I read this piece in The Guardian today. Its author, Luke Harding, claims that while writing a book on Edward Snowden’s revelations he experienced various strange occurrences that he at least implies are the work of the NSA.
He claims that while in Rio de Janeiro, meeting Glenn Greenwald, he stored his laptop in his hotel room safe, only to find, upon returning, that the safe would no longer lock. I don’t have much trouble believing this one, if taken alone.
While still in Rio, Harding says an American calling himself Chris suggested they go sightseeing:
Harding claims to have done some sightseeing with Chris before texting his wife, with “spooky” results:
I find this difficult to believe. If his phone really did malfunction, it was probably just that - a malfunction. Would the NSA really be petty enough to cause someone’s phone to crash because he made some disparaging comments about them to his wife? I doubt they even have the ability to do so - I’m sure they could if they wanted, but why would they bother developing the capability to make someone’s iPhone keyboard freeze? Perhaps “Chris” and the phone malfunction were attempts to intimidate, but honestly, that’s less likely than a genuine glitch or outright lies from Harding, in my opinion.
Finally, he claims that while writing the book back home in the UK, his manuscript began to “self-delete”:
This sounds the phoniest to me. “Flashing and bleeping” is bad enough (it reminds me of those in media who think monochrome screens are more hi-tech) but deleting small pieces of text using the backspace key? If someone wanted to delete the file, they could do so just as easily. Text remote-deleting in this manner sounds like something out of the mind of an author of spy thrillers with very little knowledge of computers. It’s something that might look good in a film but I find it very hard to believe in real life. He also claims to have been working offline, so how could anyone have done this without either a) somehow fooling his computer into showing it was not connected to a network when it was, or b) installing some kind of chip to add secret connectivity to the laptop?
Is this all just bullshit?