Repealing the Patriot Act.

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by The Ghost of Crazy Horse, Dec 18, 2020.

  1. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Part of some of the programs, targets of others.

    Therefore it is unreasonable to expect our perspectives on the matter to be uniformly in line with those of US citizens, a proposition borne out by the data. Whereas Snowden remains a divisive figure in the US he's generally seen in a positive light throughout the populations of many allied nations.

    That goodwill, however, has never been sufficient to warrant the political cost of displeasing Washington. Hardly a unique situation.
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  2. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    Sure, US view is that Snowden hurt US security more than he helped, at a 2-1 rate.

    Most of the rest of the world doesn't have to concern themself with that, and see what he did as a positive for their countries.

    That, however, may not be an accurate assessment. It's going to depend on what responsibility he has for data getting to foreign adversaries of the West, such as Russia.

    If as I suspect (and our intel agencies state) they benefitted in how to attack Western democracies, then those countries cheering him on are no doubt wrong in their assessment. The Trump presidency and Brexit are going to continue to cause major problems much farther down the line, across a whole sphere of influences.
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  3. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon outta my way Administrator Formerly Important

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    Yeah, I don’t know the deal with that.

    The most common classification for non-Secret intel I came across prepping for/in Afghanistan was NOFORN REL GBR CAN AUS NZ (No foreigners except release to the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).

    Which... what!?!? I mean the first three yeah. But does New Zealand even have an Army, must less troops in Afghanistan? I never ran into any. And I don’t think of them as a particularly close military ally. So why them and not NATO who actually did have a shit ton of troops there?

    Only thing I can figure it is a historical thing going back to WWII/ANZAC.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
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  4. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Any causal relationship between Snowden and Brexit or Trump seems to me to be tenuous at best.

    What Russian interference there appears to have been in either instance has had little to do with hacking or accessing national infrastructure and more to do with making strategic use of widely available private platforms.

    In the Information Age, memes are the new agents provocateur.

    If there is a connection it seems more likely to be in the public perception of intel agencies. Prior to Snowden et al the portrayal of overreach in espionage, the so called "deep state" was speculative, a fringe belief fuelled as much by the fashions of fiction as by evidence.

    Whistleblowers changed that, the revelations laid the groundwork for the wider mainstream mistrust of government which Trump capitalised on. Where the blame for that lies is the more interesting question.

    Was Snowden guilty of crimes?

    Well, yes, under US law he was.

    Was Snowden responsible for the consequences of his revelations?

    I'm not so sure here. Ultimately whatever his motivations those revelations were true. He was reporting the truth of much larger crimes than his own, crimes committed by the very authorities seeking to prosecute him.

    A case could well be argued that the actions of the US in seeking to prosecute are those of a crime cartel seeking vengeance against an informer. In this case, however, the cartel is large enough to also make the very laws it is violating.
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  5. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Both it's citizens happened to be on holiday in Afghanistan at the time and were jolly nice people.
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  6. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    One would think Captain PsyOps would be aware of the membership of NATO and perhaps understand that some of those members fell into the, by the U.S. government, perceived gray area of "some are former SSRs, some have a less-than-cordial relationship with the U.S., and therefore are not to be trusted."

    One would think. :bergman:
  7. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    I hadn't seen this interview at the time, and I'm just getting into it right now, though I've been a follower and a fan of le Carré's fiction for decades (I loved his comment just before the invasion of Iraq that "America is going through one of its difficult phases"), I'm discovering things that, cynic though I am, I never realized before.

    I hope @Jenee and all the naifs who think it's all Good Guys and Bad Guys and nothing in between can learn something from this.

    :techman:
  8. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    NZ is part of the "Five Eyes" intelligence agreement.
    The link is to a Wikipedia article that meshes with what I remember about it, but I won't be offended if anyone takes it with a grain of salt. One thing about intelligence gathering is that bigger is not necessarily better. Le Carre argues that the U.S. gathers so much information from so many different sources that it's impossible to process all of it properly. Conversely I might expect that a smaller country might be better in some ways than a larger one. It might be relevant that it was the Poles who made the first great breakthroughs in solving the German Enigma encryption, before they handed over their information to the Brits after the Germans invaded Poland. Of course, when it comes to small countries with superior intelligence capabilities, there' s Israel. Of course, being surrounded by enemies might have something to do with that. Whilst the U.S. and Israel have extremely close ties, they are not a member of Five Eyes although it stands to reason that at least some of the information gets passed around.
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  9. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    And imagine if the Dubya administration had taken Mossad's warnings about an imminent attack on American soil seriously in the summer of 2001.
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  10. K.

