November 1st, 2014
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THE BACKLASH OF (AND HOLES IN) THE NSA SPYING

Ever since Edward Snowden “revealed” what everyone already knew, namely, that America’s Reichsicherheithauptamt… er… National Security Agency, was spying on everyone, and with the more recent realization that this was as much about the “ultimate insider trading mechanism” and monitoring international finances as it was about “terrorism,” there has been a growing economic, and now as we shall see, security backlash.

For example, a few weeks ago I blogged at different times about the growing economic backlash against the USA as a result of these “revelations.” Brazil, for example, which had contracts with the US firm of Boeing for fighter jets, cancelled these contracts, and placed an order with Sweden’s Saab company for similar fighters with similar capabilities. Their reason was obvious: national security. Brazil simply no longer trusted the USA to provide them “backdoor free” fighters. Given that arms are about the only major American export any more (besides poisonous GMO seeds), this is not welcome news, and if the trend continues, other countries will seek their armaments from other countries. Brazil’s President Rouseff additionally joined France’s Hollande and Germany’s Merkel in the call for the development of their own “US-free internet”.

But there’s more blowback on the way:

How Much Is NSA Spying Costing In Lost Productivity?

The article already hints at yet another looming economic problem:

“Remember, American and British spy agencies have intentionally weakened security for many decades. And it’s getting worse and worse. For example, they plan to use automated programs to infect millions of computers.

“How much time and productivity have we lost in battling viruses let in because of the spies tinkering? How much have we lost because “their” computer programs conflict with “our” programs?

“Indeed, Microsoft’s general counsel labels government snooping an “advanced persistent threat,” a term generally used to describe teams of hackers that coordinate cyberattacks for foreign governments.  It is well-known  among IT and security professionals  that hacking decreases employee productivity.    While they’re usually referring to hacking by private parties, the same is likely true for hacking by government agencies, as well.”:

In other words, it may not be long before US manufacturers and software corporations are faced with foreign competition both in hardware and software, given growing fears of US snooping. While it is unthinkable to imagine such competition for Apple or Microsoft now, it will inevitably occur if the US and American suppliers are unable to restore trust and confidence in their products.

But there’s another looming problem, and one far more serious. For all their efforts, it appears that Russia has not been merely sitting on its gas pipelines twiddling its fingers and doing nothing. Indeed, I also blogged on this site about Russian purchases of typewriters, to avoid the possibility of domestic interception of classified documents and communications, and many individuals are now once again resorting to snail mail for personal communications. Remember that typewriter thing, and check this out:

Military & Defense More: NSA The White House Is ‘Very Nervous’ About Russia’s New Ability To Evade NSA Spying

I rather suspect that more than just the White House is nervous about Russia’s apparent ability to avoid the NSA’s ever-sniffing nose, for such a capability is bound to have the financial oligarchs worried as well, for the lack of ability to monitor Russian military communications implies a similar lack of ability concerning its domestic electronic clearing. Of course, the Russian military is anything but incompetent, and while it could have accomplished its recent maneuvers “the old fashioned way” with radio silence, typewritten messages, and motorcycle couriers, it is doubtful that it did so. The crux of the difficulty is aptly summarized here:

“Russian leaders either ‘deliberately avoided communicating about the invasion or simply found a way to do so without detection by the U.S.,’ the Journal writes.

One does not coordinate the vast special forces and military resources of Russia without communications of some sort, and given the speed and precision with which Russia responded to the situation in the Crimean peninsula and the threat against its Black Sea Fleet bases posed by the USA-sponsored coup d’etat in the Ukraine, this author has difficulty believing that Moscow pulled off this feat “the old fashioned way,” and whether they did or not does not, as far as US policy-makers are concerned, really matter, for the worst case scenario implied by the NSA’s apparent inability to penetrate Russian communications is that Russia has developed a fairly sophisticated means to avoid such electronic snooping, a kind of cyber-updated counter-intelligence version of SMERSH if you will. (And given the current US track record in the region, they might be considering a revival of the old fashioned SMERSH in Moscow as well. As I’ve said many times, two can play the covert warfare, psyops, and drones game).
It’s not just that possibility that may have them burning the midnight oil in the Washington and London snake pits either, for imagine if Russia decides, as a component of its international geopolitics, to sell or share that capability with, say, India, China, or (in a real counter-coup of its own), Germany, or France, or Brazil.  Such agreements would not, of course, ever be announced, or if they were, would only be in the form of a generalized statement: … oh, by the way, we sold license agreements on System X technology to…” Or, nothing might be said at all, and it would only become apparent when there was sudden silence where before there was regular noise.
Though the Russian action and capability were demonstrated – quietly of course – a few weeks ahead of schedule, the message to the cesspools in Washington and London seems rather clear:
“April fools, boys!”
See you on the flip side.

