Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Leaks To Media Shut Down Al Qaeda Intelligence Window

A major window into al Qaeda's operations has has gone dark after leaks from within the Bush Administration to the dinosaur media.

A small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video 4 days ahead of its official release last month. It notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition and gave two senior officials access on one condition - that the officials not reveal they had it until after the al-Qaeda release, to protect the company's secret surveillance.

Instead, a whole range of intelligence agencies began downloading it from the company's Web site minutes later, and by the same afternoon the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast.

According to Rita Katz, the founder of the SITE Intelligence Group, this premature disclosure tipped al-Qaeda off to a security breach and destroyed a major secret surveillance operation that the company has used to intercept and pass along secret messages and videos from al Qaeda's communications network.

"Techniques that took years to develop are now ineffective and worthless," she said. "As a result of the leak Al Qaeda changed their methods."

The actual source of the leak from the Bush Administration to the media remains unknown...or the government isn't admitting anything, normal for officials in a CYA situation.

Katz says that she spoke first with White House counsel Fred F. Fielding, and then with Joel Bagnal, deputy assistant to the president for homeland security. Both wanted a copy and told her that this was something the White House didn't have at the time. They also asked that she provide a copy to the deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter.

Around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, Katz sent both Leiter and Fielding an e-mail with a link to a private SITE Web page containing the video and an English transcript. "Please understand the necessity for secrecy," Katz wrote in her e-mail. "We ask you not to distribute . . . [as] it could harm our investigations."

Fielding replied with an e-mail expressing gratitude to Katz. "It is you who deserves the thanks," he wrote, according to a copy of the message.

Within minutes of Katz's e-mail to the White House, government-registered computers began downloading the video from SITE's server.

By afternoon, it had been leaked to the media.

Al-Qaeda supporters, now alerted to the intrusion into their secret network, put up new obstacles that prevented SITE from gaining the kind of access it had obtained in the past, according to Katz.

The network in question, called Obelisk by intelligence operatives is interesting in itself. It's actually a kind of intranet, a series of sites all over the Web, often with fake names, in some cases sites that are not even known by their proprietors to have been hacked by Al Qaeda for their own use. People with the proper passwords can send along instructions and messages, internally and externally.

That network went down entirely after the leak. America's Obelisk watchers even saw the order to shut down the system delivered from al Qaeda's internal security to a team of technical workers in Malaysia. That was the last internal message America's intelligence community saw. "We saw the whole thing shut down because of this leak," the official said. "We lost an important keyhole into the enemy."


Anonymous said...

This is not the first time that the American Administration has done something that at first site appears stupid in this "War on Terror". The first that I can remember was the announcement that they knew where Bin Laden was because they had been tracking his satellite phone. And there have been quite a few since.

Alas, I come to the conclusion that the Administration is not interested in putting an end to this spate of terrorism. Not in the slightest. It is yielding far too many advantages in the form of civil rights curtailing domestic security measures.

So, if you, me, and the people behind this intelligence operation wish to bring an end to this current spate of attacks, then we must do it ourselves, without relying on any Government.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello YokeL,
What I think we have here is not conscious treason but the lust for an official in the Federal government to appear important, and the lust of the media to put something on to cover that awful 24 hour news cycle.

Such leakers should be punished, which our government thus far has not seen fit to do.if theyhad, Seymour Hersh would be sitting in jail this moment.

Part of that was the Bush administration's elemental mistake..not having Congress declare a state of war against Islamic fascism and those countries that sponsor it, and thus invoking the War Powers Act.

Bush attempted to do that unilaterally with the Bush Doctrine, as I've written elsewhere onsite,but he unfortunately didn't follow up on it, because it would have meant problems with his pals the Saudis.If he had, this war would already be over.

I don't truly agree with you about the `attack on civil liberties'. If you read your history, you will find that every American government in wartime has curtailed certain liberties and returned them at the close of hostilites. president Bush has not even done 25% of what FDR did to win WWII...more's the pity.

Again, `our eternal friends' the Saudis are the problem there.

Thanks for dropping by,


Anonymous said...

While Freedom Figher could be right on, I personally think it was an Al Qaeda mole within the Administration who leaked this information. There are plenty of those through out the US government. SITE should have been aware of this when they released this information to the government. The bottom line is, if you want something to be kept a secret, you DO NOT share it with the government or the main stream news media. Those folks are incapable of keeping a secreat about ANY THING.