Discovering Names Of Secret NSA Surveillance Programs Via LinkedIn

from the oh-look-at-that... dept

So, over the weekend, the Washington Post revealed some of the code names for various NSA surveillance programs, including NUCLEON, MARINA and MAINWAY. Chris Soghoian has pointed out that a quick LinkedIn search for profiles of people in Maryland with codenames like MARINA and NUCLEON happen to turn up profiles like this one which appear to reveal more codenames:


TRAFFICTHIEF, eh? WEBCANDID? Hmm… Apparently, NSA employees don’t realize that information they post online can be revealed.

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Comments on “Discovering Names Of Secret NSA Surveillance Programs Via LinkedIn”

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Nick Coghlan (profile) says:

The LinkedIn blind spot

I used to work for a defence contractor here in Australia, and even though our social media policies explicitly said not to advertise who you worked for or which projects you worked on, there was this strange blind spot where LinkedIn was concerned.

Even though heaps of staff had their affiliation clearly displayed there, management couldn’t really complain about it because they were doing the same thing. It was thoroughly bizarre.

Mike = Biggest Fake Ever says:

Re: Re: Re:

You haven’t?

Wanna see how scared Mikey is? Just challenge him on any aspect of the bullshit he pumps out. He doesn’t defend what he writes. He can’t. He’s too scared to have one honest conversation with me because he knows I want to talk about all the stuff he doesn’t want to talk about.

You block me, I post more than ever, Mikey. Your choice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I like your name-trolling

Trolling score:
Name used: 9/10
Writing style: 7/10
Concept: 2/10
Main challenge: 1/10
The total score is therefore: 4/10 after appropriate weighing.

To improve the score, you need to either go full flame or be more creative about your jabs. Since most trolls go for full flame and fail at it, I would suggest the more creative types like fraudulent claims, and preconception questioning.

As for the “Speak to me” as the main challenge, it is just too desperate, unoriginal and obvious. I would go with more subtle jabs like “horse with no name” or “bob” are using with varying success. You can also go snarky, sarcastic to pull some points that way. At the moment you just sound like a girl asking “why wont you have sex with me?” and that is just not good trolling.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The real money in a security clearance earned in Federal service is the aftermarket sales of skills to the highest bidder who is hopefully the holder of federal contract.

Of course someone should have started an eye’s only version of Linked in for this crowd with maybe an acceptable codeword or two for linked in listings to point back to the secure choice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Hum…I could get into this scam.

ahem, I have 3 years of experience with the MINECRAFT system and 10 years of experience with various versions of the FINALFANTASY system. The reason you’ve never heard of me is because I spend the last 15 years living in a an underground bunker* owned by my parent organization**.

* Read: basement
** My actual parents

Rob says:

Re: Re:

Why would you advertise you are skilled in the use of systems that nobody has ever heard of?

Well, Snowden was working for a government contractor, perhaps not the only contractor operating in that field and on those programs. Guess it’s like anywhere else, only way to ensure you get more than just a COLA each year is to make sure you could get hired on at the competitor if necessary. And recruiters are lazy — like everyone — they’ll just look for the right keywords in your LinkedIn.

Masnick = FUD PACKER says:


Too scared to discuss any of the NSA stuff on the merits. Just like he was too scared to discuss Swartz. Or SOPA. Or anything else that he MILKS AND MILKS>

What kind of a man publishes hundreds of articles about something but then runs away when anyone challenges him on it?

Mike “Little Man” Masnick, that’s who.

You block me, I take over your comments like never before. Your choice, Mikey.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yep, trying to get Mike to actually discuss what he publishes on the merits gets you nothing on Techdirt. Mike doesn’t discuss his posts. He just pumps out FUD and caters to the likes of Silverscarat.

That’s a productive use of a Ivy League education. Pandering to idiots so he get more clicks. He must feel really good about himself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“You block me, I take over your comments like never before. Your choice, Mikey.”

Until the end of the summer. Then you have to go back to school.

