Monday, March 13, 2017

The US Cyberwar on Europe │ WikiLeaks Vault 7

With friends like these one needs no enemies.
CIA Hacking Revealed
On March 8, 2017, WikiLeaks launched the first tranche of secret CIA documents providing an overview of CIA cyber crime practices in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The published papers are from the years 2013 to 2016 and are to be assessed as common operational practice of the CIA. The period coincides with the discoveries in the NSA affair in Germany from mid-2013. What is noticeable here is the fact that the CIA has not drawn any discernible conclusions from this affair. On the contrary the documents underline the technical and structural progress realized by the CIA since 2013. However, they also show that Germany as the center of American espionage activities in Europe was still expanding.

In all this Frankfurt am Main plays a central role. The documents provide an insight into the state of the art capabilities of the US intelligence community. A little over two years ago, the CIA has begun to develop cyber capacities similar to those of the NSA. What the former CIA boss John Brennan had already announced, has now taken shape: 5,000 programmers and operational staff at the Center of Cyber ​​Intelligence at the CIA headquarters in Langley are working on more than 500 projects worldwide. The Center for Cyber ​​Intelligence Europe, based in Frankfurt, is one of several global branches of this CIA-led structure. The world's largest American consulate, the one in Frankfurt am Main, is home to an area that is only accessible to CIA staff and other American services. It is described as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, a structure composed of operating agents, programmers and hackers. Their task is to systematically identify security gaps and weaknesses in smartphones, computers, and television sets, such as often used in hotels. Special targets are telephone systems used for teleconferencing and video conferencing, which have long become one of the most important means of communication for global players such as Siemens, Deutsche Bank and other European companies. The installation in Frankfurt is not limited to the programming of malicious software, but also dedicated to the installation of this software on selected targets' devices which are not connected to the Internet. Therefore the hacker's activities are not only about office work, but also about operational field work. To infect computers not connected to the Internet for security reasons, CIA agents enter company buildings to physically crack computers and to copy data there.

Meanwhile German intelligence always has been fully aware of these activities out of the diplomatic screen of the American Consulate in Frankfurt. The reason is that the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) was founded by the CIA as an embedded extension. And after all they are not even violating any law of their vassal state. Formally the General Prosecutor should be in charge of investigating foreign espionage. But this is just another issue too delicate for the Merkel regime, as already seen during the NSA spying affair. Therefore, after more than three years of simulation, the General Prosecutor's investigations were silently discontinued, and it is to be expected that a fake parliamentary investigation committee will be terminated as well. German sovereignty is thoroughly restricted by the NATO-Truppenstatut, regulating the presence and operation of allied forces and intelligence. The NATO-Truppenstatut grants a myriad of privileges to American forces, including the validity of American law in Germany. Hence de jure and de facto the CIA is allowed to spy from Frankfurt on the entire German economy, every single citizen, and on all other European partners. True, in the current legal situation, the Merkel regime can not do much to protect citizens and businesses. But worse, it does not even pretend to think about to do so.

Instead the reactions are characterized by striking disinterest. The Merkel regime actually had a speaker telling that it wouldn't know whether these WikiLeaks documents were real. It is shocking that such outright ignorance about what intelligence services do and what is actually the issue prevails in the most important European economy. US economic espionage in Western Europe has been operating for decades. On March 7, 2000, the former CIA chief James Woolsey quite bluntly confirmed this at a press conference at the U.S Department of State Foreign Press Center: "We are stealing secrets with espionage, detraction and reconnaissance satellites". Economic espionage by the US in Europe was justified since European companies had a "national culture" of bribery. Woolsey said literally: "Some of our oldest friends and allies have a national culture and practice that consists of the fact that bribery is an important part of the way they try to do business in international trade." The danger comes from massive US data collection and the use against European companies: This includes patent rights, work processes, key positions, suppliers, sales markets, customer relationships, political networks, pricing, calculation, logistics, balance sheets, financing, loans, etc. The CIA is able to crack any cell phone and PC and to combine the data with the many Google services, Skype, Facebook, Microsoft or data aggregated from the intranets of companies. Every single European citizen, government agency, administrator, scientist, politician, businessman and company is an open book in real-time in front of its competitors from the US and the Five Eyes countries (see also HERE + HERE).