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Reuters swaps story about NSA hacking the UN for NSA fluff piece.
87 points by tomelders on Aug 26, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 16 comments
The article in question is here: U.S. Spy agency edges into the light after Snowden revalations


The original article is here (Uk Site): U.S. spy agency bugged U.N. headquarters - Germany's Spiegel


The story was linked to on Reddit


Read the comments in the US version of the article, and there's a handful of comments on Reddit about it, but no one on Reuters seems to be acknowledging that the article has been swapped.

The story isn't gone off the US site, it's here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/25/us-usa-security-ns...

The Reuters website is terrible. Half the time the article content doesn't load and I just get sidebars. (They make money selling their feed to news outlets, not by attracting visitors to reuters.com.) Occam's Razor suggests someone fat-fingered an update, not a conspiracy.

The OP didn't say gone he said swapped and judging by one of the other comments it appears to be true.

You think the NSA pressured Reuters to swap two URLs in a ham fisted attempt to... what exactly?

Someone with access to the full feed could probably answer this better, but my guess is that "U.S. spy agency edges into the light" was written first (the dateline seems to confirm this) and the "NSA bugged UN" story was originally an update to that story (wire services often put out updates as a story is breaking) before Reuters decided it was important enough to spin off as a new story at a new URL.

I didn't say it was the NSA or even for nefarious reasons. Just that it was swapped.

A news site goofing their URLs typically isn't front page news, so at least some people think there's something interesting going on here. (I think they're probably wrong)

This is true. I have the original text saved in Readability. When I clink on the link to the actual article, it brings me to a totally different one.

irrespective of wether or not this was accidental or on purpose, I do find the content of the "edges into the light" article quite offensive.

The official stance appears to be "It's OK for us to break the law as long as we do it by accident", which is not just an incredibly weak argument, it's a dangerous precedent. Who defines 'accidental'? It seems to me that if used exactly as intended, PRISM breaks the law.

We now have the whole LOVEINT angle, where the incursions were absolutely not accidental, but we're somehow meant to be ok with it because the very fact the the NSA knew about it happening somehow proves that they're on the case. They also feel it is something that the US public does not need to know about.

My brain hurts trying do the mental gymnastics required in order to see this whole debacle from the intelligence communities point of view. No matter how I look at it, they're bad people doing bad things and telling us to like it without offering a shred of evidence to justify their actions.

NSA named their tumblr "I con the record"? What the hell.

IC on the record

yea, or they were having some fun with the whole 'two options for interpretation' bit...

Malice, incompetence etc.

Einstein is quoted as saying the same, adding "but don't rule out malice."

Hanlon's Razor is a nice sounding quote and all, but where is there any evidence that it's accurate?

That Einstein quote really sounds apocryphal

My point is that this is a bullshit quote that people use to shore up their opinion without actually having to think.

If it didn't sound apocryphal to you, would it really change the fact that Hanlon's/Heinlein's razor is nothing more than a non-scientific personal philosophical statement?

In any case look at Wikipedia - other smart people are quoted saying the same thing that was attributed to Einstein:

"...misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice. At any rate, the last two are certainly much less frequent." — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1774) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon's_razor

Malice does exist. It's just good old common sense to never rule it out.

OK. In this particular case I'd be very, very surprised if malice played any role. And assuming mistakes are malicious by default is more wrong than than the opposite, IMHO.

Is it more the nature of the mistake or the trustworthyness of the Reuters organization that influences your opinion (or something else)?

I'm not saying this wasn't a mistake, but knowledge of things like "Operation Mockingbird" do carry weight with me. Do you know about this? It's crazy... (There's very much out there to read on this but here's the summary.)

"According to Alex Constantine (Mockingbird: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA), in the 1950s, "some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts". Wisner was able to constrain newspapers from reporting about certain events, including the CIA plots to overthrow the governments of Iran (see: Operation Ajax) and Guatemala (see: Operation PBSUCCESS)." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird

If you're thinking that the mistake is such a small transgression that - "who would care?" Well...little tiny almost imperceivable things do matter, particularly to propagandists and to Pavlov's dog :) (Again - not saying that "I know" anything, but a non-infinitesimal possibility is definite IMO :)

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