back to article 'Snowden risked lives' fearfest story prompts sceptical sneers

A row has broken out over claims that Russian and Chinese have reportedly decrypted files of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, identifying British and US secret agents in the process. The Sunday Times used unnamed UK government and intel agency officials1 to support a story that MI6 has withdrawn agents from overseas operations in …

  1. Vimes

    You're assuming that people with a clue are the target of this sort of thing.

    They aren't.

    It's the general public. A far bigger group that collectively have the attention span of a concussed kitten. And are also generally easier to fool.

    1. Vimes

      Interesting legal shenanigans being deployed by the Sunday Times against those pointing out the problems.

      https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2101948-news-uk-dmca-notification-first-look-productions.html

      1. Shades

        Interesting Legal Shenanigans

        17 U.S.C. § 107

        Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 17 U.S.C. § 106 and 17 U.S.C. § 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright

        I'm guessing this, and The Intercepts web host having the back-bone to brush off spurious DMCA take-down requests, is why the article hasn't been pulled?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wasn't the most almighty spy list Fsck-up recently caused by the US government's own sheer incompetence and nothing to do with dear old Eddie ?

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/06/13/standard_form_86_data_breach/

      1. asdf Silver badge

        hush you

        >Wasn't the most almighty spy list Fsck-up recently caused by the US government's own sheer incompetence

        Yeah but we are not talking about operation details here (or even reality) we are talking about the only thing that really matters (even to the Red Cross) PR. And it that regard Snowden is the holy grail of fail for them.

        1. Vimes

          Re: hush you

          Almost as interesting as the hack is the lack of official response from other governments, including our own. How, for example, can they be certain that our own systems aren't just as vulnerable to attack as those in the US?

          For that matter they seem to have conveniently forgotten that the leak occurred thanks to a US employee and the only reason UK information was compromised in the first place was because the government here were so willing to share it.

    3. Shannon Jacobs
      Holmes

      Au contraire, they certainly want the cluefull to be afraid

      To the contrary, they are targeting both sides. They want the people who understand the truth to know that the truth will be discredited just as easily as lies can be propagated.

      Then again, I think the truth here is that Snowden is also a patsy of the sincere sort. I'm sure their anti-spook spooks detected him as a possible security risk and almost as sure that he was fed the information they wanted to be leaked. Ask Michael Hastings if you don't believe me. Oh wait, his car was hacked and used to kill him. Oh wait, it was just another amazing accident.

      Oh wait.

      1. Vimes

        Re: Au contraire, they certainly want the cluefull to be afraid @Shannon Jacobs

        I'm sure their anti-spook spooks detected him

        They might have been eventually caught, but the likes of Ames or Hannsen still managed to cause a fair amount of damage. Personally I get the impression you're assuming competence where it may well not exist.

        And as for leaking what they wanted: what benefit did the government get from this exactly? Most of what has happened seems to consist of court cases and being forced to limit programs. Unless the agencies themselves thought their powers went too far - unlikely given the effort to protect them - then they seem to have lost more than they have gained (in their eyes in any case - personally I have yet to see anything to justify this extensive surveillance).

    4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Attention span of concussed kitten is a minimum a factor of 100 to long

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You're on sticky ground there you could be asked for your testing methodolgy in order to back up your results and then you will be the target of Mumsnet and the animal charities.

        Just leave it it's not worth it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    So they pull them because of Snowden from several months ago?

    Not the massive database breach they discovered a week or so ago that they failed to notice for a year or more.

    Yeah,,,rigggghhhhtttt.

  3. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Flame

    Too late was the cry

    80% of the public will only remember the first story, regardless of whatever truth emerges subsequently.

    Why do you think control of the media makes power ?

    There are still people - the majority, by the way - who will tell you that Jean Charles de Menezes (RIP :( ) was

    -wearing a heavy coat

    -vaulted the barriers

    -did not respond when challenged by armed police.

    despite the court-verified FACTS:

    -was wearing no jacket (just a T-shirt)

    -passed through barriers normally

    -police never issued a warning for him to ignore.

