Nov 29 2010
The Wikileaks diplomatic dump is going to roil the western world for a while, but remember – all the world’s leaders know much of this already. It is the public which has been kept in the dark (as well as some enemy states). What struck me, though, was this gem of an article from Politico that came out right before the dump:
The Pentagon on Sunday announced new approaches for how it would safeguard information in the wake of the leak of documents from WikiLeaks, amid allegations that the Obama administration went too far in improving information-sharing across the government.
Was a bout of liberal naivete at the root of the Wikileaks debacle? Was President Obama’s knee-jerk plan for transparency (everywhere but in Congress) the reason low level people were able to collect so much data in such a short time frame?
Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said that in the post 9/11 push to “connect the dots” and expand information-sharing between agencies – the administration went too far.
“What we did is we created an environment that enabled this stuff to be stolen by putting it all in one place,” Hoekstra told POLITICO. “You have to ask yourself a question, why would a private first class, sitting in Baghdad, have access to this kind of information?”
A fair question worthy of Congressional Hearings.
It was childishly easy, according to the published chatlog of a conversation Manning had with a fellow-hacker. “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labelled with something like ‘Lady Gaga’ … erase the music … then write a compressed split file. No one suspected a thing … [I] listened and lip-synched to Lady Gaga’s Telephone while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history.” He said that he “had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months”.
Manning told his correspondent Adrian Lamo, who subsequently denounced him to the authorities: “Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public … Everywhere there’s a US post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed. Worldwide anarchy in CSV format … It’s beautiful, and horrifying.”
And it happened on someone’s watch.