The New Snowden Article by Greenwald About Wikileaks is a Journalistic Mess

Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher published a triple-shot of revelations from Edward Snowden’s stolen National Security Agency files yesterday, titled “Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters,” and as we’ve come to expect, the claims in the article are scattered and utterly misleading, while contravening details are predictably buried.

The first of the three revelations packed into this article details how NSA’s British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), possibly uses (or tested or proposed) an operation codenamed ANTICRISIS GIRL. (Incidentally, “Anti-Crisis Girl” is also the name of a compilation album by a Ukrainian pop singer named Svetlana Loboda. Someone at GCHQ is familiar with Ukrainian pop music, evidently.)

Anyway, ANTICRISIS GIRL is only vaguely explained in two PowerPoint slides attained by Snowden which suggest (we don’t know for certain, though Greenwald and Gallagher report it as a certainty) that the GCHQ’s Global Telecoms Exploitation (GTE) unit used intelligence gathered from underwater fiber optic cables to analyze Wikileaks’ web traffic using a free open-source analytics app called Piwik.

There are major problems with this one.

–In several places throughout the article, including the headline, Greenwald and Gallagher explicitly state that GCHQ spied on Wikileaks “supporters” and the like.

Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters

One classified document from Government Communications Headquarters, Britain’s top spy agency, shows that GCHQ used its surveillance system to secretly monitor visitors to a WikiLeaks site.

But they don’t know this for sure regarding this specific operation, since it’s unclear whether ANTICRISIS GIRL was a pilot program or whether the slides were mock-ups. If we scroll all the way down to paragraph 20, we find this:

It is unclear from the PowerPoint presentation whether GCHQ monitored the WikiLeaks site as part of a pilot program designed to demonstrate its capability, using only a small set of covertly collected data, or whether the agency continues to actively deploy its surveillance system to monitor visitors to WikiLeaks.

And The Intercept‘s technical editor, Micah Lee, seemed to confirm this on Twitter.

What exactly is an “example case?”

Don’t know for sure? Then why was it published?… [CONTINUE READING HERE]

(h/t Virginia Attorney Nicole Naum)
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