back to article Snowden WAS the Feds' quarry in Lavabit case, redaction blunder reveals

It was Edward Snowden's email account the FBI was targeting in its extraordinary legal case against Lavabit, we can now confirm. Lavabit ran an encrypted email service that Edward Snowden was thought to have used in 2013 to contact journalists about the top-secret NSA files he had in his possession. In documents published …

  1. Sebastian A

    I wonder...

    Do the bad guys know when they're being the bad guys? Does everyone think they're the good guys and the other guys are the bad guys?

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: I wonder...

      Does anyone know any longer ...

      The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, or destroy the theatre are deffo bad guys.

      The Governments spying on their own citizens with out specific warrant, killing people in countries they are not at war with, detaining people without trail... They are probably bad guys even if they claim it's for our own good.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wonder...

        > The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, or destroy the theatre are deffo bad guys.

        I wouldn't have it as clear cut. I have found myself the victim of one such attack, in which me and my colleagues were targets because of what we represented. The individuals who carried out the attack might have been wrong, in my opinion, on a number of levels, but at the same time you see how their goals and their struggle did make sense in many ways. I hold no grudge against them and I respect them, as you respect your enemies.

        So having got that t-shirt, I cannot agree with you that those blowing up your car or shooting at you are "deffo bad guys". I'm not exactly Mother Theresa myself after all.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: I wonder...

          "Bad guys" and "good guys" is subjective. In the end, it always comes down to "people who are on your side" vs "people who are against you".

          Anyone who's trying to blow you up, no matter what their motivations, is against you.

          Back in the day, we used to think that was pretty much the end of the story. People trying to stop you from being blown up were, therefore, on your side (a.k.a. "good guys"). But now, thanks to the ascent of a nasty little thing called "public choice theory", we don't believe that any longer: we think the people trying to stop us from being blown up very likely have Designs on us themselves, and need watching just as closely as the others.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I wonder...

            America = good guys

            Middle East = bad guys

            Washington DC = very very very bad guys

            1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

              Re:I FTFY

              America = bad guy sponsors

              Middle East = bad guy first responders

              Washington DC = much worse than very, very, very, bad guys

              1. G Olson

                Re: Re:I FTFY

                Federal Reserve Banks masquerading as America = bad guy sponsors

                Middle East = bad guy first responders

                Federal Reserve Banks Lackeys in Washington DC = much worse than very, very, very, bad guys

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I wonder...

              Only time will tell who are the bad guys and who are not...

              To quote Dan Browne

              “History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books-books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, 'What is history, but a fable agreed upon?”

        2. Mage Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: I wonder...

          "The individuals who carried out the attack might have been wrong,"

          No level of injustice makes Terrorists into Good Guys when they attack civilians.

          You are Gerry Adams and I claim my baseball bat beating.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: I wonder...

            "No level of injustice makes Terrorists into Good Guys when they attack civilians."

            So what level of injustice makes soldiers/drone operators into Good Guys when they attack civilians? Remember, under the rules of war, most "terrorists" are civilians.

            What "injustice" turns those occupying other countries many miles away from their own borders into Good Guys, which is an attack on civilians even if no-one is killed?

            I initially planned to post a comment to the OP that, in my opinion, no-one thinks they are the Bad Guy when they act: either they think they are doing good, or they don't think about it at all After they act, some will decide that they were the Bad Guy, with psychological effects from remorse to a shifting of their world-view to make them the Good Guy in their own eyes.

            1. Mage Silver badge

              Re: I wonder...

              http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/david-quinn/easter-rising-was-not-a-just-war-and-it-gave-a-false-legitimacy-to-ira-34551045.html

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I wonder...

              If all combatants wore UNIFORMS it would be easy to tell who was and who wasn't a combatant. But they don't wear uniforms in the ME for the most part. I personally feel that if you want to tangle, be prepared to die regardless of whom. Civilians are going to be killed no matter how many attempts are made to minimize casualties but war is war. The recent use of mustard & chlorine gas weapons by ISIS and Assad's forces tells me that all things are allowed and that we now know where those WMD's went during the Iraq war. YOU CAN"T FIGHT WITH ONE HAND TIED BEHIND YOUR BACK!

