Having Lost The Debate On Backdooring Encryption, Intelligence Community Plans To Wait Until Next Terrorist Attack

from the this-is-ridiculous dept

We already wrote about the Obama administration considering its options on how to handle the whole “going dark” debate concerning backdooring encryption. The key point in all of that is that there is no chance in hell that backdoors will be mandated by law. The administration recgonizes that’s a lost cause. However, within the Washington Post’s article that revealed this, there was also a somewhat disturbing argument from the losing side of this battle. The intelligence community seems to be gleefully awaiting the next terrorist event, knowing that it can then reintroduce its push for backdoors:

Although ?the legislative environment is very hostile today,? the intelligence community?s top lawyer, Robert S. Litt, said to colleagues in an August e-mail, which was obtained by The Post, ?it could turn in the event of a terrorist attack or criminal event where strong encryption can be shown to have hindered law enforcement.?

There is value, he said, in ?keeping our options open for such a situation.?

In other words, Litt admits that his side has lost this battle, but he doesn’t want the administration to come out totally against legislation, because, you know, if there’s an attack, then maybe the idiots in the public will finally accept the intelligence community shoving backdoors down their throat. After all, such a plan worked out pretty well with the PATRIOT Act, which took a bunch of bad and rejected ideas and rushed them into law. In fact, it’s almost amazing that the law enforcement community didn’t get backdooring encryption into the PATRIOT Act back in 2001 in the first place…

Either way, given this, it really looks like Litt is hoping for another attack to get through, just so he can better spy on people. Why are these people in positions of power again?

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Comments on “Having Lost The Debate On Backdooring Encryption, Intelligence Community Plans To Wait Until Next Terrorist Attack”

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64 Comments
Uenu (profile) says:

The next terrorist attack...

Would that be a real or manufactured one?

I keep hearing about all the terrorist plots being foiled by the FBI, in which it turns out the FBI thought up, planned, recruited/coerced the actors, supplied them and then “foiled” the attempt through investigative means.

Would this possibly mean that they may plan some attacks using encrypted communication with the actors, that they then are “unable to prevent” because of “encryption”, just to further their Totalitarian/Orwellian agenda?

I swear, I’m only this cynical when it comes to the Government/Politicians. They, long ago, abandoned the purpose of “Serving the People”, in favor of serving themselves.

ArchangelRenzoku says:

Re: The next terrorist attack...

My thoughts exactly. This is exactly what they are doing. They think American citizens are stupid and will be scared into another bad Patriot Act. They say isis says Washington is next. Everyone at ISIS should be dead already with the number of drone executions happening on that side of the world. All that’s left is our covert operatives within ISIS since the beginning. They are getting paid to bring oil to the U.S., back the war with our fallen soldiers names and take away American Liberties through fear and “protection”.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: The next terrorist attack...

I don’t believe most “false flag” theories.

It turns out, you don’t need to run false flag missions. You just need to wait a few months for a quasi-real one you can exaggerate.

Easier to wait for some real baddies to do some bad than to stage it – and bear the additional burden of a false flag operation, and a complicated cover-up.

Look at it this way: It’s CYA. “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”. And nobody ever got fired for exaggerating up some minor threat. But people often get burned/jailed/impeached for foul play (ex: Nixon, Ken Lay, McCarthy, Madoff). Why would the spooks take the chance of repercussions when they can just play the safe bets, and still win.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Novel Idea

Reducing the number of intelligence agencies to one, and getting them to concentrate of ‘persons of interest’ would do more to stop terrorists attacks than letting them continue spying on everyone. 9/11 got through because of the too many cooks problem, rather than not having the information in the system. Adding the fusion centres just adds more cooks to hoard the information that they get, under the guise of sharing information, leading to more fragmentation of the intelligence, and less co-ordination..

Wyrm (profile) says:

Why are these people in positions of power again?
Ambition. They are in power because they want the power.
Most people don’t want power because it comes with responsibility… supposedly.
These people want the power because they know they can waive of the responsibilities.

