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The Code War

Report: CIA Wanted To Hack Drug Cartels

A new investigation uncovered evidence that the CIA planned to electronically drain Mexican drug kingpins' bank accounts in the mid-2000s.

A new report claims the CIA considered electronic warfare against Mexican drug cartels in the mid-2000s. CIA agents allegedly pushed a project to electronically empty the accounts of drug kingpins, but were prevented from doing so by both the Treasury Department and White House. Although the intelligence agency believed it would help clamp down on the trade in illicit drugs, both the Bush administration and the Treasury Department came to the conclusion that any potential benefits would have been outweighed by negative ramifications to the global banking system.

The allegations, made by the Washington Post's Dana Priest, and based on more than 48 interviews with American and Mexican officials, mark one of the first times than semi-official confirmation has been made of attacks on banks in conjunction with state-sponsored cyberwar. Although the United States government prefers to portray itself as a victim of state-sponsored cyber attacks, it also maintains the ability to mobilize for offensive cyberattacks and hack into foreign rivals and perceived threats.