Unintended consequences

Image via MorgueFile.com

If there’s one article worth reading at the moment, it’s How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets.

Go on, have a read if you haven’t already. I’ll wait.

What strikes me, though its never spelled out in that story, is how the NSA was the author of its own misfortunes.

When Snowden first decided to go public, the journalist he contacted was Glenn Greenwald. But Greenwald never got back to him. Snowden sent instructions explaining how to set up secure encryption, and as Greenwald admits, encryption was just too much hassle.

Then Snowden reached out to Laura Poitras.

Laura Poitras was on security watchlists, because she made a documentary film about Iraq.

She was routinely stopped at airports and questioned by security personnel.

Her notes were seized.

Her electronic equipment was seized.

On one occasion, she was told her pen was a dangerous weapon as she took notes of the questions she was asked.

All of this made her security conscious and alert to government surveillance.

So when Snowden contacted her, she already knew something about encryption. And the rest you know.

That security officer was right. Her pen is a weapon. Just not in the way he imagined.

Image via MorgueFile.com
Image via MorgueFile.com


By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.