Newspaper claims Internet search reveals CIA agents, March 12, 2006

-March 12, 2017

The Chicago Tribune on March 12, 2006, claimed to have compiled a list of 2653 US CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) employees by searching the Internet.

The newspaper found the names by searching commercial databases on the Internet and claimed to have discovered supposedly undercover operatives' names, internal agency telephone numbers, and the locations of 24 secret CIA facilities around the United States.

Just three years earlier, Washington Post journalist Robert Novak identified Valerie Plame as a CIA operative in July 2003, an event that was considered a major breach in CIA security.

The paper did not reveal any of the names at the CIA's request. A spokeswoman for the agency admitted that the newspaper’s claims would force the CIA to change its methods of protecting information, but the CIA did not concede that the Tribune’s claims were true.

A retired CIA operative called the article “goofy at best” but admits that there is no such thing as an iron-clad cover. However, tech security experts and hackers dispute that any such information is private online, particularly as more information moves to “the cloud,” and have since noted the newspaper’s claims as reasons for stricter security design.

For more moments in tech history, see this blog.
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Editor's note: This article was originally posted on March 12, 2013 and edited on March 12, 2017.

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