Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The WikiLeaks Data Dump

I'll refrain, for the time being, from commenting on the substance of the latest data dump from WikiLeaks.

But nobody seems to be asking this: Assuming that there has been one source for the material, PFC Bradley Manning, how the fuck is it that a single Army E-3 had access to all of this shit?

Why did an Army anybody have access to State Department cables going back over 30 years? What the hell ever happened to compartmentalizing classified material?

Back in the day (my day), you had to have two things in order to see classified documents: The proper security clearance and the need to know. If a radioman with a top secret clearance walked up to Sonar Control and had asked for a book on the acoustic signatures of Soviet submarines, he'd have been thrown out on his ear and then reported up the chain of command. I had some pretty goddamned high level security clearances and there was no frakking way that I could have seen State Department cables because I didn't have (let's say it all together, class) a need to know.

But no, now that there are computerized databases, it seems that once you're in, you can see anything and everything that you feel like looking at.

Which, from a security perspective, is pretty fucked up. And that doesn't even address the point that this dude was able to downloads hundreds of thousands of documents without setting off some kind of alarm somewhere.

I imagine that is going to be fixed, maybe.

But I'm not betting heavily on it.


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Charles Pergiel said...


Tim said...

From what I've read about it, there my be more than one culprit. This particular guy is the one getting the heat though. That's it ..all the info about him I know which isn't much.
I don't much about Military lingo either. I guess the vast majority of stuff while classified was not top secret. Whatever that means...
Like you said, how many people have access to the classified stuff.

Tim said...


Good reading as to security or lack of it.

Zoey and Me said...

Everything a public employee does is classified so he/she has access to the entire data base. I bet, in this case, it made some interesting late night reading. So he dumped it somewhere and carried it as trash to someone else who is now making millions off the junk. Politicians need to be embarrassed but information like this should not start a war.

IT's loosy goosy since we were in.

BadTux said...

These cables weren't actually "classified" in the sense of, "top secret". They were "classified" more in the sense of, "don't show'em to the public, but there's nothing here that's going to kill anybody if they do manage to get out." The biggest issue is, whatever happened to "need to know"? Used to be, you tap a database like this, an alert goes out in the logs and someone comes by and asks ya, "why'd you need to know X?" This is true in other settings too, if you downloaded all the transcript grades for Juniper High you could count on getting a call from us (the IT folks) asking, "uhm, why do you need all that grading info?". (For that matter, if you *changed* grades at anything other than the official time to enter grades, you'd get that same call). But that apparently didn't happen here. Failure of the computerized alert systems? Or what? Curious penguins are... curious.

- Badtux the IT Penguin

Cujo359 said...

In an organization as large and complicated as the Army, it doesn't surprise me that a low-level person can get hold of a lot of information quickly. Give him the wrong backup to transport, et viola. Usually things are a lot better run than that, but it doesn't stretch my credulity too much to believe one PFC could get his hands on a lot of one kind of communication.

On the larger point, though, I don't think he was responsible for all the leaks. The attributions, such as they are, have been so vague that it's hard to know, but it would shock me if Manning was responsible for all of them. They come from quite a few different commands or departments. Hard to think one guy of any rank could get all that on his own.