III . MEANS AND METHODS OF THE CONSPIRACY
A. SECRET COMMUNICATIONS
20. To further the aims of the conspiracy, Moscow Center has arranged for the defendants clandestinely to communicate with the Russian Federation. In particular, the conspirators have used, among others, the secret communications methods described below — steganography and radiograms.
21. Steganography is the process of secreting data in an image. Moscow Center uses steganographic software that is not commercially available. The software package permits the SVR clandestinely to insert encrypted data in images that are located on publicly-available websites without the data being visible. The encrypted data can be removed from the image, and then decrypted, using SVR-provided software. Similarly, SVR-provided software can be used to encrypt data, and then clandestinely to embed the data in images on publicly-available websites.
22. As is set forth below, certain of the Illegals have communicated with Moscow Center by means of steganography. In each of the three judicially-authorized residential searches referenced above (the 2006 Boston Search, the 2006 Seattle
Search, and the 2005 New Jersey Search), law-enforcement agents observed and forensically copied a set of computer disks ("Password-Protected Disks"). Based on subsequent investigation as described below, I believe that the Password-Protected Disks contain a steganography program employed by the SVR and the
I remain skeptical that such a technique would be used in this manner--utilizing a Twitter account--when the person in question is an extremely high profile public figure who must presume that he is under investigation and subject to electronic surveillance. It seems too risky to use Twitter for these purposes in such circumstances, since surveillers using sophisticated software could conceivably access the hidden files.
This is a good example, if that were needed, of why I value the comments.