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Federal Criminal Probe Being Opened Into WikiLeaks' Publication of CIA Documents (cnn.com) 236

A federal criminal investigation is being opened into WikiLeaks' publication of documents detailing alleged CIA hacking operations, CNN reports citing several U.S. officials. From the report: The officials said the FBI and CIA are coordinating reviews of the matter. The investigation is looking into how the documents came into WikiLeaks' possession and whether they might have been leaked by an employee or contractor. The CIA is also trying to determine if there are other unpublished documents WikiLeaks may have. The documents published so far are largely genuine, officials said, though they are not yet certain if all of them are and whether some of the documents may have been altered. One of the biggest concerns for the federal government is if WikiLeaks publishes critical computer code on how operations are conducted, other hackers could take that code and cause havoc overseas. Security expert Robert Graham, wrote on Tuesday: The CIA didn't remotely hack a TV. The docs are clear that they can update the software running on the TV using a USB drive. There's no evidence of them doing so remotely over the Internet. The CIA didn't defeat Signal/WhatsApp encryption. The CIA has some exploits for Android/iPhone. If they can get on your phone, then, of course they can record audio and screenshots. Technically, this bypasses/defeats encryption -- but such phrases used by Wikileaks are highly misleading, since nothing related to Signal/WhatsApp is happening. [...] This hurts the CIA a lot. Already, one AV researcher has told me that a virus they once suspected came from the Russians or Chinese can now be attributed to the CIA, as it matches the description perfectly to something in the leak. We can develop anti-virus and intrusion-detection signatures based on this information that will defeat much of what we read in these documents. This would put a multi-year delay in the CIA's development efforts. Plus, it'll now go on a witch-hunt looking for the leaker, which will erode morale.
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Federal Criminal Probe Being Opened Into WikiLeaks' Publication of CIA Documents

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @02:03PM (#54000865)

    Where is the Federal Criminal Probe into illegal spying by our own government?

    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @02:10PM (#54000933)

      It gets muddier when it comes to US operations that are not on US soil, and that's also supposed to help firm-up the distinction between the FBI as a mostly-conventional federal law enforcement agency that operates domestically and the CIA as an espionage agency that is supposed to operate outside of the borders of the United States.

      Obviously these distinctions are not as cut and dried as they're supposed to be, and it gets worse when the NSA and other agencies get involved. The compartmentalization that's supposed to prevent federal agencies from treading upon the rights those within the borders of the United States has been eroded in the name of the Wahr on Terrah to where if they want to circumvent, they can circumvent.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @02:16PM (#54000997)

        > The compartmentalization that's supposed to prevent federal agencies from treading upon the rights those within the borders of the United States has been eroded in the name of the Wahr on Terrah to where if they want to circumvent, they can circumvent.

        There's also that rule Obama signed right before Trump came in that lets them share data with everyone now. I'm not sure there's any clear line between the departments any more. Nor why Obama wanted to do something like that right before Trump came in.

        Given the CIA's long history of overthrowing governments, even democratic governments, to further US interests, I'm not sure what to make of things any longer.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )

          Perhaps there were real security concerns vis a vis Trump that simply couldn't be addressed due to the charged political atmosphere, but might be addressable after some time has passed, especially if it's American agencies that decide to levy charges after a congress, tired of the antics, decides that it really has had enough.

          Obviously this is ignorant speculation, so take it with a grain of salt.

          • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @02:45PM (#54001185) Journal

            Perhaps there were real security concerns vis a vis

            Irrelevant and completely subjective. Where was this "concern" when Hillary ran her unpatched and protected private email server that was "less secure than Gmail"?

            I'm sorry, but I have a VERY hard time believing anything coming from the Dark Shadow Government. Remember, it was Clapper who said they didn't collect any data on any US citizen, only to have it come out that they collect a shit ton of data on everyone, not just those they are "watching".

