Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tipping Off the Assets

A story from about a week ago, but still important:
WASHINGTON – Insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan have intercepted live video feeds from Predator drones, a key weapon in a Pentagon spy system that serves as the military's eyes in the sky for surveillance and intelligence collection. (snip) Obtaining the video feeds can provide insurgents with critical information about what the military may be targeting, including buildings, roads and other facilities. (snip) The interception, first done there at least a year ago, was possible because the remotely flown planes had unprotected communications links.

Within the last several months, the military has found evidence of at least one instance where insurgents in Afghanistan also monitored U.S. drone video, a second defense official said.
(snip) The Predator, also currently used in the hunt for al-Qaida and other militants in Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere, can fly for hours remotely controlled by pilots thousands of miles away. It can fly armed or unarmed, and is part of a growing arsenal of such craft that includes the Reaper and Raven as well as a new, high-tech video sensor system called the Gorgon Stare, being installed on Reapers.

The military has known about the vulnerability for more than a decade, but assumed adversaries would not be able to exploit it.
Weren't these used to look for "al Qaeda" several years before 9/11? And how freaking hard is it to encrypt a video feed?

It seems the obvious conclusion is that someone in the military/CIA wanted the feeds to be hacked, in order to tip off the terrorist assets where the drones were.


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