    K. Sober

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    Oh, I see. So not only do you continue to ignore the crime Snowden exposed, you have all this time talking exclusively about the propaganda that the proven criminals were spreading against him. You're not blaming the witness for what the mafia is doing, you're their lawyer.

    In a criminal action, with 350 million of the victims being US citizens.

    This one wasn't, and there is absolutely no reason to think that it could.

    Imagine what would have happened instead if he had received whistleblower status, been allowed to return to the US a free man, and have the criminals in the US government be punished instead. But all the horrible results from forcing him to Russia weren't worth THAT much to the crooks in charge. Not enough to face the music for their crimes.
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  11. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    I get it. You don't like American intelligence, so you ignore that Snowden is a criminal. IIRC, weren't you cheering on Assange - back before it was revealed he was a Russian mole?

    So you keep stating. When were the trials? Who went to jail? There were parts of the Patriot Act that were found to be unconstitutional and repealed. So was DC's anti-handgun bill. Should the DC city councilmen who passed that bill be in jail?

    If you argue criminality, you are making a losing argument. This is a moral issue to you. Fair enough, I get the fact you are pissed. I also get the fact that your media exploded with this story, and Snowden is considered a hero in Germany. He isn't here, especially by the people that do this work for a living.

    If you think your knowledge of this isn't also impacted by extensive propaganda, you aren't very self-aware.

    Again, you are conflating the actions of Snowden with the inevitability that the secrets he exposed would end up in foreign intels hands. Even if you are right, and there's no reason to think you are, the personal responsibility for the actions that led to that still go on one man.

    Yes, unfortunate that the law didn't provide contractors that status. Any number of ways he could have acted past that point. He could have approached the Senate Intel Committee - he claimed it was Clapper's testimony to them that caused him to decide to dump documents and flee to chinese territory. This is why I find your argument so specious, so incredibly naive. As if Snowden had no other choice but to do what he decided upon.

    He decided to flee to China then Russia, working with a Russian stooge who admits he counselled him to stay in Moscow, and the information he possessed ended up in Russia's hands. And thus tilted the entire way asymmetrical information warfare was played in the next decade, and we've all suffered for it.

    But he says he had nothing to do with that, and you choose to believe him.

    Despite all evidence to the contrary, because you don't want to believe the UK's intelligence agencies that say he is lying.

    And this means you believe Putin, who says this is all a happy coincidence, and that Russia had absolutely nothing to do with these events, and that Snowden is a swell guy.

    Of course, even Putin says Snowden is lying about not having contact with Russian officials before Snowden left Hong Kong...
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2020
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  12. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    Or let's try this a different way.

    Did Snowden have any other choice he could have made besides stealing a million documents, which he himself admits he had not vetted for the information contained when he took them.

    Did Snowden have any other choice to blow the whistle on programs he believed to be unconstitutional besides fleeing to Hong Kong and then Russia? Aren't there other non-extradition countries that exist that aren't geopolitical adversaries of the US?

    If he did have any other choice, how are the results of these decisions not on the man who took them? What abrogates him from the moral outcome of these actions?
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  13. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Abrogate?

    Probably nothing.

    Mitigate?

    The truth of his revelations.

    I'd agree we're opening a can of worms if we question the legalities of the espionage going on.
    It may have been constitutional, but there are other jurisdictions involved. I'm not sure you can make the same claim about the espionage laws of all those countries directly or indirectly impacted.

    You're doubtless quite happy with arresting Russian spies given the opportunity, why then only view US espionage from the perspective of it's own laws?

    In either case, espionage can reasonably be considered an act of aggression where it goes past the point of passive observation. Criminal or otherwise there's a reason the NSA wanted those programs kept quiet and clearly Germany did not constitute a threat to national security.
  14. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    One of the oddities that I've come to believe about the intelligence game is that spying (intelligence gathering if the word "spying" is too blunt) on friends is just as important as spying on your enemies. During the run up to U.S. involvement in WW II FDR had "sources" who told him that there were NAZI sympathizers in the Royal Family. That might have been important. During the Suez Crisis you can bet that Eisenhower had the CIA and military intelligence agencies working overtime to figure out what the French and English were up to. According to Ken Burns' Vietnam documentary DeGaulle threatened to crawl into bed with the USSR unless Eisenhower backed French efforts to hold on to Indo China. Ike went along, thus setting the U.S. on the road to the Vietnam War/tragedy. Maybe better intelligence would have told him that DeGaulle was bluffing, or maybe he had information that led him to believe DeGaulle was serious. I will say that if Germany doesn't have agents actively working in the U.S. trying to figure out what Trump & Co. (or Biden when he takes over) are up to Merkel is criminally neglecting her nation's interests.
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  15. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    I'm fine with that - as long as it is also weighed against the cost to the nation of his actions.

