2019-05-27 16:08 KST  
Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
How to Bust the Spooks on Wikipedia
Dr. De Braeckeleer describes his use of the Wiki Scanner software
Ludwig De Braeckeleer (ludwig)     Print Article 
Published 2007-09-02 10:47 (KST)   

Related Articles
Wikipedia and the Intelligence Services
Wikipedia Edited by CIA Computers

On July 26 of this year, I published an article titled "Wikipedia and the Intelligence Services in which I alleged that Wikipedia may be edited by Intelligence Services.

Early Suspicions

In recent months, I have been working on a series of articles which intend to expose the many inconsistencies and contradictions of the Lockerbie verdict. While researching a particular aspect of that affair, I noticed some edits on Wikipedia that prompted me to investigate whether someone related to an intelligence agency was manipulating the information.

OMNI's New Approach to Citizen Journalism
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Technology Can Save Money, Planet
[Opinion] Iran Defends Peaceful 'Right'
Couchsurfing in Gaza
[Opinion] 'Donating' Sperm Is 'Dark,' 'Shady'
eLearning Maturity Emerges From Middle Management
[Opinion] Twitter Is Politics In Venezuela
Internet Eldorado
The Story of China셲 First Email Link and How it Got Corrected
I concluded that article by stating that a person who had been suspected of being an agent or an informant of MI5 was indeed editing sensitive information on the free encyclopedia.

The story attracted more than 50,000 readers in just three days, was highly debated on the Web, and translated in several languages. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and Wikipedia administrators reacted angrily to the news. "This article is just wild speculative nonsense," wrote Jimmy Wales.

Among the websites, where he story was fiercely debated, figures Slashdot where it was posted on July 27. Obviously, the allegation was not about to go away and Jimmy Wales reiterated his position.

"This story is demented and broken on so many levels, it is quite difficult to know where to begin, even. Here we have an excellent Wikipedia administrator who has been victimized by lunatic conspiracy theorists, a private person who has absolutely no relation to the wild stories that this article promulgates," Jimmy Wales wrote.

Virgil Griffiths Releases New Software

On Aug. 14, Wired reported that Virgil Griffith, a university graduate student and self-described hacker, had completed a new software utility known as the "Wikipedia Scanner". The software is capable of tracking millions of Wikipedia article edits back to their originating IP addresses. Thus, it is now straightforward to identify any corporation or organisation editing articles on the world famous free encyclopedia.

Using Griffith's software, I could identify 297 edits that can be tracked back to the following IP's:,,, and All IP's belong to the CIA computer Network.

Publication of the 297 CIA Edits

On Aug. 17, I published a second story in which I listed the CIA edits to Wikipedia pages. Between June 29, 2004, and July 30, 2007, Wikipedia has been edited 297 times by some individual(s) using computers that belong to the CIA network.

Among the pages that were edited by the CIA individual(s), we find:
  • The 2003 invasion of Iraq (modified on 2004-11-09 15:57:47)
  • William Colby (modified on 2005-06-23 22:45:00, 2005-06-24 16:32:11, 2005-06-24 16:34:19 and 2006-06-20 18:32:45)
  • The Iraq Intelligence Commission (modified on 2005-06-30 21:27:22)
  • The Central Intelligence Agency (modified on 2005-07-18 17:54:46)
  • The United States Intelligence Community (modified on 2005-08-15 15:05:43)
  • Ahmed Chalabi (modified on 2005-12-09 18:13:04)
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (modified on 2005-12-15 16:38:49)
  • The National Counter Terrorism Center (modified on 2005-12-22 16:24:26)
  • The National Security Council (modified on 2005-12-27 13:42:09 and 2005-12-27 13:44:14)
  • Porter J. Goss (modified on 2006-01-25 00:08:00 and 2006-01-25 00:10:10)
  • George Tenet (modified on 2006-02-10 10:36:53)
  • Kyle Foggo (modified on 2006-05-08 17:00:42)
  • Encryption (modified on 2006-10-27 16:41:05)
  • The list of Yale University student organizations (modified on 2007-01-23 23:54:42)
  • China and Weapons of Mass Destruction (modified on 2007-02-05 17:27:24)
  • The Director of National Intelligence (modified on 2007-04-24 20:07:24).

    "I cannot confirm that the traffic came from agency computers," a CIA spokesperson stated. "I'd like in any case to underscore a far larger and more significant point that no one should doubt or forget: The CIA has a vital mission in protecting the United States, and the focus of this agency is there, on that decisive work."

    How to Use the Wikipedia Scanner

    Go to Virgin Griffiths Wikipedia Scanner page. Under "Specify by IP Range", enter the following IP's: They all belong to the Department of Homeland Security.

    Then click on "Wikipedia edits Ahoy!" Don't you feel safer now that you know that Homeland Security employees have made 2147 edits to Wikipedia?

    On Oct. 8, 2005, someone, using a computer linked to the Homeland Security Department, edited G.W. Bush page. Here are the edits he made. The left and right columns contain the text of the article before and after the editing. All references to Bush's addiction to alcoholism have been suppressed. Information concerning Cheney's DWI arrests was also deleted by the same Department.

    On the other hand, Homeland Security people are unpleased with Mohamed Atta sobriety. "In the week before the attack, Atta was seen drinking juice and playing video games..." was edited to read "In the week before the attack, Atta was seen drinking heavily and playing video games..." Voila! America is safer now.

