February 9th, 2014
01:21 PM ET

Criminalizing journalism?

Glenn Greenwald suggests new NSA surveillance details could be released as his new media venture launches. He also responds to comments made this week on Capitol Hill that journalists like himself could be criminal accessories for handling leaked documents.

Filed under: Blog • Edward Snowden • Glenn Greenwald • NSA • Reliable Sources
soundoff (19 Responses)
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  11. Don Doherty

    If Manning had only released the "Collateral Damage" video, he would be a free man today, because that video was seen by the courts as having legitimate value to public debate. Similarly, if Mr. Snowden (and by extension, Greenwald) had confined themselves to documenting the surveillance of Americans, they would have no problem facing any charges the Government might throw at them. The problem in both cases is they went FAR, FAR beyond revealing information relevant to debate in the US over national security, the conduct of war, and constitutional rights. Greenwald has helped Snowden reveal details of how our government monitors communications between Taliban fighters in Waziristan. They have helped the Russian FSB understand how we monitor the communications of Russian officials. This is why they are going to have a hard time when they come back to the US, and though I would fully defend them if they had limited their actions to those which were necessary to "spur democratic debate" over real issues of constitutionality, what they are up to is something else entirely. But Glenn is a former lawyer and his new friend Pierre has lots of money. Let the games begin!

    February 10, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Reply
    • edwardsmorris

      Well your comments are interesting but unsupported. You'll need to cite specifics, not generalities, before I find your claims credible.

      Frankly, I don't have much of an issue if the government's techniques are revealed, thus gelding information organizations that are far too powerful and secretive. The threat of "terrorism" is far overstated – to the point of being silly.

      February 10, 2014 at 9:37 pm | Reply
  12. Tim

    Interesting. My secrets are feared such by the most powerful government and military ever known by humankind such that it feels threatened if I understand its secrets. I enjoy knowledge and information and so I appreciate those who deliver it to me. How else would I know if my government is a 'good' one or 'bad'. If being a traitor is simply giving citizens information as to how they are being governed, then I hope for far more traitors be they good or bad as I would rather have the information before an event than try and find out those who keep secrets and spy on us never stopped it from happening. The world is a dangerous place (period). No government will ever cause it to be safer if they are causing it to be more dangerous.

    February 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  13. Roger Jellinek

    Mass surveillance by NSA and mass hacking (e.g. Target, Rep South Korea) have suddenly emerged as major threats to privacy and personal security, and not far off is the threat of catastrophic disruptions of our infrastructure systems.

    A radical new technology that can replace the doomed legacy firewall technology, that can assure absolute privacy of communications, and could entirely prevent hacking, was invented, developed, and made scalable to a cost of less than $1000 per computer—over ten years ago.

    This technology has never been broken.

    Why has it never been deployed?

    Why isn’t it being discussed now?

    Victor Sheymov was in charge of security for all KGB foreign communications when he was exfiltrated in 1980 with his wife and daughter by the CIA. The CIA awarded him the highest grade of the highest Intelligence Medal for his contributions to US national security. Sheymov remained under cover until 1990, and worked for NSA and MI6 until 1999.

    In 1999 Sheymov invented and patented a breakthrough cyber security technology, Variable Cyber Coordinates (VCC), and set up a company, Invicta, to develop it. Invicta produced the InvisiLAN system of network and Internet protection based on VCC in 2000. It works by constantly changing the address of the protected computer, faster than an attacker can find it. Sheymov also patented WizArmor, which creates a clone of the computer that can instantly detect the presence of an unauthorized memory stick or other device, and which then self-destructs.

    InvisiLAN assures total privacy of communications in a network; the computers cannot be hacked. WizArmor assures protection of a computer that is independent of the Internet.

    The NSA, a Japanese supercomputer, and a major commercial testing company (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) were among those that tested InvisiLAN. None of them could break it. Further development made the system economically scalable. InvisiLAN can protect a computer for less than $1000.

    According to Sheymov, if Google and Yahoo had implemented InvisiLAN, NSA would not have been able to intercept their internal traffic. If Target had implemented InvisiLAN, 112 million credit cards could not have been compromised, nor would their owners’ identity be threatened.

    That capability has extraordinary implications, in light of recent concerns about electronic surveillance that have been revealed by Edward Snowden.

    It also has extraordinary implications for the protection of currently highly vulnerable infrastructure systems, corporate and banking security, and much more.

    In 2012 Sheymov published “Cyberspace and Security: A Fundamentally Different Approach,” which was deliberately self-published to prevent interference he had reason and experience to think might occur with conventional publication. “Cyberspace and Security” analyzes the radical differences between cyberspace and physical space, shows how the legacy firewall systems are based on concepts and assumptions of physical space, which is why the firewall approach will inevitably fail.

    Sheymov has just published a Revised Edition of the book, with a new section that specifically addresses cyber security for large sovereign systems. He argues that massive surveillance programs are wasteful, extremely expensive, and unproductive—not to mention unconstitutional.

    “Cyberspace and Security” has received extraordinary endorsements from experts with unimpeachable credentials, experience and expertise, including one who was head of NSA information assurance at the time the InvisiLAN system was tested there, and another who now runs one of the main training centers for NSA-bound tech graduates.

    Here’s what the experts say about CYBERSPACE and SECURITY: A Fundamentally New Approach.

    Drawing on his decades of experience with two of the world's premier spy agencies, Victor Sheymov offers penetrating and compelling insights into the challenges − and opportunities − involved in securing cyberspace. A must-read for all − from IT professionals and techno-nerds to policy makers and corporate executives.
    − Dr. Sujeet Shenoi
    F.P. Walter Professor of Computer Science
    University of Oklahoma, Tulsa.

