By Devin Malone
On Tuesday, March 7, files with the codename “Vault 7” were posted on the website ‘Wikileaks.” The document themselves belonged to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and listed numerous spy techniques that the organization had been planning to use on “selected targets.” A majority of these techniques involve malware and hacking.
According to the same Wikileaks page, there were about 8,761 leaked documents, with the first part of the series being dubbed “Year Zero” by the the CIA. “Year Zero” dates all the way back to 2012, with the CIA allegedly spying on French political parties and politicians before the their election.
“Year Zero” also goes into detail about the CIA’s new weaponization of many computerized objects like Android and iPhones to televisions by Samsung and internet connected smart-cars. Many of these will be used for covert spying to gather information on selected targets that the CIA deems dangerous.
This is just one of many spying privileges government agencies were given after the signing of the Patriot Act back on October 26, 2001. This act, passed only 45 days after 9/11, was one of many surveillance changes that spawned after the World Trade Center collapsed. The act itself allowed for government agencies like the NSA to spy on American citizens if the were considered a threat to American freedoms.
“Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force — its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency’s hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA’s hacking capacities,” Wikileaks stated in front page.
This is the second major leak of information by Wikileaks on government agencies spying on US citizens. The first was in 2013 with Edward Snowden and his piece on the NSA’s hacking capabilities. After that leak Snowden had to seek asylum in Russia, and while no one knows who exactly leaked the information, the CIA has started a manhunt to track the individual down.