‘They want to kill people with my software that doesn’t work,’ software exec tells court
The CIA used illegally pirated software to direct Predator drone attacks, despite apparently knowing the software was inaccurate, according to documents in an intellectual property lawsuit.
The lawsuit, working its way through a Massachusetts court, alleges that the CIA purchased a pirated and inaccurate version of a location analysis program, which may have incorrectly located targets by as much as 42 feet.
The allegation raises fresh questions about the CIA’s execution of drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are believed to have killed hundreds of civilians in the past four years.
And if the court decides to grant an injunction against users of the software, it could potentially halt the CIA’s drone attacks, at least temporarily, as the agency works to find a replacement.
Massachusetts-based Intelligent Integration Systems Inc., or IISI, has asked a judge to stop clients of IT firm Netezza from using software IISI says is pirated, reports The Register.
According to IISI, Netezza reverse-engineered a location analysis program called Geospatial and installed it on its own hardware, which it then sold to the CIA. Netezza had contracted IISI to build the software, but decided to create its own unauthorized version after the project suffered delays, the lawsuit alleges.
The CIA accepted the pirated software despite reportedly knowing it “produced locations inaccurate by up to 13 metres (42.6 feet),” reports The Register.
In a sworn deposition, IISI chief technical officer Richard Zimmerman said a Netezza executive pressured him to deliver the product before it was ready and told him it was their “patriotic duty” to build location software for CIA-operated drones.
Another Netezza executive reportedly asserted that the CIA would accept flawed software. “My reaction was one of stun, amazement that they want to kill people with my software that doesn’t work,” Zimmerman said.
According to court documents, Netezza delivered its reverse-engineered software to the CIA in 2009.
“The potential for a software malfunction to cause serious havoc with an unmanned aerial vehicle, such as a Predator Drone, is no longer a matter of pure theory,” writes Bill Conroy at NarcoNews. “Last month a Navy drone entered the airspace of the nation’s Capitol after being out of control for a half hour due to what the Navy called a ‘software issue.’
“If the CIA is using flawed software re-engineered by Netezza ‘to target predator drones in Afghanistan,’ as IISI’s pleadings in the lawsuit assert, then it is likely only a matter of time before innocent lives are compromised due to a ‘software issue.’ In that sense, IISI’s motion for a preliminary junction, if successful, could be seen as a lifesaver,” Conroy argues.
Last year, the New American Foundation estimated that Predator drones killed 750 to 1,000 people in Pakistan between 2006 and 2009. About one third — an estimated 320 people — were believed to be civilians.
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‘There is no managing Donald Trump’: White House Republicans blasted for their myth of ‘adults in the room’
Republicans who thought they could manage Donald Trump were taken down in The New Yorker on Tuesday.
The Susan Glasser article was titled, "The spectacular failure of the Trump wranglers."
"On Tuesday, nearly seven hours into the marathon third day of public impeachment hearings, Kurt Volker tried to explain to the House Intelligence Committee what it was like to carry out the nearly impossible task of wrangling U.S. policy toward Ukraine during the Presidency of Donald Trump," Glasser wrote. "Volker, a veteran Republican diplomat who had been serving, since 2017, as Trump’s Special Representative to Ukraine, said that he realized last spring that he had a 'problem,' and that it was Trump himself.
BUSTED: Trump’s White House sent out anti-Vindman talking points — trashing their own staffer
President Donald Trump's war on his own employees escalated on Tuesday when the White House spread talking points designed to result in a coordinated attack on a decorated active-duty Army officer.
"The Trump White House has taken the extraordinary step of distributing talking points to allies of the president trashing one of its employees," The Daily Beast reported after obtaining a copy of the document.
"On Tuesday morning, White House aide Julia Hahn emailed Trump surrogates under the subject line, “Vindman’s Complaints Are Nothing More Than Policy Disagreements,” according to messages reviewed by The Daily Beast. Hahn, a Steve Bannon protege and one of his former allies in the White House, works on outreach and communications involving pro-Trump talking heads and other players in conservative media," The Beast reported.