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FTR #891 How Might Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty Have Viewed Edward Snowden? (The Foxes Aren’t Guarding the Henhouse, They ARE the Henhouse, Part 2: Update on the Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook)

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 late spring of 2015. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more) is complete through the late spring of 2015.

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This program was recorded in one, 60-minute segment [6]

[7]Introduction: Undoubtedly, many listeners have been puzzled by Mr. Emory’s take on “Eddie the Friendly Spook” Snowden. We note that the “Snowden op” is a highly complicated affair, with levels and ramifications extending around the world. We cannot do justice to the entirety of “L’Affaire Snowden” in the context of this program and its description.

Snowden is actually the opposite of what he is represented as being.

In this program, we scrutinize Edward Snowden from the perspective of Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, the Air Force “Focal Point Officer” who developed a CIA-controlled network inside of the branches of the military and other agencies of the federal government. (We note in this context that Snowden was working for CIA when he undertook his leaking operation.)

We first present material culled from Prouty’s book The Secret Team [8].

The analysis begins with an excerpt from The Guns of November, Part I [9], reviewing the circumstances surrounding the U-2 incident in May of 1960. On the cusp of a summit conference between then President Dwight D. Eisenhower and then Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev, a U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers came down in the heart of the former Soviet Union. The incident caused the cancellation of the summit conference, which was to be a prelude to detente between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

This portion of the program was recorded as a prelude to a lengthy discussion of “The Adventures of Eddie the Friendly Spook”–Edward Snowden, begun in 2013. Just before President Obama’s meeting with Mr. Xi,  president of China, Snowden decamps to Hong Kong (in China) and leaks information about the hacking of Chinese computers. This caused enormous embarrassment to President Obama, and neutralized any attempt he might have been able to make to reduce Chinese hacking of American computers, as well as other points of dispute between the two nations.

Next, Snowden’s leaker of choice–“Citizen Greenwald” [10]–published articles in The Guardian disclosing extensive NSA spying on Germany, which the NSA views as “a third class partner.” These articles were published just before President Obama was to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. Again, it caused enormous damage to Obama and harmed U.S. relationships with Germany and other European nations. (Note that Greenwald, as an attorney [11], was a fellow traveler [12] of some of the most heinous and murderous neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups).

Hitting the trifecta, Eddie the Friendly Spook [Snowden] then decamps to Moscow in Russia (like China, Russia is not renowned as a bastion of free speech or internet freedom.) This occurred just before Obama’s meeting of the G20 in Moscow and in the run-up to a scheduled summit conference with Putin. That summit conference was canceled, not unlike the 1960 conference between Khruschev and Eisenhower, which was destroyed by the U-2 incident. Colonel Prouty would not have failed to note the similarity.

Snowden’s trip to Moscow, like his journey to Hong Kong/China could only have been intended to harm President Obama’s administration and U.S. diplomacy.

Fundamental to this analysis is the fact that, in 2009, Snowden was working for the CIA [13] when he decided [14] to leak NSA information. Colonel Prouty would not have failed to note this, nor would he have overlooked Snowden’s vulgar, ultra-right wing views. 

It also appears to have made the NSA vulnerable to possible manipulation by the CIA, as key features of the NSA’s operational blueprint were obtained by Snowden. Bear in mind that the “Earth Island Boogie” [15] is in full swing.

Electronic intelligence about the Russian “non-invasion” of Ukraine, the “non-shootdown” of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 by Russian-backed separatists and the ambushing of Russian Su-24 fighter bomber by Turkish F-16s would all be (literally) on the NSA’s radar screen. Reigning in possible NSA whistleblowers on these matters, as well as seeing to it that NSA would not disclose CIA backing for jihadist terrorist groups in the Earth Island would be reason enough for the CIA to want to gain the upper hand on NSA.

The information gleaned by Snowden would fundamentally compromise NSA, permitting the holder of the documents to “evade or replicate” [16] the NSA’s surveillance!

We note that Snowden’s “op” directly preceded aggressive U.S. moves against both China and Russia, both militarily and economically. In the Pacific, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (which excludes China) is in the offing and U.S. naval forces are confronting China in the Pacific.

In Europe, the Snowden “op” signaled the end of the “reboot with Russia” and the onset of the Maidan covert operation, the war in Ukraine and the economic sanctions imposed on Russia.

The program concludes with a look [17] at Jacob Applebaum, one of the technocrats involved both with the WikiLeaks and Snowden “ops.” Applebaum, like so many of the so-called “privacy activists” has a record of collaborating with the very U.S. intelligence apparat they profess to oppose.

” . . . Read­ers might find it odd that a US gov­ern­ment agency estab­lished as a way to laun­der the image of var­i­ous shady pro­pa­ganda out­fits (more on that soon) is now keen to fund tech­nolo­gies designed to pro­tect us from the US gov­ern­ment. More­over, it might seem curi­ous that its money would be so warmly wel­comed by some of the Internet’s fiercest antigov­ern­ment activists. . . . You’d think that anti-surveillance activists like Chris Soghoian, Jacob Appel­baum, Cory Doc­torow and Jil­lian York would be staunchly against out­fits like BBG and Radio Free Asia, and the role they have played — and con­tinue to play — in work­ing with defense and cor­po­rate inter­ests to project and impose U.S. power abroad. Instead, these rad­i­cal activists have know­ingly joined the club, and in doing so, have become will­ing pitch­men for a wing of the very same U.S. National Secu­rity State they so adamantly oppose. . . .”

Program Highlights Include: President Eisenhower’s order to suspend all U-2 overflights of the Soviet Union (Powers’ flight was dispatched against Presidential orders); the fact that Francis Gary Powers had poison and a needle with which to take his own life, in order to prevent capture (which he did not do); the fact that Powers had extensive personal identification pinpointing him as a U.S. intelligence agent, operating under civilian cover (in direct contravention of standard “sanitization” procedures); the fact that the U-2 flew at an altitude which no Soviet or American interceptor aircraft or surface-to-air missile could reach; the U-2’s use of a special hydrogen technology to permit its engine to operate at that altitude; the probability that hydrogen starvation forced down Powers’ plane; the relatively undamaged state of the U-2 aircraft, calling into question the assertion that a surface-to-air missile could have been responsible for the downing of Powers’ plane; Powers’ assertion [18] that Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for the downing of his U-2 plane (this presumably centered on Oswald’s access to radar frequencies, which had nothing to do with the downing of the plane!); Jacob Applebaum’s links to Gene Sharp, at the center of the so-called “color revolutions;”.