That reminds me of a philosopher who said that power should only be granted to those who don’t want it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Responibilities? HAH!
No matter how badly they do, there are no responsiblities for the guys in the top. Even if they quite blatently run a company or organization into the ground they always seem to get a new high position job with huge benifits and a golden handshake that a family could live quite well of for the rest of their lives.
Responsibility is only effective if there is an incentive to be responsible.
For normal people it is usually enough to know that other people will suffer if you don’t keep to your responsibilities, but the higher you go, the farther away you get from those you hurt until they are just ants that you stepped on without even noticing them.
I have a long worklife ahead of me, but I do not wish for a place of power if this is the price for it.
I am not religious, but this sentence seems to describe it very well: “To sell your soul”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

While some business owners can be very harsh on the one hand and I agree they can be better to their employees on the other hand they have a business to run. If they try to run it like a charity the business will go out of business and there won’t be any business left to hire employees. Running a business requires making a lot of tough choices but if no one ran the business there won’t be a business and so those employees wouldn’t have a job.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well there is the top and there is The Top. Not very obvious from my comment, but I am talking about those with a lot of power in general, not just inside their own business. I don’t mind harsh and I don’t mind CEO’s in general. Most of them are good guys and I happen to work for such a guy.
The ones I talk about are the people with power we hear about. Not just major business CEO’s, but police, FBI, CIA, NSA, big politicians. These guys don’t have the incentive to think about their responsibilities beyond themselves. Just another golden payday at the end of any major incident they may cause. I have seen such high profile people go broke with several companies only to be able to borrow another million to start up again. Even when they are personally broke, they still drive around in luxary cars somehow.
I am getting a bit off topic though. In this case, it is the FBI and friends who wants to destroy our current technological infrastructure for power that NOONE should have. Most of us here know what chaos it would be and how utterly a failure it was to even suggest it in the first place, but does anyone get fired or even a stern talking to in public? It was such a rediculus and dangerous suggestion that anyone who ever was in favor of this deserves to get fired from public service of any kind, from a purely management perspective.
Think about the scale of it, if this had gone through. Only nukes would probably be able to measure up to that scale of global affect. No terrorist ever could.
These people have a big responsibility to live up to, but no incentive to do so, and as such they chose not to.

David says:

A bit naive, Mike...

Either way, given this, it really looks like Litt is hoping for another attack to get through, just so he can better spy on people. Why are these people in positions of power again?

They are in positions of power so that they are not reduced to merely hoping for another attack. They got all the materials they need, and all the legal and clandestine tools they need to keep it under wraps.

Why do you think you only hear of pathetic would-be terrorists ending up before court? They keep the good ones operational instead.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: A bit naive, Mike...

Why do you think you only hear of pathetic would-be terrorists ending up before court?

Because Real Terrorists(TM) have long ago declared “mission accomplished.” The police and courts are battling domestic insurgents, the military is off in Syria and Ukraine doing whatever they please not to mention droning anything they please, weapons mfgrs are continuing to get rich, and the DEA has its never ending War On Drugs going at full blast with hardly anyone questioning it, so what would Real Terrorists accomplish by attacking? Not a lot more than is already going on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: A bit naive, Mike...

Non-Lethal Weapons directed at US citizens for no reason,driving them mad running in the streets

President :”OMG, NDAA!”

Eugenics start en masse. Basically, the only way your country can be saved is by soldiers refusing to attack the citizens and that piece of paper they swore oath to. I’d say it’s 50-50 by now, these endless wars and the soldiers who remain in are growingly going mad themselves so.

gg

Anonymous Coward says:

Now we have something to reference for the next terrorist attack or criminal event that occurs to show that 1) Our intelligence community is lacking the skill and competence to stop them 2) They had motivation to NOT stop them 3) Would still not be able to stop those occurrences if they got what they wanted since any organized and funded group would not be using the broken encryption systems on their stuff (Well, they’d be using the bad encryptions against others…like our intelligence community).

I guess our intelligence community fought monsters so long they themselves became monsters, because I see very little difference in their operation. Seems best to retire the lot and start fresh if that’s the case.

Anonymous Coward says:

“where strong encryption can be shown to have hindered law enforcement.” “

Or where law enforcement is intentionally lax so that such an event is more likely to happen and then law enforcement can claim that more spying is needed.

I think the point is that their job is to stop criminals without invading our privacy. That they almost look forward to an attack that they can use as the poster child for a self serving or alternate agenda is almost a conflict of interest.

Personanongrata says:

Pliably Supine True Believers

Either way, given this, it really looks like Litt is hoping for another attack to get through, just so he can better spy on people. Why are these people in positions of power again?

These people do not need an actual terrorist attack in order to have their way. These people simply need to make unsubstantiated claims of an impending attack based upon the claim of increased “chatter” between encrypted terrorist communications and then hide behind the veil of national security when queried for details.

These people are in positions of power because they are pliably supine heel-clicking true believers who salute smartly and march off unquestioningly to the drum beat of tyranny when ordered to do so.

TruthHurts (profile) says:

It wouldn't matter if the legislation went through anyway.

The “criminals” and “terrorists” would only use encryption designed, vetted and compiled outside of the United States or any NATO member nation.

