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Tue Aug 20, 2013, 02:54 PM

The GUARDIAN: We destroyed hard drives of leaked NSA files under threat of legal action & closure

NSA files: why the Guardian in London destroyed hard drives of leaked files
A threat of legal action by the government that could have stopped reporting on the files leaked by Edward Snowden led to a symbolic act at the Guardian's offices in London
Julian Borger * The Guardian * Tuesday 20 August 2013

Guardian editors on Tuesday revealed why and how the newspaper destroyed computer hard drives containing copies of some of the NSA and GCHQ secret files leaked by Edward Snowden.

The decision was taken after a threat of legal action by the government that could have stopped reporting on the extent of American and British government surveillance revealed by the documents.



It resulted in one of the stranger episodes in the history of digital-age journalism. On Saturday 20 July, in a deserted basement of the Guardian's King's Cross offices, a senior editor and a Guardian computer expert used angle grinders and other household tools to pulverise the hard drives and memory chips on which the encrypted files had been stored.

As they worked, they were watched intently by technicians from the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) who took notes and photographs, but who left empty-handed.

The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, had earlier informed government officials that other copies of the files existed outside the country and that the Guardian was neither the sole recipient nor steward of the files leaked by Snowden, a former NSA contractor. But the government insisted that the material be either destroyed or surrendered.

Twelve days after the destruction of the files, the Guardian reported on US funding of GCHQ eavesdropping operations and published a portrait of working life in the British agency's huge "doughnut" building in Cheltenham. Guardian US, based and edited in New York, has also continued to report on evidence of NSA co-operation with American telecommunications corporations to maximise the collection of data on internet and telephone users around the world.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/20/nsa-snowden-files-drives-destroyed-london

Also see: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023495525

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Reply The GUARDIAN: We destroyed hard drives of leaked NSA files under threat of legal action & closure (Original post)
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 OP
madrchsod Aug 2013 #1
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #2
Kablooie Aug 2013 #41
Rex Aug 2013 #3
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #4
Rex Aug 2013 #7
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #9
Rex Aug 2013 #12
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #17
Rex Aug 2013 #22
LiberalFighter Aug 2013 #19
Aerows Aug 2013 #15
Rex Aug 2013 #21
TheBlackAdder Aug 2013 #31
Rex Aug 2013 #38
TheBlackAdder Aug 2013 #58
quakerboy Aug 2013 #36
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #40
quakerboy Aug 2013 #43
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #44
chowder66 Aug 2013 #5
libdem4life Aug 2013 #8
Rex Aug 2013 #10
libdem4life Aug 2013 #14
Aerows Aug 2013 #16
Rex Aug 2013 #23
Aerows Aug 2013 #28
Rex Aug 2013 #39
delrem Aug 2013 #47
Rex Aug 2013 #48
Chan790 Aug 2013 #61
delrem Aug 2013 #64
Aerows Aug 2013 #30
Dr Hobbitstein Aug 2013 #45
Aerows Aug 2013 #46
Dr Hobbitstein Aug 2013 #49
Aerows Aug 2013 #50
Dr Hobbitstein Aug 2013 #62
JoeyT Aug 2013 #67
Festivito Aug 2013 #27
Aerows Aug 2013 #29
railsback Aug 2013 #42
JoeyT Aug 2013 #66
LuvNewcastle Aug 2013 #6
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #13
LuvNewcastle Aug 2013 #18
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #20
NightWatcher Aug 2013 #11
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #24
Douglas Carpenter Aug 2013 #25
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #26
uponit7771 Aug 2013 #32
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #33
uponit7771 Aug 2013 #34
stonecutter357 Aug 2013 #35
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #37
Cryptoad Aug 2013 #51
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #52
Cryptoad Aug 2013 #53
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #54
Cryptoad Aug 2013 #55
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #56
Cryptoad Aug 2013 #57
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #59
Catherina Aug 2013 #60
AZ Progressive Aug 2013 #63
99th_Monkey Aug 2013 #65

Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:03 PM

1. so no figured out that they should make more than one copy?

this story is becoming a theatre of the absurd or a really bad spy novel written by an 8th grader.

greenwald and friends had enough time to store this info in more than one storage format.