            These people will lie with a straight face, and believe that they are entitled to lie about lying. AND if you trust your government still, you're just not paying attention or are so partisan that Trump could cure cancer and you'd have a conniption fit about it being from a Nazi or some shit.

            • Where was this "concern" when Hillary ran her unpatched and protected private email server that was "less secure than Gmail"?

              Interminable congressional investigations and literal yards of MSM reporting on even the fluffiest of details? What, were you asleep or something?
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by bongey ( 974911 )

                And the Democrats still nominated her for the President.

                Clapper said Obama didn't order a wiretap on Trump , said nothing about whether wiretap actually happened.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              For a very long time, one needed to be of above-average intelligence (including cognitive power and awareness of relevant information) in order to figure out that the government was a huge pack of liars.

              Modern technological advances, however, are giving us the ability to expose government corruption very publicly, so that much more ordinary people can see the plain truth. Their biases will only withstand the onslaught of evidence for so long.

              When "the masses" start accepting the reality of government corru

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          The reason for open data sharing. It enables pockets of corruption within various organisation to collude together without ringing alarm bells about that network traffic ie 'why is a senior FBI agent talking to the CIA that much, oh because he is a CIA agent operating illegally within the country corrupting investigation of the CIA conducting criminal activities within the country'. Still stupid though, the network can still be configured to ring alarm bells, they just open a quite investigation instead an

      • Tricky problem. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @03:01PM (#54001287)

        If you hire a bunch of honest people who are loyal to their country, and then ask them to do illegal and immoral things, eventually they rat you out (that being the decent thing to do, and all).

        If you hire a bunch of crooks who have no qualms about betraying others for your profit, eventually they will betray you for their profit.

        If you hire people stupid enough to believe that patriotism is the same thing as unquestioning obedience to government officials, they won't be competent enough to do their jobs.

        I realize that government officials absolutely abhor transparency and public accountability...but....the new technological landscape is eliminating some options for secrecy that once allowed corruption to thrive.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )

          It's almost like humans act as human nature causes them to act.

      • As has been pointed out elsewhere, the distinction between operating domestically and overseas was eroded when we started dealing with bits and bytes that flow around the world. Should the CIA stop an investigation of two foreign terrorists if they use an email server located in a US data center? I am not a fan of our intelligence agencies and tend to think that they've completely ignored civil rights. But I'm also cognizant that separating domestic from foreign activities is no longer a good way to defi
        • by TWX ( 665546 )

          So you establish officers that act as liaisons between the agencies, and you establish a legal structure to allow for that domestic agency to apply for warrants.

          Oh wait, we did that. Then the Bush administration ignored the laws that were so loose that they allowed for after-the-fact warrants, not even seeking those.

        • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

          But I'm also cognizant that separating domestic from foreign activities is no longer a good way to define the various agencies' behavior.

          It is when your couch is more likely to murder you than a terrorist. [washingtonpost.com] You're falling into the same authoritarian mindset that you have to surrender your Constitutional rights because it means somewhere, sometime, some pedophile might get away with it if law enforcement can't search his computer with a warrant.

          Stop doing that. And that's putting the fact that the worst pur

      • has been eroded in the name of the Wahr on Terrah

        If you read a little bit about the history of the CIA it appears that barrier was eroded away on day one or close to it. Hiring Mafia types (just like the postwar British spooks did with various criminals but without keeping them at arms length) did not appear to be a good idea and they never seems to have recovered from early mistakes like that despite things like Helms and Angleton being fired in the 1970s for the CIA's domestic activities.

    • by oic0 ( 1864384 )
      I see you posted "Anonymously" . Let me know how that works out for you lol.
    • NSA has been mining data since the 60's if not earlier. they would listen in on satellite telephone calls and later when the long distance US calls were routed via microwave they would intercept those as well. been legal for a long time

    • by labnet ( 457441 )

      Haven't you worked out the purpose of the CIA yet?
      The CIA isn't for a peon like you, although you get a surprising side benefit. The CIA is the private spy agency for very big business; mainly oil and drugs. The side benefit for Americans is getting to live a lifestyle beyond your means because the petro/narco dollar allows for great purchasing power around the world.
      That said, I would still much rather the evil of the CIA than the KGB, NKVD, ISIS etal.