2a. We note that Snowden was working for CIA in the summer of 1969, when he was suddenly visited by the Angel of Mercy, who imbued him with the spirit of altruism. So inspired, he sallied resolutely forward, determined to make any necessary sacrifice for “truth, freedom and the American way.”

“In 2009, Ed Snow­den Said Leak­ers “Should Be Shot.” Then He Became One” by Joe Mullin; Ars Technica; 6/26/2013. [13]

. . . . Hired by the CIA and granted a diplo­matic cover, he was a reg­u­lar old IT guy whose life was ele­vated by a hint of inter­na­tional intrigue. . . .

. . . . But as his first spring dawned in Switzer­land, it must have felt cold, for­eign, and expen­sive. Two days after his arrival in Switzer­land, Snow­den logged onto #arsi­fi­cial, a chan­nel on Ars Technica’s pub­lic Inter­net Relay Chat (IRC) server. He’d been fre­quent­ing this space for a few months, chat­ting with whomever hap­pened to be hang­ing out. . . .

. . . . Snow­den logged on to the pub­lic IRC chat room with the same user­name he used across the Web: TheTrue­HOOHA. The chat room was a place he would return to on dozens of occa­sions over his years in Switzer­land, and his writ­ings fill in details about the man who may go down as the most famous leaker in US his­tory. Over the years that he hung out in #arsi­fi­cial, Snow­den went from being a fairly insu­lated Amer­i­can to being a man of the world. He would wax philo­soph­i­cal about money, pol­i­tics, and in one notable exchange, about his uncom­pro­mis­ing views about gov­ern­ment leakers.

Four years later, Snow­den took a job with a gov­ern­ment con­trac­tor for the spe­cific pur­pose of gath­er­ing secret infor­ma­tion on domes­tic spy­ing being done by the National Secu­rity Agency (NSA). In May, he hopped a plane to Hong Kong before the NSA knew where he was going. Once there, Snow­den began a process of leak­ing top-secret doc­u­ments to jour­nal­ists. Snowden’s first leak con­firmed what activists had sus­pected but couldn’t prove: there was a drag­net gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance pro­gram col­lect­ing infor­ma­tion on every American’s phone calls. [This is manifestly false, obviously, this was known well before.–D.E.]. . .

. . . . And he could be abra­sive. Snow­den didn’t short stocks just to make money—he did it because it was the right thing to do. He saw him­self as a pal­adin of the mar­kets, bring­ing “liq­uid­ity” to all. As for those who didn’t agree with him about the right­ness of the gold stan­dard or the need to elim­i­nate Social Secu­rity, they weren’t just mistaken—they were “retards.” . . .

. . . . A Ron Paul man and a short-seller

If Snow­den was get­ting com­fort­able in Geneva, he was fully at home in #arsi­fi­cial. In a depar­ture from his nearly 800 posts in other Ars forums, here he spoke bluntly on mat­ters of state. In the months fol­low­ing the 2008 elec­tion, he dis­cussed his embrace of a return to the gold stan­dard and his admi­ra­tion of its highest-profile champion.

In his more hyper­bolic moments, Snow­den spoke about the fall of the dol­lar in near-apocalyptic terms. “It seems like the USD and GBP are both likely to go the way of the zim­babwe dol­lar,” he sug­gested in March 2009. “Espe­cially with that cock­bag Bernanke decid­ing to mag­i­cally print 1.2T more dollars.” . . .

. . . . The high unem­ploy­ment rate that was on the way for the US didn’t phase Snow­den; those wring­ing their hands and seek­ing con­ven­tional Key­ne­sian solu­tions seemed soft­headed to him. Obama was “plan­ning to devalue the cur­rency absolutely as fast as the­o­ret­i­cally pos­si­ble,” he wrote. Ris­ing unem­ploy­ment was a mere “cor­rec­tion,” a “nec­es­sary part of capitalism.” . . .

2b.  It was while working for the CIA in 2009 that Snowden made his decision to leak NSA documents. This puff-piece from Rolling Stone is useful only that it discloses that Snowden chose to become a “leaker” during the same time period that he said that the elderly “wouldn’t be fucking helpless if you stopped sending them fucking checks so they can sit on their ass and lie in hospitals all day.”

“Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald: The Men Who Leaked the Secrets” by Janet Reitman; Rolling Stone; 12/04/2013. [14]

 . . . . Another person who was bothered by the Times’ treatment of the warrantless-wiretapping story – and a number of others based on classified leaks – was Edward Snowden, a patriotic young man who dreamed of a life in foreign espionage. “Those people should be shot in the balls,” Snowden, then a 25-year-old computer technician, posted to an online forum in 2009, criticizing both the anonymous sources who leaked and the publications that printed the information. “They’re reporting classified shit,” he said. “You don’t put that shit in the newspaper. . . . That shit is classified for a reason.” . . . .

. . . . Prior to 2009, Snowden had considered leaking government secrets when he was at the CIA, but held off, he later said, not wanting to harm agents in the field, and hoping that Obama would reform the system. His optimism didn’t last long. “[I] watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in,” he later said. As a result, he added, “I got hardened.” The more Snowden saw of the NSA’s actual business – and, particularly, the more he read “true information,” including a 2009 Inspector General’s report detailing the Bush era’s warrantless-surveillance program – the more he realized that there were actually two governments: the one that was elected, and the other, secret regime, governing in the dark. “If the highest officials in government can break the law without fearing punishment or even any repercussions at all, secret powers become tremendously dangerous.” . . . .

3. Against the background of the Snowden “op,” we highlight the development of “focal point” personnel by the CIA. Infiltrated into other branches of government, including the military, they constituted a “government within a government.” Was Snowden one such “focal point?”

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters  [19]by James W. Douglass; Touchstone Books [SC]; Copyright 2008 by James W. Douglas; ISBN 978-1-4391-9388-4; pp. 196-197. [19]

. . . . One man in a position to watch the arms of the CIA proliferate was Colonel Fletcher Prouty. He ran the office that did the proliferating. In 1955, Air Force Headquarters ordered Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, a career Army and Air Force officer since World War II, to set up a Pentagon office to provide military support for the clandestine operations of the CIA. Thus Prouty became director of the Pentagon’s “Focal Point Office for the CIA.”

CIA Director Allen Dulles was its actual creator. In the fifties, Dulles needed military support for his cover campaigns to undermine opposing nations in the Cold War. Moreover, Dulles wanted subterranean secrecy and autonomy for his projects, even from the members of his own government. Prouty’s job was to provide Pentagon support and deep cover for the CIA beneath the different branches of Washington’s bureaucracy. Dulles dictated the method Prouty was to follow.

