Operation Dark Heart – Page 17
At DIA, in 1999 and 2000, I was director of Task Force Stratus Ivy. One of my elements was the first undercover cyber unit, where we put officers undercover posing as hackers on the Internet.
During my command of Task Force Stratus Ivy, we were looking to penetrate al Qaeda command and control nodes in Kabul. We knew they contained significant information on individuals being trained in the terrorism camps – and, more importantly, their potential targets. My unit’s mission, within the context of a much larger operation known as Able Danger, was to try to find a way to access the computers and pull the data off without their knowledge. We were making progress – and had a pathway in – when things were shut down; a decision that was terribly flawed in retrospect.
We also penetrated the North Korean clandestine weapons and technology acquisition network, using a cover company where I was (in alias) the chief executive. In another operation, we penetrated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Iranian intelligence service.
Nevertheless, we faced constant resistance from the risk-averse DIA bureaucracy.