Homeless man to get Vatican burial!

Bergoglio wants a dirty church!!

A dead homeless man will have the rare honor of being buried in the Teutonic cemetery at the Vatican after Pope Francis gave his permission, according to Italian media reports.

The body of Willy Herteller will be laid to rest in the cemetery alongside German princes and bishops, according to reports in Il Messaggero.

Herteller, who is Flemish, was found dead between December and January at the age of 80 in the Vatican.

The homeless man reportedly used to beg near St Peter’s Basilica where he attended mass. He was known to many in the Vatican and was a friend of Monsignor Amerigo Ciani, the paper said. 

It was Ciani who first noticed the man’s disappearance. When he found out about his friend’s death he asked Pope Francis’s permission for the man to be buried in the cemetery.

Located between St Peter’s Basilica and the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Teutonic cemetery is the oldest German establishment in Rome. During the Roman Empire, it was the site of the martyrdom of many Christians in the city.

Herteller will be the first homeless person to be buried in the cemetery.

When contacted by The Local, the Vatican was as yet unable to comment on the reports.

Pope Francis is renowned for his efforts to help the homeless.

Since February 16th, homeless people have been able to get a free shave and a haircut at the Vatican as part of a papal charity initiative.

The initiative follows the installation of toilets and showers for the homeless within the tiny city-state, a move that came about after a homeless man from Sardinia turned down a dinner invitation from Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the Vatican almoner, because he “smelled”.

Meanwhile, a dozen parishes in Rome have also installed showers, paid for by Pope Francis.

Source: The Local

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VATICAN SWISS GUARD ON HIGH ALERT, ‘READY TO DEFEND POPE’ FROM ISIS!

Bergoglio and ISIS

ROME, Italy– “What happened in Paris with the Charlie Hebdo attacks could also happen at the Vatican. We are ready to intervene to ensure Francis is protected,” says the new commander of the Swiss Guard, Colonel Christoph Graf.

Throughout Rome, security has visibly increased in the wake of recent ISIS threats and the proximity of Islamic State militants in Libya. A special security taskforce has been convoked to plan Rome’s response to escalating ISIS threats, including special protection for “sensitive targets.”

The Italian Minister of the Interior Angelino Alfano met with Vatican officials this week to discuss Vatican security, which Alfano described as “very high.”

The 54-year-old Graf, who enlisted in the pontifical Swiss Guard in 1987, was appointedcommander of the Guard on February 7, 2015, making him the 35th to serve in this role. The colorful Swiss Guard is an elite military unit that traces its foundation back to 1506, when the first battalion of 150 soldiers arrived upon the request of Pope Julius II.

Graf said that, due to recent ISIS threats against the Pope and the Vatican, the Swiss Guards are more focused than ever. “We have asked the guards to be more attentive and carefully observe people’s movements,” he said. “What happened in Paris can happen here in the Vatican, and you cannot preempt this without an intelligence service that has precise information.”

Graf said that his troops “are always ready to intervene.”

Candidates for the Pontifical Swiss Guard must be Catholic, single, Swiss males who have completed basic training with the Swiss military, between 19 and 30 years of age, and at least 174 cm (5 ft. 8.5 in.) tall. Many enlist out of a sense of faith and loyalty to the Church, as well as family tradition in many cases. The new commander, for instance, has said that he sees his role as a vocation. “For a Catholic,” he said, “being able to protect the Pope is the greatest thing you can do.”

Francis’ outgoing style and insistence on being close to the people causes its own problems for security. Though Graf says he believes “that the Pope is not afraid of anything,” other people are afraid for him, and accountable as well.

“For us,” said Graf, “there is the difficult task of ensuring his safety, but I also believe that you get used to it with time.” People often ask me “whether it is a nightmare for us,” Graf said. “I tell them it’s not, you just need to get used to it.”

The Pope has asked for space, Graf says, since he doesn’t like security too close to him. “We try to respect this request,” says Graf, “even the Pope needs freedom.” He said that they give him some space “but observe his movements, ever ready to intervene.”

