Why printers add secret tracking dots — Christopher Wray: The white collar lawyer picked to head FBI — Trump’s attack on London mayor ‘indefensible’, says former CIA chief — The latest NSA leak is a reminder that your bosses can see your every move
On 3 June, FBI agents arrived at the house of government contractor Reality Leigh Winner in Augusta, Georgia. They had spent the last two days investigating a top secret classified document that had allegedly been leaked to the press. In order to track down Winner, agents claim they had carefully studied copies of the document provided by online news site The Intercept and noticed creases suggesting that the pages had been printed and “hand-carried out of a secured space”.
In an affidavit, the FBI alleges that Winner admitted printing the National Security Agency (NSA) report and sending it to The Intercept. Shortly after a story about the leak was published, charges against Winner were made public.
At that point, experts began taking a closer look at the document, now publicly available on the web. They discovered something else of interest: yellow dots in a roughly rectangular pattern repeated throughout the page. They were barely visible to the naked eye, but formed a coded design. After some quick analysis, they seemed to reveal the exact date and time that the pages in question were printed: 06:20 on 9 May, 2017 – at least, this is likely to be the time on the printer’s internal clock at that moment. The dots also encode a serial number for the printer.
President Donald Trump’s pick for FBI director, Christopher Wray, has been described by a lawyers’ ranking guide as a man who “will give you straight answers without blowing smoke”.
As a former assistant attorney general and head of the justice department’s criminal division during the George W Bush administration, he pursued major cases of corporate fraud, including at energy giant Enron.
If confirmed by the Senate, he will join the US federal investigation agency from King & Spalding, a top white collar law firm based in Washington DC and Atlanta, where he works as a criminal defence lawyer.
Mr Trump said the Yale Law School graduate was a man of “impeccable credentials”. (…)
Interestingly, Mr Wray has worked closely with all the major players before, on the Enron case. James Comey, former FBI director Robert Mueller (the special counsel) and Andrew Weissman, who is reported to have joined Mr Mueller’s team, were all part of that effort 15 years ago.
Given Christopher Wray has worked as a private lawyer specialising in white collar crime since 2005, lawmakers may question his counterterrorism and management experience, says the BBC’s Barbara Plett-Usher in Washington.
Michael Hayden, the former head of the CIA and NSA, has described Donald Trump’s criticism of the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, as “stunning” and “indefensible”, saying that he understands the swell of anger from “the great body of the British people”.
In an interview with the Guardian, Hayden declined to say whether the UK government should rescind the invitation extended to the president for a state visit, but he acknowledged that there were likely to be huge protests if Trump does visit.
“How could anyone with a sound view of terrorism, the effects of terrorism, the Anglo-American relationship, the special intelligence relationship – how could anyone with any of that in their background believe that what was tweeted was a good idea,” Hayden said.
“It was stunning for all of us in America, and indefensible”.
The president fired off two tweets in the wake of Saturday night’s terrorist attack in London’s Borough Market area, in which eight people were killed and 48 wounded. He accused Khan of complacency, and misrepresented a speech by the mayor in which he said there was “no reason to be alarmed” because the attackers had been shot dead. (…)
Hayden said he had no privileged insight into what evidence the FBI had into possible collusion between Trump’s associates and Moscow. But he said his instincts told him that Mueller would probably not find the criminal proof needed. “I think he [Mueller] will have a high bar,” he said.
Russia’s hacking of the US election was “the most successful covert influence campaign in history,” he said. But, he suggested, it had backfired, with the Trump White House unable to “tack in the direction of Russian interests” because of ballooning political scandal.
It took just days for authorities to arrest and charge a federal contractor with leaking classified intelligence to the media. Court documents explain in detail how the 25-year-old woman suspected in the leak, Reality Leigh Winner, allegedly printed off a copy of a National Security Agency report on Russian tampering in the U.S. elections and mailed it to a news outlet.
What helped federal authorities link Winner to the leak were unrelated personal emails she had sent to the Intercept news site weeks before, which surfaced when investigators searched her computer. But how were officials able to gain access to her personal accounts? The answer, according to some former NSA analysts, is that the agency routinely monitors many of its employees’ computer activity.
The case offers a reminder that virtually every American worker in today’s economy can be tracked and reported — and you don’t even have to be the NSA to pull it off.
INTEL TODAY DIARY — JUNE 9 2017