A fascinating article on Cold War intelligence shows how a KGB official was able to glean patterns from the simplest details in order to uncover CIA operatives, so effectively that the CIA went crazy for years, searching for nonexistent moles. This sort of thing, by the way, is why I roll my eyes over “crypto” fans who declare that encryption of online data is all they need in order to be free forever from meddling by the oppressive State. I have yet to meet one cypherpunk who has ever studied the 4000 year history of cat and mouse games by spies and resistance cells and secret police, dating back to Hammurabi. Of the dozen or so general types of methods used by czarist and Nazi and Communist and imperial and modern agencies to pierce underground movements, crypto can only – even theoretically – inconvenience maybe three. Such blithe, willfully trusting fantasy and ignorance would be charming, except that these techno-romantics style themselves as our best defense against Big Brother. Fortunately… there are others.
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