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TWO CAN PLAY THE COVERT OPERATIONS GAME…

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...

 

14 thoughts on “TWO CAN PLAY THE COVERT OPERATIONS GAME…”

  1. Hacking the pentagon will get you nothing important as it is only the distribution center for orders. When they hack Buenos Aries or the Berlin N.I.command center then we’ve got a problem. I’ll tell you why I say this. I worked in Long Beach on terminal Island next to the Naval shipyard years ago. They had a self propelled water based crane,500 ton capacity,the largest in the world till 1975,that was built by nazi germany to overhaul its U-boats at sea. My boss,ex navy, had worked on that crane extensively and knew all about it and how the engineers in america did not fully understand how it could pick so much weight,told me of a sister crane that had been scuddled by the germans in the baltic so the Russians couldn’t capture it at the wars end and was considered lost forever. On a visit to Leningrad in the early 80’s ,low and behold I see the sister crane working in one of Leningrad’s canals. After I shook my intourist guided group I went to the mooring of the crane later on that day and spoke with one of the crewman and got the building year of the crane and place of origin confirmed. You can’t miss this self propelled derek barge, it looks like no other in the world and the controls mechanical computer that the operator must use for heavy lifts,anything over 300 tons, was still working. Gehlen made deals with everyone and the booty was shared relatively evenly as the U.S. Navy considered its barge crane as one of the top war prizes of WW II, still using it well into the eighties on a daily basis. Germans are one eyed jacks and don’t ever forget it.

  2. nobodyouwantoknow

    Oops… my bad … soooo sorry … I hit Ctl-Alt-Del-F10-Shift by accident while deep-netting … it probably won’t happen again, I promise…

  3. “…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.”

    This brought up an interesting ‘gotcha’. In the past, hackers have compromised individual computers, converting them en-mass into what became known as ‘bots or botnets’.

    What if ‘official’ hackers now use the same technique(s) to distribute hacked-data onto private computers for later pick-up? (Unknown to the users, of course.) The NSA/CIA/DIA/LBJ shows up on your doorstep with a Search & Seizure warrant and, lo and behold, there is a bunch of classified data encrypted in a folder there. Hmmm…

      1. Increasing memory capacity? I’m not so sure of this as lately it seems like there has been relatively stagnant memory capacity of devices coupled with a significant push for greater use of “cloud” memory storage services.

        Apple’s Photos software that replaces iPhotos seems intent on pushing the consumer into the use of cloud storage for syncing across the various Apple devices (phone, pad, tv, laptop, watch, etc). Hardware seems to be trending in that direction too as Apple’s newest lightweight laptop trades storage space for extra battery.

        It seems to me that everything is being nudged in the direction of the “cloud” which makes perfect sense for centrally controlled system. And it’s not just files either, software licensed my subscription and now even SAAS (“software as a service”) also seems to be a growth market.

        Personally, I detest this horse crap for two reasons. Firstly, not everybody has amazing internet service. We don’t all live in Silicon Valley and some of us are at least 10 years behind in terms of technology infrastructure. I don’t want my stuff in the “cloud” because I can barely connect to this “cloud”. But more importantly, I’d rather not have all my files and software there because I want it on my hardware, on my property where I can trust that nobody is messing with it (i.e., changing it) with at least some degree of reassurance because I can still (literally) plug in and un plug to the interconnections at my choosing.

        Ok, sorry, I’m just ranting now…

        1. kitona, I was mainly speaking about ‘official’ hackers using ordinary-citizen hardware (and associated software) as temporary distributed-storage devices for classified material obtained from some off-limits source. (Unbeknownst to the owner of the hardware.) Smartphones were added to keep the ‘scenario’ up-to-date.

          Cloud storage is indeed being pushed, big-time. The publicly-stated reason is convenience. If one is of a conspiracy-mindset, it is also seen that this gives perfect, centralized storage for any Agency to walk into a facility and ‘legally’ demand access to any files. (With a ‘gag’ order on reporting the request, by the way.) Ironically, it truly IS convenient…

  4. I’m a computer klutz but, what a “fire walls” for?, answer, stopping the bad guys from messing with your computer right!
    Well you’d think the US government would have the “very best” of fire walls wouldn’t you, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. OR, fire walls have a peep hole in all of them, you just have to find the hole.
    As Joseph says, two can play this game, and it would appear that there maybe “three or more” in this little game. So the tit for tat game goes on and I hope the winner, who ever it may be, gets the galactic kewpie doll.

  5. Robert Barricklow

    I’d say there are so many players in this game, that it boggles both the AI/IA algorithms or humans[whether genetically engineered or otherwise]. The Russian Dolls within doll all across the geopolitical landscape & exo-political spheres of influence.

  6. Also note that “officials also report the suspected Russian hackers coordinated the sophisticated cyberassault via encrypted accounts on social media.” That would harmonize with the anti-Russian, anti-encryption and anti-social media rhetoric we’ve been subjected to of late.

  7. Or the military has figured out who they’ve been really working for. A bunch of life hating Davoros’s a la Dr. Who and are planning to depose these fiends once and for all. And they are sick and tired of the on going seventy war between Oceania-Eurasia-Eastasia and what stop. As for the Neo-Cons aka Neo-Confederates they’re having the time of their lives sowing mayhem and destruction around the World.

  8. Didn’t Russia get some of the Nazis after the war and weren’t they incorporated into Russia’s space program? Did they also infiltrate their intelligence community just like they did in the US? It seems to me that they would have done in Russia what they did here, and if so, they must have neo-Nazis working there just as they are here. Therefore, any attacks from within their intelligence community could be from them, and perhaps it is all a game of attempting to ramp up tensions between our two countries for some other purpose. After all, these were unclassified emails, it seems that if they were truly after some hard information, they would have gone for at least classified stuff.
    Or perhaps it has to do with the information that Snowden may have given them and they are just showing a little of what they can do with that.
    In any case, it seems that you are right that the message is we can do this too. But I would think that the US intelligence community would already know that, so maybe it’s more directed towards the US citizens.

  9. Frankie Calcutta

    Or, maybe the Joint Chiefs of Staff are tired of being spied on by neo-cons and their handlers and have engineered this “hack” themselves in order to install a more secure internal email system. I mean really, if you are plotting a Night of the Long Knives, you can’t do it in this day and age if the target is reading your emails. Conversely, maybe it is the neocons themselves who have hacked the Pentagon emails in order to either 1) send a message that the plotting (?) US Generals’ emails are an open book or 2) they will be an open book after new “security” measures are taken to better “secure” them, most likely undertaken by a duplicitous foreign contractor (for an exorbitant fee) with much “expertise” in cyber security.

    The only covert operation I would suggest of any rival foreign power– help expedite the common core curriculum, assist in the weaponization of gay and trains gender rights in the US, especially in the schools, government and military, encourage the continued corruption in Pentagon armament procurements so the US continues to build over-priced, ineffectual weapon systems and fighting forces. Contribute to any tv programming that encourages sloth, corruption, and immorality and generally any behavior that conflicts with the common good, build an army of rap musicians who will further accentuate racial division, while also glorifying ignorance, crass materialism, and abject hedonism, and most importantly, if I were organizing covert operations for a foreign power, I would help ensure that Hillary Clinton becomes the next and maybe last President of the United States. That will surely be the end of any shred of constitutional government, precipitate internal social implosion, and chase away all foreign allies to BRICSA. Even the banksters will jump ship when they realize what a Frankenstein’s monster they created.

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