Yes, Snowden Ran a Cryptoparty

Earlier suggestions are correct. Snowden did indeed organize and run a Honolulu cryptoparty as he was preparing his big leak. [1]

But, apart from being fucking badass — what’s next, we’re going to hear about him rappelling down into secure rooms, or giving NSA management bunny ears in official photos? — and the source of some remarkable quotes (“If I’d known it was someone from the NSA, I’d have gone and shot myself” — Asher Wolf on being asked for tips for the event)…

There are some interesting details.

One, Snowden ran Tor exit nodes. While working for the NSA. And, he was trying to get his coworkers to set up more exit nodes on “fast servers.”

Yes, it’s probably safe to say his intentions were good, but…?

We do however now know that this was where Snowden got his EFF and Tor stickers. (Not from some secret sticker handoff during a clandestine meeting with Appelbaum, as some bloggers rushed to the conclusion must have occurred in Hawaii or Hong Kong.)

It’s also now fairly hard to argue that Snowden was a Chinese or Russian spy. You’d have to be a pretty stupid spy to risk your cover like this for something with absolutely ZERO chance of operational payoff.

But most interesting to me is a quote from the Tor developer who spoke at the event.[2]

“The fact that Snowden organized a CryptoParty was a well-kept secret until @ggreenwald linked Cincinnatus and Snowden in No Place To Hide.”

In other words, 20 random people who showed up at the event and got operational security lessons from EDWARD FRIGGIN’ SNOWDEN HIMSELF all managed to keep it secret. With no advance clearances or NDAs involved, much less lie detectors or security checks.

This oughta tell you something about the validity of the old argument, “nah, nobody could ever do a conspiracy — someone would talk!”

I think it goes to show that in fact, people won’t talk, as long as their interests are aligned that way… and even further, I suggest this understanding is the core of most-to-all modern secret-keeping operations.



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