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How Terrorists Encrypt 6: Traces Cleanup with TrueCrypt Software

Duncan Campbell provides details on several more counter-terrorism operations, outlining the use of TrueCrypt software and other conspiracy tricks by jihadis.

Operation PATHWAY (2009)

Epic fail of Bob Quick, former British Anti-terror Operations Commander

Epic fail of Bob Quick, former British Anti-terror Operations Commander

This investigation was blown to the entire world by mistake, when Commander Bob Quick, who was then head of British anti-terror operations was photographed by the press going into the Prime Minister’s office in Downing Street openly carrying operational orders. You can read them, right there on the image below to the left.

So they had to move very quickly and arrested 10 students in the North of England just hours later. The student group, many of whom have roots in Waziristan, in Pakistan, close to Afghanistan, had been under surveillance for weeks and they were suspected of being a bombing cell. But once arrested, the police found nothing to support that theory, there were no explosives, there were no chemicals.

They arrested 10 students in the North of England just hours later.

Secret materials on Operation PATHWAY spotted by the press

Accidentally disclosed Operation PATHWAY details urged the police to act immediately

One of the accused had been watched, however, going to Internet cafes, and e-mailing a Yahoo contact in Pakistan. The message talked about a Nikkah, or Islamic wedding. The messages were somewhat veiled, “Hi Buddy… my affair with Nadia is soon turning in to family life … I met with Nadia family …we .. have agreed to conduct the Nikkah after 15th and before 20th of this month”. However, there was no Nadia, and historically and culturally jihadis have often used the word ‘Nikkah’ to talk about suicide operations or attacks. There’s a cultural reason for this, because what they’re thinking of, bless them, is 72 virgins in Paradise whom they’re going to marry when they move on from the plane of this world to Jannah.

Anti-terror raid to arrest suspects at university library in Liverpool

Anti-terror raid to arrest suspects at university library in Liverpool

And the reference to dates got the police very scared, because they read this message as: “We’re going to attack our targets between the 15th and 20th of this month”, which was days away. The messages were being sent to ‘Sohaib’ at a Yahoo address in Pakistan, you’ll find that that address was actually used for contacts with other alleged jihadis in North America. Whether these messages refer to a genuine bomb plot or simply to a fantasy by the Islamists who were in Britain trying to kid on the people in Pakistan that they were going to do something – we don’t know, but throughout the communications there was no attempt to suggest encryption or use encryption or PGP. Once again, code terms, regular open e-mail.

Read previous: How Terrorists Encrypt 5: International Anti-Terror Operations
Read next: How Terrorists Encrypt 7: Peculiarities of Encryption Using Tadpole

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One comment

  1. Dante says:

    The title “Traces Cleanup with TrueCrypt Software” seems irrelevant to the article contents (unlike all the previous parts). Is part of it missing?

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