Category: Security

A turf war is tearing apart the Intel community’s watchdog office

A turf war is tearing apart the Intel community’s watchdog office

Foreign Policy
By Jenna McLaughlin
Image courtesy of Foreign Policy illustration/Getty Images

Dan Meyer and a team of employees from the U.S. intelligence community watchdog’s office were set to travel overseas to a contractor’s office where no government employee had yet visited. They were carrying posters, as well as red, white, and blue foam cubes emblazoned with the phrase “Be part of the solution” and the hotline number where whistleblowers could call in and report instances of waste, fraud, and abuse.

But the trip, planned for earlier this year, was ultimately canceled by his supervisors.

Meyer, whose job is to talk to intelligence community whistleblowers, can no longer talk to whistleblowers. He has been barred from communicating with whistleblowers, the main responsibility of his job as the executive director for intelligence community whistleblowing and source protection. He is currently working on an instructional pamphlet for whistleblowers, and he will have no duties to perform after he’s completed that work.

He can also no longer brief the agencies or the congressional committees on his work as he’s done in the past, send out his whistleblower newsletter, or conduct outreach. And he has no deputy or staff.

Foreign Policy spoke with eight sources with knowledge of the ongoing issues at the Intelligence Community Inspector General office, where Meyer works. The sidelining of Meyer, described to FP by several sources, is just one part of a larger problem with the office.

For attorneys who represent clients with pending cases in front of the inspector general, the office’s disarray is particularly disturbing.

Andrew Bakaj, who worked for several years at the CIA’s inspector general office and helped stand up the whistleblower programs at the Pentagon and in the intelligence community, says the destruction of the office is a matter of grave national security.

Malware, described in leaked NSA documents, cripples computers worldwide

From The Washington Post and reported by Craig Timberg, Griff Witte, and Ellen Nakashima — image courtesy of sudok1, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Hackers unleashed an attack that disabled computers in dozens of nations Friday using a software flaw that once was part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance tool kit.

The resulting wave of online chaos affected tens of thousands of machines worldwide, snarling operations at the Russian Interior Ministry, Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica and Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), where hospitals were hobbled and medical procedures interrupted.

Europe, Latin America and parts of Asia were hit particularly hard, although in the United States, FedEx also reported falling prey to the malware. The attack was the latest in a growing menace of “ransomware,” in which hackers deliver files to computers that automatically encrypt their data, making it unusable — until a ransom is paid.

“This is not targeted at the NHS,” British Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters. “It’s an international attack, and a number of countries and organizations have been affected.”

The hack renewed a long-running debate about the dangers of intelligence agencies such as the NSA collecting and using software flaws for espionage, rather than quickly alerting companies to vulnerabilities so they can fix them.

Hospitals across England hit by ransomware cyber attack, systems knocked offline

From ZDNet and reported by Danny Palmer —

Patients are being diverted as technical problems forces at least 16 NHS hospital groups across the country offline.

Hospitals across England are being forced to postpone appointments and divert patients elsewhere because systems have been taken offline by a ransomware attack.

In a statement, NHS Digital, which runs IT systems for the health service, has confirmed that systems across the country have been brought down by a ransomware attack – specially by the Wanna Decryptor ransomware. As of 15:30 on Friday afternoon, 16 NHS organisations have reported they are affected.

While the NHS has been hugely affected by this attack, it isn’t specifically targeting the NHS with organisations in a range of sectors across the globe having come under attack by Wanna Decryptor malware.