Sentinel Down

And yet again, after leaving behind a cutting edge stealth helicopter during the bin Laden raid, the U.S. conducts another, involuntary, state-of-the-art military technology transfer to the enemy.

Iran’s capture of US drone shines light on spy mission, but may reveal little

The Iranian capture of a high-tech, stealth U.S. drone shines a light on the American spying mission there, but probably doesn’t tell Tehran much that it didn’t already know, a senior U.S. official said.

The RQ-170 Sentinel was providing surveillance over Iran and didn’t just accidentally wander away from the Afghanistan border region, as first suggested. The official said Wednesday that the Iranians will no doubt be able to tell where the aircraft flew. A bigger U.S. concern, the official said, was that the Iranians are likely to share or sell whatever they have recovered of the aircraft to the Chinese, Russians or others. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the mission.

Experts and officials acknowledge that there is no self-destruct mechanism on the Sentinels — which are used both by the military and the CIA for classified surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.

. . .

U.S. officials said that while they have enough information to confirm that Iran does have the wreckage, they said they are not sure what the Iranians will be able to glean technologically from what they found. It is unlikely that Iran would be able to recover any surveillance data from the aircraft.

See also:
US admits downed drone spied on Iran
Iran says US spy drone was flying deep inside its airspace when it was downed
Malfunction likely put U.S. drone in Iranian hands
Iran Probably Did Capture a Secret U.S. Drone
U.S. Military Sources: Iran Has Missing U.S. Drone
Drone that crashed in Iran may give away U.S. secrets
China, Russia want to inspect downed U.S. drone
Sentinel unmanned drone lost in Iran among US most valuable warfare assets
Drone belonged to CIA, officials say
Downed drone was on CIA mission
Officials: Drone downed in Iran on CIA mission
Drone Lost in Iran Was Joint CIA-Military Reconnaissance Plane
Iran’s downing of U.S. drone rattles Washington
US ‘concerned’ over drone lost near Iran border
Experts: Iran capture of stealth drone no worry
US considered missions to destroy RQ-170 Sentinel drone lost in Iran
Spy drone may provide little help to Iran
U.S. debated sending commandos into Iran to recover drone
U.S. Made Covert Plan to Retrieve Iran Drone
Iran: The Stealth War Continues
Drone Drama Proves Iran Is Ready to Rumble
Stealth drone highlights tougher U.S. strategy on Iran
U.S. drones have been spying on Iran for years

The good news is that we seem to be paying close attention to what Iran is up to, have been for years, and can penetrate Iranian airspace with near impunity. These past and, hopefully, ongoing intelligence gathering and surveillance activities should help provide a detailed blueprint for when push comes to shove and Iran has to be dealt with militarily, which is sure to eventually become a necessity.

/that said, it’s a total unforced strategic error to just let Iran have this advanced technology drone, to share with or sell to other potential enemies of the United States, would it have killed us, if we didn’t want to risk lives to recover the Sentinel, to at least launch an airstrike package to obliterate the wreckage?

Secret Code For Kindergartners

How dumb is this?

‘Pizza’ Party Codeword May Have Doomed CIA Spies

All the CIA’s Lebanon spies wanted was a slice. What they got, allegedly, was a big intelligence failure.

Hezbollah may have just rolled up the CIA’s network of spies devoted to cracking the secrets of the Lebanese Shiite extremist group. If so, it’s because of one of the stupidest, least secure code words in history.

According to ABC News, Hezbollah operatives figured out that CIA informants who had infiltrated the Iranian proxy group were meeting with their agency handlers at a Beirut Pizza Hut. How could Hezbollah deduce that location? “The CIA used the codeword ‘PIZZA’ when discussing where to meet with the agents,” ABC reports.

