Yes, it really was this easy to get to diplomatic cables; Update: 3 million had access?

posted at 8:48 am on November 29, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

This may be the biggest actual scandal of the Wikileaks document dump.  So far, the big headlines have gone to such surprising factoids as the State Department conducting intelligence at the UN, the Obama administration playing Monty Hall to get countries like Slovenia to take terrorists from Gitmo (and getting a big zonker for its efforts), and the stunning news that China may have refused to block shipments of missile technology to its client state Iran a few years ago.  What’s next, a diplomatic cable underscoring just how wet water can be?

No, the most troubling part of the Wikileaks story is how American diplomatic and military security can be so easily compromised by … Lady Gaga?

An innocuous-looking memory stick, no longer than a couple of fingernails, came into the hands of a Guardian reporter earlier this year. The device is so small it will hang easily on a keyring. But its contents will send shockwaves through the world’s chancelleries and deliver what one official described as “an epic blow” to US diplomacy.

The 1.6 gigabytes of text files on the memory stick ran to millions of words: the contents of more than 250,000 leaked state department cables, sent from, or to, US embassies around the world. …

The US military believes it knows where the leak originated. A soldier, Bradley Manning, 22, has been held in solitary confinement for the last seven months and is facing a court martial in the new year. The former intelligence analyst is charged with unauthorised downloads of classified material while serving on an army base outside Baghdad. He is suspected of taking copies not only of the state department archive, but also of video of an Apache helicopter crew gunning down civilians in Baghdad, and hundreds of thousands of daily war logs from military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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.”

Oh, please.  Tell me that Manning was an encryption genius that spent years cracking some Pentagon code to access the mainframe while rappelling into an antechamber deep in a basement and into a Situation Room.  Do not tell me that a corporal was allowed to carry a rewriteable CD into a secure communications area by labeling it as a pop music mix tape.  I’ve been in uncleared defense contractor sites with better security than that.

That’s the real scandal.  Rewriteable CDs are an obvious security hole.  It’s almost as obvious as tape recorder or camera.  And if Manning thought of it, there are probably more who have done similar sorts of thefts, perhaps for other ends, which may be even more problematic.  After all, we know what Manning got; it’s being splashed all over the New York Times and other publications around the world.  Who knows what China, Russia, or Iran may have learned by now?

I mean, other than what they’re learning this weekend?

So far, the only real surprises from these releases have been that Israel is a lot less inclined to attack Iran than the Sunni Arab nations in the region and that America seems incapable of guarding its secrets properly.  Thanks to that latter revelation, we’re going to have fewer allies willing to trust us with intelligence or diplomacy, which poses a real danger to both the US and the world in an era where rogue nations are achieving threat parity.

Update: Bruce McQuain at QandO notices this depressing tidbit of data in another Guardian report:

More than 3 million US government personnel and soldiers, many extremely junior, are cleared to have potential access to this material, even though the cables contain the identities of foreign informants, often sensitive contacts in dictatorial regimes. Some are marked “protect” or “strictly protect”.

Three million?  Why?  Blame 9/11, or something, according to the State Department:

“The 9/11 attacks and their aftermath revealed gaps in intra-governmental information sharing. Since the attacks of 9/11, the US government has taken significant steps to facilitate information sharing. These efforts were focused on giving diplomatic, military, law enforcement and intelligence specialists quicker and easier access to more data to more effectively do their jobs.”

He added: “We have been taking aggressive action in recent weeks and months to enhance the security of our systems and to prevent the leak of information.”

I don’t think 9/11 got past us because Army corporals didn’t have access to highly sensitive classified material.  Read the rest of Bruce’s post to get the sense of what a screw-up this has been.


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If this punk is guilty, and we know he’s guilty, he should be executed, post-haste.

IronDioPriest on November 29, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Memory stick. Not CD. You know, a TSA-style patdown wouldn’t necessarily turn up a memory stick.

So far, the leaks themselves are BO-RING.

S. Weasel on November 29, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Put the little freckled jerkoff in front of a firing squad.

fusionaddict on November 29, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Manning should be lined up against a wall on national tv and shot.

djohn669 on November 29, 2010 at 9:03 AM

I’ve been wondering the same thing, Ed.

Why no uproar over the security failure?

Why no uproar over the Obama Administrations failures with China, N Korea, Iran, Pakistan, etc?

Why no uproar over Hillary’s absolute failure to oversee the State Department and international diplomacy?

huckleberryfriend on November 29, 2010 at 9:04 AM

We.Are.Screwed. We´re the gang who cant shoot straight. It would be a step UP for us to have lunatics running the fun house

james hooker on November 29, 2010 at 9:05 AM

RED ALERT RED ALERT!!!!

