Sunday, March 12, 2017

WikiLeaks and the Massive Year Zero Publication of CIA Documents

By Jim Emerson, staff writer

This week WikiLeaks released the largest ever publication of confidential documents from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. (CIA) The 8,761 documents and files were entitled the first release from “Vault 7 Part 1” of the series, "Year Zero”.  

The anti-secrecy, WikiLeaks website claims that the files were obtained from an “isolated, high-security network” at the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI) in Langley, Va. According to the website, the documents and files were “circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors,” one of whom “recently” gave the archive to WikiLeaks. The CIA has refused to comment on the authenticity or content of the purported intelligence documents.

“Year Zero” is a collection of intelligence documents which include a description of the CIA’s developed malware introductions named “Assassin” and “Medusa.” The Malware arsenal includes dozens of “zero day," weaponized exports targeting Apple's iPhone, Macs, Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows, Linux and Samsung’s smart TVs, turning these devices into remote listening and tracking devices. The documents also reveal how the agency was working to infect vehicle control systems in cars and trucks for “unspecified” reasons.

Within a day of the WikiLeaks publication, it became the focus of the CIA and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to find out who leaked the Agency’s information to the anti-secrecy website. The information revealed covers the period from 2013 to 2016. It had all clearly been leaked prior to President Trump taking office. The Center for Cyber Intelligence maintained an internal database of information accessible to anyone with proper security clearance. A contractor who worked in the CCI believes that the entire collection of Files and software was forwarded to WikiLeaks.

The FBI has begun to conduct a federal, criminal investigation regarding the WikiLeaks disclosure. The documents posted on WikiLeaks consist of a snapshot of the particular reports from the time. Most likely the date of the last file will be a good place to start the investigation. Given the time frame of the documents released and monitoring of the servers the Bureau is confident they can narrow down the time the files were downloaded and removed to narrow down a massive pool of suspects.   

Given the time frame of the document release, the Bureau is confident they can monitor the servers involved are thereby narrow down the period during which the files were downloaded and removed.  It is hoped that this will narrow down a massive pool of suspects.   

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