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FTR #1078 Surveillance Valley, Part 4: Tor Up (Foxes Guarding the Online Privacy Henhouse, Part 1.)

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained HERE [1]. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by the fall of 2017. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more.)

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

[6]

Intro­duc­tion: Con­tin­u­ing this series, we begin a dive into the meat of the vital­ly impor­tant book from which the pro­gram takes its title.  Yasha Levine’s sum­ma­tion of the inex­tri­ca­ble nature and sym­bio­sis between the Inter­net, the tech firms and the so-called “pri­va­cy com­mu­ni­ty” include:

  1. The Inter­net is a weapon, devel­oped for counter-insur­gency pur­pos­es.
  2. Big Tech firms net­work with the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they pub­licly decry.
  3. Big Tech firms that data mine their cus­tomers on a near­ly unimag­in­able scale do so as a direct, oper­a­tional exten­sion of the very sur­veil­lance func­tion upon which  the Inter­net is pred­i­cat­ed.
  4. The tech­nolo­gies tout­ed by the so-called “Pri­va­cy Activists” such as Edward Snow­den and Jacob Apple­baum were devel­oped by the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they are sup­posed to deflect.
  5. The tech­nolo­gies tout­ed by the so-called “Pri­va­cy Activists” such as Edward Snow­den and Jacob Applebaum–such as the Tor Inter­net func­tion and the Sig­nal mobile phone app– are read­i­ly acces­si­ble to the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they are sup­posed to deflect.
  6. The orga­ni­za­tions that pro­mote the alleged virtues of Snow­den, Apple­baum, Tor, Sig­nal et al are linked to the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they would have us believe they oppose.
  7. Big Tech firms embrace “Inter­net Free­dom” as a dis­trac­tion from their own will­ful and all-embrac­ing data min­ing and their ongo­ing con­scious col­lab­o­ra­tion with the very intel­li­gence ser­vices they pub­licly decry.

After detail­ing the his­to­ry of the devel­op­ment of the Inter­net by the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment, Levine presents the sto­ry of the devel­op­ment of the Tor net­work.

Key points of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion:

  1. Tor’s Sil­i­con Val­ley back­ing: ” . . . . Pri­va­cy groups fund­ed by com­pa­nies like Google and Face­book, includ­ing the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion and Fight for the Future, were some of Tor’s biggest and most ded­i­cat­ed back­ers. Google had direct­ly bankrolled its devel­op­ment, pay­ing out gen­er­ous grants to col­lege stu­dents who worked at Tor dur­ing their sum­mer vaca­tions. Why would an Inter­net com­pa­ny whose entire busi­ness rest­ed on track­ing peo­ple online pro­mote and help devel­op a pow­er­ful pri­va­cy tool? Some­thing did­n’t add up. . . .”
  2. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Tor does not shield users from orgias­tic data min­ing by Sil­i­con Val­ley tech giants: ” . . . . Tor works only if peo­ple are ded­i­cat­ed to main­tain­ing a strict anony­mous Inter­net rou­tine: using only dum­my email address­es and bogus accounts, car­ry­ing out all finan­cial trans­ac­tions in Bit­coin and oth­er cryp­tocur­ren­cies, and nev­er men­tion­ing their real name in emails or mes­sages. For the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple on the Internet—those who use Gmail, inter­act with Face­book friends, and shop on Amazon—you reveal your iden­ti­ty. These com­pa­nies know who you are. They know your name, your ship­ping address, your cred­it card infor­ma­tion. They con­tin­ue to scan your emails, map your social net­works, and com­pile dossiers. Tor or not, once you enter your account name and pass­word, Tor’s anonymi­ty tech­nol­o­gy becomes use­less. . . .”
  3. Sil­i­con Val­ley’s sup­port for Tor is some­thing of a “false bro­mide”: ” . . . . After all, Snow­den’s leaked doc­u­ments revealed that any­thing Inter­net com­pa­nies had, the NSA had as well. I was puz­zled, but at least I under­stood why Tor had back­ing from Sil­i­con Val­ley: it offered a false sense of pri­va­cy, while not pos­ing a threat to the indus­try’s under­ly­ing sur­veil­lance mod­el. . . .
  4. Tor is, in fact, financed by ele­ments of the very same intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment that sup­pos­ed­ly frustrated/“locked out” by Tor! ” . . . . But as I ana­lyzed the orga­ni­za­tion’s finan­cial doc­u­ments, I found that the oppo­site was true. Tor had come out of a joint US Navy—DARPA mil­i­tary project in the ear­ly 2000s and con­tin­ued to rely on a series of fed­er­al con­tracts after it was spun off into a pri­vate non­prof­it. This fund­ing came from the Pen­ta­gon, the State Depart­ment, and at least one orga­ni­za­tion that derived from the CIA. These con­tracts added up to sev­er­al mil­lion dol­lars a year and, most years,  account­ed for more than 90 per­cent of Tor’s oper­at­ing bud­get. Tor was a fed­er­al mil­i­tary con­trac­tor. It even had its own fed­er­al con­tract­ing num­ber. . . This includ­ed Tor’s founder, Roger Din­gle­dine, who spent a sum­mer work­ing at the NSA and who had brought Tor to life under a series of DARPA and Navy con­tracts. . . .”

Wide­ly regard­ed as a cham­pi­on of Inter­net free­dom and pri­va­cy, the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion helped finance Tor and cham­pi­oned its use.

Key ele­ments of dis­cus­sion and analy­sis of the EFF/Tor alliance include:

  1. EFF’s ear­ly financ­ing of Tor: ” . . . . . . . . In 2004, [Roger] Din­gle­dine struck out on his own, spin­ning the mil­i­tary onion rout­ing project into a non-prof­it cor­po­ra­tion called the Tor Project and, while still fund­ed by DARPA and the Navy, began scratch­ing around for pri­vate fund­ing. He got help from an unex­pect­ed ally: the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion (EFF), which gave Tor almost a quar­ter mil­lion dol­lars to keep it going while Din­gle­dine looked for oth­er pri­vate spon­sors. The EFF even host­ed Tor’s web­site. . . .”
  2. The EFF’s effu­sive praise for the fun­da­men­tal­ly com­pro­mised Tor Project: ” . . . . ‘The Tor Project is a per­fect fit for EFF, because one of our pri­ma­ry goals is to pro­tect the pri­va­cy and anonymi­ty of Inter­net users. Tor can help peo­ple exer­cise their First Amend­ment right to free, anony­mous speech online.’ EFF’s tech­nol­o­gy man­ag­er Chris Palmer explained in a 2004 press release, which curi­ous­ly failed to men­tion that Tor was devel­oped pri­mar­i­ly for mil­i­tary intel­li­gence use and was still active­ly fund­ed by the Pen­ta­gon. . . .”
  3. The EFF’s his­to­ry of work­ing with ele­ments of the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment: ” . . . . In 1994, EFF worked with the FBI to pass the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Assis­tance for Law Enforce­ment Act, which required all telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies to build their equip­ment so that it could be wire­tapped by the FBI. In 1999, EFF worked to sup­port NATO’s bomb­ing cam­paign in Koso­vo with some­thing called the ‘Koso­vo Pri­va­cy Sup­port,’ which aimed to keep the region’s Inter­net access open dur­ing mil­i­tary action. Sell­ing a Pen­ta­gon intel­li­gence project as a grass­roots pri­va­cy tool—it did­n’t seem all that wild. . . .”
  4.  In FTR #854 [7], we not­ed that EFF co-founder John Per­ry Bar­low was far more than a Grate­ful Dead lyricist/hippie icon: ” . . . . Indeed, in 2002, a few years before it fund­ed Tor, EFF cofounder [John] Per­ry Bar­low [8] casu­al­ly admit­ted that he had been con­sult­ing for intel­li­gence agen­cies for a decade. It seemed that the worlds of sol­diers, spies, and pri­va­cy weren’t as far apart as they appeared. . . .”
  5. EFF’s grav­i­tas in the online pri­va­cy com­mu­ni­ty lent Tor great cred­i­bil­i­ty: ” . . . . EFF’s sup­port for Tor was a big deal. The orga­ni­za­tion com­mand­ed respect in Sil­i­con Val­ley and was wide­ly seen as the ACLU of the Inter­net Age. The fact that it backed Tor meant that no hard ques­tions would be asked about the anonymi­ty tool’s mil­i­tary ori­gins as it tran­si­tioned to the civil­ian world. And that’s exact­ly what hap­pened. . . .”

