Symbolism can be a powerful weapon.
It establishes an air of FUD to discourage. Nothing more, nothing less.
GCHQ spooks reportedly rocked up at The Guardian's London headquarters and oversaw the destruction of some computer hardware - because the machines may have stored copies of documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The move came after the newspaper's editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger refused to comply with demands to …
I'm worried this is getting completely out of hand. Even El Reg might be cruising for a bruising.
It's reminding me strongly of "the dark actors playing games" just before the government murdered Dr. David Kelly CMG.
Those dark actors are clearly very pissed off once again and now no one but them has any rights.
"A complete load of symbollocks."
Twelve months ago a lot of folks would have said something like that in response to claims that representatives of the NSA and GCHQ etc were recording the contents of our every phone conversation and our every email (on the basis that we are all potential terrorists, or it's just collateral damage, or whatever).
Maybe Kelly was killed, maybe he wasn't.
Either way, the "security" forces are now known to be way way way out of control. Some people may have suspected as much a year ago, now there's proof.
"Twelve months ago a lot of folks would have said something like that in response to claims that representatives of the NSA and GCHQ etc were recording the contents of our every phone conversation and our every email"
I'm not even slightly convinced that's true. Everybody knew about POTUS invoking executive privilege with regards to ATT + tap/trace which was enough to confirm the story.
I don't think anybody knew they were quite so brazen or that GCHQ were so obviously breaking UK law - and boasting about it - though.
This really pisses me off, no-one has the right to determine when a debate is over, especially not the government.
The whole thing sounds like someone had a hissy fit, and didn't think things through.
Next thing will be 'D' notices (if they still exist), best of luck with that in our internationally connected world.
Basically dear chappies, democracy is over, everyone back to feudalism. I think the tipping point has been reached where "they" can just go "we've got you by the scroat" and don't really care about putting a public spin on anything anymore. The problem with a internationally connected world is that the man with the biggest fuck-off internationally connected data centre is king.
Would make for an interesting court case if somebody did ignore and D notice and was repeating something previously reported elsewhere and abroad.
It is, and the idea of voluntary censorship as regards national security issues is a laudable one...
... when used in the right place, to protect operational security and save lives. Mis-using them to stifle public knowledge of the invasion of privacy and in vague sweeping terms is NOT the right way to use them and undermines the whole idea. They should be used very sparingly, not whenever an inconvenient matter is brought up in the media.
""I shall not invoke The Mustachioed One Who Shall Not Be Named, "
Excuse me but please treat the gentleman with the respect he deserves.
That's Lord "Two Resignations" Mandelson to you, matey.
Anyone got any green slime, and Milibandelson's itinerary?
Regardless of whether they did the job themselves or intimidated a 3rd party into doing it, the criminal damage charge should stick, just the same as you can be charged for assult without actually touching a person.
In addition to the Crminal damage charge, it then becomes interesting under our Terrorism legislation, as anybody who undertakes criminal damage, or the threat of criminal damage, for the purpose of political, religous or idealogical goals is a terrorist.
So whether this action was polictically motivated, or was genuinely done for a valid legal reasons, with appropriate judical authority, given law is a idealogical construct, we now have terrorists running GCHQ!
I am not sure whats more worrying that they were told to destroy the hard drives or that the people telling them to do that honestly thought that would solve the problem and there wouldn't be backups anywhere else.
You can fit a lot of data on a micro SD card that could easily be taken in and out of buildings without being noticed (even if your are searched it would need to be a fully body search to find it)
These days law enforcement agents are overworked. They need to be given a break. So here are our guidelines to citizens to help those who protect us all let off some steam, and "make them feel better"!
If you get stopped by police for driving in the wrong lane / having a broken tail-light: let them puncture your tyres and smack the bonnet and windscreen with a jemmy, it will make them feel better!
If you get stopped by your neighbourhood wardens for acting in a drunk and disorderly manner (walking across the street when the light is red): let them kick your head in and knee you in the stomach a few times, it will make them feel better!
