12/28/2009

Software fraudster ‘fooled CIA’ into terror alert

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 12:26 pm

A con man fooled US spooks into grounding international flights by selling them “technology” to decode al-Qaeda messages hidden in TV broadcasts, it’s claimed.

A long and highly entertaining Playboy article explains that in 2003, 50-year-old Dennis Montgomery was chief technology officer at Reno, Nevada-based eTreppid Technologies. The firm began as a video compression developer, but Montgomery took it in new and bizarre directions.

He reportedly convinced the CIA that he had software that could detect and decrypt “barcodes” in broadcasts by Al Jazeera, the Qatari news station.

The Company was apparently impressed enough to set up its own secure room at the firm to do what Montgomery called “noise filtering”. He somehow produced “reams of data” consisting of geographic coordinates and flight numbers.

In December 2003, it’s claimed CIA director George Tenet was sufficiently sold on Montgomery’s data to ground transatlantic flights, deploy heavily armed police on the streets of Manhattan and evacuate 5,000 people from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge told the press the terror alert was the result of “credible sources - about near-term attacks that could either rival or exceed what we experienced on September 11″.

In fact, according to evidence from his former lawyer, Montgomery, the “credible source”, was a “habitual liar engaged in fraud”.

 

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