15 Responses to THE BACKLASH OF (AND HOLES IN) THE NSA SPYING

  1. Posted this in another thread but it seems more relevant here:

    I have a moderate to high octane theory which may explain the lack of electronic communication and the seemingly supernatural coordination of the Russian military: Putin has been planning for this all along.

    He knew that the EU would get ideas above its station and try to bring Ukraine on board. After that it was just a matter of getting their man Janukovych to veto the deal and let nature take its course. Having lots of dubious far right Ukrainians amongst the protestors didn’t do any harm either. Then an annexation of Crimea to right an historical wrong is not such an extreme measure. Doesn’t do any harm either to expose the hypocrisy of the western powers recognising Kosovo’s but not Crimea’s right to self determination. In this theory my main villain of the piece is the eu not the USA.

    Don’t know how the US coverage of this has been but the UK media has been a mixture of perfunctory criticism of Russia mixed with a grudging respect for Putin.

    It may backfire on him in the long run but putting aside his personal qualities (you don’t become a KGB colonel through your warmth and charm to paraphrase Doctor Farrell) but I wish we still had leaders of his calibre in the UK.

    Ps I suspect that there is still a snooping infrastructure in the former USSR that Russia still has access to.

  2. Estimates are in financial circles that the impact will be in the mid to high tens of billions in damage. The real issue is that the internet is being militarized, weaponized, as it were. We need MALTS, Malware Arms Reduction Talks.

  3. Remember the old magazine “Spy vs Spy”, well while everybody is spying on everybody else the real game is not spying at all. The world of computer science is changing day by day, and its the software “writers” who will dominate the game.

    It reminds me of the movie “The Fourth Protocol”, with Michael Caine playing the British “agent”, and in the end the British AND the Russians join together to facilitate a “happy ending” of the affair and the cementing of the “Fourth Protocol”.

    I think that spying is going out of fashion, if the breakaway civilization is 100 years ahead in anti-gravity, then imagine where they are in computer technology, or to put it another way, they are not using computers at all.

    • Of course they’re still using computers!
      All they would have to do to avoid detection is devise their own protocols, instead of using the internationally agreed data transfer protocols. Using a different protocol would prevent connections being established with systems that do use the usual protocols thereby effectively blocking any potential spying activity.
      The other option is simply to use a closed network with no physical connection to outside systems. This is standard practice in secure IT environments such as Defence Departments. You then just have to ensure that your hardware is RF quiet, so that keystrokes can’t be detected by external equipment (I.e. Tempested) and voila! You’re secure and your internal communications can’t be monitored.
      If you adopt both of these options, then your communications would definitely drop off the spying radar. It’s no mystery really.

      • The real mystery is why these practices were not adopted 20 years ago, because none of what I have spoken of above is new. It’s all been around for a long time now, although it wouldn’t surprise me if previously secure environments have been compromised by budget cuts and exploitation by external IT vendors such as IBM whose only concern is making a profit.
        Once they get their foot in the door, they implement their own hardware and software and, as most of their staff are fairly ignorant, they don’t even realise that they’re compromising security. They think they can make an environment secure through encryption alone and that is a furphy. Encryption codes can be cracked and regularly are, just not by the regular day to day IT geek. The same goes with all the big IT companies, they all want to rule the world. It’s a dog eat dog business. Thanks for that America.

  4. If I were Carter or Putin I wouldn’t bother with typewriters. I go straight to pen, pencil and paper cheaper and faster. But then try and find a unlined or lined notepad to write a letter with. I can’t find them in the stores to buy envelopes yes but not writing pads for letters. They really out to control our means of communication with their plans to axe the postal service and force us to use credit-debit cards instead of checks and money orders.