    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

      Judge Napolitano on the debacle:
      http://jewishworldreview.com/0... [jewishworldreview.com]
      ===========
      "Here is the back story.

      The president can order the National Security Agency to spy on anyone at any time for any reason, without a warrant. This is profoundly unconstitutional but absolutely lawful because it is expressly authorized by the FISA statute.

      All electronic surveillance today, whether ordered by the president or authorized by a court, is done remotely by accessing the computers of every telephone and computer service prov

  • Kill The Messenger (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sdinfoserv ( 1793266 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @02:08PM (#54000909) Homepage
    So, Just like Snowden, let's ignore the purportedly criminal and corrupt activity of the US Government and it's elected thugs - and just kill the messenger. Sweep the body under the run and strong arm anyone with evidence to go away.
    Case Closed, mission accomplished, normality achieved.
    • by nycsubway ( 79012 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @02:33PM (#54001115) Homepage

      Wikileaks is a highly political organization. They're not an equal opportunity leaker. The timing and subjects of their leaks is definitely geared toward specific political goals.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Rockoon ( 1252108 )
        Thats what the Democrats told you.

        But in reality, the Democrats just have a lot lot lot lot lot more to hide.
        • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @02:51PM (#54001225) Journal

          I am not sure that WikiLeaks is partisan issue at all. The Republicans hated it when it was leaking stuff they wanted hid (and the Democrats loved it), now the shoe is on the other foot, and the roles are reversed. I have said in the past, when people ask me how I view Snowden, I say he is a Traitorous Hero. They have no concept that he can legitimately be both Hero and Traitor. Such is the world painted with only black and whites.

          Which is why I find the whole (R) good/bad (D) bad/good arguments amusing.

          • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

            I have said in the past, when people ask me how I view Snowden, I say he is a Traitorous Hero. They have no concept that he can legitimately be both Hero and Traitor.

            Uh huh. And how would have Snowden upheld his oath of office - to protect and defend the Constitution - without doing what he did? The "proper channels" are designed to shut down the exposition of government lawbreaking, not expose it.

        • by Altus ( 1034 )

          Or the Russians only cared about releasing the dirt they had on them, and not the republicans.

          • Pro tip: wikileaks isnt russian

            The only people saying "Russia Russia Russia!" are the Democrats, who sold 20% of the United States uranium reserves to.... Russia.

            The Democrats even let Russia invade and take over part of the Ukraine, who we were sworn to protect by treaty.

            Meanwhile in the real word, Wikileaks says it wasnt the Russians that hacked the DNC. The only people saying it was the Russians are Democrats.
            • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

              The Democrats even let Russia invade and take over part of the Ukraine, who we were sworn to protect by treaty.

              Which is bullshit and horseshit, respectively. If Russia had invaded Ukraine - after a U.S. sponsored coup of the elected government - you'd have more than pictures posted on Facebook and Twitter to back up those assertions. And Ukraine, years after the U.S. sponsored coup, still isn't a part of NATO, so you're 0 for 2.

      • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @02:58PM (#54001277)

        It's weird how Wikileaks was "just trying to get the information out there" and "serving the people" when they leaked information critical of a Republican, but now they're leaking information critical of Democrats, they're a "highly political organization" that's carefully timing their leaks. Or did you forget how Wikileaks came into being? When they leaked information about the Bush administration? I swear, it's like people on the Internet have the memory of a goldfish.

