Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Edward Snowden - Russian disinformation tool


The NSA Director of Technology Lonny Anderson was in Australia recently. The secret meeting held with Australian Intelligence was allegedly to discuss more leaks coming soon from Edward Snowden.

I'm not not going to get into why Snowden did what he did in the beginning nor am I going to give my opinion on whether I agree with his actions or not. The outing of the Prism program was huge. Again whether you agree with Snowden or not, his actions affected policy both domestically and internationally.
First of all, we need to talk about how classified information is handled in the United States. The highest clearance you can achieve is called Top Secret SCI. The SCI stands for Sensitive Compartmentalized Information. Classified information at the Top Secret level is compartmentalized. It's filtered to those that have the need to know. TS SCI isn't a master key to the government's classified vaults. It's more like a hall pass to access the areas that your authorized to be in.

Edward Snowden had access to whatever he was working on at the time he was employed by the NSA. He had information regarding the Prism program and for whatever reason (political, ideological, monetary, etc) he released that information to the public. That was credible. However, the claims of his "leaks" following the Prism revelation are getting crazier and crazier. Remember how classified information works. It's compartmentalized. It's a hall pass not a master key. There's a limit to what he had access to.

Snowden released the Prism information from Hong Kong and then went straight to Moscow. He's still there. All the additional leaks after he left Hong Kong have been while in exile in Moscow.

Let's call a spade a spade. No matter what Edward Snowden started out as he's now something completely different. He's a Russian disinformation tool.

What is the Russian government today? Has it really changed since the Czar or Soviet eras? It's gone from one autocracy to the next. All that has changed is the ideology behind the Despot. The KGB acted much like an autonomous mini government within the larger Soviet State. Not only did they master the art of disinformation globally they did it domestically as well. They practically wrote the book on modern day disinformation practices. The same architects of KGB intelligence practices during the Soviet era are now the rulers and policy makers of the modern day Russian Federation. There is around 6,000 former KGB that hold current government positions. The former Soviet "autonomous mini government" now runs Russia overtly.

It's was no surprise at all that the Russian government welcomed Snowden with open arms. However, his value to the Russians isn't in his NSA/Prism knowledge. His greater value lies in his perceived credibility to the world. Why?

Snowden's intelligence leaks were most likely drained when he outed Prism. However, the media fire storm that followed gave him immediate street cred. This fit perfectly inside the old KGB disinformation model. Disinformation in counter intelligence circles is more than what you might be thinking. It's information intended to deceive that comes from a trusted source. 

Example: If the FSB tells the world that the Australian Intelliegence services had tapped the Indonesian President's phone...not many would believe it. However, if it's released as a Snowden "leak"...media firestorm.

The above example actually happened. The result was a catastrophe in Australian/Indonesian relations.

Some of the information that will come out via "Snowden leaks" may be true, but that's how disinformation works. Mix in a little truth along with the false. As it stands today, no one knows the difference. From now on consider everything that's released via Snowden to be politically tied to the Russian Federation. He's nothing more than a pawn in a larger game.