Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Can You Keep A Secret? Hollywood Leaks, WikiLeaks, and Libyan Intelligence Leaks

[via Al-Jazeera story below]

It's been a leak-heavy evening so far.

Celebrity-focused Anonymous spin-off, Hollywood Leaks, just posted the alleged phone numbers of some famous individuals, including comedian Adam Carolla, a guy from Entourage, and "Marc Cuban."

(Though, if I were the owner of the Dallas Mavericks himself, I'd be more pissed that they couldn't spell my first name right.)


The WikiLeaks method involves a sophisticated procedure of packaging leaked US diplomatic cables up into country groups or themes, such as ’resources corruption’, and providing it to those organizations that agreed to do the most research in exchange for time-limited exclusivity. As part of the WikiLeaks agreement, these groups, using their local knowledge, remove the names of persons reporting unjust acts to US embassies, and feed the results back to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks then publishes, simultaneously with its partners, the underlying cables together with the politically explosive revelations. This way publications that are too frightened to publish the cables have the proof they need, and the public can check to make sure the claims are accurate.
WikiLeak's goal was to release revelations in batches to provoke the widest possible impact on the news cycle. Thus, WikiLeaks required partner publications to agree to several conditions in order to participate.

Apparently, the Guardian hasn't been meeting these for at least nine months.
David Leigh and the Guardian have subsequently and repeatedly violated WikiLeaks security conditions, including our requirements that the unpublished cables be kept safe from state intelligence services by keeping them only on computers not connected to the internet. Ian Katz, Deputy Editor of the Guardian admitted in December 2010 meeting that this condition was not being followed by the Guardian.
Which, in turn, renders the entire gradual leaking process useless.
PJ Crowley, State Department spokesman on the cables issue earlier this year, told AP on the 30th of August, 2011 that “any autocratic security service worth its salt” would probably already have the complete unredacted archive.
WikiLeaks is now taking a Twitter hashtag vote to see if they should drop their original controlled release plan and let all the remaining cables loose at once.

The password, by the way, was "ACollectionOfHistorySince_1966_ToThe_PresentDay#"

And Max Read at Gawker makes a valid point about this particular password.
Why is there only one, unchanging password for the database? This seems like an unbelievably stupid policy for something as confidential and important as the database. And, even then, why use the password for the public Torrent file as the password for the file given to Guardian editor David Leigh, whom Assange allegedly greatly mistrusted? Why not a temporary, unique password? Maybe the Guardian is full of "snaky" (as Assange called them) liars—but that just makes Assange look like a moron.

In the immortal lexicon of Donald Rumsfeld, there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns. We know Hollywood Leaks and WikiLeaks are going to release embarrassing, headline-grabbing data about a variety of powerful people.

But we have no idea what bombshells will be released when journalists sweep through the recently-captured Libyan intelligence archives.

If they're able to.
I'm taken to the office of Abdullah Alsinnousi, head of Libya's intelligence service and one of the Gaddafi regime's most notorious and feared strong men.

Scattered on his desk are dozens of documents branded "top secret", but the rebels accompanying me aren't keen on me taking anything away. I find a folder titled "Moussa Al Sadr", who was the founder of the Amal movement, a Shia party in Lebanon, who went missing in Libya over 30 years ago. Within seconds, the folder is taken by my minder who said none of these documents can leave the compound.
But for now, we know from smuggled documents that former Bush Asst. Secretary of State David Welch has been in touch with Gaddafi regime officials (as recently as August 2nd).
Minutes of this meeting record his advice on how to undermine Libya's rebel movement, with the potential assistance of foreign intelligence agencies, including Israel.

The documents read: "Any information related to al-Qaeda or other terrorist extremist organisations should be found and given to the American administration but only via the intelligence agencies of either Israel, Egypt, Morroco, or Jordan… America will listen to them… It's better to receive this information as if it originated from those countries...".
And so has anti-war Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
On the floor of the intelligence chief's office lay an envelope addressed to Gaddafi's son Saif Al-Islam. Inside, I found what appears to be a summary of a conversation between US congressman Denis Kucinich, who publicly opposed US policy on Libya, and an intermediary for the Libyan leader's son.

It details a request by the congressman for information he needed to lobby US lawmakers to suspend their support for the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) and to put an end to NATO airstrikes.

According to the document, Kucinich wanted evidence of corruption within the NTC and, like Welch, any possible links within rebel ranks to al-Qaeda.
But, of course, why pay attention to all this secret, controversial information when you can talk about all those Tweets about Beyonce's baby bump instead?

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