        Since people are going to inevitably make the accusations: I'm not a Republican, not a Trump supporter, and also not a Democrat, and not a Clinton supporter. Also not an Assange supporter (he's a jackass who's just claiming the US is going to extradite him to avoid facing the charges and to keep himself in the limelight), though WikiLeaks itself frequently serves a useful and necessary purpose. I just think people are so blinded by partisanship they can't see that both sides of the political aisle in the US are corrupt, self-serving corporate sellouts who need to be replaced.

        • It's weird how Wikileaks was "just trying to get the information out there" and "serving the people" when they leaked information critical of a Republican, but now they're leaking information critical of Democrats, they're a "highly political organization" that's carefully timing their leaks. Or did you forget how Wikileaks came into being? When they leaked information about the Bush administration?

          How dare you! How dare you make a well-formed argument on the internet, let alone Slashdot! You've become some sort of... civilian! Your civil manner and lack of froth emanating from your mouth is a disgrace to the barbarism we stand for! You're worse than literal slavery, you fascist! Even the Nazis wouldn't be so repugnant! #Internets ;)

        • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

          he's a jackass who's just claiming the US is going to extradite him to avoid facing the charges and to keep himself in the limelight

          You were doing fine with the prebutting of criticism until you got to echoing the ratfucking of Assange. No one is going to choose near-solitary confinement for years on end for shits and giggles and "attention". If the rape allegations weren't a mere pretext for Sweden to hand him over to U.S. custody, why haven't Swedish officials interviewed him remotely or in the embassy,

        • WikiLeaks became the news before, on purpose with the intent to DISTRACT and change the conversations to the messengers instead of the messages. On top of that to send a signal to any future leakers or publishers or press.

          WikiLeaks worked with 3 serious news organizations with their big leak before that got all the news and all we heard was attacks on Wikileaks and Manning. Discussing the act of leaking and punishment etc, purposely to take away from discussing the leaks themselves. The information itself

      • by BradleyUffner ( 103496 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @03:46PM (#54001647) Homepage

        Wikileaks is a highly political organization. They're not an equal opportunity leaker. The timing and subjects of their leaks is definitely geared toward specific political goals.

        Why does that mean we should ignore what they leak?

      • It is really starting to look that way. A little beyond coincidence at this point.

    • by kiviQr ( 3443687 )
      How is it criminal??? Based on what you are saying we should deleagalize any type of training that leads to killing someone; starting with police and ending with military. This is a cyberwar. The same way soldiers are tought to shoot and military devises tactics how to defend or attack CIA needs to practice as well and be ready.
    • next they'll come for you and no one will speak out. If its gotten to the point that the GOV is going after people who leak out illegal acts of GOV agencies that broke laws, democracy at that point is just a facade.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      So, Just like Snowden, let's ignore the purportedly criminal and corrupt activity of the US Government and it's elected thugs - and just kill the messenger. Sweep the body under the run and strong arm anyone with evidence to go away.
      Case Closed, mission accomplished, normality achieved.

      Note your president. Who during the campaign relished the fact Wikileaks was helping him.

      Now that his presidency is being challenged by leaks, he's cracking down on whistleblowers, examining white house staff's phones (especi

      • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

        Note your president. Who during the campaign relished the fact Wikileaks was helping him. Leaks that make him look good, he likes. Leaks that make him look bad, send in the marines.

        As opposed to Obama (prosecuted more leaks than all previous presidents times two) and Hillary, who were perfectly happy with Trump's leaked tax returns and 'gram em by the pussy' audio? Let us not pretend that situational reasoning is only used by one party.

