The Air Force is investigating the Navy for a cyber intrusion into its network, according to a memo obtained by Military Times.
The bizarre turn of events stems from a decision by a Navy prosecutor to embed hidden tracking software into emails sent to defense attorneys, including one Air Force lawyer, involved in a high-profile war-crimes case of a Navy SEAL in San Diego.
The tracking device was an attempt to find out who was leaking information to the editor of Navy Times, a sister publication. A similar tracking device was also sent to Carl Prine, the Navy Times editor, who has written numerous stories about the case.
Navy Capt. David Wilson, chief of staff for the Navy’s Defense Service Offices, wrote in the May 19 memo that an Air Force attorney was among the defense lawyers who had received emails with the hidden tracking software, which he described as “malware.”
The Air Force defense lawyer reported the tracking device to his information security manager, who concluded the malware was a “splunk tool,” which allowed the sender of the malware to gain “full access to his computer and all files on his computer,” Wilson wrote in the memo, which he sent to the chief of staff for the Navy’s Region Legal Service Offices.
“In fact, I’ve learned that the Air Force is treating this malware as a cyber-intrusion on their network and have seized the Air Force Individual Military Counsel’s computer and phone for review,” he wrote.
Wilson declined to comment further to Military Times.
The Air Force has not yet responded to a request for comment.