The Central Intelligence Agency, using new powers, carried out aggressive covert cyber operations against countries including Iran, North Korea, China and Russia, a new report says. The operations came after President Trump gave the CIA “sweeping authorization” in 2018 by signing a “presidential finding,” according to Yahoo News, citing U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter. With a presidential finding, the president authorizes covert action necessary to support “identifiable foreign policy objectives” that are deemed “important to the national security of the United States,” according to a U.S. government document. The authorization undoes “many restrictions that had been in place under prior administrations,” and gives the CIA more leeway in authorizing its own covert cyber operations, the Yahoo News report said. Countries mentioned as possible targets include Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. “The White House wanted a vehicle to strike back. And this was the way to do it,” the report added, quoting a former U.S. government official. The new powers gave the CIA more latitude to “damage adversaries’ critical infrastructure, such as petrochemical plants, and to engage in the kind of hack-and-dump operations that Russian hackers and WikiLeaks popularized,” the report explained. The hack-and-dump tactic involves leaking stolen documents or data to journalists or posting it on the Internet. Initially, the Obama administration considered retaliating against Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by using hack-and-dump but, in the end, the CIA was told to “stand down,” the report stated. John Bolton’s appointment as the National Security Adviser in the Trump administration changed that, Yahoo News reported, citing a passage in Bolton’s memoir, “The Room Where It Happened.” In September 2018, the White House announced a new national cybersecurity strategy to bolster the government’s defenses against foreign adversaries. While cyber-defense was central to the strategy, Bolton also called for a better offense. “We’re going to do a lot of things offensively and I think our adversaries need to know that,” John Bolton told reporters at the time, according to Cyberscoop. “We will identify, counter, disrupt, degrade, and deter behavior in cyberspace that is destabilizing and contrary to national interests, while preserving the United States’ overmatch in and through cyberspace,” Bolton added. Another change that came with the presidential finding was the lowering of the bar for “evidentiary requirements,” thereby expanding the CIA’s ability to conduct covert cyber operations against “media organizations, charities, religious institutions or businesses believed to be working on behalf of adversaries’ foreign intelligence services,” the report added.
This is encouraging. With China, North Korea, and Iran acting the way they’ve been, we need to step up our offensive game. Giving the CIA and other members of the Intelligence Community (IC) (i.e. NSA, NGA, DIA, etc,) expanded powers to go after our adversaries like this is a good thing. After all, they’ve been doing it to us for years, even decades, and we’ve been sitting on our hands and taking it like suckers. Kudos to President Trump and his administration for not taking it anymore and being proactive in this area. Excellent!! 🙂
President Trump’s nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, is set to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. As a strong supporter of her nomination, I expect she will do very well. Despite her opponents’ attempts to paint her as an ideological zealot, Haspel is a consummate professional whose record of accomplishment, bipartisan support, and clear love of country make her an excellent choice to lead our nation’s top intelligence agency. Unlike many nominees in recent years, Haspel isn’t the representative of a political faction. She’s a career intelligence officer with over 30 years of experience. Haspel joined the CIA in 1985, working as a case officer for several years in both Africa and Europe. Over time, she rose up the ranks, serving as deputy director of the National Clandestine Service and chief of staff for the director of operations. In addition, Haspel served as chief of station – that is, the agent responsible for overseeing all of the CIA’s work in a foreign country – four times. If confirmed, she would be the first CIA director in decades who has spent her entire career at the agency – as well as the first woman to lead the agency. Having served under six different presidents from both parties, Haspel is far from an ideologue. She’s an institutionalist who has put in so many years of work that she commands respect throughout the rank and file at the CIA. Haspel’s opponents have tried to use a small sliver of her career against her by arguing, essentially, that she was just too tough on Al Qaeda for this country to bear. But I’d argue that her willingness to serve in what was a highly stressful post only enhances the case for her confirmation. In the early 2000s, as the fight against Islamist terrorism heated up, Haspel asked to be reassigned to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, where her first day on the job was Sept. 11, 2001. It’s easy to forget that we lost 3,000 Americans that day in the worst attacks on American soil since Pearl Harbor – and that this was an especially trying time for all those working on national security. As former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently said: “If you were not in a position of authority on 9/11, you have no idea the pressures we faced to make sure that this country wasn’t attacked again.” And yet Haspel volunteered for the mission, later earning the George H.W. Bush Award, granted for excellence in counterterrorism; the Intelligence Medal of Merit; and the Presidential Rank Award, the most prestigious distinction in all of federal civil service. It’s true, as her critics charge, that Haspel was involved in the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, but once again, their potshots miss the mark. The president approved this program, Congress was fully briefed on it, and it included multiple layers of legal review.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is spot on here. Gina is eminently qualified for the job and hope the Senate will confirm her soon. For those of you who may not know, Sen. Cotton is a former solider/warrior who enlisted and then later became an officer, rising to the rank of Captain. He was an “airborne Ranger” who served in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Bronze Star, among other medals. So, the man isn’t some political hack. He’s a warrior who recognizes a patriot like Gina, when he sees her. To read the rest of Sen. Cotton’s op/ed, click on the text above. 🙂
