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[–] sebx [S] ago 

You have to remember that Elliot is on the same wireless network that Ron's using to communicate with his servers: the one at the coffee shop. He's just sniffing local traffic. Ron connects to his servers through Tor. His servers are running the hidden service. Elliot is both in control of the nearest exit node while at the same time monitoring the output of Ron's personal computer. From that point it's just a matter of connecting the dots.

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[–] rwbj ago 

All sniffing would show is an encrypted connection to an entry node which is pretty much useless. And I don't know exactly what you mean by nearest, but that -pretty much any way you define it- has nothing to do with how exit nodes are chosen. Here is the spec, section 2.2. And again it would be the user that picks the exit node.