In FTR #‘s 891 [9] and 895 [10], we not­ed the pri­ma­ry posi­tion of the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors in the devel­op­ment of the so-called “pri­va­cy” net­works. The BBG is a CIA off­shoot: . . . .  The BBG might have had a bland sound­ing name and pro­fessed a noble mis­sion to inform the world and spread democ­ra­cy. In truth, the orga­ni­za­tion was an out­growth of the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency. . . . The bulk of the BBG is no longer fund­ed from the CIA’s black bud­get, but the agen­cy’s orig­i­nal cold War goal and purpose—subversion and psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions direct­ed against coun­tries deemed hos­tile to US interests—remain the same. The only thing that did change about the BBG is that today, more of its broad­casts are tak­ing place online . . . .”

After doc­u­ment­ing Radio Free Europe’s growth from the Nazi/Vichy run Radio France dur­ing World War II and RCA’s David Sarnof­f’s involve­ment with the Tran­sra­dio Con­sor­tium (which com­mu­ni­cat­ed vital intel­li­gence to the Axis dur­ing the war), the pro­gram high­lights the involve­ment of Gehlen oper­a­tives in the oper­a­tions of Radio Free Europe, the sem­i­nal CIA broad­cast­ing out­lets.

The BBG (read “CIA”) became a major backer of the Tor Project: ” . . . . . . . . It was Wednes­day morn­ing, Feb­ru­ary 8, 2006, when Roger Din­gle­dine got the email he had been bad­ly wait­ing for. The Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors had final­ly agreed to back the Tor Project. . . . With­in a year, the agency increased Tor’s con­tract to a quar­ter mil­lion dol­lars, and then bumped it up again to almost a mil­lion just a few years lat­er. The rela­tion­ship also led to major con­tracts with oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies, boost­ing Tor’s mea­ger oper­at­ing bud­get to sev­er­al mil­lion dol­lars a year. . . .”

Yasha Levine sums up the essence of the Tor Project: ” . . . . The Tor Project was not a rad­i­cal indie orga­ni­za­tion fight­ing The Man. For all intents and pur­pos­es, it was The Man. Or, at least, The Man’s right hand. . . . inter­nal cor­re­spon­dence reveals Tor’s close col­lab­o­ra­tion with the BBG and mul­ti­ple oth­er wings of the US gov­ern­ment, in par­tic­u­lar those that dealt with for­eign pol­i­cy and soft-pow­er pro­jec­tion. Mes­sages describe meet­ings, train­ings, and con­fer­ences with the NSA, CIA, FBI and State Depart­ment. . . . The fund­ing record tells the sto­ry even more pre­cise­ly. . . . Tor was sub­sist­ing almost exclu­sive­ly on gov­ern­ment con­tracts. By 2008, that includ­ed  con­tracts with DARPA, the Navy, the BBG, and the State Depart­ment as well as Stan­ford Research Insti­tute’s Cyber-Threat Ana­lyt­ics pro­gram. . . .” 

Next, we begin chron­i­cling the career of Jacob Appel­baum. A devo­tee of Ayn Rand, he became one of Tor’s most impor­tant employ­ees and pro­mot­ers. . . . . With­in months of get­ting the job, he assumed the role of offi­cial Tor Project spokesman and began pro­mot­ing Tor as a pow­er­ful weapon against gov­ern­ment oppres­sion. . . . Over the next sev­er­al years, Din­gledine’s reports back to the BBG [read “CIA”–D.E.] were filled with descrip­tions of Appel­baum’s suc­cess­ful out­reach. . . .”

Intro­duc­ing a top­ic to be more ful­ly explored in our next pro­gram, we note Appel­baum’s piv­otal role in the Wik­iLeaks oper­a­tion and his role in the adop­tion of Tor by Wik­iLeaks: ” . . . . Appel­baum decid­ed to attach him­self to the Wik­iLeaks cause. He spent a few weeks with Assange and the orig­i­nal Wik­iLeaks crew in Ice­land as they pre­pared their first major release and helped secure the site’s anony­mous sub­mis­sions sys­tem using Tor’s hid­den ser­vice fea­ture, which hid the phys­i­cal loca­tion of Wik­iLeaks servers and in the­o­ry made them much less sus­cep­ti­ble to sur­veil­lance and attack. From then on, the Wik­iLeaks site proud­ly adver­tised Tor: ‘secure, anony­mous, dis­trib­uted net­work for max­i­mum secu­ri­ty.’ . . . . Appel­baum did his best to be Assange’s right-hand man. He served as the orga­ni­za­tion’s offi­cial Amer­i­can rep­re­sen­ta­tive and bailed the founder of Wik­iLeaks out of tough spots when the heat from US author­i­ties got too hot. Appel­baum became so inter­twined with Wik­iLeaks that appar­ent­ly some staffers talked about him lead­ing the orga­ni­za­tion if some­thing were to hap­pen to Assange. . . . Assange gave Appel­baum and Tor wide cred­it for help­ing Wik­iLeaks. ‘Jake has been a tire­less pro­mot­er behind the scenes of our cause,’ he told a reporter. ‘Tor’s impor­tance to Wik­iLeaks can­not be under­es­ti­mat­ed.’ With those words, Appel­baum and the Tor Project became cen­tral heroes in the Wik­iLeaks saga, right behind Assange. . . .”

1. This seg­ment of our series on Sur­veil­lance Val­ley takes up the devel­op­ment and oper­a­tions of the Tor Project–the devel­op­ment of a sup­pos­ed­ly secure Inter­net net­work.  Tor is, in fact, financed by ele­ments of the very same intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment that sup­pos­ed­ly frustrated/“locked out” by Tor!

