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NSA whistleblowers Bill Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe analyze the recent security breach at NSA, and don’t think Russian intelligence did it.Bill Binney was Technical Leader for Intelligence, and Kirk Wiebe was a senior analyst, when they left the NSA in late 2001 and went through channels to blow the whistle on contractor fraud and other issues.
In this fascinating conversation, they offer informed speculation on the recently disclosed Shadow Brokers, who provided authentic evidence that they are in possession of sophisticated hacking tools used by NSA.
Reacting to a recent article by NSA expert James Bamford, Binney and Wiebe both concur with Bamford: Ed Snowden isn’t responsible, and if the Russians had these tools, they would exploit them, not expose them with a silly plan to auction them. They believe that an insider, a “second Snowden” most likely leaked the hacking software, and they comment on Bamford’s suspicion that it might be Jacob Applebaum, who has been connected to WikiLeaks and formerly the Tor Project.
Wiebe and Binney offer key insights about NSA operations and culture, and slam their former agency’s obsession with “collecting it all” because NSA has a poor record of analyzing the data before events occur. We also discuss this article by Sam Biddle at the Intercept, detailing the capabilities of some of the hacking tools.
Those details include a hack named DROPOUTJEEP, which can fully control an iPhone, leading to an interesting sidebar about the FBI’s demand of Apple to open the San Bernardino iPhone, FBI Director James Comey, and Comey’s decision not to charge Hillary Clinton. We note that Binney and Wiebe lost their security clearances (and livelihoods) in retaliation for honoring those agreements, while Clinton arrogantly violated her agreements and is likely to retain her clearance if elected.