If you get audited by the tax man and he can't read your handwriting: let him seize you by the hair and thrust your head under water in the sink for a couple of minutes, it will make him feel better!
If you get stopped by the security forces for being too tall / too black / being in possession of a camera / wearing a rucksack: don't move and let them just shoot you, your sacrifice will make them feel better!
If you are accused by MPAA of downloading songs or films illegally from the Internet: let them take your family hostage and work them in the mines for life, it will make them feel better!
And always remember, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear!
Thank you for your cooperation
After reading all these articles I was incredibly confused by the arrest of David Miranda partner of Glenn Greenwald. For ages I legit thought that by partner they meant 'gay other half' and not 'works with him at the newspaper'. Been sat here thinking "Why would the guy keep this confidential stuff on his other halfs laptop? What the hell are they doing? Attacking his loved ones to get to him?"
Please tell me I'm not the only one who made this mistake.
Additionally, I cannot help but see the guy from whitehall as the PHB, or see the entire situation roll out as a BOFH script.
"I want you to delete all the information from your hard drives"
"The information isn't on our hard drives, it's on the cloud"
"But it could be on the hard drives right?"
"Well yes, the same way it could be written down on a piece of paper in that filing cabinet."
"So will you give us the iniformation on the hard drives?"
"Okay, here is all the information on those harddrives regarding snowden" *hands over an imaginary box* "Would you mind signing this to show you recieved the documents?" *Holds out an imaginary pen and clipboard to sign*
"Listen, I just want the information on those hard disks, would you stop being difficult"
"Would you stop being ignorant? We do not have the information, we do not have it here nor there, we do not have it anywhere, we do not have it in our SAN, we do not have it whitehall man"
"Look, just give us the information we want from those hard drives, or we'll wipe the lot of them."
"WE DON'T HAVE THE INFORMATION!"
"Fine, have it your way, boys wipe the hard drives."
"Do you want to wipe the backups too?"
"Nah, just the main drives should be fine."
I would not be at all surprised if many of the junior folks at a number of government agencies very much disagree with what's been coming out as much as the rest of us. However, they can't do anything about it without throwing their entire lives away as Snowden has. After all, everything from themselves and all their friends and families has been caught in the net too.
So, when the higher-ups order you to go out and do something that you know will draw even more negative publicity to themselves and what they've been doing,you don't point out that they're making a PR disaster worse, you happily comply.
"Please tell me I'm not the only one who made this mistake."
You aren't the only one who made this mistake.
We use the word partner to mean boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/whatever far more than is necessary, which leads to exactly this misunderstanding when it's used in another context.
What mistake? They're married!
"DOMA is what prevents me, and thousands of other gay Americans, from living in the US with my spouse, while the legal and social stigma of officially sanctioned inequality is, by itself, devastating for gay children"
I can't begin to entertain the idea, as some are suggesting, that they thought destroying this copy would destroy all traces. What appears to me to be far more likely is that they are trying to lock down the data so it is in as few a places as possible, and therefore less readily accessible.
Who knows what tiny, seemingly insignificant, detail in these documents could actually be a crucial piece of information to those with ill intentions.
And that is where the difficulty lies. You and Matt Bryant have the opinion, for whatever reason, justified or not, that there is an external "ill-intentioned" person or persons that could have a significant negative effect on the lives of you and, presumably, significant numbers of others. The government is, therefore, entirely justified, in your opinion, in doing these things.
On the other hand, there are a significant number of people on here, and, presumably elsewhere, who see the "ill-intentioned" as being the government, which is taking action far in excess of anything proportional to any significant risk. It is acting not in the best interests of the populace, but of itself. It is unable to accept that it might have gone too far, that it is looking ridiculous, and has become the body most likely to cause a significant negative effect to all - you and Matt included.
In my opinion, what the government and security forces are doing is utterly horrifying. I know they are nasty fuckers at the best of times, but it looks as if they are acting with overweening arrogance. The deaths of David Kelly and Gareth Williams look more and more like assassinations by those that should have protected them. The police look more like a paramilitary force to be feared by the population. The government, and, by extension, Parliament, looks like a threat to health and well-being of anyone that dares to question it.