    Homeland Security seems annoyed by the 9/11 conspiracy theories. The Department simply whipped out an entire section of the article. These folks do not seem to like Sean Penn very much either. Then again, who would like a guy who once stated that "If there's one thing that actors know -other than there weren't any WMD's- it's that there is no such thing as best in acting." I guessed such statement makes him an enemy of the State.

    And what about these CIA edits? Let us try IP (As I have said, all IP's from belong to the Agency.) This IP alone returns 127 edits, including one on the page of Ahmed Chalabi. According to Wolfowitz, the Iraqi people were going to welcome Chalabi as their new leader. Unfortunately, they did not. They knew something everyone seemed to know outside the close circle of Bush advisers: Chalabi is a crook. On Dec. 6, 2005, the text reads "Chalabi is a highly controversial figure for many reasons." Three days later, a CIA employee edited out the word "highly". Well, the CIA may not know much about Chalabi, but they sure know about Yale secret societies.

    And you wonder why they were not invited at Henry Kissinger's party? They are still bitterly complaining about this. On an other subject, Ladies, watch out! These guys can be vindictive. Do not upset them for they will not hesitate to post a comment on Wikipedia to tell all about your sex life. "She dumped her first boyfriend to be with Gill, who in turn took her virginity and left her," wrote a CIA employee on the page of music singer Stacy Lattisaw. Aren't you glad to know that?

    The Pentagon does not seem to appreciate much Wikipedia's definition of terrorism and the many constraints of International Humanitarian Law. So, they simply erased the inconvenient section of the page on terrorism and redefined the concept in a way more suitable to their views. All IP's belong to the Pentagon. Try IP As you can see, all allegations concerning Dresden, Nagasaki or Hiroshima were simply edited out.

    And what can we say about our favorite U.S. Department ( the DOE? What have they lost this time? Q clearance is a DOE security clearance equivalent to a Department of Defense Top Secret clearance. Well, when a picture of a DOE Q clearance appeared on Wikipedia, despaired employees of the infamous Department deleted it on Feb. 6 of this year.

    One of the most laughable entries of the DOE concerns the Iraq Survey Group. A DOE employee wrote the following: "The subsequent search for nuclear WMD that was enabled by the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a success in the sense that no nuclear devices were found. If a nuclear device had been found, the search would have been too late..."

    The School of America (, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, is not too pleased with their bio on Wikipedia. Is it something wrong about training officers to torture and kill people all over Latin America, including nuns and priests? No problem! The "Gentlemen and Officers" from Fort Benning re-wrote the entire article. If you did not know better, you would believe that the page describes the International Institute for the Study of Humanitarian Law.

    Are Israeli officials editing Wikipedia? You bet! Someone from the Embassy ( has been polishing stories such the ones about Administrative Detention or the 2006 Lebanon War.

    Well, I guessed these entries will please whoever used an Al Jazeera computer ( to enter the following comment: "If any one doubt that Wikipedia is not a Jewish propaganda site, try to change something against Israel in the Israel page."

    How to Find the IPs of an Agency Computer

    Go back to the Wikipedia Scanner page. Under "Specify by the Organization's", enter the name: "CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY". Then, click on "Reveal my potential victims!" Here you have it! The first line indicates that the IP's range belong to the CIA computer Network and have been used 297 times to edit Wikipedia. Try other agencies to get some practice.

    Where to Share Your Findings

    What should you do if you find an interesting edit by an Intelligence Agency? You can send an email to WikiSpookBusters@hotmail.com and your finding will be posted on the WikiSpookBusters Blog! Please, email the information in the following format.

    Brief description of the edit

    Hyperlink to the Wikipedia Scanner page

    IP used to make the edit

    Your name or Anonymous
    What to Do If You Find a Mistake

    If you find a mistake in one entry, such a typo in the IP number, send an email to WikiSpookBusters@hotmail.com. Identify clearly the entry by the Wikipedia page title and the name of the organization, as well as the mistake and a reference / link to justify your claim.

    Australian Academic Is Hopeful

    "In the short term, people can try and manipulate it [Wikipedia] for political purposes," said Communication lecturer Mike Minehan, of the University of Technology, Sydney.

    "In the longer term, the internet community will fix that. And that to me is the interesting thing about Wikipedia: it represents the collective intelligence of the web."

    "The Wikiscanner is fabulous and I strongly support it," Wales told the AP.

  • Ludwig De Braeckeleer has a Ph.D. in nuclear sciences. He teaches physics and international humanitarian law. He blogs on The GaiaPost.
    ©2007 OhmyNews
    Other articles by reporter Ludwig De Braeckeleer

    Add to :  Add to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us |  Add to Digg this Digg  |  Add to reddit reddit |  Add to Y! MyWeb Y! MyWeb

    Ronda Hauben
    Netizens Question Cause of Cheonan Tragedy
    Michael Werbowski
    [Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
    Michael Solis
    Arizona's Immigration Bill and Korea
    Yehonathan Tommer
    Assassination in Dubai
    [ESL/EFL Podcast] Saying No
    Seventeenth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev...
      [ESL/EFL] Talking About Change
      [ESL/ EFL Podcast] Personal Finances
      [ESL/EFL] Buying and Selling
    How worried are you about the H1N1 influenza virus?
      Very worried
      Somewhat worried
      Not yet
      Not at all
        * Vote to see the result.   
      copyright 1999 - 2019 ohmynews all rights reserved. internews@ohmynews.com Tel:+82-2-733-5505,5595(ext.125) Fax:+82-2-733-5011,5077