    I've always had my doubts about the shouty cunt "interviewed" so quickly on the day. Has he ever been seen since ?

    1. John Bailey

      Re: Too late was the cry

      "There are still people - the majority, by the way - who will tell you that Jean Charles de Menezes (RIP :( ) was

      -wearing a heavy coat

      -vaulted the barriers

      -did not respond when challenged by armed police."

      Oh noes.. they don't remember the fine details of the cover story.... THE HORROR!!!!! Why he died in vain then.

      Now tell me this..

      Do they remember that he was

      Innocent of any wrong doing?

      A case of mistaken identity?

      A LEGAL immigrant?

      Shot several times by trigger happy plod/intelligence agents with no ability to inform the officers of his actual identity?

      You know.. the important stuff.

      The fine details don't matter. If he was wearing a coat or a wedding dress and wellington boots, or if he responded to police challenges with the phrase " I have hard boiled egg up my bottom". Doesn;t matter.

      Fact 1) An innocent man was shot dead.

      Fact 2) Shooting him had he actually been a suicide bomber, would have potentially set off the bomb. Any fool can wire up a fail deadly switch. Hold it open, and no problem. Let it go, and boom. One NC switch. I got about 3-4 of em when I took apart an old inkjet for parts. Common everyday micro switches. Usually come with a normally closed, and normally open option in each switch.

      Fact 3) The police proclaiming him a wrong un immediately after the incident lost them a lot of the little credibility they have left.

      The coat does not matter.

      Running does not matter.

      Vaulting the barrier does not matter.

      Someone claiming to have seen wires sticking out of his jacket do not matter.

      Because NONE OF THESE THINGS was reason to shoot the guy.

      Even not responding to a challenge from someone or other, had it happened, does not matter, because uniform are not very likely to be involved in covert tailing of a suspect are they? And the people who shot him were not the ones who were supposed to have challenged him.

      So.. Brazilian electrician hurrying to work was shot dead for no reason.

      This is the bit that they should remember.

      Do they?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Too late was the cry

        "So.. Brazilian electrician hurrying to work was shot dead for no reason."

        With nine dum-dum bullets. Followed by a shameful inquest where the jury weren't allowed the verdict of "unlawful killing".

        I suppose Matt-the-Tw** will be along any moment as official spokeswoman for the authorities, to explain how it was all totally justified, and to spout some weak technicality that "hollow point" rounds aren't dum-dum bullets, but the reality is that an innocent man was intentionally deprived of his life by a bunch of cowboys who have probably already retired at 50 on a fat, index linked pension.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Too late was the cry

          Don't forget the CO was promoted shortly thereafter.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Too late was the cry

          The choice of ammunition is not just for the damage done to the target, but for the safety of those around them.

          A standard full metal Jacket round will go straight through someone without too much issue, especially in the 9mm-45 Cal range which is were most police issue pistols are going to be.

          Hollowpoint rounds by expanding are designed not just to expand to enlarge the wound channel, but also to penetrate the target and stop before exiting. From the shooters point of view you want the round to dump all of it's energy into the target, a round over-penetrating has failed to do this.

          The last thing the officer wants is the chance of taking out some poor bystander when the round keeps on trucking, or being unable to shoot when required to for fear of over-penetration allowing the subject to do something people would rather he wouldn't.

          1. Awil Onmearse

            Re: Too late was the cry

            "The last thing the officer wants is the chance of taking out some poor bystander"

            Semantics about choice of ammo is kinda redundant when the victim himself is some poor bystander.

          2. Mark 65 Silver badge

            Re: Too late was the cry

            I'd say by shooting him 9 times there'd be a fair sized channel for subsequent rounds to travel through unimpeded and hence the choice of round would become largely irrelevant after about shot number 6 given they're unlikely to carefully distribute the shots.

          3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

            Re: Too late was the cry

            Dum-dum rounds have banned for military use since ~1900.