    Dr. Shenoi is an outstanding scientist in the cyber security field, and his institute at the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa, is a major supplier of technical cyber security personnel to NSA.


    Dr. Sujeet Shenoi (Sujeet@UTulsa.edu

    CYBERSPACE and SECURITY by Victor Sheymov does a wonderful job in discussing the differences between man-made cyberspace and the natural world in which we live. Sheymov uses these differences to explain how securing cyberspace is vastly different from traditional information security. The book is written so that readers without a deep computer science background can readily understand the subject, and readers with a security background will find the concepts informative and thought provoking. I know of no other author who has the real-life experience that Victor Sheymov brings to this subject, and would recommend the book to everyone as an easy and entertaining reading experience.
    − Dickie George
    Former Technical Director
    Information Assurance Directorate
    National Security Agency

    Dickie George now works at the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD 240-228-5000

    In an era when everyone is applying techniques to secure cyberspace that have repeatedly failed, it is refreshing to see an approach that goes to the core of the problem. Victor Sheymov introduces security concepts to the cyberspace arena that he has gleaned from decades of working with national intelligence agencies. The result is a work of proven principles that is a must read for cyber security specialists, researchers and IT professionals.
    − Dr. Jonathan Butts, USAir Force Major
    Assistant Professor of Computer Science
    Air Force Institute of Technology
    [Note that these views do not necessarily
    reflect the official position of the
    United States Air Force or Department of Defense.]

    So the question is, why has this VCC InvisiLAN technology, with its tested and “proven principles,” not been openly discussed and adopted for the past ten years, even as hackers have caused billions of dollars of damage and losses, and our entire infrastructure is vulnerable to catastrophe?

    And why isn’t it being discussed in light of the Snowden revelations, and the intense debate over electronic surveillance and invasion of privacy?

    There are several possible answers. One is that the major players in the cyber security industry have such a huge investment in current firewall technology that they will not abandon it unless they absolutely have to.

    Another is that the major players are trying to get around Sheymov’s patents with their own versions of “dynamic” cyber security technology.

    Another is that the powers that be do not want a technology that can assure total privacy of communications, that they cannot control.

    Finally, another possible answer is told in an extraordinary book Sheymov has just published, “TIEBREAKER: Tower of Secrets II.”

    Sheymov published his account of his career in the KGB, “Tower of Secrets,” in 1993. That book did not go beyond his exfiltration in 1980.

    “Tiebreaker” is Victor Sheymov’s account of his bizarre relationship with the CIA from 1980 to the present. It’s a story the CIA did not want him to write, but he never signed any statement agreeing to their review, so he is perfectly free to tell it.

    His Foreword is notable!

    Some of the events described in this book may not be particularly flattering to the CIA. The author would like to make it clear that if any government organization publicly challenges the factual events described in this book, he will feel compelled to publish relevant particulars and details of the challenged facts, such as exact places and real names of the participants, so that the descriptions can be conclusively verified.
    - V.S

    Even though the CIA had awarded him the highest possible medal, they proceeded to harass him and his family relentlessly for 20 years. How he responded and survived makes for quite a story.
    It also explains why Sheymov elected to self publish it.

    Why did they try and destroy him?
    Sheymov’s chilling conclusions, and his consequent brilliant analysis of the Aldrich Ames case, expose a deadly CIA culture. Just as dramatic is his experience with Robert Hanssen, the FBI mole who was trying to get a job with Invicta the day he was arrested.
    Finally, Tiebreaker tells the story of how VCC and InvisiLAN were developed by an extraordinary team of 60 top cryptographers and technologists, financed by the proceeds from a suit brought against the CIA by ex-CIA Director James Woolsey.

    And the CIA’s final twist of the screw.

    But far more important right now is that Victor Sheymov’s concept and proven technology offer a powerful solution to hacking, and go to the heart of the current NSA surveillance crisis, and indeed the whole issue of the right to privacy in electronic communications.

    We have heard, but cannot confirm, that VCC is discussed in material provided by Snowden.

    Victor Sheymov lives near Washington D.C. He is represented by Octagon.

    He has testified before Congress before, and is more than willing to do so again.


    Bio of Victor Sheymov:

    These are the relevant links for Sheymov’s books:

    Revised Edition of CYBERSPACE and SECURITY [Oct 2013. Kindle]

    TIEBREAKER: Tower of Secrets II [Oct 2013, Kindle]

    TOWER OF SECRETS (1993; Kindle 2013])



    February 10, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  14. Big Ron

    I don't have a clue who this reporter is. It sounds to me like he is going to try to make a name for himself by divulging information that might hurt us. Like it or not...nothing has changed since the beginning of time...we live on a dangerous planet. If what he has to "share" would hurt YOU, would you want him to.

    February 10, 2014 at 2:18 am | Reply
    • edwardsmorris

      How does big government keeping secrets from the people they are supposed to serve help us "live on a dangerous planet?" Are we to simply trust Big Daddy to take care of us without questioning, without knowing?

      February 10, 2014 at 11:32 am | Reply
    • jwinstonsf

      Your first sentence is the giveaway. If you don't know who Glen Greenwald is you are living in a bubble.

      February 10, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  15. Terry Gould

    Like it or not the truth is just that. Not always do we like the truth, if the truth hurts us of course we will not care for it. There are plenty of folks who do not like Mr. Greenwald because they have been involved in unsavory deeds and fear sunlight. These people need be held accountable and Glenn is doing his level best at uncovering the deeds themselves and perpetrators of those acts. Good for you Glenn and all who are willing to step up. Hero's one and all.

    February 9, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  16. edwardsmorris

    Good interview. Glenn is my hero.

    February 9, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Reply

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