National security reporter for The Washington Post. ellen.nakashima@washpost.com Contact me securely at ellennak@protonmail.com.

Washington, D.C.
Joined March 2009
The Over-the-Horizon Strike Cell was created in early July to disrupt plots in Afghanistan by Al Qaeda or ISIS that threatened the U.S. homeland. After the Taliban takeover, the cell began focusing on ISIS threats against American troops at HKIA helping Afghans flee the country.
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Seconds after the Hellfire missile was launched, the drone operators could see on the grainy live-video feed that other figures — most likely children — were approaching the white Toyota sedan. But it was too late to stop the strike.
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The cell's "interpretation of an innocent man’s set of movements as those of a terrorist or an attack facilitator show some massive flaws in targeting methodology,” @LukeHartig told the NYT.
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UPDATE: FBI Director Wray today suggested that “testing and validating” the decryption key contributed to the delay. “There’s a lot of engineering that’s required to develop a tool” that can be used by victims, he said at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing. (more)
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But apparently it took Emsisoft, the company that built the decryption tool that Kaseya released, a total of 10 minutes to build and test the decryptor. (more)
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If they had not been familiar with REvil ransomware and "if we had to go from scratch," Emsisoft CTO Fabian Wosar told me, "it would have taken about 4 hours." Not days. Not weeks. Four hours.
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Ellen Nakashima retweeted
Big reporting that fills in lots of blanks here. The FBI obtained the REvil decryption key earlier this summer by hacking them directly, and chose to not help victims so as not spook the gang. But REvil then went offline of their own accord, making the whole thing moot.
NEW: FBI held back REvil ransomware decryption key from businesses to run operation targeting hackers. My latest w/⁦@rachelermanwashingtonpost.com/national-…
Show this thread
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The matter is being appealed to higher levels at the four key agencies: Commerce, State, DOD and Energy.
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Ellen Nakashima retweeted
Another implication of CNN report on Kabul #DroneStrike: CNN: Seconds before the missile hit the vehicle "CIA issued an urgent warning: Civilians were likely in the area, including possibly children inside the vehicle." cnn.com/2021/09/18/politics/… Yet Centcom told public this.👇
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