Tag Archives | Secrets

British Bookstore Website Hides Book List for Programmers in Source Code

British book chain, Waterstones, has hidden a book list for programmers in its website’s source code:

Screen shot 2015-02-23 at 10.48.28 AM

The list includes books on Python, Javascript, MYSQL, and more. You can check it out yourself, by going to their site and hitting CTRL+U on a PC or CMD+Alt+U on a Mac.

According to the Reddit thread where I found this, hiding things in source code is not unheard of.

Here’s flickr’s message:

Screen shot 2015-02-23 at 10.52.57 AM


Do you know of any others?


h/t Reddit + The Next Web.

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Ed Snowden Taught Me To Smuggle Secrets Past Incredible Danger. Now I Teach You

Edward Snowden-2.jpg

Edward Snowden by Laura Poitras / Praxis Films (CC)

Micah Lee was staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and chief technology officer of the Freedom of the Press Foundation when he was first contacted by Edward Snowden. He tells us what he learned about smuggling secrets at The Intercept:

Late on the evening of January 11, 2013, someone sent me an interesting email. It was encrypted, and sent from the sort of anonymous email service that smart people use when they want to hide their identity. Sitting at the kitchen table in the small cottage where I lived in Berkeley with my wife and two cats, I decrypted it.

The anonymous emailer wanted to know if I could help him communicate securely with Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who had repeatedly cast a critical eye on American foreign policy.

From: anon108@■■■■■■■■■
To: Micah Lee
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2013


I’m a friend.

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Secret space plane lands at US air force base after unknown two-year mission

"The US air force’s first unmanned re-entry spacecraft landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Photograph: US AIR FORCE/Reuters"

“The US air force’s first unmanned re-entry spacecraft landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Photograph: US AIR FORCE/Reuters”

via The Guardian:

A top-secret space plane landed Friday at an air force base on the southern California coast.

The plane spent nearly two years circling Earth on a classified mission. Known as the X-37B, it resembles a mini space shuttle.

It safely touched down at 9.24am Friday, officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base said.

Just what the plane was doing during its 674 days in orbit has been the subject of sometimes spectacular speculation.

Several experts have theorized it carried a payload of spy gear in its cargo bay. Other theories sound straight out of a James Bond film, including that the spacecraft would be able to capture the satellites of other nations or shadow China’s space lab.

In a written release announcing the return of the craft, the air force only said it had been conducting “on-orbit experiments”.

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The NSA Wants to Keep Its Water Usage Secret

When a government agency once considered so secret that its nickname was “No Such Agency” comes under scrutiny for more or less everything it does, it shouldn’t be considered too surprising that it resists disclosure of activities even (seemingly) as mundane as the quantity of water it uses at its Utah Data Center. Wired reports on the NSA’s reasons for wishing to keep this particular secret:

The National Security Agency has many secrets, but here’s a new one: the agency is refusing to say how much water it’s pumping into the brand new data center it operates in Bluffdale, Utah. According to the NSA, its water usage is a matter of national security.


The agency made the argument in a letter sent to officials in Utah, who are considering whether or not to release the data to the Salt Lake Tribune. Back in May, Tribune reporter Nate Carlisle asked for local records relating to the data center, but when he got his files a few months later, the water usage data was redacted.

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What Is Area 51?

