The Intercept begins publishing Snowden docs

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A quick review of the first few documents seems to indicate that there is not much inherent value to these docs. If they’re saying anything important, it’s through a one time pad/number station setup set up long beforehand. They seem to be carefully written in case of public release, though they may indirectly provide background information, like the existence of Mo’s Mailbag (mostly pertaining to the publication itself, but also prevailing attitudes - like the american values of self-sacrifice* and being a team player**).

There may be signal in the noise, but it’s not immediately obvious.

Example, an old joke I’ve heard before (still pretty funny):

(U) An enemy decoy, built in occupied Holland, led to a tale that has been told and retold ever since by Allied pilots. The German “airfield,” constructed with meticulous care, was made almost entirely of wood. There were wooden hangars, oil tanks, gun emplacements, trucks, and aircraft. The Germans took so long in building their wooden decoy that Allied photo experts had more than enough time to observe and report it. The day finally came when the decoy was finished, down to the last wooden plank. And early the following morning, a lone RAF plane crossed the Channel, came in low, circled the field once, and dropped a large wooden bomb.

Note: almost definitely not true. Allied intelligence was pretty good at pretending not to know things, and they wouldn’t have thrown away their advantage here (

Another note: I found the snopes link where I probably first heard it, and it contains a quote which is almost, but not quite, the same as the quote I provided. Mostly spelling/grammar/context fixes, but it’s possible with the right decoding scheme that you could get information from it. These are very smart, very careful people. I would be really surprised if there was anything important the general public could figure out from this release, and the journalists behind it thought the same thing. I love a challenge, but my gut feeling is that this is a waste of time (which is what they want me to think, right?).

  • ‘NSA and our customers owe a debt of gratitude to these analysts who have made personal sacrifices to contribute to the war effort. They have done outstanding work!’ (and if you want to be listed as having done outstanding work…)
    ** ‘One of the most essential tools for integrating organizations and functions is a common set of goals and objectives. Just as I’ve talked about how important it is for all of us on “team SIGINT” to “play position” … it’s equally imperative that we have an overall game plan… (from a document entitled “SIGINT Strategy: The Importance of Common Goals”)’

If that’s a (U) joke. imagine the (TS) jokes

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