CIA “Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny” Having Knowledge on Satoshi Nakamoto’s Identity

Francisco Memoria
  • The CIA has rejected a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on information regarding bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
  • A writer who sent the agency said request was told the CIA can "neither confirm nor deny" having information about Satoshi Nakamoto.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reportedly revealed that it can “neither confirm nor deny” it has information on who bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto really is, a response that is often used when the agency is conducting an investigation.

According to a report published by Motherboard writer Daniel Oberhaus, the agency gave him this reply after he sent over a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, while following the work of blogger Alexander Muse, who last year claimed the National Security Agency (NSA) knew who Nakamoto was.

Oberhaus claims to have filed the same FOIA request with the FBI and the CIA, asking for all internal emails containing Satoshi Nakamoto’s name. Per his words, agencies generally reply to these requests by asking them to be narrowed down, but instead he was told the request had been rejected.

He wrote:

“I received a terse reply that informed me that “the request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.””

Daniel Oberhaus

The CIA’s reply is known as a “Glomar response,” which the agency is famous for. It is often used to avoid releasing information about ongoing investigations, and the CIA even showed how much it likes to give these opaque replies in its first tweet.

Per Muse, the agency used stylometry to find out who Bitcoin’s creator really is. Stylometry essentially uses a person’s writing style as a unique fingerprint. The NSA used said fingerprint to search for Nakamoto by matching it against emails collected under the PRISM surveillance program.

While Muse claimed the NSA knew who Satoshi Nakamoto is, his source never revealed the cryptocurrency creator’s identity. The blogger reportedly submitted a FOIA of his own to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) earlier this year.

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is the cryptocurrency ecosystem’s biggest mystery. The anonymous Bitcoin creator(s) saw various journalistic investigations attempt get to the bottom of the case, with various potential candidates appearing along the way.

Among them were American programmer Hal Finney, who created a proof-of-work system before bitcoin was launched, and the first BTC transaction recipient. Finney passed away in 2014.

In 2013, investigators pointed to Nick Szabo after using stylometry to analyze the flagship cryptocurrency’s whitepaper. Szabo, a University of Washington cryptographer, programmer, and blogger denied being Nakamoto.

In 2014, an investigation conducted by a Newsweek journalist pointed to a man named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, who vehemently denied creating bitcoin. The real Nakamoto himself used his P2P Foundation account to state: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”

Later on Craig S. Wright, an Australian programmer, claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto and provided proof through digital signatures. According to various analysts, the proof he provided was based on public data, and could have been created by any advanced user.