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?
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.