“I want a focal point,” Dulles said. “I want an office that’s cleared to do what we have to have done; an office that knows us very, very well and then an office that has access to a system in the Pentagon. But the system will not be aware of what initiated the request–they’ll think it came from the Secretary of Defense. They won’t realize it came from the Director of Central Intelligence.

Dulles got Prouty to create a network of subordinate focal point offices in the armed services, then throughout the entire U.S. government. Each office that Prouty set up was put under a “cleared” CIA employee. That person took orders directly from the CIA but functioned under the cover of his particular office and branch of government. Such “breeding,” Prouty said decades later in an interview, resulted in a web of covert CIA representatives “in the State Department, in the FAA, in the Customs Service, in the Treasury, in the FBI and all around through the government–up in the White House . . . Then we began to assign people there who, those agencies thought, were from the Defense Department. But they actually were people that we put there from the CIA.”

The consequence in the early 1960’s, when Kennedy became president, was that the CIA had placed a secret team of its own employees through the entire U.S. government. It was accountable to no one except the CIA, headed by Allen Dulles. After Dulles was fired by Kennedy, the CIA’s Deputy Director of Plans, Richard Helms, became this invisible government’s immediate commander. No one except a tight inner circle of the CIA even knew of the existence of this top-secret intelligence network, much less the identiy of its deep-cover bureaucrats. These CIA “focal points,” as Dulles called them, constituted a powerful, unseen government within the government. Its Dulles-appointed members would act quickly, with total obedience, when called on by the CIA to assist its covert operations. . . .

4b. Snowden’s vast document theft make NO sense in terms of protection of personal privacy or civil liberties. It appears that his “data dump” of some 1.7 million documents would permit a would-be malefactor to defeat NSA surveillance. Purloining files on the military capabilities of foreign countries and the personal lives of GCHQ operatives (which Snowden has done) have nothing to do with civil liberties.

Note that there is NO WAY that Snowden could possibly have reviewed all 1.7 million documents.

Snowden’s “op” is a hostile counter-intelligence operation.

“Snow­den Still Hold­ing ‘Keys to the King­dom’ ” by Wal­ter Pin­cus; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 12/18/2013. [16]

We’ve yet to see the full impact of for­mer National Secu­rity Agency con­trac­tor Edward Snowden’s unau­tho­rized down­load­ing of highly clas­si­fied intel­li­gence documents.

Among the roughly 1.7 mil­lion doc­u­ments he walked away with — the vast major­ity of which have not been made pub­lic — are highly sen­si­tive, spe­cific intel­li­gence reports, as well as cur­rent and his­toric require­ments the White House has given the agency to guide its col­lec­tion activ­i­ties, accord­ing to a senior gov­ern­ment offi­cial with knowl­edge of the situation.

The lat­ter cat­e­gory involves about 2,000 unique task­ings that can run to 20 pages each and give rea­sons for selec­tive tar­get­ing to NSA col­lec­tors and ana­lysts. These orders alone may run 31,500 pages.

If dis­closed, that infor­ma­tion would reveal vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties within U. S. intel­li­gence gath­er­ing at the strate­gic level, the offi­cial said.

Where the copies of these sen­si­tive task­ing doc­u­ments are is an unan­swered question.

Snow­den, in Hong Kong, dis­trib­uted NSA doc­u­ments dur­ing the first week in June to three jour­nal­ists — Glenn Green­wald, doc­u­men­tary film­maker Laura Poitras and Bar­ton Gell­man. Gellman’s sto­ries based on them have been pub­lished in The Wash­ing­ton Post.

Snow­den went pub­lic June 9, after the first sto­ries appeared. Then he went into hiding.

On June 24, the South China Morn­ing Post pub­lished a story based on a June 12 inter­view with Snow­den in which he indi­cated that he had more doc­u­ments to leak. “If I have time to go through this infor­ma­tion, I would like to make it avail­able to jour­nal­ists in each coun­try to make their own assess­ment, inde­pen­dent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowl­edge of U.S. net­work oper­a­tions against their peo­ple should be pub­lished,” Snow­den was quoted as saying.

On July 14, the Asso­ci­ated Press pub­lished a story in which Green­wald said that Snow­den — then in Moscow at the air­port — had “lit­er­ally thou­sands of doc­u­ments” that con­sti­tute “basi­cally the instruc­tion man­ual for how the NSA is built.” Green­wald, who said he had spo­ken to Snow­den hours ear­lier, told the AP that in order to prove his cred­i­bil­ity Snow­den “had to take ones that included very sen­si­tive, detailed blue­prints of how the NSA does what they do.”

These doc­u­ments, Green­wald said, “would allow some­body who read them to know exactly how the NSA does what it does, which would in turn allow them to evade that sur­veil­lance or repli­cate it.”

But, Green­wald added, Snow­den had insisted they not be made pub­lic. On July 19, Green­wald told Ger­man pub­lic broad­caster ARD that Snow­den in June in Hong Kong had given him and Poitras about 9,000 to 10,000 top-secret documents.

On Oct. 17, the New York Times’ James Risen pub­lished a story based on an inter­view with Snow­den in which he said he did not take any NSA doc­u­ments with him to Rus­sia, where he now has a year-long res­i­dency permit.

Green­wald recently told ABC News, “We pub­lished only a small frac­tion of the ones that we have been given so far because we have gone through each of them and made sure that noth­ing we are pub­lish­ing endan­gers human lives.”

Still, there are “a lot of very sig­nif­i­cant sto­ries that are yet to be reported,” he said dur­ing an inter­view for an ABC News spe­cial to be aired this month.

So where are the task­ing doc­u­ments? I’ve not asked Gell­man, Green­wald or Poitras because were I in their posi­tions I would not say one way or the other.

The NSA’s Led­gett con­sid­ers them so impor­tant that the secu­rity of those doc­u­ments is worth hav­ing a dis­cus­sion with Snow­den about amnesty.

“My per­sonal view is, yes, it’s worth hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion about. I would need assur­ances that the remain­der of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assur­ances would be very high,” Led­gett said. . . .

5a. Jacob Appel­baum, the Wik­ileaks hacker [20]/data-privacy activist [21]/Cyper­punk utopian [22] who has been one of the key tech­ni­cal ana­lysts to review and write about the Snow­den cache [23], had a series of tweets back in 2011 singing the praises of soft-revolution expert Gene Sharp, whose theories have been a centerpiece of the “conga-line ops” we spoke of in FTR #885 [24].

