Greenwald: Intelligence Services Using "False Flag Operations" To Discredit Opponents


GLENN GREENWALD: These documents were some of the ones that I found most disturbing pretty early on, because they talk about how the British Government, and this is a presentation made to the NSA and three other allies about how the British government and its intelligence agency the GCHQ does things like “false flag operations” as they call it, where they post very incriminating things to the internet and then they attribute it falsely to someone whose reputation that they are trying to smear. Or they notify their friends or family or they disseminate the disruptive information about them. 

They use “honey traps,” which is the use of sexually appealing women (whether fictionalized or real) to lure their targets into compromising situations. And it's not just the normal spy craft. They’re doing it to the leaders of hostile countries, to the military or intelligence officials. It’s directed at people who are just dissidents. People with the group “Anonymous,” people they call “hacktivists,” and normal, criminal suspects that have been charged with no crimes.

They infiltrate online communities and intentionally disseminate deception throughout the internet, making the internet really an untrustworthy place to be.

HOST: This story really does seem to build on another story that I saw on the Intercept not too long ago related to wiki leaks, where this government and foreign governments were in the business of turning these people into essentially enemies, foreign enemies, that they could then spy and monitor with the NSA’s tools and resources.

GREENWALD: Exactly. One of the things that the Obama administration and its apologists love to say in response to some of the NSA reporting that we are doing, is that there is no evidence of any sort of political targeting like there was in the 60s and 70s, and that is absolute false. Not only is the new story that I described an example of that, but so too is the one that you just referenced where they were monitoring people who visited the Wikileaks website which could be journalists, [this editor], supporters, people who are whistleblowers who wanted to give information. They used their access to fiber optic cables to collect very invasive information, including their IP address, which can enable the government to individually identify someone. You have groups like Wikileaks and Anonymous and hacktivists, and we published a story a couple months ago about using the porn habits of people that the government deems “radicals” to try and destroy their reputation.

In every era when the government targets dissidents, those dissidents are never popular. So a lot of people don’t like Wikileaks or hacktivists. Back in the 60s and 70s people didn't like various civil rights leaders, they didn’t like anti-war groups. But the point is that you should not have the government being able to destroy people using covert means. That is why we have due process. There is a distinction, they are only able to punish people who they have charged and given a fair trial to and convicted.

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