December 11, 2010
On Friday, BoingBoing reported on the CIA hosting a server that has the Wikileaks cables.
“Looks like the CIA created a ‘honeypot’ wikileaks mirror at wikileaks.psytek.net, presumably to see who is downloading the leaks – but they screwed up the anonymization,” writes Xeni Jardin. “A quick Google reveals who’s behind psytek.net. Wonder what other mirrors they set up, but with better cloaking?”
The tech community is abuzz with speculation today. Techdirt mentions a thread on Reddit pointing to a Google heatmap showing the locations people searching for the term wikileaks. “Not surprisingly, the hottest spot on the heatmap is the Northern Virginia, Washington DC area. Shocking, I know.” Northern Virginia is home to the CIA. Heat maps are a graphical representation of data.
On the psytek.net website we find the following: “I am the admin of psytek.net and I have just come online to tell you what I have found, after receiving a phonecall from a close friend when he saw my domain was linked to the CIA via Wikileaks.”
Yes, I decided to run a Wikileaks mirror last weekend as way of participating and helping keep information free and ultimately human freedom.
Upon closer analysis over the last few hours it appears my site has been compromised by CIA operatives who have attempted to discover the source of the Wikileaks mirror source.
I do not know how successful they were, only that they did manage to log all incoming traffic. Including inbound web traffic of users inside the United States trying to view the Wikileaks mirror.
Meanwhile, the Breaking the Calm blog and others claim there is no evidence the CIA has used the site to snoop on people looking for Wikileaks data. “This rumor lacked any real evidence, yet was reported by many in the hacker/hacktivist community as fact.”
Breaking the Calm has a point – there is scant evidence psytek.net is a CIA operation. On the other hand, it should be noted that the CIA is notorious for setting up front companies and operations.
History is replete with examples of the CIA not only snooping on people, but also staging violent coups, engineering bloody and genocidal wars, and torturing patsies and innocent people that had nothing to do with government-sponsored terrorism.