Spies amongst us

It’s fairly common knowledge in certain professional circles that Huntsville, Alabama is a hotbed of espionage activity. It has been said that we have the second greatest concentration of “spies” in the Country lurking about. Many of them are registered foreign agents. Until recently the community at large has not been aware of it. A few weeks ago a Huntsville Times reporter ran this article. From it, the community learned:

“Huntsville is a major target for foreign nationals (spies) working to obtain classified information,” FBI spokesman Paul Daymond said. Daymond was asked about security and the agency’s anti-spy operations in Alabama after U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Virginia, held a press conference and alerted authorities in early March to what he called suspicious access to potential secrets at two NASA centers in other parts of the country.

Now granted, few people actually read the paper nowadays, so this mention may have escaped the attention of many residents in the community. One of the local TV stations, however, has remedied the matter, I suppose:
WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

The most amusing part for me is that the reporter got the quote wrong. I was present when the interviews were conducted and what the reporter was told was that this area has the second highest concentration of spies in the United States (consistent with the Times article), but somehow that got interpreted as cyber-espionage for the actual report. Maybe we have the dubious honors of that “achievement” as well, but if so, I am unaware of it.

There is a big difference between spy “boots on the ground” and a hacker army on the other side of the world compromising a particular regions cyber defenses. Being a spy target is “cool”, however, actually having your network compromised is not.

Below is another clip that was filmed at the same meeting. My bald head made a cameo in this one: WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

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