On Wednesday evening, the Minister of the Interior Angelino Alfano brought together the national committee for order and public safety, along with the deputy minister, Philip Bubbico, and the Chief of Staff of Defense, Binelli Capes. The committee has prepared the strategic plan for use of a contingent of 4,800 soldiers for safeguarding sensitive targets, in addition to the regular police force.

Swiss Guards are always ready to intervene.

The “sensitive targets” to receive extra protection include places of worship, such as Saint Peter’s Basilica and Rome’s Jewish Synagogue, embassies and consulates, strategic infrastructure such as power plants, as well as public transportation such as airports, train, and subway stations.

For the moment, this state of special alert will extend until June 30.

Source: Breitbart

Pope Francis Clarifies His Vision for Church, Synod

a dark time heresey

Pope Francis’ set out his overall vision for the Catholic Church during a homily at Mass for 20 new cardinals on Sunday, leading some commentators and even the Vatican to describe it as one of the most decisive and important messages of his pontificate.

It also left many traditional and faithful Catholics perturbed about his obvious sympathies in the context of reform. The Pope highlighted three “key concepts” from that day’s Gospel reading in which Jesus heals the leper, linking them to “the compassion of Jesus in the face of marginalization and his desire to reinstate” lives.

In essence, he equated the leper, an outcast in Jesus’ day, with those who, because of sin, stand outside the church. Francis would like to attract them by, above all, placing an emphasis on God’s mercy rather than their sins and repentance of them.

This theme of the homily, which highlighted inclusivity, non-discrimination, and going out to the peripheries, is central not only to this pontificate but was a key aspect coming out of last October’s synod on the family. That meeting in Rome of around 250 bishops worldwide was meant to examine today’s pastoral challenges to the family, but it drew controversy for proposing new pastoral practices towards civilly remarried Catholic divorcees, homosexuals, and cohabiting couples — approaches that many felt were at odds with Catholic teaching.

With this homily, observers on all sides of the church say it’s confirmed where the Pope stands on these issues. In an article for The Remnant, a newspaper of traditional Catholicism, an author writing under the Greek goddess name of Megaera Erinyes, says Francis is “clearly signaling again” his intentions for the Synod, and the terms he uses show he is “wholly on the side” of Cardinal Walter Kasper, the flag-bearer of those pushing to allow divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion.

The scriptural passages in which Jesus teaches that remarriage after divorce constitutes adultery couldn’t be clearer, Erinyes argues. Yet, by implicitly supporting the Kasper line in his homily (Francis’ doesn’t directly mention the issue) she believes the Pope sees obedience to Jesus’ teaching on this issue as a “lack of mercy” and “marginalization.”

Rather than a merciful approach, she argues the Kasper position actually shows disobedience to the divine law and therefore a “hardness of heart” that Jesus’ teachings aimed to remedy. That the Pope sides with this position “is a frightening thought,” she writes.

For Austen Ivereigh, author of “The Great Reformer”, possibly the most comprehensive biography of Pope Francis to date, the homily was not so clear cut. He agreed it will be seen, “as one of the most defining messages of his pontificate” and it “certainly is aimed at the synod.” But he said it also captures the way Francis “sees his mission more broadly, as opening new paths for people to find their way back to the church.”

“He’s saying: it’s not enough to preach the truth and wait for people to convert and come knocking — we have to go out and tend to the lost sheep, and let God do the rest,” Ivereigh told me. “It would be wrong to read into it an endorsement of one or other strategy under discussion at the synod, although it is a clear rebuke of those who are opposed to the whole process.”

Read more at Newsmax.com

LGBT MARRIAGE REDEFINERS INTRODUCE THE THROUPLE, A 3 WOMAN ‘MARRIAGE’

sodomites and the catholic church

WHEN STATE AFTER STATE LEGALIZED GAY MARRIAGE, IT WASN’T DIFFICULT TO DISCERN THAT THE “SLIPPERY SLOPE” SYNDROME WAS SOON TO HAPPEN. IT DID.

Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

Isaias (Isaiah)  5:20– DRV

What is the next marriage redefinition? It’s called a ‘throuple’, and in Massachusetts, a lesbian throuple is awaiting their first born child. Three married lesbians are the throuple who have made news with their newest ‘version of perversion’ of marriage.

They don’t have to announce their arrangement in a defiant way. Oh, heavens no…..when Biblical marriage was redefined from “between one man and one woman” to a union of two people (even of the same sex) that opened wide the door to most anything. Political correctness reigns in America. It seems that now it’s become an “in your face” to Bible believing Christians.

“They consider themselves a “throuple.” Brynn said, “I like to think of us as a romantic committee.”

“They consider themselves a “throuple.” Brynn said, “I like to think of us as a romantic committee.”

Like the gay rights movement, the Massachusetts throuple hopes to strike a blow for polyamorous “rights.”

source Lifesite News.com

Source: Now the end begins

Pope Francis doll to hit shelves in July ahead of US visit!

New Order Bergoglio Doll

New Order Bergoglio Doll

Pennsylvania toy company Bleacher Creatures is known for their sports and entertainment dolls, but have taken on the leader of the Catholic Church as their latest muse. 

The manufacturers have created a plush version of Pope Francis, ahead of his visit to the United States this fall.

The 10-inch figurine features Francis in a white cassock and pelligrina, and a fringed, gold fascia. A silver pectoral cross suspended from a silver chain, a white zucchetto, and black shoes complete the outfit.

The surprising addition to the Bleacher Creatures collection was actually a natural progression, according to CEO Matthew Hoffman.

“Everyone agrees that [the Pope is] an inspirational figure who’s tremendously popular around the world,” Hoffman explained. “He fits in perfectly in our universe of true-to-life plush figures.”

The company was founded in 2011 after Hoffman had difficulty finding MLB toys for his children at ballparks. He decided to create the dolls himself, and made $1 million in revenue in six months.

Now, Bleacher Creatures has MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL dolls, and recently signed licensing deals with DC Comics and Warner Bros. Batman, Superman, and other comic book stars will get their own Bleacher Creatures soon.

The Pope Francis doll is $19.99, and will be available for purchase in July. Hoffman doesn’t forsee any backlash against the product.

“We’ve done our due diligence and I don’t think we’re upsetting anyone,” he said. “And yes, we have reached out to the Vatican and would love to officially partner with them.”

Source: Christian Today

We Don’t Want Just Any Gay Group in St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We Want ‘Irish Queers!’

st patrick respect my feast day

Even with shift, NYC St Patrick’s Day parade draws gay protests…

We don’t want just any gay group in St. Patty’s Day Parade we want ‘Irish Queers!’

NEW YORK, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Gay rights activists and elected officials said on Tuesday they would continue to protest New York City’s main St. Patrick’s Day parade even as organizers prepared to let a gay group carry a banner this year for the first time in the parade’s history.

The problem, they say, is that the group, an organization of gay NBCUniversal employees, does not represent gay Irish-American people at an event that marks the most prominent celebration of Irish heritage in the United States.

“The issue has never been about having a gay group in the parade,” Daniel Dromm, a City Council member, said at a news conference outside City Hall where he was joined by Irish Queers, a group that has organized annual protests of the parade. “It has always been about having an Irish gay group in the parade. For the parade organizers to try to pull this trickery by allowing an organization called OUT@NBC to march in the parade is not a solution.”

The main parades in both New York and Boston have faced years of mounting criticism from activists and corporate sponsors. Organizers New York’s event said in September they would end their policy of barring gay groups from displaying identifying banners.

They allowed only the group from NBCUniversal, the Comcast Corp unit that broadcasts the parade, to join on March 17, but suggested similar groups may be able to apply for the 2016 parade.

NBC Universal said in a statement on Tuesday the group’s presence would be a “first step towards an increasingly inclusive era” for the parade.

The foundation behind the parade, which did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday, had long said participation of clearly identified gay groups would run against the event’s roots in the Roman Catholic Church, which says gay and lesbian sex is sinful.