What do you see in the actions and justifications of those you are defending that I don't?
"And that is where the difficulty lies. You and Matt Bryant have the opinion, for whatever reason, justified or not, that there is an external "ill-intentioned" person or persons that could have a significant negative effect on the lives of you and, presumably, significant numbers of others. The government is, therefore, entirely justified, in your opinion, in doing these things....." Difference being there is concrete evidence for both the intent and a history if actions by people like Al Quaeda, whereas the majority of your bleating a are just conspiracy theories wildly looped together into a fantasy of paranoid delusions.
".....On the other hand, there are a significant number of people on here, and, presumably elsewhere....". Yeah, plenty of like-minded posters on all the conspiracy junkie websites, also with zero actual proof and nothing more than wild ramblings.
"....,and has become the body most likely to cause a significant negative effect to all - you and Matt included....." Really? So please do show where I am being harmed? As a Westerner I am under threat from people that think like AQ, that you would have to be a completely blind and paranoid numpty to deny (well, actually that does cover quite a few of your fellow sheeple posting here), but apart from wild accusations that my email may be being read (which it is very cleat is not happening because the authorities don't have the time and resources to waste in everyone, just those they target), please do show me what harm the authorities are doing me? And don't spout some farcical bullshit about "losing liberties" as I have not lost any liberties at all, thanks.
"....I know they are nasty fuckers at the best of times....". How, because some wannabe Z-lister celeb told you so? Did you read it on some conspiracy theorists website? Or was it just spoonfed to you at home by some equally paranoid and delusional family of losers that wanted to blame "the system" for their lack of success?
I normally support the concept that sometimes we cannot know something in order to protect a useful source who risked their life to pass us information and the concept that the secret service can have additional powers to protect us.
However, this incident has made a mockery of the entire establishment. This is a monumental abuse of power out of nothing more than spite. To stand up and say this was legally sound is either a lie or evidence that they have powers under the law they should not have. To abuse powers extended to them in order to protect us from severe harm for nothing more than trying to punish someone who may or may not have played a part in uncovering a constitutional and legal nightmare of a spying scandal is childish and far more dangerous to our national security than the release of the documents in the first place. I really hope the people who ordered this are taken aside and punished, they have provided us with proof that they cannot be trusted with the powers they have but potentially may need.
The only word that adequately describes the recent pointless behaviour of the security services. They're incapable of doing anything effective, so they start detaining people and smashing kit to show how tough they are.
It's especially disturbing that stuff leaked from an American agency by an American national is safer in New York than London.
The balance of probabilities tends to indicate that the Grauniad is more trustworthy than any spokesbeing of the security apparatus of the British state (or any other state, for that matter).
And unless-and-until said security apparatus is willing to divulge a full, detailed, and factually accurate account of their actions and the decision-making process leading to those actions (and maybe not even then), that will remain the case.
the Grauniad is more trustworthy than no other side of the story? Tautology surely? We only have one side of the story, it sounds absolutely ridiculous, so it almost certainly needs a hefty pinch of salt.
If you know the people you are talking about can not and will not respond, then you can say what you like about them. If you happen to have a bit of an issue with said people, whether through antagonising interactions, ideological differences etc, then you not only can, but probably will say what you want. Plus issues around driving up readership and the Guardian brand.
It sounds like the Snowden files actually cover possible wrongdoings by the UK security services, hence why they are so keen to get it back and force the horse back into the stable, unless the information belonged to them directly, I don't see how they can demand that the data is returned to them or destroyed.
"You've had your fun" -- Well, all I can say is that the security services in both the United Kingdom and the United States both feel they are well beyond any repercussions for their actions and they are probably correct. In reality, we have not had fun, we are all alarmed that there simply is no privacy at all in the world today and that everyone is treated with contempt by our overlords regardless of any criminality.
This incursion against the press demonstrates to me that UK and US governments are guilty as hell for crimes that they are trying to hide behind the veil of "National Security" and "Our Protection". Fuck them and the horse they rode in on, remember these are the guys that actually cannot stop terrorist attacks (unless they are lame attempts, like the shoe bomber) even though they already had monitoring schemes in place that were beyond oversight and beyond reproach.