              Most of you are too young to have seen what happened in Vietnam but I'm not. Same lies perpetrated about "killing civilians" then as now. They didn't have many in uniform but they sure sent in children with hand grenades and bombs to kill Americans and French and British and Australians. Tell me again who is the coward? That made everyone that approached you an enemy combatant just like now. All you ever saw was the TV news lies and propaganda ginned up against the front line soldiers. Friends of mine who saw this first hand in Vietnam in the late '60's and '70's are still scarred from the experience but most of them still say it was a necessary evil.

              EVERYTHING that is happening now has already happened before, right down to the Alinsky-ite, George Soros funded rioting in Chicago last week. There is a war for hearts and minds going on just like in 1968 and same communist instigators are trotting out the same lies.

              1. DougS Silver badge

                @AC "we now know where the WMDs went during the Iraq war"

                Wow, there are still dumbasses trying to rewrite history to claim that Saddam maintained an active WMD program after the first Iraq War, hoping to justify the trillions spent ousting him when he had nothing to do with 9/11.

                Sorry, you'll have to do better than that. Mustard gas is quite easy to make, and as for chlorine gas....well that's so easy to make that some people unintentionally make it when they mix household cleaners! Consider that as ISIS has overrun vast territories they've been able to take over various industrial plants that make various chemicals, so they have all the raw materials at their disposal.

                Plus Assad may have had some WMDs of his own they found when they overran vast areas in Syria, so even if they used "manufactured" WMDs that doesn't mean they came from Iraq and certainly doesn't mean they were manufactured after 1991 (there were many caches of old rusting WMDs found by US troops that they missed the first time, many of which the Iraqis didn't even know about)

                Try again.

              2. John Presland

                Re: I wonder...

                What you write is clearly nonsense. The British were in Vietnam in 1945. The French withdrew after Geneva in 1954. Neither were there in the 1960s and 1970s.

                1. Diogenes

                  Re: I wonder...

                  @John Presland,

                  the Viet Minh used the same tactics against the French between 45 & 54, Where did the AC who raised the point ever mention 60s & 70s ? BTW The FLN (Algerian Socialists) used the same tactics against the French as well.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I wonder...

            "No level of injustice makes Terrorists into Good Guys when they attack civilians."

            ...unless you call it 'collateral damage' then it's just fine.

          3. swampdog

            Re: I wonder...

            "No level of injustice makes Terrorists into Good Guys when they attack civilians."

            Those are emotive words and they put you in danger of being in the same camp as them. There are no terrorists. There are no good guys. There are no civilians. What you have is a group which will not be satisfied until all opposition to their thought patterns is annihilated.

            That's why we should resist them: because they refuse to co-exist with any-thing/one different.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wonder...

        The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, or destroy the theatre are deffo bad guys.

        Unless, of course, they sit behind a joystick somewhere in Nevada while trying to blow up your car or your wedding, in which case they are "deffo" good guys.

        I do wonder indeed ...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wonder...

        "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, or destroy the theatre are deffo bad guys." You realize Obama has killed American and British citizens with drones don't you? Then there's Parallel Construction (aka UK's Preston Briefings), falsification of evidence, perjury.

        I wonder about Google.

        That is a company that's turning now. I see their Android phone comes riddled with Google's spyware. That spyware can do everything from listen to your conversations to record video of your actions, record phone calls, to track location, even when the phone is off (it's called Google Play Service and you can't stop it). It's compulsory, it sends a mass of data to Google, and you technically don't need it running to use your apps.

        If FBI demanded the domain keys from Lavabit under a gag order, they've certainly done that for the much bigger target of Google Android Phones.

        Snowden reveals they technically can:

        http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/05/28/edward-snowden-reveals-what-the-nsa-can-allegedly-do-with-your-phone-even-if-its-off/

        You can see them picking a test case against Apple iPhone now, what you don't see them doing is picking a case against Google. And their reveal that Apple had previously been cooperative, suggest that Google IS cooperative in these secret surveillance orders. How many world leaders are within earshot of an Android phone or tablet?

        You can also see the lack of judicial controls here. FBI demands technical means to spy on everything and is to be trusted (with no mechanism to confirm the trust)?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wonder...

