Daily Management Review

American hackers exposed in Germany


The CIA uses the US consulate in Frankfurt am Main to conduct hacking operations throughout Europe. This became known from documents published on WikiLeaks website. The publication can have an impact on the elections in Germany. Meanwhile, US Senator John McCain accused WikiLeaks of having links with Russia.

Christliches Medienmagazin pro via flickr
Christliches Medienmagazin pro via flickr
The fact that the US use the consulate in Frankfurt am Main for hacking operations follows from the CIA documents published on the WikiLeaks website on Tuesday. According to these data, the US Consulate has been used as a base for hacking operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Those CIA employees, who work undercover, receive "black" diplomatic passports and are considered employees of the State Department. For the German border authorities, they are represented by technical specialists who work at the consulate, follows from a new package of confidential documents. WikiLeaks has not published all of them. A series of leaks called Vault 7 will be published in parts.

Diplomatic cover for implementation of espionage activities is a long-known practice. This case, however, may pose a serious threat to relation between Washington and Berlin.

Internal correspondence of the Democratic Party appeared on WikiLeaks leaks during the election scandals in the United States. It struck image of Democrat Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump's rival in the election. Then WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange were accused of having links with the Russian authorities. Assange, who is using embassy of Ecuador in London as a hideout, denies this.

US Senator John McCain, a consistent critic of current US President Donald Trump, repeated the same accusations on March 8. "I cannot confirm this, but it is obvious that WikiLeaks has been connected with Russia," the Washington Examiner quoted him. However, McCain doubted that the new leaks about the CIA are connected with domestic special services.

Germany's leadership has not yet reacted to WikiLeaks’ statements. However, the very fact of having a hacker center on the diplomatic mission’s territory has already put the authorities in a difficult situation. Despite the fact that the special services of both powers share information and often work together, in recent years these relationships have come under pressure.

Germany itself, meanwhile, was shaken by a series of spy scandals involving the United States.

In the summer of 2013, German special services exposed an American spy who worked inside the German intelligence service. As it turned out later, the American intelligence officer recruited by the Americans seized a list of agents under diplomatic cover and handed it over to the Americans.

In the same year, a former agent of the American NSA, Edward Snowden, who hid from former employers in Russia, said that during an international summit, the US intelligence services eavesdropped on telephone conversations of Angela Merkel, then-Brazilian President Lula de Silva and Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev. 

Information about the spies in the American consulate in Germany was published against the backdrop of the German pre-election campaign for parliamentary election. The election is of paramount importance to Merkel, who hopes to get the Chancellor's post again if her allies win.

Information on presence of the hacker center in the US consulate in Frankfurt is contained in the first part of the US CIA documents package. According to the project’s authors, the published database, designated as the Vault 7 project, will be the largest leak of confidential intelligence papers.

The publication’s first part includes more than 8.7 thousand documents and files from isolated internal network of the Cyber Intelligence Center at the CIA headquarters in Langley. As WikiLeaks’ experts note, the documents demonstrate abilities of the CIA’s "hacker program", and cases of its use in smartphones Apple and Google, Windows, as well as in Samsung TVs.

The New York Times notes that for this leak surprised the CIA. "We are not commenting either authenticity or content of these documents, presented as documents of the intelligence community," the CIA spokesman said.

Experts note that publication of documents is the first serious crisis for the new head of the CIA, Michael Pompeo, who just recently joined administration of Donald Trump.

source: theguardian.com