Given who she really was, the military had little choice in how it described Shannon Kent. They said only that she was a "cryptologic technician," which anyone might assume meant that her most breakneck work was behind a desk. In reality, she spent much of her professional life wearing body armor and toting an M4 rifle, a Sig Sauer pistol strapped to her thigh, on operations with Navy SEALs and other elite forces -- until a suicide bombing took her life last month in northeastern Syria. She was, in all but name, part of the military's top-tier Special Operations forces. Officially a chief petty officer in the Navy, she actually worked closely with the nation's most secretive intelligence outfit, the National Security Agency, to target leaders of the Islamic State.
Fifteen years ago this week, NASA's Opportunity rover touched down on Mars. Now, officials are acknowledging that the rover could be permanently out of commission due to a dust storm that knocked it out of communication with Earth in the summer of 2018. read more
Scott Simon: The United States put $250 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods last year, to counter what it considers unfair trade practices and theft of U.S. technology. But there are no indications the United States, the United Nations, or any government is prepared to use any economic or diplomatic leverage to oppose China locking up between 800,000 and 2 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Chinese Muslims into internment camps in the western Xinjiang region.
When U.S. president Donald Trump flew unannounced to Iraq for his first-ever overseas visit with American troops on Wednesday, the secrecy didn't last long. Amateur plane-spotters tracked what they believed was Trump's Air Force One as it winged toward the Middle East under a false radio callsign. A photographer in the United Kingdom snapped a photo of the unmistakable, blue-and-white 747 jetting overhead, confirming the spotters' suspicion. The cat was out of the bag. Trump was on his way to Iraq. And civilian sleuths had demonstrated, once again, the power of readily-available tools to reveal covert military operations. In recent years the combination of the internet, cheap satellite imagery, powerful consumer cameras and the information demands of a global economy have given interested amateurs many of the same tools that, just a few decades ago, were the exclusive purview of military intelligence agents and government spies. read more
It seems obvious at this point that China is building a massive database of information on American individuals and companies, which they can then use for various purposes -- including espionage, intellectual property theft, extortion, and other types of coercion. Here are some of the attacks that have been linked to China with some significant degree of confidence: OPM, Equifax, and Marriott. Seeing any patterns yet? China is the single greatest risk to the security of American technologies. read more