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Monday, June 12, 2017

David Sanger and Eric Schmitt,"U.S. Cyberweapons, Used Against Iran and North Korea, Are a Disappointment Against ISIS": The New York Times Exposes Israel's Cyber Hack



In a New York Times article entitled "U.S. Cyberweapons, Used Against Iran and North Korea, Are a Disappointment Against ISIS," David Sanger and Eric Schmitt write:

"Even one of the rare successes against the Islamic State belongs at least in part to Israel, which was America’s partner in the attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Top Israeli cyberoperators penetrated a small cell of extremist bombmakers in Syria months ago, the officials said. That was how the United States learned that the terrorist group was working to make explosives that fooled airport X-ray machines and other screening by looking exactly like batteries for laptop computers.

The intelligence was so exquisite that it enabled the United States to understand how the weapons could be detonated, according to two American officials familiar with the operation. The information helped prompt a ban in March on large electronic devices in carry-on luggage on flights from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries to the United States and Britain."

This was the intel that was leaked by Donald Trump to Russia's foreign minister and ambassador to the US during an Oval Office meeting last month. Israel tried to mitigate the damage by claiming that the intel was HUMINT and that the agent's life had been endangered, but ISIS now knows for certain that the intel was SIGINT, i.e. a cyber hack.

Has an important window into ISIS terror operations been hermetically shut? Have innocent lives been compromised as a consequence? I don't know the answer. I suggest you ask Donald Trump, the Times, or better still, the "officials" who leaked this info to Sanger and Schmitt.

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