The parade, entering its 253rd year, is the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day event in the country, according to organizers.

A similar fight over the inclusion of gay groups has long simmered in Boston. In December, a new group of gay and lesbian U.S. military veterans called OutVets was approved to march in the Boston parade.

Despite that, another group, Veterans for Peace, last week sued Boston in federal court, contending that city officials have long given preference to the Allied War Veterans when granting parade permits.

Veterans for Peace, who have said they would welcome more than one gay group if they were in charge, have also applied to hold a parade along the same route at the same time, the lawsuit said.

Source: Trust.org

Vatican makes unprecedented move with gay visitors

brace yourselves who am I to judge

The Vatican did something it has never done before by giving a group of U.S. gay and lesbian Catholics VIP seats at Pope Francis‘ weekly general audience Wednesday.

But in a sign that the welcome wasn’t all it could have been, the New Ways Ministry pilgrims were only identified on the Vatican’s list of attendees as a “group of lay people accompanied by a Sister of Loretto.”

And not even that got announced: When a Vatican monsignor read out the list of the different groups of pilgrims in attendance in St. Peter’s Square, he skipped over the group altogether. Francis didn’t mention them, either.

Even without a papal shout-out, New Ways Ministry officials were nevertheless pleased that they had been invited to sit up front by Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, the prefect of the papal household who dispenses the coveted reserved tickets for Francis’ audiences.

Gaenswein for years has also been the top aide to Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. When Benedict headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he permanently prohibited the New Ways Ministry co-founders, Sister Jeannine Gramick, and the Rev. Robert Nugent, from ministering to gays after determining in 1999 that they didn’t sufficiently adhere to church teaching on the “intrinsic evil” of homosexual acts.

Nugent abided by the directive and died last year. Gramick has continued her ministry, changing religious orders to the Sisters of Loretto, and was on hand for Wednesday’s audience.

“Pope Francis gives me hope,” she told The Associated Press. “To me, this is an example of the kind of willingness he has to welcome those on the fringes of the church back to the center of the church.”

The group’s executive director, Francis DeBernardo, said New Ways Ministry had tried unsuccessfully under the previous two popes to get VIP seats for its Rome pilgrimages.

This time, the Vatican ambassador in Washington and the archbishop of San Francisco forwarded their requests onto Rome, a sign that Francis’ call for the church to be more welcoming to gays has filtered down to local church leaders.

“We didn’t get the shout-out, but we were very, very close,” DeBernardo said.

Source: CBS News

Italy Fears ISIS Invasion From Libya

ISLAM WILL DOMINATE

As ISIS makes inroads into Libya, officials in Rome are panicking about an Islamic State just across the sea but have no idea how to combat the crisis.

ROME — Last weekend in Italy, as the threat of ISIS in Libya hit home with a new video addressed to “the nation signed with the blood of the cross” and the warning, “we are south of Rome,” Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi shuttered up the Italian embassy in Tripoli and raised his fist with the threat of impending military action.  Never mind that Italy has only 5,000 troops available that are even close to deployable, according to the defense ministry. Or that the military budget was cut by 40 percent two years ago, which has kept the acquisition of 90 F-35 fighter jets hanging in the balance and left the country combat-challenged to lead any mission—especially one against an enemy like the Islamic State.

In fact, Renzi didn’t specify exactly who would wield that military might, and, two days later, when no one volunteered to lead the charge, he backtracked.  “It’s not the time for a military intervention,” Renzi told an Italian television station Monday night and said the United Nations had to lead the way.  “Our proposal is to wait for the UN Security Council. The strength of the UN is decidedly superior to that of the radical militias.”

Whether the time is right or not, there is no question that there is a palpable tension in Italy over the ISIS threat—Libya is just 109 miles away from the island of Lampedusa and 300 miles from Sicily—made worse by a 64 percent increase in illegal migrant arrivals by sea since last year.  In all of 2014, more than 170,000 people arrived from Libya and Turkey, the highest number ever recorded. Last weekend, as the embassy staff made their way to Italy on a mercantile ship, 2,164 migrants left the same Libyan shores en route to Sicily.  The week before, more than 300 people were lost in the same seas as their rickety fishing boats capsized before rescuers could save them.