Key points of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion:

  1. Tor’s Sil­i­con Val­ley back­ing: ” . . . . Pri­va­cy groups fund­ed by com­pa­nies like Google and Face­book, includ­ing the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion and Fight for the Future, were some of Tor’s biggest and most ded­i­cat­ed back­ers. Google had direct­ly bankrolled its devel­op­ment, pay­ing out gen­er­ous grants to col­lege stu­dents who worked at Tor dur­ing their sum­mer vaca­tions. Why would an Inter­net com­pa­ny whose entire busi­ness rest­ed on track­ing peo­ple online pro­mote and help devel­op a pow­er­ful pri­va­cy tool? Some­thing did­n’t add up. . . .”
  2. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Tor does not shield users from orgias­tic data min­ing by Sil­i­con Val­ley tech giants: ” . . . . Tor works only if peo­ple are ded­i­cat­ed to main­tain­ing a strict anony­mous Inter­net rou­tine: using only dum­my email address­es and bogus accounts, car­ry­ing out all finan­cial trans­ac­tions in Bit­coin and oth­er cryp­tocur­ren­cies, and nev­er men­tion­ing their real name in emails or mes­sages. For the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple on the Internet—those who use Gmail, inter­act with Face­book friends, and shop on Amazon—you reveal your iden­ti­ty. These com­pa­nies know who you are. They know your name, your ship­ping address, your cred­it card infor­ma­tion. They con­tin­ue to scan your emails, map your social net­works, and com­pile dossiers. Tor or not, once you enter your account name and pass­word, Tor’s anonymi­ty tech­nol­o­gy becomes use­less. . . .”
  3. Sil­i­con Val­ley’s sup­port for Tor is some­thing of a “false bro­mide”: ” . . . . After all, Snow­den’s leaked doc­u­ments revealed that any­thing Inter­net com­pa­nies had, the NSA had as well. I was puz­zled, but at least I under­stood why Tor had back­ing from Sil­i­con Val­ley: it offered a false sense of pri­va­cy, while not pos­ing a threat to the indus­try’s under­ly­ing sur­veil­lance mod­el. . . .
  4. Tor is, in fact, financed by ele­ments of the very same intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment that sup­pos­ed­ly frustrated/“locked out” by Tor! ” . . . . But as I ana­lyzed the orga­ni­za­tion’s finan­cial doc­u­ments, I found that the oppo­site was true. Tor had come out of a joint US Navy—DARPA mil­i­tary project in the ear­ly 2000s and con­tin­ued to rely on a series of fed­er­al con­tracts after it was spun off into a pri­vate non­prof­it. This fund­ing came from the Pen­ta­gon, the State Depart­ment, and at least one orga­ni­za­tion that derived from the CIA. These con­tracts added up to sev­er­al mil­lion dol­lars a year and, most years, and, most years, account­ed for more than 90 per­cent of Tor’s oper­at­ing bud­get. Tor was a fed­er­al mil­i­tary con­trac­tor. It even had its own fed­er­al con­tract­ing num­ber. . . This includ­ed Tor’s founder, Roger Din­gle­dine, who spent a sum­mer work­ing at the NSA and who had brought Tor to life under a series of DARPA and Navy con­tracts. . . .”
  5. Far from frus­trat­ing intel­li­gence sur­veil­lance, Tor aug­ments that effort! ” . . . . Tor, as well as the larg­er app-obsessed pri­va­cy move­ment that ral­lied around it after Snow­den’s NSA leaks, does not thwart the pow­er of the US gov­ern­ment. It enhances it. The dis­clo­sures about Tor’s inner work­ings I obtained from the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors have nev­er been made pub­lic before now. The sto­ry they tell is vital to our under­stand­ing of the Inter­net; they reveal that Amer­i­can mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence inter­ests are so deeply embed­ded in the fab­ric of the net­work that they dom­i­nate the very encryp­tion tools and pri­va­cy orga­ni­za­tions that are sup­posed to be in oppo­si­tion to them. There is no escape. . . .”

Sur­veil­lance Val­ley by Yasha Levine; Pub­lic Affairs Books [HC]; Copy­right 2018 by Yasha Levine; ISBN 978–1‑61039–802‑2; pp. 212–214. [11]

. . . . My prob­lems had begun when I start­ed dig­ging into the Tor Project. I inves­ti­gat­ed Tor’s cen­tral role in the pri­va­cy move­ment after Edward Snow­den pre­sent­ed the project as a panacea to sur­veil­lance on the Inter­net. I was­n’t con­vinced, and it did­n’t take long to find a basis for my ini­tial sus­pi­cions.

The first red flag was its Sil­i­con Val­ley sup­port. Pri­va­cy groups fund­ed by com­pa­nies like Google and Face­book, includ­ing the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion and Fight for the Future, were some of Tor’s biggest and most ded­i­cat­ed back­ers. Google had direct­ly bankrolled its devel­op­ment, pay­ing out gen­er­ous grants to col­lege stu­dents who worked at Tor dur­ing their sum­mer vaca­tions. Why would an Inter­net com­pa­ny whose entire busi­ness rest­ed on track­ing peo­ple online pro­mote and help devel­op a pow­er­ful pri­va­cy tool? Some­thing did­n’t add up.

As I dug into the tech­ni­cal details of how Tor worked, I quick­ly real­ized that the Tor Project offers no pro­tec­tion against the pri­vate track­ing and pro­fil­ing Inter­net com­pa­nies car­ry out. Tor works only if peo­ple are ded­i­cat­ed to main­tain­ing a strict anony­mous Inter­net rou­tine: using only dum­my email address­es and bogus accounts, car­ry­ing out all finan­cial trans­ac­tions in Bit­coin and oth­er cryp­tocur­ren­cies, and nev­er men­tion­ing their real name in emails or mes­sages. For the vast major­i­ty of peo­ple on the Internet—those who use Gmail, inter­act with Face­book friends, and shop on Amazon—you reveal your iden­ti­ty. These com­pa­nies know who you are. They know your name, your ship­ping address, your cred­it card infor­ma­tion. They con­tin­ue to scan your emails, map your social net­works, and com­pile dossiers. Tor or not, once you enter your account name and pass­word, Tor’s anonymi­ty tech­nol­o­gy becomes use­less.

Tor’s inef­fec­tive­ness against Sil­i­con Val­ley sur­veil­lance made it an odd pro­gram for Snow­den and oth­er pri­va­cy activists to embrace. After all, Snow­den’s leaked doc­u­ments revealed that any­thing Inter­net com­pa­nies had, the NSA had as well. I was puz­zled, but at least I under­stood why Tor had back­ing from Sil­i­con Val­ley: it offered a false sense of pri­va­cy, while not pos­ing a threat to the indus­try’s under­ly­ing sur­veil­lance mod­el.

What was­n’t clear, and what became appar­ent as I inves­ti­gat­ed Tor fur­ther, was why the US gov­ern­ment sup­port­ed it.

