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Sat Aug 31, 2013, 09:32 AM

UK Government Asked New York Times To Destroy Edward Snowden Documents; NYT SAID - NO WAY

UK Asked New York Times To Destroy Edward Snowden Documents; NY Times Ignored Request
from the good-for-them dept

There's been some back and forth concerning the David Miranda legal fight today and it's getting fairly ridiculous. The UK government is making some extraordinary claims about Miranda and the encrypted information he was carrying. They claim that some of the information was potentially incredibly damaging to UK national security interests (the same rhetoric we always hear, but is rarely shown to be true) and they also claim that they found a piece of paper on Miranda that allowed them to "decrypt one file on his seized hard drive." Furthermore, they claim that Miranda (and Greenwald and Poitras) "demonstrated very poor judgment in their security arrangements with respect to the material," in order to suggest that it might easily fall into dangerous hands.

Of course, there are many reasons to suggest that this is all hogwash. The choice of wording from the UK government is pretty precise. Note that they don't actually claim they've unencrypted any of the Snowden files. They make two separate claims in succession: one is that there were 58,000 documents that Miranda had and then, separately, that he had a password that allowed them to get into a file on his drives, and then they use that to insist that there was poor security. But they don't reveal what that one file was, nor do they admit to having figured out what was actually on the drives. Glenn Greenwald says that it's a flat out lie that Miranda had a password on him that would allow anyone to decrypt the documents (suggesting any password he might have had on him was totally unrelated). Greenwald also mocks the idea that Poitras's security was "sloppy," since it appears that the UK hasn't yet been able to figure out what was actually on the hard drives.

However, the strongest response to all of this comes from The Guardian itself, who reveals that after the Prime Minister's office ordered them to destroy hard drives, the Guardian told the UK government that the NY Times and Pro Publica also had copies of all of the documents related to the UK spying by GCHQ... and the UK government didn't seem particularly concerned:

"The government wanted the judge to believe that they have at all times behaved with the utmost urgency because of a grave threat to national security represented by newspapers working responsibly on the Snowden documents and their implications for society," he said. "But for most of the time since early June little has happened. On July 22 the Guardian directed the government towards the New York Times and ProPublica, both of whom had secret material from GCHQ. It was more than three weeks before anyone contacted the NYT. No one has contacted Pro Publica, and there has been two weeks of further silence towards the NYT from the government. This five weeks in which nothing has happened tells a different story from the alarmist claims before the court. The government's behaviour does not match their rhetoric in trying to justify and exploit this dismaying blurring of terror and journalism."


This leads to an even more mystifying situation, in which (as noted above), weeks later, UK officials asked the NY Times to destroy the documents, and the NY Times basically ignored the request entirely:

The British government has asked the New York Times to destroy copies of documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden related to the operations of the U.S. spy agency and its British partner, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), people familiar with the matter said.

The British request, made to Times executive editor Jill Abramson by a senior official at the British Embassy in Washington D.C., was greeted by Abramson with silence, according to the sources. British officials indicated they intended to follow up on their request later with the Times, but never did, one of the sources said.


Ah, freedom of the press. Either way, this suggests that the UK's arguments against Miranda are just misleading FUD designed to paper over the thuggish behavior of detaining Miranda in the first place.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130830/14580024368/uk-asked-new-york-times-to-destroy-edward-snowden-documents-ny-times-ignored-request.shtml

11 replies, 1643 views

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Reply UK Government Asked New York Times To Destroy Edward Snowden Documents; NYT SAID - NO WAY (Original post)
kpete Aug 2013 OP
KoKo Aug 2013 #1
KittyWampus Aug 2013 #2
Downwinder Aug 2013 #5
Pretzel_Warrior Aug 2013 #3
Th1onein Aug 2013 #10
Octafish Aug 2013 #4
kpete Aug 2013 #6
Octafish Aug 2013 #8
kpete Aug 2013 #9
FarCenter Aug 2013 #7
Th1onein Aug 2013 #11

Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 09:40 AM

1. K&R.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 09:42 AM

2. Ah, so when they get hacked again it's a windfall for Russia… China…

 

New York Times and Twitter struggle after Syrian hack
By Dave Lee

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23862105

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #2)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 09:52 AM

5. Have to wait and see if their machines are all networked together

as "Trusted" like NSA.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 09:44 AM

3. More wild flailing from Greenwald. Not substantiated at all. Just some loose ravings at tech dirt

 

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Response to Pretzel_Warrior (Reply #3)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 11:48 AM

10. Bullshit.

And you know it.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 09:51 AM

4. Would that be the same UK government that said Dr. David Kelly committed suicide?

A few minutes after speaking with Judy Miller of The New York Times and telling her there was nothing to Iraq having WMDs?