Of course we won't, this is driven by career spooks/civil servants who know that the politicians will blame them for failing to prevent atrocities no matter what powers they are given and use. So the only solution is to ask for more powers, at least in their minds.
From my perspective I would willingly trade a tiny risk of death at the hands of a mad idealogue terrorist during my lifetime against the certain knowledge that everything I do is watched, stored and pored over behind my back. I hope that enough people who feel that way are able to articulate their anger at what is being done and convince the establishment that this time it has gone too far, I don't know if we will be able to get people to take notice or not but surely an attempt to do away with this morally bankrupt approach to government.
I shall await the next installment in the Snowden revelations with interest, but I suspect not very much surprise.
Instead of paying someone to destroy your decommissioned hard drives/storage media all you have to do is call Whitehall and tell them that the decommissioned kit may have some of Snowden's files stored in it. From the article it looks like they sweep up afterwards too. :)
...this country couldn't look any more pathetic and stupid, our 'security services' go and do something like this. All they achieved was some pointless vandalism. They didn't bother taking drives, and clearly anything that might have been on them would have been distributed around the globe in several forms anyway.
Seriously, to the International community, we look like a shit version of the USA. And that's saying something. It makes you proud to be British.
This reminds me a little of the time I bought a Mac off my ex-company and they absolutely insisted on wiping the disk even though I could (and did) take a backup of the stuff I wanted to keep prior to them doing it. They got to waste a bunch of time and tick a box for zero gain.
The days where data stays in one place put has long gone. I imagine that the Guardian has the means to push large files around its sites over it's internal network (which is presumably encrypted) and they absolutely would do it in this case. I'm also sure they could slip out to a public wifi spot and upload it with nobody the wiser. Or post it. And most likely they did some or all of these things. Wouldn't surprise me if this journalist's partner was stopped and searched on the suspicion that he might be a courier for this information, and quite possibly he was.
I think you give a lot of credit to the newsroom networks in modern newspapers. They're run on a shoestring, lots of local storage on laptops etc. etc.
Also, how does there seem to be this opinion that the guys from GCHQ are all idiots and that the non-tech journos from the Graun are all IT geniuses. I've met some of them and I can assure you they're not.
I'm not giving them a lot of credit since what I suggest is what any medium size enterprise could do these days - connect two sites over a VPN. And I assume that a newspaper (such as the Guardian is) which has 500 editorial staff and offices in the US, plus a very large website to run and administer, and large files like images, PDFs, videos etc. to exchange is capable and has the necessity of doing it.
Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria each had their governments rocked by popular uprising in 2012 due to a dissatisfaction with their governments oppressive natures.
That worries other governments and now others are taking draconian measures to control what their citizens see and do on line. Twitter, Facebook, Google, et al. all now must report the information passing through their care directly into government hands. Communications are monitored and what you do, where you go and who you associate with is indexed and stored.
Governments are empowered by the people. When a government tries to control its populace, it typically falls. The road that several major governments are taking today is a dark one that will lead to a lot of misery and suffering.
Security can never be placed above individual freedoms. Control of media by government should not be tolerated. We crossed the channel in 1944 to take out a government who did control the newspapers and treated their own citizens with disdain. Now we don't even need to take the Chunnel to see oppression and a police state interfering with the press.
"All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope."
~ Sir Winston Churchill
"...for the umpteenth time the concern is that personal data is destroyed in line with ISO 27001: 2005. We accept, albeit reluctantly, that you have the data and will run stories based on it. Even you realise that there's some things that shouldn't be broadcast or you wouldn't redact them."
"So you're not going to arrest me?"
"No", Agent Smith sighed "we're not going to arrest you. We just want to make sure that equipment you no longer need is disposed of securely".
...20 minutes and 3 wrong turns later...
The big boss was clearly confused, as he struggled to remember my name. "This is er....our...er..."
"Hello Dave, what brings you down here?"