            1. Nigel 11

              Re: Too late was the cry

              Dum-dum rounds have banned for military use since ~1900...

              though probably only because all the world's militaries could work out that this both looked good and was how they'd act anyway.

              Because you'd rather that your bullets seriously injured enemy troops than killed them. An injured soldier consumes far more resources on and off the battlefield than a dead one.

              Isn't war horrible.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Unhappy

            Re: Too late was the cry

            but taking out an innocent was precisely what they did

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Radio Wales

          Re: Too late was the cry

          That he was shot 11 times makes nothing of the fact that several of these 'highly trained marksmen' actually missed him at virtually point-blank range.

          I don't suppose that is of interest to many people but to me, it indicates one of two scenarios, either they were panicking which was unlikely given the particulars of the situation where they were actually shooting a fish in a barrel but 'somebody' told them that he had a bomb, or the situation unsettled some members of the team as to the legality and/or morality of opening fire on an unarmed suspect and decided that their bullets were not going to weigh on their conscience.

          These were supposedly highly trained operatives and panic - even if faced with the possibility of immediate death - would be unlikely, so that leaves the view that at least some members of that team knew that they were doing wrong - at the time.

          I know which version I prefer to believe.

    2. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Too late was the cry

      >80% of the public will only remember the first story that comes across their Farcebook feed.

      FIFY.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too late was the cry

      > Why do you think control of the media makes power ?

      Quite - remember the theatre of destroying some desktops at The Guardian which allegedly contained the magic Snowden files? All to prevent any semblance of questioning the free hand the snoops pointlessly demand.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Too late was the cry

        > Why do you think control of the media makes power ?

        Which is why the worst thing to happen during the W Bush administration wasn't the stupid war or Katrina but the FCC ruling basically allowing 3 companies to own our entire media (to be fair technically the FCC is supposed to be nonpartisan I'm sure Bush was for it).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Snowden as an "alibi"

    So we are now going to blame any of the (quite obvious) clusterf*cks resulting from the office of personal database theft on Snowden now.

    How quaint...

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Snowden as an "alibi"

      "So we are now going to blame any of the (quite obvious) clusterf*cks resulting from the office of personal database theft on Snowden now."

      Obviously.

      Blame-it-all-on-the-last-guy-out-the-door is a very popular tactic in all offices I've ever worked in.

  5. Naselus

    Cyber intel agencies are supposed to presume that they're compromised anyway. It would be astonishingly poor form for them to have this sort of information available to steal.

  6. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    Somewhere...

    ...a "terrorist" atrocity is being contrived by an intelligence organisation. It will be blamed on Edward Snowden...

  7. nsld
    Coat

    Apparently

    The BBC is set to announce that Snowden is a key cause of global warming as well.....

    1. Alister Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Apparently

      The BBC is set to announce that Snowden is a key cause of global warming as well.....

      Yeah, well he is. All the hot air spouted by government officials about Snowden has increased global temperatures by a significant amount...

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    FAIL

    They did Nowt for TWO Years?

    If the documents that Snowden leaked really contained details of spies and there whereabout then it is beyond belief that the security services would have left them in place and at risk for so long.

    IMHO that is just a coverup for another monumental cock-up by the three letter services on both sides of the Pond.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: They did Nowt for TWO Years?

      Not to mention, why were such important UK files freely accessible to an American in the first place?

      It's a bit bloody embarrassing that our intelligence (sic) services are so joined at the hip to the US that someone who was a contractor, not even a full employee had access to files which the government are telling us are incredibly dangerous.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What, all that federal employee data that the Chinese have ?

    It was Snowden what dunnit

  10. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Stop

    There have been so many accusations against Snowden that credibility is strained...

    Remember all the accusations when he started releasing documents, about how he was working with China or Russia, or exposing intelligence agents? I do.

    I'm not going to say that there aren't personally incriminating documents in the trove that Snowden got away with. Most of them have never been and never will be published, and much of that is because the news outlets are vetting the documents that are published for material that might endanger agents.

    I'm not going to say that the Chinese or Russians haven't found a way to hack into the Snowden haul and defeat it's encryption. Its possible they might have.

