100% government subterfuge.

            It may even go further, it may be a set up involving the UK, the USA and Russia, as it could give Russia public cover to say, "Hey comrades, Snowden violated our agreement not to harm the U.S. Now he has done so, so we are detaining him and sending him back to the States."

            I'm just Double Tapped the hell out.

            by pajoly on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 06:11:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I've been reading about this, you're right (15+ / 0-)

    It's interesting to parse The Independent's article in that they don't say Snowden gave them the article either. They just say it was a document Snowden has that demonstrates the dangerousness that he has them. I think it's notable that Snowden and Greenwald both say they aren't working with The Independent and call on the publication to admit they didn't get their documents from them.

    What's a little bemusing is the twitter dust up over this article between Greenwald, Sam Knight and this guy Joshua Foust. Foust said Greenwald is narcissistic, Greenwald said Foust is a sock puppet, Knight said Foust has a conflict of interest and ignores the Greenwald is narcissistic stuff. It's a cute read that centers around Foust's Linked In profile saying he worked for government entities up until he scrubbed it off the page a few hours ago.

    Meanwhile, today's NSA confirmation is that internet companies and telecoms have received money in the form of reimbursements for complying with National Security letters.

    In summary today's fall out over NSA disclosures are a bit of a tennis match that calls for popcorn.

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:20:27 AM PDT

  •  I'm sure they wouldn't try to discredit... (6+ / 0-)

    Greenwald or Snowden.  That isn't like them, and not even in their playbook. /s

    I'm betting they can't de-crypt Miranda's thumb drives but they can't let us know that.  Snowden told Greenwald that they couldn't so I'm pretty sure he is a good source.
    This is an attempt to make it look like Greenwald was going to publish something that would endanger sources.

    How long before TeamNSA tells us how irresponsible Greenwald is?

    •  I'd bet that... (5+ / 0-)

      the NSA/GCHQ is more skilled at decryption than Snowden is at encryption.

      •  Decryption can take years (4+ / 0-)

        However, in this case, they have a few advantages. They know the size and contents of some of the files. I don't know if Snowden was smart enough to do something like pad files or otherwise make them hard to decrypt.

        •  Generally speaking, yes, it can take months... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hey338Too, Involuntary Exile

          But with the amount of computing power they have at their disposal, I'd say weeks, if not days.

        •  I'm not sure how long it will take... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Trix, Truedelphi, Simplify, petral

          ... because I'm not sure what kinds of passwords Miranda was forced to reveal to the British Authorities.  One source says that Miranda have to give up passwords for his devices.  I can't vouch for the source.  Still another, the BBC, says that he hand over his email and social network passwords.  A third source, the Guardian, says that he had to divulge the passwords for the computer and mobile phone.  Since it's pretty safe to assume that the parties in question didn't trust email to move the documents around, it's also pretty safe to assume that the encryption keys were probably somewhere on those devices.  It may not take as long as people think to learn what was in those files.

          Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

          by Hey338Too on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:25:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And it now appears the files have been... (0+ / 0-)

            ... decrypted:

            LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - British police said on Thursday that documents seized from the partner of a journalist, who has led coverage of Edward Snowden's leaks about U.S. and British electronic spying, were "highly sensitive" and, if disclosed, could put lives at risk.

            Counter-terrorism detectives said they had begun a criminal investigation following a preliminary examination of the material taken from David Miranda, partner of American journalist Glenn Greenwald, after he was held for nine hours at London's Heathrow Airport on Sunday.
            ...
            "Initial examination of material seized has identified highly sensitive material, the disclosure of which could put lives at risk," London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

            ... and, from the Guardian ...
            Jonathan Laidlaw QC, appearing for the Met, said the data Miranda was taking to Brazil for his partner, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, contained "highly sensitive material the disclosure of which would be gravely injurious to public safety". There were tens of thousands of pages of digital material, he said.

            The Home Office and Met won the right to continue examining the data in the protection of national security or for investigating whether Miranda himself was involved in terrorism. The Met said it was pleased by the ruling.