"Security audit basically. We need to make sure you don't leak the data that was leaked to you. If I could take a copy of the secure destruction certificates I'll be on my way."
"No can do...we do it in-house I'm afraid. Stephen can show you if you like?" I say as I pick up the Head Beancounter's Macbook
...Five minutes of the PFY with a sledge hammer later...
"I think I can safely say that's securely destroyed" said Dave as he brushed plastic fragments from his suit.
"So everything's OK" said the Big Boss
"Yes, we can call off the black helicopters. Thanks Simon - pint later?"
Thought experiment: suppose they had successfully destroyed the Guardian's copy of everything, and any copies they'd made or distributed.
Might that leave the KGB with the only remaining copies? Can't imagine Snowden got his asylum without going through an interview with Russian police, and in his case that would mean something more than a bog-standard immigration officer. Seems likely they demanded copies - maybe all copies and originals - of everything.
That's what you get by putting a man so totally at the mercy of a foreign power. If he could've returned home without facing Manning's fate, none of that need have happened.
Should we conclude that TPTB are happier for the KGB than the Guardian to have its secrets?
"So this can only fuel the development of secure email and a more secure internet."
We (tech enthusiasts) may think that.
Ms Bloggs and your gran don't have a clue about what is going on and will not be discussing.
So the reality is, No, this will not fuel the development of secure email and a more secure internet.
even if paranoid computing becomes mainstream, "the Feds" will always demand backdoor access in the name of keeping us safe from terrorists.
Governments have 'something to hide' (how innocent of me to take this long); Detaining partners of journalists "just because" stinks of total fucking hypocrisy when all I hear is 'I've got nothing to fear'. Well fuck them and stop abusing all of us in anyway you can think of thanks...
They are obviously scared shirtless (as it seems are most major European governments) that something will come out that compromises the gchq's activities, or causes the NSA such a blow that the gchq has to go looking for another sugar daddy.
For instance, not picked up here on el reg were all the references to "fveye" (if I am remembering synonym accurately) in the audit report and training materials that came out late last week. That stands for "five eyes", and my understanding was that means that any example of querying/surveilling proceeded by that designation meant those capabilities were available to each of the now famous "five eyes". The gchq can't have been happy to see that pop out.
A whistleblower escapes to another country after revealing publicly damning evidence that world society is under a total surveillance scheme without any regard for individual privacy, contrary to the very legal foundations of said country.
After the initial shock period, spook centers around the world work in concert to lock down the leak, find the whistleblower and silence him.
In order to do so, authorities have demonstrated that they are now willing to :
1) force ambassadorial entities to stop and prove that the whistleblower is not on board
2) harass and intimidate people related to the whistleblower, or that are in professional relations with him, using clearly abusive pretexts
3) abuse state powers and proceed to destroy private equipment without any justification
What is next ? Night visits to anyone who has contacted the whistleblower, with complementary beatings ? Some "unfortunate" accidents ? Waterboarding people who have read about this whole affair on the Web ?
I have the very unfunny feeling that, for the first time in recent history, Goodwin's Law should be invoked.
Because it is starting to look like the Gestapo have not disappeared at all. They have become Gestapo Incorporated, and they are watching you from your local Beating Center.
You will behave, Citizen.
I am not British, so maybe I am offbase with this:
Frankly, if I were the Queen, I'd blow a fuse over hearing a story such as this. I would call the PM in and demand an explanation. I know the Queen is not the political ruler of the country, but her opinion counts to both the people and the government and I know Queen Elizabeth II is very thoughtful and conscientious of Great Britain's system. If I were the Queen, I'd warn the PM that if I EVER heard of another occurrence such as this, I'd make a public statement of my dissatisfaction with the government's handling of same, calling it almost a level of embarrassment on the overstepping of governmental power.
What the hell is going on with our governments? The only answer is to throw them ALL out, vote for a wholesale changing of the guard, get all new politicians in even if they are loyal to the same party. But that won't happen - the voting power is still with the people yet they constantly vote back the same individuals who abuse the power we give them.