  • by fishscene ( 3662081 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @02:17PM (#54001001)
    One of the biggest concerns for the people of the United States is if WikiLeaks publishes critical computer code on how operations are conducted, CIA/FBI hackers could take that code and cause havoc overseas AND/OR at home and blame someone else. False-flag ops are standard I hear.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @02:19PM (#54001019)

    Maybe they should have thought of that before hoarding vulnerabilities instead of disclosing them. Security by obscurity is equivalent to no security at all. The responsible thing for the CIA to do now is a disclosure of all known vulnerabilities to the parties of those products so they have some chance to patch them before exploits are in the wild. What they will do instead is waste taxpayer money on this investigation and continue to go after WikiLeaks while continuing to hoard vulnerabilities and continue illegal domestic spying.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      No. It's not true that "Security by obscurity is equivalent to no security at all.". Security by obscurity can buy you time. Of course, if you just waste the time rather than fixing the problem...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Gotta keep cleaning house until all Democrat moles are gone.

  • The documents published so far are largely genuine, officials said, though they are not yet certain if all of them are and whether some of the documents may have been altered. However, WikiLeaks thus far has a 100% accurate record, so it would be absolutely shocking if even a single document is not authentic. One of the biggest concerns for the federal government is if WikiLeaks publishes critical computer code on how operations are conducted, other hackers could take that code and cause havoc overseas. Of course, the federal government is merely deflecting blame on WikiLeaks, when it appears likely the CIA has already lost control of these tools to the hacking communities and agencies of the world.

    ...FTFY

    • Wikileaks has a 100% accurate record? How is that determined? By assuming Wikileaks is 100% accurate?

      • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

        By assuming Wikileaks is 100% accurate?

        By not being willfully obtuse. Remember Dan Rather, CBS and the story they ran on Bush skipping out on his Air Guard commitments? The entire story was dismissed and Rather fired because a handful of memos couldn't be authenticated.

        Do you think for one second that if Wikileaks had published documents that weren't up to snuff that the intelligence "community" and the media wouldn't be braying about that time in 2005 that they published something from Jason Blair, 24/7

  • Wow, the CIA and FBI only just noticed they might have a problem, after years of leaks from the intelligence community to the press?

    I don't know what good a search will do when at this point it seems they are fundamentally riddled with leaks.

    The glamorization of Snowden only serves to amplify the situation, I'm sure each of the intelligence agencies has a lot of Snowden's in the making, now that they can see Snowden has not been brutally assassinated as one would have expected before. The agencies have no

  • by jediborg ( 4808835 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @02:44PM (#54001181)
    10 Times today it was repeated on CNN that the CIA "Only spies on foreign citizens, not on US citizens"

    I don't believe that for one second. Knowing how little oversight the CIA gets from congress they could dragnet all of American communications and lie to congress and say they weren't doing it. Actually, wait isn't that exactly what the NSA did? Didn't Former NSA director James Clapper lie under oath to congress when he professed the NSA wasn't spying on americans, just a few months before snowden proved that they where? Why should we expect the CIA to do any different, just because their mission statement say's they don't have jurisdiction to spy within american borders?

    Nobody's watching this watcher, which is why we shouldn't trust them one iota.
  • anyone who claims to be an expert, or the press says is one, is probably not... he said "...software bugs are a small part of the problem..." what rock is he under?
    • The reality rock maybe? I couldn't find where he said this, granted I am not infallible at searching. However, disagreeing with you doesn't necessarily mean he isn't an expert. Perhaps he was looking at all the macros and malicious applications which get installed, which has nothing to do with any software bug. From day to day in my security monitoring/response role, the vast majority of things I respond to are not related to any bugs. It is hard to really judge what he said without any context.
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      It's a legitimate position to take. It sort of depends on what you are looking at. E.g., from one position most of the problem is social engineering.

      That said, I haven't checked his credentials. He could be a scam artist, and thus a part of that major part of the problem.

  • Plus, it'll now go on a witch-hunt looking for the leaker, which will erode morale.

    Seriously, was there any morale left to erode?

    • Plus: Eroding morale is not necessarily a bad thing if you want somebody to stop doing something.
  • The spooks do what they want because it's "important to security" and if they are called on it, they kill the messenger instead of cleaning up their act...

    Seems both sides - not the messenger - but the spooks on either side have a similar character makeup and feed on each other to keep this game going.