    However, given the insincerity and butt-covering that has marked the intelligence community's response to Snowden, its going to take some proof for me to believe that it was specifically the Snowden documents that are causing the current problem, and not some other penetration of western intelligence by various adversaries for which Edward Snowden is being used as the whipping boy.

  11. DavidJB

    It is fallacious to argue that because the Russians or Chinese are (allegedly) able to decrypt the Snowden files, there is no need for Western intelligence agencies to worry about the prevalence of encryption. Assuming that the Russians or Chinese have obtained copies of the files (and they surely have), they would know that they are hugely valuable, and would be willing to put a correspondingly huge effort (human and machine) into decrypting them. This effort might include traditional methods such as blackmail, burglary, and honeytrapping to get information about passwords, etc. How many journalists and others have that information? How many of them are deeply hostile to the West? (Most of the staff of the Guardian for a start!)

    The problem of mass encryption is entirely different. The intelligence agencies might have hundreds of potential suspects. It would be quite impractical to put as much effort into all of these as the Russians and Chinese would be able to put into Snowden. Quite apart from the fact that the Russians effectively have Snowden in custody already.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Big Brother

      "The intelligence agencies might have hundreds of potential suspects. "

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

      Don't you get it?

      In their eyes everyone is a suspect.

      You simply haven't done anything worthy to get them to recover your records from the backup tapes and "collect" your information.

      Yet.

  12. LucreLout Silver badge

    I don't know...

    ... I just don't know.

    On the one hand, it is utterly impossible for the "Snowden camp" to prove that nobody has been harmed by his actions. Proving a negative is difficult under the best of circumstances, and a primary function of intelligence agencies is to be opague.

    On the other hand... the story against him seems to evolve continuously. As more facts become clear that could happen, but we're two years down the road now.... how long does it take to work out what he got and who is at risk from that?

    Had an intelligence asset been compromised enough to be withdrawn, then they're bust. You can't send them anywhere else in the world. Surely one asset could be made available for interview by a proper journalist under condition of anonymity?

    Certainly I would hope that once the pool of potentially exposed agents became known to the intelligence community, they would ave acted on the assumption that the journos would get compromised by Russia or China. Lets face it, when the Groans science editor is asking to be used as El Regs mouthpiece, you can safely ascribe a similar level of capability across their domain. All intelligence operatives should have been safe within a few days/weeks/months, right?

    I'm leaning towards "This is BS", but absent any evidence either way, I just don't know.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I don't know...

      "I'm leaning towards "This is BS", but absent any evidence either way, I just don't know."

      Let me help a little.

      Let's assume it's true that the files have been decrypted by the Russians, Chinese or whoever (RCow). Presumably this would mean that they'd discovered an intentional or deliberate back door in a supposedly solid cryptographic system. This raises a question: how would the UK or US know?

      Possibly RCow took some action that revealed it. But remember that decrypting German cyphers in WWII was so sensitive that it was kept secret for decades afterwards. It was also so sensitive that not all information could be acted on & a disinformation operation was run to provide plausible alternative sources. Would RCow be so incompetent as to let slip, by incautious word or deed, what they'd accomplished. It strains credibility.

      Alternatively perhaps the western cryptographers decrypted a message by RCow saying that they'd achieved this. The same reasoning applies. Would they then release this story and reveal what they'd accomplished?

      I call BS.

    2. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      @LucreLout Re:"I don't know..." Snowdon is under no obligation to attempt to.........

      "On the one hand, it is utterly impossible for the "Snowden camp" to prove that nobody has been harmed by his actions."

      .............disprove allegations made against him without there being a shred of credible and independently verifiable evidence to support them. The only case against him is based on a series of assertions made by various intelligence hacks, anonymous sources and certain loud-mouthed politicians. These assertions, coming as they do from a group of people whose credibility in the eyes of anyone capable of the least amount of joined up thinking is zero, are in and of themselves worthless.