            Probably extremely bad news for Miranda.

            Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

            by Hey338Too on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 01:27:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why bad news for Miranda? (0+ / 0-)

              He didn't leak the stuff. He didn't take the stuff. All we can say for certain is that he was carrying stuff, but we can't even say we know what the stuff was. British police can claim whatever they want to keep from having to return Miranda's confiscated items within the six day limit, but that doesn't mean they are telling the truth. And even if they are telling the truth, why would it be a problem for Miranda? He's already safe at home in Brazil. Are they going to indict him and try to get him extradited? If so, are they going to do the same to Poitras, from whom he presumably got the material, and Greenwald, to whom he presumably was transporting the material? I just don't see how this poses any problem for Miranda. It just looks like GCHQ/police ass-covering to me.

              "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

              by Involuntary Exile on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:17:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The HuffPo article... (0+ / 0-)

                ... (the top link) sounds like they are going to see if they can charge Miranda for the possession of the documents on national defense grounds.  If they can get an indictment, then that puts a lot of pressure on Miranda, and by extension, GG.

                Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

                by Hey338Too on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 09:51:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What kind of pressure can they apply? (0+ / 0-)

                  Miranda is in Brazil. And how can they charge Miranda and not The Guardian? The Guardian also possessed documents.

                  It's all a distraction to get some of the egg off GCHQ's face that resulted from pushback over Miranda's detention, and an excuse to keep the stuff they confiscated which they would otherwise have to return after six days, which would be today.

                  "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

                  by Involuntary Exile on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:11:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Journalists can claim "Journalism"... (0+ / 0-)

                    ... a Marketing (or advertising) intern cannot.  The Guardian admitted to paying for Miranda's trip but indicated that he wasn't an employee.  So what is a Brazilian national doing in possession of Top Secret US and British documents which have the ability to compromise the national security of both countries?  Think about what would happen if you or I were caught with materials like this - we have no standing to possess the information.  Even if we were let go at the time our computers were taken, once the data was decrypted and charges are filed, our lives would be miserable.

                    Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

                    by Hey338Too on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:37:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Thing is, we are not him. And he's in Brazil. (0+ / 0-)

                      What are they going to do about it? You think his own government won't protect him? Why should they hand him over? Besides, what would he be charged with, terrorism? Espionage? Possession of stolen property? And I ask again, if Miranda is to be charged, why not Poitras, Greenwald, and the Guardian also?

                      I think it's all a smoke screen. GCHQ just need an excuse to keep his stuff, otherwise they'd have to give it back. This is the excuse they've manufactured. I seriously doubt they're going to take it very far because they know there's going to be a ton of pushback. Matter of fact, the pushback has already started.

                      "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

                      by Involuntary Exile on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:56:31 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  That would be absurd (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko, CroneWit, Involuntary Exile

            No one keeps passwords or encryption keys on the device which contains material to be kept secure.

            The computer passwords Miranda was forced to divulge were presumably the passwords to the Admin account. But if one has physical possession of a disk, one doesn't need a password.

            It's just harassment, Hey. Poitras and Greenwald were careful to ensure that Miranda had nothing that was sensitive. Poitras has had her computer confiscated too many times to be unaware of what precautions to take.

      •  And yet, they still cannot get a handle (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CroneWit
    •  Look behind you over a month (3+ / 0-)
      How long before TeamNSA tells us how irresponsible Greenwald is?
  •  Why does the Independent owe us (0+ / 0-)

    "proper sourcing"?

    We can question their source but I'm not sure that requiring them to source their material isn't a bit of a double standard.

    Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

    by Morgan Sandlin on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:44:53 AM PDT

    •  Proper sourcing = proper journalism (7+ / 0-)

      Morgan, anonymous sourcing has one and only one proper function in journalism: to protect a source from retaliation by more powerful opponents.

      This clearly does not apply to government officials vs. whistleblowers. The only retaliation the government officials have in talking about whistleblowers to fear is from voters, the courts, or Congress.  

