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Monday, September 19, 2005

 

The Farewell Dossier

I found a great article about how we addressed the problem of Soviet industrial espionage against high-tech targets during the Cold War. I had always thought that the very success of their efforts paved the way for glasnost and the subsequent demise of the regime. It went like this: 1) they steal tech that they can duplicate and benefit from, 2) the tech starts to get beyond their grasp - they can figure out what it's supposed to do but can't duplicate it very well, and 3) the start stealing stuff that they have no idea what it's for, how to duplicate it or how to use it. At that point even a system as rigid (or better - brittle) as theirs has to bend and adapt. Implosion-o-rama.
The piece referenced above is written by the CIA guy who was in charge of adding a significant twist to this inevitable process. Under Carter, and continuing under Reagan, our side eased the transfer, but with serious flaws programmed into the hardward and software. It caused the Soviets great headaches and no doubt helped send them into despair. It's really a great story, beginning with the French clueing us to an espionage coup they'd accomplished, and sharing it with us, all the way to the tragic and paranoid ending. (via Ranum, via Discarded Lies)

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