While senior Pentagon officials resort to bluster in hopes of preventing the WikiLeaks website from posting any more secret Afghan war documents on the Internet, security experts say there is a lot the U.S. military could have done to prevent the classified documents from being leaked in the first place.
Steps range from the sophisticated — installing automated monitoring systems on classified networks — to the mundane — disabling CD burners and USB ports on network computers.
“The technology is available” to protect highly sensitive information, said Tom Conway, director of federal business development at computer security giant McAfee. “The Defense Department doesn’t have it, but it is commercially available. We’ve got some major commercial clients using it.”
Full Article Below the Line (Not Easily Available on Internet); Lengthy Comment Follows Article
More Than Espionage: Open-source intelligence should be part of solution
Washington Times January 27, 2010 Pg. B3
By Andrew M. Borene
Here’s some food for thought: White House policymakers and Congress can help develop an increasingly robust national intelligence capacity by investing new money in the pursuit of a centralized open-source intelligence (OSINT) infrastructure.
Phi Beta Iota: In 1992 it was the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and The MITRE Corporation that destroyed the emergent Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) movement. CIA refused to deal with OSINT unless everyone associated with it was a U.S. citizen with a SECRET clearance (we do not make this stuff up), and MITRE misled the US Government in such a way as to promote their Open Source Information System (OSIS) that ended up providing analysts mediocre high-side access to six open sources (LEXIS-NEXIS, Oxford Analytics, Jane’s Information Group, Predicast and two other non-memorable sources). The US Marine Corps, which was the proponent for OSINT based on the lessons learned in creating the Marine Corps Intelligence Center (MCIC), argued for an outside the wire center of excellence that would have access to all sources in all languages (in part because the “experts” flogged by contracting firms may have been expert once, but are not “the” expert on any given topic for any given day–for that we prize European and Chinese and Latin American graduate students about to receive their PhD).
During his tenure as Director of the Community Open Source Program Office (COSPO), Dr. Joe Markowitz, the only person ever to actually understand OSINT within CIA, closely followed by Carol Dumaine, founder of the Global Futures Partership, tried four years in a row, with the support of Charlie Allen, then Deputy Director for Collection (DDCI/C), to get an OSINT program line established. Four years in a row, Joan Dempsey, then Deputy Director for Community Management (DDCI/CM) refused. The secret IC is incapable of creating an Open Source Agency (OSA) as called for by the 9-11 Commission, and any money it puts in that direction will be wasted unless the Simmons-Steele-Markowitz recommendations briefed to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are respected.
Dr. Markowitz is also the author of the OSINT portions of vital Defense Science Board reports such as Transitions to and from Hostilities, and is unique within the CIA alumni for understanding both the needs of defense and the possibilities of OSINT. COSPO was an honest effort–CIA/OSC is not.
CIA and LEXIS-NEXIS still do not get it–they both want a monopoly on a discicpline they do not understand and cannot monopolize. The US Government is a BENEFICIARY of OSINT, not its patron, and any endeavor that is not outside the wire, transparent, and under diplomatic and civil affairs auspices, is destined to fail, just as CIA/OSC has failed all these years, just as LEXIS-NEXIS, Oxford Analytica, and Jane’s Information Group have failed on substance all these years. They profit from government ignorance, they do not profit from actually connecting the government to sources that are largely free, not online, and not in English.
During 2001-2002, I was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Sherman Kent Center for Intelligence Analysis, the “think tank” attached to the CIA’s training center for analysts. The CIA has long used such scholars as expert analysts, but the Kent Center wanted to try something new: using an outside scholar to study the process of analysis itself. In particular, I was charged with looking at how the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) uses information technology (IT), and how it might use this technology more effectively.
On 1 March 1996, the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community (the Brown Commission) issued its report to the President and to Congress. On 26 March, Studies in Intelligence board members Brian Latell, Robert Herd, John Wiant, and Bill Nolte met at the Commission’s offices in the New Executive Office Building with Ann Z. Caracristi, a member of the Commission; Staff Director L. Britt Snider; and staff members Douglas Horner, Brendan Melley, Kevin Scheid, and William Kvetkas. What follows is an edited transcript of the discussion with them, reviewed in advance by the participants.
If the spooks can’t analyze their own data, why call it intelligence?
For more than a year now, there has been a deluge of stories and op-ed pieces about the failure of the American intelligence community to detect or prevent the September 11, 2001, massacre. Nearly all of these accounts have expressed astonishment at the apparent incompetence of America’s watchdogs.
I’m astonished that anyone’s astonished.
The visual impairment of our multitudinous spookhouses has long been the least secret of their secrets. Their shortcomings go back 50 years, when they were still presumably efficient but somehow failed to detect several million Chinese military “volunteers” heading south into Korea. The surprise attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were only the most recent oversight disasters. And for service like this we are paying between $30 billion and $50 billion a year. Talk about a faith-based initiative.
After a decade of both fighting with and consulting to the intelligence community, I’ve concluded that the American intelligence system is broken beyond repair, self-protective beyond reform, and permanently fixated on a world that no longer exists.
Hearing before the Subcommittee on Technology and Competitiveness of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, 102nd Congress, 1st Session, June 27, 1991 [No. 42].