In light of his activities funded by the very U.S. government intelligence agencies he ostensibly opposes, this suggests that there may be far more to Applebaum than we have been told [25].

Applebaum has been deeply involved with both the WikiLeaks and Snowden “ops,” suggesting that the possibility that he may have been another of the CIA’s plants.

See here [26]:

Jacob Appel­baum
@ioerror

The high­light of my day was meet­ing Gene Sharp and dis­cussing rev­o­lu­tions. I feel really inspired.

4:33 PM — 18 Feb 2011

here [27]:

Jacob Appel­baum
@ioerror

While ask­ing ques­tions, they located Gene Sharp books about author­i­tar­i­an­ism and obe­di­ence. Appar­ently, some­thing some pas­sen­gers lack.

12:58 AM — 12 Apr 2011

and here [28]:

Jacob Appel­baum
@ioerror

If any­thing — Gene Sharp deserves credit for his help with many of the color rev­o­lu­tions; those influ­enced mod­ern events. #Gene­Sharp­TaughtMe [29]

12:17 PM — 15 Apr 2011

5b. Appel­baum is just one of many hack­tivists who are build­ing today’s cutting-edge pri­vacy tools and they’re not doing it for free. No, these Cypher­punk utopi­ans are work­ing for the same entity Gene Sharp has assisted so ably over the years: the US intel­li­gence com­mu­nity [17].

” . . . Read­ers might find it odd that a US gov­ern­ment agency estab­lished as a way to laun­der the image of var­i­ous shady pro­pa­ganda out­fits (more on that soon) is now keen to fund tech­nolo­gies designed to pro­tect us from the US gov­ern­ment. More­over, it might seem curi­ous that its money would be so warmly wel­comed by some of the Internet’s fiercest antigov­ern­ment activists. . . . . In 2012, just a few months after Radio Free Asia’s 24/7 pro­pa­ganda blitz into North Korea failed to trig­ger regime change, RFA sent folks from the Tor Project — includ­ing core devel­oper Jacob Appel­baum (pic­tured above) — into Burma, just as the mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship was finally agree­ing to hand polit­i­cal power over to US-backed [30] pro-democracy politi­cians. The stated pur­pose of Appelbaum’s RFA-funded expe­di­tion was to probe Burma’s Inter­net sys­tem from within and col­lect infor­ma­tion [31] on its telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions infra­struc­ture — which was then used to com­pile a report for West­ern politi­cians and “inter­na­tional investors” inter­ested in pen­e­trat­ing Burma’s recently opened mar­kets. Here you can see Appelbaum’s visa [32]— pub­lished in the report as evi­dence of what you needed to do to buy a SIM card in Burma.

Burma is a curi­ous place for Amer­i­can anti-surveillance activists funded by Radio Free Asia to travel to, con­sid­er­ing that it has long been a tar­get of US regime-change cam­paigns. In fact, the guru [33] of pro-Western “color rev­o­lu­tions,” Gene Sharp, wrote his famous guide to non-violent rev­o­lu­tions, “From Dic­ta­tor­ship to Democ­racy”, ini­tially as a guide [34] for Burma’s oppo­si­tion move­ment, in order to help it over­throw the mil­i­tary junta in the late 1980s. . . .

. . . . Jacob Appelbaum’s will­ing­ness to work directly for an old CIA cutout like Radio Free Asia in a nation long tar­geted for regime-change is cer­tainly odd, to say the least. Par­tic­u­larly since Appel­baum made a big pub­lic show recently claim­ing that, though it pains him that Tor takes so much money from the US mil­i­tary, he would never take money from some­thing as evil as the CIA [35]. . . . 

. . . . Appelbaum’s finan­cial rela­tion­ships with var­i­ous CIA spin­offs like Radio Free Asia and the BBG go fur­ther. From 2012 through 2013, Radio Free Asia trans­ferred [36] about $1.1 mil­lion to Tor in the form of grants and con­tracts. This mil­lion dol­lars comes on top of another $3.4 mil­lion Tor received [36] from Radio Free Asia’s par­ent agency, the BBG, start­ing from 2007. . . .You’d think that anti-surveillance activists like Chris Soghoian, Jacob Appel­baum, Cory Doc­torow and Jil­lian York would be staunchly against out­fits like BBG and Radio Free Asia, and the role they have played — and con­tinue to play — in work­ing with defense and cor­po­rate inter­ests to project and impose U.S. power abroad. Instead, these rad­i­cal activists have know­ingly joined the club, and in doing so, have become will­ing pitch­men for a wing of the very same U.S. National Secu­rity State they so adamantly oppose. . . .”

“Inter­net Pri­vacy, Funded by Spooks: A Brief His­tory of the BBG” by Yasha Levine; Pando Daily; 3/01/2015.  [17]

For the past few months I’ve been cov­er­ing [37] U.S. gov­ern­ment fund­ing of pop­u­lar Inter­net pri­vacy tools like Tor, Cryp­to­Cat and Open Whis­per Sys­tems. Dur­ing my report­ing, one agency in par­tic­u­lar keeps pop­ping up: An agency with one of those really bland names that masks its wild, bizarre his­tory: the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, or BBG.

The BBG was formed in 1999 and runs on a $721 mil­lion annual bud­get [38]. It reports directly to Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry [39] and oper­ates like a hold­ing com­pany for a host of Cold War-era CIA spin­offs and old school “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare” projects: Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Radio Martí, Voice of Amer­ica, Radio Lib­er­a­tion from Bol­she­vism (since renamed “Radio Lib­erty”) and a dozen other government-funded radio sta­tions and media out­lets pump­ing out pro-American pro­pa­ganda across the globe.

Today, the Congressionally-funded fed­eral agency is also one of the biggest back­ers of grass­roots and open-source Inter­net pri­vacy tech­nol­ogy. These invest­ments started in 2012, when the BBG launched the “Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund” (OTF) — an ini­tia­tive housed within and run by Radio Free Asia (RFA), a pre­mier BBG prop­erty that broad­casts into com­mu­nist coun­tries like North Korea, Viet­nam, Laos, China and Myan­mar. The BBG endowed Radio Free Asia’s Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund with a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar bud­get and a sin­gle task: “to ful­fill the U.S. Con­gres­sional global man­date for Inter­net freedom.”