A big part of Tor’s mys­tique and appeal was that it was sup­pos­ed­ly a fierce­ly inde­pen­dent and rad­i­cal organization—an ene­my of the state. Its offi­cial sto­ry was that it was fund­ed by a wide vari­ety of sources, which gave it total free­dom to do what­ev­er it want­ed. But as I ana­lyzed the orga­ni­za­tion’s finan­cial doc­u­ments, I found that the oppo­site was true. Tor had come out of a joint US Navy—DARPA mil­i­tary project in the ear­ly 2000s and con­tin­ued to rely on a series of fed­er­al con­tracts after it was spun off into a pri­vate non­prof­it. This fund­ing came from the Pen­ta­gon, the State Depart­ment, and at least one orga­ni­za­tion that derived from the CIA. These con­tracts added up to sev­er­al mil­lion dol­lars a year and, most years, account­ed for more than 90 per­cent of Tor’s oper­at­ing bud­get. Tor was a fed­er­al mil­i­tary con­trac­tor. It even had its own fed­er­al con­tract­ing num­ber.

The deep­er I went, the stranger it got. I learned that just about every­one involved in devel­op­ing Tor was in some way tied up with the very state that they were sup­posed to be pro­tect­ing peo­ple from. This includ­ed Tor’s founder, Roger Din­gle­dine, who spent a sum­mer work­ing at the NSA and who had brought Tor to life under a series of DARPA and Navy con­tracts. I even uncov­ered an old audio copy of a talk Din­gle­dine gave in 2004, right as he was set­ting up Tor as an inde­pen­dent orga­ni­za­tion. “I con­tract for the Unit­ed States Gov­ern­ment to build an anonymi­ty tech­nol­o­gy for them and deploy it,” he admit­ted at the time. . . .

2. Far from frus­trat­ing intel­li­gence sur­veil­lance, Tor aug­ments that effort! ” . . . . Tor, as well as the larg­er app-obsessed pri­va­cy move­ment that ral­lied around it after Snow­den’s NSA leaks, does not thwart the pow­er of the US gov­ern­ment. It enhances it. The dis­clo­sures about Tor’s inner work­ings I obtained from the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors have nev­er been made pub­lic before now. The sto­ry they tell is vital to our under­stand­ing of the Inter­net; they reveal that Amer­i­can mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence inter­ests are so deeply embed­ded in the fab­ric of the net­work that they dom­i­nate the very encryp­tion tools and pri­va­cy orga­ni­za­tions that are sup­posed to be in oppo­si­tion to them. There is no escape. . . .”

Sur­veil­lance Val­ley [11]by Yasha Levine; Pub­lic Affairs Books [HC]; Copy­right 2018 [11]by Yasha Levine; ISBN 978–1‑61039–802‑2; pp. 223–234. [11]

. . . . If Tor was tru­ly the heart of the mod­ern pri­va­cy move­ment and a real threat to the sur­veil­lance pow­er of agen­cies like the NSA, why would the fed­er­al government—including the Pen­ta­gon, the par­ent of the NSA—continue to fund the orga­ni­za­tion? Why would the Pen­ta­gon sup­port a tech­nol­o­gy that sub­vert­ed its own pow­er? It did not make any sense.

The doc­u­ments in the box wait­ing on my doorstep con­tained the answer. Com­bined with oth­er infor­ma­tion unearthed dur­ing my inves­ti­ga­tion, they showed that Tor, as well as the larg­er app-obsessed pri­va­cy move­ment that ral­lied around it after Snow­den’s NSA leaks, does not thwart the pow­er of the US gov­ern­ment. It enhances it.

The dis­clo­sures about Tor’s inner work­ings I obtained from the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors have nev­er been made pub­lic before now. The sto­ry they tell is vital to our under­stand­ing of the Inter­net; they reveal that Amer­i­can mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence inter­ests are so deeply embed­ded in the fab­ric of the net­work that they dom­i­nate the very encryp­tion tools and pri­va­cy orga­ni­za­tions that are sup­posed to be in oppo­si­tion to them. There is no escape. . . .

3. Wide­ly regard­ed as a cham­pi­on of Inter­net free­dom and pri­va­cy, the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion helped finance Tor and cham­pi­oned its use.

Key ele­ments of dis­cus­sion and analy­sis of the EFF/Tor alliance include:

  1. EFF’s ear­ly financ­ing of Tor: ” . . . . . . . . In 2004, [Roger] Din­gle­dine struck out on his own, spin­ning the mil­i­tary onion rout­ing project into a non-prof­it cor­po­ra­tion called the Tor Project and, while still fund­ed by DARPA and the Navy, began scratch­ing around for pri­vate fund­ing. He got help from an unex­pect­ed ally: the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion (EFF), which gave Tor almost a quar­ter mil­lion dol­lars to keep it going while Din­gle­dine looked for oth­er pri­vate spon­sors. The EFF even host­ed Tor’s web­site. . . .”
  2. The EFF’s effu­sive praise for the fun­da­men­tal­ly com­pro­mised Tor Project: ” . . . . ‘The Tor Project is a per­fect fit for EFF, because one of our pri­ma­ry goals is to pro­tect the pri­va­cy and anonymi­ty of Inter­net users. Tor can help peo­ple exer­cise their First Amend­ment right to free, anony­mous speech online.’ EFF’s tech­nol­o­gy man­ag­er Chris Palmer explained in a 2004 press release, which curi­ous­ly failed to men­tion that Tor was devel­oped pri­mar­i­ly for mil­i­tary intel­li­gence use and was still active­ly fund­ed by the Pen­ta­gon. . . .”
  3. The EFF’s his­to­ry of work­ing with ele­ments of the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment: ” . . . . In 1994, EFF worked with the FBI to pass the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Assis­tance for Law Enforce­ment Act, which required all telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies to build their equip­ment so that it could be wire­tapped by the FBI. In 1999, EFF worked to sup­port NATO’s bomb­ing cam­paign in Koso­vo with some­thing called the ‘Koso­vo Pri­va­cy Sup­port,’ which aimed to keep the region’s Inter­net access open dur­ing mil­i­tary action. Sell­ing a Pen­ta­gon intel­li­gence project as a grass­roots pri­va­cy tool—it did­n’t seem all that wild. . . .”
  4.  In FTR #854 [7], we not­ed that EFF co-founder John Per­ry Bar­low was far more than a Grate­ful Dead lyricist/hippie icon: ” . . . . Indeed, in 2002, a few years before it fund­ed Tor, EFF cofounder [John] Per­ry Bar­low [8] casu­al­ly admit­ted that he had been con­sult­ing for intel­li­gence agen­cies for a decade. It seemed that the worlds of sol­diers, spies, and pri­va­cy weren’t as far apart as they appeared. . . .”
  5. EFF’s grav­i­tas in the online pri­va­cy com­mu­ni­ty lent Tor great cred­i­bil­i­ty: ” . . . . EFF’s sup­port for Tor was a big deal. The orga­ni­za­tion com­mand­ed respect in Sil­i­con Val­ley and was wide­ly seen as the ACLU of the Inter­net Age. The fact that it backed Tor meant that no hard ques­tions would be asked about the anonymi­ty tool’s mil­i­tary ori­gins as it tran­si­tioned to the civil­ian world. And that’s exact­ly what hap­pened. . . .”