        ...the feedback loop between the bad guys of old doing unpleasant things and 'western' governments intervening and making themselves unpopular with people where the bad guys live has been going on for so long that the boundaries between good and bad buy have all but dissapeared, the reasons lost in time, leaving us with perpetual hate and violence on all sides.

      5. Jagged

        Re: I wonder...

        If you have to detain your prisoners in places where your own law courts can't touch them, then that should be a big indicator that you are the bad guy.

    2. goldcd

      Yep

      That's pretty much how every atrocity happens.

      Normally there's a "the good of the many, outweighs.." argument trumpeted to kick off your spidey-sense.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yep

        "The good of the many" can be used against the manipulator though, strong encryption works well for everyone, it keeps information safe and the playing field level. However, as soon as someone trots out the "think of the children" argument their motives should instantly be suspect. People will do anything for their kids, which is exactly why the argument is being used.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn1VxaMEjRU

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder...

      Americans have always been the bad guys. I was brought up on post-cold war propaganda just like every Westerner, but history is all lies. America destabilized the middle east and got their come-uppance. America is the evil empire and needs to collapse for any progress to be made on earth.

      1. Gary Bickford

        Re: I wonder...

        I suggest you read up on a bit of history. Start with the two Barbary Coast Wars (when the Sultan of Tunisia told Jefferson, "according to Holy Kuran we are mandated to kill all infidels. It is only because we are merciful that we only hold them hostage" - that is when the Marines were created, and why the song has the "Shores of Tripoli" in it).

        The Middle East has been destabilized almost continuously for many reasons and by many different forces since roughly 650 AD.

        See also, hmm, let's see ... just for starters: Crimean War, the Great Game (including the Uighurs and Yajub Beg), Hasan Bin Sabbah and the Hashishins (great name for a band ...), the defeat of Alexandria by the Romans (where they salted the fields of North Africa, eliminating the Alexandrians' ability to grow crops and attain a competitive level of power ever again), the millennia of war between the Greeks, Turks and Persians, dating to 1000 BC (see Xenophon, etc.). And the

        Oh - and it was the British who were largely in charge of the Middle East in the 19th and early 20th century, who divided the area up into countries that did not match the traditional tribal boundaries, and told the Palestinians and Israelits contradictory things.

        You have about five years of study about the real history before you stick your toe into this swamp.

        1. nematoad Silver badge

          Re: I wonder...

          "...the defeat of Alexandria by the Romans (where they salted the fields of North Africa,"

          I think that you should have said "the defeat of Carthage"

          As far as I know Alexandria was just taken over when Rome incorporated Egypt into the empire and became the "Second city".

        2. Bloakey1

          Re: I wonder...

          "I suggest you read up on a bit of history. Start with the two Barbary Coast Wars (when the Sultan of Tunisia told Jefferson, "according to Holy Kuran we are mandated to kill all infidels. It is only because we are merciful that we only hold them hostage" - that is when the Marines were created, and why the song has the "Shores of Tripoli" in it)"

          <snip>

          That is clearly wrong, the U.S. Marine Corps birthday is the 10th of November 1775 and it was formed on that day by a resolution in congress and was led by Captain Samuel Nicholas. It was disbanded later on for two years and then reformed in 1798. The first Barbary war (nominally against Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Tripolitania [roughly Libya]) was against pirates sheltering in those countries and was from 1801 to 1805. it was during this war that 8 or nine marines and a few companies of mercenaries attempted to seize Tripoli but they were halted at Derna and added it to their battle honours, the marine hymn refers to this event.

          Sooo, patronise not. I have served along side marines in a few places including Beirut in the eighties and I am one of those that believe that Bush and his naive little band of adventurers have further destabilised the Middle East to a point of no return.

          The world we live in today is no longer the safe (ish) place it used to be and I would put this firmly at the feet of the American state (not the people).

          p.s.

          It was alleged that the Romans salted the fields of Carthage but this open to debate.

        3. nematoad Silver badge

          Re: I wonder...

          "Oh - and it was the British who were largely in charge of the Middle East in the 19th and early 20th century, who divided the area up into countries that did not match the traditional tribal boundaries, and told the Palestinians and Israelits contradictory things."

          Close but no cigar.