It’s already a mouth­ful of prover­bial Wash­ing­ton alpha­bet soup — Con­gress funds BBG to fund RFA to fund OTF — but, regard­less of which sub-group ulti­mately writes the check, the impor­tant thing to under­stand is that all this fed­eral gov­ern­ment money flows, directly or indi­rectly, from the Broad­cast­ing Board of Governors.

Between 2012 [40]and 2014 [41], Radio Free Asia’s Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund poured more than $10 mil­lion into Inter­net pri­vacy projects big and small: open-source encrypted com­mu­ni­ca­tion apps, next-generation secure email ini­tia­tives, anti-censorship mesh net­work­ing plat­forms, encryp­tion secu­rity audits, secure cloud host­ing, a net­work of “high-capacity” Tor exit nodes and even an anony­mous Tor-based tool for leak­ers and whistle­blow­ers that com­peted with Wikileaks.

Though many of the apps and tech backed by Radio Free Asia’s OTF are unknown to the gen­eral pub­lic, they are highly respected and extremely pop­u­lar among the anti-surveillance Inter­net activist crowd. OTF-funded apps have been rec­om­mended [42] by Edward Snow­den, cov­ered favor­ably by ProP­ub­lica [43] and The New York Times’ tech­nol­ogy reporters, and repeat­edly pro­moted by the Elec­tronic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion. Every­one seems to agree that OTF-funded pri­vacy apps offer some of the best pro­tec­tion from gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance you can get. In fact, just about all the fea­tured open-source apps [44]on EFF’s recent “Secure Mes­sag­ing Score­card” were funded by OTF.

Here’s a small sam­ple of what the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors funded (through Radio Free Asia and then through the Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund) between 2012 and 2014:

* Open Whis­per Sys­tems, maker of free encrypted text and voice mobile apps like TextSe­cure and Signal/RedPhone, got a gen­er­ous $1.35-million infu­sion [45]. (Face­book recently started using Open Whis­per Sys­tems to secure its What­sApp mes­sages.)
* Cryp­to­Cat, an encrypted chat app made by Nadim Kobeissi and pro­moted by EFF, received $184,000.
* LEAP, an email encryp­tion startup, got just over $1 mil­lion. LEAP is cur­rently being used to run secure VPN ser­vices at RiseUp.net [46], the rad­i­cal anar­chist com­mu­ni­ca­tion col­lec­tive.
A Wik­ileaks alter­na­tive called Glob­aLeaks (which was endorsed [47] by the folks at Tor, includ­ing Jacob Appel­baum) received just under $350,000.
* The Guardian Project — which makes an encrypted chat app called Chat­Se­cure, as well a mobile ver­sion of Tor called Orbot — got $388,500.
* The Tor Project received over $1 mil­lion [48] from OTF to pay for secu­rity audits, traf­fic analy­sis tools and set up fast Tor exit nodes in the Mid­dle East and South East Asia.

In 2014, Con­gress mas­sively upped the BBG’s “Inter­net free­dom” bud­get to $25 mil­lion, with half of that money [49] flow­ing through RFA and into the Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund. This $12.75 mil­lion rep­re­sented a three-fold increase [49] in OTF’s bud­get from 2013 — a con­sid­er­able expan­sion for an out­fit that was just a few years old. Clearly, it’s doing some­thing that the gov­ern­ment likes. A lot.

With those resources, the Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund’s mother-agency, Radio Free Asia, plans to cre­ate a ver­ti­cally inte­grated incu­ba­tor for bud­ding pri­vacy tech­nol­o­gists around the globe — pro­vid­ing every­thing from train­ing and men­tor­ship, to offer­ing them a secure global cloud host­ing envi­ron­ment to run their apps, to legal assistance.

Read­ers might find it odd that a US gov­ern­ment agency estab­lished as a way to laun­der the image of var­i­ous shady pro­pa­ganda out­fits (more on that soon) is now keen to fund tech­nolo­gies designed to pro­tect us from the US gov­ern­ment. More­over, it might seem curi­ous that its money would be so warmly wel­comed by some of the Internet’s fiercest antigov­ern­ment activists.

But, as folks in the open-source pri­vacy com­mu­nity will tell you, fund­ing for open-source encryption/anti-surveillance tech has been hard to come by. So they’ve wel­comed money from Radio Free Asia’s Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund with open pock­ets. Devel­op­ers and groups sub­mit­ted their projects for fund­ing, while lib­er­tar­i­ans and anti-government/anti-surveillance activists enthu­si­as­ti­cally joined OTF’s advi­sory coun­cil, sit­ting along­side rep­re­sen­ta­tives [50] from Google and the US State Depart­ment, tech lob­by­ists, and mil­i­tary consultants.

But why is a federally-funded CIA spin­off with decades of expe­ri­ence in “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare” sud­denly blow­ing tens of mil­lions in gov­ern­ment funds on pri­vacy tools meant to pro­tect peo­ple from being sur­veilled by another arm of the very same gov­ern­ment? To answer that ques­tion, we have to pull the cam­era back and exam­ine how all of those Cold War pro­pa­ganda out­lets begat the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors begat Radio Free Asia begat the Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund. The story begins in the late 1940’s.

The ori­gins of the Broad­cast­ing Board of Governors

The Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors traces its begin­nings to the early Cold War years, as a covert pro­pa­ganda project of the newly-created Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency to wage “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare” against Com­mu­nist regimes and oth­ers deemed a threat to US interests.

George Ken­nan — the key archi­tect of post-WWII for­eign pol­icy — pushed for expand­ing the role [51] of covert peace­time pro­grams. And so, in 1948, National Secu­rity Coun­cil Direc­tive 10/2 [52] offi­cially autho­rized the CIA to engage in “covert oper­a­tions” against the Com­mu­nist Men­ace. Clause 5 of the direc­tive [52]e defined “covert oper­a­tions” as “pro­pa­ganda, eco­nomic war­fare; pre­ven­tive direct action, includ­ing sab­o­tage, anti-sabotage, demo­li­tion and evac­u­a­tion mea­sures; sub­ver­sion against hos­tile states, includ­ing assis­tance to under­ground resis­tance move­ments, guer­ril­las and refugee lib­er­a­tion groups, and sup­port of indige­nous anti-communist ele­ments in threat­ened coun­tries of the free world.”

Pro­pa­ganda quickly became one of the key weapons in the CIA’s covert oper­a­tions arse­nal. The agency estab­lished and funded radio sta­tions [53], news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines, his­tor­i­cal soci­eties, emi­gre “research insti­tutes,” and cul­tural pro­grams all over Europe. In many cases, it fun­neled money to out­fits run and staffed by known World War II war crim­i­nals and Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors, both in Europe and here in the United States.

