Cryptome

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Cryptome is a not-for-profit digital library that collects information about freedom of expression, privacy, cryptography, dual-use technologies, national security, intelligence, and government secrecy. It was created in 1996 by John Young and Deborah Natsios.

Quotes[edit]

Official website[edit]

  • Cryptome welcomes documents for publication that are prohibited by governments worldwide, in particular material on freedom of expression, privacy, cryptology, dual-use technologies, national security, intelligence, and secret governance -- open, secret and classified documents -- but not limited to those. [1]
  • Cryptome is not trustworthy, and lies.[2]
  • Young: I have done architectural work for Scientologists in NYC. Also for Church of Christ Scientists, Opus Dei, Baptists, Episcopaleans, Atheists, Socialists, Black Panthers, 5 Percenters, Mafia, Muslims, Communists and so forth.[3]


The Observer interview[edit]

  • John Young: I don't drink water. Why drink water when there is alcohol?
  • John Young: Human activity is built on tricking and being tricked. Those who don’t hoodwink are evil people up to no good. I certainly expect to be hoodwinked. I’ll do it, too.
  • John Young: There are no secrets that shouldn’t be published.
  • John Young to WikiLeaks: Fuck your cute hustle and disinformation campaign against legitimate dissent. Same old shit, working for the enemy.
  • John Young: This redaction is some reputation-building shit and WikiLeaks is a coward for adopting this mode. They promised never to do that. And now they are doing that. And why? Because there is money in it and reputation in it, and they want to be part of the players.
  • John Young: I’m a member of WikiLeaks. I’m an insider of WikiLeaks. I’m a devotee of WikiLeaks. I’m a critic of WikiLeaks. My current shtick is to pretend that I am an opponent of WikiLeaks.

TECNO|GRAFÍA[S] INTERVIEW 1996/2016[edit]

  • CRYPTOME: "Authorities may access these private flows illegally, through court order or both in the name of a national security state of emergency. Corporate compliance guides have become standard office manuals to instruct staff on how to cooperate with law- enforcement subpoenas that demand consumer data and metadata. What are the prospects for viable democratic practice when the private citizen is displaced from public space and reconstructed at national scale as a fictive cipher populating the government database or watch list? Your watchlisted selfie is an inherently corrupted file."
  • CRYPTOME "Nevertheless, Snowden evidently rejected more experimental modes of distribution by self-organizing multitudes in favor of what, in retrospect, appears to have turned out to be a cynical journalistic process of maximizing curatorial control over the goose named Exclusive Scoop in order to claim all her golden eggs – including full spectrum product tie-ins from publicity, celebrity, accolades and awards to movie rights and royalties. Cryptome recently obtained documents from the public record that reveal Greenwald's 2015 base salary at the non-profit The Intercept to be $490,000. This is hardly consistent with the acts of civic humility attributed to Cincinnati's."

Radar interview[edit]

  • "We're totally untrustworthy. We may be a sting operation, we may be working for the Feds. If you trust us, you're stupid."
  • "Authority was the enemy. That's [my] psychological background."
  • "We'll put up anything that no one else wants to put up"
  • "My defense is, I don't know what these documents are."
  • "There's nothing that should be secret. Period."
  • "They say, 'Don't believe that, it's just standard fare. It's a ploy.' If you believe any of this, you don't understand how spies operate. They lie so much and run so many false operations and plant so many false agents. They expose their own agents so much - there's nothing you can do that they haven't already done. In fact, they hope you will do it. To muddy the waters."
  • "See, it's standard tradecraft in the spy world to be extremely cooperative to people who are expecting resistance. You just offer all possible help, and they just walk right into it. Did you really think I'd let you interview me, rather than me interview you? I'm plumbing your data. I've learned a lot about how Radar operates. I'm just doing the usual shit that agents do to recruit other agents."

Forbes interview[edit]

  • John Young: My mentor, Jean-Paul Sartre, said that imagination is the only thing you can trust.
    • Forbes, An Excerpt From 'This Machine Kills Secrets': Meet The 'Spiritual Godfather Of Online Leaking' (September 2012)
  • John Young: Facts are not a trustworthy source of knowledge.
    • Forbes, An Excerpt From 'This Machine Kills Secrets': Meet The 'Spiritual Godfather Of Online Leaking' (September 2012)
  • John Young: Cryptome is not an authoritative source. It’s a source of imaginatory material. Don’t trust Cryptome, we lie to you helplessly. Don’t believe anything you see there.
    • Forbes, An Excerpt From 'This Machine Kills Secrets': Meet The 'Spiritual Godfather Of Online Leaking' (September 2012)
  • John Young: Don’t send us stuff and think that we’ll protect you.
    • Forbes, An Excerpt From 'This Machine Kills Secrets': Meet The 'Spiritual Godfather Of Online Leaking' (September 2012)

Gawker interview[edit]