We've caused this on ourselves.
I would certainly be worried about my security - what with Brazillian terrorists being released into the country and such.
At my next weekly meeting with the PM I would make sure I had a couple of beefy members of the Scots and Irish guards standing behind him with their sabres drawn.
"What the hell is going on with our governments? The only answer is to throw them ALL out, vote for a wholesale changing of the guard, get all new politicians in even if they are loyal to the same party. But that won't happen - the voting power is still with the people yet they constantly vote back the same individuals who abuse the power we give them.
We've caused this on ourselves."
Said this for years but most just think I'm a nut!
It's only when you, rarely, hear what is really happening that small numbers of people sit up and listen. But the great unwashed just don't give a shit and will say "meh" and go back to posting shitting links to kittens and kids on Fakebook.
Did someone from HM government seriously say that? Maybe its just me, but that seems just a tad at odds with the concept of "democracy".
And then they show up on premises to smash some hard drives that probably don't contain anything more seditious than sedoku sheets?
You Brits have it even worse than we do in the U.S.!!
The really sad thing is that my grandfather used to be a director of radio interception for GCHQ back in the 50s and 60s. I'd like to think he would think this kind of authoritarian stongarming would be pretty stupid. He was the kind of guy who would never hurt a fly and basically your somewhat eccentric Brit technologist stereotype.
But then again he was also something of a company man....
"The point is, it indicates an serious dis-respect for democracy and the people of the UK"
And this is surprising? These are the people who kept files on Labour Ministers (but not of course Conservative ones).
The recruitment base for Intelligence officers (not the technical staff, as revealed by Spycatcher, which I was careful at the time to read in the US) probably has a very high intersection with the right wing of the Conservative Party and the families who, in the 1930s, thought a dose of Hitlerism would sort out the country. Would one expect their perception of the world to be anything but warped? On the contrary, a reasonable hypothesis is that secret police everywhere are pretty much the same, and what they get away with depends only on the extent to which the Government is more representative of the population as a whole. This really is one for the Lib Dems to unite on with Labour.
Notice that UKIP is silent on the subject, presumably because they appeal to the core demographic that's in favour of a bit of oik-bashing.
It's a bit like Rupert Murdoch dismissing all those allegations as being a waste of police time.
Do you think these people take their real world behaviour from the films they watch? It could explain a lot. I vaguely recall an article some years ago suggesting that some members of the Manchester police believed that various TV programmes were a realistic portrayal of policing in the US.
We in the west havent had real democracy for decades. Only an illusion of it.
Whomever you vote for the same old agenda goes on. The few cherry picked bits of differing but irrlevant ideology is just there to let us know the difference.
Pick a western country and you'll see the pattern. Look at Bush/Obama/Cameron/Brown
Same song, different tempo.
Bit late to change it now though.
W B Yeats said it, after being disillusioned by the Irish Civil War:
"Hurrah for revolution, and more cannon-shot
A beggar on horseback lashes a beggar on foot.
Hurrah for revolution, and cannon come again
The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on".
I'm sure those HDDs contained the only copies in existence other than on Snowden's personal laptop. None of the data is stored a dozen different places on the internet...
Here's a hint for the cops. The only likely reasons the entire trove isn't all publicly available, are that releasing a bit at a time A) keeps Snowden in the public mind so he feels safer and B) it sells a LOT more papers. If the US feds don't work out something with Snowden before the effectiveness of that strategy inevitably wanes due to the public going SQUIRREL!, it will all be available via wikileaks/torrent/etc.
"More likely, it's Matt Bryant desperately showing that he isn't "sheeple" who are wrong in our distrust of the government he seems to implicitly trust!" So, you show me where this mythical threat from The Man is, without just spouting a load of leftie bullshit and conspiracy theories, and then I might take your posts as anything more than paranoid delusions. And pointing to the other sheeple that have been spoonfed the same paranoid delusions is not evidence of anything other than the gullibility of the herd mentality.