Christo­pher Simp­son, author of “Blow­back: America’s Recruit­ment of Nazis and Its Destruc­tive Impact on Our Domes­tic and For­eign Pol­icy”, details the extent of these “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare projects”:

CIA-funded psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare projects employ­ing East­ern Euro­pean émigrés became major oper­a­tions dur­ing the 1950s, con­sum­ing tens and even hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars. . . .This included under­writ­ing most of the French Paix et Lib­erté move­ment, pay­ing the bills of the Ger­man League for Strug­gle Against Inhu­man­ity , and financ­ing a half dozen free jurists asso­ci­a­tions, a vari­ety of Euro­pean fed­er­al­ist groups, the Con­gress for Cul­tural Free­dom, mag­a­zines, news ser­vices, book pub­lish­ers, and much more. These were very broad pro­grams designed to influ­ence world pub­lic opin­ion at vir­tu­ally every level, from illit­er­ate peas­ants in the fields to the most sophis­ti­cated schol­ars in pres­ti­gious uni­ver­si­ties. They drew on a wide range of resources: labor unions, adver­tis­ing agen­cies, col­lege pro­fes­sors, jour­nal­ists, and stu­dent lead­ers, to name a few. [empha­sis added]

In Europe, the CIA set up “Radio Free Europe” and “Radio Lib­er­a­tion From Bol­she­vism” (later renamed “Radio Lib­erty”), which beamed pro­pa­ganda in sev­eral lan­guages into the Soviet Union and Soviet satel­lite states of East­ern Europe. The CIA later expanded its radio pro­pa­ganda oper­a­tions into Asia, tar­get­ing com­mu­nist China, North Korea and Viet­nam. The spy agency also funded sev­eral radio projects aimed at sub­vert­ing left­ist gov­ern­ments in Cen­tral and South Amer­ica, includ­ing Radio Free Cuba and Radio Swan [54]— which was run by the CIA and employed [55] some of the same Cuban exiles that took part in the failed Bay of Pigs inva­sion. Even today, the CIA boasts [51] that these early “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare” projects “would become one of the longest run­ning and suc­cess­ful covert action cam­paigns ever mounted by the United States.”

Offi­cially, the CIA’s direct role in this global “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare” project dimin­ished [51] in the 1970s, after the spy agency’s ties to Cold War pro­pa­ganda arms like Radio Free Europe were exposed [56]. Con­gress agreed to take over fund­ing of these projects from the CIA, and even­tu­ally Wash­ing­ton expanded them into a mas­sive federally-funded pro­pa­ganda apparatus.

The names of the var­i­ous CIA spin­offs and non­prof­its changed over the years, cul­mi­nat­ing in a 1999 reor­ga­ni­za­tion under Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton which cre­ated the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, a par­ent hold­ing com­pany to group new broad­cast­ing oper­a­tions around the world together with Cold War-era pro­pa­ganda out­fits with spooky pasts—including Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­erty, Voice of Amer­ica and Radio Free Asia.

Today, the BBG has a $721 mil­lion bud­get [38] pro­vided by Con­gress, reports to the Sec­re­tary of State and is man­aged by a revolv­ing crew of neo­cons and mil­i­tary think-tank experts. Among them: Ken­neth Wein­stein [57], head of the Hud­son Insti­tute, the arch-conservative Cold War-era mil­i­tary think tank; and Ryan C. Crocker, for­mer ambas­sador to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

Although today’s BBG is no longer covertly funded via the CIA’s black bud­get, its role as a soft power “psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare” oper­a­tion hasn’t really changed since its incep­tion. The BBG and its sub­sidiaries still engage in pro­pa­ganda war­fare, sub­ver­sion and soft-power pro­jec­tion against coun­tries and for­eign polit­i­cal move­ments deemed hos­tile to US inter­ests. And it is still deeply inter­twined with the same mil­i­tary and CIA-connected intel­li­gence orga­ni­za­tions — from USAID to DARPA to the National Endow­ment for Democracy.

Today, the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors runs a pro­pa­ganda net­work that blan­kets the globe: Radio Martí (aimed at Cuba), Radio Farda (aimed at Iran), Radio Sawa (which broad­casts in Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, and Sudan), Radio Azadi (tar­get­ing Afghanistan), Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­erty [58] (which has tai­lored broad­casts in over a dozen lan­guages into Rus­sia, Ukraine, Ser­bia, Azer­bai­jan, Ukraine, Belarus, Geor­gia, and Arme­nia), and Radio Free Asia (which tar­gets China, North Korea, Laos, and Vietnam).

The BBG is also involved in the tech­nol­ogy of post-Cold War, Internet-era pro­pa­ganda. It has bankrolled satel­lite Inter­net access in Iran and con­tin­ues to fund an SMS-based social net­work [59] in Cuba called Piramideo — which is dif­fer­ent from the failed covert Twit­ter clone funded by USAID [60] that tried to spark a Cuban Spring rev­o­lu­tion. It has con­tracted with an anonymity Inter­net proxy called SafeWeb [61], which had been funded [62] by the CIA’s ven­ture cap­i­tal firm In-Q-Tel. It worked with tech out­fits run by prac­ti­tion­ers of the con­tro­ver­sial Chi­nese right-wing cult, Falun Gong — whose leader [63] believes that humans are being cor­rupted by invad­ing aliens [64] from other planets/dimensions. These com­pa­nies — Dynaweb and Ultra­reach — pro­vide anti-censorship tools to Chi­nese Inter­net users. As of 2012, the BBG con­tin­ued to fund [65] them to the tune of $1.5 mil­lion a year.

As the BBG proudly out­lined in a 2013 fact sheet for its “Inter­net Anti-Censorship” unit:

The BBG col­lab­o­rates with other Inter­net free­dom projects and orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing RFA’s Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund, the State Depart­ment, USAID, and DARPAs SAFER Warfighter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Pro­gram. IAC is also reach­ing out to other groups inter­ested in Inter­net free­dom such as Google, Free­dom House and the National Endow­ment for Democracy’s Cen­ter for Inter­na­tional Media Assistance.

