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#62 Decoders

2016-04-21

Reporter Rukmini Callimachi is always looking for new ways to eavesdrop on ISIS operatives online. Recently, she got a new look into how ISIS members might be using the internet to coordinate their attacks. Plus, a new Yes, Yes, No. 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This episode is brought to you by better for him a new podcast from eighty people. In each episode Francesca Ramsay talks to visionaries in business leaders about mistakes. They ve made how they work their way through them and came out better for it. Listen on sport, Fi or wherever you get your pot, this episode is brought to you by a Sana. A saga is an app designed to help teams, plan, organise and execute all the work they do together. It helps you it sure nothing falls through the cracks. So you can focus on the work that matters most learn more. Try us honour for free visit, assign a dot com to get started. That's a ass, a dot com from gimlet this reply. All I'm here to vote Ok.
So I guess the first changes can usa your names on your title, so we have recommended cutting mucky and reporter at the New York Times covering terrorism units, vague, I M D, director information security for the newsroom. Madam, your we. What does that mean Dad S thing security, encryption related for it. People in the newsroom sort of false under me. So last week, head up to New York Times talk with romanian Rina. You may remember work, meaning we actually do After a back an episode, thirty three about how ISIS uses the internet and Rick reporting is. Oh god, because she's leg, she does a lot of reporting. Nice is using internet she's kind of like a narc at a high school like a cop whose Ike hang out the historical trying to fit in, but with ISIS on the internet, and since we talk last summer, a lot
happened and would, as learned way more about how ISIS talks on the internet in its most private confidential conversations. So, of course, I was dying to talk to her but before we can even get into that, Romania was just say to show me this new encrypted chat programme. She hasn't or phone ices people use it to have conversations and Romania has been listening and on those conversations, because that She does what's interesting as you'll see them posting. Let me civic and pull up some of them. You haven't! Yes, it's on my phone and civic and transfer them. They'll, post things they'll say ok, please asked her friends to join the Colossal news channel and then at the bottom, Harold Sate. This should not reach twitter nor Facebook Do you imagine is going alone? Oh yes, yes, they do, and it just looks like a chat like it looks like Facebook MESSENGER exactly exactly. Ok, so so inner pocket
Romania just carries around that little window into how ices people are chatting with each other and its helpful enough, but Ices knows that there are journalists in these tat rooms, so there little bit cagey the region. I was there with the charter about this other window that you found and it has the potential to be way bigger bees. Seemed to show where ices members plan their actual terror attacks. So this stories right after the ices attacks on Paris last November, a hundred thirty people were murdered. The attacks were all over the news, most Obviously, there are images from the bottom up on Iraq, venue in Paris that was one of the targets normally after an attack like this investigators work backwards. They look at the terrorist phones and computers and they draw the web of contacts that made the attack the planners the fine answers, so they can try to stop the next one, but this time There is nothing after the Paris a tax authorities found absolutely no electronic communications. They found no emails are facing.
Tat, no, nothing! You know. Thing that showed an electronic electronic trace. Now Renault and others might argue that perhaps perhaps this but they never actually sent any messages right that they were so discipline and that they managed to carry out the operation by only speaking other person or using burner phones, essay had ever having communicated in some other way. I happen to think that's not for the following reason: one in the bottom line, witnesses saw one the suicide bombers who had a bomb strapped on her unto him in his walking around with a detonator in his hand, they saw him slip open a laptop and do do something with it. And they saw they saw them asking about the internet- was the internet not working. Romania thought that may be. This was a clue that they'd been talking using computers, just not on any of the channels that any outside of ISIS, was used to trying to eavesdrop on
and they were more hence in this direction reported some of the witnesses saw a bunch of weird code on the screen of one of the terrorist computers which lead Some people to theorize that may be the terrorists was actually using true crept, which is this Opensource programme. Nobody actually knows whom but is considered by security experts to be a very good encryption tool. So said, that's one one doubt appoint the other data point is after birth rules in a trash can outside of the apartment that they had rented? They found a locked laptop of one, the airport bombers and that laptop with the information on it, including a will, etc. You know had, has helped investigators. So it seems that they were doing something. You know that involve the internet. I dont know I dont know what,
but it stands to reason that too, in my opinion, that on that they were using. This are for later attacks, so as ices have a way of talking online, that none of us have figured out how to listen and on Romania felt pretty sure that they did and then very recently she got a hold of this document. An interrogation record from a man and read a hammer, radar honey was a french citizen who had joined ISIS he'd been arrested three months before the attack on the bottom line, and he was very unusual for two reasons. First of all, he was I t guy, like a tech support guy ends. Of all, unlike every other ISIS operative, that french intelligence officials have been able to capture, he was very willing to talk right,
told french investigators that he had actually just recently returned to Paris after training with. I suppose he had been sent a couple of months before the Paris attack and under interrogation he acknowledged he had been sent by that same person with the objective of hitting the rock concert Hall, which is what what does that make you think of you know the bottom. You didn't go through with it. So here is raiders version of what happened. He had a good job and then he lost it. He was angry, and so he flew to Syria to fight Bashar, Al Assad, but instead he ended up working with ISIS on a plan to attack France So radio was trained by this ISIS head honcho, whose code name dad and the training was now what I would have expected. It was extreme focused on just using computers. He was there for roughly of the very short amount of time and part of his training was was learning how to use weapons and the other part of his training took.
