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Vault 7: CIA seems to be making America unsafe again

While US President Donald Trump is working to make America great again, the CIA appears to be hard at work to make the country unsafe again.

No other conclusion can be drawn following the massive data dump by WikiLeaks overnight on Tuesday US time that contained details of exploits for numerous common operating systems – Windows, macOS, OS X, Android, iOS, Linux, and others.

While WikiLeaks showed its political nous by not releasing actual exploit code, the dump illustrated one fact that its publisher Julian Assange made during a press conference overnight: the leaking of the material indicates a high level of incompetence within the CIA.

Assange was clever again in saying that WikiLeaks would release details of the weaponised exploits to companies that were affected, so that the vulnerabilities could be patched - all for the safety of users.

In other words, Assange, perpetually painted as some kind of terrorist by the US and other governments, is now Mr Good Guy as far as all the big tech firms are concerned.

The CIA, by comparison, had whatever little reputation it has dragged through the mire again.

One must bear in mind that the Vault 7 dump is just the tip of the iceberg. In notes accompanying its release, WikiLeaks made it plain that the remainder of the material that it had received, a considerable amount, would be released later after making it safe for public viewing.

How will the US government react? It is worth noting that President Donald Trump — who has had good words for WikiLeaks in the past — had not said a word to condemn the organisation for the CIA document dump.

Trump, a loose cannon on Twitter, has kept quiet about the leak. But he could be holding his peace because the revelations benefit him.

One of the facts to emerge from the Vault 7 documents is that the CIA uses code from other sources, including foreign agencies, to disguise its fingerprints.

Thus, here is a case to be made now that it was the CIA that actually hacked the Democratic National Committee last year, all the while using code from Russian tools to hide their tracks and make it appear as though Moscow was to blame.

So far, there has been a sustained attempt to paint the Russians as being in collusion with Trump and his people to tilt the election towards him. Now, there is a logical finger that can be pointed at the CIA as being the culprit.

Trump has been at odds with the intelligence community for most of his short period in the White House. What he says about Vault 7 on his Twitter feed will now be watched with great interest.


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.