  • Deborah Natsios: I think it's interesting looked at in terms of large technosystem theory, the NSA taken as a large technosystem, this operative being something of a prosthetic extension of hardware. Snowden being understood as a kind of cyborgian creature without any political intuition. There's a kind of shock now in the system, now that this piece of hardware has suddenly, you know, gone rogue. And a person of his status, his age, his youth, there seems to be an incredible bias about their having any political voice. It's a key threshold for him to have broken out of his little enclosure and committed the act of conscience. Presumably the cyborg has no conscience, they're just kind of artificially intelligenced. And that's why if he's to be a hero in the literary sense, it's based on this act of conscience argument that he's deploying.
    • Gawker, A Discussion With Cryptome (2013)
  • John Young: I don't acknowledge the power of the law.
    • Gawker, A Discussion With Cryptome (2013)
  • Gawker: In a post on Cryptome, you suggested the leak was a "wargame". Do you think that this might be an elaborate government test?
    Young: Well, it will certainly be used for that purpose. They're certainly watching the response to this. They not only run their own games, they watch other people's games. Some are fortuitous like this. Some are deliberate.
    Natsios: I like this notion of the spontaneously combusting war games scenario. It's not top-down driven, it's just erupts and you study it as a phenomenon and information emerges that wouldn't otherwise in the carefully scripted modeling scenario.
    • Gawker, A Discussion With Cryptome (2013)

Motherboard interview[edit]

  • Natsios: We are required by state laws as architects to police issues of public health, safety and welfare. This is in the name of the public good. From Cryptome's perspective, we are obliged as architects to police the police, if you will. We are obliged to dissent, as required for the public good.
    • Motherboard, Why All the Snowden Docs Should Be Public: An Interview with Cryptome (July 16, 2014)
  • Natsios: We find that increasingly because of legal and financial pressures, institutionalized freedom of information groups become quite inflexible, not agile, not tactical enough.
    • Motherboard, Why All the Snowden Docs Should Be Public: An Interview with Cryptome (July 16, 2014)
  • We prefer being independent agents: We prefer that agility, we prefer that daily lack of master-plan agitation, and not being limited by the annual report obligations upon freedom of information non-profits; we have no annual report.
    • Motherboard, Why All the Snowden Docs Should Be Public: An Interview with Cryptome (July 16, 2014)

Associated Press interview[edit]

  • Young: Cryptome, aspiring to be a free public library, accepts that libraries are chock full of contaminated material, hoaxes, forgeries, propaganda.
    • Associated Press, Older, quieter than WikiLeaks, Cryptome perseveres (March 9, 2013)

Domus Web interview[edit]

  • Young: Cypherpunk was completely different from anything that existed at the time. It was all about taking over the world by undermining institutions and authorities.
    • Domus, Open Source Design 01: The architects of information (2011)
  • Young: We're great advocates of plagiarism and stealing.
    • Domus, Open Source Design 01: The architects of information (2011)
  • Young: The reality is that there's big business in branding dissent and whistle-blowing.
    • Domus, Open Source Design 01: The architects of information (2011)
  • Natsios: Our collaboration started some time late in 1993. We went online in the Internet's early infancy, its seminal moments. Quite quickly we became involved in these new online environments and communities that were positioning themselves on the front line of the politics of information. John's involvement with the Cypherpunk Listserv was a transformative moment.
    • Domus, Open Source Design 01: The architects of information (2011)
  • Natsios:Architects are by and large engaged in a kind of ornamental politics—a telegenic, photogenic and glossy politics that is unerringly safe. They won't put their careers on the line, they won't be visited by the authorities, they won't be subpoenaed for a federal criminal trial—all of which has happened to us.
    • Domus, Open Source Design 01: The architects of information (2011)

Business Insider interview[edit]

  • Young: We wouldn't do this if we didn't want to piss people off.
    • Business Insider, A Radical Pro-Transparency Website Is Raising Money To Annoy Glenn Greenwald (30 May 2014)
  • Young: If you watch all these hyperbolic agendas, Snowden, Wikileaks, Greenwald, they copy government. It's the same kind of hustle of the public where they pretend to be in opposition when they're in cahoots.
    • Business Insider, A Radical Pro-Transparency Website Is Raising Money To Annoy Glenn Greenwald (30 May 2014)

Twitter[edit]

  • @Cryptomeorg: Cryptome is a free library operated and funded by two independent scholars. Not herd corraling NGO, leak site or commercial media, maverick.[4] (17 October 2015)
  • @Cryptomeorg: Hillary could be hit with complicity in scheduling the Bin Laden killing to re-elect Obama.[5] (17 October 2015)
  • @Cryptomeorg: Question for Cryptome: "what do you do?" Might be glorified as counterintelligence but counter mirrors spy perfidy.[6] (25 October 2015)

Quotes about Cryptome[edit]

  • Michael Crowley:When I asked John Young if there was anything he wouldn't reveal on his site -- a fault in the President's Secret Service detail, for instance -- he said, "Well, I'm actually looking for that information right now."[7]
  • Glenn Greenwald: John Young occassionally does some repellent and demented things - such as posting the home addresses of Laura Poitras, Bart Gellman and myself along with maps pointing to our homes.[8]
  • "I have no idea how John figured out how to make a living," says Tony Schuman, another Urban Deadliner. "I remember times when the electricity was shut off in his apartment because he was so wrapped up in this stuff that he hadn't bothered to find paying work. We were eating rice and beans."

"I would regard the damage he's doing as considerable," says Peter Earnest, a 36-year veteran of the CIA who now serves as the executive director of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C."

References[edit]