Inside of a cyber cafe and Rocca, where they handed him. A usb stick containing tripped. He was supposed to who's this. Whenever he was writing a message to the group, he was posted encrypted and put it inside of unencrypted encrypted. Folder, and then he was supposed to upload it to a turkish website from whereas ISIS Handler was going to download it, though I was called dossier dot com. It was like a turkish version of Dropbox according to the training, if Reda wanted to send it, message to his hammer residents. An email which some government could spy on. He was supposed to upload and encrypted file to this turkish drop. Then his handler, which have the same log in him and he could lie. Gonna drawbacks and down to file, so nothing actually passed between them, but when he gets to France rate, I get busted tells the police everything And it would mean he says that the guy who radio historical dad he
was actually also the planner for the big Paris attacks, which makes me think that it's likely that, attackers were using that same encryption. They were using true grat. Remaining cares about this because she wants to understand terrorist. That is her job, but for the most of us, it is also so interesting and so relevant because for months we ve been having his big national debate about encryption verses terrorism most. You will all remember this, but a while ago to people who were inspired by ices- murdered a bunch of civilians in San Bernardino, both of us. He died and one of them left behind a locked. I found that the F b I wanted to open so the F b I tried to force apple to unlock it for them, and Apple said they couldn't do it didn't want to break their on encryption because then they couldn't guarantee privacy for anybody use an Iphone, and it was this big abstracted
like terrorism, piracy, security and Romania's reporting about what happened in Paris. It totally informs this argument that we ve been having in America. And in a lot of ways. It tells us that our argument is bullshit gets founded on premises that are totally wrong, one fundamental reason are arguing. Doesn't make sense, is that it assume, that most terrorist even use western technology. In fact, if you look at Nothing. We learned from this interrogation new ices recruits are told you, so away from any peace, a technology made by western company so, for instance, the co. They thought that this was a Turkish. Only website and were therefore directing traffic their true craft, because it's been around for so long, it's open source right is it. Can I think software that can't be back to work? since the developers are anonymous as well, where you gonna send the request of the requests. Exactly they're, not using iphones. So the debate in Congress is, of course, over. I
I think if I, if I get it right, it's over american companies and whether american companies can be can be forced, to handing over the code or whatever, whatever is needed, to to it into other chats. What do you do if the? If, if that, ignore do they're using if not american and ISIS like Al Qaeda before it is paranoid of western companies, Osama Bin Laden used to say they made the internet so be careful with it the other assumption it feels like we always making. Our big argument about encryption is, if we talk about it, like it works on time and Rick mean reporting actually suggest that terrorists are. Instantly screwing up when they try to use technology this is not sitting there wondering whether or not apples gonna, unlike their Iphone FBI. Instead, ices is being
operational concern is actually tee ISIS operatives to stop screwing up use technology last June, air force. General told a story of an icy member who actually polluted the gene. Location on one of his tweets from an ices base. Twenty two hours later: U S warplanes planes and funds, until mistakes like that are happening constantly, so take right, a homo, arrested in August of last year, so cut just a couple months before before the butterfly attack. He forgets the password to true crept here. He would down on a piece of paper fill does not it sort of like the pin onto your debit card. Here you don't get you don't keep it with your debit card right yeah. Well, so he kept the password to took on a piece of paper next to the password to see about co, which was then found this house when he gets arrested,
