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Paul Hair is a national security expert and an author. He writes under his own name and as a ghostwriter. Connect with him at http://www.liberateliberty.com/. Contact him at paul@liberateliberty.com.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Whistleblowing: The New Way to Spy

Recent revelations add to the evidence that Edward Snowden actually conducted an espionage operation, possibly with help from Glenn Greenwald and others.

Yet it is unclear if the public cares about this. Furthermore, the public may view Snowden as a hero and may be convinced that the NSA has committed crimes.

Also, there continues to be little concern with Glenn Greenwald’s role in this attack on the U.S. defense system. Greenwald, a man with Marxist affiliations, has long led the demonization of U.S. troops, and has even approvingly cited his agreement with a quote that sympathizes with Muslims slaughtering troops and other Westerners:
In the Guardian today, former British soldier Joe Glenton, who served in the war in Afghanistan, writes under the headline “Woolwich attack: of course British foreign policy had a role”. He explains:
“While nothing can justify the savage killing in Woolwich yesterday of a man since confirmed to have been a serving British soldier, it should not be hard to explain why the murder happened. . . . It should by now be self-evident that by attacking Muslims overseas, you will occasionally spawn twisted and, as we saw yesterday, even murderous hatred at home. We need to recognise that, given the continued role our government has chosen to play in the US imperial project in the Middle East, we are lucky that these attacks are so few and far between.”
This is one of those points so glaringly obvious that it is difficult to believe that it has to be repeated.
But what no one has yet discussed is how Snowden’s successful espionage operation has demonstrated how nations now can conduct astonishingly successfully espionage operations when just over a year ago intelligence professionals were worried that the days of spying might be numbered.

The Danger Room blog of WIRED Magazine ran a story called, “CIA’s Secret Fear: High-Tech Border Checks Will Blow Spies’ Cover,” during April of 2012. The Danger Room blog wrote:
CIA agents may find that just a little beyond the call of duty. But meanwhile, they’ve got to come up with something else: The increasing deployment of iris scanners and biometric passports at worldwide airports, hotels and business headquarters, designed to catch terrorists and criminals, are playing havoc with operations that require CIA spies to travel under false identities. . . .
“If you go to one of those countries under an alias, you can’t go again under another name,” explains a career spook, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he remains an agency consultant. ”So it’s a one-time thing — one and done. The biometric data on your passport, and maybe your iris, too, has been linked forever to whatever name was on your passport the first time. You can’t show up again under a different name with the same data.”
The issue is exceedingly sensitive to agency operatives and intelligence officials, past and present. “I think you have finally found a topic I can’t talk about,” said Charles Faddis, a CIA operations officer who retired in 2008.
“I can’t help you with this,” added a former intelligence agency chief. “I do think this is a significant issue with great implications for the safety and security of our people, so I recommend you not publish anything on this. You can do a lot of harm and no good.”
Other former operatives would not even allow their polite refusals to comment to be quoted. The CIA, naturally, refused to comment for this story.
What Snowden has now shown is how to overcome that apparent* problem: if you can’t get defeat the counterintelligence measure of biometrics tracking, avoid it entirely; have someone else do your spying for you and turn him into a hero in doing so.

In other words, Snowden appears to have succeeded in making a large portion of the U.S. citizenry believe that he is a patriotic “whistleblower” who is revealing a tyrannical government harming its own people. At the same time, what he has done is deliver a huge intelligence trove to a foreign nation (or nations) and done grave damage to the national security of the U.S. and its citizens.

There is no better intelligence operation than one where you can have a citizen steal secrets from his nation, betray it to another nation (or nations), gravely endanger the citizenry of his nation, and yet have his nation praise him (and whoever has been helping him) for it, thinking that the harm done to them is actually a service.

* I say “apparent” because I have no firsthand knowledge if it is true. I am assuming the Danger Room article is telling the truth.

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