  Sur­veil­lance Val­ley [11]by Yasha Levine; Pub­lic Affairs Books [HC]; Copy­right 2018 by Yasha Levine; ISBN 978–1‑61039–802‑2; pp. 227–228. [11]

. . . . In 2004, [Roger] Din­gle­dine struck out on his own, spin­ning the mil­i­tary onion rout­ing project into a non-prof­it cor­po­ra­tion called the Tor Project and, while still fund­ed by DARPA and the Navy, began scratch­ing around for pri­vate fund­ing. He got help from an unex­pect­ed ally: the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion (EFF), which gave Tor almost a quar­ter mil­lion dol­lars to keep it going while Din­gle­dine looked for oth­er pri­vate spon­sors. The EFF even host­ed Tor’s web­site. To down­load the app, users had to browse to tor.eff.org, where they’d see a reas­sur­ing mes­sage from the EFF: “Your traf­fic is safe when you use Tor.”

Announc­ing its sup­port, the EFF sang Tor’s prais­es. “The Tor Project is a per­fect fit for EFF, because one of our pri­ma­ry goals is to pro­tect the pri­va­cy and anonymi­ty of Inter­net users. Tor can help peo­ple exer­cise their First Amend­ment right to free, anony­mous speech online.” EFF’s tech­nol­o­gy man­ag­er Chris Palmer explained in a 2004 press release, which curi­ous­ly failed to men­tion that Tor was devel­oped pri­mar­i­ly for mil­i­tary intel­li­gence use and was still active­ly fund­ed by the Pen­ta­gon.

Why would the EFF, a Sil­i­con Val­ley advo­ca­cy group that posi­tioned itself as a staunch crit­ic of gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance pro­grams, help sell a mil­i­tary intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ca­tions tool to unsus­pect­ing Inter­net users? Well, it was­n’t as strange as it seems.

EFF was only a decade old at the time, but it already had devel­oped a his­to­ry of work­ing with law enforce­ment agen­cies and aid­ing the mil­i­tary. In 1994, EFF worked with the FBI to pass the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Assis­tance for Law Enforce­ment Act, which required all telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies to build their equip­ment so that it could be wire­tapped by the FBI. In 1999, EFF worked to sup­port NATO’s bomb­ing cam­paign in Koso­vo with some­thing called the “Koso­vo Pri­va­cy Sup­port,” which aimed to keep the region’s Inter­net access open dur­ing mil­i­tary action. Sell­ing a Pen­ta­gon intel­li­gence project as a grass­roots pri­va­cy tool—it did­n’t seem all that wild. Indeed, in 2002, a few years before it fund­ed Tor, EFF cofounder [John] Per­ry Bar­low casu­al­ly admit­ted that he had been con­sult­ing for intel­li­gence agen­cies for a decade. It seemed that the worlds of sol­diers, spies, and pri­va­cy weren’t as far apart as they appeared.

EFF’s sup­port for Tor was a big deal. The orga­ni­za­tion com­mand­ed respect in Sil­i­con Val­ley and was wide­ly seen as the ACLU of the Inter­net Age. The fact that it backed Tor meant that no hard ques­tions would be asked about the anonymi­ty tool’s mil­i­tary ori­gins as it tran­si­tioned to the civil­ian world. And that’s exact­ly what hap­pened. . . .

7aIn FTR #‘s 891 [9] and 895 [10], we not­ed the pri­ma­ry posi­tion of the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors in the devel­op­ment of the so-called “pri­va­cy” net­works. The BBG is a CIA off­shoot: . . . .  The BBG might have had a bland sound­ing name and pro­fessed a noble mis­sion to inform the world and spread democ­ra­cy. In truth, the orga­ni­za­tion was an out­growth of the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency. . . . The bulk of the BBG is no longer fund­ed from the CIA’s black bud­get, but the agen­cy’s orig­i­nal cold War goal and purpose—subversion and psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions direct­ed against coun­tries deemed hos­tile to US interests—remain the same. The only thing that did change about the BBG is that today, more of its broad­casts are tak­ing place online . . . .”

  Sur­veil­lance Val­ley by Yasha Levine; Pub­lic Affairs Books [HC]; Copy­right 2018 by Yasha Levine; ISBN 978–1‑61039–802‑2; pp. 230–233. [11]

. . . .  The BBG might have had a bland sound­ing name and pro­fessed a noble mis­sion to inform the world and spread democ­ra­cy. In truth, the orga­ni­za­tion was an out­growth of the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency. . . .

. . . . The bulk of the BBG is no longer fund­ed from the CIA’s black bud­get, but the agen­cy’s orig­i­nal cold War goal and purpose—subversion and psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions direct­ed against coun­tries deemed hos­tile to US interests—remain the same. The only thing that did change about the BBG is that today, more of its broad­casts are tak­ing place online . . . .

7b. In our long series of inter­views with Jim DiEu­ge­nio about his mas­ter­work Des­tiny Betrayed [12], we high­light­ed vet­er­an intel­li­gence offi­cer Wal­ter Sheri­dan’s broad­cast hatch­et job on New Orleans D.A. Jim Gar­rison’s inves­ti­ga­tion of the JFK assas­si­na­tion. The TV hit piece was broad­cast on the NBC net­work.

In our dis­cus­sion of the Sheri­dan broad­cast [13], we not­ed the efforts of RCA chief David Sarnoff in res­ur­rect­ing the Nazi-run Radio France sta­tion and pre­sid­ing over its con­ver­sion to Radio Free Europe, pre­cur­sor to the BBG. (RCA is the par­ent com­pa­ny of NBC, which aired the Sheri­dan broad­cast.) In res­ur­rect­ing Radio France and mid­wiv­ing its con­ver­sion to Radio Free Europe, Sarnoff, who is Jew­ish, was build­ing on pro­found and trea­so­nous Axis con­nec­tions he main­tained dur­ing the war.

Key points of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion include David Sarnof­f’s suc­cess­ful efforts to restore and expand the Nazi Radio France Sta­tion and re-brand it as “Radio Free Europe.” (Radio France was tak­en over by the Nazis and the Vichy pup­pet regime, and then sab­o­taged as the Third Reich with­drew from France. ” . . . . In 1944, Sarnoff worked for the com­plete restora­tion of the Nazi destroyed Radio France sta­tion in Paris until its sig­nal was able to reach through­out Europe. It was then reti­tled Radio Free Europe. He lat­er lob­bied the White House to expand the range and reach of Radio Free Europe. At about this point, Radio Free Europe became a pet project of Allen Dulles. Sarnoff’s com­pa­ny, Radio Cor­po­ra­tion of Amer­i­ca, became a large part of the tech­no­log­i­cal core of the NSA. . . . Robert was pres­i­dent of RCA, NBC’s par­ent com­pa­ny, at the time Sheridan’s spe­cial aired. David was chair­man. . . .”

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 255. [12]

. . . . It is rel­e­vant to note here that Gen­er­al David Sarnoff, founder of NBC, worked for the Sig­nal Corps dur­ing World War II as a reserve offi­cer. In 1944, Sarnoff worked for the com­plete restora­tion of the Nazi destroyed Radio France sta­tion in Paris until its sig­nal was able to reach through­out Europe. It was then reti­tled Radio Free Europe. He lat­er lob­bied the White House to expand the range and reach of Radio Free Europe. At about this point, Radio Free Europe became a pet project of Allen Dulles. Sarnoff’s com­pa­ny, Radio Cor­po­ra­tion of Amer­i­ca, became a large part of the tech­no­log­i­cal core of the NSA. Dur­ing the war, David’s son Robert worked in the broad­cast arm of the Office of Strate­gic Ser­vices (OSS), the fore­run­ner of the CIA. Robert was pres­i­dent of RCA, NBC’s par­ent com­pa­ny, at the time Sheridan’s spe­cial aired. David was chair­man. . .