      If the Independent has a genuine source inside government providing them with information about this wiretapping site, fine, they should protect that source. But who told them that the documents are among those Snowden has? That could only come from Snowden, journalists he has worked with, or the government. And, since Snowden and the journalists deny that information came from them, the Independent is probably protecting the government.

      We ended up in the Iraq war because anonymous government sources were free to feed us bull---t without fear of retaliation from the voters. What the Independent is doing looks a lot like that.

      •  I saw this on Reuters the other day: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, Involuntary Exile
        Snowden downloaded information while employed by Dell about eavesdropping programs run by the NSA and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, and left an electronic footprint indicating when he accessed the documents, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

        David Frink, a spokesman for Round Rock, Texas-based Dell, declined to comment on any aspect of Snowden's employment with the company, saying Dell's "customer" - presumably the NSA - had asked Dell not to talk publicly about him.
        ...
        Some of the material Snowden downloaded in April 2012 while a Dell employee related to NSA collection from fiber-optic cables, including transoceanic cables, of large quantities of internet traffic and other communications, the sources said.

        Source

        Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

        by Hey338Too on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:31:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, they could have gotten a list... (3+ / 0-)

          Yes, the Indy could have gotten a list of some of what Snowden had through the government or a contractor. But to know the contents, they would have had to have had a full copy (or at least an authoritative summary).

          That could only have come from the government or a contractor, i.e., represent an unlawful leaking of classified material by the government or contractor.

          Unless, of course, the government secretly declassified it, in which case the Indy's article is just troll bait.  

  •  Here's what I said back on July 8th (10+ / 0-)

    Goes to saying how Snowden could be discredited by others..

    I think they want Snowden at all cost (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by: (omitted)

    Once Snowden is put away and has no public access to the media, then no matter what material is released the U.S. can coordinate a misinformation campaign to muddy the waters of any more releases - Snowden won't be around to verify or deny any of the new releases and Greenwald won't take this project on himself. The U.S. could even release their own version of Snowden's cache of info (in Snowden's name) showing how it led to throwing small children from buildings around the world. No - Snowden needs to be around - and just being alive and well is the U.S.'s biggest fear and problem, gotta' get him even if it means putting a South American president in great risk.

    I'm a visionary in my own mind...

    Peace
    FN

    "WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY FOX NEWS IS JOURNALISM"

    by FakeNews on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:45:40 AM PDT

  •  Is a disgruntled Wikileaks employee the source? (3+ / 0-)

    That's the question that occurred to me while reading the diary.

    Wikileaks uploaded a large encrypted file for "safety" purposes, during the same week that Greenwald had his significant other exchange Snowden files with the filmmaker who is working on Assange's officially approved documentary. Is that file part of the Snowden "dead man's switch" plan that Greenwald had mentioned weeks ago?

    Meanwhile, Assange has come out for right-winger both here (Rand and Ron Paul) and in Australia, the latter is currently causing a mass exodus from the Wikileaks party. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

    In damaging resignation statements late on Wednesday, the party's number two Senate candidate in Victoria, ethicist Leslie Cannold, and a member of the National Council, Daniel Mathews, lashed out at what they said was a mishandling of the preference decisions by the party...

    Three other WikiLeaks Council members Sam Castro, Kaz Cochrane, and Luke Pearson and three campaign staff were also resigning late on Wednesday.

    From a separate story in the Herald that came out today...
    She said a campaign staffer also received a phone call that contradicted the public statement issued by the WikiLeaks Party on Wednesday that the review of preferences would be immediate and independent.

    Instead, the review would be delayed until after the election and would not be independent, Ms Cannold said.

    ‘‘This is the final straw,’’ she said.

    ‘‘As long as I believed there was a chance that democracy, transparency and accountability could prevail in the party I was willing to stay on and fight for it. But where a party member makes a bid to subvert the party's own processes, asking others to join in a secret, alternative power centre that subverts the properly constituted one, nothing makes sense anymore.

    ‘‘This is an unacceptable mode of operation for any organisation but even more so for an organisation explicitly committed to democracy, transparency and accountability.’’

