Sunday, February 20, 2011

CIA Gets Scammed, France Blows the Whistle

This is an extraordinary story. A software scam artist sold the CIA software he said could detect secret messages steganographically encoded in Al Jazeera broadcasts. The CIA believed that this information was real, to the point where it may have been prepared to shoot down airliners. Things never got that far, but flights were turned back in the air, and others grounded. But French officials didn't believe these tales:

French officials, upset that their planes were being grounded, commissioned a secret study concluding that the technology was a fabrication. Presented with the findings soon after the 2003 episode, Bush administration officials began to suspect that “we got played,” a former counterterrorism official said.
Unbelievable! Score one for France. (h/t Henry Farrell)


meshplate said...

Unbelievable indeed, not to mention utterly stupid and clearly dishonest. Why would al qaeda hide their "terrorist plots in the broadcasts of the Arab network Al Jazeera" for christsakes? They don't have email? That's what you get when you look at the world through the eyes of serious, hard-nosed men. Colin Powell at the UN anyone? Tony Blair's 45 minute warning? Bush's mushroom cloud and uranium from Uganda. However compared to the too big to stop hyper-money wasting in the Iraq and Afghanistan (billions in cash unaccounted for which nobody cares about apparently), this is small beer, if of a piece.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Franc and the great oil sniffer hoax in the 1970's