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Response to madrchsod (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:10 PM

2. "thousands of copies" I saw somewhere

I totally agree with you. It's patently absurd of the NSA to behave as though they will ever be
able to put this NSA Genie back in the bottle. No fucking way that's going to happen.

The more the NSA et. al. freaks show their fangs, the better. This kind of agressive abusive
behavior only further proves that the NSA was (and still is) operating illegally, completely outside
the bounds of the US Constitution & Bill of Rights.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #2)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:49 PM

41. If they try too hard the bottle will break and everything will spill out.

That's the "insurance" file.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:13 PM

3. Funny, none of those things in the picture are a hard drive.

nt.

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Response to Rex (Reply #3)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:18 PM

4. Is this really the nit you want to pick?

it's the pic in the Guardian article.

it is obviously pieces of a trashed computer.

whether it is technically THE hard drive or not, is a rather odd place for your attention to go,
given the shocking nature of the content in the article, about Gov-mint spooks showing up to
threaten news agencies like this.

Is this kind of gov't thuggery not at least a little concerning to you?

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:20 PM

7. Nit to pick no...but if you actually want someone to believe you

then perhaps you should use the actual destroyed HDDs in the pic...you know when the TITLE says DESTROYED HDDs. Ya just my 2 cents.

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Response to Rex (Reply #7)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:23 PM

9. I notice you didn't answer my question

Is this kind of gov't thuggery against journalists and news agencies not at least a little concerning to you?

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #9)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:25 PM

12. OH yeah it is a gross violation of their rights as journalists!

I am completely on board with them destroying the HDDs...but that is not a picture of HDD parts...why not show the real deal if you did the deed? Maybe they don't want the govt to see what type of HDDs they are using...dunno.

As soon as Clapper lied to Congress, I knew this was Kabuki Theater.

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Response to Rex (Reply #12)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:29 PM

17. Thank you.

I think your views as expressed here help immensely to explain your zealousness about
the technical details of the picture that was published by The Guardian with the OP article.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #17)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:33 PM

22. Thanks for understanding, it might be a nit to pick

now that I think about it. I quit commenting on it.

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Response to Rex (Reply #7)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:30 PM

19. Agreed!

To say the objects shown was the hard drive is crazy. I wouldn't have even gone that route. Wiping the hard drive should had been sufficient. Anything more was overkill.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:26 PM

15. Valid question, and Rex is right. n/t

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Response to Aerows (Reply #15)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:31 PM

21. Thanks! I would expect to see this!

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Response to Rex (Reply #21)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:07 PM

31. That's OLD SCHOOL. No one buys a laptop without an SSD, unless they are morons. n/t

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Response to TheBlackAdder (Reply #31)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:35 PM

38. Okay smart guy where is the SSD in the picture then?

Actually shredding HDDs never went out of style.

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Response to Rex (Reply #38)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 06:46 PM

58. It's not there, but I'm not obsessing over it.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:31 PM

36. As someone consistantly opposing the actions of government spying

I do. That was the first thing I noticed. And it annoyed me. Its not like there arent plenty of pictures of destroyed hard drives on the internet. Or that the Guardian doesnt have cameras that they could use to photograph them. Its just sloppy. Is it "the Hard drive? Dont care. But at least show a hard drive, if thats the subject. none of the things shown bear resemblance to a hard drive.

Its like writing an article about President Obama, but putting Denzel Washingtons picture up under the headline. Or putting a graphic of Iran up while talking about the latest violence in Afghanistan. Sloppy and distracting.

Now.. i've picked my nit. Lets get back to governments abusing their powers. Its a much bigger problem.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #36)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:41 PM

40. Well, it's a free country. Pick away...

But wait ... I'm not sure I can say that anymore.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #40)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:58 PM

43. It all depends on who you pick away at

If its the Guardian. Or OWS. or Striking workers, or poor people, or the disabled, or nonwhites, Then its all OK. Pick away.

