March 10, 2012

Op Sabu: A case study in Information Warfare


March 8, 2012

In my line of work this whole Sabu affair is an analytical gold mine. It’s very rare in Information Operations (IO) to have such a detailed record available that can be so easily be reverse engineered. I mean, really, how often does an opportunity like this really come along?  Has it ever happened before in an unclassified form?
This is how something like this works: The first thing that happens is that he has to give them all his different identities, passwords, encryption keys, and every other shred of anything useful he may have. That comes before anything else is even discussed. That kind of debriefing would take a week. DUring that time every piece of equipment in his possession is either compromised at the hardware level, or replaced entirely with compromised equipment. Surveillance is put into place, usually, both electronic and human. Then, with a figurative(ish) shotgun pressed firmly against the asset’s temple, you put them back into place.

What that means is that at that point, Sabu couldn’t wipe his own ass without the FBI giving him approved toilet paper (although, being unemployed and on welfare, he hasn’t wiped his ass with anything other than government issued toilet paper since…. well…. since he had a fucking job). I’ll get into all the irony that is associated with Sabu’s welfare life later. The point is, after his arrest it became impossible for Sabu to make two decisions in a row without FBI approval. When I consider that, I keep coming back to the same question: Who approved all the shit he did after that, and why? I’m not saying it was a bad idea. I don’t know yet. I’m just curious as to what level of authority is required to make decisions like that. What I do know is that it is way above the handler, or regional field office, level.
I will come back to this after I’ve had a chance to collect and analyze the available data. Right now, anyone who pretends to have a full handle on this is totally full of shit. It will take weeks (if not more) to analyze the logs, actions, and consequences, of this operation. What is a reality is that this is fascinating to anyone skilled or working in IO. Honestly, reverse engineering this will be more fun and challenging than tracking Sabu ever was.
Detailed analysis to follow….
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