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Stu Cvrk @STUinSD
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Thread: An Old IC Guy Comments on that “CIA Communications Compromise” Story

1. There have been a spate of articles in the legacy media lately alleging that the Iranians were behind the “compromising of CIA communications” that led to the deaths of CIA assets overseas.
2. Here are a couple of excerpts from one of the first articles on the subject for background purposes:
3. In 2013, hundreds of CIA officers … scrambled to contain a disaster of global proportions: a compromise of the agency’s internet-based covert communications system used to interact with its informants in dark corners around the world.
4. Teams of CIA experts worked feverishly to take down and reconfigure the websites secretly used for these communications; others managed operations to quickly spirit assets to safety and oversaw other forms of triage.
5. From around 2009 to 2013, the U.S. intelligence community experienced crippling intelligence failures related to the secret internet-based communications system, a key means for remote messaging between CIA officers and their sources on the ground worldwide.
6. The previously unreported global problem originated in Iran and spiderwebbed to other countries, and was left unrepaired … until more than two dozen sources died in China in 2011 and 2012 as a result, according to 11 former intelligence and national security officials.
7. [This next bit is really critical; read it carefully:] A former senior intelligence official with direct knowledge of the compromise said it had global implications for the CIA.

[Note: *GLOBAL* implications!]
8. “You start thinking twice about people, from China to Russia to Iran to North Korea,” said the former official. The CIA was worried about its network “totally unwinding worldwide.”
9. By 2010, … it appears that Iran had begun to identify CIA agents. And by 2011, Iranian authorities dismantled a CIA spy network in that country, said seven former U.S. intelligence officials.
10. Indeed, in May 2011, Iranian intelligence officials announced publicly that they had broken up a ring of 30 CIA spies[.]

