Confirmed: Russian spies really, really dumb

posted at 6:53 pm on July 1, 2010 by Allahpundit

Dude.

One of the most glaring errors made by one of the spy defendants was leaving an imposing 27-character password written on a piece of paper that law enforcement officers found while searching a suspect’s home. They used the password to crack open a treasure trove of more than 100 text files containing covert messages used to further the investigation.

“[T]he paper said “alt,” “control” and set forth a string of 27 characters,” the court documents say. “Using these 27 characters as a password, technicians have been able successfully to access a software program (“Steganography Program”) stored on those copies of the Password-Protected Disks that were recovered…”…

The spy ring had numerous technical problems, including file transfers that hung and wouldn’t go through and difficulty replacing laptops when necessary. In one case, an agent was so frustrated by laptop issues that she unwittingly turned it over to an undercover FBI agent.

Fair enough, but surely America’s sweetheart Anna Chapman had more sense than the others right?

Dude:

Those who knew Chapman from the social and club scenes described her as “sweet,” “flirtatious” and “friendly” — sometimes too friendly…

She also had problems keeping her cover stories straight.

“She made up a different story every time,” he said.

“The first time, she said she ran a real-estate Web site. Then the next time, she was working on an oil deal.”

“[Then] she told me she was a derivatives trader. I asked her one thing any derivatives trader would know and she didn’t know what I was talking about,” he said. “She was just dumb, quite frankly.”

Dan Drezner follows the trail of idiocy and wonders what possible mission could have been assigned to these morons. Given that they weren’t in particularly close contact with anyone involved in U.S. national defense, their scoops seem to be limited to the sort of stuff you can find on Google. A compelling theory via Anne Applebaum: Maybe institutional paranoia is so entrenched within the Moscow brain trust that they simply don’t trust easily discoverable information unless it’s discovered by their sources. Sure, you can find plenty of info about U.S. nuclear submarines online — but what if all of it’s been planted there? Better to have some flame-haired bombshell over here digging around to corroborate it between her nightly trips to the club.

Given the minimal damage done to national security and the compelling public interest in seeing more of this enchanting creature, I call upon The One to pardon Chapman and give her her own TV show immediately. I hear CNN’s eyeing a redhead to host at 9 p.m. Make it happen, champ.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Budding porn carreer in 5-7 years. Maybe less for good behavior.

trigon on July 1, 2010 at 9:32 PM

“She was just dumb, quite frankly.”

I’ve never gone for dumb but I’m going for her. Live and learn.

Paul-Cincy on July 1, 2010 at 9:33 PM

She’d fit right in at MSNBC.

n0doz on July 1, 2010 at 9:35 PM

What possible mission could they have been performing?

Could it be that they were collectively the easy mark? Is it possible that there are some actual “professional” or well trained illegals still out there that these buffoons were merely running cover for?

Let’s not stop looking just because we’ve picked up some low hanging fruit.

NavyspyII on July 1, 2010 at 9:52 PM

She looks like a gal I dated recently. Only the reddish hair was so deep auburn it looked brown at a glance.

bikermailman on July 1, 2010 at 10:44 PM

Hot

Hening on July 1, 2010 at 10:53 PM

I don’t comment much, and can’t claim to have ever been attracted to a soulless ginger, but… DAMN!

CliffHanger on July 1, 2010 at 11:03 PM

♡♡♡ RED-HAWT!! ♡♡♡

Why even bother with the whole covert spy nonsense anyway?

All she would have to do is give me that kittenish look and smile…

“Hi. I am sexy russian spy. Could you help me please?”

Sure! Treason? No problem! Glad to help out with our foreign relations anytime!

(Yes, Lorien, I admit it … I’D HIT THAT (RESET) BUTTON!!)

munchnstuf on July 1, 2010 at 11:16 PM

Dear Russia,

Please send more spies.

Fraternally,

The USA

PS: Don’t even bother trying to locate our nuclear and missile defense secrets. We have entrusted them with our most incorruptible beta males.

RINO in Name Only on July 1, 2010 at 11:27 PM

This a great country, mother… I captured, arrested, tried and convicted as spy and man named Hugh Hefner pay my bail and took me to huge castle. Now I famous to pose in magazine owned by him. I LOVE THE COUNTRY!

CynicalOptimist on July 1, 2010 at 11:29 PM

She’s just another one of Putin’s go-to girls.
If I were in charge, she and her Communist chums would look great right up to the time the triggers are pulled by the firing squad. A red-haired stooge for the KGB. I hope she rots in prison. Am I being too harsh? Spies get people killed…our people.

gordo on July 1, 2010 at 11:33 PM

Dan Drezner follows the trail of idiocy and wonders what possible mission could have been assigned to these morons

Recruiting. I like the one where they were digging up info on students who were interested in working for the CIA, compiling profiles of professors – fertile ground there I am sure. What else, getting the dirt on various people, for future blackmail opportunities probably, developing into opinion leaders while acting on behalf of Russia. Remember those massive student demonstrations against the Iraq invasion ? How do people think that gets organized ? They’ve been doing this crap for ages. Surprised anyone needs to ask what they were doing – it’s obvious. Not every spy story is the one where blueprints are getting stolen and passed along on a microdot (not saying it did not happen in this case, we’ll never know).

runner on July 1, 2010 at 11:38 PM

She’s just another one of Putin’s go-to girls.
If I were in charge, she and her Communist chums would look great right up to the time the triggers are pulled by the firing squad. A red-haired stooge for the KGB. I hope she rots in prison. Am I being too harsh? Spies get people killed…our people.

gordo on July 1, 2010 at 11:33 PM

Yeah, she was clearly a dangerous threat to our national security…

Admit it, you asked her out and she shot you down.