7c. In Trad­ing with the Ene­my [14], Charles High­am chron­i­cled the deep involve­ment of David Sarnoff with the Tran­sra­dio Con­sor­tium, which joined the Axis nations with the West­ern Allies in a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions car­tel that pro­vid­ed vital–and lethal–intelligence to the Axis dur­ing the war.

Key points of analy­sis and dis­cus­sion include:

  1. Sarnof­f’s RCA was part of the Tran­sra­dio Con­sor­tium, some­thing of a broad­cast car­tel meld­ing Axis and West­ern Allied broad­cast estab­lish­ments: ” . . . . RCA was in part­ner­ship before and after Pearl Har­bor with British Cable and Wire­less; with Tele­funken, the Nazi com­pa­ny; with Ital­ca­ble, whol­ly owned by the Mus­soli­ni gov­ern­ment; and with Vichy’s Com­pag­nie Gen­erale, in an orga­ni­za­tion known as the Tran­sra­dio Con­sor­tium, with Gen­er­al Robert C. Davis, head of the New York Chap­ter of the Amer­i­can Red Cross, as its chair­man. In turn, RCA, British Cable and Wire­less, and the Ger­man and Ital­ian com­pa­nies had a share with ITT in TTP (Telegrafi­ca y Tele­fon­i­ca del Pla­ta), an Axis-con­trolled com­pa­ny pro­vid­ing tele­graph and tele­phone ser­vice between Buenos Aires and Mon­te­v­ideo. Nazis in Mon­te­v­ideo could tele­phone Buenos Aires through TTP with­out com­ing under the con­trol of either the state-owned sys­tem in Uruguay or the ITT sys­tem in Argenti­na. Mes­sages, often dan­ger­ous to Amer­i­can secu­ri­ty, were trans­mit­ted direct­ly to Berlin and Rome by Tran­sra­dio. Anoth­er share­hold­er was ITT’s Ger­man ‘rival,’ Siemens, which linked cables and net­works with Behn south of Pana­ma. . . .”
  2. Tran­sra­dio Con­sor­tium was the vehi­cle for lethal­ly trea­so­nous com­mu­ni­ca­tions dur­ing the war: ” . . . . But the pub­lic, which thought of Sarnoff as a pil­lar of patri­o­tism, would have been aston­ished to learn of his part­ner­ship with the ene­my through Tran­sra­dio and TTP. The British pub­lic, belea­guered and bombed, would have been equal­ly shocked to learn that British Cable and Wire­less, 10 per­cent owned by the British gov­ern­ment, and under vir­tu­al gov­ern­ment con­trol in wartime, was in fact also in part­ner­ship with the Ger­mans and Ital­ians through the same com­pa­nies and prox­ies. . . . Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, the Tran­sra­dio sta­tions, accord­ing to State Depart­ment reports with the full knowl­edge of David Sarnoff, kept up a direct line to Berlin. The amount of intel­li­gence passed along the lines can scarce­ly be cal­cu­lat­ed. The Lon­don office was in con­stant touch with New York through­out the war, sift­ing through reports from Argenti­na, Brazil, and Chile and send­ing com­pa­ny reports to the Ital­ian and Ger­man inter­ests. . . .”

  Trad­ing with the Ene­my: An Expose of the Nazi-Amer­i­can Mon­ey Plot 1933–1949 by Charles High­am; Dela­corte Press [HC]; Copy­right 1983 by Charles High­am; ISBN 10–0440090644; 13–978-0440090649; pp. 104–107. [14]

. . . . In South Amer­i­ca, Sos­thenes Behn was in part­ner­ship (as well as rival­ry) with an even more pow­er­ful organ­ism: the giant Radio Cor­po­ra­tion of Amer­i­ca, which owned the NBC radio net­work. RCA was in part­ner­ship before and after Pearl Har­bor with British Cable and Wire­less; with Tele­funken, the Nazi com­pa­ny; with Ital­ca­ble, whol­ly owned by the Mus­soli­ni gov­ern­ment; and with Vichy’s Com­pag­nie Gen­erale, in an orga­ni­za­tion known as the Tran­sra­dio Con­sor­tium, with Gen­er­al Robert C. Davis, head of the New York Chap­ter of the Amer­i­can Red Cross, as its chair­man. In turn, RCA, British Cable and Wire­less, and the Ger­man and Ital­ian com­pa­nies had a share with ITT in TTP (Telegrafi­ca y Tele­fon­i­ca del Pla­ta), an Axis-con­trolled com­pa­ny pro­vid­ing tele­graph and tele­phone ser­vice between Buenos Aires and Mon­te­v­ideo. Nazis in Mon­te­v­ideo could tele­phone Buenos Aires through TTP with­out com­ing under the con­trol of either the state-owned sys­tem in Uruguay or the ITT sys­tem in Argenti­na.

Mes­sages, often dan­ger­ous to Amer­i­can secu­ri­ty, were trans­mit­ted direct­ly to Berlin and Rome by Tran­sra­dio. Anoth­er share­hold­er was ITT’s Ger­man “rival,” Siemens, which linked cables and net­works with Behn south of Pana­ma.

The head of RCA dur­ing World War II was Colonel David Sarnoff, a stocky, square-set, deter­mined man with a slow, sub­dued voice, who came from Rus­sia as an immi­grant at the turn of the cen­tu­ry and began as a news­pa­per sell­er, mes­sen­ger boy, and Mar­coni Wire­less oper­a­tor. . . .

. . . . After Pearl Har­bor, Sarnoff cabled Roo­sevelt, “All of our facil­i­ties and per­son­nel are ready and at your instant ser­vice. We await your com­mand.” Sarnoff played a cru­cial role, as cru­cial as Behn’s, in the U.S. war effort, and, like Behn, he was giv­en a colonel­cy in the U.S. Sig­nal Corps. He solved com­plex prob­lems, dealt with a maze of dif­fi­cult require­ments by the twelve mil­lion mem­bers of the U.S. armed forces, and coor­di­nat­ed details relat­ed to the Nor­mandy land­ings. He pre­pared the whole print­ed and elec­tron­ic press-cov­er­age of V‑J day; in Lon­don in 1944, with head­quar­ters at Clar­idge’s Hotel, he was Eisen­how­er’s inspired con­sul­tant and earned the Medal of Mer­it for his help in the occu­pa­tion of Europe.

Open­ing in 1943 with a cho­rus of praise from var­i­ous gen­er­als, the new RCA lab­o­ra­to­ries had proved to be indis­pens­able in time of war.

But the pub­lic, which thought of Sarnoff as a pil­lar of patri­o­tism, would have been aston­ished to learn of his part­ner­ship with the ene­my through Tran­sra­dio and TTP. The British pub­lic, belea­guered and bombed, would have been equal­ly shocked to learn that British Cable and Wire­less, 10 per­cent owned by the British gov­ern­ment, and under vir­tu­al gov­ern­ment con­trol in wartime, was in fact also in part­ner­ship with the Ger­mans and Ital­ians through the same com­pa­nies and prox­ies. . . .

