The New York Times has published an article which describes an extraordinarily sophisticated (and previously secret) means via which the NSA infiltrates and attacks computers it chooses to target (see link). This revelation has come to light apparently as a result of the leaks by Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor, to his Russian hosts and, most likely, to many other interested nations, intelligence services and media outlets.
Let me state at the outset that I am no computer technician at all. I grew up in an era of rotary-dial phones and manual typewriters, and it was necessary to drag me into the age of electronic computing as it was new and different to me. No doubt, many readers will understand the technical aspects of this article’s revelations far better than me. However, the ramifications of this secret technology will be apparent to all readers. A previous post detailed a secret back-door the NSA used to spy on the world’s computers via Microsoft operating systems. Whether the NSA piggy-backed its own spy programs onto Microsoft’s own back-doors or whether Microsoft was a complicit partner with the NSA is unclear. This link details an entirely new way that the NSA utilizes to spy on and enter global computers.
This secretive NSA technology has reportedly existed since 2008, and it has been implanted into 100,000 computers globally to allow the NSA not only to spy on those computers (surely, all these computers are very strategically-placed in sensitive information-gathering nodes in political and economic locations) but also to “create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.” Perhaps this is the system that was used which so easily disabled computer systems in the Iranian nuclear facilities a few years ago via the Stuxnet virus. This James Bond-like system uses radio waves to implant or intercept information in targeted computers. One wonders if the NSA needs to insert some kind of circuit board or USB device into the targeted computers (as indicated by this article) or whether it can be done via any kind of wireless signal into any computer that has a wireless communication capacity.
The NSA has reportedly used this secret technology against the computers of the Chinese army, Mexican drug cartels, Russian military systems, EU trade institutions, etc. I’m sure the real list is far longer than those specified targets. This secret NSA technology is called the “Quantum” program, and the article states that “there is no evidence that the NSA has implanted its software or used its radio frequency technology inside the United States.” However, that could be reverse-worded to state that there is “no evidence” that they do not do so either. There are massive Constitutional questions about the NSA using this technology inside the USA (without a court order by a “court” other than its own in-house FISA entity that it calls a “court”). However, if the NSA uses this technology to intercept terrorist communications, stop terrorist attacks, delay the Iranian nuclear program, etc. in overseas uses, I’m all for them doing so. The protections of the US Constitution apply only to US citizens, not to non-American citizens overseas and certainly not to enemies of our nation and our allies. This is another instance where the legal framework for governing and controlling such cutting-edge technologies has fallen far behind the invention and use of such cutting-edge technologies. The US Congress simply must enact some far-reaching controls on the use of such technology against US citizens that are in harmony with the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. That is if Congress ever gets off its backside to actually do anything that needs doing.
In conclusion, this technology needs to be investigated and controlled by the US Congress, but it obviously can be a great benefit to the security interests of the US and its allies. This begs the question: Did the USA share information about this top secret program with its allies? If not, many historic US allies must be wondering if they really are US allies any longer? It is also certain, I think, that many nations, including historic US allies, are now taking every step they can to secure and insulate their own electronic communications and systems against all NSA spying programs. They are doubtlessly greatly aided in this effort by the information brought by Edward Snowden to Russia via a stopover in Chinese territory. Given the fact that Russia has Snowden, Russia has all the NSA’s secret information that Snowden brought with him to Moscow. Russia can ask for a lot of favors from lots of nations before sharing with them some of the information that Snowden brought with him to Russia.
A final thought: I wonder if the NSA’s electronic information and spying techniques that Snowden has released to the world’s intelligence networks and national governments could eventually contribute to the prophesied downfall of the current US dollar-based global monetary and economic system that Revelation 17-18 calls “Babylon the Great?” No doubt, Snowden’s purloined electronic information has shed lots of embarrassing light on the inner workings (and hidden corruptions) within not only the US government, but Wall Street corporations and banks as well as the US Federal Reserve Board. I’ll bet a lot of global spymasters are burning the midnight oil reading through the private emails and texts exchanged among President Obama, departed Fed Chairman Bernanke and all the heads of the major Wall Street banks and corporations.