By Greg Miller Wednesday, December 22, 2010; 12:24 AM
The CIA has launched a task force to assess the impact of the exposure of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables and military files by WikiLeaks.
Officially, the panel is called the WikiLeaks Task Force. But at CIA headquarters, it’s mainly known by its all-too-apt acronym: W.T.F.
The irreverence is perhaps understandable for an agency that has been relatively unscathed by WikiLeaks. Only a handful of CIA files have surfaced on the WikiLeaks Web site, and records from other agencies posted online reveal remarkably little about CIA employees or operations.
Phi Beta Iota: We understand that CIA used to handle Department of State Embassy traffic, and the ugly little fact associated with WikiLeaks, that the Department of Defense is now handling Department of State traffic, has been buried. The DoD “Grid” is hosed and is never going to be fixed absent a a clean sheet break from the legacy and the contractors. GAO is interested in doing an update to its first two damning indictments of DoD’s Swiss Cheese Communications environment, it just needs one Member of Congress to ask for it….
Afterthought: CIA had a chance in 1986, under Bill Donnelly (DDA), Ken Weslick (C/DO/IMS), and Robert Steele (PM Project George (Smiley)), in combination with the superb work of Gordon Oehler, Dennis McCormick, and Diane Webb in in DI/OSWR, to get it right. They were specifically told at the highest levels that they needed to do two things: change the paradigm from “once in, everything visible” to “need to know tracking and accountablity,” and implement the “reverse hit” strategy that disclosed need to know hits to the owner of the clandestine or covert information rather than the seeker. With Bill Casey’s death CIA lost whatever chance it had of entering the 21st Century moderately coherent. We have wasted close to a quarter century because DoD had a death drip on ADA and refused to contemplate object-oriented programming or open source software for decades beyond ADA’s natural death, and OMB gave up the concept of inter-agency interoperability and secure information-sharing in the 1980’s. At the same time, the National Information Infrastructure was all theater and no security. Marty Harris meant well, but he simply would not focus on fundamentals such as code-level security, education, and strict classification limitations.