Krypt3ia

(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

Fucktards in the gov BURNED another asset…

with 10 comments

I can’t believe the stupidity here. This is really how an operation gets burned. This time though, it was through stupidity and not maliciousness. Way to go meatheads! I should think that the intel community also had their fingers in the pie here and were watching/listening along with SITE. Now, NONE of them have the pipeline. One good thing? SITE or anyone else will not EVER report to the WH again on any of its intel.

It seems that there is some talk on the wired site that points to perhaps the SITE people being hasty in saying they obtained the video first. It’s entirely possible they didnt, however, either way, the jig was up when the vid appeared on the TV prior to the release date set by GIMF and Shahab right? So, who the fuck let it out in the open? Fox.. Who had the intel and gave it to Fox? The WH. Either way, the gov screwed the pooch here and the Qaeda boyz took the sites offline.

Al-Qaeda “Intranet” Goes Dark After Leak (Updated)
By Noah Shachtman EmailOctober 09, 2007 | 1:20:00 PMCategories: Cloak and Dagger, Info War, Terror Tech

For years, the private terror-hunters at the SITE Institute have been infiltrating jihadist chat rooms, and spying on the extremists congregating online. Now, the group its digital cover has been blown — and Al-Qaeda online communications channels have gone dark — thanks to a ham-handed move by the Bush administration, it seems. “Techniques that took years to develop are now ineffective and worthless,” SITE’s Rita Katz told the Washington Post.

[SITE] obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month… Around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, Katz sent both [National Counterterrorism Center #2 Michael] Leiter and [White House Counsel Fred] Fielding an e-mail with a link to a private SITE Web page containing the video and an English transcript. “Please understand the necessity for secrecy,” Katz wrote in her e-mail. “We ask you not to distribute… [as] it could harm our investigations.”

Exactly what happened next is unclear. But within minutes of Katz’s e-mail to the White House, government-registered computers began downloading the video from SITE’s server, according to a log of file transfers. The records show dozens of downloads over the next three hours from computers with addresses registered to defense and intelligence agencies.

By midafternoon, several television news networks reported obtaining copies of the transcript. A copy posted around 3 p.m. on Fox News’s Web site referred to SITE and included page markers identical to those used by the group. “This confirms that the U.S. government was responsible for the leak of this document,” Katz wrote in an e-mail to Leiter at 5 p.m.

Al-Qaeda supporters, now alerted to the intrusion into their secret network, put up new obstacles that prevented SITE from gaining the kind of access it had obtained in the past, according to Katz.

I think it bears repeating at this moment that Fielding’s boss, one George W. Bush, last year accused reporters of compromising national security because they discussed a bogus roadside bomb countermeasure. Will the President come down as hard on his own staff, if it turns out they leaked something much more serious?

As we’ve noted before, today’s jihadists don’t just use the Internet, occasionally. “They don’t exist without the Web,” says Naval Postgraduate School professor John Arquilla. Everything from recruiting to training to propaganda is handled online. According to the New York Sun, the video disclosure effectively shut down the window into those activities.

One intelligence officer who requested anonymity said in an interview last week that the intelligence community watched in real time the shutdown of the Obelisk system… [the] network of Web sites serves not only as the distribution system for the videos produced by Al Qaeda’s production company, As-Sahab, but also as the equivalent of a corporate intranet, dealing with such mundane matters as expense reporting and clerical memos to mid- and lower-level Qaeda operatives throughout the world.

While intranets are usually based on servers in a discrete physical location, Obelisk is a series of sites all over the Web, often with fake names, in some cases sites that are not even known by their proprietors to have been hacked by Al Qaeda…

By Friday evening, one of the key sets of sites in the Obelisk network, the Ekhlaas forum, was back on line. The Ekhlaas forum is a password-protected message board used by Qaeda for recruitment, propaganda dissemination, and as one of the entrance ways into Obelisk for those operatives whose user names are granted permission. Many of the other Obelisk sites are now offline and presumably moved to new secret locations on the World Wide Web.

Ben Venzke, who runs IntelCenter, a (sorta) SITE rivals, says his “sources, methods and techniques… to collect terrorist video material remain intact.”

However, the continued public release of videos before terrorist groups officially release them has been making it progressively more difficult to collect video material early in the dissemination process. While IntelCenter does release material publicly it only does so after an evaluation is made to insure that sources and methods are protected and a careful weighing of the benefits versus costs. The single driving factor behind this decision process is what best serves the work of the overall counterterrorism community with the most important objective being the prevention of attacks and removal of threats.

It is not just about getting the video first. It is about having the proper methods and procedures in place to make sure that the appropriate intel gets to where it needs to go in the IC and elsewhere in order to support ongoing counterterrorism operations. Simply getting the video first but not having the professional knowledge and responsibilities to know what to do with it can not only result in the loss of valuable intelligence but it can actually harm ongoing activities within the official counterterrorism commmunity, as has happened time and time again when private citizens and organizations outside of the IC play in fields where they lack the depth and experience.

