Chapter 19 Page 4 of 6

My chair was jostled slightly from behind and I turned to see what the disruption was. It was Jonny, trying to slip into the room as quietly as possible. He mouthed an apology when our eyes met and took the seat directly behind. I was pleased he was back. With all of these spooks in the room I might need an interpreter… or a diplomat.

Eventually Mr. Samuelson finished speaking. Much of what he had to say had been wasted on me for I could not keep up with the acronyms. Apparently the FBI has some sort of “initiative” called C3E that they are implementing in four stages. The first stage consists of training and re-educating the FBI work-force and is only now just nearing completion. The next three stages, to be implemented over five years, are the actual program. Apparently most of the other attendees in the room already knew about the program because Samuelson did not tell us what the acronym actually stood for until much later in the talk. It is `Combating Computer Crime and Espionage’. Much of his talk detailed the FBI’s (lack of?) progress in re-tooling to adapt to the rapid proliferation of computers and their use as telecommunications devices.

Samuelson asked for, and received, questions from the audience. There were one or two questions about the C3E program, all of them from the DISA contingent. The DISA people seemed to be at the meeting due to some bureaucratic necessity and not particularly interested in the issue at hand. Then, somebody in the CIA, a man in a beige sports-jacket and blue-jeans, with a yellow pencil in one hand and small spiral-bound notebook in the other (making him look a little like a journalist and very much out of place), asked if the FBI profile for the “hacker” included any international connections. Mr. Samuelson replied that technical details on the current status of “Case #228-CC/FFU-296” would be forthcoming in the presentations to follow. He actually rattled off the entire case number, as if we wouldn’t know which case he meant, this despite the fact that he had no doubts about which case the questioner meant without that person citing the case number. This last question provided Samuelson with a nice seguey into the next presentation and he took advantage of it. He introduced the next speaker — another FBI agent — and stepped down from the lecturn, while patting his forehead with his handkerchief.

The next speaker was a young man with an athletic build, although he walked with a slight limp as he slowly made his way to the front of the room. I missed his name when Samuelson introduced him and he did not repeat it. He began with the profile. The FBI was still convinced that our adversary was a loner male computer geek with a PhD. They still believed that he was living in the United States. Two interesting changes in the profile were that they no longer listed him as a US citizen and that he was likely an employee of a bank. The speaker suggested that the subject might be an international graduate student at an American university or a permanent resident working for a US bank. The reasoning behind these changes was that the attacks were too sophisticated for an outsider, and they were no longer limited to domestic banks; counterfeit EFT’s had been found that were directed to foreign banks. The FBI was concentrating on France, Germany, and Russia.

The speaker said that, despite the international scope, the FBI still believed that the subject was living in the States. Indeed, the FBI now suspected that the attacker was living on the west coast, probably California. Furthermore, there was some evidence that the subject was targeting American cultural icons. This suggested that the subject was either a foriegn national living in the United States, or else an American citizen with strong political feelings against the United States.

This completed the latest update on the millwright profile. The speaker then went on to discuss other issues. He related the NASA syndrome that Jonny had discovered at the Bendix offices in St. Louis. This helped support the theory that the subject was an employee of a bank. If the millwright was working in the security department of a bank, then this might provide him with access to the X9.17 key-encrypting keys for that bank. Even if he did not work in the EFT or security departments, given the sloppy practices at some banks, an employee in good standing with the company would have ample opportunity to steal the master keys.

I only half-listened to this part of the talk. Jonny had leaned forward and was loudly whispering in Lisa’s ear. He was recounting anecdotes from that St. Louis trip. This was not distracting so much as it was interesting. I found myself listening to their conversation instead of the speaker’s far dryer coverage of the same facts. I did, however, catch a comment by the speaker saying that the President had been briefed on the entire money mill investigation and that he had requested that he be kept up to date with all new developments. This pleased me; nobody was taking this matter lightly now. There had already been enough down-playing of the incident early on: First Chicago executives had hoped to pin the blame on Lisa and sweep the entire affair under the rug; later it had appeared that Lampley and Levinski would take the fall; there were indications that I might be a scapegoat; Bendix had been working feverishly to shred documents and weather what they hoped was a brief squall; and Agnes had been reluctant to concede that the FBI needed assistance from the NSA. Now though, the matter had escalated up to the highest levels of government. Everybody recognized that we were no longer dealing with a high school phone phreak bent on impressing his friends with childish exploits of computer crime.

Next it was Weld’s turn to speak. I was anxious to hear what he had to say. Everybody in the room seemed to lean a bit further forward in their seats and set down their pencils.

“Gentlemen, Ladies… let’s step back for a moment and take a look at the big picture. What do we have here? What is the potential threat?