  5. I’ve wondered why the CIA was so completely in the dark with respect to Russia’s recent actions in Crimea. But there’s another angle on this that I haven’t heard anyone discussing, and that is this: if the CIA and NSA are controlled by the breakaway group with their own agenda, then isn’t there a possibility that they are deliberately “missing” the clues, communications, and activities of Russians? And what would their motivations be? I find that more troubling than the US being unable to intercept their correspondence because that’s just technology that can be overcome.

  6. Recently former President Carter echoed similar sentiments when he disclosed his recent use of type-writer for communication rather than electronic means for fear that his literary activity was being monitored. The media response seemed tepid—but necessary. I wonder if this statement was received the intelligence community as a “stinging rebuke” from a publicly disgraced and disparaged leader in the free world. I never assumed President Carter was a “team player” because he suffered such a bruising defeat during one of the most eventful Presidential election cycles in modern US history. When you see a former president address NSA spying on its citizenry publicly, discuss his solution to thwart these activities, and with this statement the implied advice to others to follow his example, you should expect to see some public response. The response would be veiled warning from the intelligence community using their agents in the public media to the person who has been carefully stage managed for precisely this function. If we choose to read this as a warning, what does President Carter know that they want to keep quiet? Why are they so nervous that he may leak this information through an uncontrolled access point—such as type-written documents? Or, was he just used as a scapegoat to ridicule the idea for public consumption? Though his faults as a leader have been openly discussed in public for many years President Carter is an intelligent, thinking man. He may still have internal loyalties and sympathies within some governmental agencies and receive very interesting information about matters that were long-term objectives during his tenure as President—and the capacity to connect a few dots on his own. For that I wonder if the latter question can be answered in the negative. Any future attempted or successful theft of his personal property will most certainly spawn conspiratorial speculation. This example does make me want to find that old, mothballed type-writer—just in case it’s needed for a future time when I choose to exercise the right for my thoughts to be my own, private property!

    Perhaps these modern concerns played their part in the genesis of the separation of languages in that Tower of Babel moment in history. Branching languages into families would have been an efficient method by oligarchs to partition information into “resource pools” by redefining terms in the common speech for technical reasons. By creating the ability of these “resource pools” to conceal data for public consumption within their technical responsibilities, these castes would have quickly learned to conceal information from their overlords in an equally efficient manner. Perhaps that project was abandoned after all because the elites feared losing control of the very castes that were implementing their part of the enterprise through independent thought—thereby constituting a very real threat. Is this reaction by our intelligence community to President Carter’s statement a modern expression of that same fear? If so, it’s truly an ancient paranoia.

  7. Loved your tie-in ending!

    The Russians are known for moves-ahead, in the spy game.
    As in a version of: Run Silent, Run Deep.

  8. Seems like a waste of computer resources on the part of the Israelis, who still needed to pay Jonathan Pollard for nuclear weapons targeting information in the 1980s.

  9. Depending on how much some given power wants to tip its hand and acknowledge extraordinary capacities: Specific Typewriters and regular mail can be hacked.

    But no one with that capacity would ever want to say so publicly.

    No, this tech has next to nothing to do with the spying Mr. Snowden did while in the employ of the NSA or Booz-Allen.

  10. Let’s face it, all information collected by the NSA is routed through Israel. Moreover, the encryption software the NSA uses comes from an Israeli company. Therefore, the NSA is thoroughly unreliable as a spay agency protecting US interests. I would imagine in Israel all NSA data is up for sale to the highest bidder or to be used for barter when necessary. Same goes for the encryption software. While the ziocons may loath Putin, not every Russian jewish gangster does. Nor probably do the Israeli security firms brought in to assist the Russians at the Sochi Olympics. Nor even does Netanyahu when trading confidential American information with the Russians may serve the immediate objectives of the Israeli pirate base. Lest we forget: greed, selfishness and duplicitous behavior are the trademarks of pirates….

    …and why every pirate base goes down in flames in the end.

    • And why the Phoenix always rises from the ashes. Duplicitous sums them up perfectly.
      They display,IMO, all the trademarks of a fungus. Eat, infect,reproduce with no signs of intelligence. Ie, the consequence of a action,aka truth.

      • As the old joke goes jedi

        Working for that fungi operation?
        Are they treating you like mushrooms?

        “Your kept in the dark, covered with dung,
        and when grown big enough canned(fired)”.

        • Lol, good one….they are a nice bunch of fine fellows……while the music is playing…..Lucy sky diamonds.