          True the British were involved in assigning boundaries after the Great War but that was in partnership with France and pre-revolutionary Russia. See Sykes-Picot Agreement

          Before that it was the Ottoman empire that was nominally in charge though its influence had been declining for many years.

        4. strum Silver badge

          Re: I wonder...

          >You have about five years of study about the real history before you stick your toe into this swamp.

          And you need another five years to sort out your own confusion. It wasn't Alexandria that the Romans salted - but Carthage.

          Tripoli & the Barbary Coast aren't 'Middle East'. Throwing them in with Uighurs is crude, clumsy analysis.

        5. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Gary Bickford Re: I wonder...

          "....it was the British who were largely in charge of the Middle East in the 19th and early 20th century, who divided the area up into countries that did not match the traditional tribal boundaries...." Ahem. You may want to read up on the Ottoman Empire and the French in Lebanon and Syria. Otherwise a reasonable B- effort.

          "....and told the Palestinians and Israelits contradictory things....." Oh dear. "Palestinians"? Sorry, no such people. There were Jews; Christian and Muslim Arabs; Christian, Druze and Muslim Syrians (who did not consider themselves Arabs); Lebanese Muslims and Christians (with many of Greek, Roman, Armenian and Turkish origin) and Europeans all living in the area of Mandate Palestine in 1948, and all have equal right to call themselves "Palestinians". And do you mean "Israelites"?

      2. Emmeran

        Re: I wonder...

        "Stable" is not a word one should use to describe any part of the human race...

      3. Kumar2012

        Re: I wonder...

        Has America made mistakes... most definitely yes, but on the whole America has been the greatest force for good on this planet, and produced one of the greatest documents humanity has ever seen, the American constitution. Envious whining from the peanut gallery doesn't change this, the world needs America, America doesn't need you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder...

          Envious whining from the peanut gallery doesn't change this, the world needs America, America doesn't need you

          That's kinda rich, coming from a country with $50B-per-month trade deficit, or is it?

          1. Roq D. Kasba

            Re: I wonder...

            >>Envious whining from the peanut gallery doesn't change this, the world needs America, America doesn't need you<<

            What a strange thing to say. USA has indeed done many good things, and has many fantastic people in their population, but that kind of nationalistic jingoism isn't healthy. It's either actively trolling, or laughably insular and naive about world events. USA - just a country. There are others.

    5. Schultz
      Mushroom

      "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, ... are deffo bad guys."

      So the US soldiers in their diverse wars, the drone operators, and those covert CIA operatives are always bad guys? They did a lot more blowing up and shooting up than the opposition ever managed. But then, so were the soldiers fighting Nazi Germany. And Hitler himself would not be caught by your definition, he only gave orders.

      Sometimes people fight for some greater good (democracy versus fascism), sometimes they fight for survival (Assad), sometimes they fight for a badly defined concept (war on terror). To figure out who is on the right side is not simple and some poor fellow fighting for freedom in the middle east has the same chances for being right or wrong as you do. But he probably put some more thought into this than you did -- because he decided to risk his own life in the fight.

      Let me close with a citation from Steven Weinberg: “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” I think religion should be replaced with 'belief' to also catch the evil committed in the name of Fascism, Communism, and Capitalism. Keep that in mind when you vote for the next Believer in the oval office.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, ... are deffo bad guys."

        > But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion

        1. Why would you bring up the topic of religion (and all the other bollocks) on a discussion about Lavabit?

        2. Why would you quote a theoretical physicist on something completely outside his field of expertise?

        3. Why is your particular "belief" better or less bigoted than anyone else's "belief"?

        4. If we are going to go there and play Nihilists, let me continue the silly quotes game you started. I shall refer you to The Big Lebowski: "... say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos."

        1. Roq D. Kasba

          Re: "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, ... are deffo bad guys."

          Almost without exception, the world is all 'good guys'. I'm going to play the Godwin just to shortcut the discussion - Hitler thought he was doing 'the right thing'. He had found a group he could blame for society's ills, and that if only more people were like him, how much nicer that would make the world *for people like him*. There seemed to be quite a lot of consensus easily rallied, so he was validated, too. To them, Hitler was the good guy who spoke simple sense, created a common enemy they could blame it all on, so they gave him power (America take note, you're bloody close to doing this yourselves right now).

