Monthly Archives: August 2013

Story: I was contacted, threatened, and ordered to take down “leaked” information!

Three weeks ago I was contacted by an anonymous source in the National Security Agency (NSA).  The source contacted me through an email I have made available to the public through this blog. In the email the anonymous source claimed to be a long-time reader of my blog and that (s)he appreciated my honesty and my “small government stance”.

The anonymous source explained that (s)he had information that (s)he wanted to spread virally throughout the internet, specifically through blogs and smaller, independent, media outlets. At first I was very skeptical and assumed that this “anonymous emailer” was probably the other author of this blog (Holden) playing a prank.

The “Top Secret” Information – Proof

Soon I received a .zip folder over a private VPN file transfer set up by the anonymous emailer. The file was several GB in size and contained over one-thousand power-points, .jpg files, word documents, and .pdf’s. In the email the anonymous source highlighted about a dozen documents (s)he called “must reads”.

Over the next two weeks I read what must have been 250 documents. Most of them were very boring and seemed to be meaningless. However, several of them are worth spreading and sending to as many news outlets as possible.

Of course I assume that these “interesting” documents could be fake. So I sent one document to a contact I have in law school whose father happens to work for the Government (I assume FBI or CIA). Within the hour his father called me personally.

He was very concerned and asked me where I received the document. I told him that I found it on a random website on the internet. My friend’s father stressed to me the importance of keeping the document to myself. This pretty much confirmed to me the validity of my anonymous emailer.

Two Nights Ago – Posting the Information

Two nights ago I decided I would post a summary of the information I was provided. I also posted a link to the “critical documents” available for download via a link to a third party website (set up by the anonymous emailer). I felt this was not “leaking” the documents myself, thus was safe and legal.

Less than an hour after posting that article and link the post disappeared. It was as if I had never written it. A few minutes after that I was contacted by an “attorney” representing the United States Government. This was frightening as I blog under a pseudo-name and have never provided by personal mobile phone number on this blog. I was not informed how the “attorney” obtained my contact information nor how they linked me to this blog.

I was ordered, upon threat of charges being brought against me, to provide the details of the anonymous emailer, my email account, and all documents.

Media Shield Law

My first instinct was to give in, but I decided that by providing any information I would be incriminating myself. I contacted an attorney. I have been stressed for the past few days because no one knows about this- not Holden, not my wife.

The Attorney informed me that I was not protected under a new law called the “Media Shield Law”. Specifically I am not protected because I do not meet the criteria as a journalist.

Specifically, the amendment requires that a journalist meet one of the following definitions:

  1. working as a “salaried employee, independent contractor, or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information;”
  2. either (a) meeting the prior definition “for any continuous three-month period within the two years prior to the relevant date” or (b) having “substantially contributed, as an author, editor, photographer, or producer, to a significant number of articles, stories, programs, or publications by an entity . . . within two years prior to the relevant date;” or
  3. working as a student journalist “participating in a journalistic publication at an institution of higher education.”

*Amendment to S. 987, 113th Cong. § 5(A)(i), § 5(B)(iii) (2013).

Per the advice of my attorney I provided all documents to the US Government.

Why I’m Writing This

I decided to write this as a last ditch effort to let everyone who may read this know what’s going on. To you all know how fucked up everything is. To let you know that these laws do matter, that the Government has too much power. I wish I could tell you what I saw on those documents. I wish I could tell the world, but I can’t. I just hope this article isn’t taken down too.


Fake Article, but Real Consequences

Nothing I wrote above was true. As in – it didn’t really happen. BUT I hope it proves a point. The laws are real. The situation could be real. And the Amendment above is real. I hope this brought it home for you and made you realize how dangerous an unconstitutional law like this really is.

The first amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Technology and Privacy Woes

Two weeks ago I deleted my Facebook account.  For two reasons, really.

One, I realized that Facebook made me shallow. It made me okay with not actually communicating. Photos of an old friend’s life served as a convenient substitute for making an effort to pick up the phone. There’s something subtly disgusting and ugly about the whole thing that eventually turned me off enough to close my account.

Secondly, there’s the privacy issues. Everywhere – every application storing some less-than-meaningful aspect of my social interactions with other human beings all eventually adding up to what is my life. All stored on some mega-data-center in Nevada. My data, my identity. Stored, manipulated, washed, dried, mixed, contorted, scanned, compacted, mined, and eventually archived – for purposes that can only be malicious – even if its down the road.

My Andriod smart-phone will not even allow me to permanently delete the Facebook application from my phone. It just stares at me constantly begging me to re-install it. To reinsert myself into the matrix. All in the name of a phony connection that ironically disconnects you.

Then today I started to install the linked-in application on my phone. For fun I decided to read the terms. These are a copy/paste from the terms (bold added by me):

This app has access to these permissions:

– Your accounts
– find accounts on the device
– create accounts and set passwords
– add or remove accounts
– Network communication
– receive data from Internet
– full network access
– view network connections
Your personal information
– read calendar events plus confidential information
– Phone calls
– read phone status and identity
– Storage
modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
– Your social information
– write call log
– read your contacts
– modify your contacts
– read call log
– System tools
– test access to protected storage
– send sticky broadcast
– Affects Battery
– control vibration
– prevent device from sleeping
– Sync Settings
– read sync statistics
– toggle sync on and off
– read sync settings

 

(To read these terms yourself go to the Android app website and click “install”. The terms will appear in a new window.)

These terms are no different than that of Facebook or almost any other application. We are one click away from giving away our privacy completely. I certainly wouldn’t agree to these terms to anyone in person, but we are all too willing to provide corporations these details for a mediocre “Free” application. Kind of crazy.

We are drones. Good slaves. Obedient.

A co-worker, Angie, and I had dinner tonight. A meal and a drink.  She chose a fine glass of wine I had never heard of. I was immediately drawn to the dark beer they had on draft, locally brewed, of course.

Angie grew up in a well established suburb of north Atlanta – her neighbors included a few famous Braves baseball players from the mid-90’s you’ve probably heard of and she went to a top private school. Her father is the proud owner of a PHD in religion from Yale. He even did a short stint on a conservative late night radio show some years back.

Angie spent a few months in Europe and was a member of a popular sorority. She and her father are both recent converts to Catholicism. Her mother refuses to call herself anything but Southern Baptist.

To be honest most guys would probably enjoy the company of Angie, but to me she is almost as uninteresting a person I can imagine.

She’s traveled around Europe, but had almost nothing to say about really being there. She spoke fondly of Catholicism, but wrinkled her forehead in disapproval at the mention of Islam.  Privilege and opportunity without an ounce of character or depth.

Angie is an A+ student. Money, fashion, cars, diplomas, education, job titles, religion, and an SUV all mixed together in a carefully blended milkshake of American-made mental incarceration. Life is blurred by lens of perspective that can almost certainly never be undone.  It’s a phenomena I can barely explain.

Angie is a person, but not one.  She’s there, but I can’t have a conversation with her. It doesn’t work – there’s a part missing. The spark that makes us human – the part that allows us to have the basic interaction that proves to one human to another that you are alive – that you are thinking – is missing.

That thing that used to make us human – thought, love, discussion, disagreement, depth. That connection you can only sense from instinct that draws you to an individual, and says, we’re on the same team, we get each other, we’re both human!  It has been replaced with smart screens and anti-social networks. We are drones. Good slaves. Obedient.

I finished my dark beer. A milky head, slightly sweet.