Thursday, June 18, 2015

Former CIA Operatives Concerned About Personal Data Security Breach

Howard Altman at the Tampa Tribune offers a piece on why former CIA officers like Gary Berntsen (seen in the below photo) are concerned about the computer security breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Managment (OPM) reportedly by Communist Chinese hackers.

Last year, former CIA operative Gary Berntsen spent more than a week filling out a 127-page security clearance application that seeks a wide range of personal information. Aside from the individual’s Social Security numbers, it demands names and Social Security numbers of cohabitants, history of arrests, bankruptcies and mental health issues and lists of foreign contacts, business associates, investments and personal information of foreign-born relatives — including whether they work for other governments or intelligence agencies.

“The form is a personal and financial colonoscopy,” says Berntsen, who led the first teams of CIA operatives into Afghanistan in 2001.
And now that information may be in the hands of Chinese hackers, who could use it to damage U.S. national security by compromising American spies and developing a better understanding of what American intelligence and military personnel are doing, several former spies and a Florida congressman on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence told The Tampa Tribune.

The local head of a national organization of former intelligence officers says the hack is further proof that the United States and China are already involved in a cyberwar.

The concern over the hack is so great that on Tuesday the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the matter.  

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on Gary Berntsen and his role as the CIA commander in Afghanistan after 9/11 via the below link:

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