Romania has ices made other mistakes. Remember that dropbox style site that Reda Whisper upload his encrypted messages to turns out. It wasn't secures ISIS thought Renault was able to find out that it was actually it's actually hosted on a french server my job. I dont know this for a fact, but my reading of Of what I saw in the documents is that they Are you saying something in Turkey because they thought that that might be out of reach of western law enforcement? Gotta run are actually without that they were most likely wrong because was hosted by a french company exactly how is complicated. It's really complicate. It's it's challenging and when you are looking at this website, it appears to be turkish, There's nothing on that page. That tells you. Otherwise. How are you boyfriend, was that it was hosted in France, a check, the IP address of the website, to figure out where the server
oh, that is find out about that. Actually isn't that cop, for example, means a person? I never thought of you that right It was a expertise that actually pointed that out. I dont know if ISIS somebody at the level of Roma who could have pointed this out, but they were in the last couple of months they ve been choosing people who have an eighty background. Specifically, I think because they ve had so many failed plots that failed because of sloppiness on on on you'd have related stuff people sending Facebook messages to their mom that was actually thing that happened. Yeah it wasn't his mama was actually to a friend, but but a guy who was arrested two years ago, a February twenty fourteen he's the first. We believe the first ISIS operative who who goes from France Syria gets trained and then turns around goes back, he's arrested,
February in Con with three t, ATP Bombs, the same explosive that was used in Brussels in Paris and the reason people that authorities figured out what he was doing is because of his voluminous facebook correspondence with very friends where he, where he brags bumping and Syria, where he brags about being a certain battles which which place him at the very battles that ISIS was winning and anyway, so he was. He was right, sir, The information technology aspect of it is is seems to be preceding the military training that that's more important the military training. I think it's because they realise that at least not just just from watching what happened in the? U S, anybody with a gun, can do enormous harm. You know He opens fire and in a movie theater by the time the security gets there. You ve already killed x number of people right so you just need to be able to open fire. You know with a weapon
and the hard things just finds one who knows how to use a computer very well, some who is not going to essential create more damage to the to the network through through the faulty the internet or a computer is losing. Remaining telegraph. Isis. I felt of oscillating between fear of these violent murderous criminals but also this other feeling, which is a site God, what a hard organization, IRAN, therein Rocca in Syria, and they have to conscripted strangers in other parts of the world to go come. Acts of murder for ISIS in Europe and the easy way to do this without ISIS getting caught it. Ever talk to their strangers directly just put out a bunch, propaganda online, Diego materials about how to commit terrorist attacks and at work by the time. Actually, that's how you end up with attacks like the one in San Bernardino, but
It also wants to do bigger, more violent, more terrible attacks and those attacks like when's in Paris? Those attacks text require communication. A lot of communication law enforcement is paying attention to the communication networks. Means that ISIS now has to find candidates who not only have extremist views not only are willing to murder innocent people and die in the process. But who are also computer experts. There are fewer people who fit that, and so when ices goes out to recruit new people, they have to take some risks and read a harming the eighty professional got arrested. He was one of those risks, He shows up and he looks like someone. Ices would want a middle class. French guy who's. Also, an expert in computers with a european passport and he's really angry He sounds like someone. Isis would want to use in a terrorist attack, but the thing is
he actually wants to fight in Syria. You got to Syria, he had gone there to fight them. Team of Bashar Al Assad. That was what he thought he was doing when he joined ISIS. Instead, he gets there immediately there, like you, know we're sending you back to Paris. Rioters, you ve got a french passport. You look white and you're, going to pay, through a security and and when he waffles about, would took his passport and said if you dont do we're gonna, give it to somebody else. Somebody else's can take it. Sport and go in your place right He claims that he was actually very much on the, hence he wasn't sure wanted to do it, and so it's possible that he, you know, lost interest. You know in this in this mission, if you will, but what's unclear as he leaves he leaves in June from Syria. He doesn't arrested until August if he really had second thoughts Why didn't you just go turn himself in police. You know right in the third week of June, I was