PS: Sorry to sidetrack, kpete. Spy Games are most un-democratic, especially in matters of money and power.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #4)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 10:00 AM

6. I love me some

sidetracks, Octafish.



Dr. Kelly's "suicide"?

He was "disappeared"

mho, and peace,
kp

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Response to kpete (Reply #6)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 10:06 AM

8. The betrayal of Dr David Kelly, 10 years on

Andrew Gilligan, the journalist at the centre of the 'dodgy dossier’ row, reflects on the shocking facts that have emerged since Dr David Kelly’s death

By Andrew Gilligan
7:00AM BST 21 Jul 2013

EXCERPT...

What we now know is that at precisely the same moment as the Government was launching hysterical attacks on the BBC and on me for reporting this, Whitehall had quietly conceded that it was true. In July 2003, literally as David Kelly was outed, MI6 secretly withdrew the 45-minute intelligence as unreliable and badly-sourced.

What we now know is that according to Major General Michael Laurie, the head of the Defence Intelligence Staff at the time of the dossier, “we could find no evidence of planes, missiles or equipment that related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It was clear to me that pressure was being applied to the Joint Intelligence Committee and its drafters. Every fact was managed to make the dossier as strong as possible. The final statements in the dossier reached beyond the conclusions intelligence assessments would normally draw from such facts.”

What we now know is that, according to an MI6 officer working on the dossier, the 45-minute claim was “based in part on wishful thinking” and was not “fully validated”. Another MI6 officer said that “there were from the outset concerns” in the intelligence services about “the extent to which the intelligence could support some of the judgments that were being made”.

What we now know is that on September 17 and 18 2002, a week before the dossier was published, Alastair Campbell sent memos to its author, Sir John Scarlett, saying that he and Tony Blair were “worried” that on Saddam’s nuclear capability the dossier gave the (accurate) impression that “there’s nothing much to worry about”. On September 19, Campbell emailed Scarlett again, suggesting the insertion of a totally false claim that, in certain circumstances, Saddam could produce nuclear weapons in as little as a year. This fabrication duly appeared in the dossier.

What we now know is that in his September 17 memo, Campbell suggested 15 other changes to the text of the dossier. Most were accepted; their effect was to harden the document’s language from possibility to probability, or probability to certainty. Campbell lied to Parliament about the content of this memo, giving the Foreign Affairs Committee an altered copy which omitted his comments on the 45-minute claim and played down his interventions on most of the other issues.

And what we now know is that, contrary to his campaigning certainty at the time, Blair admits in his memoirs that he privately saw the case for war against Iraq as “finely balanced”. No wonder a little tipping of the scales was needed – or, as Blair also put it in his book, “politicians are obliged from time to time to conceal the full truth, to bend it and even distort it, where the interests of the bigger strategic goal demand that it be done”.

We knew nothing of this then. Indeed, in his evidence to the Hutton inquiry, Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6, described the 45-minute claim, straight-faced, as “a piece of well-sourced intelligence”, two months after his own service had discredited it. Despite his key role as Dearlove’s military counterpart, General Laurie was never called to Hutton at all; his explosive statement, and that of the two MI6 people, emerged only in 2011, at the Chilcot inquiry.

CONTINUED...

http://judithmilleranddrdavidkellyandwmd.blogspot.com/

PS: Peace and Love and Power to You and Yours, kpete!

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Response to Octafish (Reply #8)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 10:40 AM

9. back at you Octafish:

Peace and Love and Power to You and Yours,
kp

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 10:01 AM

7. The UK could block access to the NY Times from the UK

 

And possibly on all the transatlantic cable that land in the UK.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #7)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 11:49 AM

11. Yeah, I'd like to see how that works out for them.

NOT a good idea.

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