— Domani Spero
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’ ]
The “technical difficulties” at the State Department continue today. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told Yahoo News that the State Department is still investigating who — or what — launched the attack saying, “I don’t have anything to share at this point on the origins of the intrusion.”
Rathke said the attack only hit unclassified email systems at the State Department — and not business databases that contain information about Americans or, for example, foreign visa applicants. Although the temporary shutdown was previously scheduled, “in this case, the response to this specific incident needed to be more comprehensive than our regular updates.
Congress is apparently interested on what’s going on.
Meanwhile, the Department’s mobile site go.state.gov remains down, and the “technical difficulties” now include, according to tweets from overseas posts, not just inability to use email but also inability to accept credit card payment for visa and passport services, and unusable contact forms for visa and passport inquiries.
US Embassy Albania
Our Internet connection is down and we can’t be reached via email. For urgent U.S. citizen services, call +355(0)4-224-7285. Thank you.
— ACS Tirana (@ACSTirana) November 17, 2014
US Embassy London
U.S. Embassy Manila
U.S. Embassy Beirut
— U.S. Embassy Beirut (@usembassybeirut) November 18, 2014
US Embassy Turkey
U.S. Embassy Moscow
U.S. Embassy Madrid
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Below is the template of the notice used today:
U.S. embassies and consulates are currently experiencing technical difficulties that may result in delays in visa processing and receiving and sending communications. Additionally, applicants who have interviews for student and exchange visitor (F/M/J) visas scheduled for this week should bring proof of payment of the SEVIS fee. U.S. citizens may also experience delays in sending and receiving communications. U.S. citizens requiring emergency assistance should contact the Embassy [INSERT contact info].
We doubt if the State Department would have acknowledged this intrusion had the Associated Press not reported it on Sunday. On a related matter, we understand that Consular Affairs’ Consular Consolidated Database has been having problems “lately.”
Can somebody please ask CA if these ongoing problems are related to the technical difficulties from this past summer, or if this is related to the just known intrusion that brought down the email system and the GO site? We’re not terribly technical but curious — if a cyber intruder starts deleting data from the CCD, would anyone notice what’s missing?
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