Legislating a required backdoor would only damage the regular citizens, companies, corporations within the United States leaving them open to cyber attacks thousands of times a day.

By that line of thought, any attempt to legislate backdoors into encryption and other security products would be akin to mass vandalism to every device created or used within the United States. This would leave both the Legislative and Executive branches of the government open to Ricoh act charges because of the massive damage to our nations infrastructure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Although “the legislative environment is very hostile today,” the intelligence community’s top lawyer, Robert S. Litt, said to colleagues in an August e-mail, which was obtained by The Post, “it could turn in the event of a terrorist attack or criminal event where the United States constitution can be shown to have hindered law enforcement.”

Anonymous Coward says:

U.S.A/U.K/insert governments = Domestic Terrorists

It not a fucking nice thing to say about someone is it Mr fjcking government, so stop treating every fucking one of us as one

And until we ACTUALLY start employeeing PEACE AMBASADORS, people designated to find alternative approaches to violence, then fuck off with your self created enemies

Stop actively interferring and upsetting foreign nations aswell as your own constituants, a good and HUGE fucking step for one……one that you consistantly and AROGANTLY ignore every single fucking time

Self appointed, wanabe superior cast, manipulative, secretive, no morals, authorative, no boundaries, self entitled to lives/laws and trust, arrogance disguised as confidence, liers, self entitled interfering busy bodies…..and by no means less ARMED

Yeah, sure, whyyyy should i be worried, or royally pissed off that its getting worse not better

Godammit man, do they not realise that they create their very own opposition, or are they so arrogant to believe that they are entitled to other peoples lives

Why do we bother, the writings on the wall, these arrogant pricks will get what they want, 1:this will come, and 2:it will be abused……2 crimes

Government the war on terrorist competition…….fcking bastards…….godammit

Im sorry guys and gals, calmer minds do prevail given time, im once left with the decision to post this or self censor

Nope, looks like ive still got more…..(godamit)
Kings, queens, presidents, primeministers, politicians, monarchies, governments, religious institutions

These things are the causes of global instability

A government is not a bad idea to me, one that is mandated only to keeping the peace(REACTIONARY ONLY) and DEFENDING the land from foreign ARMIES should one come, however one that has no boundaries is most assuredly a shit waiting to hit the fan

Sheep go bahhh bahhhh
I say, go fuck yourselves

Anonymous Coward says:

is there a terrorist in the house?

i’m wondering now if real flesh-and-blood terrorists would buddy up with our govt to blow some people here to kingdom come.  i guess the question would be: do any terrorists want our govt to shred our constitution?  we certainly are less america already than we’ve probably ever been.  maybe they’d go for that.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Un-necessary, as America already has the world’s best trained and best equipped terrorists in its employ, in its Armed Forces, Special Units Divisions.

And should there be some things that need doing that are simply too heinous even for the US military’s nastiest murder squads to handle, there is always the corporate owned ex-military mercenary squads they used in Afghanistan and Louisiana to kill and torture civilians, waiting in the wings.

Why trust to foreigners, that which can be better dealt with by your own people?

Anonymous Coward says:

A senior official granted anonymity by the Post acknowledged that the law enforcement argument is “just not carrying the day.” He told the Post reporters: “People are still not persuaded this is a problem. People think we have not made the case. We do not have the perfect example where you have the dead child or a terrorist act to point to, and that’s what people seem to claim you have to have.”

https://theintercept.com/2015/09/16/top-intel-lawyer-pushing-anti-encryption-legislation-says-terror-attack-help/

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That is either some world-class misdirection, or someone who has completely and utterly missed the point. Even with a ‘perfect example’ as he says, it would still not justify sabotaging encryption. The proper response to a tragedy is not less safety for everyone, that’s just compounding the problem and ensuring things get even worse.

Making everyone less safe helps no one but the criminals and/or criminally minded, of which the badge-toting types are only a small percentage.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

That totally depends on your definition of “Everybody”.

Currently, the only people that actually count, are those who are members of the Ownership Society – the mega-rich.

Once you understand that the US public is the Adversary and that the Ownership Society is threatened only by the Adversary – drug dealers and terrorists are after all. members of the US public remember – you will begin to understand how eliminating encryption does indeed make “Everybody” safer. 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: How much $$?

They keep babbling (mostly Republicans, but the Wall Street wing of the Democrats too, they used to be 50-50 with the Progressives, then with Clinton that slipped to 66.6/33.3 and now with Obama, Independents like Senator Sanders have to become Democrats (because running as Independent is retarded, Perot realized it a bit late), the Wall Street Democrats are 75-25 and the Progressives are totally muted since the 2010 by-elections) about the next attack this and that since well, 9/12/2001. Seemingly being eager for it. It seems like planning a good one takes a very long time, ex-senator Bob Kerrey is on video in between 9/11 Commission Enquiries saying “it’s a 30 year conspiracy”. You look it up, not hard to find.

