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We'll report, maybe....cryptome out??
February 8, 2006 9:50 PM   Subscribe

Cryptome out??? FBI Special Agent Matthew J. Bertron, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278, left his card today, 8 February, 3 PM, while we were out, with a request to call his number, 718-286-7154, or the main number 212-384-1000. We called, he was out, he returned our call about 6 PM to ask to meet here at 10 AM tomorrow, 9 February. No reason given. In November 2003, two SAs visited, not sure if one or more this time. We'll report, maybe.
posted by OU812 (28 comments total)

 
Um, ok, I'm confused.
posted by newfers at 9:58 PM on February 8, 2006


Cryptome.org is a website that specialises in storing a variety of documents, usually of an embarassing nature to some government or institution. The idea is to keep a record of information that those governments and groups might otherwise try to marginalise, forget or pretend never happened. Evidently, the FBI is now interested in them, though it's unclear why.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 10:04 PM on February 8, 2006


Ahhh, thanks for the info. I figured as much, but didn't know for sure. I sure hope that the feds don't nab some docs that the free world would love to know about.
posted by newfers at 10:07 PM on February 8, 2006


Chances are, they're getting nailed for their association with Cartome.org which basically hosts documents on cryptography, steganography and similar such things.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 10:12 PM on February 8, 2006


Oh, upon reading further into Cartome.org, it turns out that Cartome.org wrote a (somewhat sympathetic) article on Jim Bell (no relation to myself) being prosecuted by the DHS back in 2001.

Jim Bell is probably most famous for writing Assassination Politics which was basically a handbook on how to set up a covert network to assassinate government officials in the US without getting caught. He's been in jail a fair bit over the past decade, as you might imagine.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 10:17 PM on February 8, 2006


If the FBI is going to shut you down, they don't leave a business card. 30 agents in riot gear show up at your door with both search and arrest warrants.
posted by ChasFile at 10:26 PM on February 8, 2006


If the FBI is going to shut you down, they don't leave a business card.

I was just gonna say...
posted by mediareport at 10:32 PM on February 8, 2006


They probably want to pressure the site into removing something. What, who knows? Perhaps this layout of natural gas pipelines and storage facilities in the Washington, D.C. area?
posted by caddis at 10:36 PM on February 8, 2006


Or maybe it's one of those things where "if you do XYZ, then the FBI is required to investigate you" (even if they don't really think you need investigating). (The only value of XYZ I know of offhand is threatening to kill the president, but I assume there are others.)
posted by hattifattener at 10:58 PM on February 8, 2006


This might make a more interesting post in a day or two. Right now it's just a brief paragraph and some speculation.
posted by Galvatron at 12:40 AM on February 9, 2006


The law have visited Cryptome a couple of times in the past IIRC, they generally just like to have a chat with the guy that runs it, see what he's up to and generally make sure he's not secretly turned into a communist terrorist sympathiser.

If Cryptome got shut down there would total uproar in the government watching, free speech fundamentalist and tin foil hat wearing communities.
posted by public at 1:40 AM on February 9, 2006


If Cryptome got shut down there would be total uproar...
But after 9/11 everything changed and freedom is on the march and the war on terrorism will never end. Did I mention freedom?
posted by archaic at 3:52 AM on February 9, 2006


"The connection was reset" is all I'm getting this morning. Damn it.
posted by moonbird at 4:45 AM on February 9, 2006


It's probably just for a friendly meeting... something along the lines of "nice web site you have here, it would be a shame if something happened to it".
posted by clevershark at 5:58 AM on February 9, 2006


"..this layout of natural gas pipelines and storage facilities in the Washington, D.C. area..."

...doesn't make me comfortable. Why does this need to be on the web?

(I live in DC)
posted by donkelly at 6:20 AM on February 9, 2006


I thought this was about a Neal Stephenson novel.

Oh, it kind of is.
posted by OmieWise at 6:46 AM on February 9, 2006


I got a call the other day, concerning an acquaintance who had applied for a security clearance.

The agent casually brought up details about how my door, in a locked hallway, was labeled.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:29 AM on February 9, 2006


At one of my previous jobs (quite a while ago), the entire day was spent looking for anonymous proxies, buying e-gold from russians, and automating e-commerce sites.

It was hella Cryptonomiconesque. Our colo wasn't on Sealand or anything, though.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:31 AM on February 9, 2006


donkelly writes "'..this layout of natural gas pipelines and storage facilities in the Washington, D.C. area...'

"...doesn't make me comfortable. Why does this need to be on the web?"


A better question is why shouldn't it be on the web. You need to know the location of pipelines so you don't accidently cut into them with a backhoe. So it's hardly a secret, natural gas pipelines and compressor stations are naked eye visible to anyone walking around and paying attention. Around here they are marked everywhere they cross a road with a plastic pipe cut in half and stuck in the ground. At the top is a label saying "Warning underground gas pipeline"
posted by Mitheral at 7:35 AM on February 9, 2006


donkelly: Why should it not be on the web? Perhaps, if I were moving to the DC area (could not be paid enough to do so, but anway) I would like to know said layout to avoid concentrated junction areas when selecting housing. It's not like the real estate folks are going to provide me such data.

Now, if they published how to encode the ID cards of the workers to enable getting into a nuclear plant (or something like that, I know entry into nuclear plants is much more complex than a simple ID card, but you get the idea) then there'd be a problem.
posted by hrbrmstr at 7:41 AM on February 9, 2006


A better question is why shouldn't it be on the web. You need to know the location of pipelines so you don't accidently cut into them with a backhoe

Uh, thats why there is Call Before You Dig. You call and then the gas company will come out and mark the lines for you. You don't need a map of the entire city - and even if you have a map, you don't know that it is up-to-date with the latest changes. Thats why you let the utility come out and mark the lines for you. If they mis-mark the lines they're liable and not you.
posted by SirOmega at 8:00 AM on February 9, 2006


Good in theory, lots of operators ignore that practice.
posted by Mitheral at 8:14 AM on February 9, 2006


"...doesn't make me comfortable. Why does this need to be on the web?"

Oh noes!! Information!!!!1

Come on. If you didn't know where they were, do you think someone even slightly interested in attacking them would let the fact that the information is either on or offline determine whether they actually follow through with their attack?

Think about it, for more than 10 seconds, please. You are not less safe because information is accessible. You are less safe because your government is run by morons.
posted by odinsdream at 8:29 AM on February 9, 2006


odinsdream writes "You are not less safe because information is accessible. You are less safe because your government is run by morons."

Amen.
posted by OmieWise at 8:49 AM on February 9, 2006


What a terrible post. Let's spread rumour and fear! Turns out the visit was about helping the British Government investigate the source of a MI6 leak. Yes, potentially a bit creepy, but hardly comparable to the really scrappy crap going on in the US these days.
posted by Nelson at 9:37 AM on February 9, 2006


s/really scrappy crap/really scary crap/
posted by Nelson at 9:37 AM on February 9, 2006


I think the fear of information is caused by a belief that "ignorance is difficult to overcome," and therefore, "enemy ignorance is a major safeguard."

Security through obscurity should only be the shower curtain in front of the iron vault.
posted by Richard Daly at 9:40 AM on February 9, 2006


Well said, Richard!
posted by squirrel at 6:04 PM on February 11, 2006


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