Files released by WikiLeaks show advanced CIA technical collection methods

Julian AssangeThousands of documents belonging to the United States Central Intelligence Agency, which were released on Tuesday by the international anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, are almost certainly genuine. They reveal an entire universe of technical intelligence collection methods used by the CIA to extract information from digital applications and electronic devices, ranging from flash drives to smart screen televisions. WikiLeaks named the collection Vault 7, and said that it consists of nearly 8,000 web pages and 1,000 attachments. It also said that its editors redacted hundreds of pages of computer code, in order to prevent the public release of advanced cyberweapons that are allegedly used by the CIA to sabotage electronic devices and systems.

The information contained in the leaked documents is almost certainly genuine, and most likely belongs to the CIA —though many of the programs listed may be jointly run by the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA). These programs, with names such as McNUGGET, CRUNCHYLIMESKIES, ELDERPIGGY, ANGERQUAKE and WRECKINGCREW, appear to be designed to compromise computer systems using a series of sophisticated methods that force entry or exploit built-in vulnerabilities or systems. Targets include popular communications systems like Skype and WhatsApp, smartphones produced by Google and Apple, commercial software like PDF and Microsoft Windows, and even so-called smart televisions that connect to the Internet.

The WikiLeaks revelations are most likely related to operations conducted under the auspices of the Special Collection Service (SCS), a joint CIA/NSA program that dates to the earliest days of the Cold War. The program was started by the United States Armed Forces but was eventually transferred to civilian hands and monitored by the CIA. It used advanced communications-interception facilities around the world to collect information. Over the years, the CIA collaborated with the NSA and developed many SCS projects targeting several foreign countries using technical and human means. In recent years the SCS has been primarily operated by the NSA, which oversees the program’s technical platforms.

WikiLeaks did not reveal the source of the documents. But it said that they had been “circulated [by the CIA] among former US government hackers and contractors” and that it was one of the latter that leaked them to the anti-secrecy website. A statement by WikiLeaks said that Tuesday’s release, which it codenamed “Year Zero”, was part one of several installments of documents that will be released under its Vault 7 program. The site also claimed that the information in “Year Zero” has “eclipsed the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks”. The CIA, the NSA and the White House have not commented on this development.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 08 March 2017 | Permalink

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4 Responses to Files released by WikiLeaks show advanced CIA technical collection methods

  1. jones says:

    What is primary motivator for increase in leaks by Wiki Leaks and/or those working in collaboration with government hackers, govern contractor, inside personnel etc., who are betraying the trust granted to them by their employer(s) – in this case, US government agencies?

    The proliferation of leaks in general are systematically debasing our social concept of “trust” – without which how can a society function. When one cannot trust news media reports or information originate from government or Office of Presidency – we are indeed on a slippery slope. Fake news and leaks are corrosive to National Security of USA and society overall and does not come without consequences.

    For example, great efforts and significant resources are directed towards protecting US currency. Every time one uses hard currencies – fiat currencies – to pay for anything this is an extension of “trust”. One “trust” the money is legitimate – not fake – and trust receiver will be honorable and provided the product, service or information as request. Digitizing currency or information does no change this concept.

    Information held in confidence is an extension of “trust”. Unauthorized leaking of intelligence and collection methods into public domain should be tantamount to counterfeiting – in this case information – as this also creates a lack of trust and break down of integrity of the system which we all must trust to some extent. Some will say information leaked Wikileaks is true, some will say it is fake. Regardless, result is an erosion of “trust”. Make no mistake maintaining trust and integrity are very, very valuable.

  2. L says:

    Greetings. I just wish to point out the following FACT. The number of crimes reports — i.e., referrals of suspected violations of criminal law — involving leaks of classified information for each of the last eight Calendar Years (CY) is stable despite Obama’s unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers. Best, L (Intel Today)
    See: US: Annual number of suspected criminal leaks undiminished by Obama’s policy

  3. jones says:

    One leak of classified information or other intelligence types of leaks – unauthorized – under any administration, is one too many.

  4. ASA Veteran says:

    Guys enlisting in the U.S. Army Security Agency (ASA) in the 1960’s were told by ASA recruiters that they might be assigned to civilian clothes embassy duty.

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