See also:
Exclusive: CIA Spies Caught, Fear Execution in Middle East
CIA in Lebanon damaged by capture of spies by Hezbollah
The Pizza Hut Connection: CIA Exposes Own Spies in Iran and Lebanon
CIA’s ‘pizza’ blunders leave informants facing execution
Iran and Hezbollah Caught All the CIA Spies at Pizza Hut
Iran and Hezbollah Caught CIA Spies at a Pizza Hut in Beirut
American ‘Pizza Hut’ Spies Captured in Lebanon
CIA informants in Iran, Lebanon outed over ‘pizza code-word’ blunders
Hezbollah unraveling CIA spy network in Lebanon
CIA spy ring busted in Iran and Lebanon
Reports: U.S. Operatives Caught In Lebanon, Iran
White House: No Comment on Spies Outed in Iran, Lebanon
Hezbollah uncovers CIA informants
CIA spies captured in Lebanon
‘CIA spies busted in Iran, Lebanon’

What were they thinking? It’s unfortunate that people working for us have or are about to lose their lives over something this stupid and easily avoidable. Not only is it extremely damaging to our intelligence gathering efforts, but it’s also going to have a chilling effect on future recruitment efforts. Seriously, who wants to work for amateurs, especially if your life depends on it?

/taking the intelligence out of Central Intelligence Agency

Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know

Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons, really?

U.N. report cites secret nuclear research by Iran

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said Tuesday that it has “serious concerns” that Iran is secretly working toward building a nuclear bomb, citing documents pointing to Iranian scientists’ extensive and possibly ongoing efforts to master the technology needed for atomic weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency cited “credible” intelligence — provided by 10 countries and vetted over many months — that directly contradicts Iran’s steadfast assertions that its nuclear intentions are entirely peaceful.

“The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device,” the IAEA said in an uncharacteristically blunt report prepared for the U.N. agency’s 35-nation board of directors.

Read the report:

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards
Agreement and relevant provisions of
Security Council resolutions in the
Islamic Republic of Iran

See also:
IAEA report: Iran has been working toward nuclear bomb since 2003
Nightmare Scenario In the Middle East as Iran Inches Closer to the Bomb
Iran’s nuclear program alarms world powers
World divided on response to Iran nuke report
US breaks silence on IAEA report,’won’t rule anything out’
European states call for stiffer sanctions against Iran following IAEA report
Official says Russia will not support any new sanctions against Iran over nuclear program
Iran says IAEA nuclear report influenced by U.S., West
PM: Iranian nukes endanger Mideast, world peace
Western Powers Warn of New Sanctions if Iran Ignores Nuclear Concerns
IAEA’s Iran Report Represents Critical Inflection Point
The IAEA report: what does it really mean and will it lead to war with Iran?

Face it, sanctions aren’t going to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, especially as long as China and Russia continue to side with Ira. That leaves only one option, a military strike. Whether a military strike will stop Iran’s nuclear program is debatable and extremely risky. However, the 100% certain alternative is that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Those are the two bad choices, a military strike or Iran gets nuclear weapons. Pick one.

/and forget about all the fussing about air routes and in-flight refueling, use ICBMs tipped with conventional ground penetrator payloads and start here

Finally Fingering The Usual Suspects

I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

Intell report says China, Russia stealing US secrets

After years of suspicions and mounting evidence, the United States has formally called out China and Russia on cyber espionage, accusing the countries of stealing U.S. economic and technology secrets. China quickly denied the accusation.

In a report, “Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace,” the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive also said U.S. allies have used online methods to help themselves to sensitive information, although the report does not name those countries. 

Read the report:
Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace 

See also:
In a world of cybertheft, U.S. names China, Russia as main culprits
Foreign cyber thieves stealing U.S. trade secrets, agency warns
China Singled Out for Cyberspying
US calls out Russia and China over hacking attacks
U.S. finally acknowledges Chinese and Russian cyberthreat
DNI Report on Economic Cyberespionage
US Report Cites Growing Economic Cyber Espionage
Report: Russia and China are top thieves of U.S. technology
Here’s The U.S. Government Report That Openly Calls Out China On Economic Cyberspying
US Official Singles Out China, Russia on Cyber-Spying
China, Russia top offenders in cyber stealing: US
US report blasts China, Russia for cybercrime
China hits back over US claims of online spying
China scorns U.S. cyber espionage charges

Gee, what have I been posting here for years now? It’s not like the massive, out of control Chinese and Russian cyberspying has been some sort of well kept secret. Oh well, I suppose better late than never, at least now the United States government is actually, publicly acknowledging the problem.