    The neverending story.....

  • Now we have a public database of exploits that can be sealed. Start hiring Americans again, even if it means going so far as recalling developers over forty, and get these vulnerabilities fixed.

  • Atttribution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @03:17PM (#54001425)
    here's a nice tidbit that, to me, nicely illustrates the problem with attribution: "one AV researcher has told me that a virus they once suspected came from the Russians or Chinese can now be attributed to the CIA" Bear this in mind the next time someone says "that guy did it"
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      More to the point, keep that in mind whenever anyone stolidly asserts that some particular activity on the internet came from some particular source. *Maybe* it did. Maybe it's just the preponderance of the evidence indicates that it did. Maybe it's just the obvious evidence indicates that it did. And maybe he just wants to direct your attention. And you don't know which.

  • It's not called "The CIA." It's just "CIA."

  • We stood by an election orchestrated by a foreign government, and we didn't stop, yet continued walking forward into Trump's madness. Trump was exactly what this country needed not!
  • by ripvlan ( 2609033 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @03:57PM (#54001749)

    It occurs to me that this Leak could be used as the argument for why placing a backdoor into encryption is a bad idea. At some point in time - somebody will figure it out and leak it to the world.

    The idea that the government is going to be trusted with these BIG secrets and they won't get out is preposterous. See see -- don't look over there!! Ignore the man behind the curtain.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @04:24PM (#54001915) Journal

    Go get Wikileaks' "summary" of the first Vault7 release. You'll know you're on the right one because it's a list of bullet points.

    Now get the actual first Vault7 release from Wikileaks. You'll have to do a little searching, but see for yourself if the summary (made to be released to the Western media) actually corresponds to anything in the Vault7 release itself.

    You will be surprised, especially if you think Wikileaks is a force for transparency.

    If you're really lazy, go read some posts by infosec experts and pro-privacy bloggers. They're already doing some of this work for you, and you will still be surprised at what they say. I don't want to spoil it by telling you.

    • by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Thursday March 09, 2017 @12:42AM (#54004513)

      You will be surprised, especially if you think Wikileaks is a force for transparency.

      Well, they do have that 100% record for the accuracy of what they've leaked.

      If you're really lazy, go read some posts by infosec experts and pro-privacy bloggers. They're already doing some of this work for you, and you will still be surprised at what they say. I don't want to spoil it by telling you.

      Hmm, sounds more like "go do some work to prove my vague assertions so I don't have to get my lazy butt off the couch". Must not be familiar with Hitchen's razor. [wikipedia.org]

  • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @04:50PM (#54002121)

    One of the biggest concerns for the federal government is if WikiLeaks publishes critical computer code on how operations are conducted, other hackers could take that code and cause havoc overseas.

    Criminals that get ahold of this will loot AMERICA. This is exactly what every single security expert has warned against, pretty much since the internet existed.

  • This hurts the CIA a lot. Already, one AV researcher has told me that a virus they once suspected came from the Russians or Chinese can now be attributed to the CIA, as it matches the description perfectly to something in the leak. We can develop anti-virus and intrusion-detection signatures based on this information that will defeat much of what we read in these documents. This would put a multi-year delay in the CIA's development efforts.

    What's the big deal? Nobody who's been paying attention is going

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      IIRC there once was a virus that included a copyright. And if I further recall correctly it even stated a particular open source license (GPL, I think) but it didn't include the text of the license. It wasn't a particularly destructive or successful virus, though.

      P.S.: Don't go around believing news stories that don't have valid evidence. For all we know the code could be an officially ordered leak.

  • Time to make it a federal crime for any organisation public or private that knows of vulnerabilities to fail to disclose those vulnerabilities to the vendor. Circumventing computer security and knowingly allowing vulnerabilities to persist is tantamount to sabotage enabling financial and reputational damage to organisations and individuals that use those computer systems/software. Class action?

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