The question has been raised that Facebook has connections with the CIA. Facebook has a resource that any secret intelligence agency in the world would die for. Access to over 60 million people’s names, addresses, friends, activities, details about them, even phone numbers and emails. Given the CIA’s shady past and repertoire for doing anything to get information they need (You’ve seen the news yourself: torture, abuse, abductions). You would consider that at least one secret agency would attempt to contact Facebook, the fastest growing social networking website in the world.
“Facebook may also collect information about you from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, instant messaging services, and other users of the Facebook service through the operation of the service (e.g., photo tags) in order to provide you with more useful information and a more personalized experience.
“By using Facebook, you are consenting to have your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States.”
“When you use Facebook, you may set up your personal profile, form relationships, send messages, perform searches and queries, form groups, set up events, add applications, and transmit information through various channels. We collect this information so that we can provide you the service and offer personalized features”
“We may use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services, Facebook Platform developers and other users of Facebook, to supplement your profile.”
After Facebook was created by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, it was quite successful. It was brought to the attention of venture capitalist Peter Thiel, founder and former CEO of Paypal. He invested US$500,000, which really got Facebook off its feet. Facebook’s first angel investors appear to be connected to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The big infusion of cash that sent Mark Zuckerberg and his fledgling college enterprise on their way came from Accel Partners, in 2004. Jim Breyer, head of Accel, attached a $13 million rocket to Facebook, and nothing has ever been the same. Earlier that same year, a man named Gilman Louie joined the board of the National Venture Capital Association of America (NVCA). The chairman of NVCA? Jim Breyer. Gilman Louie happened to be the first CEO of the important CIA start-up, In-Q-Tel.
In-Q-Tel was founded in 1999, with the express purpose of funding companies that could develop technology the CIA would use to “gather data.” That’s not the only connection between Jim Breyer and the CIA’s man, Gilman Louie. In 2004, Louie went to work for BBN Technologies, headed up by Breyer. Dr. Anita Jones also joined BBN at that time. Jones had worked for In-Q-Tel and was an adviser to DARPA, the Pentagon’s technology department that helped develop the Internet.
With these CIA/Darpa connections, it’s no surprise that Jim Breyer’s jackpot investment in Facebook is not part of the popular mythology of Mark Zuckerberg. Better to omit it. Who could fail to realize that Facebook, with its endless stream of personal data, and its tracking capability, is an ideal CIA asset? But now the Facebook stock has tanked. On Friday, August 17, it weighed in at half its initial IPO price. For the first time since the IPO, venture-capital backers were legally permitted to sell off their shares, and some did, at a loss.
Articles appeared in the beginning that questioned Zuckerberg’s ability to manage his company. “Experts” were saying he should import a professional team to run the business side of things and step away. All this, despite the fact that Facebook’s first posted revenue as a public company exceeded analysts’ predictions, according to the LA Times.
This had the earmarks of classic shakeout and squeeze play in the beginning. It’s how heavy hitters gain control of a company. First, they drive down the price of the stock, then they trade it at low levels that discourage and demoralize the public and even semi-insiders. As the stock continues to tank, they quietly buy up as much of it as they can. Finally, when the price hits a designated rock bottom, they shoot it up all the way to new highs and win big. And they hold enough shares to exert more control over the company itself. Whether they gained control in this manor or later, no doubt, the CIA and its cutouts have power over it.. The company is very important as a data-mining asset of the intelligence community. It’s what they’ve wanted all along.
From the time Mark Zuckerberg was a child and attended the summer camp for “exceptional children,” CTY (Center for Talented Youth), run by Johns Hopkins University, he, like other CTY students, Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google), and Lady Gaga, have been easy to track. CTY and similar camps filter applications and pick the best and brightest for their accelerated learning programs. Tracing the later progress of these children in school and life would be a standard operation for agencies like the CIA. When Zuckerberg founded an interesting little social network at Harvard, and then sought to turn it into a business, the data-mining possibilities were obvious to CIA personnel. Through their cutouts, as described above, they stepped in and lent a helping hand.
In addition to the CIA, the National Security Agency and the FBI teamed up in October 2010 to develop techniques for turning Facebook into a surveillance tool. Documents released alongside security journalist Glenn Greenwald’s new book, “No Place To Hide,” reveal the NSA and FBI partnership, in which the two agencies developed techniques for exploiting Facebook chats, capturing private photos, collecting IP addresses, and gathering private profile data.
According to the slides below, the agencies’ goal for such collection was to capture “a very rich source of information on targets,” including “personal details, ‘pattern of life,’ connections to associates, [and] media.”
NSA documents make painfully clear how the agencies collected information “by exploiting inherent weaknesses in Facebook’s security model” through its use of the popular Akamai content delivery network. The NSA describes its methods as “assumed authentication,” and “security through obscurity.”
The slide below shows how the NSA and U.K. spy agency GCHQ also worked together to “obtain profile and album images.”
Two months ago, following a series of Facebook-related NSA spying leaks, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg stated in a blog post that he’s “confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the U.S. government.”
According to a report by The Intercept, the above slides do not reveal the NSA’s Facebook surveillance program in full. The report states that the NSA also “disguises itself as a fake Facebook server” to perform “man-in-the-middle” and “man-on-the-side” attacks and spread malware [below].
As we wrote at the time, the “NSA’s Facebook targeting is reportedly a response to the declining success of other malware injection techniques. Previous techniques included the use of “spam emails that trick targets into clicking a malicious link.”
Following the report, released in March, Zuckerberg said, “When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government.”
Zuckerberg claimed he disapproved of the NSA’s actions and said that he’s spoken to president Barack Obama by phone to “express [his] frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future.”