How not to keep a secret #DCRI

  • 7 April 2013

If you have a secret, then you probably will not talk about it. That’s a very basic fact about secrets. By not talking to others about your secret, these others will not know. So far so good. If your secret consists of a tower, an area and fences around it, then you have a hard time hiding this information. Your only option is to hide in plain sight, find a plausible explanation for the things people see and – again – not to talk about it. The French Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI) has provided a lesson to show how it doesn’t work.

The Station hertzienne militaire de Pierre-sur-Haute is a French military compound. It has a Wikipedia page describing the location and its purpose along with photographs. Thanks to the DCRI everyone knows now that the article contains classified information. The DCRI summoned a Wikipedia systems administrator to their office and threatened him in order to force the deletion of the article. Keeping secrets by blackmailing is not going to work. In the age of satellites, Internet maps and drones there is no way you can prevent someone from taking photographs. De-emphasize, don’t make sure everyone focuses on your little secret. Distractions work, too. Area 51 is known for its UFO sightings and conspiracy theories. No one talks about the military prototypes being tested there. It’s all about aliens.

Maybe the DCRI should watch a couple of X Files episodes to get a clue.

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