    Could a Wikileaks staffer, feeling betrayed, have provided the Independent with the decryption code for the Snowden file dump?

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by richardak on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:56:31 AM PDT

    •  Anything is possible. This is not likely. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CroneWit, Involuntary Exile

      First, Assange's bad choice of political bedfellows is irrelevant. It's absurd to think that a staffer would respond to a betrayal by Assange with a betrayal of something to which Assange has only a marginal connection.

      As for disgruntled employee, a better bet would be CIA mole. Though, as The Guardian showed with the Wikileak of a couple of years ago, it could also be stupid journalist.

      But the strongest bit of logic is this: a true deadman's switch doesn't require any human agency. It just requires Snowden to be unable to communicate with the switch.  

  •  sort of a false flag op? (11+ / 0-)

    Last night there were numerous reports that the UK is starting a criminal investigation of the Miranda materials as relating to "terrorism" and they are flogging the claim that the info on the laptop would "endanger lives". The UK is obviously trying to implicate and smear the Guardian and Greenwald, and create a justification for having improperly held Miranda using the terrorist laws.

    This whole story mirrors the Independent's reporting and raises the question of whether Independent got all of its material and the whole plotline from the UK gov.

    History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

    by quill on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:05:32 AM PDT

  •  Did the Independent make a Foustian bargain? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kbman
  •  When two sides make contradictory claims, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hey338Too

    why do we automatically believe one and not the other? I know it's a rhetorical question and the answer is usually b/c we like their version better.

    •  I've suggested that we assume that... (4+ / 0-)

      I've suggested that we assume that everyone (Guardian, Indy, Snowden, journalists who have received information from Snowden) are telling the truth and look at the logical conclusions.

      Usually people don't outright lie. They lawyer the truth. So, if one examines it without any preconceived notion as to who's telling the truth--perhaps neither--one can sometimes get at the truth despite best efforts to obfuscate.

      In this case, I object to the Independent's use of anonymous sourcing. It's gratuitous, used to cover up for government officials who choose not to be named. I also think their story is not particularly newsworthy.  

      But they could have actual independent sourcing. Time may tell.

      •  It is unfortunate but quite common to (0+ / 0-)

        quote anonymous sources. It usually doesn't mean that information is wrong and journalists may not always be able to disclose the source identity if the source asked for anonymity. I wouldn't use it as a criterion for the accuracy of the information.

        •  Anonymous sourcing is always suspect (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CroneWit, Involuntary Exile

          As I said in the body of the post:

          anonymous sourcing has one and only one proper function in journalism: to protect a source from retaliation by more powerful opponents.

          This clearly does not apply to government officials vs. whistleblowers. The only retaliation the government officials have in talking about whistleblowers to fear is from voters, the courts, or Congress.  

          If the Independent has a genuine source inside government providing them with information about this wiretapping site, fine, they should protect that source. But who told them that the documents are among those Snowden has? That could only come from Snowden, journalists he has worked with, or the government. And, since Snowden and the journalists deny that information came from them, the Independent is probably protecting the government.

          We ended up in the Iraq war because anonymous government sources were free to feed us bull---t without fear of retaliation from the voters. What the Independent is doing looks a lot like that.

          •  How do you know these are not whistleblowers? (0+ / 0-)
            •  How is it whistleblowing to expose a normal... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FG

              How is it whistleblowing to expose a normal intelligence operation?  

              That's why this is such an egregious piece. If accurate, all it does is expose a legitimate intelligence operation targeted at one of the most violent regions in the world, the center of numerous active conflicts. The Independent's article certainly serves the government's purposes to threaten the public with a Middle Eastern station going dark due to a paper's reckless disclosure.

              But whistleblowing, this is not.  

              •  Most of what Snowden did was to expose (0+ / 0-)

                normal intelligence operations. How is this stuff different? It targets Middle East and not Latin America? Maybe it was indeed wrong to call it whistleblowing. Let's call it a leak instead. But there is no evidence that this leak was sanctioned by authorities. They could have gained access to some of the Snowden documents he didn't plan on publishing right away or another leaker was inspired by Snowden and talked to them. You hypothesis is a possibility but so are many others. I don't see any evidence that your hypothesis describes the situation more accurately than others.

