August 30, 2005

Titan Rain: Chinese Hackers Launch Most Significant Spy Threat In Decades
— Ace

Interesting piece from Time.

We continue deserving it:

As cyberspying metastasizes, frustrated network protectors say that the FBI in particular doesn't have enough top-notch computer gumshoes to track down the foreign rings and that their hands are often tied by the strict rules of engagement. That's where independents--some call them vigilantes--like Carpenter come in. After he made his first discoveries about Titan Rain in March 2004 [and made the key discovery of the cyberattacks' point of origin from three servers in China], he began taking the information to unofficial contacts he had in Army intelligence. Federal rules prohibit military-intelligence officers from working with U.S. civilians, however, and by October, the Army passed Carpenter and his late-night operation to the FBI. He says he was a confidential informant for the FBI for the next five months. Reports from his cybersurveillance eventually reached the highest levels of the bureau's counterintelligence division, which says his work was folded into an existing task force on the attacks. But his FBI connection didn't help when his employers at Sandia found out what he was doing. They fired him and stripped him of his Q clearance, the Department of Energy equivalent of top-secret clearance. Carpenter's after-hours sleuthing, they said, was an inappropriate use of confidential information he had gathered at his day job. Under U.S. law, it is illegal for Americans to hack into foreign computers.

Via Kaus.

Posted by: Ace at 08:57 PM | Comments (13)
Post contains 239 words, total size 2 kb.

1 It may be time for me to get back in the game.

It sounds like the hunt is on and we need some hardcore people who can do more than hack up buggy Visual Basic apps.

Posted by: Tony at August 30, 2005 09:19 PM (dYcZw)

2 Sometimes I think we Americans really are as dumb and arrogant as Europeans say we are.

Posted by: Joseph at August 30, 2005 09:29 PM (WqtGz)

3 Na, just you.

Posted by: Tony at August 30, 2005 09:59 PM (dYcZw)

4 After the security flaps they had at Sandia and Los Alamos, you'd think the DOE would be looking for an opportunity to redeem themselves. Oh well.

Posted by: geoff at August 30, 2005 11:04 PM (J0ZE/)

5 Just me? I'm not the one undermining national security through some anal fixation with "strict rules of engagement." I'm not the one firing "vigilante" employees for the offense of uncovering foreign spy rings. No, if I'm a dumb, arrogant American, I'm afraid I have plenty of company.

Posted by: Joseph at August 30, 2005 11:25 PM (WqtGz)

6 It'll take decades to undo the damage Clinton, Gorelick and Janet Sterno caused to the FBI, US intel agencies, and military.

Posted by: Tony at August 30, 2005 11:53 PM (dYcZw)

7 Tony: It'll take decades to undo the damage Clinton, Gorelick and Janet Sterno caused to the FBI, US intel agencies, and military.

Funny, it only took two years for a President with his shit together, Ronald Reagan, to undo the damage of the Carter Years.

Look, we have a current President whose highest goal is to redistribute the nations wealth to the rich and especially the very rich. He has his side issues like "smoking the evildoers out of their caves", but its mostly been 4 1/2 years of growing government to spread corporated pork, keeping the Borders open to cut wages and jobs to Americans to enhance owner profits...and a little red meat tossed out now and then to the loonies of the Religious Right to keep them enthused.

Blaming it all on Clinton was old in 2002, blaming it all on Clinton when close to 5 years have passed and you have a Republican President and Congress either too weak or too focused on devilering wheelbarrows of Federal money to their big donors to reverse "Clinton damage" is purely pathetic.

Posted by: Cedarford at August 31, 2005 01:41 AM (6krEN)

8 Jeez, Cedarford. Doesn't it get uncomfortable, all hot and smelly and cramped, with your head so far up your ass?

Posted by: Dave at August 31, 2005 02:55 AM (qooHO)

9 I hate to say this, Cedarford does have a point. The bureaucratic culture of the fed.gov has become so firmly entrenched that no matter who is in the White House they're going to follow their own risk-averse rule-oriented culture rather than chasing results. Once you get above division level, the Army's no better. And the White House is not doing enough pushing downward to shake up this mentality. So Able Danger, Titan Rain, whatever the crisis of the day is, whoever the Feds have at that desk is someone almost selected not to be able to make the correct decision.

Posted by: SGT Dan at August 31, 2005 03:19 AM (jCQ+I)

10 Presidents come and go, but bureaucrats are forever. It's what makes them dangerous. Think J. Edgar Hoover. And any president who does try to clean house will be accused of trying to politicize intelligence and stack the deck.

I don't know what anyone can do other than to publicize their failures to the point that they become a byword for incompetence. And I'd like a little more scrutiny on leakers, please. It seems like all these agencies prefer to communication by tattling to favorite journalists off the record. If players aren't willing to say things officially, with the weight of the agency behind them, the information is mere gossip and backbiting.

Posted by: S. Weasel at August 31, 2005 03:30 AM (rasT+)

11 Look, we have a current President whose highest goal is to redistribute the nations wealth to the rich and especially the very rich.

Ironically thats a quote made repeatedly during the Reagan administration.

Posted by: Dman at August 31, 2005 08:32 AM (m2CN7)

12 Reagan had everything patched up in 2 years? He had the military budget cranked back up by then, but the damage of the Carter years was not repaired for at least 5-6 years. And he didn't have to contend with the costs of 140,000 personnel deployed overseas.

Posted by: geoff at August 31, 2005 08:39 AM (J0ZE/)

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