Iran apparently infiltrated the communications network of CIA agents who allowed their secret websites, used to exchange messages with informants, to be crawled by Google.
A report from Yahoo! News this week claims that a 2009 breach of the US spy bods’ communications channels came after the Iranian government infiltrated a series of websites the CIA had used to talk to its sources in places like Iran and China.
Zach Dorfman, one of the journos behind the Yahoo! report, previously detailed the CIA’s “botched” communications system, from the point of view of China, over the summer for Foreign Policy.
“We’re still dealing with the fallout,” one former national security official was quoted as saying this month. “Dozens of people around the world were killed because of this.”
Web scraping is a two-edged sword
The communications leak was believed to have stemmed from a simple Google search. Suspecting the US had agents and sources within its nuclear program, Iran began to hunt for the mole. After a double agent showed Iran’s government one of the sites, they were then able to use Google to identify other sites the intel agency was using, and began to intercept their communications.