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CIA & FBI can neither confirm nor deny they know about these Operating Systems
Gentoo Linux, OpenBSD, and even Windows Vista are hush-hush.
After I published “The CIA invests in these Tech companies”, it was pointed out to me — by one of The Lunduke Journal Community members — that the CIA had rejected a Freedom of Information Act Request for documentation about the Plan 9 operating system.
Not joking. Here’s the rejection letter from the CIA:
That’s right. When it comes to Plan 9 (an open source research OS originating at Bell Labs in the early 1990s), “the CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records” about it.
Which is pretty doggone funny. I’d like to imagine that Plan 9 is part of some complex spy program. Possibly involving Nazi’s. And space lasers.
But this got me thinking… What other Operating Systems can the CIA “neither confirm nor deny” knowing about?
Let’s find out!
Linux and the CIA / FBI
This isn’t even a “can not confirm nor deny” scenario… The CIA straight up says, without ambiguity, they’ve never even heard of Gentoo Linux. No memos, emails, letters or reports that even casually mention the existence of Gentoo Linux.
Same goes for Yggdrasil, one of the earliest Linux distributions (from back in 1992).
Same with TAILS — a desktop Linux system designed to be used for whistleblowers, journalists, and others who might need extreme privacy. We get a “Neither confirm nor deny” by the CIA.
This time, an appeal was filed… that appeal was… drum-roll please… rejected by the CIA (they’re sticking with the whole “neither confirm nor deny” thing).
But, here’s a crazy bit. The same FOIA request was sent to the FBI regarding TAILS… and the FBI accepted it! Took a little back and forth, but the FBI released at least some documentation showing they know what TAILS is.
As far as I am aware, this is the only Freedom of Information Act Request where a government agency has acknowledged the existence of Linux at all. Which is a little amusing.
Also interesting… While the FBI admits to knowledge of TAILS… they “refuse to confirm or deny the existence of” records that shows the FBI actually uses TAILS.
OK, FBI. Got it. You can neither confirm nor deny that you use TAILS. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Say know more. Know what I mean, know what I mean.
BSD and the CIA / FBI
What about BSD? Well. It turns out that the FBI is willing to admit a little knowledge of OpenBSD. How much knowledge? One document.
A single, highly redacted, document detailing a time (in 2002) when the openbsd.org servers were hacked. In Canada.
That’s it, and that’s all. Otherwise the FBI claims to have no knowledge of this “OpenBSD” thingamajig.
The CIA, on the other hand, can — say it with me now! — “neither confirm nor deny” that they’ve ever heard of OpenBSD.
Microsoft Windows and the NSA
What about Windows? Surely there’s some interesting stuff the CIA, FBI or other agencies know about Windows!
Well, as it turns out, there is only publicly published FOIA request — that we know of at the moment — that asks about Windows. Specifically, it requests documents relating to the NSA’s evaluation of Windows Vista.
And, while the NSA admits they have documents about Windows Vista… they can’t let the public know what’s in those documents.
Because… obviously… Windows Vista is a national security issue. Or something.
On the hunt for more
I have yet to be able to find FOIA requests for MS-DOS, AmigaOS, NetBSD, BeOS, PalmOS, Ubuntu, or many others. But I shall not give up the quest!
Because this is just too much fun.
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