Kurt Eichenwald Claims Snowden Is A Chinese Spy And Leaks Are Just To Protect Their Cyber Attacks

from the good-luck-with-that dept

And the attempts to tar and feather Ed Snowden continue. The latest is that famed reporter Kurt Eichenwald, who started attacking Ed Snowden months ago, has written up a long speculative article for Newsweek arguing that Ed Snowden has “escalated the cyber war” by giving China the necessary cover it needs to avoid reining in its own cyber attacks. There are a lot of words in the piece — in usual Eichenwald fashion — which just add flowery language around the basic point:

“Snowden changed the argument from one of ‘The Chinese are doing this, it’s intolerable’ to ‘Look, the U.S. government spies, so everybody spies,’ ” says Richard Bejtlich, chief security officer at Mandiant, the firm that linked hacking intrusions in America to the Chinese military. “Of course the U.S. spies, but none of what the U.S. is doing is benefiting American business, and pretty much everything the Chinese are doing is benefiting Chinese businesses.”

That is, if you follow the bizarre logic here, without Snowden, Eichenwald believes that the US would have somehow convinced the Chinese to stop their cyber attack program. And, now because of Snowden, the Chinese can ignore that effort, by pointing out that the US is doing a ton of online hacking too. This is ludicrous on multiple levels. First: the idea that China would actually back off of its online efforts is simply not based in reality. They’re going to attack and they’re gong to keep attacking. Second, there’s the idea that it’s Snowden’s fault that China now has this excuse not to stop hacking. It wasn’t Snowden who made the decision to have the NSA overreach in its operations. That’s on the US government — but in Eichenwald’s mind (fed heavily by US intelligence community employees) — the US government can do no wrong and its spying is “different” than Chinese activities, because it’s for good reasons.

Of course, this is the same excuse that defenders of bad state behavior always use. In fact, it’s the same excuse that the Chinese use for many of their own online activities — such as the Great Firewall of China, which they don’t see as censorship, but providing a better internet.

But, Eichenwald then goes even further into the ridiculous zone when, on Twitter, he flat out stated that he’s sure Snowden is actually a Chinese spy:

Again, nearly everything about that statement is ridiculous. He didn’t “leave all of the documents in Hong Kong.” He provided heavily encrypted versions to a very small number of journalists, and then got rid of the files himself. Eichenwald takes that to mean he “left” them in Hong Kong, based on nothing, and all of this apparently means that Snowden is working for the Chinese (even though he left China pretty quickly).

Of course, all of this is coming out even as more and more officials around the world, including in the US, are recognizing how important the Snowden leaks have been in showing the nature of how the NSA has gone way beyond what it’s supposed to be doing. It really feels like Eichenwald’s piece is just a last gasp effort by his friends in the intelligence community to try to tar and feather Snowden rather than take responsibility for their own activities.

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Comments on “Kurt Eichenwald Claims Snowden Is A Chinese Spy And Leaks Are Just To Protect Their Cyber Attacks”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This is so very true. They want to be able to do whatever they want, and have an all-purpose excuse to fall back on if they get caught. That, and that alone, is the reason behind the non-stop fearmongering about terrorists.

The people that run the US government are not mature adults. They can’t stand on their own two feet, they can’t admit when they’re at fault, and they can’t take any amount of criticism. Can you remember any politician recently who responded to criticism with logic, or frank acceptance? No, time and time again they respond with angry screeds full of ad hominem attacks and name calling at anyone who speaks out against them.
This article points out a classic example. Snowden exposes massive, widespread government corruption, and no one in power can call him anything other than a “traitor”. They aren’t mature enough to admit to themselves that they’re the ones who betrayed their country. They aren’t mature enough to admit that they were in the wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why would the Chinese bother?

Snowden’s presence in China was clearly awkward for them, at a diplomatic level. It was abundantly obvious that they didn’t want him there — regardless of their schadenfreud over the US’s hissyfit.

Besides, the Chinese really have no need of anything that Snowden had: I’m sure every scrap of information in those files was read in Beijing a long time ago. (If not, then they should probably fire someone. Spies get paid to find these sorts of things out.) The only impact of these disclosures, and it’s a minor one at that, is that they can now stop pretending that they don’t know.

So can the Russians…the British…the Australians…the French…the Germans…and everyone else who has a reasonably competent espionage operation. I’m sure that the salient parts of the Snowden disclosures were long since debated in their inner sanctums as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Snowden is like Hanoi Jane.
She will never live that name down; he will never live down what he did.
He can be honored world wide for exposing the criminal activity by the NSA but he can never come back to the West.

If he goes to Germany or any western country he will be extricated legally or illegally, placed in a box, and feed drugs until he is bled dry of information and then deposited in some stink hole in most horrible conditions.

The best he can hope for is to remain in Russia as even possible visits to old soviet countries could be most dangerous to his health.

A good example of Snowden situation is demonstrated by Charles Robert Jenkins defection to North Korea.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Since you said it...

Without faith in that point, his worldview will fall apart.

While I do not doubt that many in the NSA are fully aware of the necessity of keeping that distance, even a single rebel can cause that narrative to fall.
Assuming the NSA do not follow the international market for information on a future market crash is called being in denial. Assuming NSA will not share those informations seems naive. Not calling that “benifiting american business” is dishonest.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sounds to me like the NSA is getting very nervous. It knows it has broken the intent of the law as well as the letter. Never do you hear anything along the lines of we should fix this. Instead what you hear are reasons why it should be ok.

Funny that given all this spying, revealing a year or two ago screenshots of Chinese hackers for their military in the act, that the NSA can suddenly come up with accusations that they don’t have any leverage on the Chinese because of Snowden.

I seem to remember this malware called Stuxnet that got mysteriously released. When that was discovered a series of other malwares came out. All pretty much had a few things in common indicating that they were made by the same people. Then Obama comes out and takes credit for the US’s part in that. Somehow that strikes me as the pot calling the kettle black.

Yet none of that part of the picture is ever portrayed. No one ever comes right out and says, we were wrong. The public knows they are wrong. There’s no question in this by their responses. There’s no meaningful oversight, no meaningful checks and balances, nothing that seems very long to hold them back as something morally or ethically objectionable.

What is wrong with this picture?

Anonymous Coward says:

Why release the docs then?

Silly logic, if he wanted the Chinese to have an advantage from the secrets, then why also *release* the secrets? Why not just leave them in Hong Kong?

Also why would he now be in Russia? Why would he had to leave Hong Kong?

It’s odd, his logic doesn’t seem to make sense, yet he says it like he’s some sort of shill or something.

So lets dig to see if he’s just a spooks PR man in disguise. A search for him in 2012 brings up this:


Basically “Bush was to blame for 911 not he spooks”

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