New Snowden Doc Reveals How GCHQ/NSA Use The Internet To 'Manipulate, Deceive And Destroy Reputations'

from the and-not-just-terrorists dept

A few weeks ago, Glenn Greenwald, while working with NBC News, revealed some details of a GCHQ presentation concerning how the surveillance organization had a "dirty tricks" group known as JTRIG -- the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group. Now, over at The Intercept, he's revealed the entire presentation and highlighted more details about how JTRIG would seek to infiltrate different groups online and destroy people's reputations -- going way, way, way beyond just targeting terrorist groups and threats to national security.
Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.
For years, people have said that the purpose of groups like the NSA and GCHQ were merely "signals intelligence," which were about understanding and decoding signals, not about taking any sort of offensive standpoint. However, as the Snowden docs have repeatedly revealed, the mandate of these organizations has long been much more offensively based, and they seem to have little problem with using questionable tactics to destroy people's lives. As Greenwald notes, is this really a power you trust a totally secretive government agency with almost no real oversight to use without it being abused?

There's a lot more in Greenwald's writeup, which you should read, but just a few of the key slides are worth reading to get a sense of what's going on here. This isn't just about infiltrating terrorist organizations. They seem to be using these kinds of techniques on just about anyone they dislike, which harkens back to the Hoover-era FBI infiltrating and seeking to discredit anti-war groups. It also raises very serious questions about whether these efforts are being used to stifle political expression.










The full presentation is embedded below. The cover slide is really something...

Filed Under: gchq, glenn greenwald, jtrig, nsa


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2014 @ 9:42am

    Re:

    I believe you are correct in that we haven't seen the worst yet.

    I recall during the time of the OWS protestors, they had a camera monitor/internet setup manned by both bank personal and city cops.

    There was a persistent problem reported by those protestors about infiltrators hunting information. It was said most of them were pretty easy to spot because they kept wanting to know the names of the leaders.

    Later it was revealed that the FBI was coordinating responses across the nation with local police departments and that because the protestors had been labeled terrorists that the National Fusion Centers were dead in the middle of gathering info.

    There were also reports of anarchists in the middle of the protests breaking windows and doing malicious random damage which gave the cops a reason to act against a peaceful crowd. Many were the speculations that those anarchists were supplied by the authorities as they were not wanted by the protestors who continually pleaded for them to stop.

    Of course this event would not be complete without mentioning that the FBI had drawn up backup plans of using silenced sniper weapons to take out the leaders of the OWS movement in Houston.

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