While much attention in the public arena is paid to getting videos first, this is actually a much smaller part of the work that is done within the official counterterrorism community. Work on videos continues weeks after their release and involves many facets of analytical and other efforts. While any jump start one can get is of benefit, a few hours when taken in the overall context of weeks of work is relatively insignificant.

Written by Krypt3ia

2007/10/09 at 14:27

Posted in Uncategorized

10 Responses

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  1. phanatic

    0001/01/01 at 00:00


  2. [SITE] obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month… Around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, Katz sent both [National Counterterrorism Center #2 Michael] Leiter and [White House Counsel Fred] Fielding an e-mail with a link to a private SITE Web page containing the video and an English transcript. “Please understand the necessity for secrecy,” Katz wrote in her e-mail. “We ask you not to distribute… [as] it could harm our investigations.”

    Not that the Bush administration isn’t culpable here, but if this information was so sensitive what the *fuck* was Katz doing *emailing a link to it around*. You copy the file to secure media and follow the established distribution requirements for secure files. Those do *not* include emailing around uninventoried plaintext to some guy to bring up on his computer monitor so anyone looking over his shoulder can see it, even if he is White House Counsel. Why is White House Counsel seeing unsanitized sensitive data anyway? He has no need to know.

    phanatic

    2007/10/09 at 15:15

  3. Yeah, I know, it seems that SITE had a “what the fuck were you thinking!” moment here. It’s just the ham fisted silliness here that bugs me on both parts. More so on anyone who said “SHIT I have to tell Fox about this!” Even if someone at Fox stumbled on it, should’nt they have the presence of mind to think shit, where did this come from? Oh, someone on the inside? Well, we should hold off a bit…

    Nope…

    crabbyolbastard

    2007/10/09 at 15:48

  4. Oh, this gets better:

    It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release.

    Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company’s Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.

    They put it on a *website*? Like, on an internet-accessible server?

    They’re total. Fucking. Morons. I hereby call ‘bullshit’ on this whole story.

    phanatic

    2007/10/09 at 15:58

  5. Oh, this gets better:

    It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release.

    Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company’s Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.

    They put it on a *website*? Like, on an internet-accessible server?

    They’re total. Fucking. Morons. I hereby call ‘bullshit’ on this whole story.

    phanatic

    2007/10/09 at 15:58

  6. I assumed that the “website” was a passworded ftp or something of that ilk…But then again, I could be overthinking this. Never mind that email is in the clear.. Unless they were using crypto, which I doubt… SO…

    There you have it.

    End result, the sites are gone though…

    crabbyolbastard

    2007/10/09 at 16:02

  7. You. Do. Not. Put. Secret. Data. On. An. FTP. Site. Password-protected or not. You keep it in locked file cabinents in secure rooms or on non-networked computers in secure rooms. Every copy is inventoried, tracked, and canary-trapped. At the bare minimum, and even this is grotesquely insecure, you’d hand out a different password to everyone you want to have access and limit the file transfer to 1 per. Again, you wouldn’t do this if you knew what you were doing because there’s no way to limit distribution past that point, but you’d do that if you wanted to at least *pretend* to be trying to keep a lid on things.

    SITE didn’t even obtain this video in the first place. ABC reported on the video two days before SITE turned this over to the White House. So either ABC obtained it on their own, or SITE leaked it to ABC before they leaked it to the White House. And it looks like the White House had it previously, too.

    WaPo:

    at 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, [SITE] notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition.

    And in the Sun article:

    Rita Katz, said she personally provided the video on September 7 to the deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter.

    So, SITE claims they are the source of the video given to the White House. Rita claims she personally gave the video to authorities on September 7th. But let’s take a quick look at the very bottom of the translation of the video leaked by ABC’s Blotter:

    bin_landen_transcript_date.gif

    That means that the White House had a translation of the video a full 24 hours before SITE intercepted it. Apparently, our intel guys are better than we thought.

    This is bullshit, every last bit of it.

    phanatic

    2007/10/09 at 16:11

  8. Yeah saw that on wired and the fickle flying finger of fate is making the rounds here. All that really matters is they all screwed the pooch and the sites are down… They will be back again soon enough, and if you are an insider you will get the invites…

    Still hampers legit intel gathering…

    crabbyolbastard

    2007/10/09 at 16:12

  9. Yeah saw that on wired and the fickle flying finger of fate is making the rounds here. All that really matters is they all screwed the pooch and the sites are down… They will be back again soon enough, and if you are an insider you will get the invites…

    Still hampers legit intel gathering…

    crabbyolbastard

    2007/10/09 at 16:12

  10. And yes.. you don’t put “secret” data on ftp’s this they should know. Do they actually classify it as such? Who knows…

    DNI is supposed to be looking into it…

    crabbyolbastard

    2007/10/09 at 16:14


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