The Reversal: Hunter Becomes Hunted As An Overseas Military Cryptographer Finds Her Digital Identity In The Crosshairs

What if a member of the state spy apparatus became targeted for deadly espionage by a group whose technological expertise and global digital reach could rival that of a superpower?

Premise: A military cryptography expert pursuing secrets that could end the third World War finds herself hunted after a massive leak of classified information reveals her personal identity. Now she must find them — and discover the key to ending the War — before they find her.

Main protagonist: Kelsea Fanning is an ex-member of the 102nd mechanized SEALs who changed her Military Occupation Specialty (M.O.S.) after giving birth to a daughter, Juliana. She has retrained to become an intelligence officer, and, due to her skill in mathematics, has become a cryptography expert.

This idea is interesting as an inversion of well-known privacy concerns. What if an intelligence officer became a victim of malicious and potentially deadly identity theft? The use of technology gives the “thriller” premise a science fiction feeling. It’s “hard sci-fi” because, with a near-future setting and an appropriately powerful adversary, the story would be entirely plausible in light of the comments included below.

Source: A recent Q&A with Julian Assange, Sarah Harrison, Renata Avila and Andy Müller-Maguhn of the Courage Foundation (click here)

Without screening that information, doesn’t it jeopardize the safety of those undercover or could be harmed by those who are legitimate enemies? I mean, when I was deployed I was terrified that that intel would fall into enemy hands and give away positions, passwords, and safety measures and put me and my fellow service members at risk that had nothing to do with any sort of wrong doings.

Edit: At the time of the release, those of us on the ground had no idea what information was released, nor were we able to access it. We were in the dark about what information had been exposed. We felt vulnerable, and betrayed. We did not know if that leak gave out our locations, radio frequencies, names, social security numbers, etc. We were put into a position we could not guard against by people who had a lot less to lose than us, and that really pissed us off.

…Manning’s MOS gave him unique access to that information. I could not access it where I was, nor did my position grant me that privilege. I had zero access to that information when it was released to the public, because DoD Internet was heavily monitored after the leak and access to Wikileaks was barred. I was in the dark about what information was out there for all to see. I wasn’t afraid of embarrassment or having the government crack down on me. I was worried about some militants in a pickup truck dropping mortars into my tent.

…from my own personal experience, I as a PFC/E-3 at the time did not have access to SIPR. That access was available only to SGT/E-5 and above. I could access NIPR, but that was it.

(A commenter replies, “as far as we know, no military servicemember was killed in action because of the leak, so your complaint doesn’t matter.”)

Spoken like somebody who has never been put in a situation where an information leak could get you killed. The amount of added stress it puts on you in an already stressful environment really fucks with you. If they would have released a statement saying they were working to minimize the risk of endangering unnecessary lives, it would have gotten me behind them more. But they didnt. It was an unfiltered data dump that left countless people vulnerable and at risk. I support Snowden, but Manning can fuck off. Along with Assange.

…I think five years is an acceptable time to release those documents. I never said I was against documents being unveiled in due time. Nothing should stay buried forever. That being said, it still chaps my ass how cavalier some whistle blowers are about releasing information. If I was in their position I’d be reviewing every piece of information to make damned sure nobody got pulled into the crossfire unintentionally. And I sure as hell would stress that point if ever I was asked.

…at the same time I’d like to think a group intent on holding some sort of moral high ground over the US government would have the moral decency to at least try to protect people from becoming collateral damage. Even a simple statement from them like “We strive to expose political wrong doings and atrocities committed by military operations, while at the same time protecting the well being of the innocent individuals or groups that could be potentially put at risk of our releases.” That’s all it would have taken, and yet here we are how many years removed from Manning’s leak, and not once has Assange or his affiliates made such a statement. You think they don’t already have some sort of god complex going on already? Unveiling document after document with out regard of what it actually contains? What happens when the day comes that somebody does die as a result of unfiltered leaks? What then? To be so cavalier about all this is incredibly irresponsible.

(A commenter replies, “read the documents for yourself.”)

I have. And largely a lot of it didn’t pertain to me in the end, but at the time of the release I was interacting with Iraqi’s on a daily basis. I had no idea what those documents contained. I didn’t know what our enemies now knew. That lack of knowledge put me on edge, terrified me, and stressed me out to no end. It terrified me that my enemy knew more about us than we knew about them.

…what do you think my question was? It wasn’t about whether someone actually got hurt, but whether or not their practice of not screening this data has the potential to cause harm. It’s playing Russian roulette, except the gun isn’t pointed at their own head. It’s pointed at a crowded room where the guilty parties have placed innocent people between them and the weapon.

…high risk or low risk, it does not matter. If you do not take measures to minimize collateral damage, whether it’s the US government or Wikileaks, you are not doing the right thing. I encourage politicians being outed and war criminals being exposed. I’m all for that, but if you aren’t double checking what you are releasing to make damned sure innocent parties aren’t put at risk, even if that risk is minimal, you are flat out being irresponsible. Information is a powerful weapon. You don’t fire it blindly into a crowded room full of innocent people just because the person you’re after is hiding amongst them.

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