With the vast resources of an entire intelligence apparatus at their command, the Brits apparently decided to go low-tech and teach their agents Jedi mind tricks and how to "troll" on "blogs" in a way that is "mean" to "people they don't like" using crappy PowerPoints (are there any other kind?) packed with:
- General observations about human nature apparently drawn from an Introduction to Sociology textbook, at least one John le Carré novel, Eric Weber's 1970 best-seller "How to Pick Up Women", and a few of the lesser works of David Mamet ,
- Some stock photos:
Scary Spy Powerpoint Slide
Original iStock image
What I spy with my little eye is something...definitely...creepy.
And as old as espionage itself.
But as many times as I have read this, I can't spot anything that is actually illegal, or any actual examples of any actual person coming to harm, or even figure out based on the material as it was published if this was even a real thing, or a proposed program, or just some goofy idea someone was pitching to management, or what. In fact, you have to read all the way to the bottom to find out that First Look has no idea what the context of any of this was either:
We submitted numerous questions to GCHQ, including: (1) Does GCHQ in fact engage in “false flag operations” where material is posted to the Internet and falsely attributed to someone else?; (2) Does GCHQ engage in efforts to influence or manipulate political discourse online?; and (3) Does GCHQ’s mandate include targeting common criminals (such as boiler room operators), or only foreign threats?
As usual, they ignored those questions and opted instead to send their vague and nonresponsive boilerplate...
What is genuinely charming about this story is that, of all the (presumably) skajillions of tales available for the telling via Mr. Snowden's trove of stolen documents, First Look chose to run the one that would most richly oxygenate the Purity Angels' First Article of Faith -- that anyone anywhere who offers even the mildest critique of anything coming from the keyboard of Mr. Greenwald is obviously a paid gummint sockpuppet, or unpaid dupe.
As usual, if you have anything substantive to add to this discussion, the comment section is open.
However, if all you have is more drive-by yawping about my general awfulness, let us stipulate that I am the lowest of the low. I get it. So this time either go find another outlet for your scribbles, or go piss up a rope.