    If one of the impacted countries wished to prosecute over this, that is of course their prerogative. Personally, I support the ICC, even if I don't always agree with it.

    I don't. But then, we are back to abrogation. At one time spies were often repatriated. It's a different issue though when citizens spy against their own nation, and has almost always been treated much more harshly.

    Germany was part of it - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XKeyscore

    But it was also spied upon. The age of 'gentlemen don't read each other's letters' ended in the 19th century. Not having intel in other nations can lead to very bad misunderstandings.

    Britain for example actively ran espionage rings in the US in WWII. Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming, and others were sent here to actively move us into the war against Germany.

    And worse, Stalin was getting daily briefings on FDR and Truman because we had no clue about counterintelligence. Stalin famously knew about the atom bomb at the Tehran conference before being told. Let alone that atomic secrets that were being leaked at the time.

    Hell, the first group that figured out Trump was potentially compromised to the Russians was MI5. Dutch Intel later confirmed the Cozy Bear hacks. Australia turned over data on George Papadopoulous. And good thing, too.
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  16. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Nations don’t have friends. Nations have interests.
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  17. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    Wow that's really profound. I never thought of it that way. :rolleyes:
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  18. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Most spies tend to be nationals of the target nation, it's the agents running them who got repatriated.

    There are usually criminal charges or worse for embedded spies, regardless of their motivations, but governments are much harder to hold to account. In no other walk of life is reporting criminal wrongdoing a crime in itself.

    Of course the spy's "criminality" in this context boils down to not complying to the interests of your country, whereas the criminality of national conduct and the associated ethics of that are complicated. Personally I'm dubious of a mindset which puts patriotism as the highest moral concern, especially if that means being complicit in behaviour which would doubtless be criminal if international law had sufficient teeth to hold superpowers to account.
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  19. Tererun

    Tererun Troll princess and Magical Girl

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    Patriotism as a guide to morality is just saying the same thing as my god likes what I do and not what you do, only the god is some dictator or ruling class. This is why patriots are dubious and end up getting strung up the moment someone defeats their rulers. At least an imaginary god might be argued against based on the stories. You could argue against trhe morality of most christians as they clearly defy the teachings of jesus. The problem with @Demiurge is he is arguing morals based on clearly immoral people who copntradict their own claimed values all the time. American patriots argue on morals that completely change based on the party that wins. A republican loves the patriotic trump corruption, but if hillary clinton did the same thing then she is an enemy of the nation.

    Moral values really should not change based on location, people in charge, or group affiliation. I agree they could be based on an individual, but you should not be altering your moral stance based on who is in charge like most republicans and democrats do. If so they really do not mean anything.
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  20. K.

    K. Sober

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    I don't see that he had a better choice. If you see one, explain it.
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  21. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    There are three bodies that have oversite that anyone who worked in the field would have almost certainly known.

    The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. You know, the one Vindman went to on an intelligence matter that led to Trump being impeached.
    The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
    And the Office of the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community.

    And Snowden himself said he was stealing documents for four years prior to his trip to Hong Kong. Clearly he had more than enough time to investigate which of these groups was most favorable to his POV.

    He easily could have reached out to any of these groups.

    Instead he went to Assange, who counseled him to run to the PRC, and then literally paid his airfare to Moscow. But then, Assange was quite publicly getting a check from Moscow at the time.

    What makes it worse, Snowden himself says that it was unethical testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that made him chose to flee with the documents. He believed ODNI Clapper was lying to them. They were clearly interested in the question, and were getting the wrong info. He was explicitly aware of this.

    If Snowden did these things, then he would be alive and well in the US with his wife, there wouldn't have been a major intelligence coup that he himself was ultimately responsible for, and entities with the force of law could have investigated his claims and made what alterations they saw fit. They certainly could have initiated an amendment to the law to give him official whistleblower status - these are the agencies that created that law in the first place.

    And even if that didn't work, he still could have gone to the press afterward.

    After all, he had years, per his own words, to make this decision.
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  22. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    The first part, yes, that's what I said. The second part, reporting on criminal wrongdoing is not a crime, even in the intelligence community. It may have political consequences, but you only get jail time if you then steal the material to back your claim. Vindman was fired, and he could sue over that if he wanted to, but he in no way was accused of committing a crime.

    I don't disagree, but there's the philosophy and then there's the reality on the ground. Every nation does this, it's understood, and in the west at least most nations have oversight boards and methods to encourage moral dissent.

