The Week in Intelligence

on July 21 | in CIA, NSA

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

According to an assessment from the CIA, the revenue Iran will receive once sanctions are lifted will not be used to significantly boost militant groups. Following the nuclear deal international sanctions will be lifted which is expected to bring Iran a revenue of around 100 billion dollars. However, according to the White House and CIA, the funds will most likely be used to repair Iran’s “limping economy.” Key members of Congress have already been briefed on the assessment which will supposedly provide “ammunition to both sides in the battle brewing on Capitol Hill.”

While speaking at the London Stock Exchange, Admiral Michael Rodgers said he expects hacks like the one that hit the OPM to become more frequent.  About the OPM hack Adm. Rodgers specifically said: “I don’t expect this to be a one-off.” He spoke at the London Stock Exchange to promote cyber cooperation between the government and private sector saying; “Cyber to me is the ultimate partnership. There is no single entity out there that is going to say: ‘don’t worry, I’ve got this.’” Rodgers stressed the cooperation was critical because it is not if you are hacked but when.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked a federal court to shut down NSA’s bulk phone records program for good. In a brief filed last week the ACLU claimed the NSA has no authority to collect data, due to it being ruled illegal, yet they continue to do it. The ACLU lawyers wrote: “The language the government is relying on to collect call records now is precisely the same language this court has already concluded does not permit that surveillance.”

A piece in The New York Times profiles a NSA “summer camp” type program that teach young students how to crack encrypted passwords. The program is called GenCyber and aims to catch the attention of potential cybersecurity recruits. It is one of many free overnight and day camps being held across the country by the NSA. The attendees, many of them teenagers, use a software program known as John The Ripper to help test and break passwords. Prior to using the program faculty instructors give the students an “ethics of hacking” lecture, which in simple terms is basically a “don’t try this at home” speech.

Matthew Spurlock, in a piece for Just Security, argues that the CIA and Justice Department’s Office of Legal Council must release secret documents regarding the Aulaqi drone strike of 2011 that killed three Americans. A district court in New York recently issued a ruling in the ACLU’s long-running FOIA request, but the 160 page opinion they released was heavily redacted. They did however order the release seven documents but only on the basis that “government officials have already disclosed the information in other contexts.” The author believes the government should be required to provide a fuller account of its drone program.

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