  13. codejunky Silver badge

    Ha

    In my view we have had too long a period where Snowden is the one telling the truth and the gov's have been outright lying and then caught out. When that happens it doesnt matter if the intelligence agencies are telling the truth nor if Snowden decides to turn KGB, who can believe it?

    Snowden gained credibility very quickly and the intelligence agencies lost it quickly. Snowden appears to be trying to do something for the public good with very careful actions. The intelligence agencies seem to be trying to store the dirty secrets of everyone to use at will and to damage Snowden's reputation.

    How would we be able to tell if the data has been compromised, how and who by? How would we know if it contained anything dangerous to anyone? So in this uninformed position who are we more likely to believe?

  14. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    Has anyone seen...

    ... any reports of the recent loss of all those Background check Vetting Forms on *any* other mass media apart from El Reg?

    After a bit of searching I can only find it on the Wall Street Journal and The Guardian's pages. I wonder why...?

    1. moiety

      Re: Has anyone seen...

      Gizmodo weighed in with a fairly thorough shoeing:

      http://gizmodo.com/report-hackers-stole-social-security-numbers-of-every-1710706615

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Has anyone seen...

      You're not looking hard enough... Reuters, AP, even Faux....err.. Fox have covered it even if it's just for no reason then to make Obama look bad. Or worse than he already is, depending on your politics.

    3. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: Has anyone seen...

      The New York Times (June 15) and the Washington Post (June 12) also covered it.

  15. splodge

    Good job you didnt publish this in Times New Roman, or something...

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2101948-news-uk-dmca-notification-first-look-productions.html

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      A Brown Trousers Event?

  16. John 104

    Fixed

    How many [Bothan] spies died because of this? Er...

  17. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    OPERATION FREEDOM HORSE: THE FIX PHASE

    In other knews:

    Sources near General Hindenburg say that Jews and backstabbing traitors made Germany lose The Great War!

    Sources near President Nixon say that hippies and hesitant politicians made USA lose the Vietnam War.

    etc. etc.

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: OPERATION FREEDOM HORSE: THE FIX PHASE

      Oh noes!! Don't bring up the Vietnam War now we have more USain readers! I've lost count of the flame wars ovee "We didn't lose in Vietnam. Point out one major battle the VC won". Apparently scurrying away from the embassyin helicopters doesn't count as losing anything. Most merkins who speak about it seem to regard it as a noscore draw, with the merkins ahead on points when the final whistle went.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So...

    ... if the Chinese and Russians can allegedly hoover their way through the encryption, its a reasonable bet that the probably better funded NSA and their lapdog this side of the pond can too. In which case why the need for all the governmental fearmongering about the need to backdoor encryption if they can break it anyway?

    Unless of course its transparently obvious bollocks, like so much unattributed government waffle on this and many other topics. That said, even by the usual standards, they didn't try very hard to make it even sound credible.

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: So...

      With decently implemented encryption systems and reasonable key sizes, the efficient way to access specific encrypted material is to obtain the key from someone who has it and apply it. Back doors, escrowed keys, and encryption system or protocol attacks are for other use cases.

      For law enforcement purposes, search warrants, subpoenas, and contempt of court punishments ought to be enough, or more than enough, for nearly all cases.

  19. batfastad

    Risks lives

    Risked lives?

    So does bombing the fsck out of people and nuclear submarines. GovTards seem to be very much pro those.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Snowden is an arse clown

    Anyone with a clue knew from the very beginning that Snowden compromised the lives of many including secret agents, by Snowden's clueless disclosure of certain documents and communications monitoring. Hopefully this swine will die a very painful, slow death to atone for some of his crimes against society including treason. Thinking this arse clown Snowden is some sort of hero for getting innocent people killed shows how technically ignorant some people are regarding national security.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Snowden is an arse clown

      The only ass/arse clown here is you, for believing, much less regurgitating, the predigested pablum of the brain-dead.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Snowden is an arse clown

      Matt please, stop arsing around as AC.

      crimes against society

      "My society right or wrong?" Doesn't matter anyway, how's your Chinese course coming?

