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Is The Pentagon Keeping Tabs on Political Websites?

The Journal Times | August 26 2004

What started out as a simple story about a local Web site spun out into an international quest for a conspiratorially covered-up smoking gun behind Sept. 11.

Fielding calls from the Defense Department one minute and incredulous conspiracy hunters in London the next, I expected to glance up and see a "The Truth Is Out There" poster slapped defiantly above my desk. This was getting ridiculous.

Here's what happened: KenoshaOnline.net was forced to disable their anonymous posting forum last Sunday following several bombs of "comments" advertising links to Web sites featuring incest, bestiality, underage sex, and just about any other dirty and/or illegal thing you could think of.

"We suffered about 20 attacks over a two month period," said John Norquist, administrator for KenoshaOnline. "And each attack resulted in about 10 to 15 different articles ... so, you do the math, that's about three hundred attacks, total."

And, now, the punchline: according to the IP address the comments left behind, the computer generating the porn bombs is sitting in Room BF655A of the Pentagon in Washington D.C., property of the United States Department of Defense.

But before you start ripping up next year's W-2s in disgust at the use of your hard-earned tax dollars, you should probably know that the address is a familiar one to bloggers and other Webmasters and that most consider it a fake.

Not that it matters much to KenoshaOnline: traffic for the Web site has dropped significantly since its anonymous forum was disabled. "Basically our web activity has dropped down to about one-third," said Norquist, expressing concern that the dramatic downfall in traffic will affect interest from advertisers. Advertising revenue is how most Web sites providing free content, like KenoshaOnline, pay for their space, their equipment, and their staff. Without the ads, they would have to rely on paid subscriptions from their visitors or, worse yet, donations.

Norquist contacted the Department of Defense on Sunday in the hopes that they could stop the attacks ostensibly coming from their computer, but as of Wednesday, he said, "No word yet from the DOD."

The situation, though bizarre, is far from unique. This year has brought a slew of online attention from Room BF655A. The Middlewesterner (http://middlewesterner.blogspot.com), a blog maintained by accomplished writer and Wisconsinite Tom Montag, received a visit on May 18 of this year from this address. The Gospel According to Whoppo (http://the.gospel.according.to.whoppo.net), a blog from the pseudonominal Whoppo himself, caught some of the Pentagon action way back in early February. The visits, from the same computer that attacked KenoshaOnline, were fortunately halted at Whoppo's firewall and duly recorded. Spiced Sass (http://www.roadsassy.com/spicedsass), a Cincinnati-based blog of right-leaning political commentary, was also hit. Zee, the blogger herself, wrote in her July 9 blog of the event that her server blocked the repeated entry attempts by Room BF655A before it could do any damage - if that is, in fact, what it was trying to do.

And that's up for debate. While most people believe the Room BF655A address is spoofed, there are others who say that it is nothing short of naiveté to believe that Big Brother isn't watching. Simon Aronowitz, editor of the London-based political conspiracy hunting Web site ThoughtCrimeNews.com, is one. "I seriously doubt these people are spoofing government addresses," he told me. "That's asking for trouble." And besides, what about the logged visits to his and related Web sites from NASA offices and that of the President of the United States? Are they all faked? Considering reports in the media of Internet-based terrorist organizations, not to mention the incendiary material on Aronowitz and others' sites involving September 11th and the war in Iraq, it isn't very farfetched to believe that the U.S. isn't keeping an eye on them.

Such is also the case with Fathers4Justice (http://www.fathers.ca), a Canadian activist site devoted to paternal rights - and, yes, associated with the same Fathers4Justice responsible for the flour-bombing of Tony Blair earlier this year. Among the list of many other British and Canadian government offices who have visited the site, the IP address for Room BF655A is listed and denounced as an arm of "the United States and their Terrorist government agents."

Considering the Flour Bomb Incident, it isn't impossible that some Internet surveillance agent in the Pentagon has the Fathers4Justice site bookmarked on his PC. But that doesn't explain the Federal government's sudden interest in flooding KenoshaOnline with porn. The fact is, pirating compromised computers belonging to the Feds is nothing new to the spamming and anti-spamming communities; and IP spoofing software is easily available on the Web. Programs such as Blitznet are excellent for flooding Web sites with political tirades, pornographic links, advertising spam - you name it. And because programs like this are not based on a specific connection, it is fairly simple to attach any IP address one wants to the assault. All you need are the numbers.

Which are pretty easy to get if you have access to a visitors' log - if, say, you are a disgruntled political blogger or online commentator and happen to notice the Defense Department's IP address repeatedly noted on your server's record. You probably wouldn't be too happy about such visitations in this hypothetical situation. You might, in fact, if you were so inclined, decide to write a flooding program full of abusive or pornographic text and imagery, attach the government IP address to it, and send it round the globe. It would be the virtual equivalent of writing a nasty, confessional note in your worst enemy's carefully forged handwriting and passing it around the whole school.

But it's just a theory. I could be wrong.

-----------------------------

Simon Aronowitz has issued a rebuttal to this article....

Are the specific websites listed in Rachel Campbell's story being targeted by the Pentagon with pornographic postings? Only one was suffering from pornographic postings, whilst another suffered a security loophole exploitation. I don't know if it is the Pentagon, but it is certainly worthy of further investigation.