                •  This is simply false (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FG

                  Snowden exposed the architecture of intelligence gathering. Absolutely, absolutely nothing that could advantage an actual terrorist has been released. He did reveal information that Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall tell us is "the tip of the iceberg" of a system that would make the American people "stunned" and "angry" if they knew the whole story.

                  That is whistleblowing.  

                  What the Independent released could, in theory, lead to a specific foreign site being discovered and targeted by a terrorist. Since it's hard to defend foreign sites, that's irresponsible. By contrast, releasing the names and functions of programprovides potential enemies with nothing of assistance. The situations are analogous to talking about troop movements vs. talking about what ranks the military uses.  

                  I will agree with you that there is no direct evidence that the leak was sanctioned by authorities. What I am saying is that there's simply no other explanation that is consistent with the statements of Snowden, the Independent and the Guardian. Either someone is mistaken, someone is dissembling, or the Independent got the material directly or indirectly from the Government. I respect The Guardian and the Independent and do not think they are lying (though they may be mistaken or lawyering the truth).  

                  This is not "so many other" possibilities. It's quite well-defined.

                  On who gave the Independent the material, time will tell. But your claim that the actions of Snowden and The Independent are equivalent is simply false.

  •  Why do we assume that the information (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CroneWit

    is "true"?

    How can it be verified that there is such a monitoring station?

    •  We can't verify (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CroneWit, Involuntary Exile

      But you can bet that there are journalists and perhaps intelligence agencies reading that article very carefully.

      •  I think my point is sort of the following... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Involuntary Exile

        If Snowden says its not a part of his document set, then I think that we can agree that that's weird given the fact that he's been fine about taking credit for everything attributed to him so far.  

        Then there is the fact that the facts of the story aren't really that earth-shatteringly new or surprising.  No duh the UK, US and probably every other European country is monitoring communications on those cables.  That they have physical monitoring stations is not at all surprising - governments have always have had those - and there's nothing newsworthy about that information.  This story isn't like the ones that Snowden's files have yielded so far.  His stories have been more about the overview of the programs rather than pointing out specific signal intelligence stations.  Also, the things he's been revealing have really had much more to do with the ways in which the spy agencies are conducting domestic spying.

        Anyway, we'll see.  If the Independent was told that it was a real security risk to publish the story - regardless of where the information came from - they should not have ever published it.

        The Washington Post only published four out of more than 40 slides from that prism deck according to Bart Gellman who wrote the story and is also working with Snowden documents.

  •  New NSA revelation: purposeful snooping by NSA (8+ / 0-)

    analysts.  The Hill: NSA admits analysts purposefully violated citizens' privacy rights:

    National Security Agency officials deliberately overstepped their legal authority multiple times in the past decade, the agency acknowledged on Friday.

    The admission contradicts previous statements by lawmakers and the Obama administration that any privacy violations were unintentional.

    "Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found, but none under [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] or the Patriot Act," the agency said in a statement. "NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and cooperates fully with any investigations – responding as appropriate. NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities."

    Why am I not surprised that this comes out on a Friday afternoon?

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:52:22 AM PDT

  •  We think this is the government why? (0+ / 0-)

    We've got civilians, including Poitras as well as Greenwald and gods-know-who-else at the Guardian, with access to the Snowden files. We've got whoever wheedled copies of the files out of Snowden on his jaunts to China then Russia, plus anyone who's lifted files from Poitras/Greenwald/Miranda since then. Decryption is an obstacle, but frankly not an insurmountable one. Skilled hackers - especially if they have the best gadgets - wouldn't have a lot of trouble getting files from someone's laptop.
    Bottom line, there's a reason classified information is secured - namely, because having civilians run around with it is dangerous.

    This goes back to my question - why didn't Greenwald/Poitras put out everything that wasn't dangerous, and return all copies of the stuff that was?

