Former Chief of CIA Bin Laden Unit: Internet Video Can’t Be Tracked

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Tonight Fox News has announced the existence of a new Bin Laden video.  During the Hannity & Colmes show, just after the news broke, Michael Scheuer (former chief of the CIA Bin Laden unit) was featured as an expert commentator.  Here's an excerpt of the conversation that transpired:

Allen Colmes: If [Bin Laden] can get tapes to us, could we trace that back to get to him?

Michael Scheuer: You know sir… that's, uhh… alot of people have raised that criticism of the agency and of other intelligence groups, but as you know working in communications as you do, you can send a packet of electronic information from Bolivia to Uruguay to Sweden and the track is just can't be found because there's so much material out there.

What??  You can't track the source of the video because there's too much material on the Internet?

Let me be the first to say: What a load of horse-shit.

Anyone who has so much as a technical-school level of computer-related education can tell you that every device connected to the internet has an IP address.  Tracing the source of a video on internet is as simple as setting up a packet sniffer upstream of the server the video is being posted to.  This will give you the IP address of the device from which the video is being posted.  Even if this reveals an IP address of a proxy or shell server in Bolivia, Uruguay, or Sweden, an additional packet sniffer could be set up to reveal the source of that connection.  This can easily be done using free software that is available to everyone. Furthermore, it would be even easier if any of the servers involved keeps good logs as no packet sniffer would be required.  You can't tell me that our government has the resources to take over a country but somehow can't run a few packet sniffers.  That makes no sense at all.

I think it’s also worth noting that the user who posted the original announcement had made over a hundred prior posts on the forum. Shouldn’t that be over 100 opportunities to track the source? Suppose the user was using public computers. The SITE Institute has been watching this forum for several months. That should be plenty of time for the US government to setup cameras around the public computers that were being used.

From the AP article:

American officials said the U.S. government had obtained a copy even though the video had not been posted yet by al-Qaida — and intelligence agencies were studying the video to determine whether it was authentic and to look for clues about bin Laden’s health.

I guess the best question is, how is the CIA capable of obtaining the tape before it gets posted on the internet, but is not capable of tracking the source?

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