Government Spies See Opportunity in Terrorist Attack, by Jason Farrell

From Jason Farrell, at antiwar.com:

As if they weren’t Machiavellian enough, spy agencies are evidently waiting for the next terrorist attack to change public opinion on the need for encryption backdoors, reports The Washington Post.

The intelligence community’s top lawyer, Robert S. Litt, lamented in a leaked email that “the legislative environment is very hostile today … [but] it could turn in the event of a terrorist attack or criminal event where strong encryption can be shown to have hindered law enforcement.” According to the Post, Litt suggested there may be value in “keeping our options open for such a situation.”

A second senior intelligence official added: “People are still not persuaded this is a problem. People think we have not made the case. We do not have the perfect example where you have the dead child or a terrorist act to point to, and that’s what people seem to claim you have to have.”

The intelligence community has been frustrated by resistance to its attempts to weaken encryption through legislation. Congress does not have any legislation on deck that would require companies to hack their own customers if the government can produce a warrant. A “dead child” would undoubtedly help their cause with the public. But their “we need a terrorist attack to prove that people should be worried about terrorist attacks” theory is troubling, to put it mildly.

To continue reading: Government Spies See Opportunity in Terrorist Attack

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