If you believe a bit like you, I think you're say like I don't know, but because happy now, I do think that right, I was at some level trying to be honest because the tells you shared were were very specific and they ve much checked out with other things that that the interrogators were able to do triage. So who knows like what They ask him as well. Why didn't turn yourself in two police wrote right when he got home and he said: at the end, I was more scared of ISIS back in France then I was of authorities he suggested. Ices has such such a significant network in Europe that if he had to to go to police. They could of hurt him or his family again take it. Take it with the greatest greatness alternatives, so take it with eagerness grin assault. Winners, and so much time. Eavesdropping on terrorist is biagi things that ultimately their undressed
terrorist is biagi things that ultimately their understandable and that understanding betrayal for terrorism to work. Terrorists have to see, people with their minds made up people who do horrible things and don't think twice about it. That's what makes him so scary and its way there's optimism in the story of Red Army, maybe it Optimism of finding ambivalence. Finding. Somebody who went through a lot of the steps doing a terrible thing, Somebody who certainly wasn't a hero, but somebody who at least was human and confused to ices. That is a terrifying
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I s honor for free visit, assign a dot com to get started. That's a s. Dna dot, com. Welcome once again Yes, yes, no. Second, on the show where our boss, Alex Bloomberg, comes to us with stuff that he finds on the internet, that he doesn't understand, and we explain it to him and then afterwards, he's like that's it. Ok, so this is like is not typical in that. This is a thing that I found on the internet that Islanders and that I was in an up. Yes, ok go Allow me to be a gesture whatever, but I did look at as like. Maybe this thing that's like I've. Reverence Alex knows that. I know now because of Ages M O, which Alex heavy out the ads on that one up. Ok,
Does it? Really? You don't know is now I do not know, but like a lot of people are reacting to it, so it means something so he has no, who Adam? Where says? Yes, yes, he pay back on their own camp Batman. So I was looking at twitter account for other reasons, and Poland can we just break ever got session here. Other reasons is an embarrassing and it just feels a long story. There's a twitter account the just tweets that Batman little authorizations wherever they just tweet the labels from that show its Homelike Batman labels and so funny could really specific. It's like anti theft. Or spray or whatever like they're there? They they were clearly the sun, designer and that shows haven't modifying the stage. We that's what just been like by the used to watch that you had no idea was comedy. I meet you yeah, so Adam West, that bad man so yes, rhetoric as I've been like thinking out loud having weird Batman dreams because of it, and this tweet, like he'd, tweets
having people agar ever this tweet like went crazy and makes no sense to me. So he says at my age I try not to let myself get bored. No nincompoop re allowed and then there's a picture of him and he looks kind of plaintive and one hand he's holding a bunch of grapes and other and he's holding a garlic head. What does that mean? I have never more profoundly know in my life. I feel grapes and Garlic Joe you don't look into advertising get more clarity now. Cuz all people who just respond with famous persons are, like you sure, aren't a nincompoop in my bug. You look great for your age, like you didn't ask that question like that sort of thing. What's crazy is like how much How many people are coming under him and, as that mentioned, what did they say? Are you modeling I still life Mister West you're. Still such a fine figure of a man and there's another one leg: why
real haughty stuff, like that, it's weird: it's the point of the thing no nincompoop real had. I have no idea, but yours, I wonder if this is actually a pure. No, no, no tweet like this was something like joke he had with his wife or like his kid and his eyebrows, but on twitter promoters. Hot, doesn't matter like did anyone ever get this? nurse it somehow a joke about like a classic painting featuring still life called like then income hoop cod, like still life with nincompoop, grew. Garlic. I looked up the definition of nincompoop make sure I didn't mean to me. I didn't know about. It means exactly what you think. It means This is one where I want. If we don't know, I want to call out West, so we have to call west last year.
