With the intention to infect millions of computers with malware, the National Security Agency impersonated popular social networking site Facebook.

According to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the clandestine initiative enabled the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.

Journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher reported in The Intercept: “In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target’s computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive. In others, it has sent out spam emails laced with the malware, which can be tailored to covertly record audio from a computer’s microphone and take snapshots with its webcam. The hacking systems have also enabled the NSA to launch cyberattacks by corrupting and disrupting file downloads or denying access to websites.”

The Facebook exploit was called QUANTUMHAND and was first used on a few hundred hard-to-reach targets, whose communications could not be monitored through traditional wiretaps.

After that, the NSA planned to spread it to millions of computers around the globe using an automated system known internally as TURBINE.

TURBINE gave members of the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) unit the ability to tap into, or destroy, computers on a massive scale, documents show.

See documents here.


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Joshua Cook

Joshua Cook is a writer and a political activist. He has interviewed many politicians including Rand Paul, Walter Jones, Bob Graham, Trey Gowdy and thought leaders who shape U.S. policy. He is a host of 'Beer and Politcs' on Truth In Media. If you have any tips please email him at joshua@truthinmedia.com. Find him on Twitter @RealJoshuaCook

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  • Engineered Reality

    What do you expect from the biggest terrorist organization in the world?

  • Mike M

    Almost as bad as all the pop ups that this site uses to circumvent my pop up blocker!

    • Mario

      “Circumvent”!!! Wohhh! My nose is bleeding!

  • Andre Leonard

    Yep.. this cancer known as the NSA is terminal. This agency knows no bounds when it comes to the depths it will sink to. It right there at the bottom of the toilet. The only difference between the Tidy Bowel man and the NSA is the Tidy Bowel man had a boat.

    We should all have a debt of gratitude for Edward Snowden. I certainly do.

    • Perry Noid

      But as you know the NSA has been around for decades.

      • Andre Leonard

        True, but most recently they have lost sight of their mission. Born to decipher code during WW1. they have morphed into a domestic spying monster without any oversight.


        • Todd Hill

          Their mission has never been above board. There was never a time when they weren’t scheming to control the populace to gain some advantage to grow their power.

  • dddienst

    All this and they still couldn’t foresee Russia invading Crimea.

  • http://www.joshuascottmccullough.com/ Josh McCullough

    I’ll ask again: why haven’t the NSA participants been arrested? If a non-gov’t entity did what they have done, they would be in prison for life.

    • EndCorruptCorporatocracy

      In short: it’s good to be king! It’s up to us to go after these treasonous participants in the domestic terrorist occupying force (AKA: corrupt “federal government”), I suppose. It is a criminally-infiltrated enterprise which masquerades as “our government” but merely serves criminal interests and investors, not you and me. They rob us of our money via extortion + threat of force (violence), which = the system of “taxation” and the myriad of codified “laws”, for infractions of which we are penalized via fines or threatened with incarceration–and then use our money against us. You make a great point. In what sick world do people either 1. feel so hopeless or afraid as to NOT do anything about this and/or 2. exist in such a state of TV-anesthetized detached consumerism as to be completely apathetic to such gross usurpation? Our world, sadly…. Tyranny is as tyranny does: rule via fear, misinformation, and fascist means, and enjoy complete immunity from the rules under which the rest of us drones / tax slaves must abide…. Oh, how the Founders must spin in their graves….

  • LibertyChick

    So, Republican President Nixon gets impeached for tapping one phone, and Democrat prez Obama can tap millions and there is no blow-back for him.

    How did the hippies of the 60’s who didn’t want the government to harsh their mellow become so complacent and willing to give up all their personal power and liberty for some moron living in DC and spending more money on one vacation than many Americans make in 10 years. Gotta hunch I’d be audited if I did that…

    • frankie da’ scarf

      And don’t forget the hissy fit they threw with Bush. These people are ALL snakes, period!

      The hippies of the 60’s? – – – I was 16 in ’68. For some reason, I had these people’s ‘numbers’ right away. I instantly KNEW ‘they’ were going to be running the country one day and it scared me to death. I thought, well maybe they’ll outgrow it, but my gut kept telling me different. I’m 61 now…I can never forget that day. Been in the back of my mind ever since.

  • Tannim

    OK, so the clear followup question that needs answering is this: How can we tell if our systems have been infected, and how to eliminate the infection?

  • Terry

    Hypocrites. They tried to shut down part of my son’s business (http://libertymaniacs.com/) for using their logo for a parody. Ben did several great pieces on it. Dan won his law suit against them. Will Zuckerberg have the balls to sue them, or just whine to Obama? Good article Joshua!

  • Kent

    The FBI does this as well. About a year ago there was a popular prepper website that was targeted by the FBI. They routed all traffic to the site through a proxy website. I do not remember the details or if the case was legitimate but the website owner seemed to be certain it had occurred.

  • Kent

    I have to say something that may be very unpopular. I believe this is the part of Edward Snowden’s leaks that begin to border on treason. If, as the article states, these techniques were used on foreign targets then they are not in violation of the Constitution. If they were not used on US citizens then he is revealing legitimate intelligence gathering that he should not be. There is a legitimate purpose for espionage. There are real threats to the US. “Hard to reach targets” and “Tailored Access Operations” suggest this may be a branch of the NSA doing exactly what they should be. Targeting specific threats to national security.

    • Timmy

      Automated attacks, and millions affected makes me believe this goes beyond “hard to reach targets” and “tao” only.

    • Todd Hill

      How many times does the government need to be caught in lies before you realize that they aren’t looking out for your best interest in ANY situation that doesn’t give them an even larger benefit?

    • POA

      Do you think using Facebook without permission is working within the Constitution? As far as I know Facebook is soley an American owned entity and protected by the laws of the US.

  • Robert

    We are a country that has lost its way! Headed for darkness! Tyrannical….gutted from within.
    The united no more. just states! But states of what?