Dozens of Spies Killed Thanks to Flawed CIA Comms

A flawed online communications system developed by the CIA was exposed to Google’s web crawlers, ultimately leading to the execution of dozens of spies, according to a new report.

The unnamed platform was cracked by Iranian intelligence after a tip-off by a double agent revealed the website they used to communicate with their CIA handlers. Google searches allowed them to locate other secret CIA websites and, from there, start to pick apart the entire spy network, according to Yahoo News.

This all started in 2009 after Tehran went looking for US moles following the announcement by the Obama administration of the discovery of a secret underground enrichment facility.

However, the impact was felt globally, most probably after Iran shared its intelligence with China, a move which ultimately led to an estimated 30 CIA spies being executed by Beijing and the collapse of its network there.

This “catastrophic” chain of events led to 70% of the CIA’s spy network potentially exposed to compromise at one point between 2009-13, according to the report.

The after-effects are apparently still being felt today.

The problem stemmed from over-confidence among US officials in the use of the platform in hostile states like Iran and China where rigorous state monitoring makes it difficult to communicate in secret.

“It was never meant to be used long term for people to talk to sources,” said one former official. “The issue was that it was working well for too long, with too many people. But it was an elementary system.”

Another issue highlighted by the report was the lack of accountability for the failure in the intelligence services, and the sacking of a whistleblower who first brought the problem out into the open back in 2011.

“Our biggest insider threat is our own institution,” remarked a former official.

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