          If you ever want all your artificial divisions between 'good' and 'bad' destroying, read some Le Carré. He's terrible at writing love, but fabulous at writing grey, mixed, fallible, human motivations, leaving you unsure if there is a 'good' and 'bad' guy, or just a bunch of people on various continua with some outliers in all directions. Each considers themselves 'good'.

          1. earl grey Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, ... are deffo bad guys."

            "Hitler was the good guy"

            Well, you "trumped" us all with that one.

        2. Bloakey1

          Re: "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, ... are deffo bad guys."

          <snip>

          "4. If we are going to go there and play Nihilists, let me continue the silly quotes game you started. I shall refer you to The Big Lebowski: "... say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.""

          How about this for a quote from a former U.S. president by the name of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

          "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

          We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

          I have often mulled this over, particularly over the past ten years of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeldt etc. Poor old Dwight will be turning in his grave.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, ... are deffo bad guys."

            > How about this for a quote from a former U.S. president by the name of Dwight D. Eisenhower

            Very pertinent indeed.

        3. nijam

          Re: "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, ... are deffo bad guys."

          > ... theoretical physicist on something completely outside his field of expertise?

          Just because it's not theoretical physics doesn't mean it's outside his field of expertise. The defect of religion are apparent to anyone who chooses to look, to read a history book, or generally speaking, to be reasonably-well educated - in other words, it's in many people's field of expertise.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, ... are deffo bad guys."

            > Just because it's not theoretical physics doesn't mean it's outside his field of expertise.

            Just because you have heard about theoretical physics it doesn't make you an expert in it. Likewise ...

            I am myself a non-believer and I do not follow any religion. Nevertheless, I have great respect and genuine empathy for those who do and I really see no need or justification to claim or imply that my position in this matter is in any way better than anyone else's.

            1. DropBear Silver badge

              Re: "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, ... are deffo bad guys."

              " Nevertheless, I have great respect and genuine empathy for those who do and I really see no need or justification to claim or imply that my position in this matter is in any way better than anyone else's."

              Good on you. I don't. Having to respect one's right to his own religion is one thing, respecting someone in spite of what he chooses to believe is quite another, and it's not an obligation whatsoever. You're welcome to believe in whatever you want as long as that doesn't interfere with the physical integrity of my person, possessions or rights, but what my opinion of you will be based on what you choose to believe is not for you to decide.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, ... are deffo bad guys."

                > as long as that doesn't interfere with the physical integrity of my person, possessions or rights,

                Perhaps you should watch a little less television and get out a bit more?

                Btw, that's exactly the same discourse we used to be fed about communists during the Cold War.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, ... are deffo bad guys."

          " But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion

          1. Why would you bring up the topic of religion (and all the other bollocks) on a discussion about Lavabit?"

          Because the war on terror is a war against religious dogma, not a war on Islam, not a holy war, but nevertheless it is a religious war, a war against another parties belief system, irrespective of whether you or I find that system valid or not. You can't deny it, without religion a lot of wars throughout history would have had to have found another reason to be fought. And the FBI/CIA war on crypto is justified by the war on terror.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "The guys trying to blow up your car, shoot you on the beach, ... are deffo bad guys."

            > Because the war on terror

            Ah, the War on a Noun, had forgot about that one. :-) Always wondered why they didn't just call it the "Let's go over there and grab all those oilfields" war, or the "Let us give my friends lots of public money under some tenuous excuse of being under attack and needing to defend ourselves" war. Then again, I suppose there is a reason I'm not in marketing.

            And what about the Cold War then? You know, the one against an actual opponent?

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

    7. Someone_Somewhere

      Re: I wonder...

      'Does everyone think they're the good guys and the other guys are the bad guys?'

      The thinking is analogous to the following: I'm normal. You're eccentric. He's round the twist. They're completely insane.

      There are /some/ people who know that others would consider them evil, but to /their/ way of thinking their critics are are just idiots for not behaving the same way in a dog-eat-dog world where the 'fittest' survive and the weak deservedly go to the wall.

      To them, they're not evil: other people are weak.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder...

      I've always thought that the 'good guys' can be spotted because they behave better than the 'bad guys'. They try to minimise collateral damage, they don't inflict revenge on defeated enemies, they try not to target innocent bystanders or civilians.