So they just leave the observers from other countries like me in a permanently anxious needing Valium to go through the night and day. I would have exploded if I was American by now I think (heart stuff, LEO’s, nothing terrorist).

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: How much $$?

Rant Warning
============

As every Anti-Conspiracy Buff will tell you, conspiracies, such as 9/11, are impossible, simply because too many people would know about it and it would thus be impossible to keep them all quiet.

For some unknown reason, Anti-Conspiracy Buffs think that people who participate in a conspiracy, want to tell the world that they participated in a conspiracy.

Since that’s just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, I have to stand with the notion that conspiracies are easy to plan and pull off because people will do almost anything for money, and once involved in such a scheme, will never admit to anyone that they actually participated in something that netted them a ton of cash and probably caused the deaths of hundreds of people.

Doing so will lose them the cash and put them in jail, where they will likely be knifed to death within 24 hours, compliments of those they just squealed on.

So, in order to pull off another in the long string of “successful conspiracies” (Anti-Conspiracy Buffs believe there is no such thing), it takes a lot of planning and lot of time and money to insure that the people who “know” about it are also the kind of people that will take the money offered and stay quiet forever about what they know.

Sometimes that means getting certain people elected and certain people employed at sensitive posts – you know, the sort of things that the Good Old Boys Network has always been extremely good at pulling off.

Sometimes it means getting certain people killed – accidentally of course – in order to make a position vacant for the replacements you choose.

To the Anti-Conspiracy Buff, conspirators are four moustached men in dark suits who meet in a darkened warehouse in the dead of night, and plan their plots of conquest entirely without the aid of regular citizens who would do anything for money.

It would never occur to the Anti-Conspiracy Buff that a conspiracy is nothing more than a business venture, planned out in the exact same manner and in the exact same environment as would a corporate marketing scheme to sell shit as Shinola (an ancient name for brown shoe-polish).

It would also never occur to the anti-conspiracy buff that every single person involved in a conspiracy that would thus know about the conspiracy and be in a position to squeal on the others, would be effectively committing suicide, since they too were involved in the conspiracy and thus are also guilty of that crime.

And as for the notion that they might get protection from prosecution if they squeal, consider for a second how all the Whistleblowers who expose government conspiracy are actually treated.

Its quite easy to set up a fake terrorist act. Its just really damned expensive and necessitates gathering the right criminals together at the right time and insuring they are in the right places.

The little details and mistakes and screw-ups that inevitably occur, are easily taken care of through reverse information damage control, which the truth free press has become almost expert at these days.

I don’t think you will have to wait too long for the next fake terror attack, cuz the Boys are getting desperate. Already their plans for a New American Century have been set back numerous times and they are getting long in the tooth and soon may be too old to enjoy Bimbos, Yachts and Cocaine.

And the press will carry the day easily this time too, as the Five Eyes Special Forces Battalion, commonly known as ISIS, will immediately claim the fame for it – guaranteed.

That was the reason they were created in the first place, just like when the CIA created El Quaida (sp?) for 9/11.

Once you know who the bad guys really are, its quite easy to see reality through the BS.

Sadly, most people prefer to believe that their billionaire citizens and elected officials and fellow Joe Six-packs, would never willfully fuck them over for power and money and they will fight tooth and nail to keep that faith from being punctured by facts or reality…..

…no matter how many fake terrorist attacks they might have to endure.

Anonymous Coward says:

You mean mercenaries?

no, i mean the political types who would bray in triumph even if the whole operation was u.s. directed.  that would be the classic way to goad unsuspecting americans into doing something spectacularly stupid.

i’m wondering if terrorists might see advantage for them in such an enterprise.  usually if terrorists can get you to behave like them or some other non-typical and important ways, they have accomplished some of their chief goals.

of course, they would need to understand they would become fodder for our assassination machine as they’d be very dangerous to us.  they’d know the truth and know the details to tell, so we’d be white-heat to get rid of them.

GEMont (profile) says:

Requim

“Having Lost The Debate On Backdooring Encryption, Intelligence Community Plans To Wait Until (they can arrange the) Next Terrorist Attack”

Coming soon to a city near you – or maybe even to your city.

And you people were all wondering why the FBI was repeatedly practicing all those phony terrorist acts by conning internet morons into walking a fake bomb into a photo-op sting situation.

Well, now you know. Its just FBI boy-scouting behaviour.

Being prepared.

—-

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