• United States



by Dave Gradijan

Web Exposes Covert CIA Agents

Mar 13, 20062 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

A search of a commercial data compilation service on the Web has turned up a “virtual directory” of more than 2,600 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employees, some 50 internal CIA telephone numbers and the whereabouts of roughly 24 secret CIA buildings across America, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The information discovered by the Tribune is available to anyone who qualifies for a subscription to an online public data compilation service, according to the Tribune.

The Tribune chose not to publish specifics from their searches, the ways in which they searched the data compilation service or other details that could put the CIA employees in harm’s way.

The discovery allegedly “horrified” CIA Director Porter Goss, according to the Tribune.

The agency was not aware to what extent information on its agents was available via the Internet, until the Tribune provided it with a list of employee names and related information, the Tribune reports.

“Cover is a complex issue that is more complex in the Internet age,” Jennifer Dyck, one of Goss’ spokespeople, told the Tribune. “There are things that worked previously that no longer work.  Director Goss is committed to modernizing the way the agency does cover in order to protect our officers who are doing dangerous work.”

Dyck did not inform the Tribune of the specific ways the agency is improving its safeguards of information pertaining to its employees “since we don’t want the bad guys to know what we’re fixing.”

Of the 2,653 CIA employees the Tribune was able to cull information on, not all were working undercover, according to the article. More than 160 or them were employed as intelligence analysts, a position that is not undercover, and senior CIA executives, such as Goss’ predecessor George Tenet, were also included, according to the Tribune.

A number of secret facilities in northern Virginia, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington state were also discovered on the Web, the Tribune reports.

Keep checking in at our CSO Security Feed page for updated news coverage.