INTEL TODAY DIARY — June 26 2017

Trump CIA director blames ‘worship of Edward Snowden’ for rise in leaks — Appeals court affirms most convictions of ex-CIA officer convicted in leak case — How An Entire Nation Became Russia’s Test Lab for Cyberwar — Khan Sheikhoun: Trump Ignored US Intelligence

Trump CIA director blames ‘worship of Edward Snowden’ for rise in leaks — Guardian

Donald Trump’s pick to head the intelligence agency said more needed to be done to stem what he called an increase in the leaking of state secrets.

“In some ways, I do think [leaking has] accelerated,” Pompeo told MSNBC in an interview broadcast on Saturday. “I think there is a phenomenon, the worship of Edward Snowden, and those who steal American secrets for the purpose of self-aggrandizement or money or for whatever their motivation may be, does seem to be on the increase.”

Pompeo added: “It’s tough. You now have not only nation states trying to steal our stuff, but non-state, hostile intelligence services, well-funded – folks like WikiLeaks, out there trying to steal American secrets for the sole purpose of undermining the United States and democracy.”

Snowden is a former CIA employee who in 2013 revealed the extent of surveillance programs of ordinary citizens by the National Security Agency, leaking documents to media outlets including the Guardian. Snowden, who now lives in Moscow, has been hailed by some as a whistleblower who exposed a system that intruded on people’s private lives to a degree that blunted genuine national security efforts.

Pompeo, along with many other Republicans and some Democrats, has taken a dimmer view of the revelations. Last year, he called for Congress to “pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata”.

In a National Review op ed published in December 2015, he wrote: “To share Edward Snowden’s vision of America as the problem is to come down on the side of President Obama’s diminishing willingness to collect intelligence on jihadis.”

WikiLeaks, meanwhile, has been a thorn in the side of the US government for some time. In 2010 Chelsea Manning, a former US army private who was recently released after being convicted by court marshal in 2013, gave Wikileaks more than 700,000 documents and diplomatic cables.

In March 2017, WikiLeaks revealed information on CIA activities, releasing nearly 8,000 documents that it said showed how the agency accesses computers. Speaking in April, Pompeo said: “It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

Appeals court affirms most convictions of ex-CIA officer convicted in leak case — WaPo

A federal appeals court panel on Thursday largely affirmed the convictions of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who was found guilty in 2015 of giving classified information to a journalist in a case that free-press advocates worry may have set a precedent for compelling reporters to reveal their sources.

A three-judge panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld all but one of Sterling’s convictions and determined that because his 42-month sentence could have applied to any single count of which he was found guilty, there was no need to take further action.

The court vacated one of the convictions because, in the view of a majority of the judges, prosecutors had not adequately proved the offense had taken place in the Eastern District of Virginia, where the case was tried. But the judges rejected Sterling’s arguments on the other counts, and the third member of the panel wrote that he would have affirmed the case entirely.

Sterling’s wife, Holly, said she talked to her husband Thursday about the outcome, and, “All hope that he had is gone.”

How An Entire Nation Became Russia’s Test Lab for Cyberwar — Wired

The Cyber-Cassandras said this would happen. For decades they warned that hackers would soon make the leap beyond purely digital mayhem and start to cause real, physical damage to the world.

In 2009, when the NSA’s Stuxnet malware silently accelerated a few hundred Iranian nuclear centrifuges until they destroyed themselves, it seemed to offer a preview of this new era. “This has a whiff of August 1945,” Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, said in a speech. “Somebody just used a new weapon, and this weapon will not be put back in the box.”

Now, in Ukraine, the quintessential cyberwar scenario has come to life. Twice. On separate occasions, invisible saboteurs have turned off the electricity to hundreds of thousands of people. Each blackout lasted a matter of hours, only as long as it took for scrambling engineers to manually switch the power on again. But as proofs of concept, the attacks set a new precedent: In Russia’s shadow, the decades-old nightmare of hackers stopping the gears of modern society has become a reality.

And the blackouts weren’t just isolated attacks. They were part of a digital blitzkrieg that has pummeled Ukraine for the past three years—a sustained cyber­assault unlike any the world has ever seen. A hacker army has systematically undermined practically every sector of Ukraine: media, finance, transportation, military, politics, energy. Wave after wave of intrusions have deleted data, destroyed computers, and in some cases paralyzed organizations’ most basic functions. “You can’t really find a space in Ukraine where there hasn’t been an attack,” says Kenneth Geers, a NATO ambassador who focuses on cybersecurity.

Trump‘s Red Line — Seymour M. Hersh  WELT

“Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.”

“The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives.”

“Details of the attack,  including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region.”


INTEL TODAY DIARY — June 26 2017

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