Friday, December 31, 2010


The State Department dodged a bullet last May, according to the WaPo.

In a WaPo story with a somewhat misleading headline, WikiLeaks cable dump reveals flaws of State Department's information-sharing tool, we learn that:

A few State Department officials expressed early concerns about unauthorized access to the [Net-Centric Diplomacy] database, but these worries mostly involved threats to individual privacy, department officials said. In practice, agency officials relied on the end-users of the data - mostly military and intelligence personnel - to guard against abuse.

The department was not equipped to assign individual passwords or perform independent scrutiny over the hundreds of thousands of users authorized by the Pentagon to use the database, said Kennedy, the undersecretary of state.

"It is the responsibility of the receiving agency to ensure that the information is handled, stored and processed in accordance with U.S. government procedures," he said.

Indeed. That's what is somewhat misleading about the headline, since the "flaws" in that info-sharing tool were introduced when the Army allowed PFC Manning to pretty much run amok with its classified computer databases.

But here's the bullet-dodging moment:

Although it is perhaps small comfort, the disclosures could have been worse. In May, the Obama administration's top intelligence officer asked the State Department to expand the amount of material available to other agencies through Net-Centric Diplomacy.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, then-Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair urged that the database include not only cables but also e-mails between State Department officials. Such a move would "ensure that critical information will reach the necessary readers across the government," Blair wrote.

Clinton refused.

Having cable traffic in the public view is bad enough, but imagine how much worse it would be if WikiLeaks had your e-mails as well.

That was close.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WoW! Those guys at DOD have so many buildings full of people sifting info
they probably figured the more stuff you throw in the better the product that comes out of the sausage grinder! That would make a great cartoon! GWB