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Soltani and I used laptops from which we’d removed the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth hardware, and disconnected the batteries. If a stranger appeared at the door, we merely had to tug on the quick-release power cables to switch off and re-encrypt the machines instantly. We stored the laptops in the vault and kept encryption keys on hardware, itself encrypted, that we took away with us each time we left the room, even for bathroom breaks.

While we’ve further elucidated some of the history of the UKUSA Agreement and nature of the Five Eyes relationship, we still don’t fully understand their impact on the constitutional rights of Americans. Among the records the government has produced is a series of documents, dating from the 1970s to the 1990s, that aid our understanding of the history and nature of the UKUSA Agreement, particularly as it has evolved over time. At the time Privacy International and MFIA filed the lawsuit, the most recent publicly available version of the agreement governing the Five Eyes alliance—known as the UKUSA Agreement—dated back to 1955. That version of the agreement provides that the Five Eyes are to share, by default, all SIGINT they gather, as well as methods and techniques relating to SIGINT operations.

Air Force Intelligence

I disconnected and locked up the internet-router switch in my New York office every night. I dabbed epoxy and glitter on the screws along the bottom of all my machines, to help detect tampering in my absence. (The glitter dries in unique, random patterns.) A security expert had told me that detection snapsext of compromise was as important as prevention, so I experimented with ultraviolet powder on the dial of my safe in New York. (Photographing dust patterns under a UV flashlight beam turns out to be messy.) I kept my digital notes in multiple encrypted volumes, arranging the files in such a way that I had to type five long passwords just to start work every day.

  • However, the CIA is more powerful than the FBI if the comparison should be based on how efficient they are in gathering intelligence from all around the world.
  • The CIA is more powerful in dealing with security matters with other nations, whereas the FBI does not function this way.
  • Both agencies have different advantages over each other.
  • FBI, apart from being a security agency, it is also a federal law enforcement agency, while the CIA does not have any law backing it to enforce the law in the united state.
  • The CIA has the ability to exercise its privilege to access more resources, and therefore, it is more powerful.

Soltani suspected an intelligence-agency setup—“the Chinese government trying to get up on me”—in an effort to elicit information about the NSA documents, or to steal digital files. A well-known information-security attack known as the “evil maid” relies on brief physical access to a computer to steal its encryption credentials. As it happened, the Snowden files were at that time locked in a Washington Post vault, and kept separate from the electronic keys that allowed access to them, but outsiders would not know that. And an attractive spy might assume that, with the right enticements, anything was possible.

To include not just remote stuff, but hands-on, sneak-into-your-house-at-night kind of stuff. That’s my guess.” Because I’d been one of Snowden’s principal interlocutors, Ledgett told me he was sure there was “a nice dossier” on me in both Russia and China. I acquired a heavy safe for my office in New York as well. I will not enumerate every step I took to keep my work secure, but they were many and varied and sometimes befuddled me. The computers we used for the NSA archive were specially locked down.

An appendix to that agreement elaborates further that the Five Eyes are to share “continuously, currently and without request” both “raw” intelligence in addition to “end product” . Years later Richard Ledgett, who oversaw the NSA’s media-leaks task force and went on to become the agency’s deputy director, told me matter-of-factly to assume that my defenses had been breached. “My take is, whatever you guys had was pretty immediately in the hands of any foreign intelligence service that wanted it,” he said, “whether it was Russians, Chinese, French, the Israelis, the Brits. Between you, Poitras, and Greenwald, pretty sure you guys can’t stand up to a full-fledged nation-state attempt to exploit your IT.