If its at our corporate masters... think again. That right there is grounds for suspicion of terrorism and grounds for immediate spying on all things you may say, do, or think...

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #43)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 05:03 PM

44. Yes, I guess that about sums it up

In other words, we're fucked.

But I guess we've seen this coming for some time, just surprised
to see it coming into such full bloom under a Democratic "constitutional law
professor" POTUS.

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Response to Rex (Reply #3)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:18 PM

5. ^This^! nt

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Response to Rex (Reply #3)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:22 PM

8. That's just pathetic...I wouldn't know that, but somebody bothered to take a victory photo? n/t

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Response to libdem4life (Reply #8)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:23 PM

10. Hey I am all for them destroying their HDDs if that is what they want to do.

But then showing a picture of some different destroyed PC parts will make anyone that knows what they are looking at go, 'hmmmm'.

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Response to Rex (Reply #10)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:26 PM

14. If this is the best they got...we peons may have a fighting chance afterall.

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Response to Rex (Reply #3)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:29 PM

16. You noticed it too

It looks like they destroyed RAID controllers, which will pretty much screw a shitload of drives at one time.

They must have pulled hardware out of the boxes and wailed on them.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #16)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:34 PM

23. Yeah it looks like they took a file to the RAID card!

The audio card and video card are also really messed up bad...maybe a file too or a screwdriver.

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Response to Rex (Reply #23)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:52 PM

28. Array controller

it controls several hard disks at once, and fucking over the memory on one prevents not only redundancy, but restoration.

I don't know if you were being sarcastic or not, so I just decided to fill in the blanks.

This has nothing to do with peripherals, and that's why they are called peripherals (sound cards). Down to it, storage and computing is the use of a PC.

I didn't include video cards, because they kick ass with parallel output.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #28)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:39 PM

39. Oh just eyeballing what I was seeing in the picture

That round cut out area tells me (surrounded a cooling fan) they have an internal and external video card in that picture and maybe an audio card at top. I see a USB and possibly SATA controllers on the end, but kinda hard to tell really.

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Response to Rex (Reply #39)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 05:19 PM

47. It's hard to understand how someone could post so many identical comments about something so trivial

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Response to delrem (Reply #47)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 05:21 PM

48. I guess you've never run into a computer nerd.

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Response to delrem (Reply #47)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 07:06 PM

61. Two reasons.

1.) It's not so terribly trivial. It'd be like handing you a broken remote control as proof we destroyed your TV. It may be tragic but it in no way demonstrates the concept being expressed.

2.) It's not so nitpicky if you understand why it matters. If I tell you I'm going to destroy a hard drive to eliminate some data and as proof in front of you I smash up my video card, sound card and a few sticks of RAM...you may be satisfied...but I still have the data, I can plug that perfectly-intact HDD I didn't destroy into another computer and still have the data I told you was destroyed.

Point is it's not trivial in the least. It's rather quite integral, possibly as much as the contents of the article.

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Response to Chan790 (Reply #61)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 08:30 PM

64. Ah, so your charge is that The Guardian is lying! Way to go!!

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Response to Rex (Reply #23)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:06 PM

30. Okay

A RAID controller works like this. I is a mini-computer all by itself, and it governs the reads and writes to a hard drive group. Several hard drives respond to it, and are written to as a group, based upon the mini computer that is the RAID controller. If you unintentionally fuck up the controller, your hard drives are dead. You can replace the RAID controller, unless it was encrypted with a password.

If you know the password, all is good. If you don't, you just spent 3 grand on an array controller and are nowhere near getting your data back. Unless...

