Tags: Russia | Hacks | Evidence | Risk | Lives

Ex-CIA Officer: Making Russian Hacking Evidence Public Could Put Lives at Risk

Image: Ex-CIA Officer: Making Russian Hacking Evidence Public Could Put Lives at Risk

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By    |   Tuesday, 27 Dec 2016 11:44 AM

Telling the American public about any evidence that points to Russia interfering with the U.S. presidential election could be bad for the CIA's overall intelligence gathering activities, a retired agency employee wrote in an opinion piece.

Steven L. Hall argued in The Washington Post that in many cases, keeping the details of intelligence activities a secret is safer for the source of the intelligence — which will ultimately keep the flow of information coming into the CIA's Langley headquarters.

"Facts may help resolve the matter, but in revealing the facts, the government may also reveal how we got them," Hall wrote. "It is truly not an overstatement to say that technical capabilities we have spent years and millions to develop could be rendered useless in one news cycle if disclosure is not handled correctly.

"Worse — and I do not exaggerate — if it were human sources that provided the information, they could lose their lives."

Hall wrote that without human sources of intelligence and technological intelligence-gathering methods, things will get a lot harder for the CIA.

"Sources will tell their case officers, 'I know you will want to use the information I have, but to do so will put me at great risk. Can you guarantee that you and your organization will protect me?'" he wrote.

"If they sense there is no such guarantee — or worse, if there are examples of when such guarantees were useless — they will self-edit. Sometimes they will simply refuse to report.

"Similarly, if technical collection methodologies are made public, the adversary — in this case, Russia — will take quick action to cut off the technical accesses gained after years of careful work.

"In both cases, the flow of intelligence simply ends, and future collection can be seriously limited."

The CIA and other American intelligence agencies believe Russia tried to influence the U.S. election via computer hacks and fake news stories. Democrats have cried foul and have blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for Hillary Clinton's loss to Republican Donald Trump.

Hall wrote that injecting politics into an intelligence issue makes things a lot more difficult to deal with.

"If one piece of intelligence is revealed, one political side or the other will almost certainly feel the information favors their adversaries," Hall wrote.

"They will demand additional information. Worse, questions like, 'How exactly did you get that information?' or 'Where did that come from?' and 'When precisely did you know that?' will inevitably be asked — and the protection of sources and methods will begin to erode."

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Telling the American public about any evidence that points to Russia interfering with the U.S. presidential election could be bad for the CIA's overall intelligence gathering activities...
Russia, Hacks, Evidence, Risk, Lives
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2016-44-27
Tuesday, 27 Dec 2016 11:44 AM
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