Satoshi Nakamoto’s Real Identity is Probably Known by US Intelligence Agencies
It’s not often a journalist in the financial tech arena has cause to contact the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), but this week proved reason enough.
Keeping normal business hours, the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C. 20505 (really Vienna, VA) was swamped.
Inspiration came from Daniel Oberhaus, staff writer at Motherboard. In an effort to follow up on work done by bloggers and journalists on the tantalizing issue of Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity, Daniel Oberhaus explained, “While recently filing some unrelated FOIA requests of my own, I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask other three-letter agencies what they know about Nakamoto.”
Agencies are keen to dismiss a request out of hand, usually citing vagueness, ill-prepared request documents, standing, and the typical go to: national security.
The Central Intelligence Agency’s non denial-denial to Daniel Oberhaus is a usual tactic designed to be a true statement without giving away key facts. It is known as the Glomar Response, ‘Glomar’ the abbreviation for Global Marine, a company used by the agency to build a ship capable of salvaging downed Soviet-era submarines back in the mid 1970s. The now famously canned statement was employed after a journalist filed a FOIA concerning the Central Intelligence Agency ship for Soviet subs project.
His true identity is of utmost importance to the United States government precisely because, especially as the price began to rise, so many people were relying on it. The problem, before even the technology could be evaluated on its own merit, was the principal DHS worry: a foreign creator. If bitcoin can do all it claims for itself, disrupting financial markets, a country hostile to the USA could quickly start that ball rolling and worse. “Why go to so much trouble to identify Satoshi Nakamota?” he asked rhetorically. “My sources tell me that the Obama administration was concerned that Satoshi was an agent of Russia or China — that Bitcoin might be weaponized against us in the future. Knowing the source would help the administration understand their motives. As far as I can tell Satoshi Nakamota hasn’t violated any laws and I have no idea if the NSA determined he was an agent of Russia or China or just a Japanese cryptocurrency hacker.”
Mr. Muse was ultimately unable to get just who Satoshi Nakamota is. Instead he was left with the conclusion DHS does know, and that bitcoin’s first billionaire was probably a collection of folks. For his effort he was personally contacted by DHS and asked to submit to an interview. He did, noting that he was unable to publish just what he discussed with DHS, but he could say their contacting him was due to his Satoshi Nakamoto’s Medium posts. “I’ve had to stop taking calls or accepting voicemail messages,” Mr. Muse concludes. “My email is almost unusable with more than ten thousand unread messages at last count. The only way to contact me now is via text — and it is likely I’m going to have to change my number fairly soon. I still don’t know who Satoshi Nakamoto really is — but I believe the NSA does.”