      On the other hand if you have been invaded by and are facing the most powerful military machine in the world standing in an open field shouting, 'Come on then!", seems pretty self-defeating.

      Not many 'good guys' around these days.

    9. WalterAlter
      Facepalm

      Priorities of a dog in heat

      Activists and the conscientiously propelled citizen leap and gyre over Trump and sundry other causes in the litany of programmed fad issues, meanwhile the apparatus for the coming Nazi police state slips by them like a corpse in the river. The strength of the face slap that will be needed to awaken the comatose will also likely prove fatal for homo somnium.

  2. Craig 2
    Facepalm

    The guy that redacted this document is obviously of the same ilk as someone I work with who has an almost pathological aversion to using the search function on any document. He'd rather search a folder of emails or a huge webpage manually instead of just typing a few characters to find what he's looking for. Let's just hope this guy at the feds isn't in charge of anything to do with something like nuclear launch codes...

    1. elDog Silver badge

      Hello? That's called clocking the time.

      That's what most burrow-crats do. Hang in there until retirement. Don't raise your head up from your desk. Look busy.

      Oh well, I missed one redaction but I blacked out 129 others!

      Nobody up the chain of command really gives a shit since their position relies only on following orders and having the biggest staff (figuratively as well as littoraly [stet]). The only time they get their undies in a snatch is when they are proven to be totally incompetent. But by then, who cares? They've already made their millions or totally fouled the nest for anyone who comes behind them...

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Scope for conspiracy theory.

      Failure to run that search until it returns a blank ... implausible.

      A fat-finger final search for Snodwen. Or an over-used search function in Word/whatever failing silently with EALLOC after the previous ten thousand searches in the session. Don't say there isn't a second person to double-check something like that independently? Oh, right, the PHB checked it, found the error, corrected it, then published the uncorrected version.

      Or a false flag? Give the world what it expects to find so they won't look deeper and just possibly stumble upon .... [fill in the blank]. Smiley would see that as perfectly mundane.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One thing that slows the slide into utter barbarism is that policemen, particularly secret policemen, are not that clever.

    4. cyrus

      I wonder if the person who missed that redaction was also in charge of Hillary's mail server.

    5. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Craig 2

      ".....He'd rather search a folder of emails or a huge webpage manually...." Yeah, that does kinda make me wonder as to whether it really is about Snowjob. After all, I would have expected the authorities to have used automatic tools, so it's strange they missed one occurrence of his name. And it's not like they don't already know what Snowjob stole and who he communicated with. Of course, if they had another reason for trawling through Lavabit's accounts it would be a tidy way to hide their real intent by "inadvertantly" including Snowjob's email address.....

  3. buzzki11

    The guys with the most guns, money, and lawyers are who make that determination.

    1. Uffish

      Drip, drip, drip...

      The FBI is getting a different sort of publicity lately.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The guys with the most guns, money, and lawyers are who make that determination."

      No its the guy who wins makes that decision then rewrites history to suit

  4. chris 17 Bronze badge

    How much more credibility will the Feds loose?

    If you've nothing to fear you've nothing to hide so they should just be honest about what they up to and why, rather than hiding behind this veil of half truths and misdirection.

    1. goldcd

      But does losing credibility actually matter?

      Can you imagine what a whistleblower would actually have to come out and said they'd done, for the FBI (and NSA) to have their net connection confiscated?

      I can't.

      Somebody gets shouted at by a panel of politicians and maybe they're told to stop/be more discrete - but that's pretty much the worst that can happen.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      @Chris 17

      If they do come clean on everything, then we all will find out what's really behind the Apple case. I wonder if we, as a nation, and we, as a world, can actually stand to be told the truth.

      And yes, it's possible this email addy is a red-herring to hide something else.

    3. Adam 1 Silver badge

      > How much more credibility will the Feds loose

      They probably figure that they can tight it later?

  5. Christopher E. Stith

    The cynical part of me wonders at this being a blunder. You threaten a company that's big on encryption and privacy and bully them into closing their doors for good. Then you release "fully redacted" documents that show other companies that the FBI is willing to do that over a single email address. This sounds like a mafia tactic to me.