/and now I ask again, what are we going to do about the problem, can we please stop being the world’s cyberdoormat and speed bump on the superhighway to stolen intellectual property?

Beyond Stuxnet

Looks like someone, and I’m guessing it’s not the Anonymous script kiddies, is getting ready to open a serious can of cyberwarfare whoop ass on someone.

W32.Duqu: The Precursor to the Next Stuxnet

On October 14, 2011, a research lab with strong international connections alerted us to a sample that appeared to be very similar to Stuxnet. They named the threat “Duqu” [dyü-kyü] because it creates files with the file name prefix “~DQ”. The research lab provided us with samples recovered from computer systems located in Europe, as well as a detailed report with their initial findings, including analysis comparing the threat to Stuxnet, which we were able to confirm. Parts of Duqu are nearly identical to Stuxnet, but with a completely different purpose.

Duqu is essentially the precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack. The threat was written by the same authors (or those that have access to the Stuxnet source code) and appears to have been created since the last Stuxnet file was recovered. Duqu’s purpose is to gather intelligence data and assets from entities, such as industrial control system manufacturers, in order to more easily conduct a future attack against another third party. The attackers are looking for information such as design documents that could help them mount a future attack on an industrial control facility.

Duqu does not contain any code related to industrial control systems and is primarily a remote access Trojan (RAT). The threat does not self-replicate. Our telemetry shows the threat was highly targeted toward a limited number of organizations for their specific assets. However, it’s possible that other attacks are being conducted against other organizations in a similar manner with currently undetected variants.

See also:
Son of Stuxnet Found in the Wild on Systems in Europe
Duqu May Have Targeted Certificate Authorities for Encryption Keys
Stuxnet Clone ‘Duqu’: The Hydrogen Bomb of Cyberwarfare?
“Son of Stuxnet” Virus Uncovered
New virus a cyber ‘attack in the making’
Cyberattack forecast after spy virus found
Stuxnet successor on the loose?
Brace for “son of Stuxnet” — Duqu spies on SCADA
Duqu: Son of Stuxnet?
Symantec, McAfee differ on Duqu threat
Who’s behind worm Duqu, ‘son of Stuxnet’?
Stuxnet-based cyber espionage virus targets European firms
Key European Nuclear Firms Attacked By Variation On Stuxnet Virus

A couple of conclusions come to mind. First, the fact that Duqu is based on Stuxnet and the Stuxnet source code has never been released makes it a sure bet that the authors are one in the same, namely Israel and/or the United States, Second, the fact that Duqu is clandestinely collecting information from European manufacturers of industrial control system software, specifically software that controls nuclear facilities, strongly suggests that the eventual primary target of the apparent pending cyberattack will, once again, be Iran’s nuclear program.

/in other words, Duqu is setting up a cyberassault that will hopefully finish, once and for all, the job that Stuxnet so effectively started, halting Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon in its tracks without having to bomb the [expletive deleted] out of their nuclear facilities

Calling A Spade A Spade

Outgoing Joint Chiefs chairman Mike Mullen finally said, in public, what everybody already knows, Pakistan is the enemy, not our ally.

Mullen Blames Pakistan Intelligence for Attack

The top U.S. military officer on Thursday accused Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency of backing extremists in planning and executing the assault on the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan last week and a truck bomb attack that wounded 77 American soldiers days earlier.

In his last congressional testimony before he retires next week, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, insisted that the Haqqani insurgent network “acts as a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, undermining the uneasy U.S.-Pakistan relationship forged in the terror fight and endangering American troops in the nearly 10-year-old war in Afghanistan.

