Hamilton: Hacker’s delight: Unprotected ‘private’ servers
For those not familiar with the handling of highly classified national security information, the investigations into Hillary Clinton’s “private” email server and whether she caused “exceptionally grave damage” to our intelligence and military services might seem like much ado about nothing.
So, let’s take a fictional journey into the world of the fictional mortal enemies, Berzerkistan and Creta. We begin inside the Cyber Warfare Center of Berzerkistan where skilled hackers are reading the flow of emails between the Secretary of State for Creta and Sid, one of her outside advisers:
“Sid, I took your advice and invited the Berzerkistan ambassador to our cocktail party. But I knew in advance that he would not accept because the big Nebbish had already accepted an invitation to dine with the King and Queen of Vulgaria. But his cow of a wife stayed out in the sun too long, sunburned her fat butt, and can’t put on a dress. So, he’s going alone to the Palace. Really, Sid, she is way too old to have a butterfly on her derriere.”
“Well, Madame Secretary, you at least got credit for inviting the Putz. How did you know he was in no position to accept?”
“Sid. Let’s just say a little birdie told me. Look, I have to go now. That special mission over in. Ah, you-know-where, is hounding me for extra security. I realize they are in a dangerous situation, but if we beef up their security too much, that would attract attention to what we are doing and we don’t want that. If you know what I mean.”
“Yes, Madame Secretary, I do. Meanwhile, I’m wondering why the Vulgarian Royals want the Berzerkistani ambassador to dine with them. Maybe you could get our asset working on that. An alliance between Berzerkistan and Vulgaria would be counter to our national interest.”
“Sid, thanks for your advice. It is comforting to have a friend from outside this snake pit of a department. Signing off. XOXOXO.”
Now, let’s see what the Berzerkistanis have learned from their hacking of the Cretan Secretary of State’s “private” emails: 1. Madame Secretary thinks the Berzerkistani ambassador is an inept, stupid person, a Nebbish. 2. Her friend, Sid, thinks the ambassador is, well … a jerk. 3. The ambassador’s wife is unattractive. 4. Berzerkistan telephone communications are being tapped by the Cretans. 5. The “little birdie” probably refers to a Cretan NSA satellite. 6. To know about the butterfly tattoo, the Cretans must be flying a UAV over the area where the ambassador’s wife does her sunbathing. 7. Somewhere, there is a diplomatic mission that has inadequate security and would make an easy target for terrorist attack. 8. Something super-secret is going on at that location. 9. It appears the Cretans may have an “asset” inside the Vulgarian Palace who could monitor the conversation between the ambassador and the Vulgarian Royals.
In sum, this seemingly innocuous email exchange compromised the “sources and methods” being used by Creta’s own intelligence agencies. Berzerkistan counterintelligence will now take steps to nullify the covert actions of the Cretans. They will identify the diplomatic mission that has weak security and have surrogates attack it. Big deal or not? You decide.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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