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TWO CAN PLAY THE COVERT OPERATIONS GAME…

August 19, 2015 By Joseph P. Farrell

I've been constantly warning that the brinksmanship covert operations games that the USA's neo-Naz...er, neo-Cons... have been playing around the world, especially in relationship to Russia (and most likely China, though we're told much less of that), can backfire, since covert operations are a game two or more powers can play. And if there is an element of resentment within Russia about Mr. Putin's regime for the West to play with in its psychological and covert operations games, there is a festering boil of it in America for them to play with.

Now, in that context, Mr. V.T. shared the follwing article, and it appears, on first glance, to confirm my fears that Russia will begin playing covert "soft warfare" games against the USA in retaliation for the mess the USA has made in the Ukraine and elsewhere:

Russia hacks Pentagon computers: NBC, citing sources

Now, of course, we are assuming that CNBC and NBC's anonymous sources are telling the truth, and that (1) a cyber-attack was launched on the Pentagon, and (2) that it came from Russia (not, as the article is careful to note, necessarily the Russian government). Now, of course, these "sources" have lied before and so often that one must take any such story not just with a grain of salt, but with whole truckloads of bags of salt.

So, with this "for the sake of argument: approach in mind, then note what the article says:

U.S. officials tell NBC News that Russia launched a "sophisticated cyberattack" against the Pentagon's Joint Staff unclassified email system, which has been shut down and taken offline for nearly two weeks. According to the officials, the "sophisticated cyber intrusion" occurred sometime around July 25 and affected some 4,000 military and civilian personnel who work for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Sources tell NBC News that it appears the cyberattack relied on some kind of automated system that rapidly gathered massive amounts of data and within a minute distributed all the information to thousands of accounts on the Internet. The officials also report the suspected Russian hackers coordinated the sophisticated cyberassault via encrypted accounts on social media.

The officials say its not clear whether the attack was sanctioned by the Russian government or conducted by individuals. But, given the scope of the attack, "It was clearly the work of a state actor," the officials say.

In other words:

  1. THe attack was a large attack;
  2. This indicated a state actor was in play
  3. but then the article says it was not clear the Russian government was directly behind it, i.e., the impression is being created that the Russian government stands behind the actual hacking organization that conducted the attack;
  4. the attack effected personnel on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;
  5. the attack was conducted by "some kind of automated system", perhaps resembling the types of systems conducting high frequency trades.

What might we be looking at for our high octane speculation? Well, for one thing, perhaps the Russians have created their own type of cyber-warfare NGO. For another, perhaps they are simply sending messages: look what we can do, and we can do far more. This, incidentally, is occurring within a wider pattern of Russian news items lately that include pointing out that CERN is doing more than just particle research, as we pointed out yesterday, but calling into question details of the Apollo narrative. If you're a dot-connecting analyst working in America's sprawling surveillance-intelligtence-national security state complex, these dots have to be causing some concern, for the implication is that perhaps we are just being shown the tip of the iceberg of their capabilities. Then too, we might be looking at something else. With the internet attacks taking place in the San Francisco bay area recently, and with these recent revelations, perhaps we are looking at a much larger operation, a kind of cyber-reconnaissance probing the networks and learning the architecture of the "cyber-defenses.

But there's a whole other line of possibilities here: and that is that this is being used as a "crisis of opportunity", to villify Russia once again, when, as the article makes clear, it is not known that Russia is behind it, but rather, the article says that the scope of the attack implied "the work of a state actor," which could be anyone from very large corporations, hidden projects, even, perhaps, the mysterious group Anonymous which is, obviously, a kind of non-government organization, or NGO.

In either case, however, one is confronted with the warning: covert operations and cyber-warfare are games two people can play, and if Russia isn't the one playing it, then that raises the stakes even more considerably.

See you on the flip side...