Monday, October 22, 2018

Truest statement of the week II

Albury is not the first source to have been burned by poor journalistic practices and source protection methods at The Intercept. Just nine months ago, Reality Leigh Winner, a now 26-year-old federal contractor, was arrested for allegedly leaking a classified NSA document to The Intercept that was related to an investigation of an alleged Russian military intelligence hacking operation targeting the U.S. Ever since her initial arrest, Winner has been held in pre-trial detention and has been denied bail. She faces up to 10 years in prison under the Espionage Act and her trial is set to begin in October of this year.
While The Intercept has long maintained that it was unaware that Winner was the source of the document, FBI documents have shown that negligence helped lead federal investigators straight to Winner.The Intercept’s scanned images of the intelligence report that Winner leaked contained tracking dots – a type of watermark – that, according to Rob Graham of the Errata Security blog, showed “exactly when and where documents, any document, is printed.” These dots make it easy to identify a printer’s serial number as well as the date and time a document was printed. As Graham noted, “Because the NSA logs all printing jobs on its printers, it can use this to match up precisely who printed the document.”
In addition, and perhaps most concerning of all, the FBI warrant also notes that the reporter in question – who is unnamed in the document – contacted a government contractor with whom he had a prior relationship and revealed where the documents had been postmarked from – Winner’s home of Augusta, Georgia – along with Winner’s work location. He also sent unedited images of the documents that contained the tracking dot security markings that allowed the document to be traced to Winner.

-- Whitney Webb, "Bad Track Record Gets Worse as New Whistleblower Outed by The Intercept" (MINT PRESS NEWS).

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