Document:John Young Interview
John Young (JY): Material focuses on fits infosec, comsec, spying (all kinds, gov-com-edu-org- personal), and the underlying technology of those.
Material comes from thousands of contributors from gov-com-edu-org-personal, some unknown, some who wish to reman anonymous, others who wish to be identified or don't care.
JY: Cryptome does a few FOIAs a year but not many lately due to very uninformative responses, better responses before 9/11 much worse after 9/11. We no longer trust FOIA to be forthcoming, instead a deliberate refusal to release under guise of compliance.
We get a couple of dozen FOIA contributions per year from others, especially from those who know how to be persistent and overcome the stonewalling.
We think the unresponsive FOIA system and its over-controlling secretkeepers, guided by a public-be-damned policy, the best justification to disclose by fiercely imaginative, unrelenting methods by the entire populace unfettered by anti-democratic secrecy and non-doclosure agreements.
JY: Self-funding is crucial. Therefore:
Keep the operation small in participants and cheap.
Don't do it full time for that leads to obsession, desire for recognition, susceptibility to takeover, burn-out, disillusion.
JY: Don't remember the first. We were advised to use FOIA and it worked up to 9/11.
JY: It no longer shines, is quite the opposite. Stonewalling, delay, brush-off, lying are normal. It is a delusion for ordinary requestors and a bitch of a challenge for professionals. Churning has become a way of life for FOIA, costly as hell for little results. In short, it is a confidence game.
JY: Most don't use it and for good reason, little can be obtained by FOIA, so the media cultivate insiders to barter favoritism for coverage. This is a travesty of public trust: the media and their insider sources operate a corrupt system. The best example of this is the way the Snowden material is being handled: vetted with the gov, monetized by the media.
JY: Yes, inevitably, FOIA failure and increase in secretkeeping has led to more leaks, which is a healthy response not a danger. The danger is caused by hoarding information which should be public by again gov-com-edu-org-personal. Now the media, especially the national security coverage, has adopted the means and methods of official spies — breaking laws, exaggerating value information stolen, boosting costs for public access, warning of danger to change the system.
JY: Not much these days, for reasons listed above. It has been several years since we have received good current FOIA material. We do scavenge FOIA releases at gov-edu-org sites, looking for overlooked gems and finding a few. As you know quite a few FOIA releases go to requestors who do not publish the material, some not right away, some never, as far as we can tell. Presumably the unpublished material is sold, used for commerce, buried in little read books or paraphrased to appear original.
JY: No, diminishing. We think the FOIA system should be closed as a money-wasting fraud.
JY: One a year, usually by request of a party who does not want to be logged by the spies who exploit FOIA requests.
JY: By far a request to NSA for TEMPEST material. We go a big wad in several tranches. Nothing like it since.
Next best, a request to INSCOM has led to tens of thousands pages over more than a decade.
JY: Give it a try, be patient, expect to be stonewalled, but it is a good civics lesson in how to be jerked around by false promises. We think it would be wise to work with an experienced FOIA org to learn the ropes, pick up some skills, perhaps set up a business. Dream of being given a quiet grant or contract by the spies to keep the racket running.
Then when that blows up in your face, turn to honest leaking by highly imaginative methods.
JY: No, way too lazy, and much more enjoyable to have quiet lunches with sources, work the crowds at Aspen and Davos and Bohemian Grove, swap names of informants and leakers, consult mutual PR agents and lawyers, laugh at the gullible consumers, blurb each others books, massage ex-spies as if not still on duty. And set up leak sites.
JY: We aim to avoid anal ysis, editorializing, and such. What we publish does that implicitly. We like to publish feedback, in particular disagreement. Praise is addictive so we hope to escape its narcosis.
JY: Be highly skeptical of any government material. If it is classified don't believe any of it. If it is redacted, even a single letter, trash it. Redactions are poison. Those who redact should be tarred and feathered.
JY: First by its voluminous feel-good advertising. Then by direct experience of its feel-very-bad failure.
JY: Plan a campaign to first request what will very likely be granted in full. Then gradually ratchet up, up to what will not likely to be admitted exists. Work all the territory in between. Don't do it full-time, in fact, no more than an hour per year. Far better results can be obtained from the local library.
You may know we call Cryptome a free library, not a leak site.
We conclude that confidence games of FOIA, leaks and secrets need to be replaced by sensible, unfettered, unbartered, un-dramatic public access to information generated ostensibly on its behalf and certainly fully paid for by taxpayers. Currently this information is hoarded, marked-up in value, over-priced, and worst, stolen from the public.