Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Bombshell Breach Of Security Issues

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers an interesting piece in the Washington Times.

The admonition “do not brag” likely will not be found in any intelligence manual. But strictures on revealing “sources and methods,” as well as common sense, dictate that certain matters are not discussed in public.

The obvious drawback to such disclosures — be they deliberate or accident — is that adversaries will take advantage of such information to avoid future losses.

Thus, considerable concern and dismay were heard in the intelligence community in early May about what can only be described as a bombshell breach of security procedures.

In an article distributed worldwide, the Reuters news agency reported that what were described as “four very senior members” of the Islamic State terrorist group were captured near the Turkish border by American and Iraqi intelligence officers.

Reuters reported that the team used intelligence garnered from what was described by as “a popular messaging app, WhatsApp,” which was attached to the cell phone of another ISIS figure who was captured earlier.

The chain of events began in February, when Turkish counterterrorism officers captured a man named Ismail al-Eithawi, who was a close aide to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, described as the “Iraqi-born leader of the group known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS).

The capture produced the “WhatsApp” device and a sizable amount of electronic gear and other documents. The captured man, al-Eithawi, was no flunky. According to Iraqi security officials, he was tasked with arranging the secret transfer of ISIS funds to bank accounts around the world.

…One can envision what happened when the Reuters report was circulated through Middle Eastern media: A mad scramble by ISIS figures to dispose of mobile phones that might be tapped, and to clean out the covert bank accounts before they were seized.

Who was responsible for the leak? Several retired American intelligence veterans — stressing that they had no first-hand knowledge of the episode — were hesitant to point a finger.

But these veterans stressed that any Americans with even basic training by the Central Intelligence Agency would have known instantly the necessity of keeping the seizure a secret.

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

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