    1. Halfmad Silver badge

      Land of the free, land of business and opportunity, unless the FBI want to **** you over, then that business you spent years building up is gone in days.

      I feel sorry for the guy, he was literally doing nothing wrong and has arguably lost more than many major criminals do.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Interesting timing

      This being released during the Apple/FBI fight. Maybe the FBI wants to show Apple how far they're willing to go over something meaningless. Sort of the government equivalent of putting a horse's head in Tim Cook's bed.

  6. JB77

    Yah think?

    Wow! Only 2 years to figure that out ?

    The ghost of Lars Levison's website is laughing at you.

    Actually, that's second intel community blunder made this week. 1st was an idiot judge that referred to the NSA program, "PRISM", in a court document.

    http://www.vocativ.com/news/295204/nsa-prism/

    THAT PESKY TOP SECRET CRAP IS VERY HARD TO CONTAIN :)

    Jack

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Yah think?

      I'm sure that they would have no such problems with keeping our back doored crypto's key escrow thingy away from the bad guys™.

  7. BurnT'offering

    I'm impressed

    This tech stuff is bloody hard but the FBI is nearly getting some of it right. Keep trying Feds, you'll get there. Maybe you can sign up for some evening classes?

    1. Mpeler
      Coat

      Re: I'm impressed

      Yeah, like homebrew email server administration or some such...

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: I'm impressed

        Considering how badly the government does IT, Clinton's email was probably a lot more secure on her private email server than sitting on the state department server.

  8. DCFusor Silver badge
    Holmes

    Groklaw

    PJ Snyder and her info sources used Lavabit and shut down one of the best sites on the internet over the compromise of it. Check for yourself. Perhaps Snowden was missed due to concentrating on other names (too)?

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Groklaw

      Please, do you really think the government used Snowden as a smokescreen to cover up a campaign against a paralegal who posts information about lawsuits involving open source? You have to crank your conspiracy theory meter up to at least 9.5 to think the government would use the largest classified leak in history to cover up a "bigger" conspiracy against someone defending open source!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He used his real name??

    Thanks to that apparent misstep, now we know for sure that they were after him and not some anonymous coward. ROFL :)

  10. Richard Tobin

    Not a mistake

    That "mistake" is there to disguise the fact that it's *not* about Snowden.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Not a mistake

      >That "mistake" is there to disguise the fact that it's *not* about Snowden.

      Snowden is the justification, but the reason is they don't want those services to exist at all.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Not a mistake

        They can't prevent those services from existing, any more than they can prevent terrorists from using encrypted communications by playing whack a mole with iOS, WhatsApp and Telegram.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back in 2012 the China's People's Daily Online "mistook" the Onion story naming Kim Jong Un 'The Sexist Man Alive' as a serious new story.

    I believe that the editor responsible knew exactly what the story was, and knew that this could, just barely, be passed off as a mistake.

    I believe that most people are inherently good. Sometimes they see that society is best served by an occasional mistake.

  12. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Feral Lieing

    The only time a feral is not lieing is when they are dead and I am not too sure about that either.

    1. RichardB

      Re: Feral Lieing

      Feral Lieing - for a moment I thought you were talking about a Korean news editor

      1. Alistair Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Feral Lieing

        Its late, I'm tired, and I went a cliff further and came up with Fergal Sharkey.

    2. Bloakey1

      Re: Feral Lieing

      Why are they lieing or are you lying and they are not lieing but lying?

  13. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Well, if people would just give the FBI the keys to their encypted backdoors there wouldn't be a problem, would there?

  14. Winkypop Silver badge
    FAIL

    Missed it by that much!

    Sorry Chief.

    - Maxwell Smart

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Missed it by that much!

      We demand the cone of silence!

  15. Rande Knight

    No good guys or bad guys....

    ...there's only U.S. and THEM.

    They swear to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic...and if there aren't any, then they need to make some to defend against.

  16. Big_Ted

    You're all overdoing the thought process.

    Anyone who respects my privacy, right to live my life as I want and defends such is a good guy.

    Anyone who doesn't respect my privacy or right to live as I want is a bad guy.

    Anyone who works for a government agency or law enforcement etc. is automatically suspect due to too many abuses in the past.

    People in government are always bad guys because they believe the laws they impose shouldn't apply to them, look at the past MP's being accused of child abuse and the cover up in the uk .