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Response to Aerows (Reply #30)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 05:11 PM

45. I understand RAIDs...

I used to maintain the RAIDS at my college for the video department. I also setup a few hardware RAIDS for friends and businesses I worked as a graphic designer at.
I don't see a RAID card in that picture. I see two pieces of a two piece laptop motherboard, or possibly an iMac motherboard (two round pieces), another motherboard from a laptop (big green card in center), and what appears to be a PCIe video card (top center). There's a DSUB connector on that card. And possibly 2 HDMI outputs next to it. That's definitely NOT a hardware RAID card.

For some strange reason, my ONLY beef with the article was the picture that shows NO hard drives. Also, even if it were RAID, who the hell carries a full RAID array with them on a flight?

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Response to Dr Hobbitstein (Reply #45)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 05:16 PM

46. Well, nobody

but my laptop has a raid array in it (not a controller, though). Just sayin . I'm geekier than most, though.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #46)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 05:26 PM

49. Sadly, I don't have the money to buy what I want...

for my systems. I'm a music production/video production guy. I'm still using my old 250GB FW400 LaCie drive to record/edit from. And my 500GB USB backup drive that backs up the production drive every night.

When the warranty is up on the Mini, I can open her up and drop a second 1TB drive in there and make a RAID for my main drive, but what I'd really like to do is grab a few 1TB drives, put 'em in an eSata RAID box, and run 'em to the Mini over Thunderbolt. The problem is Thunderbolt is still new, and WAY too pricey.

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Response to Dr Hobbitstein (Reply #49)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 05:33 PM

50. Attached storage is still best for me

Thanks to high speed communications on NAS devices, it's just plain easier to do it over the network. I tried the eSATA route a while ago with another laptop, and it's just plain too expensive and not worth it when you can just use a NAS device. To each their own, though. Good luck finding what works for you !

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Response to Aerows (Reply #50)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 07:12 PM

62. NAS doesn't move fast enough for editing/capturing broadcast video, or

for tracking/playback of multichannel audio (I track anywhere from 3-24 tracks at a time). FW400/800 is fast enough, USB3 is fast enough (but USB2 isn't, we're talking constant throughput, not maximum), and eSATA is DAMN sure fast enough.

I only record and mix on one system, although I have a portable ProTools setup on my PC laptop, that's mostly for messing around and the occasional drum edits that Logic isn't as nice for. When I need to transfer over, a thumb drive is quick enough.

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Response to Rex (Reply #23)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 12:15 PM

67. Looks like they had a grinder with a cutting blade

and really dug into the raid controller to make sure it wasn't going to work.

And ground on the rest a bit just to be assholes.

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Response to Rex (Reply #3)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:52 PM

27. It's depicted in the article as a picture of the computer.

The nomenclature of computering still uses hard drive for today's solid state drives.

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Response to Festivito (Reply #27)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:59 PM

29. And everything else

the interface is still the same, and they probably just smashed the array controller and then bashed the disks a bit. You can't restore shit after that.

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Response to Rex (Reply #3)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:58 PM

42. +10000000

 

Funny shit

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Response to Rex (Reply #3)

Wed Aug 21, 2013, 12:06 PM

66. They might have taken it with them.

That was the first thing I noticed too, though.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:20 PM

6. It makes me smile to see the NSA and the GCHQ

getting a taste of what it's like to have your privacy violated. I know they're not learning a thing from it, however.

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Response to LuvNewcastle (Reply #6)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:25 PM

13. Excellent point!! What goes around comes around.

Me thinks that might be OP-worthy.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #13)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:29 PM

18. You can do it, if you like.

I'm going to take a nap pretty soon.

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Response to LuvNewcastle (Reply #18)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:30 PM

20. Thanks .. I just may. sweet dreams. eom

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:25 PM

11. Question: Why are the Guardian, Greenwald, et al holding on to this information?

If it's so toxic and it's making their daily life and travels dangerous, why don't they just release it and let the chips fall where they may?

I wouldn't want to be the guy holding any of this stuff that the governments of US and UK want. I don't think it's a bargaining chip that they could use to remain free.

