[Cryptography] 'The intelligence coup of the century'

Henry Baker hbaker1 at pipeline.com
Thu Feb 13 20:06:01 EST 2020

At 03:26 PM 2/13/2020, Christian Huitema wrote:
>On 2/13/2020 8:31 AM, Henry Baker wrote:
>> This WaPo article throws gasoline onto already blazing conspiracy theories about DoD's relationship with hi tech firms -- Intel, AMD, TI, Microsoft, RSA Security, Google, Facebook, Amazon (AWS), etc.
>Not really. The article describes how the CIA and the German BND bought
>and used a small company in Switzerland, which is hardly an indictment
>of the US industry. In fact, Microsoft, RSA Security, Google, Facebook,
>and Amazon (AWS) did not even exist when the CIA and BND bought Crypto
>AG. If anything, the article shows that buying devices from a neutral
>country is not a guarantee against interference by the CIA.

IMHO, the article is about the U.S., using its subtle (or not-so-subtle)
power of 'suggestion' to enable a company from a neutral country to
bend over to the CIA/NSA.  It sounds somewhat similar to the position
of Ericsson as a 'neutral' telecom vendor providing access to its customers'
backdoors when 'properly' asked.

Nevertheless, in the Internet age, for good or for ill, the only games
in town were U.S. vendors, so many U.S. entrepreneurs *may have* had to
gulp twice and accept NSL deals that were "too good" to pass up.  The
Lavabit refusal to cooperate was remarkable for its rarity.

"That's a lovely little company you have there; it would be too bad if
you got shut down over H1B visas/export licenses/HSR approvals on your

The CIA/NSA are not above putting 'employees' into U.S. companies, even
if/when the management&Board won't play along.  I wonder if this type
of activity falls under the CIA's prohibition against *domestic spying*?

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