Read the rest here:…
11. “Broken up a ring of 30 spies” means those people were executed, folks. Let’s not forget that the Chinese executed 20 CIA assets in mainland China during the same timeframe! Note that the reason cited was “compromise of a CIA communications system”:…
12. Coincidences? Hardly! The big question is how many other CIA assets were killed overseas as a result of this alleged “communications compromise”? I wonder how many people in Pakistan and Afghanistan bought the farm as a result? Will we ever know?
13. I’m not buying this cover story – which is what I think it is given who sourced it. I believe that Hillary's email server was the source for almost everything. The timing of the executions in Iran and China fits, too (Hillary’s server was operational then).
14. It seems to me that these "former IC officials" got wind of an investigation and leaked this cover story for spinning/misdirection purposes. Maybe to avoid the hoosegow themselves, as they may have been involved in feeding classified info to Sec’y Clinton.
15. Why else would it make news now? Or why tell the world about something that should have been kept under wraps? Something doesn’t smell right to an old IC guy. To continue the discussion….
16. Having read various articles on the issue and allowing for known agent commo background, the time frame involved, and an understanding of many of the covert commo issues, one can only opine within the limits of not spilling classified information.
17. Agent commo via computer/internet is a given these days, as the younger intel support crowd has built a box outside of the classic covert commo box and seldom strays from their newly created perimeter.
18. This includes a not-too-healthy disrespect for the cypher creation process and the cypher PROOFING process (security certification).
19. In the way of cypher creation and proofing, there are only a couple offices authorized to create cypher systems, and ALL such has to be passed to NSA for proofing.
20. They must be somewhere between unbreakable to breakable only via super computer, and with a breaking timeframe of a certain duration (allowing for shutting off a commo or agent net before a cypher can be broken – once a system breach is detected.
21. Also, a computer-based system is supposed to enable detection of said breach.
22. THE PROBLEM BEING that in several parts of the Intel/Military covert commo systems is that there are officers and offices that stray from the long-established creation/proofing protocols and “do their own thing”.
23. This is a known fact, having worked with the top cypher officer (for Intel AND Military) in shutting down a few of these rouge(ish) desk-bound operators that were putting out commo systems and cypher products that had been created outside of the proper system.
24. BTW, these types seem to always be officers with no real field experience and too immature to understand the why of the protocols. These folks were also too impatient and too cool to jump through protocol hoops.
25. And no kidding – there were torture and deaths resulting from these short cuts and many (MANY) intelligence failures.
26. There was also a trend developing several years ago where the management was also too dim to understand the protocols and see within a proposal that the systems to be fielded had not been properly authorized.
27. These various articles on the “compromise” state that this was a “new” commo standard for “transitional” – or newly developed assets that had not been fully vetted. HUH? I am not sure how that has anything to do with secure covert commo systems.
28. It is either a totally vetted system or not. And NOT, is NOT good enough. Seems to me that a lesser system that gets your new recruits compromised does not help at all. And once the word gets out good luck finding any new suckers to recruit.
29. Again, the new Intel crowd is lacking in so many ways that one could spend a month writing about it. This is confirmed by folks that are still “in” the business.
30. Some people are punching out as fast as they can to escape the slow-rolling train wreck, and even the retiree/contractors that are making big bucks are counting their days until they can grab a piece of back country and escape the madness.
31. All of this is on top of the fact that Intel gathering and asset recruitment/management is monster difficult in a denied area (think – North Korea, China or Iran).
32. The difficulty is being made worse by these new generation Intel officers who are all about briefing about assets/access and not about the difficult, detailed processes and planning to SAFELY manage assets/access in a hazardous environment.
33. The new crowd are already up to GS14/15 level, and they do NOT wish to be mentored/lectured by oldsters. As an aside, many past successes were the direct result of following the lessons taught by folks going as far back as the OSS.
34. News Flash! Operational concepts have not changed! AND – modern computer derived capabilities are supposed to ENHANCE OPERATIONAL CONCEPTS – not be the basis for the operational concepts.
35. Following on to that, there is nothing that can be secured or hidden on a computer that cannot be accessed and compromised. It is like playing hide and seek but limiting the game to the living room.
36.The time frame allows that one must also consider formal commo goof-ups. Consider this: an Intel organization compromises ONE asset from OPEN e-mail (think – the Secretary of State uses UNCLAS commo systems at work, home and traveling), ….
36A. … and the stolen profile is used to compromise that one asset, and the commo/cypher protocol is searched for, finding the rest of the networked devices/systems. This is likely how the Chinese accessed Hillary’s email server – via her Blackberry during her visit to China.
37. And lest we forget, “An unnamed ‘senior aide’ to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left classified information unsecured and unattended in a hotel room” during that trip, too!…
38. This time frame (2009-2013) overlaps with compromises already known to stem from Hillary’s commo screw-ups. Forensic examination of her open e-mails did compromise a lot of Intel and info of assets. Remember this thread detailing her multiple felonies?
39. The current explanations from those “former IC officials” look to me to be sweeping a lot of dirt from a lot of rooms under one rug.
40. A misdirection of a system failure to draw our attention away from a long series of human errors (in deploying said systems). My BS detector is ringing continuously (and I cannot find the mute switch).
41. I read the articles on this commo compromise business as saying “ignore the idiot behind the curtain”. This is not about the Chinese and Iranians being sooooo smart. They ARE competent, but I believe that in this series of instances they were “working” our mistakes.
42. As well as likely purposeful actions to make classified information available to Hillary Clinton via her unclassified server! Wish we could ask those “former IC officials” some direct questions about that!
43. As with so many issues regarding the Intel Community, a serious weeding has to be performed and ASAP. Not kidding: I would fire every person at or above the rank of SIS2/SES2.
44. Then go through rest of the ranks from SIS1/SES1 down to GS14 and “allow” retirement. And then start opening the sealed investigation files on anyone in such a file – firing most of those investigated.
45. THEN – start drilling ethics and the basics back into those remaining. One could reduce the Intel Community (each agency) by 25-35% and have an equal increase in ACCURATE productivity.
46. To close, what’s this euphemism of a “Transitional Covert Communication System”? Give me a break! Management has to try to cover their tracks. Cover-up meets confession. Sweep the dirt from the entire house under one rug. Leak a story to the media that diverts attention.
47. There are way too many Demonrats and like-minded individuals embedded in the Intel community who are stupid enough to believe that Hillary could run again and win in 2020. Yeah, our Intel folks are encompassing THAT much stupidity.
48. I like @drawandstrike ‘s summary, as well as his prediction as to what is likely to come as threaded here:
49. Sorry, “former IC officials”! Your misdirection gambit isn’t going to work! And you and a lot of others are finally going to be held accountable for the deaths of who knows how many CIA assets in China, Iran and elsewhere! It’s about damn time. ///The end.
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