Skip to comments.Dismantling of Saudi-CIA Web site illustrates need for clearer cyberwar policies
Posted on 03/19/2010 4:46:35 PM PDT by Cindy
"Dismantling of Saudi-CIA Web site illustrates need for clearer cyberwar policies" By Ellen Nakashima Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, March 19, 2010; A01
SNIPPET: "By early 2008, top U.S. military officials had become convinced that extremists planning attacks on American forces in Iraq were making use of a Web site set up by the Saudi government and the CIA to uncover terrorist plots in the kingdom.
"We knew we were going to be forced to shut this thing down," recalled one former civilian official, describing tense internal discussions in which military commanders argued that the site was putting Americans at risk. "CIA resented that," the former official said.
Elite U.S. military computer specialists, over the objections of the CIA, mounted a cyberattack that dismantled the online forum. Although some Saudi officials had been informed in advance about the Pentagon's plan, several key princes were "absolutely furious" at the loss of an intelligence-gathering tool, according to another former U.S. official.
Four former senior U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified operations, said the creation and shutting down of the site illustrate the need for clearer policies governing cyberwar. The use of computers to gather intelligence or to disrupt the enemy presents complex questions: When is a cyberattack outside the theater of war allowed? Is taking out an extremist Web site a covert operation or a traditional military activity? Should Congress be informed?
"The point of the story is it hasn't been sorted out yet..."
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
19 March 2010
“AH, THE PLEASURE OF WAKING UP IN THE MORNING TO DISCOVER THAT...
...you’d spent two years running interference for the Saudis and the CIA:”
SNIPPET: “As for the rest of us, life goes on, as does the global war on terror, and our adversaries learn and alter their behaviors constantly. As a result of the last point, this whole debate is of limited value, as it doesn’t address what al-Qaida operatives are doing online today, and where they are doing it. The caravan has moved on, folks.”
This is the challenge of any undercover operation. To be effective, you’re going to be drawn into giving effective help to your enemy, at least for a time. If you use your intel too quickly and too often you risk burning your assets too soon. You won’t be able to penetrate very deep.
But, then again, the reason you are gathering intel is to disrupt your enemy. So there is always going to be a tug of war between two competing needs.
Another issue. If you’re truly undercover, you may be attacked by your own side, since not everyone can be in the know. Too much protection could blow your cover.
Not particularly important. The only important question is, what are they doing tomorrow?
All valid points.
Well now, I’ll have to respectfully but firmly disagree.
TODAY is the day I’m most focused on.
Tomorrow, the next day, the day after that...all are important days, too.
The global jihad is 24/7.
The gwot is 24/7.
Four former senior U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified operations, said the creation and shutting down of the site illustrate the need for clearer policies governing cyberwar. The use of computers to gather intelligence or to disrupt the enemy presents complex questions: When is a cyberattack outside the theater of war allowed? Is taking out an extremist Web site a covert operation or a traditional military activity? Should Congress be informed?Oh yeah, that's what should be foremost on our minds. ;') Thanks Cindy.
Oh, but we should be. We should be insinuating our people into every step of the process. We should have people sleeping in caves next to Osama, driving trucks hauling weapons to Waziristan, working on websites in Hamburg and Gaza, moving money in and out of Abu Dhabi, whatever they are doing we should be mirroring it and moving our people into it. Our people shouldn't know they are our people, in the best of worlds.
If we aren't, I would want to know why not.
And if we are, I would want them to deny it. Of course. Obviously.
19 March 2010
AH, THE PLEASURE OF WAKING UP IN THE MORNING TO DISCOVER THAT...
...youd spent two years running interference for the Saudis and the CIA:
March 19th, 2010
MILITARY TAKES DOWN CIA WEBSITE FOR JIHADIS
In a particularly unusual tale of espionage and inter-agency warfare, the Pentagon has dismantled a faux jihadist website set up the CIA and Saudi officials to gather intel on Islamist extremists. The site was dismantled by elite U.S. military computer specialists when a task force on cyber-operations consisting of representatives from the Defense and Justice, as well as the CIA, NSA, NSC and DNI determined that extremists were using the site to plan attacks on Americans. The military overruled a CIA objection that crippling the site would constitute a loss of valuable intelligence. Once DoD went to the extent of saying, Soldiers are dying... its hard for anyone to push back a former official told the Washington Post. The interagency group also determined that the military would conduct the cyber-attack, forfeiting the need to inform Congress, as would have been required if the operation was covert action. Afterwards, CIA officials told the Post the military had upset an ally and acted outside its authority in conducting a covert operation, referencing Saudi princes reportedly furious at the loss of intelligence. (Washington Post, March 19, 2010)
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