    Nation states aren't going to unilaterally disarm their intelligence services to comply with external guidance on international law. Again, the reality vs the philosophy. It would be a suicide pact. Intel is an incredible force multiplier, and anyone who has even a cursory knowledge of its impact would understand you can't wave it away. It's becoming more powerful and vital, not less, as fortunately the world becomes less overtly violent.
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  23. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    I don't think anyone believes Snowden made the right decision in going to the press first. That was a bad choice on his part and yes, he needs consequences for that.

    But, if the Patriot Act is repealed, then all charges related to information obtained via the Patriot Act should be rescinded. I don't think he needs to spend the rest of his life in prison for trying to do the right thing even if he did it the wrong way.
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  24. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    The laws violated by Snowden were not all Patriot Act stuff.
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  25. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    Yes, the overwhelming charges go back to the espionage act of 1917.

    He's absolutely guilty of that. As it is, he's facing 3 charges, each with a maximum penalty of 10 years. If they were being vengeful, he could be charged with counts for each major secret he revealed.

    If they wanted to throw the book at him, he'd never see the light of day.

    Though looks like his buddy Assange is going to get a pardon. After all, Assange helped put Trump in power, with the backing of Putin and the GRU.
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  26. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Pardoned or not, Assange should be required to spend the rest of his life in a place like Belmarsh where he can do no further harm to himself or anyone else.
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  27. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Yeah, I think that much is self evident, but here's the question.

    If one does not steal, appropriate, purchase or otherwise obtain evidence of wrongdoing how exactly are they to substantiate allegations? How would any whistle blower ever make a case or even validate their claims?

    Again, let's not obfuscate the central point you seem remarkably sanguine about.

    The NSA was playing dirty. Snowden may not have vetted every single document but he knew perfectly well there was information in there which was damaging and being kept quiet for reasons other than national security.

    Any assessment of the impact of his actions is by necessity incomplete because no one can answer one question; how would the world look different today if he had acted differently?

    Very likely the US taxpayer would have saved a dollar or ten million, but beyond that? How would the active espionage on allies have changed the landscape? What compromises would Germany, Britain, basically the rest of NATO have had to make to accommodate the kompromat or strategic information leaked to the US?

    Personally I don't trust the US and am uncomfortable with the subordinate role we already play in the so called "special relationship". If by acting as he did Snowden closed the door on programs by which the US was furthering it's ends at our expense then I feel gratitude towards him, even if he did compromise national security.

    Ultimately if your interests and ours were so closely aligned as to make yours synonymous with ours there would have been no reason to run active espionage against us.

    Conversely if we represented a perceived threat which warranted such programs it follows that you, in turn, represent a much larger threat to us.

    In either case the net balance of his actions is a benefit to me, regardless of your legal system.
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  28. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    By going to organizations with subpoena powers. And he does so without legal sanction to himself. Indeed, he could testify as an expert witness at that point if they could negotiate legal protections for him.

    Sanguine about an intelligence agency playing dirty? You don't say? LOL.

    That's the entire point of intelligence agencies. Was British Intel playing cricket when they poisoned cattle and put up signs at wells saying the wells were poisoned in WWI? The Germans were outraged.

    The Brits shrugged and said, 'It's not against any convention to put up signs. We kept the water pure, it was necessary for us in the desert as well.' Some of the Kaiser's soldiers literally died of thirst because of that, just meters away from good, fresh water.

    Snowden vetted very few of the documents, by his own admission. That's what he went to the journalists for. However, if he wanted to keep things out of the hands of the enemy, and yes, the GRU is definitely both your and my enemy, regardless of your naivete on the issue, he should have kept it within the oversight channels provided exactly for these issues. The ones with subpoena power - and the ones who control the literal budgets of the entities involved.

    Which you then go on to expound on anyway. :D

    Yes, because you either refuse to accept or aren't aware of the more damaging consequences.

    Not only did means and methods and even extensive descriptions of the technologies involved get in the hands of the GRU, it provided the impetus for escalation. It wasn't just you that was scared of that capability, it was any potential foreign adversary.

    It is a virtual surety that escalated Russian and Chinese operations, and that they made quantum strides based on the extensive blueprint on how to conduct these operations that were put in their hands. Again, MI6 stated that Russia gained access to the entire cache of Snowden's leak, far, far beyond what was revealed in the papers, and decoded the majority of it. Regardless of how it got to the Russians finally, Snowden was the one who put those documents in play when he stole them in the first place. He absolutely bears responsibility for that - both legal and moral.

    Since then, we've seen massive upswells in both the frequency and success of Russian intelligence operations. Prior to Snowden, their cyberwarfare capabilities were underdeveloped. They conducted things like DOS attacks, a very rudimentary ability.

