Jack straws argument is American baloney

i.e. counterfeit (since Baloney is Italian).

Straw argues that The Guardian is in no position to adjudge (UK? US? Brazilian?) national interest (given expression of UK/US national interest in the mere fact that Snowden document were marked secret, etc by those states). Furthermore, its arrogant to then adjudge anything (whatsoever), given those antecedents.

Well I must be arrogant, for I regularly publish notes on topics that were ONCE secret topics. I started doing so in 1990-ish, when I happened to strike a nerve within the NSA of the day (who arranged to indirectly hire me, as a nth-level contractor afortunately-for-all-of-us on security topics nothing to do with crypto!) I happened to discuss a taboo subject in public – one about which crypto-savvy academics far better versed in the actual matters in question  had, “ahem,” not published their result (under the rules of academic pre-publication review on crypto topics). The damn then burst –  since I got away with it (and thus everyone jumped on board- sensing the “old rules” on peer review by NSA had fallen by the wayside with the changing of the internet times). And indeed the times had changed; with my example being just the gnat wing flag that had to eventually result in finally bursting the old-war and wwII dam concerning “controlled technical information”.

In short I published a secret (not that I knew it to be one). Furthermore, it was an ancient secret – only kept so on “policy grounds”. Everyone knew it (but could not admit to doing so lest some really really ancient crypto device being spied on no longer found itself amenable to be espied upon – once the operators woke up to the results). Yes, those who didn’t know (since I figured it) had to be incompetent users of military crypto. But such is the life of a NSA-er (reveling in human incompetence).

Since then, Ive no doubt I published material that is still marked secret (and even reviewed recently as necessitating continued secret stamps).

So am I arrogant? Did I  (do I?) interfere with the “national interest”? Does the mere fact that I talk (mostly incompetently) about crypto itself represent a similar act of arrogance?

In 1990, that WAS the position. Science itself was arrogant (unless crypto research was subject to national interest presumptions – that generally involved preserving old technical or knowhow secrets until the last gasp of their spying potential had been dead and buried for at least 10 yearse).

today, I don’t actually know i m revealing a secret (since noone gave it to me… to reveal). And I’m inherently unexceptional and untrustworthy (by policy fiat).

Now it’s a little incongruous that I mentioned working on NSA agendas, back in 1990 period. And here I am saying how untrustworthy I am (by fiat). but that’s the difference in the times. Back then, NSA was not a doctrinaire, was not a working by-fiat organization, and was not full of 1930s supermen indoctrinated in their innate special human status (as 4th level contractors at the “spit at” level, in general). Rather, it aimed to represent within itself, in secret, the same political debate that WOULD have been had (if the nature of crypto had allowed the public the same privilege). And, thus it drew a balance. Now it doesn’t act that; being full of exceptional supermen (and lots of terrified contractors).


About home_pw

Computer Programmer who often does network administration with focus on security servers. Sometimes plays at slot machine programming.
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