Yes, I’ve noticed that your posting frequency increases during the Christmas holidays and around the Summer. It’s not a stretch to imagine that you don’t post as much during the rest of the year because your life is tied up with things that you can’t avoid, like school.

Note, however, that, despite my credentials above, I am no expert spy, and I also don’t have the slightest interest in you life. It is merely an observation I’ve made, possibly incorrectly (I’m doing this off the top of my head).

In any event, I can live with your comments. You sometimes set yourself up for the funniest comebacks and, frankly, you add some colour.

Fire away.

out_of_the_blue says:

Minimalist Mike's Minute Re-write

Just LOOK at the skill and savvy needed to produce this: The paraphrased title! The silly “dept” tag! The filler sentences that do nothing but state the source isn’t Mike! The blockquote! The “Hmm”! The inane wind-up!

Mike is why copying is illegal! Doesn’t produce more value, just diverts income from source to grifter. It’s no wonder that Mike is for unlimited copying, he’d have nothing otherwise.

Masnicking: daily spurts of short and trivial traffic-generating items.

Tom Anderson says:

Please do a little more combing and probing...

Note that the names in the LinkedIn profile are not necessarily NSA surveillance programs.
For example, perhaps TRAFFICTHIEF is:


Jan 29, 1998 ? ANCHORY, formerly known as the SIGINT Online Intelligence System, is an NSA database of SIGINT-derived information.

ATS Message Handling System (AMHS) also known as Aeronautical Message Handling System is a standard for aeronautical ground-ground communications

Not sure about WEBCANDID but there is another LinkedIn profile that says:
“… developer on the Hightide and WebCandid software development teams”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Please do a little more combing and probing...

Facebook ad for Army Partnership for Youth Success Program

Currently hiring: Digital Network Intelligence/Forensic Analyst ? Ft. Gordon, GA. The following is required: Experience with: PINWALE, CPE, AGILITY, PATHFINDER, ANCHORY, MASTERSHAKE, YACHTSHOP, NSRP, OCTAVE and PLUS. Knowledg of CADENCE, SURREY, TRAFFICTHIEF, CNE Portal and XKEYSCORE. SIGINT BACKGROUND REQUIRED. BDNA and IDNA strongly desired BS/BA in Computer Science Or related field, six years? experience TS/SCI with CI POLY. If you or someone you know are interested please contact me ASAP1

Tom says:

Re: Please do a little more combing and probing...

I guess the problem with Masnick’s article is the term “NSA surveillance programs” is vague.

According to a key slide in the PRISM presentation (
PRISM is a heading like UPSTREAM. This implies that it doesn’t mean a program of the United States government similar to MARINA or NUCLEON. These others are applications, often third party applications, that are useful for data collection or data aggregation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Please do a little more combing and probing...

For example, perhaps TRAFFICTHIEF is:

Quite unlikely. That website is for an “SEO optimization” program I’d be surprised to see being used by a real professional. Wether or not it does what it promises, it’s the kind of thing clueless people buy in an attempt to improve their website’s search ranking. Nothing you would put on your resume.

longshadow (profile) says:

Re: Please do a little more combing and probing...

Don’t twist things..

TRAFFICTHIEF is a valid NSA program. It processes data from PRINTAURA (S3532).

This can easily be verified by looking at the leaked NSA ‘PRISM Collection Dataflow’ slide that was published by the Washingtonpost.


Anonymous Coward says:

LIVE CSPAN-3: House Intelligence Hearing / Gen Alexander

Live Now (10am ET) on CSPAN-3:
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Hearing with NSA Director General Alexander.

Hearing webpage: ?How Disclosed NSA Programs Protect Americans, and Why Disclosure Aids Our Adversaries?

C-SPAN: ?Head of NSA Meets with Hse. Intel Cmte.?

10:07 am ET: The hearing has now come to order.

Anonymous Coward says:

Coverterms like this are themselves unclassified. It is only when they are associated with what the coverterms actually represent that it becomes classified information. That’s the whole point of a coverterm. It allows one to say in an uncleared environment what systems, programs, etc. one has experience with or skills in without compromising the actual classified information. The people who know the program don’t need any more information, and the people who don’t know don’t learn anything about it.

