Well, when domestic policy is heavily built around being able to spy on your own and anybody else’s citizens on a whim, naturally you need an excuse, however flimsy.
When nobody finally has to justify it anymore, then you know we’re in even bigger trouble.
They’re spooks. Lying, disinformation, misrepresentation is pretty much their USP.
The article is right. To take what they say on trust you need to be deeply gullible.
As we know from Iraq, they don’t even tell the truth to politicians, and then the politicians pass on a distorted version to us. And then they wonder why the British public doesn’t trust politicians.
The exact language is quite interesting…
“As to the specific allegations this morning, we never comment on operational intelligence matters…”
This is standard policy. Even when people claim in Parliament that British Intelligence is involved in UFO’s or something like that, the flat answer is always not to comment. This is a good policy in the main, as it stops people from fishing for information.
“…so I’m not going to talk about what we have or haven’t done in order to mitigate the effect of the Snowden revelations but nobody should be in any doubt that Edward Snowden has caused immense damage,”
Ah, so we are not discussing anything concerning intelligence. Therefore everything we are talking about refers to something else. Our next year’s funding? My Knighthood? Our relations with the US? Maybe. But not actual intelligence.
A British intelligence source said Snowden had done “incalculable damage.”
Again, the funny use of words. ‘Source’ should not mean employee. ‘Incalculable’ means we cannot calculate it. The official at Cameron’s office was effectively saying the same thing when they said there was “no evidence of anyone being harmed.”
“A Home Office source told the newspaper that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not grant Snowden asylum for nothing”. Indeed not. He may have granted Snowden asylum because he thought it was the moral thing to do (snort). Or, more likely, that the Americans were practically daring him to do it at the time.
“His documents were encrypted but they weren’t completely secure and we have now seen our agents and assets being targeted,” the source said. Now that is an operational detail. Either that source was not in the Home Office, or he/she is leaking information they shouldn’t. Or they are talking about internal budgets, and not actions of other nations.
British security agencies declined to comment.
Finally, here’s someone who knows their job and sticks to it. So who are all these other ‘sources’ or ‘spokespersons’? Not intelligence people, then, which makes the whole news story look rather limp. So the journalists have to stick last Friday’s lettuce under the cold tap, and pick off the brown bits, so it almost feels crisp and fresh again.
It’s not exactly telling fibs. Anyone who has the boxed set of “Yes, MInister” can tell the difference. But shame on them none the less.
Even if what they’re saying is correct, they should be more embarrassed that such apparently dangerous information was available to an American contractor from his desk with no apparent oversight.
Why was information that could be dangerous to British interests left lying around where a foreign power (abit a gernerally friendly one) apparently had full access?
Shouldn’t the British establishment be pointing the finger at the US for failing to secure their own contractors? (They probably did, but in private. No squabbling in front of the children and all that)
If I were of the betting persuasion, I might be tempted to put my chips on “Hey, remember how we just learned that the Office of Personnel Management pretty much got turned upside down and shaken until empty by parties as yet unknown?” rather than “Apparently no cryptosystem is a match for Putin’s manly pecs”…
In fairness, there aren’t many actual journalists left at the Daily Torygraph. [edit - or the Sunday Times, which pre-Murdoch was a good newspaper.]
He was reminding people who spy for the Russians “Don’t worry, anybody who spies on the Americans, we look after them”. Never forget a simple fact; Putin is far more intelligent (and better educated) than people give him credit for. The macho posturing is like baby kissing and promising to stop welfare in the US or claiming to be going to stop immigration in the UK; it’s what you do to get elected.
Has it occurred to anybody that Russian businesses will like it just fine if English businesses can’t use strong crypto? Also, I think the Swiss and the Brazilians and some guys from Alabama might like to take a peek at what you’ve got.
What’s that you say? Exemption for business? I dunno about the UK, but here in America it takes about two weeks to set up a corporation, and a couple hundred bucks if you do it yourself. I have a few myself. Or have you found a way to ensure only the Right People can start a business?
Why would the NSA know where British agents were deployed?
Ah, so this must be so totally unrelated:
If Russia and China are able to break Snowden’s heavy duty encryption, why are the Western spy agencies so eager to ban consumer-grade encryption? You’d think they’d be embarrassed to admit they can’t even break that.
Apparently doublethink is now mandatory along with the thoughtcrime watch.
Or only the right people, who have the right connections, or make the right campaign donations, will be granted access to strong crypto…
They probably wouldn’t be that obvious, maybe it would be framed as “only companies with government contracts,” which is very nearly the same set.
Seems like more classic “Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt” campaigning against Snowden and progress. All it does is reveal people’s perverse hatred of democracy when they throw punches at intelligence program whistleblowers like Snowden and provide yet another reason for why these programs must be pulled to the ground and razed with predjudice. We need to stop letting our governments pretend that we are at war, or that war or inequitable economic policy are somehow acceptable options.
Two whole weeks? In England and Wales you can, if you’re that anxious, visit Cardiff and do it there and then. Or settle for the slow old 24 hour process over the telephone.
I am not sure they are even up to singlethink yet.
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