The latest Snowden docs have some great screenshots of the NSA-internal
MediaWiki installation Snowden is alleged to have obtained a lot of his
Looks like a static HTML dump, as a few of the external extension images
The last details on their technical infrastructure indicated that Snowden
used "web crawler" (love the quotes) software to obtain information from
their internal wiki:
What's not mentioned in the NYT piece is that their MediaWiki instance
likely didn't have any read-only ACLs set up, or if they did they were
buggy (are any of the third-party ACL extensions good?) -- which was
perhaps one reason why Snowden was able to access the entire site once he
had any access at all?
"If you actually need fancy read restrictions to keep some of your own
people from reading each others' writing, MediaWiki is not the right
software for you." -brion.
..like, if you're a nation-state's intelligence agency, or something :P
I think it's fascinating that this technical decision by the MediaWiki
team long ago may have had such an impact on the world! And much more
fascinating that the NSA folks may not have read the docs.