We’re not all (too) stupid.

HIOPilot (user link) says:

Job Postings w/NSA codewords

There are job postings around that also list things like MAINWAY and other known (and maybe unknown) NSA systems.

Some of the codenames that are interesting:


Oh, and here are some named Intelligence networks: INTELINK, JWICS, SIPRNET, and NSANET

So WTF is OILSTOCK and why is the NSA interested in oil?

chris spada (user link) says:

Take a quick look....

And realize we, “The Common Peolpe” have more power than the .01%ers, we will always have our rights, further, taken away till as in China, Vietnam, Cuba and so on.

And our power comes from what is left of “The Constitution of The United States of American and what is left of our “Bill of Rights”.

You’ll find we have the solution at:

OMG says:

Look at this NSA Profile! One Program is "Teasure Trove"
Analytic tools: ARCGIS, CPE, ArcView, GoogleEarth, Geo-Time, Analyst Notebook, Octave, Pathfinder, Anchory/Maui, SIGINT Navigator, SEDB, Liquid Fire, RTRG (Goldminer, Geo-T, Sharkfinn, Panopticon, SKS, Agent Logic), Taperlay, Cineplex, Dishfire, Association, Gistqueue, Metrics portal, UIS, Renoir, Intelink, Beamer, Banyon, Fascia, Global Reach, Mainway, Palantir, Multimedia Message Manager (M3), Intellpedia, Daytona, TreasureTrove, JEMA, Marina, Xkeyscope, NKB, TKB, Target Profiler, Foreman, CPE.

OMG says:

Another NSA Profile Claims "Google Earth"

ANOTHER Linkin Profile! All open to the Public!

ArcView, Skywriter, Analyst Notebook, Ravenwing, Oilstock, Sentinal, Centerpoint, Salem, SIGINT Navigator, WVT, DVT, Goodwrench, Pursuit Central, M2Extra, JMSEL, COLISEUM, TAC, JTIMS, PSView, PSL, Xkeyscore, Intelink, Google Earth, Hot-r, Vintage Harvest, M3

OMG says:

Linked In Reveals Johns Hopkins University has top Secret NSA Lab!

Trusted Agent: JRS-002 NSAD at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Guy puts THIS in His Profile!
L6SIGINT, and PROINT for Counter Target-Targeting & Protection/Detection ***NOT Publically Published. Designed for INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY MEMBERS ONLY

Human Sigma CORELAP (Human Computerized Relationship Layout and Planning) Scores subject relationships to Hi Output-Performance Teams with Objective Scores. *** Publically Published

OMG says:

Linked In Microsoft Office + Jabber Listed in Spy Program Specialty

Linked In Profile Experience Lists “Microsoft Office and Jabber”

AirHandler, Anchory, Asset Manager, Beamer, CIDR Calculator, Cloud, Crest, DNI, Dishfire, Foxtrail, GAIM, Geolocation, GistQueue, Hotzone, INTELINK, Jabber, LINUX, Mainway, Mastershake, METRICS, Microsoft Office, NKB, Nucleon, PIGEON, Sharkfinn, SIGINT, Subnet Calculator, Targeting, UIS, Farsi, Dari, Pashto, Armenian, Tajiki.


Linked In Profiles DESCRIBE the Scope of the Programs Use!

Intelligence Analyst
U.S. Marine Corps
Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry
April 2008 ? May 2009 (1 year 2 months)

Responsible for the detection and exploitation of high priority targets via raw SIGINT data analysis.
Used Marina as a raw SIGINT data viewer for detection and analysis of priority targets.
Used HOMEBASE as coordination and tasking tool with other DNI analysts.
Discovered, evaluated and exploited targets via digital networks and all source intelligence assets.
Utilized ANCHORY/MAUI reporting database to correlate and verify target selections.
Utilized AIRGAP for discovery of priority targets within the missions AOI.
Used Marina as a tracking and pattern of life tool on selected targets within the missions AOI.
Intelligence Analyst/Reporter
U.S. Marine Corps
Government Agency; 10,001+ employees; Military industry
April 2007 ? March 2008 (1 year)

As Watchstander provided tailored, direct and real time intelligence supporting forward deployed forces.
Ensured accurate and timely national-level intelligence support to forward deployed costumers.
Provided timely updates to target and watch lists based on customer requests and needs.
Used Traffic Thief as a raw SIGINT data viewer for analysis.
Used CPE, electronic email as well as NSTS secured phone communications for real time tipping on high priority targets.