. . . . Simultaneously, the Transradio stations, according to State Department reports with the full knowledge of David Sarnoff, kept up a direct line to Berlin. The amount of intelligence passed along the lines can scarcely be calculated. The London office was in constant touch with New York throughout the war, sifting through reports from Argentina, Brazil, and Chile and sending company reports to the Italian and German interests.

7d. Rely­ing on Gehlen “org” per­son­nel and alum­ni, Radio Free Europe built effec­tive­ly up from fas­cist foun­da­tions to cor­re­spond­ing func­tion­al real­i­ty:

Sur­veil­lance Val­ley [11]by Yasha Levine; Pub­lic Affairs Books [HC]; Copy­right 2018 [11]by Yasha Levine; ISBN 978–1‑61039–802‑2; p. 232. [11]

. . . . In some cas­es, the  sta­tions, espe­cial­ly  those tar­get­ing Ukraine, Ger­many, and the  Baltic States, were staffed by known Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors and broad­cast anti-Semit­ic pro­pa­gan­da. . . . 

8. The BBG (read “CIA”) was a major backer of the Tor Project: ” . . . . . . . . It was Wednes­day morn­ing, Feb­ru­ary 8, 2006, when Roger Din­gle­dine got the email he had been bad­ly wait­ing for. The Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors had final­ly agreed to back the Tor Project. . . . With­in a year, the agency increased Tor’s con­tract to a quar­ter mil­lion dol­lars, and then bumped it up again to almost a mil­lion just a few years lat­er. The rela­tion­ship also led to major con­tracts with oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies, boost­ing Tor’s mea­ger oper­at­ing bud­get to sev­er­al mil­lion dol­lars a year. . . .”

Sur­veil­lance Val­ley by Yasha Levine; Pub­lic Affairs Books [HC]; Copy­right 2018 by Yasha Levine; ISBN 978–1‑61039–802‑2; pp. 228–229. [11]

. . . . It was Wednes­day morn­ing, Feb­ru­ary 8, 2006, when Roger Din­gle­dine got the email he had been bad­ly wait­ing for. The Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors had final­ly agreed to back the Tor Project. . . .

. . . . The Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, or BBG, seemed to offer a com­pro­mise. A large fed­er­al agency with close ties to the State Depart­ment, BBG ran Amer­i­ca’s for­eign broad­cast­ing oper­a­tion: Voice of Amer­i­ca, Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­ty, and Radio Free Asia. It was a gov­ern­ment agency, so that was­n’t ide­al. But at least it had an altru­is­tic-sound­ing mis­sion:  “to inform, engage, and con­nect peo­ple around the world in sup­port of free­dom and democ­ra­cy.” Any­way, gov­ern­ment or not, Din­gle­dine did­n’t have much choice. Mon­ey was tight and this seemed to be the best he could line up. So he said yes.

It was a smart move. The ini­tial $80,000 was just the begin­ning. With­in a year, the agency increased Tor’s con­tract to a quar­ter mil­lion dol­lars, and then bumped it up again to almost a mil­lion just a few years lat­er. The rela­tion­ship also led to major con­tracts with oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies, boost­ing Tor’s mea­ger oper­at­ing bud­get to sev­er­al mil­lion dol­lars a year. . . .

9The essence of the Tor Project: ” . . . . The Tor Project was not a rad­i­cal indie orga­ni­za­tion fight­ing The Man. For all intents and pur­pos­es, it was The Man. Or, at least, The Man’s right hand. . . . inter­nal cor­re­spon­dence reveals Tor’s close col­lab­o­ra­tion with the BBG and mul­ti­ple oth­er wings of the US gov­ern­ment, in par­tic­u­lar those that dealt with for­eign pol­i­cy and soft-pow­er pro­jec­tion. Mes­sages describe meet­ings, train­ings, and con­fer­ences with the NSA, CIA, FBI and State Depart­ment. . . . The fund­ing record tells the sto­ry even more pre­cise­ly. . . . Tor was sub­sist­ing almost exclu­sive­ly on gov­ern­ment con­tracts. By 2008, that includ­ed  con­tracts with DARPA, the Navy, the BBG, and the State Depart­ment as well as Stan­ford Research Insti­tute’s Cyber-Threat Ana­lyt­ics pro­gram. . . .” 

  Sur­veil­lance Val­ley by Yasha Levine; Pub­lic Affairs Books [HC]; Copy­right 2018 by Yasha Levine; ISBN 978–1‑61039–802‑2; pp. 237–238. [11]

. . . . The cor­re­spon­dence left lit­tle room for doubt. The Tor Project was not a rad­i­cal indie orga­ni­za­tion fight­ing The Man. For all intents and pur­pos­es, it was The Man. Or, at least, The Man’s right hand. Inter­mixed with updates on new hires, sta­tus reports, chat­ty sug­ges­tions for hikes and vaca­tion spots, and the usu­al office ban­ter, inter­nal cor­re­spon­dence reveals Tor’s close col­lab­o­ra­tion with the BBG and mul­ti­ple oth­er wings of the US gov­ern­ment, in par­tic­u­lar those that dealt with for­eign pol­i­cy and soft-pow­er pro­jec­tion. Mes­sages describe meet­ings, train­ings, and con­fer­ences with the NSA, CIA, FBI and State Depart­ment. There are strat­e­gy ses­sions and dis­cus­sions about the need to influ­ence news cov­er­age and con­trol bad press. The cor­re­spon­dence also shows Tor employ­ees tak­ing orders from their han­dlers in the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, includ­ing plans to deploy their anonymi­ty tool in coun­tries deemed hos­tile to US inter­ests; Chi­na, Iran, Viet­nam, and, of course, Rus­sia. . . .

. . . . The fund­ing record tells the sto­ry even more pre­cise­ly. . . . Tor was sub­sist­ing almost exclu­sive­ly on gov­ern­ment con­tracts. By 2008, that includ­ed  con­tracts with DARPA, the Navy, the BBG, and the State Depart­ment as well as Stan­ford Research Insti­tute’s Cyber-Threat Ana­lyt­ics pro­gram. . . . 

10. Next, we high­light the career of Jacob Appel­baum, the Amer­i­can Wik­iLeak­er. This sup­posed “pro­gres­sive” is a devo­tee of Ayn Rand.

   Sur­veil­lance Val­ley [11]by Yasha Levine; Pub­lic Affairs Books [HC]; Copy­right 2018 by Yasha Levine; ISBN 978–1‑61039–802‑2; p. 239. [11]

 . . . . Like most young lib­er­tar­i­ans, he was enchant­ed by Ayn Rand’s The Foun­tain­head, which he described as one of his favorite books. “I took up this book while I was trav­el­ing around Europe last year. Most of my super left wing friends real­ly dis­like Ayn Rand for some rea­son or anoth­er. I can­not even begin to fath­om why, but hey, to each their own,” he wrote in his blog diary. “While read­ing The Foun­tain­head, I felt like I was read­ing a sto­ry about peo­ple that I knew in my every­day life. The char­ac­ters were sim­ple. The sto­ry was sim­ple. What I found com­pelling was the moral behind the sto­ry. I sup­pose it may be summed up in one line . . . Those that seek to gath­er you togeth­er for self­less actions, wish to enslave you for their own gain.” . . . .

