It was a video about a possible attempted 'setup' of someone named Luke Rudkowski who runs an investigative/dissenter/truthseeker blog.
Someone claiming to be a whistleblower had emailed Rudkowski's personal account from an anonymous Tor address supposedly having information that might interest him but attached were graphic images of CP. He was overseas at the time so if he had happened to get detained in customs while reentering the US and had his browser cache searched he'd be in some serious shit. Apparently he'd been detained in the past and had his computer searched.
A nefarious organization could use this method and tip off customs or local law enforcement to discredit a 'radicalizer.' Very scary stuff.
This reminds me of the German, so called "State Trojan", a Trojan used by the German domestic state police to search targets computers, that has the capabilities to alter the and upload to the targets computer in a way, that the messing with this computer cannot (in reasonable time) be found in court.
So the police could plant evidence, it then uses. This was the reason our supreme court forbid the usage of these tools, as contra to our constitution.
Non the less, the police and right-wing politicians lobby very hard for the use of these tools.
They just added to the list of legal defenses that can protect "bothersome" people . We basically now have evidence that can be used to claim reasonable doubt whenever a bothersome person is in court defending themselves. Since the state is likely to rely on state secrets laws to prevent this information from being subpoenaed in a trial, the possibility that the state used this tactic against a bothersome person can no longer be ruled out and that should constitute reasonable doubt.
It would be supremely ironic if all these NSA surveillance shenanigans resulted in a broad invalidation of any digital evidence in a court of law when bothersome people are involved.
Ever wonder if maybe he didn't accidentally post that dick pic to his political twitter feed? That maybe someone else who knew he had another private twitter account which he used to perv out with women online was responsible for putting that pic out on the public twitter feed?
Weiner lost his congressional seat in the fallout and his replacement, Robert Turner, is a republican. The first republican to hold that seat in roughly 80 years.
I think what OP is trying to get at is that pretty much everyone does or has done something or other which is embarrassing and potentially career-destroying.
In Weiner's case, it's conceivable that the first dick pic was posted by a bad actor. Once it's out, and it's clear what's happening, the "well, I didn't mean to post it!" excuse simply doesn't fly. There's really no choice but to admit it and say sorry, and hope your career isn't ruined.
I think a better example would be Elliot Spitzer. He was going to post an op-ed in the wa-po that was critical of the administration with in days of when the information about his sex scandal was released. The scandal instantly sucked away any credibility he would have had. Threat neutralized.
One that stands out has the cause of targeting as "The U.S. brought the 9/11 attacks upon itself", a view Ron Paul holds - I'd hardly call this appropriate targeting of terrorists.
The second one that is perhaps more inappropriate than the first:
"The US perpetrated the 9/11 attacks."
Who said this? A "well-known media celebrity". There are many far right-wing media celebrities who espouse this view. While it's an absurd view, I'd hardly call labeling them as terrorists and targeting them (with intent to discredit) an appropriate reaction.
> Never forget, the one single thing governments are afraid of is the electorate. No terrorist group has toppled a western government as far as I know, but voters do it all the time.
For a certain definition of "government", sure. The elected leadership may change, but think of the (hundreds of) thousands of civil servants who survive in their jobs in the executives and legislatures over the lifetime of many governments...
> Finally, the NSA doesn't actually seem to intend to discredit them - these are merely documented plans for how it could be done if required.
He wasn't transporting any contraband or illegal drugs in that illegal secret compartment, but it's a good thing we got him, since we're pretty sure he did it once before and he was probably on his way to do it again!
I was referencing an article from the other day where someone was arrested for the first time in Ohio for the relatively new law prohibiting (makes a felony) after-market modifications to vehicles, where the modification creates a "secret" or secure stash space. I think the condition on the law was that it was only illegal if it was used or kept "knowingly and with the intent" to transport contraband.
From the article, the car reeked of raw marijuana, but they didn't find any in the compartment. The police said it was a good thing they were able to get him, under the illegal modification law, because he probably was transporting. In the context I hope you can see why I made the reference! :)
A written plan to discredit is evidence of intent, but those NSA creeps won't get any jail time. But by the time any lab gets around to analyzing the Ohio arrested person's car for smells, there's a good chance all of the evidence will have "wafted away." And in the case of NSA, it's just like your analogy, only porn instead of bank vault (and internet instead of guard.)
I can see why this is a useful tool but this has such potential to be part of the slippery slope. After reading this I thought I would Google the NSA wiki page. I was surprised that illegal domestic wiretapping issue is not new but going back to the 60's.
The American Cipher Bureau was just another government agency doing then what the NSA does today.
Note that the page describes the Bureau as spying on negotiating partners: "Its most notable known success was during the Washington Naval Conference during which it aided American negotiators considerably by providing them with the decrypted traffic of many of the Conference delegations, most notably the Japanese."
Sound familiar? I see no reason to think that they weren't doing everything else that today's NSA has been caught doing.
As far as #2, they are still people, no matter how authoritarian/establishmentarian, so they still need to convince themselves (and each-other) that what they're doing is right (even though, seemingly, the bar for achieving that may be lower than for a typical person).
At the risk of violating some internet law, the people (they were still people) of Nazi Germany convinced themselves and each other to commit mass evil, or at least to go with the flow and not rise up against it.
The people of Nazi Germany were not special, they were no different than any other group of people.
We are all our own worst danger. When we restrain our government through laws and constitutions, it's not to protect ourselves from some "other," it's to protect ourselves from ourselves.
Besides the Milgram experiment, Soloman Asch's conformity experiments, Zombardo's Stanford Prison study, the innocent bystander and the fundamental attribution error should all be required for politicians writing laws, police enforcing them, prosecutors bringing charges against people using them and judges meting out the final judgement. Possibly even jurors should be required to learn about those basic psychological principles before sitting in on a trial. You could cover all of them for the jurors in 2 days I reckon.
I read this story and I couldn't help but think about the actual extent of the pressure that was brought to bear on Aaron Swartz and whether or not there's a lot more to that story than we've been made aware of.
TBH, even though these details aren't used to prosecute, I wouldn't be surprised if they are used to intimidate during an interrogation in an effect to force cooperation via a plea bargain. I reckon its very valuable info when trying to get people to rat each other out (or fabricate information about each other).
The entire interrogation process AFAICT is infected by detectives and other LEOs committing the fundamental attribution error .
If they have identified you as a target, and they really want to get you, have time and the resources - probably not much, e.g. they could break into your house, and install a hardware keylogger in your machine - a VPN wouldn't help much!
Yes, but that would be worthless without the next step of targeting an individual identified by the dragnet. I imagine all you need to be a person of interest is to have communicated with someone who is a small number of hops away from some other person of interest. Or later, when they really get going on their data mining, all you'll need to have done is to have said something particularly interesting and negative about the NSA or the government; they'll have to start doing that, because they'll run out of actual terrorists and they'll have to find a way to keep racking up "successes."
If someone would've said this before, they would've definitely been seen as paranoid/conspiracy type people. I mean it's ridiculous to even think that a government agency would concern itself with stuff like this - and here we are. It's like you can think of the worst stuff NSA could do to blackmail/discredit someone - and now you can bet they are already doing it.
Do you think that jihadis will trust a press release from NSA? "Oh, The Great Devil (US) says you're browsing kinky pictures, so we're not gonna trust you anymore and we're gonna take whoever The Great Devil recommends us instead"
Obviously it wouldn't work that way. They would arrange to have the incriminating information show up in a way that wasn't obviously linked to the great satan. Then they would have a double-agent positioned to take control once the main guy was discredited. It isn't like the great satan would be publicly endorsing the double-agent.