As a joint report from the Washington Post and German broadcaster ZDF reveals, the CIA secretly owned the major manufacturer of encryption devices used by most governments of the world from the 1950s until well into the 2000s. That Swiss company — Crypto AG — built back doors into all of its encryption so that the CIA and NSA could easily decrypt the communications at will. Since the U.S. Intelligence Community has spent the past several years renewing its war on encryption in the hands of private citizens, what does this mean for private communications of those who use encryption?
The immediate crisis appears to have passed in the wake of the January 3 U.S. surgical drone strike that took out Iran’s master terrorist, Gen. Ghasem Soleimani. Iran responded with predictable public bravado, along with an ineffective missile attack against military bases in Iraq that housed U.S. military personnel. Thankfully and wisely, President Trump chose to de-escalate the conflict, emphasizing that America had no desire for conflict with Iran.
Iran is strongly denying involvement in the crash of a Ukraine International Airlines jetliner that came down shortly after taking off from Tehran earlier this week, killing 176 people, though the New York Times has released a video purportedly showing a missile streaking across the sky and striking that plane.
The Iraqi Parliament voted on January 5 to eliminate the U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi told French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in a phone conversation the same day that Iraqi officials were preparing a memorandum calling for the withdrawal of foreign forces.
The United Kingdom, Germany, and France have sent a letter to the United Nations alleging that the Islamic Republic of Iran is testing a missile “equipped with a maneuverable re-entry vehicle” capable of delivering a nuclear warhead on a distant target. If true, the action would violate a Security Council resolution on such activity.
Back on September 16, we reported that the Trump administration had issued strong statements in response to the September 14 coordinated strikes on the world’s largest oil processing facility and a nearby oil field in Saudi Arabia. Soon after the strike, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged that Iran was behind what he called “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”