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Snowden a prize for Russians until they have his secrets (latimes.com)
39 points by wj 1610 days ago | hide | past | web | 34 comments | favorite

Wikileaks says nothing of the sort has happened, someone from Wikileaks is with Snowden:


See how this free press thing works? In the old days this story would have been believed all over the world, it was 'in the news' so it's true. Nowadays it's a lot easier to fight propaganda.

I wouldn't call it propaganda as much as wild speculation based on nothing but assumption that it is still the Cold War.

In Russia's eyes, this is a huge embarrassment to the United States, letting him go where he wants is exactly in Russia's interests. Russia probably already know what he leaked.

From Wikipedia: Propaganda is a form of communication aimed towards influencing the attitude of the community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes.

Nah, it's propaganda. Careful use of biased words throughout. The vast majority of print and broadcast news in the US is now propaganda - it's painfully obvious to an outsider, but if you're embedded in it, it's harder to see.

The Cold War angle is a deliberate ploy to paint snowden as a "commie" - a handy Pre-made five-minutes-hate figure for the over-40s.

I suspect I am too much of a victim to the old saying; do not explain with malice what can adequately be explained with stupidity.

But maybe there can't be that many stupid people in the US media?

What would a free press, more specifically, the LA Times, gain by publishing government propaganda?

Suppose - for a moment - that the press isn't as free as you think it is.

Your press isn't free - and it's not so much what they gain but what they stand to lose by not toeing the line.

Russia is still very active engaging in espionage in the West, just as we know the reverse is true. In that sense it is very much the way it always was, and that "Cold War" still exists.

Not in the same way; during the Cold War, the Russia would always be interested in interrogating Americans should they be near them. Today Russia maintains diplomatic relations with the United States and is a trade partner, a massive change from the Cold War, where both blocs could sustain isolated.

This changes in focus and ways of how espionage in both countries is conducted. Russia does not unwittingly wish to provoke the Americans; and for what? Snowden is hardly a high target in terms of intelligence, as he was merely working for a contractor to the NSA.

Russia wins by doing nothing.

Russia wins by doing nothing.

Russia wins by copying his files and denying it. Espionage is alive and well, just last month a CIA officer was arrested allegedly trying to recruit agents for as much as $1 Mil a pop. The info Snowden has in his laptop is super valuable, why not have it?

Because they most likely already have it?

You never know unless you doublecheck it. But yeah, with tens of thousands working with NSA /CIA odds are that Russia and China both know a lot

I would argue that the USSR was far more concerned about not antagonizing the US than the Russia of today: Before it quickly escalated and turned into a major spectacle, used to demonize and vilify if not to justify military activities (every time the USSR did anything that played poorly in the US press, you could hear the military contractors cheer at the new destroyer and fighter aircraft orders incoming), whereas now there are attempts by both sides to brush it under the table. As an aside, Russia has negligible trade with the United States.

Russia stills flies nuclear bombers to the edge of US and Canada airspace. It still has agents throughout the West, many who have built lives here. The leadership in Russia is still emboldened and lauded for standing up to the US in various ways.

In many, many ways it is the same as it always was.

The only reason I think Russia might not care much about Snowden's info is the fact that Snowden got the info in the first place -- if a 6 month outside contractor had the keys to the palace, there's a good probability Russia already knows everything he knows.

Remember the Russian spies in New York who were posing as startup founders? :D

This seems like another character assassination article.

"See, he was stupid enough to go to the russians and now they have our secrets because of his incompetence"

It even starts with a presumption that "Now that Russian intelligence services have presumably gotten what they want from Edward Snowden"...

I am having serious problems with the bias of this "article".

What are the chances that Russia doesn't have spies infiltrated in American agencies?

Very low. Ergo Snowden is of more interest as a political football than as an intel source - he likely knows nothing the FSB doesn't already.

Is it just me, or did that entire article rest on the assumption that Snowden's data is not encrypted?

This gets trotted out a lot, but encryption is only as secure as the protection of the passphrase. Being realistic, any country Snowden visits has tremendous leverage on him because of how easy it would be to simply arrest him and hand him over to the US.


Not to go down the wrong rabbithole--the article should be in the Fanciful Speculation section of the paper, not the News section--but handing over a passphrase would mean the the Russian authorities' statement that they "are not working with" Snowden would not be semantically correct.

Not that I believe the Russians wouldn't lie, but the internal logic of the article does rest on the assertion that they are technically telling the truth while leaving themselves a loophole. Since it is safe to assume that Snowden did strong-encrypt the docs on his laptops, this internal logic falls apart.

(As a sidenote, I don't think I've heard the phrase "semantically (in)correct" as much in my life as in the past month. Someone should write a browser extension that automatically replaces it with the phrase "weasel words".)

Is it truly "working with" if they compel him to speak though? ;)

I believe it's "working with" in the same sense that I "work with" PL/SQL. You get the data you need, but it certainly isn't an amicable relationship. :)

Interrogation is definitely a risk, but it isn't what the linked article is suggesting.

That. And, furthermore, he is most likely not carrying his data with him, but has encrypted it and uploaded it somewhere, likely several places, just keeping the keys with him, also encrypted themselves.

To add to that: it's probably just a passphrase, so getting it from him would require torture.

Even then, if that horrible scenario results, if he's smart, has a mechanism for plausible deniability, so he can give a key that decrypts to false information. [1]

The assumption of this article is bogus.

[1] You create a hidden true crypt volume and you put that inside another volume, do this for as many layers as you wish.

> so getting it from him would require torture.

Or keyloggers, or sensitive listening devices, or hidden cameras, et cetera.

Even Snowden himself admits that security at the endpoints is incredibly weak.

That assumes he accesses the files at the airport or from devices that are known to be his. Lucky for him the future is somewhat non-deterministic. Also, he could have all of the files segmented and say the passphrase in a conference call over the phone, immediately making a single specific document available to a few dozen journalists, assuming he has already distributed the encrypted container around.

I think smart people probably require less torture than dumb ones... but I agree with the rest.

I actually didn't get that impression at all. Just assumed they copied the entire contents of the drives.

I suppose it could be read that way, but to my mind, the headline and the first paragraph imply that Russia have the actual documents.

FSB, er KGB Jr quite able to add dozens of cameras in any room he may stay, or maybe they can tell by the sound the keys he presses, analyze the light the monitor releases or who the hell knows.

Of course they may briefly arrest him to check his status, and Igor on the other room is cloning his hard drives. Last resort they may blackmail him, go to hell /a USA prison or tell us the password.

I should think Snowden is savvy enough to encrypt his hard drives and files.

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