According to the WSJ, the FBI is narrowing down the field of suspects in its attempt to win the “Too Little, Too Late Award” and find who leaked several thousand documents detailing the CIA’s most classified hacking methods to SVR/FSB astroturf “privacy” group, WikiLeaks.
Investigators probing who may have provided WikiLeaks with classified information about the Central Intelligence Agency’s purported computer-hacking techniques are zeroing in on a small number of contractors who have worked for the agency and may have been disgruntled over recent job losses, according to people familiar with the investigation.
Authorities on Thursday questioned a handful of contractors working in at least two locations in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., these people said. Law-enforcement officials said no arrests had been made, but one person familiar with the investigation said it was “rapidly unfolding.”
This person added that a digital trail has pointed authorities, at least initially, to a team of software developers working with the CIA’s Engineering Development Group. The group designs tools that, according to the documents released this week by WikiLeaks, the CIA uses to break into smartphones, personal computers and televisions connected to the internet. The more than 8,000 pages of documents that WikiLeaks disclosed appear to have been taken last December from a server that the Engineering Development Group uses, this person said, and that “only a few contractors would have access to.”
This may be true. It may not. The most pleasant way out of this fiasco for the CIA is to blame some disgruntled contractors. And that story may very well turn out to be true though it is hard to imagine anyone with sufficient clearances to be employed on a project like this would be out of work for very long, if at all. It is much easier to imagine some subscriber to Reason, already angry that he can’t get paid in bitcoin, deciding that the privacy invasion was more than he could stomach and deciding to tear the whole system down.
The place they obviously don’t want to look is inside the agency itself. It seems more than a little incredible, a decade after Bradley Manning downloaded a bazillion classified files and passed them to the Russians, that our intelligence organizations haven’t been able to control the ability of random employees to download immense numbers of classified files without anything in the system alerting anyone anywhere that the downloads are taking place.