Anti-immigration politicians have argued for months that it would take little for jihadi fighters to infiltrate a migrant boat and effectively end up taxied into Italy by rescue ships and the Italian navy.  In a biting editorial in Il Giornale newspaper, owned by the Silvio Berlusconi family, Sergio Rame hypothesized that the recent influx was an attempt by terrorists to effectively “smoke out” the Italian navy into rescuing the migrants, in an attempt to lure the boats close to Libyan shores in order to launch an attack.  The Italian government, which supports the rescue of migrants fleeing war, dismissed the theory.

Meanwhile, the Italian government said they are prepared to deploy 500 special anti-terrorism police to protect sensitive tourist sites in Rome.

What is disturbing is that something is drastically changing in the migrant shuttling business, which has lead defense analysts to warn that Italy has never been so exposed to an attack.  For the first time since Italy started officially rescuing migrants in 2013—first through its now defunct Mare Nostrum program and later through the European Union’s border control Frontex Triton mission—the smugglers, who usually melt in with the migrants, are armed and dangerous.  Last weekend, smugglers wielding Kalashnikovs fought the Italian coast guard rescue boat to wrestle back a smuggler ship after the human cargo had been rescued and the boat seized.  They hauled the boat back towards Libya, presumably to fill it up again.  The Office of Migration in Rome says there could be as many as half a million people in camps waiting to come to Italy and the unrest will push them out faster.

Italy has been on ISIS’s radar for quite some time.  In October, the group dedicated the cover of its Dabiq magazine to a story called “Reflections on the Final Crusade” about how they will conquer Rome, complete with a photo of a black jihadist flag flying over St. Peter’s Square. “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market,” said the article in Dabiq.  “Every Muslim should get out of his house, find a crusader and kill him… And the Islamic State will remain until its banner flies over Rome.”

Read more at the daily beast

The fishermen of Lampedusa: “We are afraid to go out to sea, as they shoot and cut off heads

crusades do you get it now

Lampedusa fisherman fear ISIS on the sea…

“The fishermen of Lampedusa still remember what happened in 1986”. Salvatore Martello, president of the Consortium fishermen of Lampedusa, at this time continues to tell the tale to those who ask what the situation in the island after the Islamic state has taken the city of Sirte  in Libya. On April 15, ’86, 24 hours after US President Ronald Reagan ordered an air strike on Libya to eliminate Gaddafi, Colonel retaliated by ordering the launch of two Scud missiles on Lampedusa, where he had an office center Loran NATO. The islanders felt distinctly around 17 the two strong explosions of missiles, and panic took refuge in the “dammusi” of the inland areas of Lampedusa: “The then Defense Minister Giovanni Spadolini said that the missiles Gaddafi would not have arrived in Italy, because he did not consider Lampedusa as Italian at the bottom. Here you are. The climate that we live in these days is the same as then, a sense of abandonment. ”

What is the situation in the last few hours?
This morning the boats Lampedusa came out to fish as always. But gradually they all decide to return prematurely. With the news that are out there, the continued illegal landings of these days, the tension for a war or an attack, there is a lot of fear. Tripoli is 180 miles from our island, while the Gulf of Sirte is about 200 miles. We usually we go about 50 miles away from Lampedusa, so the distance from the Libyan coast is reduced to 130 miles. And Porto Empedocle, the closest Sicilian port, is also 130 miles. Lampedusa We are in the midst of chaos, while the distance with Italy and one with Sirte for us is the same. We still remember when Gaddafi fired two missiles in 1986. At the time one came close, another passed the island without hitting. But we were left to ourselves, and we are today.

What do they tell the fishermen with whom he talked in recent days?
Today returning fishermen have told me: “We scared to stay at sea. You can not rest easy. Listening to the radio on board constantly hear news of new boats nearby and now we fear that Libya should not start only more migrants. Those who occupied Sirte are terrorists who cut off heads. ” Yesterday came the news that were killed 21 Coptic Egyptians. Perspectives that we can have with a neighbor like that? Only fear.