  17. The Vociferous Time Waster

    Trumped up

    With Trump in charge the US will definitely be the bad guys.

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Trumped up

      Not convinced Trump will be any worse - he'll just look more obviously bad because he actually says what most hide in the background.

      You have to accept that the politics of the western world is not run by elected leaders. They may have one finger on a steering wheel and another desperately clawing finger on a handbrake lever but the 'democratic' juggernaut of the establishment is controlled by unelected, faceless individuals and groups and powered by the whims of finance, power, religion and historical influence.

      I have to believe most leaders are elected with an idealised socio-economic belief but that rapidly decays into reiteration of the same old economic and power mantras fed to them by the fat controllers.

      The USA and GB both are suffering the leaders wanting 'free and open government and individual privacy' whilst actually pushing through uncontrolled increases in power and actively reducing individual freedoms and privacy. Rightly or wrongly, Snowden actually stood up for his cause and said that the US was contravening its own laws. This has been seen to be fundamentally true yet he is still vilified for it (especially in the US) and is being used as justification to 'legally' reduce democratic freedom and privacy all over the western world ...

      Not so much the people 'sleepwalking into a police state' as 'snuggling under the duvet whilst police state is built around them'

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trumped up

        The art of war is ensuring all paths lead to victory.

        You are either with me, or the enemy.

        Anyone who thinks outside of the little box we present them is a dissident, therefore against me, therefore is an enemy.

        Victory justifies all possible actions.

  18. The Vociferous Time Waster
    Alien

    Aliens

    Yet still people think the government could keep alien landings a secret.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    run a search on the word "Snowden"

    it would have been MUCH funnier, if running the search for that offending S-word would have revealed it dozens of times, un-hiding, as it were, all those redacted entries... But that would mean a 404 or such facing the Vulture disciples on this fine Friday morning, eh? ;)

  20. Peter Brooks 1

    It's when the spooks stop being ashamed of themselves, that you really have to worry

    There are few things quite like, honesty, integrity, and a concern for others, for upsetting spooks, and secret policemen.

    On the bright side, I suppose, as evidenced by the redactions, is that at least some of these particular spooks are still ashamed of themselves.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They are all bad guys

    Everyone in this arena is a bad guy. The reality is that everyone in international power games will need to make decisions about the least worst option and national interest and risk.Unintended consequences can and will occur.

    One big mistake recently IMO was to support the opposition to Assad. I thought it obvious that unpleasant as Assad was, the bulk of the opposition were far worse and inimical to western countries and values. However support for the opposition was framed as an ethical response to Assad's 'crimes' and support for Assad as unethical. Whatever was done could be framed as acting as a bad guy. In reality I think Iran's and Russia's involvement in Syria have been more moral than ours but you can argue either side.

  22. TRT Silver badge

    One good point to emerge...

    is that they seem to be redacting properly rather than just, say, setting the colour of the background to the same as the colour of the text.

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: One good point to emerge...

      Wow that's dumb. Surely they know that highlighting the text changes the background colour so you can read it and therefore the safest way is to draw a solid box over the offending text...

  23. I Am Spartacus

    Non-Death Penalty

    Nice to know el reg will not have a visit to the chair because of this,

    1. Uffish

      Re: Non-Death Penalty

      You misread it, it means the they will be turned into zombies.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FOI response - coming soon

    FBI[redacted]

    Author[redacted]

    Date[redacted]

    [redacted]

    [redacted]

    [redacted]

    iOS backdoor private key = 123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef0fb1fb1fb1fb1fb101234567890abcfed

    [redacted]

    [redacted]

  25. Jonjonz

    Korporate Facism in your Face

    The powers that be, i.e. multinational corporations that now control all branches of world government, seem to have an unquenchable thirst for spying on everyone.

    Enjoy that boot in yer face.

  26. croc

    I ran a search for the word 'snowden' in the comments and did not run out of fingers....

    As to all of the folks getting all nationalistic, philosophical, or just playing devil's advocate... When it comes to humankind there are no truths, there are no facts, so just get over yourselves. Better and worse are just two words made up in the human mind.

  27. Someone_Somewhere

    Re: there are no truths, there are no facts

    Is that a fact?

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