The truth is out there – the CIA is offering a peek into its ‘X-files,’ shining a spotlight on a series of once-classified UFO documents. “To help navigate the vast amount of data contained in our FOIA UFO collection, we’ve decided to highlight a few documents both skeptics and believers will find interesting,” explained the agency, in a blog post. The UFO documents, which date primarily from the 1940s and 1950s, are among hundreds that the CIA declassified in 1978. In a nod to Fox’s new “X-Files” series, the agency highlights “five documents we think X-Files character Agent Fox Mulder would love to use to try and persuade others of the existence of extraterrestrial activity.” “We also pulled five documents we think his skeptical partner, Agent Dana Scully, could use to prove there is a scientific explanation for UFO sightings,” it added. The “Mulder” documents include 1952 reports of flying saucers over the then-East Germany, Spain and North Africa, as well as a survey of UFO reports from the same year. The agency also posted a 1952 report of “two fiery disks” flying over a uranium mine in the then-Belgian Congo and the minutes of a CIA branch chief’s meeting discussing UFOs. The report from East Germany details “an object ‘resembling a huge frying pan’ and having a diameter of about 15 meters [49 feet].” The object landed in a forest clearing in Germany’s Soviet Zone, according to the report. “A smoke-trailing object over Barcelona” and an unusual object “emitting a pale green light” over the Tunisian city of Sousse are described in the report from Spain and North Africa. Photos posted on the CIA website include an unexplained sighting above Minneapolis in 1960 and another above Sheffield, U.K. two years later. It also posted an image of a UFO investigation in Socorro, N.M. The “Mulder” documents include an office memo from 1949, a 1952 memo to the Director of Central Intelligence and a ‘Memorandum for the Record on Flying Saucers,’ also from 1952. The agency also posted a 1953 document detailing the suggestions of a scientific advisory panel on UFOs and the minutes of an Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) UFO advisory group from the same year.
Things that make ya go, “hmmmm..” Of course most of this stuff is from the 1940s and 1950…with a few items from the ’60s; over 50 years ago!! So..BIG yawn.. I’m sure MUFON and other similar groups, including the folks at “Ancient Aliens” will find this “significant.” But, it’s really not. You’d get a lot more simply from Leslie Kean’s book “UFOs.” Now, when they start declassifying stuff from the 1980s, ’90s, and especially within the last 10-15 years, THAT might be worth delving into. But, hey.. Glad to see the CIA is finally getting around to declassifying some of this stuff that should have been declassifyed…a half century ago.
As far as “best of 2014” lists go, the CIA has a pretty irresistible one: On Dec. 22 it started tweeting links to the 10 most popular articles of the year that it shared on Twitter, and the agency arrived at No. 1 yesterday, tweeting: “Reports of unusual activity in the skies in the ’50s? It was us.”
Nothing really new here.. Ever since the infamous Roswell, NM UFO story broke in 1947, probably more than 85-90% of UFO or UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) sightings/mysteries can be easily, logically, and readily, explained. Its those 10-15% that CAN’T be explained that we should focus our efforts on trying to figure out. And, when possible, the intel and space communities should declassify and release info, where appropriate and reasonable, to defuse some of the silly UFO conspiracy theories that have gotten out of control and are perpetrated by some of the silly UFO shows on tv these days. Having spent a little time in the space community myself, I’m well aware of how many of those stories have gotten WAY out of hand. So, getting FACTS out there always helps. That said, there is still 10-15% of such sightings for which there is no, as of yet, logical/reasonable explanation. A few years ago Leslie Kean put out a book called: “UFOs.” Its probably the best research of that 10-15% of unexplained UFOs/UAPs, at the unclassified level, on this topic that I’ve come across. So, I recommend it, if you’re into this subject matter.
Senate Democrats’ ‘torture report’ claims tactics played no role in finding al Qaeda leader
And their “crap” report (to quote former VP Dick Cheney) has been disproven by the facts, many of which were conveniently left out of that self-righteous, agenda-driven, blow hard Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) report. This is an EXCELLENT breakdown of those facts, and how those “enhanced interrogation” methods helped bring an end to bin Laden and some of his associates.
A Pew Research poll finds that the mainstream media and Democrats failed miserably in their coordinated attacks against the Bush Administration (and America) over Bush-era enhanced interrogation methods employed by the CIA against 3 terrorists to stop future terror attacks (and hunt down 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden).
When the overwhelming majority of Americans saw that ridiculous so-called “report” put together by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), outgoing Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), and their anti-CIA ideologically-driven staffers, Americans realized it really was just a political hit-piece, and NOT a serious, bi-partisan report. They realized it really WAS “crap” (as former VP Dick Cheney called it), and Dianne and Mark lost ALL credibility. So, this poll doesn’t surprise me one bit. And, I’m right there with the majority on this one.