Intelligence: Another Terrorist Trap Exposed

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September 5, 2006: Another valuable intel capability has been weakened by exposure in the media. But this time, it wasn't the New York Times, but several Israeli newspapers, covering the escapades of an Israeli Internet entrepreneur, and his flight from prosecution in the United States for stock fraud, that did the damage. The story was all about how a shady Israeli private investigator claimed to have traced the fugitive, Jacob Alexander, via a VOIP phone call, to Sri Lanka.
This was big news for many terrorists, because they generally believed that VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), or phone calls made over the Internet, were not traceable. The calls are also encrypted, with a cipher that is believed very hard to decode. The VOIP geeks know that VOIP calls can be traced, and the encryption geeks continue to discuss how easy it would be (especially if you were the NSA) to decrypt those calls. But until this recent flurry of publicity over the hunt for Jacob Alexander, the general public (which includes many Islamic terrorists) were unaware of the situation. Now Islamic terrorists may use VOIP less, or perhaps not at all. That's bad news for intelligence agencies, who have had a lot of success collecting information about Islamic terrorists via the Internet.
Mr. Alexander is still at large.

 


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