Snowden Part II: Another Cyber Traitor in the US?

There are 680,000 people on the US’s Terror watch database with more than 40% having no known ties to terror groups. How do we know this? Looks like there is another Snowden like traitor leaking secret intelligence documents to the press.

An article on “The Intercept” breaks down the numbers apparently obtained from documents leaked by a “source in the intelligence community“. According to the website:

“The classified documents were prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center, the lead agency for tracking individuals with suspected links to international terrorism. Stamped “SECRET” and “NOFORN” (indicating they are not to be shared with foreign governments), they offer the most complete numerical picture of the watchlisting system to date.”

According to CNN, government officials are looking for the identity of the new leaker.

With Snowden apparently getting away with leaking top secret and confidential intelligence information to the press, it seems that it has inspired others to follow in his footsteps. The problem, as shown with Snowden, is that even though they may reveal some information of government wrong doing, they may also cross the line of patriotism and end up aiding and abetting a foreign power.

The level of NSA spying on US citizens was wrong, but when someone in the intelligence field takes classified information and flees to another country (especially one on unfriendly terms with the US), that has and always will “earn” the person the title of “Traitor”.

I just hope this new traitor is caught before they too reveal allied operational software and techniques employed against foreign governments and Islamic militant groups.

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Snowden Continues to Expose Allied Cyber Tactics

Russian Espionage

NSA whistleblower and Putin poster boy Edward Snowden apparently released yet another document, this one exposing UK cyber spying techniques allegedly used by the GCHQ.

The document, according to The Intercept lists multiple tools that the UK intelligence agency used to spy on social media accounts, interrupt or modify communication and even modify online polls.

Tools like:

  • UNDERPASS – Change outcome of online polls
  • SILVERLORD – Disruption of video-based websites hosting extremist content
  • ANGRY PIRATE – Permanently disables a target’s account on a computer
  • PREDATORS FACE – Targeted Denial Of Service against Web Servers
  • And several others.

The release again leaves me scratching my head.

From ancient times countries spied on each other, even their allies. Only the most naive would assume this practice has magically stopped in the online age. I do love how shocked governments appeared in the media when they found out that the NSA was snooping on them, what a joke.

And in this case, several of these tools listed sound like they are more geared towards fighting or countering online use of enemy communications possibly by Islamic militants.

One would have to ask, does this release from Snowden make the people of the UK or the US safer from government snooping, or more likely would it tell enemy nations exactly what tools have been and will be used against them?

Again with Snowden one would have to ask, is he a champion of internet privacy or simply just a traitor to the US and her allies, exposing tools and techniques used against foreign nations and in the war on terror?

With Snowden pushing for an extension of his stay in Russia, it would seem the later would be correct.

Wikileaks to Release more Secret Documents this Week

Wikileaks is at it again. According to a FoxNews report, Wikileaks is set to release several hundred thousand sensitive diplomatic messages this week, possibly as soon as Friday. 

This release will mostly be diplomatic cables mainly involving; yes you guessed it, the US.

Due to the sensitive nature of these cables, the relationships with several allied nations could be affected. The State Department has already begun notifying allies about the pending release.

“We are prepared for the worst — and the worst is that this will have an impact on our diplomatic relations with many, many countries,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world.”

So it appears that Wikileaks assault against the United States continues. An article earlier this month on Time.com mentioned that Wikileaks next release would include documents involving Russia and China. It would appear though from the news today that again the US will be Wikileaks target.

Several reports issued this year said that Wikileaks plans on releasing Russian documents, but is having language barrier issues. This is an odd comment in this day and age as Google Translate seems to work very well. Maybe there is another reason why Wikileaks is holding off exposing Russian secrets.

In January, a Russian secret services agent denied that Wikileaks posed them any threat and warned that the “right team” of people could simply shut down the whistleblower website forever according to The Moscow News. Also, according to the article:

Longstanding links between hacker cells and the FSB lend credence to this thinly-veiled secret services threat. Investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov has detailed how the Russian FSB “maintain a sophisticated alliance with unofficial hackers, such as those who carry out cyber attacks on the websites of enemies of the state”.

According to the FoxNews article, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is leading a fairly paranoid life now due to the earlier US Document releases. I am sure that adding the Russian FSB and Chinese intelligence agencies to the mix will do little to assuage his fears. 

F-117A Nighthawk in China?

I was checking out Sean Lawson, Ph.D.’s blog and found an interesting link to IMINT & Analysis – “Open source military analysis, strategic thinking, and Google Earth imagery interpretation.”

I really enjoy open source intelligence and all things military, so you know I just had to investigate. And here is what caught my eye immediately:

F-117A MOCKUP IN CHINA
The image above, captured in March of 2010, depicts an F-117A mockup. Normally, a mockup of the F-117A wouldn’t be a very big deal, but this one is in the middle of Luoyang, China. First spotted by the intrepid members of the China Defense Forum, the mockup appears to be partially completed, apparently missing the forward fuselage.

Now what would an F-117A Stealth Fighter be doing in China? According to the article, the F-117A mockup is sitting at the Electro-Optical Technology Development Center in Luoyang, China. Apparently the center does R&D for Chinese air-to-air missiles.

Check out the IMINT & Analysis site for more information.

The picture above is from Google Earth. You can still see the stealth fighter  at coordinates 34.662363′ Lat, 112.429356′ Long.