BBG is also one of the Tor Project’s biggest fun­ders, pay­ing out about $3.5 mil­lion from 2008 through 2013 [66]. BBG’s lat­est publicly-known Tor con­tract [67] was final­ized in mid-2012 [67]. The BBG gave Tor at least $1.2 mil­lion to improve secu­rity and dras­ti­cally boost the band­width of the Tor net­work by fund­ing over a hun­dred Tor nodes across the world — all part of the US government’s effort to find an effec­tive soft-power weapon that can under­mine Inter­net cen­sor­ship and con­trol in coun­tries hos­tile to US inter­ests. (We only know about the BBG’s lucra­tive fund­ing of Tor thanks to the dogged efforts of the Elec­tronic Pri­vacy Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter, which had to sue to get its FOIA requests ful­filled [68].)

As men­tioned, last year Con­gress decided the BBG was doing such a good job advanc­ing America’s inter­ests abroad that it boosted the agency’s “Inter­net free­dom” annual bud­get from just $1.6 mil­lion in 2011 [69]to a whop­ping $25 mil­lion this year. The BBG fun­neled half of this tax­payer money through its Radio Free Asia sub­sidiary, into the “Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund” — the “non­profit” respon­si­ble for bankrolling many of today’s pop­u­lar open-source pri­vacy and encryp­tion apps.

Which brings me to the next star­ring agency in this recov­ered his­tory of Wash­ing­ton DC’s pri­vacy tech­nol­ogy invest­ments: Radio Free Asia.

Radio Free Asia

The CIA launched Radio Free Asia (RFA) in 1951 as an exten­sion of its global anti-Communist pro­pa­ganda radio net­work. RFA beamed its sig­nal into main­land China from a trans­mit­ter in Manila, and its oper­a­tions were based on the ear­lier Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­a­tion From Bol­she­vism model.

The CIA quickly dis­cov­ered that their plan to foment polit­i­cal unrest in China had one major flaw: the Chi­nese were too poor to own radios.

Bal­loons, hold­ing small radios tuned to Radio Free Asia’s fre­quency, were lofted toward the main­land from the island of Tai­wan, where the Chi­nese Nation­al­ists had fled after the Com­mu­nist takeover of the main­land in 1949. The plan was aban­doned when the bal­loons were blown back to Tai­wan across the For­mosa Strait. The CIA sup­pos­edly shut­tered Radio Free Asia in the mid-1950s, but another Radio Free Asia reap­peared a decade later, this time funded through a CIA-Moonie out­fit called the Korean Cul­ture and Free­dom Foun­da­tion (KCFF) — a group based in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. that was run by a top fig­ure in South Korea’s state intel­li­gence agency, Colonel Bo Hi Pak, who also served as the “prin­ci­ple evan­ge­list” of cult leader Rev. Sun-Myung Moon of the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church.

This new Moonie iter­a­tion of Radio Free Asia was con­trolled by the South Korean gov­ern­ment, includ­ing the country’s own CIA, the “KCIA.” It enjoyed high-level sup­port from within the first Nixon Admin­is­tra­tion and even fea­tured then-Congressman Ger­ald Ford on its board. Accord­ing to an FBI file on Rev. Moon [70], Radio Free Asia “at the height of the Viet­nam war pro­duced anti-communist pro­grams in Wash­ing­ton and beamed them into China, North Korea and North Vietnam.”

Radio Free Asia got busted in a wide­spread cor­rup­tion scan­dal in the late 1970s, when the South Korean gov­ern­ment was inves­ti­gated [71] for using the Moonie cult to influ­ence US pub­lic opin­ion in order to keep the US mil­i­tary engaged against North Korea. Back in the 1970s, the Moonies [72] were the most noto­ri­ous cult [73] in the United States, accused of abduct­ing [74] and “brain­wash­ing ” [75]count­less Amer­i­can youths. How it was that the CIA’s Radio Free Asia was handed off to the Moonies was never quite explained, but given laws ban­ning the CIA (or the KCIA) from engag­ing in psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare in the US, the obvi­ous thing to do was to bury Radio Free Asia long enough for every­one to for­get about it.

No sooner had Radio Free Asia van­ished amid scan­dal than it reap­peared again, Terminator-like, in the 1990s — this time as a legit “inde­pen­dent” non­profit wholly con­trolled by the BBG and funded by Congress.

Although this lat­est ver­sion of Radio Free Asia was sup­posed to be a com­pletely new orga­ni­za­tion and was no longer as covert and B-movie spooky, its objec­tives and tac­tics remained exactly the same: To this day it beams pro­pa­ganda into the same Com­mu­nist coun­tries, includ­ing North Korea, Viet­nam, Laos, Cam­bo­dia, China, and Burma, and fid­dles around in the same sorts of spooky adventures.

Radio Free Asia and Anti-government Hacktivists

Which brings us up to the present, when the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, Radio Free Asia and its off­shoot, the Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund, find them­selves in bed with many of the very same pri­vacy activist fig­ures whom the pub­lic regards as the pri­mary adver­saries of out­fits like Radio Free Asia and the BBG. And it’s tech­nol­ogy that brings together these sup­posed adver­saries — the US National Secu­rity State on the one hand, and “hack­tivist”, “anti-government” lib­er­tar­ian pri­vacy activists on the other:

“I’m proud to be a vol­un­teer OTF advi­sor,” declared Cory Doc­torow, edi­tor of Boing­Bo­ing and a well-known lib­er­tar­ian anti-surveillance activist/author.

“Happy to have joined the Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund’s new advi­sory coun­cil,” tweeted [76] Jil­lian York, the Direc­tor for Inter­na­tional Free­dom of Expres­sion at the Elec­tronic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion. (York recently admit­ted [77] that the OTF’s “Inter­net free­dom” agenda is, at its core, about regime change, but bizarrely argued that it didn’t matter.)

In 2012, just a few months after Radio Free Asia’s 24/7 pro­pa­ganda blitz into North Korea failed to trig­ger regime change, RFA sent folks from the Tor Project — includ­ing core devel­oper Jacob Appel­baum (pic­tured above) — into Burma, just as the mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship was finally agree­ing to hand polit­i­cal power over to US-backed [30] pro-democracy politi­cians. The stated pur­pose of Appelbaum’s RFA-funded expe­di­tion was to probe Burma’s Inter­net sys­tem from within and col­lect infor­ma­tion [31]on its telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions infra­struc­ture — which was then used to com­pile a report for West­ern politi­cians and “inter­na­tional investors” inter­ested in pen­e­trat­ing Burma’s recently opened mar­kets. Here you can see Appelbaum’s visa [32]— pub­lished in the report as evi­dence of what you needed to do to buy a SIM card in Burma.

