"Reporter" who wrote ridiculous story about Snowden leaks in China admits he was just acting as a government stenographer


#1

[Read the post]


#2

A PR flack dressing as a journalist… It’s downright tragic that the special hell doesn’t actually exist.


#3

Leaving aside the merits or otherwise of this particular journalist, it’s pretty hard to accept that the stuff Snowden released didn’t offer some benefit to Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies etc. The question is how much benefit. Those who support his actions must conclude that the benefit to the “civil good” in exposing information about domestic surveillance etc outweighs that harm. Sadly, because Snowden didn’t read all the information he released, it’s not a judgement he can seek moral justification from. As far as he was aware, he might have had a list of FSB double agents, or Chinese human rights activists, or whoever, tucked away in the information he released. He will no doubt be well aware of the consequences for those people if that were the case, but still didn’t check. I find that pretty hard to justify, but I’m sure others will think differently.


#4

I hope you hijack cars better than threads, because otherwise your GTA skills must be pretty poor.


#5

What I find tragic is that he got hired in the first place. The Times has gone downhill, but this really takes the cake: is this mumbling idiot the best that the Oxbridge establishment can produce for their paper of record?

I mean, being a government propagandist is a perfectly legitimate profession, probably as old as meretrice, but surely it can be done with more style and panache than this babbling excuse for a man could muster? Look at his (non-)haircut, for god’s sake! Any self-respecting Tory apparatchik wouldn’t want to be seen in such company, that’s for sure. Even cannon fodder should be better than this.


#6

There are a number of interesting points and bits of language here that just carry on the smear campaign where the journalist left off…

Leaving aside the merits or otherwise of this particular journalist, it’s pretty hard to accept that the stuff Snowden released didn’t offer some benefit to Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies etc. The question is how much benefit.

This is a leading question. It leaves the assumption that there is a lot of evidence, a lot of it, but I am not allowed to tell you how much. But is there any such evidence? You do not cite any sources. Indeed, I cannot see how you can have any sources that would be willing to talk about them. You may argue that ‘some benefit’ means ‘more than zero’ and not necessarily ‘a lot’; but that’s not how we normally use words.

Those who support his actions must conclude that the benefit to the “civil good” in exposing information about domestic surveillance etc outweighs that harm. Sadly, because Snowden didn’t read all the information he released, it’s not a judgement he can seek moral justification from.

Again, this does not agree with Snowden’s own account, or other reports. Indeed, Snowden seems to have been unusually thorough and careful to read all the material, yet only take the elements that exposed the pointless surveillance if his own people. I don’t know what other materials he could have taken that might have been more valuable to other nations. I would not expect to know. But the stuff that has been released is only embarassing, not tactical.

As far as he was aware, he might have had a list of FSB double agents, or Chinese human rights activists, or whoever, tucked away in the information he released. He will no doubt be well aware of the consequences for those people if that were the case, but still didn’t check. I find that pretty hard to justify, but I’m sure others will think differently.

This is your third allegation - that he took documents that he did not read. If he did all this, and they have not been released, how could you possibly know about this? In fact, the general opinion seems to be that he did not take any unknown encrypted files. The idea that the Chinese and Russians are decrypting the undecryptable files that he apparently did not take with him, and reading the secret information that he did not read, flies in the face of common sense.

Oh dear, your Two Minutes Hate is up, I’m afraid. Next, please.


#7

Sadly, the only thing that’s unusual about this case is that it’s the Sunday Times which carried the press release from security services “sources”. They usually use the Telegraph as their mouthpiece. Could it be that this story was too silly even for them?


#8

Comparing a government intelligence agency putting effort into decrypting a limited number of Snowden zip files to a police force wanting to decrypt all communications is irrelevant.

No file is invulnerable to brute force attacks and any claim of “It would take eleventy billion years to crack” is merely an average. It is perfectly possible (no matter how implausible) for the Russians to have guessed the password on the first attempt. That doesn’t change the impossibility of mass surveillance on encrypted files.

All, that said, I don’t believe the story for a minute.


#9

Color me surprised that a news story about partially cracking the contents of an encrypted archive turns out to be made up.


#10

Even if you only had one monkey with a typewriter, I’d be faster to brute force the article than the archive…


#11

Ah - I see, disagreeing with someone’s actions is “smearing” them is it?

Leaving aside the merits or otherwise of this particular journalist, it’s pretty hard to accept that the stuff Snowden released didn’t offer some benefit to Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies etc. The question is how much benefit.