Given the not so trivial US funding of GCHQ and the much trumpeted "sharing" of intelligence, can we legitimately claim that our spooks and their apologists in the Houses of Patronage are acting in the best interests of our own state? If our spooks are just sub-contractors who operate a European listening post for their overlords in the States, how far down their list of priorities are fine details like public accountability and freedom of expression in this septic isle?
I'd like to believe this; in our town we have an independent majority on the Council and they do quite a good job. But in Parliament the PM can always bribe people with official jobs. Our own Lib Dem MP has got awfully subservient since he became a Minister. I'm afraid that in this country we don't seem mature enough to have actual multi party democracy.
Post war, we applied all the lessons we had learnt to Germany, and didn't apply them at home. They seem to have worked rather well. Perhaps Angela Merkel could be persuaded to invade us to restore democracy, in the interests of a united Europe. I'd be the one waving the blue flag with the circle of stars from the window, because the other one is getting a bit tattered.
but I find it really fucking dumb that the partner of the jurno would try to get through the major airport of crony-in-chief with the files about his person.
That's just bad tradecraft.
All it would take is an Iranian/Chinese/Yemeni 'mugger' to have his way for peoples lives to be put at risk. Middle class bloke with a laptop bag? Easy pickings. Rubber hose cryptography anyone?
The same people who are too paranoid to use TOR trust to not have their stuff confiscated at airports?
The journalists are now soft targets in possession of the crown jewels.
It is in the UK/US interests to protect them...
"Miranda was held by anti-terror cops for nine hours and his digital equipment seized at London Heathrow airport"
I was wondering if there is a not-quite-derogotory term that is more accurate than "anti-terror cops", for people who are state-sponsored terrorists (in the technical sense).
"Thugs", isn't right: presumably they were not violent. "Firemen" is just an in-joke. Are there other words?
The Guardian admit to having copies which are out of the country. So I think the destruction of the data on the laptop was an attempt by the security services to force The Guardian to send one of those copies back to the UK over the internet once the GCHQ spooks had gone. And in that twist of irony, GCHQ/NSA detect the transmission of that data and are therefore able to concoct some new excuse to go after the sender and recipient.
Both of these stories seem a bit 'off' to me.
Not long ago, Laura Poitras gave an interview (can't find the link now) saying how she was often subjected to these 'extra-legal' stop and searches in transit zones. This makes me wonder whether this wasn't a setup by Greenwald and co to make a story: not so much to create news, as to push the 'security state' to show its hand.
And as several others have posited here, the idea of GCHQ people (or ministers for that matter) thinking that stomping a hard disk destroys data also seems a bit to facile. To add to previous AC's theory, I wonder whether it isn't the case that the US authorities will 'take care' of the copies on their side, legally or otherwise.
"the idea of GCHQ people (or ministers for that matter) thinking that stomping a hard disk destroys data also seems a bit to facile."
The idea that Cameron could block dodgy stuff on the Internet with an ISP-operated porn filter also seems a bit facile to anybody with a clue.
Isn't it clear to folk yet that Cameron doesn't have a clue, and nor do his fellow travellers in the Millionaires Cabinet. Unlike me (and maybe you), they do have lots of money, and friends in high places.
We're all in this together.
Now we understand it was the senior civil servant who first contacted the guardian and made threats, since when do civil servants have the power to make threat's , they are not the Government, they are just that servants. If Cameron and the home office minster May don't have the guts to do it then don't do it , this signals a new phase in this already discredited coalition when they now hide behind civil servants. come the revolution we will have them all shot, and not before time too.
With all these warnings, threats, detentions at airports, symbolic destruction & whatever comes next, it could be deduced that something of high importance, that can only be seen when added to the greater scheme of things, has been compromised by the files?
Problem with that of course is, why draw attention to it and make such a hash at destroying it?
My only conclusion is that the Establishment did this in order to put pressure on the media to consider further releases very, very carefully with these serious FUD tactics.
How can any security agency seriously consider this to be even a remotely intelligent action?
What would the average alleged perpetrator do if he knew the Plod were visiting in a week or two?
Hopefully the Giardian took some dogs of computers to destroy after ensuring the Snowden data was backed up.
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