Just imagine that an international whistleblowing organisation released a huge number of files about the FSB (successor to the KGB), containing details on their eavesdropping capabilities which would make George Orwell’s eyes bulge. Just imagine that the files revealed they could spy on anyone, anytime, anywhere. They could do it through your computer. They could do it through your phone. They could do it through your SatNav. Oh, and they could even do it through your fridge.
And just imagine that in the months leading up to the revelations, the Russian establishment and media had been going nuts, blaming another nuclear-armed country – say the United States, for sake of example – for “hacking their election”. And just imagine that they had produced two shoddy reports to prove the claims, both of which contained zero evidence and looked like they’d been put together by a group of temps who got drunk at the office Christmas party. Yet the country’s media reported on it as if it were all proven.
Now imagine that the leak contained documents showing that the FSB had got their hands on malware from countries across the globe, so that they had the capability – if they so wished – of hacking anywhere in the world, and leaving the “fingerprints” of other countries on it to cover up their deeds.
And just imagine that in the aftermath of the whistleblower’s astonishing revelations, the Russian media almost completely ignored the story. And just imagine that Russian politicians were queuing up to condemn the revelations, not for their contents or frighteningly totalitarian nature, but because the knowledge of the FSB potentially spying on anyone, anywhere in the world being known publicly apparently compromised the national security of Russia. And just imagine they then called for the arrest and prosecution of the whistleblower, rather than for those behind these monstrous invasions of privacy.
Chances are you’d be freaking out. Chances are you’d be calling it one of the most monumental abuses of power in history. Chances are you’d view the Russian Government as one of the most totalitarian ever. Because Russians doing that sort of thing would confirm just how evil, arrogant and nihilistic they are, wouldn’t it?
But if the CIA did it, that’d be okay, wouldn’t it? You wouldn’t mind. Because they’re the good guys, right? Nothing to see here.