Online dating code revealed
For quite some time now, the intelligence agency has maintained a branch with around 2,000 employees at Lackland Air Force Base, also in San Antonio.
In 2005, the agency took over a former Sony computer chip plant in the western part of the city.
A brisk pace of construction commenced inside this enormous compound.
The paper seen by SPIEGEL quotes the former unit head stating that TAO has contributed "some of the most significant intelligence our country has ever seen." The unit, it goes on, has "access to our very hardest targets." A Unit Born of the Internet Defining the future of her unit at the time, she wrote that TAO "needs to continue to grow and must lay the foundation for integrated Computer Network Operations," and that it must "support Computer Network Attacks as an integrated part of military operations." To succeed in this, she wrote, TAO would have to acquire "pervasive, persistent access on the global network." An internal description of TAO's responsibilities makes clear that aggressive attacks are an explicit part of the unit's tasks.
In other words, the NSA's hackers have been given a government mandate for their work.
During the middle part of the last decade, the special unit succeeded in gaining access to 258 targets in 89 countries -- nearly everywhere in the world. Indeed, TAO specialists have directly accessed the protected networks of democratically elected leaders of countries.
In the United States, a country of cars and commuters, the mysterious garage door problem quickly became an issue for local politicians.
Ultimately, the municipal government solved the riddle.
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TAO's area of operations ranges from counterterrorism to cyber attacks to traditional espionage.