Burma is a curi­ous place for Amer­i­can anti-surveillance activists funded by Radio Free Asia to travel to, con­sid­er­ing that it has long been a tar­get of US regime-change cam­paigns. In fact, the guru [33] of pro-Western “color rev­o­lu­tions,” Gene Sharp, wrote his famous guide to non-violent rev­o­lu­tions, “From Dic­ta­tor­ship to Democ­racy”, ini­tially as a guide [34] for Burma’s oppo­si­tion move­ment, in order to help it over­throw the mil­i­tary junta in the late 1980s. Sharp had crossed into Burma ille­gally to train oppo­si­tion activists there — all under the pro­tec­tion and spon­sor­ship [78] of the US gov­ern­ment and one Col. Robert Helvey [79], a mil­i­tary intel­li­gence officer.

Jacob Appelbaum’s will­ing­ness to work directly for an old CIA cutout like Radio Free Asia in a nation long tar­geted for regime-change is cer­tainly odd, to say the least. Par­tic­u­larly since Appel­baum made a big pub­lic show recently claim­ing that, though it pains him that Tor takes so much money from the US mil­i­tary, he would never take money from some­thing as evil as the CIA [35].

Igno­rance is bliss.

Appelbaum’s finan­cial rela­tion­ships with var­i­ous CIA spin­offs like Radio Free Asia and the BBG go fur­ther. From 2012 through 2013, Radio Free Asia trans­ferred [36] about $1.1 mil­lion to Tor in the form of grants and con­tracts. This mil­lion dol­lars comes on top of another $3.4 mil­lion Tor received [36] from Radio Free Asia’s par­ent agency, the BBG, start­ing from 2007.

But Tor and Appel­baum are not the only ones happy to take money from the BBG/RFA.

Take com­puter researcher/privacy activist Harry Halpin, for exam­ple. Back in Novem­ber of 2014, Halpin smeared [80] me as a con­spir­acy the­o­rist, and then falsely accused me and Pando of being funded by the CIA — sim­ply because I reported on Tor’s gov­ern­ment fund­ing. Turns out that Halpin’s next-generation secure com­mu­ni­ca­tions out­fit, called LEAP, took more than $1 mil­lion [81] from Radio Free Asia’s Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund. Some­what iron­i­cally, LEAP’s tech­nol­ogy pow­ers the VPN ser­vices [82] of RiseUp.Net, the rad­i­cal anar­chist tech col­lec­tive that pro­vides activists with email and secure com­mu­ni­ca­tions tools (and forces you to sign a thinly veiled anti-Communist [83] pledge before giv­ing you an account).

Then there’s the ACLU’s Christo­pher Soghoian. A few months ago, he had viciously attacked me and Pando for report­ing on Tor’s US gov­ern­ment fund­ing. But just the other day, Soghoian went on Democ­racy Now, and in the mid­dle of a seg­ment crit­i­ciz­ing the U.S. government’s run­away hack­ing and sur­veil­lance pro­grams, rec­om­mended that peo­ple use a suite of encrypted text and voice apps funded by the very same intelligence-connected U.S. gov­ern­ment appa­ra­tus he was denounc­ing. Specif­i­cally, Soghoian rec­om­mended apps made by Open Whis­per Sys­tems, which got $1.35 mil­lion from Radio Free Asia’s Open Tech­nol­ogy Fund from 2013 through 2014.

He told Amy Goodman:

“These are best-of-breed free appli­ca­tions made by top secu­rity researchers, and actu­ally sub­si­dized by the State Depart­ment and by the U.S. tax­payer. You can down­load these tools today. You can make encrypted tele­phone calls. You can send encrypted text mes­sages. You can really up your game and pro­tect your communications.”

When Good­man won­dered why the U.S. gov­ern­ment would fund pri­vacy apps, he acknowl­edged that this tech­nol­ogy is a soft-power weapon of U.S. empire but then gave a very mud­dled and naive answer:

CHRISTOPHER SOGHOIAN: Because they’re tools of for­eign pol­icy. You know, the U.S. gov­ern­ment isn’t this one machine with one per­son, you know, dic­tat­ing all of its poli­cies. You have these dif­fer­ent agen­cies squab­bling, some­times doing con­tra­dic­tory things. The U.S. gov­ern­ment, the State Depart­ment has spent mil­lions of dol­lars over the last 10 years to fund the cre­ation and the deploy­ment and improve­ment to secure com­mu­ni­ca­tions and secure com­put­ing tools that were intended to allow activists in China and Iran to com­mu­ni­cate, that are intended to allow jour­nal­ists to do their thing and spread news about democ­racy with­out fear of inter­cep­tion and sur­veil­lance by the Chi­nese and other governments.

AMY GOODMAN: But maybe the U.S. gov­ern­ment has a way to break in.

CHRISTOPHER SOGHOIAN: Well, you know, it’s pos­si­ble that they’ve dis­cov­ered flaws, but, you know, they have—the U.S. gov­ern­ment hasn’t been writ­ing the soft­ware. They’ve been giv­ing grants to highly respected research teams, secu­rity researchers and aca­d­e­mics, and these tools are about the best that we have. You know, I agree. I think it’s a lit­tle bit odd that, you know, the State Department’s fund­ing this, but these tools aren’t get­ting a lot of fund­ing from other places. And so, as long as the State Depart­ment is will­ing to write them checks, I’m happy that the Tor Project and Whis­per Sys­tems and these other orga­ni­za­tions are cash­ing them. They are cre­at­ing great tools and great tech­nol­ogy that can really improve our secu­rity. And I hope that they’ll get more money in the future. It’s con­ve­nient and nice to believe that one hand of the U.S. National Secu­rity State doesn’t know what the other hand is doing — espe­cially when the liveli­hoods of you and your col­leagues depends on it. But as the long and dark covert intel­li­gence his­tory of the Broad­cast­ers Board of Gov­er­nors and Radio Free Asia so clearly shows, this think­ing is naive and wrong. It also shows just how effec­tively the U.S. National Secu­rity State brought its oppo­si­tion into the fold.

You’d think that anti-surveillance activists like Chris Soghoian, Jacob Appel­baum, Cory Doc­torow and Jil­lian York would be staunchly against out­fits like BBG and Radio Free Asia, and the role they have played — and con­tinue to play — in work­ing with defense and cor­po­rate inter­ests to project and impose U.S. power abroad. Instead, these rad­i­cal activists have know­ingly joined the club, and in doing so, have become will­ing pitch­men for a wing of the very same U.S. National Secu­rity State they so adamantly oppose.