, , , ,

The journalist asked, in essence, “How can I offer a source confidentiality if the government knows I know the source and has the power to intercept everything we talk about?”

Madame X,

More fuel for the fire: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/30/nsa-built-secret-shadow-social-network-getprism-and-youve-already-joined-it/

Our military-industrial complex in its surreptitious mode has made it very hard to casually produce a criminal domestic conspiracy — or should have by now: who’s to tell?

If it has, that leads the bad guys back to using runners to pass slips of paper or memorized signal to their associates or, alternatively, produce code, and perhaps along the lines you have suggested with the Jihad. ”Sweet nectar” may not be so sweet these days if it has been attached to a mission involving Islamic Jihad.

Unless you’re committing a crime, the only advice and course possible is to proceed as normal, as you CAN offer confidentiality unless knowingly (on your part) recording and passing information to a controller.

If you’re not doing that, why can’t YOU offer confidentiality?

What you cannot offer any longer is the guarantee of confidentiality — as in times of old and associated with all conflicts, “there are spies everywhere”.

Our own ability as independent writers to query the NSA gather-all-communications system — or test it for reflection of interest in ourselves — is probably nonexistent to primitive.

The circumstance may encourage us to give those who claim the FBI has been following them and such a second glance. Those we usually consign to the ranks of the American Paranoid Movements (of which there are many) and the plainly mentally ill, but with a lurking and invasive government, we might be inclined to taking a second look at some claims or tempted to test the system with breadcrumbs.

Not too many years ago, we had this same conversation and joked about slipping “C4″ and other triggers into correspondence, and I think we found that at least the Google robots were sensitive enough to return invitations to academic programs in national security.


It’s not just about Google’s impersonal robotic text scanning anymore, is it?

We have a known real enemy in the collection of Islamic Jihad groups and their backers in Islam, and those have cast a wide network across the earth to filter in like-minded thinkers and evildoers.

We have to ask whether developing SIGINT security system in their totality affords sufficient strength and wherewithal to hunt and distill adversary signal.

So far, not so good: Al Shabaab’s attack last week in Nairobi, Boko Haram’s latest in northern Nigeria, the swing of Syrian rebel FSA toward ISIL would seem to suggest our national foreign intelligence community failure or, alternatively, too parochial a collection of intelligence communities across the nations. Whatever the spooks – a most apt term, that one — may think they’re doing, they’re not getting in the way of the orchestration of these attacks or adverse shifts in political position.

A global threat wants for a globally integrated response.

I may post this response to you on my blog with attribution removed.

We are just at the start of “spychology” as security outsider enthusiasts.


On that first paragraph, two notes ago: ” . . . but of nodal personality attracts similar traffic in a similar way.” It should have read ” . . . but of a nodal personality attracting similar traffic in a similar way.” Basically, the “person of interest” may become noted by other people having a conversation with him.

You have seen the spiderweb graphics illustrating relationships between organizations or persons. With a security mission, a node enlarged by the traffic it receives from lesser nodes 🙂 might attract interest.

For state intelligence communities tracking Islamic terrorism, everyone knows a “hit” or an “action” may be yet compelled by a nod or a few words scribbled on the back of a grocery slip. Where mafia methods work, they work.

This is really a good time for fiction writers who can either promote the technology, as is done with CIS and the old 24 series, or it can go the other way with events taking place out of the control of authorities (remember Jeff Bridges in Arlington Road?).


The cuckoo and the two peacocks who have made their names synonymous with American military and domestic intelligence leaks and then the machinery revealed have probably already inspired their share of scribbling intended to entertain, some of which will become movies or television episodes if not series.  The theme is “what you don’t know and can’t know conveniently,” and that terrain today includes what governments know about you and everyone with whom you associate via one form of telephony or another (two tin cans and a length of string excepted).

It is of course presumptuous, also narcissistic, and possibly paranoid to think government cares so much about Y-O-U.

Or M-E.

Then too, it seems it has never been more possible that, indeed, government does care, and whichever government it may be, today it may have some powers it could not have dreamed of having, say, 25 years ago.


‘Homeland’ and ‘24’ Creator Howard Gordon on Terror, Tyranny and TV as Art – Tablet Magazine – 9/30/2013

Arlington Road Trailer – YouTube – Posted 5/23/2010

Arlington Road (1999) – IMDb

# # #