Government Computer Intrusions: The Discovery
The following is the sixth in a series of excerpts from my New York Times bestseller “Stonewalled,” which recounts the government intrusions of my computers. More excerpts to follow.
Referring to the typed notes,
Number One tells me that my computer was infiltrated by a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency (NSA). This particular intrusion came in silently at- tached to an otherwise innocuous email that I received and opened in February 2012. The intrusion was “redone” in July through a BGAN satellite terminal. I don’t even know what a BGAN satellite terminal is, but I later look it up online and find this ad:
“BGAN Portable Satellite Internet & Phone. Connect a Laptop, Smartphone or Any Wireless Device to a satellite terminal for High- Speed Internet and phone from anywhere on the planet. Terminals are small enough to be carried inside of a laptop case, yet deliver broadband up to 492 Kbps. . . . BGAN is the hands down winner for carry portability, and ease of setup by anyone.”
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Number One continues.
The intrusion was “refreshed” another time using Wi-Fi at a Ritz Carlton hotel. The uninvited programs were running constantly on my laptop. They included a keystroke program that monitored every- thing I typed, visited online, and viewed on my screen. They accessed all of my email including my CBS work account. They obtained the passwords to my financial accounts and other applications, some of which are noted on the typewritten paper that I’m staring at. I’m told that I should assume my smartphones are also afflicted.
Read excerpt #1 here: The Computer Intrusions: Up at Night
Read excerpt #2 here: Big Brother: First Warnings
Read excerpt #3 here: The Computer Intrusions: Disappearing Act
Read excerpt #4 here: The Incredible, Elusive “Verizon Man”
Read excerpt #5 here: I Spy: The Government’s Secrets
Continuing on, the intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool. As I understand it, the intrusion stopped abruptly about the time that I noted my computers quit turn- ing on at night. Did the intruders know by reading my emails and listening to me on the phone in early December that I was on to them? Did they remotely attempt to stop the programs at that time and cover their tracks, resulting in the end of the overnight computer activity?
Number One goes on to say that this was probably not a court- sanctioned action. He says the government’s legal taps are usually of much shorter duration and they don’t end abruptly as this one did. I’m also told flatly that my surveillance doesn’t match up with a PATRIOT Act order. An insider checked for me. I have many questions, but Number One can’t answer them. He’s just the messenger.
There’s one more finding. And it’s more disturbing than every- thing else.
“Did you put any classified documents on your computer?” asks Number One.
“No,” I say. “Why?”
“Three classified documents were on your computer. But here’s the thing. They were buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”
“Well, I certainly didn’t put anything there.”
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“Just making an educated guess, I’d say whoever got in your computer planted them.”
That’s worth pausing to let the chill run all the way up the back of my neck to the part of my brain that thinks, Why? To frame me? A source? My heart accelerates. I’m thinking it, but it’s Number One who finally breaks the silence to say it.
“They probably planted them to be able to accuse you of having classified documents if they ever needed to do that at some point.”
So a government-related entity has infiltrated my computer, email, and likely my smartphones, and that included illegally planting clas- sified documents in a possible attempt to lay the groundwork to even- tually entrap or frame me . . . or someone who talks to me? As it begins to sink in, I think of the whistleblowers and sources who have spoken to me over the past two years, often confidentially. By having well-placed sources help me discover this infiltration, did I just dodge a bullet? Did I get them before they got me?
To be continued…
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