I bring me back and when you find out, ok Alex Access has been twenty four hours and I have so few was able to get conduct information for Adam West in under an hour, and I called him to find out what his treatment yes. What yes shut up seriously. That's what you Iraq and Syria, yes, my hand, and I am now a yes for this. I am dying to know what it means, so that's are by no, you mean no. I died that I was nobbing sarcastic. I so desperately want to know what this now more than ever, because I just don't, like you, have a new friend having knowledge that I don't have to get used to it. So I called am desert batcave,
I ask Adam West it is that AIDS, Fiji how's it going Great did you say: Desert Batcave wallet. You're calling me palm springs I have actually been there once it is a beautiful, beautiful place. It is not like New York in Spring, which is grey and called in horrible. I like New York, what we re all shot like New York in June Is that that about we called porter song. I believe he sounded like the most normal nice and in the world we tart for lake? Probably thirty
Five minutes- and I was like I hung up and ask wait. I never really asked him about making public. Often factors like they are worse also suffered. So ok, so the tweet the deal is it's a joke. About vampires the riesling, garlic and grapes is the joke as lake. Oh, what if you were such a nincompoop that you didn't know like which of these things warded off, vampires, garlic or grapes. Ah few words as such and then come to be a dead now, and you thought it would be grapes. That guy, like that, makes sense to me. It was almost like a scared, but then the caption is being like yours. Like, oh, I don't mess around, but obviously your messing around
I think I was sure obtuse he's like describing a joke that he made to himself. Yes, stars Goldman tweet. Oh it's totally! Now it's comin to it. I still can't get it describing joke that he made himself about vampire where Eric here's the scenario a guy, a guy who was so old and dumb. He doesn't know whether grapes or garlic ward of empires anything's to himself. It would be super funny to tweet this, but now give people the vampire reference. So they have no idea what I'm talking about it took me forty minutes to get we're out. She's got in half a second except vampires whenever mentioned to Russia, but then at my age I try not to get bored. What does that? What's that cut? So I come up. Meetings in areas to amuse myself and take pictures of em, I think exactly. Ok, I was gonna is: are you you you ve sent reads like this: on April twelve hours, just looking through my twitter feed on paper on April.
Well. I treated the words Elk neck. So I did a year ago, favorites in and similarly like. If people really likes you, ok, I gotta West, like that. Guy, like a hundred retweet figures, there's a point where we were dislike Adam West goofing around. I don't need to full only too standards on. I wonder why level I like him and easier around. I support it. Well, that's! What's so I was so confusing, solves like sort of leg. So, like you looking at that tweet, Look at all that all the responses to the tweet like we were sort of looking for meaning yes, and there is no meaning to be gotten. The meeting was present These are the people who I actually commenting understood what his joke was. I mean it's a like, maybe zero. There was no signal in that whole thing. As I said, our noise yeah. I love this tweet.
So much I think, I'm I mentioned, but like we talk for a very long time like longer than I talked to most people cash. Like a radio show, isn't it yeah exactly Sheridan radio. You did what kind of radio it was at that time limits illegality and he's. Add that on his big break out hit was Batman and that raw actually created a lot of problems, So the thing that everybody knows about Adam West spat man is, it was like a very goofy version of that man. I'll. Remember me all job, you Charlie, harm. One pair of that boy said riddle me twice Batman. What kind of pins used in soap. Terrapins, Batman Right every coup, and this was supposed to be funny
Adam West thought. It was funny that people make in the show thought it was funny, but some of the viewers thought that Adam himself was not in on the joke, that he was trying and failing to play a very serious batman and that he was a dope, and so when Batman was over, it was hard for him to get other jobs other particularly serious, acting jobs. There were times when I was so poor and desperate D. But I was shot out of a cannon really when my cape, lying behind me. We were not really, though, not really. I want an order, to survive and take care of family, and so on. The a stuff. I didn't want it, so he kept trying for all these years roles, but he couldn't get them because nobody took him seriously and then finally, you just like you know, I'm fine, we'll just embraced, the joke that everybody is making about me
I realise that everybody loves bad man, why the hell should learn a bad man. I am back so he started allowing himself to be type cast as Adam West, the guy who used to play Batman and used to make us all ass right and he credits that with saving am, I still quite get them. Yeah and every time it has another Hugh he he would like Tom. He be I also nincompoop basic. No, I know what a nincompoop is, but I feel like besides ends. In your mind and just hear dislike, J K or leg peers, a joke or like Smiley Face Margie, eg. You know I mean it's. They re no nincompoop re allowed a sort of like a smiley face Margie, yes, anyway, I better run not take to make you so much and yeah. Just thank you for existing in the world. You are a very wonderful person well
like a great guy, my best saw your pals and shallow water, nor is there I'll pass it on. Ok. Can I have a gun on you to? Thank you. Revile is me give out in our common. We have reduced the sweet by TIM, Our tree to get any mani and in Since from urban designers, we were edited by Peter cloning and mixed by required. Matt Labour is the chairman of Wayne. Enterprises are theme It is by mysterious break master cylinder and our add music is by build buildings. Oh Adam, West, on Twitter, at the real Adam West, you ve been saying too. Also. This is your last week to vote for reply. All as your favorite pike asked for the web is we're in second place. It's gonna be now better go. How bout
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-13.