Ellen Nakashima


Nakashima, Ellen. "Dismantling of Saudi-CIA Web Site Illustrates Need for Clearer Cyberwar Policies." Washington Post, 19 Mar. 2010, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to former senior officials, a "Saudi-CIA Web site was set up several years ago as a 'honey pot,' an online forum covertly monitored by intelligence agencies to identify attackers and gain information." Saudi intelligence operatives had used the site "to round up some extremists before they could strike." By early 2008, U.S. military officials, including Gen. Ray Odierno, U.S. military commander in Iraq, had grown "concerned that the site 'was being used to pass operational information' among extremists." The decision was made to designate the operation as "a traditional military activity," not as a covert operation, so there was no need to brief congressional committees.

The Pentagon's Joint Functional Component Command-Network Warfare at Fort Meade and its "[e]lite U.S. military computer specialists[,] ... mounted a cyberattack that dismantled the online forum." A former official said that "dismantling of the CIA-Saudi site inadvertently disrupted more than 300 servers in Saudi Arabia, Germany and Texas." According to another former U.S. official, "some Saudi officials had been informed in advance about the Pentagon's plan, [but] several key princes were 'absolutely furious' at the loss of an intelligence-gathering tool."

[CA/2010s; CIA/2010s; GenPostwar/InfoWar; MI/2010s; OtherCountries/Arab/SaudiArabia]

Nakashima, Ellen. "FBI Backs Off From Secret Order for Data After Lawsuit." Washington Post, 8 May 2008, D1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The FBI has withdrawn a national security letter (NSL) "seeking the name, address and online activity of a patron of the Internet Archive after the San Francisco-based digital library filed suit to block the action." The FBI also agreed to drop the accompanying gag order.


Nakashima, Ellen. "Intelligence Chief Acknowledges U.S. May Target Americans Involved in Terrorism." Washington Post, 4 Feb. 2010. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

DNI Dennis C. Blair told HPSCI members on 3 February 2010 that "government agencies may kill U.S. citizens abroad who are involved in terrorist activities if they are taking action that threatens Americans." Blair added that "the factors that 'primarily' weigh on the decision to target an American include 'whether that American is involved in a group that is trying to attack us, whether that American is a threat to other Americans.'"

[DNI/10; Terrorism/10s/10]

Nakashima, Ellen. "Intelligence Oversight Bill Faces Obstacles: Issues Remain Despite Senate Approval." Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2009, A3. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The Senate has approved intelligence oversight legislation, deferring discussion of rules for interrogation and detention of terrorism suspects that have derailed previous proposals. But the nation's top intelligence official says he may recommend that President Obama veto the oversight proposals because they broaden traditional congressional briefings on covert activities."


Nakashima, Ellen. "National Archives Backing Away from CIA E-mail Destruction Plan." Washington Post, 26 Nov. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The National Archives is rethinking its preliminary blessing of a CIA plan to eventually destroy all e-mail messages sent by non-senior officials.... The CIA sought permission in January [2014] to destroy e-mail communications of all but 22 top CIA officials within three years of their leaving the agency -- 'or when no longer needed, whichever is sooner.' ... NARA on [26 November 2014] informed the committee and others who had commented on the proposal that it will hold a public meeting in the coming months to address the issue."


Nakashima, Ellen. "National Intelligence Director Says Budget Will Be Moved from Pentagon Control." Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2010. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

DNI James R. Clapper Jr. told a U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation conference in New Orleans on 2 November 2010 that he has a "conceptual agreement" with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates "to remove the $53 billion national intelligence budget from Pentagon control and place it under his purview by 2013, as part of an effort to enhance his authority over the U.S. intelligence community."


Nakashima, Ellen. "NSA Names Its First Director of Compliance." Washington Post, 24 Jul. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

DIRNSA Lt. Gen. Keith Alexande has named John DeLong to the position of director of compliance. DeLong will "monitor adherence to rules governing the surveillance of phone calls and e-mails, as well as other agency activities."


Nakashima, Ellen. "Pentagon Cyber Unit Prompts Questions: New Command's Offensive Role Complicates Administration's Global Outreach." Washington Post, 13 Jun. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Defense officials are creating a "cyber-command" to "defend military networks and develop offensive cyber-weapons, based on a strategy that brings together the military's cyber-warriors" and NSA. According to administration officials, the cyber-command "will focus strictly on military networks." However, "senior intelligence officials have also urged that the NSA use its abilities to help" DHS defend "critical computer systems."