Meanwhile these days continued bailouts of Boat Migrants at sea: only between Saturday and today as many as 800 people were rescued from the lookouts. The problem is that the situation in Libya is out of control. We fishermen ultimately did not happen to cross barges (because the operation Triton also pushes the lookouts over the water where the fish usually Lampedusa, ed), but it happened an unusual fact that we were very worried.

What?
Yesterday (the day before yesterday to the reader, ed) a lookout of the captaincy was close to a boat load of migrants to save them. During the rescue operation, approached another boat, carrying the smugglers, who attacked the lookout Italian with machine guns. The men of the captaincy were armed only with pistols in order, so they had to go without being able to return fire. No one knows why he was fired at with machine guns, a hypothesis is that the smugglers wanted to recover the barge before it was seized by the captaincy. Whatever the reason, it does not matter: it is the first time that happens, however, the concern remains that happen again. The fishermen are wondering what they could do if it happened to them, that they are not armed. How do we respond when shot at? You know, here we do not even know who defends our coastline. We went to Germany and France to bring down Gaddafi, but at least when he was there we had one head with which speak now in Libya do not know who’s in charge and there is no one who takes the order. In theory should defend our shores the Italians, or Europe. But for the moment we have not seen anything. Why are they waiting to defend themselves? In recent times there have been more patrols, increased only relief. You have to control who starts from Libya, because once at sea is impossible to stop people.

You already had economic losses for this situation?
Here in Lampedusa we are in pre-bankruptcy. Tourism-related economic losses caused by the landings and we have had many since 2009. But if it continues the forced stop fishing, for fear of dying when we go out into the sea, we will have to ask the government for a state of emergency.

Source: Tempi

Russian researchers expose ‘NSA’s secret weapon’

NSA -

Russian researchers expose ‘NSA’s secret weapon’: Outrage at program that enables America to spy on EVERY home computer in the world is uncovered

  • The NSA has figured out how to hide spying and sabotage software deep within hard drives, according to cyber researchers and former operatives 
  • The group said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs
  • The most infections were seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria 
  • The infections started in 2001, but increased drastically in 2008, the year President Barack Obama was elected
  • The tools are designed to run on computers even when they are not connected to the Internet, and even the makers of some of the hard drives are unaware that these programs have been embedded 
  • The spies made a technological breakthrough by figuring out how to lodge malicious software in the obscure code called firmware that launches every time a computer is turned on 

The National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives, allowing them to monitor and eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers – even when they are not connected to the internet.

The Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Lab said it has found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria.

The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists.

Scroll down for video

Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs

The NSA has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives , giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world's computers, according to Kaspersky (file photo)

The NSA began infecting computers in 2001 claims Kaspersky, ramping up their efforts in 2008 when President Barack Obama was elected.

This ‘surpasses anything known in terms of complexity and sophistication of techniques, and that has been active for almost two decades,’ said Kaspersky.

What’s more, even the makers of these hard drives are unaware that these spying programs have been installed, with the NSA obtaining their source codes by going so far as to pose as software developers according to former intelligence operatives, or telling the companies the government must do a security audit to make sure their source code is safe.

According to Kaspersky, the spies made a technological breakthrough by figuring out how to lodge malicious software in the obscure code called firmware that launches every time a computer is turned on.

Disk drive firmware is viewed by spies and cybersecurity experts as the second-most valuable real estate on a PC for a hacker, second only to the BIOS code invoked automatically as a computer boots up.

‘The hardware will be able to infect the computer over and over,’ lead Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu said in an interview.

Though the leaders of the still-active espionage campaign could have taken control of thousands of PCs, giving them the ability to steal files or eavesdrop on anything they wanted, the spies were selective and only established full remote control over machines belonging to the most desirable foreign targets, according to Raiu. He said Kaspersky found only a few especially high-value computers with the hard-drive infections.