    "Religion is to spirituality what a Big Mac is to food." - Huffington Post commenter "Wolf 123"

    by Jaxpagan on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 12:51:10 PM PDT

  •  Respectfully, I beg to differ (0+ / 0-)

    You say:
    "To be clear, this story is  not about any of the personalities, but about the appropriate use of classified information and the appropriate way to source leaked information."
    You are not wrong, but there are different ways to perceive these events.
    My perspective is one of a journalism professor.
    I have been teaching the use of anonymous sources for 12 years.
    Judy Miller was the biggest dupe of all .... If it is possible to blame one single person for the debacle over Iraq, she would win hands down.
    Our blog post about her "Who caused more harm at the NTY in 2003" lays out in detail how she was duped by Ahmed Chalabi and Cheney's stooges.
    My perspective on the current brouhaha is that it remains a mystery who leaked what to whom.
    It might be amusing if it were not so deadly serious.
    I have a high regard for both Independent and Guardian.
    It is unfortunate they seem to be locking horns.

    In the (K)now blog Http://warrenswil.com/

    by Warren Swil on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 02:23:18 PM PDT

    •  Prof. Swill, is Judy Miller's sex life relevant? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile

      Prof. Swill, is Judy Miller's sex life relevant to her Iraq reporting?

      Well, perhaps, in a backhanded way, in that her sexual exploits contributed to a tolerance of her reporting. But, really, we don't need to know whether she was hopping on every male in the vicinity like a rabbit in order to judge her journalism. She, and journalists like her-- including perhaps some monastically chaste ones-- were precisely who I was targeting when I said:

      We ended up in the Iraq war because anonymous government sources were free to feed us bull---t without fear of retaliation from the voters. What the Independent is doing looks a lot like that.

      Daily Kos discussions have been inundated with irrelevant garbage about whether Greenwald is annoying or Assange is a right-winger or Snowden is a libertarian. This is what I mean by saying that this thread is not about personalities. If I never hear one more comment about Greenwald's demeanor, it will be too soon.  

      I would be much more interested in learning how or if you disagree with my statement that:

      [a]nonymous sourcing has one and only one proper function in journalism: to protect a source from retaliation by more powerful opponents.

      This clearly does not apply to government officials vs. whistleblowers. The only retaliation the government officials have in talking about whistleblowers to fear is from voters, the courts, or Congress.  

      If the Independent has a genuine source inside government providing them with information about this wiretapping site, fine, they should protect that source. But who told them that the documents are among those Snowden has? That could only come from Snowden, journalists he has worked with, or the government. And, since Snowden and the journalists deny that information came from them, the Independent is probably protecting the government.

  •  Greenwald and Snowden could be lying, too. (0+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:52:29 PM PDT

  •  Here is one of the problems we run into ... (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, The Independent has a reputation as favoring the political left. As such there is an automatic assumption that they would not be teaming up with hard-core government authoritarians in their attempts to delegitimize Snowden. This makes them the perfect vehicle for delivering messages that support the government line. But as was shown in the bu$h era, journalists are among the prime targets for government spying. It is quite possible that one or more of the people involved with The Independent's reporting has been compromised by government spying. Between what the British and American surveillance has picked up, it may be that they have found something sufficiently bad, illegal, or embarrassing to get the journalist(s) to play ball with them.

    And this is the biggest problem with the surveillance state, not that they are watching John and Sally Q. Public's day-to-day boring lives, but rather that they have the goods on pretty much anyone they target. For as best put by John Lennon, "Everybody's got something to hide, (except for me and my monkey.)" They claim to not be "collecting" content, just metadata. BUT, and this is a

    BIG BUT

    their definition of collecting appears to only apply to actually going to examine the data they have stored. They are storing everything, just not looking at YOUR stuff unless YOU become strategically significant to their goal of maintaining control of the populace and preventing disruption to the established sociopolitical order.

    Yes, this story is very fishy, and stinks of false flag phoniness.

    Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

    by kbman on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 09:00:11 PM PDT

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