Is it possible that the Pentagon would do such a thing? Of course it's possible. The office in question is the Defense Information Systems Agency, but also listed under the IP lookup is the Defense Logistics Agency Special Studies Office.

When I spoke to Rachel Campbell at the Journal Times, I was not made aware of which websites had apparently been visited or bombarded by the Pentagon, as mentioned in her article. I did not at that stage do a Google search, as she told me she had done to find my site and others hit by Room BF655A at the Pentagon.

I was speaking to her generally about people spoofing the identity of a government office such as Room BF655A, in that it would be a pretty brainless thing to do. The military would obviously have offices which look at what information is available in the public domain - you would expect them to be on the look-out for any type of a breach of security.

The US military owns the internet. The Pentagon can track down whoever they want, if they want to. I would have thought that impersonating a government office was a big deal, and a pretty stupid thing to do. It's just asking for trouble.

So wouldn't the Pentagon want to know who's impersonating their Defense Information Systems Agency online? Maybe deal with the situation?

My logs indicated that back in January, ThoughtCrimeNews.com was repeatedly visited by the Defense Information Systems Agency, based in room BF655A at the Pentagon.

The IP was logged as

bu-wcs2-kelly.nipr.mil

and the lookup gives the following details:

OrgName: The Defense Information Systems Agency

OrgID: DISA

Address: DISA/DSSO/JCLCC

Address: Room BF655A, The Pentagon

City: Washington

StateProv: DC

PostalCode: 20301

Country: US

NetRange: 198.25.0.0 - 198.26.255.255

CIDR: 198.25.0.0/16, 198.26.0.0/16

NetName: NETBLK-DISA-C

NetHandle: NET-198-25-0-0-1

Parent: NET-198-0-0-0-0

NetType: Direct Allocation

NameServer: AAA-KELLY.NIPR.MIL

NameServer: AAA-VAIHINGEN.NIPR.MIL

NameServer: AAA-WHEELER.NIPR.MIL

NameServer: AAA-VIENNA.NIPR.MIL

Comment:

RegDate: 1992-12-05

Updated: 2004-01-13

This site does not have any forums for people to post porn or inflammatory messages. The only possible explanation for these hits was that the Pentagon was indeed looking at this site.

Or is Ms Campbell suggesting that someone is pretending to be the Pentagon, just to give me and others a buzz?

According to the article, "most people believe the Room BF655A address is spoofed", however I can't seem to find anyone convinced of this from a Google search, the same method used by Rachel Campbell to find my site with regard to the story. In fact, many of the references to the online activity of Room BF665A seem to suspect that the Pentagon was indeed responsible, even if it may only have been a solder with too much spare time on his or her hands.

The logs available to me now are not detailed enough to indicate which pages were looked at by the Pentagon, but I suspect it was my page about the `pod' on the bottom of the alleged Flight 175 which hit WTC Tower 2 on 9/11.

Is this what the Pentagon found so interesting?

Or was it the story about the suicide of the woman who accused George W Bush of rape?

Is Ms Campbell suggesting that I would be responsible for these malicious postings and attacks in her last paragraph, having conceded I probably was visited by the Pentagon? I certainly hope not. That could have serious implications...

As for her suggestion that hijacking the Fed's computers is nothing new - we're talking about an office in the Pentagon here, whose whole gig is providing secure electronic communications systems and probably a lot more besides.

Have a look at their website.

The notion that mere mortals could hijack their systems is preposterous in any case. These guys probably INVENTED firewalls. Is she really saying that their security is so crap that they don't even have Norton Internet Security installed? The Pentagon is easily hijacked? You read it in Racine first.

In the meantime, don't believe the propaganda. This is not a "conspiracy hunting website", as the article may have you believe. It's a free thinking website. Hence the name.

The fact that conspiracies are discussed on this website together with other subjects is simply the product of a free mind.

--------------------------

Comment from another reader:

Hello Paul,

I saw the Journal Times article:

Is The Pentagon Keeping Tabs on Political Websites?

I am a "chemtrail" researcher. I wanted to share with
you that I, too, get hits from Pentagon room Room
BF655A. The page they visited last is about the
history of my site visitors to a page about an issue
the government says is not "real".

The most current I have on record came to my page
http://users.ev1.net/~seektress/hits.htm
The info is below:

8 5 2004 9:28:4 Mozilla/3.01 (compatible;)
198.26.119.85 wcs2-belvoir.nipr.mil
Search results for: 198.26.119.85


OrgName: The Defense Information Systems Agency
OrgID: DISA
Address: DISA/DSSO/JCLCC
Address: Room BF655A, The Pentagon
City: Washington
StateProv: DC
PostalCode: 20301
Country: US

8 5 2004 9:28:21 Mozilla/3.01 (compatible;)
198.26.119.84 belvoir-sun1.iern.disa.mil Search
results for: 198.26.119.84


OrgName: The Defense Information Systems Agency
OrgID: DISA
Address: DISA/DSSO/JCLCC
Address: Room BF655A, The Pentagon
City: Washington
StateProv: DC
PostalCode: 20301
Country: US

Thank you for running this article and getting this
information out.

---------------------------