More on the CIA Document Leak
If I had to guess right now, I’d say the documents came from an outsider and not an insider. My reasoning: One, there is absolutely nothing illegal in the contents of any of this stuff. It’s exactly what you’d expect the CIA to be doing in cyberspace. That makes the whistleblower motive less likely. And two, the documents are a few years old, making this more like the Shadow Brokers than Edward Snowden. An internal leaker would leak quickly. A foreign intelligence agency—like the Russians—would use the documents while they were fresh and valuable, and only expose them when the embarrassment value was greater.
James Lewis agrees:
But James Lewis, an expert on cybersecurity at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, raised another possibility: that a foreign state, most likely Russia, stole the documents by hacking or other means and delivered them to WikiLeaks, which may not know how they were obtained. Mr. Lewis noted that, according to American intelligence agencies, Russia hacked Democratic targets during the presidential campaign and gave thousands of emails to WikiLeaks for publication.
To be sure, neither of us has any idea. We’re all guessing.
I am mentioned in the latter document:
Cryptographic jargon is utilized throughout this document. This jargon has precise and subtle meaning and should not be interpreted without careful understanding of the subject matter. Suggested reading includes Practical Cryptography by Schneier and Ferguson, RFCs 4251 and 4253, RFCs 5246 and 5430, and Handbook of Applied Cryptography by Menezes, van Oorschot, and Vanstone.
EDITED TO ADD: Herbert Lin comments.
The most damning thing I’ve seen so far is yet more evidence that—despite assurances to the contrary—the US intelligence community hoards vulnerabilities in common Internet products and uses them for offensive purposes.
EDITED TO ADD (3/9): The New York Times is reporting that the CIA suspects an insider:
Investigators say that the leak was the work not of a hostile foreign power like Russia but of a disaffected insider, as WikiLeaks suggested when it released the documents Tuesday. The F.B.I. was preparing to interview anyone who had access to the information, a group likely to include at least a few hundred people, and possibly more than a thousand.
An intelligence official said the information, much of which appeared to be technical documents, may have come from a server outside the C.I.A. managed by a contractor. But neither he nor a former senior intelligence official ruled out the possibility that the leaker was a C.I.A. employee.
EDITED TO ADD (3/9): WikiLeaks said that they have published less than 1% of what they have, and that they are giving affected companies an early warning of the vulnerabilities and tools that they’re publishing.
Commentary from The Intercept.