Saturday, May 23, 2015

Medical Pattern of Life in the bin Laden Case

This remarkable document excavated from the Snowden cache makes me wonder what other gems remain among the unreleased 200,000 documents originally exfiltrated. 

In this document NSA outlines a method (as in "sources and methods") called "medical pattern of life." It consists of a medical diagnosis, and then extrapolates a signature based on medications or medical supplies needed to treat the conditions suffered by a High Value Target, which in this case was bin Laden. 

The medical pattern of life is an artifice which I had not seen previously, but then, I do not get out much. It is nothing less than taking medical facts known about a target and converting them into vulnerabilities and vectors. Sneaky bastards. 

Here is what the card says: "Medical POL--> Identification of all recurring, and therefore predictable, patterns of behavior that constitute the specific treatment regimen for a target's medical illness." These would include "Medications, Medical Tests, Medical Surgical Treatments, Hospital and Doctor Visits."

Targeting the Medical Pattern of Life was an effort to "leap over the non-electronic moat with which HVI's surround themselves," planting a tag or a beacon on them, "enabling their geolocation." Obviously a drone strike could ensue, or as in the case of bin Laden, a visit from his friendly neighborhood SEAL team. 

There is a tantalizing reference to a "Doctor in Theater, 2000," which could mesh with reporting by Seymour Hersh about Dr. Shakil Afridi, who remains incarcerated in Pakistan due to the incompetence of the Obama regime. This could be a reference to a different physician, as Afridi was known to be in American custody in 2002, subjected to a month of CIA and FBI interviews and interrogation. 

Sheik Osama was known to suffer from "Middle Stage Renal Disease," with "Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections and Kidney Stones." Otherwise uncommented "Intestinal Problems" are also cited. The signature of his medical pattern of life was unique enough that tracking treatment materials and medications for his ailments could be followed like medical breadcrumbs. 

Significant NSA capabilities are blown, including a photograph of a "Tiny, Embeddable Form Factor" beacon or tag, apparently called the "PAITS Long Range Tag," which is quite small, with "Very Low Power" requirements, built from "non attributable electronics." It features a "Long Stand-Off Range," which is covert.

Alternatives or perhaps separate components include an RFID system called the "Sandia National Labs PAITS, LPS, RX," which utilizes a "gas taggant" feature, "Enabling Taggant: RX, ORNL," which emits a gas which can be detected across vast distances, perhaps via satellite. It is unclear if these are components of the PAITS or modular methods which can augment the PAITS.

The system works as follows:

1. The seal of the medicine or equipment is broken, releasing the gas, which is detected by the "Existing Infrastructure."

2. The RFID Tracking System is activated. 

3. The tag is geolocated from long range. The document cites an "existing infrastructure," suggesting that sensors capable of sensing these devices are deployed and functioning. Such sensors would have to be on satellites, though I suppose that they could be installed on drones or on aircraft. 

This PowerPoint deck was authored by a medical doctor assigned to the office SSG13, with the title "Clinical Psychologist to Operations." He or she apparently collaborated with another individual, also assigned to SSG13, from the "Senior Technical Development Program."

The Intercept notes that there is a reference to ICRC Hospitals, which indicates International Committee of the Red Cross, which was predictably unenthused to learn that it had been targeted for penetration and compromise by NSA / CIA. 

The article on The Intercept was authored by Cora Currier. 

2 Comments:

Anonymous Mike D said...

it boggles my mind to contemplate the possibility that a small bottle or jar can be detected and located remotely due to an odor or gas inside the container being released. I actually cannot believe such a thing is possible. How could such technology exist and yet be unheard of by the public? I have trouble conceiving of passive communication chips which can be scanned from a distance, although the article claims they also exist.

11:03 PM, June 11, 2015  
Blogger Estéban Trujillo de Gutiérrez said...

That was one of the reasons why I posted on this topic, as I was not aware that such capabilities existed.

Sneaky, crafty bastards. :)

1:18 AM, June 12, 2015  

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