This is a leading question. It leaves the assumption that there is a lot of evidence, a lot of it, but I am not allowed to tell you how much. But is there any such evidence?

It’s not a question at all - it’s an assumption. Releasing thousands of pages of classified information will give some benefit to other state actors. The question is how much - which is what the Sunday Times piece proposes to answer in part.

Snowden didn’t read all the information he released

this does not agree with Snowden’s own account, or other reports. Indeed, Snowden seems to have been unusually thorough and careful to read all the material

That’s not true- he’s very clear he hadn’t read them all. Even if he had read them all, would he be in a position to know whether information which he revealed, which didn’t directly name people, might be sufficient to identify them?

The truth, or otherwise, of the Sunday Times article is pretty much moot in this - if true it would prove a serious consequence to Snowden’s actions. My criticism of him is that, without even fully reading, let alone having all the information to assess properly, he could not have judged the seriousness of his actions before releasing that information.

Oh dear, your Two Minutes Hate is up, I’m afraid. Next, please.

Nothing strengthens an argument like a bit of ad hominem stuff at the end…


#12

Reminds me of Ralph from the Simpsons. Bless.


#13

Lots of things are perfectly possible, but that doesn’t mean we need to seriously consider them as possibilities.

Of course, if Snowden seriously believes that MargaretThatcheris110%SEXY is a strong password, the chances of a crack go up significantly.


#14

Nothing on your front page warned us that your link would lead to an autoplaying pain-video. Seriously, how hard is it to not post autoplaying pain-video?

Also, which format is this, and which tools will I need to disable it?


#15

The topic was the story of a reporter who produced a number of unverified tales about Edward Snowden as facts. These stories do not seem plausible, and the nebulous sources he quotes do not seem plausible either. Do the British have agents in China? Did they have to evacuate them? I rather doubt we do or did, but I don’t know. If I knew, I would not be allowed to say. Those who seem informed enough to judge say he has done no material harm. So, what the journalist in collaboration with the people who fed him this stuff did, was a smear campaign.

I did follow the one link you gave. It was a small section cut from a larger interview. The very first comment says “…the full interview needs to be watched to get the proper perspective”. And he is right - this is a long interview, and this is one point which, when taken out of context, makes Edward Snowden look awkward.

This is a newsgroup. You are not expected to meet the same standards of journalism. However, if in a discussion about journalistic standards you repeat the allegations in your post without adding any verifiable facts, then people such as I can reasonably ask you to cite your sources. If you have no adequate sources, or those sources are carefully trimmed soundbites, then we draw own conclusions.

I can practically hear them doing it, right now.


#16

I’ve heard from a ‘legitimate source’ that the ‘Times’ actually makes shitty kindling! So if you’re going camping, take some other rag along to help make your fires…


#17

You have a point that deserves exploring. Let’s look at the document the government released showing the harm done by the Snowden leaks

That’s an interesting read and a damning bit of evidence from the Pentagon. AmIright? Just look at that list of harms.


#18

And my response to that topic was to highlight the fact that, irrespective of the claimed damage by the governments involved (i.e. this Sunday Times stuff, Chinese agents, etc, etc), because Snowden, by his own admission, hadn’t read the documents themselves prior to sending them on, I can’t agree with his conduct. My point is that this is the case whether or not this stuff is true - which you or I have no realistic means of judging.

I didn’t invent the suggestion Snowden hadn’t read everything prior to releasing it - the John Oliver interview was very widely reported at the time and I didn’t see a rebuttal. If you can provide any evidence to suggest he did, I would be interested to read it. You can see the full interview here. It starts about 16 mins in, with the discussion about reading everything at about 20mins. An interview with the person in question is generally considered a reasonable journalistic source FWIW.

Snowden himself argues that the benefit to the citizens of the world outweighs the risk. I would argue that, if he hadn’t read the documents himself, he can’t make that claim.


#19

How much of that information did Chinese and Russian intelligence have already through other espionage efforts?

But I think you’re right that the information Snowden released did provide, at the very least, an indirect benefit to the Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies. The revelations of what the US government was doing led some companies to distrust US companies’ cloud services and move their data to companies headquartered in other countries. I would not be surprised if the security at some of those companies is weaker than the security at the US companies from which the data was moved, and so it would be easier for China or Russia to access that information. That being said, I find it hard to lay the blame for that solely at Snowden’s feet. Someone who reports a serious health code violation at a restaurant may be directly responsible for the restaurant being shut down, but the root of the problem is whoever caused or allowed the health code violation to exist.


#20

Most video players are flash (the rest are HTML5).
For flash, some instructions are here.