11. Appel­baum went to work for the Tor Project and did much to fos­ter use of the net­work: . . . . With­in months of get­ting the job, he assumed the role of offi­cial Tor Project spokesman and began pro­mot­ing Tor as a pow­er­ful weapon against gov­ern­ment oppres­sion. . . . Over the next sev­er­al years, Din­gledine’s reports back to the BBG [read “CIA”–D.E.] were filled with descrip­tions of Appel­baum’s suc­cess­ful out­reach. . . .”

   Sur­veil­lance Val­ley by Yasha Levine; Pub­lic Affairs Books [HC]; Copy­right 2018 by Yasha Levine; ISBN 978–1‑61039–802‑2; pp. 240—241. [11]

. . . . And in 2008, Appel­baum final­ly got his dream job—a posi­tion that could expand with his giant ego and ambi­tion.

In April of that year, Din­gle­dine hired him as a  full-time Tor con­trac­tor. He had a start­ing salary of $96,000 plus ben­e­fits and was put to work mak­ing Tor more user-friend­ly. He was a good coder, but he did­n’t stay focused on the tech­ni­cal side for long. As Din­gle­dine dis­cov­ered, Appel­baum proved bet­ter and much more use­ful at some­thing else: brand­ing and pub­lic rela­tions. . . .

. . . . With­in months of get­ting the job, he assumed the role of offi­cial Tor Project spokesman and began pro­mot­ing Tor as a pow­er­ful weapon against gov­ern­ment oppres­sion. . . .

. . . . Over the next sev­er­al years, Din­gledine’s reports back to the BBG [read “CIA”–D.E.] were filled with descrip­tions of Appel­baum’s suc­cess­ful out­reach. “Lots of Tor advo­ca­cy,” wrote Din­gle­dine.  “Anoth­er box of Tor stick­ers applied to many lap­tops. Lots of peo­ple were inter­est­ed in Tor and many peo­ple installed Tor on both lap­tops and servers. This advo­ca­cy result­ed in at least two new high band­width nodes that he helped the admin­is­tra­tors con­fig­ure.” Inter­nal doc­u­ments show that the pro­posed bud­get for Din­gle­dine and Appel­baum’s glob­al pub­lic­i­ty pro­gram was $20,000 a year, which includ­ed a pub­lic rela­tions strat­e­gy. “Craft­ing a mes­sage that the media can under­stand is a crit­i­cal piece of this,” Din­gle­dine explained in a 2008 pro­pos­al. “This isn’t so much about get­ting good press about Tor as it is about prepar­ing jour­nal­ists so if they see bad press and con­sid­er spread­ing it fur­ther, they’ll stop and think.” . . . .

12. Next, we dis­cuss Appel­baum’s net­work­ing with Julian Assange, and how that liai­son led to Tor being used for the alleged­ly secure, anony­mous Wik­iLeaks oper­a­tion.

” . . . . Appel­baum decid­ed to attach him­self to the Wik­iLeaks cause. He spent a few weeks with Assange and the orig­i­nal Wik­iLeaks crew in Ice­land as they pre­pared their first major release and helped secure the site’s anony­mous sub­mis­sions sys­tem using Tor’s hid­den ser­vice fea­ture, which hid the phys­i­cal loca­tion of Wik­iLeaks servers and in the­o­ry made them much less sus­cep­ti­ble to sur­veil­lance and attack. From then on, the Wik­iLeaks site proud­ly adver­tised Tor: ‘secure, anony­mous, dis­trib­uted net­work for max­i­mum secu­ri­ty.’ . . . . Appel­baum did his best to be Assange’s right-hand man. He served as the orga­ni­za­tion’s offi­cial Amer­i­can rep­re­sen­ta­tive and bailed the founder of Wik­iLeaks out of tough spots when the heat from US author­i­ties got too hot. Appel­baum became so inter­twined with Wik­iLeaks that appar­ent­ly some staffers talked about him lead­ing the orga­ni­za­tion if some­thing were to hap­pen to Assange. . . . Assange gave Appel­baum and Tor wide cred­it for help­ing Wik­iLeaks. ‘Jake has been a tire­less pro­mot­er behind the scenes of our cause,’ he told a reporter. ‘Tor’s impor­tance to Wik­iLeaks can­not be under­es­ti­mat­ed.’ With those words, Appel­baum and the Tor Project became cen­tral heroes in the Wik­iLeaks saga, right behind Assange. . . .”

Sur­veil­lance Val­ley by Yasha Levine; Pub­lic Affairs Books [HC]; Copy­right 2018 by Yasha Levine; ISBN 978–1‑61039–802‑2; pp. 242—243. [11]

. . . . Jacob Appel­baum and Julian Assange had met in Berlin some­time in 2005, just as the mys­te­ri­ous Aus­tralian hack­er was get­ting ready to set Wik­iLeaks in motion. . . .

. . . . Appel­baum decid­ed to attach him­self to the Wik­iLeaks cause. He spent a few weeks with Assange and the orig­i­nal Wik­iLeaks crew in Ice­land as they pre­pared their first major release and helped secure the site’s anony­mous sub­mis­sions sys­tem using Tor’s hid­den ser­vice fea­ture, which hid the phys­i­cal loca­tion of Wik­iLeaks servers and in the­o­ry made them much less sus­cep­ti­ble to sur­veil­lance and attack. From then on, the Wik­iLeaks site proud­ly adver­tised Tor: “secure, anony­mous, dis­trib­uted net­work for max­i­mum secu­ri­ty.” . . . .

. . . . Assange was sud­den­ly one of the most famous peo­ple in he world—a fear­less rad­i­cal tak­ing on the awe­some pow­er of the Unit­ed States. Appel­baum did his best to be Assange’s right-hand man. He served as the orga­ni­za­tion’s offi­cial Amer­i­can rep­re­sen­ta­tive and bailed the founder of Wik­iLeaks out of tough spots when the heat from US author­i­ties got too hot. Appel­baum became so inter­twined with Wik­iLeaks that appar­ent­ly some staffers talked about him lead­ing the orga­ni­za­tion if some­thing were to hap­pen to Assange. But Assange kept firm con­trol of Wik­iLeaks, even after he was forced to go into hid­ing at the Ecuado­ri­an embassy in Lon­don to escape extra­di­tion back to Swe­den to face an inves­ti­ga­tion of rape alle­ga­tions.

It’s not clear whether Assange knew that Appel­baum’s salary was being paid by the same  gov­ern­ment he was try­ing to destroy. What  is clear is that Assange gave Appel­baum and Tor wide cred­it for help­ing Wik­iLeaks. “Jake has been a tire­less pro­mot­er behind the scenes of our cause,” he told a reporter. “Tor’s impor­tance to Wik­iLeaks can­not be under­es­ti­mat­ed.”

With those words, Appel­baum and the Tor Project became cen­tral heroes in the Wik­iLeaks saga, right behind Assange. . . .