      1. Afernie

        Re: Snowden is an arse clown

        "Matt please, stop arsing around as AC."

        The only reason I don't think it's Matt is that there isn't one 'sheeple' or 'libtard' in there. I doubt he'd manage to do that.

    3. glenn_uk

      Re: Snowden is an arse clown

      Which people (innocent or otherwise) did Snowdon get killed? Answer: Nobody, or the government would be shouting it from the rooftops. Even the ST admits nobody has actually been harmed.

      Since the names of agents are not recorded in the manner you presume, nothing about them would have been revealed, btw.

      But since you appear to be a stooge for the government, you either already knew you aren't telling the truth, or you don't care.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Snowden is an arse clown

        "Even the ST admits nobody has actually been harmed."

        The times should have added a proper disclaimer:

        "No secret agents were injured or killed during the fabrication of this story"

        The fact it was the Times does make you wonder if Murdoch was returning a favour to Dave, rather than just a run of the mill right wing slur.

    4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Snowden is an arse clown @AC

      Without evidence, you are to be assumed to be spouting utter shite.

      That is all.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Snowden is an arse clown

      >>Anyone with a clue knew from the very beginning that Snowden compromised the lives of many including secret agents

      Looks like Skyfall got miscategorized as a documentary on basic cable.

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. glenn_uk

    Form Ambassador destroys Sunday Times story

    Former ambassador Craig Murray (sacked and attempts made to discredit him, because he blew the whistle on UK failure to comply with our own policies on torture) has written about this ST story:

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2015/06/five-reasons-the-mi6-story-is-a-lie/?trashed=1&ids=532028

    It's a pretty comprehensive take-down of the piece. Following which, his website has been attacked on an industrial scale!

  23. InNY
    Alert

    Thank goodness the Sunday Times

    are not in the business of FUD... oh...

    well, at least Snowden hasn't told our enemies about the ace British spy, James Bond. 007 can remain anonymous.

  24. Someone Else Silver badge
    Big Brother

    CYA Misdirection

    Meejia: Massive (U.S.) Gov't security breach! Massive incompetence of U.S. Gov't exposed!!

    U.S. Govt: Yeah, but lookee over here! Snowden!!

    Expected World+Dog response: Gasp! Oooooh!!

    Actual World+Dog response: Meh! Shut the Fuck Up about Snowden, and quit spying on me, dammit!!

  25. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    So Snowden, an NSA subbie bagged a copy of the MI6 agents in place and non offical cover officers?

    Why would the NSA even have this information?

    That pinging noise your hearing is my personal BS detector red lining.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: So Snowden, an NSA subbie bagged a copy of the MI6 agents in place ...

      I thought my tinnitus was worse this morning, but it probably just the sound of lots of bullshit detectors going off (though, depressingly, not as many as there ought to be ...)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    red herring

    given the latest revelations how much data the US allowed themselves to be robbed of by Chinese. It is peculiar, that THIS story has been given very, very little space and airtime in mainstream media. Yes, they're clueless in general, but I can't believe they're THAT stupid, so alternative theories are welcome :)

  27. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Of course, the real issue bubbling like hot tar under everyone's noses is that every single Western government has been caught in such uber-levels of Nixonian skullduggery against their own populations that no-one will ever again trust a single thing they say.

    Hell, the Nixon shambles was around four decades ago and the fallout from that in the public eye is still oozing nicely.

    Even were the all-round nice guy and spokes-stammerer for Penguins Derek Nimmo to be somehow snatched from time and elected Prime Minister he'd be regarded as a lying venal git despite not being here when it all went down, the tasty chocolate biscuits notwithstanding.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clearly a smear

    I like how the yanks get uk.gov to do their lying for them. We must have proven to be good at it in the past.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clearly a smear

      Clearly we've lost the knack, as per this pathetic attempt.

  29. topaze

    By Way of Deception, thou shalt do War

    Intel agencies rarely talk to the media, and when they do, they spread a lot of BS.