RINO in Name Only on July 1, 2010 at 11:40 PM

Actually, the story demonstrates the folly of overly paranoiac password requirements. No one can remember a 27-character password. People end up writing them down. I myself keep passwords to some government systems in a text file somewhere. Just can’t remember a bunch of random characters that must be changed every three months.

year_of_the_dingo on July 1, 2010 at 7:06 PM

And this also demonstrates the need for two-factor authentication for secure systems.

Normal password being “single factor”, IE: You need one thing to access the system, the password. (You don’t count the username, because on most systems the last user that logged in will still be listed, and 9 times out of 10 that’s the only user.)

In two factor authentication you need TWO things:

1 – The password
2 – An authentication device, such as a USB Dongle or a Smart Card.

This is superior because not only do you need to know something to access the machine (the password) but you must have something too. (the device) Since an authentication device can be hidden or locked away in a secure place, the need to use excruciatingly long passwords becomes moot.

You can even get REALLY tricky and use three factor authentication:

1 – Password
2 – authentication device
3 – Randomly generated RSA key that authenticates to a remote server.

This is even better since you now not only need to know something and have something, but you must be able to authenticate to a remote system you can’t control directly, making a break-in that much harder.

And lastly, you can go hog wild and ENCRYPT your hard drive (using a full drive encryption product such as PGP or Safeboot.) Which will also have it’s own authentication parameters.

This is actually a critical step. Even if you are using three factor authentication, if I am an opponent who wants to get data off of your machine and I have access to the machine, I can always just boot it with a Linux CD and have immediate access to all the data. Alternately, I can pull the drive on it and hook it up to my own machine and again I have access to all the data. Encryption prevents this as it scrambles all of the data unless you can authenticate into the system properly.

So there are LOTS AND LOTS of options to secure your machine beyond using stupidly long passwords that you will never remember.

I’m just not sure if I should feel happy that we caught these guys, or sad that they were so technologically inept that they were easily scooped up. The addition of a hot spy chick doesn’t make that any easier.

wearyman on July 1, 2010 at 11:42 PM

I’d sentence her to a month…in Playboy magazine.

rsrobinson on July 1, 2010 at 11:46 PM

She can co-host with Ashley Dupre.

MadisonConservative on July 1, 2010 at 7:09 PM

I think I’d rather be with Ashley, after a good STD test…

Tim Burton on July 1, 2010 at 11:47 PM

This is why I liked the cold war.

brennan251 on July 1, 2010 at 11:53 PM

Budding porn carreer in 5-7 years. Maybe less for good behavior.

trigon on July 1, 2010 at 9:32 PM

Maybe even less for very, very bad behavior.

Did I say that with my out loud voice?

SagebrushPuppet on July 2, 2010 at 12:07 AM

She’s like a poster girl for JournoList. (See Iowahawk)

Indiana Jones villain – “Shoot them……shoot them both…”

Coronagold on July 2, 2010 at 12:09 AM

Admit it, you asked her out and she shot you down.

RINO in Name Only on July 1, 2010 at 11:40 PM

OK, you got me but I still hope she rots in prison. :)

gordo on July 2, 2010 at 12:10 AM

I’d hit it. Can the KGB send more?

ebrawer on July 2, 2010 at 12:52 AM

Russian spies really, really dumb

Dumber than Allahpundit? I am seriously doubtful about that possibility.

I’m sure they could – and would – find some way to start a paragraph with something other than “Dude” and I seriously doubt they’d feel the need to end every communication with an “exit question”.

Dwilkers on July 2, 2010 at 1:11 AM

Dwilkers on July 2, 2010 at 1:11 AM

I’m very sorry about your cheerios and I do hope, sincerely, that they find the disgusting pervert who chose to urinate in them.

RINO in Name Only on July 2, 2010 at 1:26 AM

You all think she’s a hottie? I didn’t know that your standards were so low…

Natrium on July 2, 2010 at 1:45 AM

Remember those massive student demonstrations against the Iraq invasion ? How do people think that gets organized ?

runner on July 1, 2010 at 11:38 PM

Actually, those were organized by open communists groups, like ANSWER.

RINO in Name Only on July 2, 2010 at 1:51 AM

If the Country Formerly Known As the United States of America still existed this spying business would’ve bothered me. Now, just get Anna to the leg chair on Red Eye.