[disinfo ed.'s note: The following is the prologue to Area 51 - Black Jets: A History of the Aircraft Developed at Groom Lake, America's Secret Aviation Base by Bill Yenne.]
In the cartography of our lives, our dreams, and our popular culture, certain landmarks are embodied with great meaning that transcends their identity as mere places. We travel to certain ones to see things of great cultural or historical importance. Whether we are fond of Michelangelo or Picasso, or of Winslow Homer or Warhol, we go to great museums to view and marvel at celebrated works of art. We go to the Smithsonian to see the tangible artifacts of American history, from the Star Spangled Banner to the Spirit of St. Louis. Meanwhile, we visit other iconic places, such as Waikiki or Las Vegas or any numbers of Disney Worlds or Lands or their analogues with other themes, for specific genres of “fun.” And finally, there are places we visit not for specific artifacts or specific amusements but for the intangible reason that we just want to be there or, arguably more importantly, to say that we have been there. We go to such places to breathe a certain rarified air. We go to such places—Times Square or the corner of Haight and Ashbury—not so much to see and touch specific things, but to stand there and sense an ethereal yet palpable energy or to soak up the vibe. This genre of venues possesses an importance that is greater than the sum of its parts. Merely the mention of one word, such as “Sturgis” or “Graceland,” speaks volumes to those who venerate these places for what they represent. Of course, none of these places is for everyone, and that is what makes each of them so important and so special to those for whom they do resonate. For such people, even those who have never been to these places that are the nexus of their fascination, the mere mention of the name is like a mantra that is a key to unlock an emotion...
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Revealed: The Burglars Who Beat J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI

Hoover-JEdgar-LOCIt must have been incredibly difficult to pull off this raid on the FBI and never have your secret leak, least of all to the FBI and it’s then omnipotent boss J. Edgar Hoover. The New York Times profiles the gang who pulled it off:

The perfect crime is far easier to pull off when nobody is watching.

So on a night nearly 43 years ago, while Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier bludgeoned each other over 15 rounds in a televised title bout viewed by millions around the world, burglars took a lock pick and a crowbar and broke into a Federal Bureau of Investigation office in a suburb of Philadelphia, making off with nearly every document inside.

They were never caught, and the stolen documents that they mailed anonymously to newspaper reporters were the first trickle of what would become a flood of revelations about extensive spying and dirty-tricks operations by the F.B.I.

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Official Secrets, Destined for Destruction

MKGandhiMahatma Gandhi, the man who ultimately led India to gain independence from the United Kingdom, made a wise and knowing statement: “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”

Gandhi’s words were intended to be interpreted in a wholly positive fashion. That is to say, when people put their minds to tasks in hand, and their belief is solid, strong and unswerving, they can achieve just about anything and everything they desire.

There is, however, another body of determined spirits that have an unquenchable faith in their mission and who can, and most assuredly have, altered the course of history. They have done so in two most unfortunate ways: by hiding history and, sometimes, even erasing it from the face of the Earth. And who might they be?

They are nothing less than a small but very influential body of characters secreted within the highest echelons of worldwide governments.… Read the rest

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CIA Acknowledges Role In 1953 Overthrow Of Iran’s Democracy

iran_map1Via George Washington University’s National Security Archive:

Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States’ role in the controversial operation.

American and British involvement in Mosaddeq’s ouster has long been public knowledge, but today’s posting includes what is believed to be the CIA’s first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup.

The explicit reference to the CIA’s role appears in a copy of an internal history, The Battle for Iran, dating from the mid-1970s. The agency released a heavily excised version of the account in 1981 in response to an ACLU lawsuit, but it blacked out all references to TPAJAX, the code name for the U.S.-led operation. Those references appear in the latest release. Additional CIA materials posted today include working files from Kermit Roosevelt, the senior CIA officer on the ground in Iran during the coup.

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U.S. Government Finally Admits To Area 51

Area-51-mapNot that there was really any doubt in most people’s minds that Area 51 existed, but now it’s official. Philip Bump reports for the Atlantic Wire:

Newly declassified documents, obtained by George Washington University’s National Security Archive, appear to for the first time acknowledge the existence of Area 51. Hundreds of pages describe the genesis of the Nevada site that was home to the government’s spy plane program for decades. The documents do not, however, mention aliens.

The project started humbly. In the pre-drone era about a decade after the end of World War II, President Eisenhower signed off on a project aimed at building a high-altitude, long-range, manned aircraft that could photograph remote targets. Working together, the Air Force and Lockheed developed a craft that could hold the high-resolution cameras required for the images, a craft that became the U-2. Why “U-2”?

They decided that they could not call the project aircraft a bomber, fighter, or transport plane, and they did not want anyone to know that the new plane was for reconnaissance, so [Air Force officers] Geary and Culbertson decided that it should come under the utility aircraft category.

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