    By 2015 they were engaged in massive hacking campaigns across the world. Multiple former Soviet states, France, the UK, Germany, South Korea, in addition to the US were all targeted. Anywhere Putin believed he needed advantage. He also upscaled classic human intelligence at the time - including poisoning UK citizens and running over a former Soviet scientist who publicly discussed the means used. Since 2016 there have been quite a few deaths of both journalists and members of his own intelligence community that were involved in these types of operations.

    That's pretty naive. You think we aren't interested in the affairs of state in the UK, those ones which might impact said special relationship? Hell, there's a real chance that the UK splits entirely right now, of course we are going to be investigating those possibilities, and if we can learn what Boris Johnson is talking about with Merkel or for that matter Putin, we will.

    And I'd be shocked if Britain wasn't doing the same thing here. The British are masters of espionage, and yes, you have a long history of spying on the US. You sent agents to seduce publishers into giving good press to the UK, and forged a supposed Nazi map of postwar US that was given as proof to FDR that the Germans were planning an attack.

    And there's the heart of it. You don't believe it impacted you.

    I'm confident your kids will read about how you were wrong.

    After all, Putin has stated he has an objective of breaking up the Western powers, like the Soviet Union was broken up. Due to the stupidity of each of our conservative populations, he is very close to getting his wish.
  29. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    I don't see this connection you keep drawing between Snowden and the successes Russia have had in cyber warfare.

    You assert those successes are down to hacking operations, yet the most telling blows we have seen have been down to weaponising social media using techniques available to you or I. No insider knowledge or technical expertise is required there. Nor is inside knowledge required to observe and comment on them.

    I don't accept your assertions that Snowden led to Brexit or Trump. You cannot substantiate that whereas I can present plenty of much more reasonable and realistic scenarios. Brexit had been on the cards for decades as any fool who had ever read the Daily Mail could tell you. Likewise the simmering racial tensions in the US had been ready to hit boiling point entirely without help.

    Doubtless Russia stoked those fires but spamming memes on Facebook hardly requires substantial breaches in national security, just a bunch of accounts and a hard drive.

    Claiming you "know people in intelligence circles" was, is, and will remain unconvincing as an argument as others have already made clear.

    Maybe you do, maybe they've intimated personal opinions, maybe they're personally offended at a turncoat who got the better of them. It makes no difference to a discussion based on the publicly available information which makes the events of the past few years entirely explainable without upsetting Occam.
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  30. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    The hacks of Podesta, the DNC, and the RNC? Yes, those required more technical expertise than the average person possesses. Or can you write malware? It was a GRU enclave, military hackers. It was tracked back to a building known to be owned by Russian military intelligence in St. Petersburg.

    They were also successful in attacking the Pentagon using similar methods in 2015. Shut down the Joint Chief of Staff's email system until it could be purged.

    Their capabilities were far greater in 2015 than they were in 2010. We know they received technical documentation on methods and means through Snowden's theft. Again, per MI6.

    Oh, Fancy Bear, one of the GRU groups involved, also hit the German Parliament in 2015. Hi Packard! They also are known to have hacked D-30 Howitzer's tracking software in the Ukraine, as part of Russia's stealth but very well known invasion of that sovereign country.

    The Podesta hacks dropped the same day that Trump's infamous 'grab them by the pussy' video did. The Mueller investigation found a witness who provided emails that this was coordinated in order to stop that Access Hollywood video from being the top news event, and it did indeed supplant it. Emails hacked by Russian military intelligence, using capabilities they lacked only a few years before, and then coordinated between Roger Stone and Julian Assange, with Assange being a known asset to Russia.

    Clinton lost by 80,000 votes in 3 states. There is more than ample evidence to suggest that Russia helped push Trump across the line. It's also a fact they coordinated at least one attack on his direct request. He famously asked Russia to find Hillary's missing emails. The GRU did so within 4 hours, launching their first ever attack on Hillary's home server. Again, in the Mueller report.

    I think we will also find out that the RNC hack means that Putin has had blackmail on several GOP actors, though certainly he already had that on Trump going back decades. The DNC info was leaked. The RNC info was not. Though 8 different GOP senators the year after the hack spent their 4th of July in Moscow.

    As already stated, that is not all that happened. It is however the far right's talking point on this issue in an attempt to downplay it, so congratulations, you have been propagandized.

    It's better than ignorance, though. So I have that going for me, which is nice.

    I certainly won't say you aren't smart, Spot.

    But you seem to lack even basic information on this topic. You might want to take a bit, and process some of that.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
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