  30. PassingStrange

    Not just the ST

    BBC News was just as guilty; on multiple occasions I heard headlines "reporting" (I use the word advisedly) the same highly questionable allegations as the Sunday Times as though they were simple, verifiable fact. Worse, the reports didn't even have the grace to contain the qualifier of "a senior government source has said" that at least graced the equivalent reporting on its web site. Utterly disgraceful.

  31. Plebus
    WTF?

    Absolute Trash

    This is a total smear campaign! The EPIC U.S. OPM hack exposed the British spies--not Snowden's supposedly cracked files. This is just a convenient time to blame Snowden for something entirely unrelated.

  32. colinvj

    British Press

    After the phone hacking enquirey and the British Governments reluctance to make a law against the press ,In return the press supported them in the last election and now the final pay back, in return the press is manipulated to be the mouth piece of the Government to help try and present the upcoming Snoopers charter as some savour to the Population rather than spying on us , you cannot trust any of the British newspapers or the TV channels who also pick up this rubbish from the press as if it were true.

    Every time the government wants to put out more laws for surveilance there is always a leak about Snowden or some other person who has alerted us to the snooping going on, we have a system now that Hitler and Stalin could only have dreamed of , the ability to snoop and control the population without secret police , we are sliding into a time where manipulation of the news given to the public will be used to control the public, a distatorship by another name.

  33. Nehmo

    I feel sorry for the poor people of the UK.

    When I saw the title of the news item announcing Russia and China had decrypted Snowden's encryption, I immediately read the article because I keep current on Snowden's ongoing story, and, knowing what I do about cryptography and Snowden, it looked unbelievable. But the prominence of the article implied the editors were giving it a stamp of approval.

    But sure enough, when I read it, there was nothing. And anybody with even a mildly critical eye would say the same. The story is about an anonymous source claiming the ridiculous at a convenient time. So the question now isn't about the details of the article. Even the authors (Tom Harper, Richard Kerbaj and Tim Shipman) of the article knows it's about nothing. The question is why did the editors of The Sunday Times and everybody else publish obvious nothing?

    Answer: In my life, I've learned when you see something that doesn't make sense on the surface, then there must be something beneath. And usually, it's money.

    In this case, the situation is doubtless more complicated than direct cash for lies, but it amounts to the same. The Guardian has a decent article: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/14/russia-and-china-broke-into-snowden-files-to-identify-british-and-us-spies

  34. R69

    Enough of this Orwellian hysteria

    FFS - Register and frenzied posters - give it a rest.

    Can someone genuinely innocent of any wrongdoing or the intention to do so, point to concrete evidence of how exactly government sponsored surveillance is negatively impacting their daily lives?? And outside of high terror alert situations please.

    Im sick of all the baseless hysteria spouted on this bloody website, by conspiracy theory obsessed readers.

    I have nothing to hide. They are welcome to monitor anything they want where im concerned - i really cant see what the issue is - if im breaking the law im quite happy to take my medicine.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The powers-that-be seem to have missed a trick here, the usual form is for the 'Suspect' usually attracts the accusation of serious dark sexual misdeeds of the variety guaranteed to raise the hackles of all the Great and the Good out there where he invariably becomes labelled as a ne'er-do-well that deserves the fate worse than death that the 'Authorities' vow will beset him on his capture.

    But as the Russians are immune to these slurs and there is no prospect of any 'Honest citizen' out there turning him in, I suppose they would consider it a wasted effort, but giving away all of our State Secrets as well as the Great Satan's secrets too, it is just too awful to contemplate the fate of all the spies busily gathering the enemies secrets, and the plans to the newly installed furnaces under the Polar ice caps.

    Without a doubt, Snowden is personally responsible for each and every secrets leak since Philby.

    The fact that went to Russia as a last resort to avoid arrest seems to have been lost in translation.

  36. RJFlorida

    Snowden risked lives

    "Snowden risked lives" = Snowden complicated my career.

  37. downhome

    1 in 850,000?

    And the alleged 849,999 other people who had access to the same data?

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