See also:
Mullen says Pakistani spies are tied to U.S. Embassy raid
Panetta, Mullen hammer Pakistan over Haqqani network
Mullen Accuses Pakistan’s Intel Service of Aiding Attack on Embassy in Kabul
Mullen, Panetta slam Pakistan over attacks
Mullen blames Pakistan intelligence for attack
Mullen Accuses Pakistan Of Exporting Violence To Afghanistan
Mike Mullen: Pakistan is ‘exporting’ terror
Cell phones link Pakistan to U.S. embassy attack
U.S.-Pakistan Ties Plunge to New Low After Mullen’s Testimony
Mullen’s comments about Pakistan are baseless: Mukhtar
Pakistan fires back at Mike Mullen
Pakistan’s Army Head Blasts Mullen Comments as ‘Baseless’
Pakistan army chief denies US claims of complicity with militants, calls charges ‘unfortunate’
Pakistan Outraged Over Admiral Mullen’s Accusations of Terror Link
Pakistan says US risks ‘losing an ally’
Pakistan warns U.S.: “You will lose an ally”
Is Pakistan America’s Ally?

Pakistan can deny, protest, and be outraged by the truth all they want. The evidence is overwhelming that the ISI aids and harbors terrorists that are constantly attacking, wounding, and killing U.S. forces in the region. There’s enough smoking guns to fill a National Guard armory. Need more proof that the ISI cooperates closely with terrorists? Just remember where and under what circumstances Osama bin Laden was found, ’nuff said. Pakistan is threatening to cease being our ally? Well, with allies like Pakistan, who needs enemies?

/by the way, the attack on the U.S. Embassy was a blatant act of war, the road to victory in Afghanistan clearly winds through Pakistan, do we want to win or tuck tail like the Soviets?

Where In The World Is Mohammed Omar?

Is Mullah Omar dead, alive, kidnapped by Western Intelligence, the ISI? No one seems to know, yet, or they’re not telling.

Afghanistan confirms of Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s disappearance

Afghanistan’s intelligence services on Monday confirmed that the one-eyed Taliban leader Mullah Omar, with a US$10 million bounty on his head, had disappeared from his Quetta hideout in Pakistan.

“We can confirm about the disappearance of Omar five days ago from his Pakistani hideout,” said Mashal, spokesman for the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

However, the NDS spokesman did not confirm a previous claim of an Afghan intelligence source of Omar’s assasination by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

Taliban, meanwhile, brushed off rumors of their leader’s death or disappearance.

See also:
Mullah Omar: Dead or alive?
Mullah Omar dead? Widespread sources skeptical
Afghanistan: Is Mullah Omar dead?
Mullah Omar killed?
Mullah Omar dead???
FO says it can’t confirm killing of Mulla Omar
Taliban spokesman denies leader has been killed
Leader still alive: Taliban
Chief missing, Taliban say he’s fine
Taliban denies reports of Mullah Omar’s death
Mullah Omar ‘disappears’ from Pak hideout: Afghan official
Intel agency claims Taliban chief has disappeared
Taliban chief has disappeared in Pakistan
Mullah Omar left Pakistani hideout: Afghan intelligence
KABUL: TALIBAN LEADER MULLAH OMAR NOT SEEN IN TWO DAYS
Mullah Omar mystery: Afghan official says ISI took him
Mullah Mohammad Omar: profile of the one-eyed Taliban leader
Mohammed Omar

Obviously, capturing Mohammed Omar alive and holding him in Western custody would be the ideal state of affairs here. Shot dead or blown to smithereens would be the second best outcome, although some concrete proof of death would be nice to have. And who’s going to believe the Taliban that he’s still alive and free without proof of life? In any case, every day Omar stays missing is a good day for civilized people everywhere. If Mullah Omar disappears into thin air and there’s no one around that knows where he is, is he still the Taliban leader?

/I wonder how long you have to be missing in Pakistan before you’re declared legally dead?