The firm declined to publicly name the country behind the spying campaign, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, the NSA-led cyberweapon that was used to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment facility. The NSA is the U.S. agency responsible for gathering electronic intelligence.

A former NSA employee told Reuters that Kaspersky’s analysis was correct, and that people still in the spy agency valued these espionage programs as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives, but said he did not know which spy efforts relied on it.

NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said the agency was aware of the Kaspersky report but would not comment on it publicly.

Kaspersky published the technical details of its research on Monday, a move that could help infected institutions detect the spying programs, some of which trace back as far as 2001.

Eugene Kaspersky (file photo) published the details of his research on Friday

The disclosure could hurt the NSA’s surveillance abilities, already damaged by massive leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden’s revelations have upset some U.S. allies and slowed the sales of U.S. technology products abroad.

The exposure of these new spying tools could lead to greater backlash against Western technology, particularly in countries such as China, which is already drafting regulations that would require most bank technology suppliers to proffer copies of their software code for inspection.

Peter Swire, one of five members of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology, said the Kaspersky report showed that it is essential for the country to consider the possible impact on trade and diplomatic relations before deciding to use its knowledge of software flaws for intelligence gathering.

‘There can be serious negative effects on other U.S. interests,’ Swire said.

Technological breakthrough

Kaspersky’s reconstructions of the spying programs show that they could work in disk drives sold by more than a dozen companies, comprising essentially the entire market. They include Western Digital Corp, Seagate Technology Plc, Toshiba Corp, IBM, Micron Technology Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

Western Digital, Seagate and Micron said they had no knowledge of these spying programs. Toshiba and Samsung declined to comment. IBM did not respond to requests for comment.

Getting the source code

Raiu said the authors of the spying programs must have had access to the proprietary source code that directs the actions of the hard drives. That code can serve as a roadmap to vulnerabilities, allowing those who study it to launch attacks much more easily.

‘There is zero chance that someone could rewrite the [hard drive] operating system using public information,’ Raiu said.

Concerns about access to source code flared after a series of high-profile cyberattacks on Google Inc and other U.S. companies in 2009 that were blamed on China. Investigators have said they found evidence that the hackers gained access to source code from several big U.S. tech and defense companies.

It is not clear how the NSA may have obtained the hard drives’ source code. Western Digital spokesman Steve Shattuck said the company ‘has not provided its source code to government agencies.’ The other hard drive makers would not say if they had shared their source code with the NSA.

Seagate spokesman Clive Over said it has ‘secure measures to prevent tampering or reverse engineering of its firmware and other technologies.’ Micron spokesman Daniel Francisco said the company took the security of its products seriously and ‘we are not aware of any instances of foreign code.’

According to former intelligence operatives, the NSA has multiple ways of obtaining source code from tech companies,including asking directly and posing as a software developer 

According to former intelligence operatives, the NSA has multiple ways of obtaining source code from tech companies, including asking directly and posing as a software developer. If a company wants to sell products to the Pentagon or another sensitive U.S. agency, the government can request a security audit to make sure the source code is safe.

‘They don’t admit it, but they do say, “We’re going to do an evaluation, we need the source code,”‘ said Vincent Liu, a partner at security consulting firm Bishop Fox and former NSA analyst. ‘It’s usually the NSA doing the evaluation, and it’s a pretty small leap to say they’re going to keep that source code.’

The NSA declined to comment on any allegations in the Kaspersky report. Vines said the agency complies with the law and White House directives to protect the United States and its allies ‘from a wide array of serious threats.’

Kaspersky called the authors of the spying program ‘the Equation group,’ named after their embrace of complex encryption formulas.

The group used a variety of means to spread other spying programs, such as by compromising jihadist websites, infecting USB sticks and CDs, and developing a self-spreading computer worm called Fanny, Kaspersky said.

Fanny was like Stuxnet in that it exploited two of the same undisclosed software flaws, known as ‘zero days,’ which strongly suggested collaboration by the authors, Raiu said. He added that it was ‘quite possible’ that the Equation group used Fanny to scout out targets for Stuxnet in Iran and spread the virus.

Source: Daily Mail