Can I just say at the get-go that I really have mixed feelings about the WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 release?
All day yesterday, I was trying to figure out what the hell to write about this. Because I admit, I am concerned by both the content and the fact that WikiLeaks released it.
And as I read through the breathless reporting and outraged tweets, I honestly didn’t know what to think.
Nobody disputes that cyber-warfare is a serious issue we as a nation have to confront. China and Russia aren’t playing Tiddlywinks, you know.
And I certainly hope that the CIA is working to counter what these enemy states are doing.
Not only that. But terrorist organizations use social media to great effect. They’re not a nation state. And we have to have the ability to both spy on them and combat them.
Personally, I love the fact that we can turn each and every one of these terrorists’ phones into a listening device.
And now that Vault 7 exposes how the CIA gathers intel among those who use digital devices, will terrorists take precautions to avoid this electronic detection?
Now, for other side of the coin.
At the same time, I am horrified at the prospect that these powerful tools could be used against American citizens.
And given how deeply partisan and politically-motivated the CIA has been in recent years, that is a genuine concern.
Knowing, for example, that the CIA has the ability to alter hacking signatures to make it appear that hacking originated from a country that had nothing to do with it.
That makes me very nervous.
After all, the CIA is one of the entities that claimed Russia was responsible for the hacks of both the DNC and Podesta emails. But if they can easily embed a false flag to misdirect suspicion to another nation, how can we trust that they are telling the truth?
Especially in light of how hyper-partisan the CIA has been under the Obama Administration.
But there’s something I find even more disturbing.
WikiLeaks alleges that the CIA lost control of a majority of its hacking arsenal.
Meaning, anyone could have obtained the code to the CIA’s entire cyber-hacking infrastructure.
Anyone. Including enemy states, rogue hackers – even some pimply-faced high school geek holed up in his bedroom staring into a computer screen all night.
In fact, that is exactly how Vault 7 came to exist in the first place. The code was shared among former US government hackers and contractors – one of whom passed it on to WikiLeaks.
And that brings me back to why I am concerned about this release.
Cyber-warfare isn’t something to dismiss – not in this day and age.
And does releasing this information put the US at risk? Not just the US government, but our economy, infrastructure and population?
It’s hard for me to get excited about this because I see the danger inherent in WikiLeaks publishing this information.
This isn’t a collection of unclassified emails exposed through the stupidity of John Podesta.
This is classified intelligence.
Lest we forget, Bradley Manning handing over classified intel to WikiLeaks directly resulted in the deaths of US servicemen.
This isn’t a game.
We have enemy states that seek to exploit us through cyber-warfare.
And we can’t on the one hand demand that US Intelligence bolster its cyber-espionage, then be horrified when we learn that they have.
At the same time, knowing that it was through the CIA’s own inept handling of this data that WikiLeaks obtained it is deeply concerning.
And maybe if John Brennan had been less focused on advancing the interests of LGBT officers and more focused on his primary responsibility, this wouldn’t have happened.
See? I have mixed feelings.
Any intel-gathering infrastructure in the wrong hands becomes very dangerous to our civil liberties.
And over the last eight years, the CIA bureaucracy has become a deeply partisan and hyper-politicized outfit.
In other words, our intelligence and espionage has been in the wrong hands.
And knowing that this cyber-intelligence information became exposed in the first place only proves that.
For a summary on Vault 7, please check out this post from Zero Hedge.
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