OMG says:

LinkedIn "Top Secret" Profile PUBLICALLY Spills ALL this Program info! OMG
Microsoft Product Surveillence Specialty!
). Current valid TOP SECRET/SCI with CI Poly clearance.
General systems: JWICS, SIPRnet, NIPRnet; Microsoft Windows Office: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook
Specific systems: Currently uses on a daily basis Terrorist Identity Datamart Enviroment (TIDE), various Biometric search software, as well as other classified systems and software. Conducted extensive WISE and M3 as well as, Harmony database searches. Previously, have inputted new information into Joint Detainee Information Management System (JDIMS) on a daily basis.

OMG says:

Top Secret Clearance LinkedIn Profile Discloses THIS
Proven expertise and understanding of a broad scope of intelligence functions (SIGINT, IMINT, HUMINT, OSINT, MASINT) and assets. Experienced and proficient in MS Office Suite, Palantir, DCGS-A, CPOF, CIDNE, TIGR, Analyst Notebook, ArcGIS, MOVINT Client, GoogleEarth, MITR ISR Forensics Tool, M3, QueryTree, Pathfinder, HOT-R, TAC, JPAS, eQIP,CULTWEAVE, Firetruck and ICREACH.

– Utilize signals, geospatial, human, imagery and open source intelligence in conjunction with Social Networking Analysis (SNA) to identify individuals, networks and patterms within large data sets.

Lawrence says:


? Association, Banyan,
? GlobalReach,
? Fascia II,
? Bellview,
? Homebase,
? Broomstick,
? Fossway,
? SIGINT Emitters DataBase (SEDB),
? Dishfire,
? Cultweave,
? Maui/Anchory, Pinwale,
? Global Numbering Database (GNDB),
? Octave,
? ContraOctave,
? Juggernaut,
? SIGINT Navigator,
? Querytree,
? Mainway,
? Marina,
? Octskyward,
? Spotbeam,
? Taco Suave,
? Sorting Eyes,
? Sorting Lead,
? GoldMiner,
? RadioSprings,
? BambooSprings,
? Chalkfun,
? StalkingSprings,
? SortingHat,
? GeoT,
? SharkFinn,
? Metrics,
? QuadraSpectre,
? SandKleap,
? Social Network Analysis,
? Entangler,
? Wrangler,
? Muskrat,
? Pinwale,
? Jaguar,
? Cadence.

Anonymous Coward 1984 says:

These words are for software, not programs

To be vague, I have some inside knowledge about working in government contracting. What you’re seeing on these Linkedin pages are NOT classified programs.

Anyone in that line of work or looking for another job in it woudl be toast if they posted that online.

I can say with a high degree of confidence that those are all little known software programs. There’s a lot of software out there that’s widely use in teh Intel Community, or just regular government, that most people aren’t aware of.

That’s not because its secret, its just specialized.

And if you read up on the definitions of classification, you’ll see that the revelation of some info has to do damage to national security. Those codewords alone, with almost no context don’t reveal anything. Moreover, they are likely specialized software for dealing with SIGNIT, IMINT, COMINT, etc.

This “story” is nothing, only picked up because most people don’t have the knowledge to realize its actually nothing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: These words are for software, not programs

CULTWEAVE classification: SECRET

I call BS, these people are just up their own asses and think the plebs wont catch on to their job search information leaks. They just want another job, they dont care about keeping secrets.

These programs are not supposed to be discussed, obviously.. one guy was talking about how it helps track pattern of life.. you know what that even means?

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