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FBI/NSA makes a warning / gives advice to leakers [Reuters]

June 7, 2017



We have a winner. Reality Leigh Winner, whose sometimes silly-face selfies are now showing up all over the tubes, was arrested for leaking an NSA document to the Intercept. The document is another intel distillation / summary, in the alleged Russian hacking series – this time describing a phishing effort directed at the email accounts of local election officials.

More interestingly, the leaker, a 25 year old Air Force gal turned top-secret contractor, was promptly arrested after being reported by someone at the Intercept (or so the story goes), where she sent her leaked docs. The docs (or whatever portion of them was fit for public consumption) were released to the public anyway.

A detailed description then followed this morning, as the lead story in the national news: Of how she got caught by a watermarking feature of the printer at her agency office, and of the equally relevant fact that the Intercept made no effort to protect her identity.

A warning to leakers? A guideline for future leakers to be more careful with tech? The anti-Trump wing of the government making a scorched-earth move in expectation that the pro-Trumpers may soon gain meaningful control over anti-leaker efforts – or vice versa? Fun fun.

The upshot of all the digital drama of the past year is that, hopefully, the public becomes better educated about technology-privacy issues, in particular learning that closed-source tech is full of potentially nasty surprises. (And we’re just getting started … just wait until the Internet-Of-Things dimension is fully tapped, and/or quantum computing becomes available rendering all transmissions intercepted in the early 2000’s wide open).

At the same time, we seem to be heading into a crummy Orwellian state, probably regardless of which party ends up steering the boat.


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