NSA’s Latest Leak Debacle Explained

No Intelligence Community leaker has ever been unmasked and arrested this fast – here’s why

Yesterday began splendidly for The Intercept, the online news outlet which specializes in leaking the secrets of Western intelligence. They had a genuine bombshell on their hands – a current above-Top Secret document from the National Security Agency, which is that outlet’s preeminent bugbear. Moreover, the intelligence report The Intercept got its hands on deals with the hottest topic in Washington these days: Russian meddling in last year’s election.

Only published by NSA on May 5, after months of analysis, the highly classified report’s wordy title indicates its importance:

Russia/Cybersecurity: Main Intelligence Directorate Cyber Actors [Redacted] Target U.S. Companies and Local U.S. Government Officials Using Voter Registration-Themed Emails, Spoof Election-Related Products and Services, Research Absentee Ballot Email Addresses; August to November 2016 (TS//SI//OC//REL to US, FVEY//FISA)

Translated into normal English, this NSA signals intelligence study of cyber-espionage by the Russian General Staff’s Main Intelligence Directorate – GRU for short – demonstrates that Kremlin agents indeed attempted to covertly influence last year’s presidential election – precisely as Hillary Clinton and her backers have insisted. The political import of this leak is therefore genuinely massive.

The report’s high classification further indicates that this is a special NSA assessment worthy of attention. To translate it:

TS = Top Secret, the highest classification level in the Intelligence Community

SI = Special Intelligence, meaning this information was derived from SIGINT intercepts

OC = Originator Controlled, meaning this report cannot be disseminated or released without NSA’s permission

REL to USA, FVEY = This report can be released to Americans and other members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance (Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), assuming those individuals have the appropriate clearances

FISA = This report contains information obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, meaning a classified warrant was issued to spy on American(s)

Read the rest at The Observer …