For some time, I've been advocating the hypothesis that the NSA's vast electronic eavesdropping is much more about finances than it is about security concerns such as terrorism. Now there is a stunning revelation that not only confirms this view, but also that it is about money manipulation, including the "adjustment of financial accounts":
When I read this - including the allegations from Germany that the US government used its cyber-hacking capabilities to aid Mon(ster)santo hacking anti-GMO computers - I was not surprised.
But my mind wandered back to the May 6 2010 "flash crash," when certain stocks on the US stock market took a sudden and inexplicable collapse in share prices (Proctor and Gamble), and then, just as suddenly and inexplicably, rose dramatically and recovered much of the value. In markets where now virtually everything is traded in millionths of a second, and in enormous volumes, everything from stocks, bonds, to commodities like gold, silver, oil, the ability to manipulate on this scale and basis forms a potent new weapon in the diplomatic arsenal. What remains unanswered, to this day, is why the US government or any of its agencies would risk, even momentarily, such a public demonstration of this capability. I contend that it would not... the "flash crash" came from outside, and worked, or rather, wormed its way through whatever firewalls and protections were in the system, and those would have included the NSA's considerable electronic eavesdropping ability, part of which, I here speculate publicly, would include an ongoing monitoring of such interlinked financial transaction computers and clearing centers to prevent such crashes. In other words, the flash crash of 2010 was external to the system. It is this consideration that in my mind is ultimately behind the fact that no one seems to have a good idea(at least publicly) about what happened, much less how, though there are lots of ingenious speculations.
The Government report is therefore not alerting us to anything new, it is merely acknowledging that the high octane speculations I've been entertaining might be worth considering: it is possible to do precisely what the report avers. But what I also strongly suspect is that this document is in part the result of internal studies precisely of the 2010 flash crash, or at least bearing it in mind. If so, then a little reading between the lines cited in the article tends to support my conclusion: the 2010 event set off alarm bells in the corridors of hidden power in Washington, and the alarm bells are still ringing.
The answer would seem to be very simple: given the NSA's enormous computing power (think of that unusually trouble-plagued facility in Utah folks), to imagine an external penetration of computer trading networks on a scale that suggested it could be much larger than it was, if need be, implies someone with tremendous computing power and sophistication of their own, and the ability to penetrate networks - and probable hidden and unacknowledged NSA security measures protecting them - and that implies some sophisticated foreign players, or perhaps, some hidden and as yet unknown factor.