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Response to NightWatcher (Reply #11)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:36 PM

24. Actually there was a great OP on that very thing today

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:42 PM

25. the British "Official Secrets Act" and their other legislation does not meet the same standard as

the American courts have held in regards to free speech and a free press. ON the other hand the non-tabloid mainstream press in the UK and in almost every other western democracy is far more vigilant and adversarial than the American mainstream media. But in terms of actual legal protection - the American legal protections of the media are about the strongest in the world. It unfortunate, that most of the American media are derelict in their duties to the public.

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Response to Douglas Carpenter (Reply #25)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 03:46 PM

26. "the American legal protections of the media are about the strongest in the world"



That's a scary thought, esp. in light of how much & how often "state secrets" trumps everything else in the US courts these daze.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:08 PM

32. **************LOFL***************

I've got government files too... you know....I have to destroy them and shit

Way to keep a story pumped...

This is starting to get really silly

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #32)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:18 PM

33. "Way to keep a story pumped... "

thanks for doing your part.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #33)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:19 PM

34. Yeap, I want people to see all post too... even the ones I don't agree with. kicker

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:20 PM

35. Snowden

It' s my data to and i think eddie should be arrested for stealing it.

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Response to stonecutter357 (Reply #35)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 04:33 PM

37. It's ALL of our data! Precisely.

It's data on YOU and on ME, and at least 1/2 of the DU population, if not more.

In short, it is everyones, which is why it was no crime to blow the whistle on the
illegal spying that produced this data.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 05:53 PM

51. Seems

the Guardian knows Snowden is not a Whistle blower,,, just a common thief or they would never have destroyed the HD's

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #51)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 05:55 PM

52. The Guardian had a gun to its head, in case you didn't notice

Directly threatened with law-suits to shut down the paper, unless they
consented to having their little ritual of destroying one of the many
computers that has all that info on it .. thousands at last count.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #52)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 05:59 PM

53. Thats my point

if the Guardian thought Snowden was real whistle blower ,,, they never would have done that

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #53)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 06:11 PM

54. You have got to be kidding me

so you think if we asked the Guardian chief editor or managing editor if they believed
Snowden is a whistleblower, you think they would say "NO"???

No. You don't mean that, obviously.

But what you DO mean, however is far from obvious.

Unless you mean that by complying under duress of guv-mint's threats & intimidation, <-- is this what you mean?
that that compliance amounts to some kind of "confession of guilt".

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #54)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 06:19 PM

55. Yea I mean what i said

The Legal dept of the Guardian obviously doesn't think this is going to end well. and they are starting to put distance between them and the whole caboodle.

They see the Writing on the wall.

but since you are a seer and know what i really meant, do tell

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #55)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 06:35 PM

56. dodgy

that's like saying that "confessions" made while being tortured should stand up in court.

is total bs.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #56)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 06:42 PM

57. Who confessed? nt

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #57)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 06:54 PM

59. You appear to be claiming that the Guardian "confessed"

Last edited Tue Aug 20, 2013, 08:28 PM - Edit history (1)

"if the Guardian thought Snowden was real whistle blower ,,, they never would have done that (broken computers)" ...

...implying that The Guardian somehow doesn't think that "Snowden is a real whistleblower"
which I find nonsensical.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 06:58 PM

60. Video: I would rather destroy the files than hand them back to NSA/GCHQ-Guardian's Alan Rusbridger

Alan Rusbridger: I would rather destroy the copied files than hand them back to the NSA and GCHQ - video



The Guardian's editor reveals why and how the newspaper destroyed computer hard drives containing copies of some of the secret files leaked by Edward Snowden. The decision was taken after a threat of legal action by the British government, that could have stopped the reporting on the extent of American and British state surveillance revealed by the document

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 07:19 PM

63. Why is the picture missing the macbook shell?

This is the picture straight from the guardian:



And a picture of a solid state drive:



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Response to AZ Progressive (Reply #63)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 08:30 PM

65. Isn't that the shell on the far right, silver-ish color?

That wasn't included in the pic w/ article I copied.

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