The Week in Intelligence

on July 14 | in CIA, NSA

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Here’s what caught our eye in the world of intelligence this week:

A new report addresses the CIA’s collaboration with prominent psychologists during the development of the post-9/11 interrogation program. The agency’s health professionals were very critical of the program, but there complaints were repeatedly ignored by psychologist whose presence supposedly added credibility to Agency’s effort. According to the report, the associations ethics office “prioritized the protection of psychologists — even those who might have engaged in unethical behavior — above the protection of the public.”

Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta resigned Friday following the extensive hack of its personnel databases. Backlash had grown over her handling of the breach, which she admitted stole data from more than 21 million people. She also faced criticism from lawmakers of both political parties, questioned her ability to handle the crisis. At first she said she would not step down but instead work to improve the network security of the OPM, but on Friday she told President Obama it would be best if she stepped down.

In honor of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, the CIA shared a story on Twitter about Julia Child making a shark repellent during WWII. Julia Child served in the Office of Strategic Service, the predecessor to the CIA during the Second World War. The shark repellant was needed for soldiers serving in the Pacific; were they ever to end up in the water sharks were a serious threat. Along with the rare tweet the CIA released more information explaining the story. The OSS eventually settled on a mix of copper acetate and black dye as the main shark repellent ingredient because it supposedly smelled like dead shark.

The intrusion detection system, known as EINSTEIN, which helped detect the OPM hack, is being purchased by many private businesses. A telecommunications company that is authorized to sell the technology has reported that there has been an “exponential increase” in companies using EINSTEIN. The tool has become popular because it can “flag threats only the government knows about once they pop up on other systems, like the now-identified OPM malware and other hallmarks of spyware that the public is not aware of yet.”

Former Attorney General Eric Holder said a discussion about government surveillance could have taken  place without Snowden disclosing classified documents. He said Edward Snowden’s actions resulted in a “necessary debate” about surveillance, but that they also proved to be “extremely harmful” to the United States. Holder gave the example of how Snowden could have take his concerns to the Senate Intelligence Committee and try and start a debate that way, though he said some senators likely wouldn’t have been open to debate.

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