Lou Budvis on July 2, 2010 at 2:28 AM

They’re a diversion. The real moles are still there and probably closer to the top than we imagine.

It isn’t that hard to fool the political operative that are now struggling to control the government, lobbyists do it every day.

schmuck281 on July 2, 2010 at 2:36 AM

It is pretty hard to be scared or angry at people who act dumb … isn’t it Boys?

Observation on July 2, 2010 at 2:58 AM

I wish all spies looked like her!

Cr4sh Dummy on July 2, 2010 at 4:45 AM

I give her 3 more weeks before she utters those magic words leading to fame and fortune, “Mr. Hefner, I’m ready for my close up.”

MJBrutus on July 2, 2010 at 6:29 AM

Thank God they caught her before she massaged the global warming secrets out of Sex Poodle Gore! And, ten minutes with Slick Willy and she would have had the keys to Fort Knox….

joedoe on July 2, 2010 at 6:53 AM

How far is she willing to go to get top secret info?
I don’t know any but I could fake it.

iceman1960 on July 2, 2010 at 7:28 AM

I guess the bottom line when it comes to committing crimes is: 1 Be a young woman 2 Be pretty. Then you get a free pass.

However, I do agree with others who have commented that is is unclear whether any vital secrets were, in fact, stolen. If this turns out to be the case then, perhaps, this is only a publicity stunt to “prove” that Obama is “kick-ass” when it comes to foreign policy.

MaiDee on July 2, 2010 at 8:34 AM

These token socialite Russian spies are Putin/Medvedev’s response to Hillary’s RESET comedy of errors. Just chaff for fodder while Russia’s REAL spies have the heat distracted from their KGB style efforts.

These socialite socialist Putin pawns provide his cohorts at home with public Russian urgency to endorse funding and national media/public support for MORE KGB propagated espionage.

Beto Ochoa on July 2, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Anna Chapman of Property Finders should have chosen names without the letter “P” that she has great difficulty pronouncing properly. What gives with contracted P’s? Probty–if the interviewer didn’t have it written to read, how many times would he have asked her to repeat “property” lost in her accent?

maverick muse on July 2, 2010 at 9:47 AM

She certainly makes a good public motivational speaker, stuck on inspiration. “So what if you’re scared; do it anyway. Believe and you can do anything. At first I knew no one, but now I have a lot of people to help me.”

She’s Russia’s response to Sarah Palin, only in NYC for all those New York people “who really care”.

maverick muse on July 2, 2010 at 9:55 AM

I don’t care how good she looks or how good people THINK she looks I say put a bullet in her head!

Confederate on July 2, 2010 at 9:56 AM

Every pic I’ve seen of her, her eyes just reek of psycho.

Coronagold on July 2, 2010 at 10:35 AM

They’re a diversion. The real moles are still there and probably closer to the top than we imagine.

schmuck281 is spot on here. We’re watching the magician’s right hand while the left hand is in the White House. Obama is left-handed don’t ya know.

scullymj on July 2, 2010 at 11:48 AM

These “spies” are either a diversion or symptomatic of what the perceptive already know about bureaucracies–they get more incompetent the longer they are in place. Without a real mission and specific result-oriented standards and goals, the descent into idiocy, degeneracy, and graft is greatly accelerated. These guys and gals look remarkably like the espionage equivalent of our MMS, State Department, etc. The larger question is why do governments continue to pay such saps–oh, yeah, who cares, it’s someone else’s (taxpayers’) money–dumb and dumberer.

Ay Uaxe on July 2, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Don’t worry, America.

Sentence her to my custody, and I will punish her.

It is my patriotic duty to my beloved nation.

Oh yes, I will punish her good. Very bad girl. :)

Brian1972 on July 2, 2010 at 12:37 PM

A good punishment for her would be a month in jail with al (the groper ) Gore.

seven on July 2, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Don’t worry, America.

Sentence her to my custody, and I will punish her.

It is my patriotic duty to my beloved nation.

Oh yes, I will punish her good. Very bad girl. :)

Brian1972 on July 2, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Ha ha ha ha ha ! Good one!

MCGIRV on July 2, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Anna Chapman of Property Finders should have chosen names without the letter “P” that she has great difficulty pronouncing properly. What gives with contracted P’s? Probty–if the interviewer didn’t have it written to read, how many times would he have asked her to repeat “property” lost in her accent?

maverick muse on July 2, 2010 at 9:47 AM

I wondered about the name Chapman too, since she makes no bones about being Russian. Turns out that is her ex-husband’s surname:

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Anna-Chapman-Alex-Chapman-Former-Husband-Of-Alleged-Spy-Says-She-Was-Conditioned-In-UK/Article/201007115658101?lpos=UK_News_First_Home_Article_Teaser_Region_1&lid=ARTICLE_15658101_Anna_Chapman%3A_Alex_Chapman_Former_Husband_Of_Alleged_Spy_Says_She_Was_Conditioned_In_UK

SagebrushPuppet on July 2, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Comment pages: 1 2