The criminal US government likes to tell everyone how bad and untrustworthy the criminal Chinese government is, but are not only doing the exact same things they are blaming the Chinese of, but quite often even much worse. In this case we learn that through their intelligence agency, the CIA (Criminals In Action), they are recruiting spies at various US companies for all kinds of intelligence operations, just like the Chinese government. When you’re doing business with US companies, you might actually be doing business with spies.
Here’s from Yahoo! News, “‘Shattered’: Inside the secret battle to save America’s undercover spies in the digital age” (December 30th 2019):
By mid-decade, the agency concluded that the best way to hide was in plain sight. Nowadays, say former officials, NOCs [officers under nonofficial cover] must truly “live their cover” — that is, actually work as the professional engineer or businessperson that they present themselves to be. NOCs live and work under their true names, say former officials, though they are known to their CIA counterparts by a pseudonym. Fewer than 10 percent of individuals within the CIA’s Directorate of Operations regularly use alias passports or credit cards, says a former senior official.
The intelligence community has developed sophisticated “backstopping” procedures, which seed a cover story through web traffic, emails and other digital channels. But in an interconnected world, “good backstopping can be defeated in a Google search,” says one former senior intelligence official. Because of that reality, the use of front companies for NOCs has become increasingly untenable, necessitating closer coordination and cooperation with private American businesses for the placement and recruitment of NOCs, say former senior officials.
It’s not always easy, however. “The CIA is very good at this, but they are getting the door slammed in their face,” says one former senior official. In Silicon Valley, recalls another former senior official, it was difficult to convince these companies to participate. The situation got worse in 2013, when Edward Snowden, an intelligence contractor, gave a trove of classified documents to journalists, exposing the extent of tech companies’ cooperation with the National Security Agency. “Before, it was hard,” says this person, and “it was harder to do post-Snowden.”
Even a switch of employer, or an unexplained gap in one’s résumé, can be a giveaway to a foreign intelligence service, say former officials. In response, the agency has also shifted to recruiting individuals within the companies they already work at, and, with the approval of corporate leadership, secretly transitioning those persons onto the CIA payroll, and training them intermittently and clandestinely, far from any known CIA facility.
Sometimes, when these individuals are finished working for the agency, they simply transition back to a full-time job for the company where they already “work.” In one recent case, a NOC who had worked at a U.S. company as a “full-time career employee” and was transitioning out of his CIA work was “softly landed” back into another position at the same firm — with the agency paying for his moving expenses and a government severance package, says a former senior intelligence official.
The agency, which former officials say recruits and emplaces NOCs in the technology, finance and film industries, among other sectors, targets both major U.S. corporations and smaller U.S. companies, which are sometimes preferred because they are not beholden to shareholders.
Often, say former officials, only a few select executives within a company are aware of its relationship with the agency and the “real” identities of the people in their employ. To encourage or reward cooperation from businesses, agency officials will sometimes provide special, tailor-made briefings to executives on the political and economic climate of countries of business interest to that company, say two former officials.
“There is a serious legal and policy process” in place at the CIA to manage these relationships, says a former official. Otherwise, “you could break industries.”
This is very similar to what the criminal Chinese government is doing, although in China the law obligates companies to have to work with the criminal government when they demand it. As far as I know there are no such laws in the USA, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the criminal US government were somehow compelling companies to participate when they have the chance to do so. And when it comes to Silicon Valley, the The Corbett Report had a very interesting documentary about that.
There are a lot more interesting bits in the full article; it’s a long one but I recommend reading it for more insight. Like I mentioned before in the NSO/Israel VS Citizen Lab case, it’s important to understand how these psychopaths operate so you know what to look out for when dealing with people everyday. These days you can’t be too paranoid, as nothing is what it appears to be and nobody can be trusted.