[GenPostwar/InfoWar; MI/00s/09]

Nakashima, Ellen, and Brian Krebs. "Obama Says He Will Name National Cybersecurity Adviser." Washington Post, 30 May 2009, A5. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 29 May 2009, President Obama "said he will name a senior White House official to coordinate government efforts to protect a 'strategic national asset': the digital networks that handle phone calls, e-mails, government and military data, and also control power grids, nuclear plants and airplane traffic.... The cybercoordinator will be a member of the National Security Council and the National Economic Council.... The official will coordinate government cybersecurity policies, work with the Office of Management and Budget to ensure agencies have enough money to defend their systems, and coordinate the response to a major cyberattack, Obama said."

See also, David E. Sanger and John Markoff, "Obama Outlines Coordinated Cyber-Security Plan," New York Times, 30 May 2009.


Nakashima, Ellen, and Jerry Markon. "NSA Director Says Dozens of Attacks Were Stopped by Surveillance Programs." Washington Post, 12 Jun. 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee on 12 June 2013, NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander "defended his agency's broad electronic surveillance programs..., saying that they have helped thwart dozens of terrorist attacks and that their recent public disclosure has done 'great harm' to the nation's security." See also, David E. Sanger, Charlie Savage, and Michael S. Schmidt, "N.S.A. Chief Says Phone Logs Halted Terror Threats," 12 Jun. 2013.


Nakashima, Ellen, and Jerry Markon. "NSA Leak Trial Exposes Dilemma for Justice Department." Washington Post, 10 Jun. 2011. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 10 June 2011, former NSA official Thomas A. Drake pled "guilty to a single misdemeanor of misusing a government computer to provide information to an unauthorized person. Drake is expected to serve no prison time." The goverment's case against Drake "for unlawfully retaining classified information" fell apart on 3 June when U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett "ruled that the prosecution could not shield from public disclosure classified information it wanted to present as evidence." Associated Press, "Former NSA Senior Official Who Leaked Secrets to a Reporter Sentenced to 1 Year of Probation," 15 Jul. 2011, report's Drake's sentence of "a year’s probation and community service."


Nakashima, Ellen, and Greg Miller. "Obama Calls for Significant Changes in Collection of Phone Records of U.S. Citizens." Washington Post, 17 Jan. 2014. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

In a speech at the Justice Department on 17 January 2014, President Obama "directed that from now on, the government must obtain a court order for each phone number it wants to query in its database of records. Analysts will be able to review phone calls that are two steps removed from a number associated with a terrorist organization instead of three. And he ordered a halt to eavesdropping on dozens of foreign leaders and governments that are friends or allies." See also, Mark Landler and Charlie Savage, "Obama Outlines Calibrated Curbs on Phone Spying," New York Times, 18 Jan. 2014.


Nakashima, Ellen, and Alan Sipress. "Al Qaeda Figure Seized in Thailand: Local Units, CIA Cooperated to Nab Top Asian Terror Suspect." Washington Post, 15 Aug. 2003, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Capture in Thailand of Nurjaman Riduan Isamuddin.


Nakashima, Ellen, and Joby Warrick. "Stuxnet Was Work of U.S. and Israeli Experts, Officials Say." Washington Post, 1 Jun. 2012. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to current and former U.S. officials, the Stuxnet computer virus "cyberattack against Iran's nuclear program was the work of U.S. and Israeli experts and proceeded under the secret orders of President Obama.... [T]he classified effort code-named Olympic Games ... was first developed during the George W. Bush administration and was geared toward damaging Iran's nuclear capability gradually while sowing confusion among Iranian scientists about the cause of mishaps at a nuclear plant....

"Olympic Games became a collaborative effort among NSA, the CIA and Israel, current and former officials said.... The CIA and Israelis oversaw the development of plans to gain physical access to the plant. Installing the worm in plant equipment not connected to the Internet depended on spies and unwitting accomplices ... who might connect an infected device to one of the systems, officials said."

See also David E. Sanger, "Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran," New York Times, 1 Jun. 2012. This article is adapted from Sanger's Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power (New York: Crown, 2012).

[CA/Iran/10s; GenPostCW/10s/Gen; Israel/10s]

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