LIBERAL / PROGRESSIVE controlled Media must find scapegoat……..

PappyD61 on November 29, 2010 at 9:05 AM

Another example of why government must shrink rather than grow. These folks can’t run a food stand, but yet they have the power to destroy the private sector; the engine of freedom.

Keemo on November 29, 2010 at 9:05 AM

… and a string of books documenting just how incompetent the CIA has become. Something that was made worse by adding another layer of bureaucracy in the weeks after 9/11.

Skandia Recluse on November 29, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Fry the traitorous little turd!

Harry S on November 29, 2010 at 9:06 AM

we’re going to have fewer allies willing to trust us with intelligence or diplomacy,

Fewer than none? Who “trusts” the US to keep a secret; no one.

maverick muse on November 29, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Media and Libs must find something to divert everyones attention from their own FAILURES.

Be a little leary of the mad rush on this red meat (freckle boy) thrown into the shark tank.

PappyD61 on November 29, 2010 at 9:07 AM

Excellent post Ed….

I’m just happy that Holder is not a part of the show

*shudder*

cmsinaz on November 29, 2010 at 9:07 AM

Allies have been spying on each other forever, I seem to recall Israel getting caught spying on US, their best ally.

Tony737 on November 29, 2010 at 9:08 AM

heh.. a disgruntled, queer, pfc.

Alden Pyle on November 29, 2010 at 9:08 AM

Is it wrong that I find this kind of funny? Oh, it’s terrible and wrong that these secrets (even though they’re really not that scandalous to me, the foreign policy/politics nerd) are being leaked, but if this is how this jerkoff did it, it’s pretty funny.
Good to see that my apartment appears to be more secure than state/international secrets.

mjk on November 29, 2010 at 9:08 AM

These folks can’t run a food stand, but yet they have the power to destroy the private sector; the engine of freedom.

Yes, they run ineffectiveness, fraud and corruption with their power to destroy everything.

maverick muse on November 29, 2010 at 9:08 AM

Allies have been spying on each other forever, I seem to recall Israel getting caught spying on US, their best ally.

Tony737 on November 29, 2010 at 9:08 AM

Indeed. Nothing here so far is the least bit surprisingl. Absolutely nothing.

mjk on November 29, 2010 at 9:10 AM

PappyD61 on November 29, 2010 at 9:07 AM

Oh I am not saying head shouldn’t roll for security failures or in competence, but no more life in prison for traitor, bullet to the head and make it public.

djohn669 on November 29, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Huckleberry, move along nothing to see here re: dear leader’s administration
/msm

cmsinaz on November 29, 2010 at 9:11 AM

heh.. a disgruntled, queer, pfc.

Alden Pyle on November 29, 2010 at 9:08 AM

He looks like a cross between Howdy Doody and Alfred E. Newman.

BierManVA on November 29, 2010 at 9:11 AM

No one asked, so he didn’t tell.

SouthernGent on November 29, 2010 at 9:11 AM

This guy could have been blackmailed and he was unstable to boot.

Used to be people like this couldn’t get security clearances.

BowHuntingTexas on November 29, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Some of these stories are pretty funny. Putin/Menedev (sp?) as Batman and Robin?
Our government looks like less than fools. Honestly I don’t care what they do to these little pukes that are responsible. The elephant in the chief incompetents room is wearing a sign that says “incompetence”. Duh.
And you’re right, government is too huge and all they seem concerned about is naked body scans.
No wonder Obama can’t get any respect. He doesn’t deserve any.

ORconservative on November 29, 2010 at 9:13 AM

Espionage. Pure and simple. No matter how simple the feat (which is a wholly separate and apart issue), Assange and this punk deserve the consequences.

CapitalistPig on November 29, 2010 at 9:14 AM

I’ve seen that face before! Can we call this one “Howdy-Doody-Gate”?

MikeA on November 29, 2010 at 9:14 AM

The government is running progressively out of control. This makes Sandy Burger look like an amateur. The establishment has lost the respect of its citizens.

paul1149 on November 29, 2010 at 9:14 AM

While deployed in Iraq, he was far less than a model soldier, receiving reprimands twice, once for assaulting an officer. He even wore custom dog tags that read Humanist…and he kept a fairy wand on his desk.

Per an article on wired.com, Manning said that he was lip-syncing to Lady Gaga as he downloaded all of the documents to Wikileaks.

kingsjester on November 29, 2010 at 9:14 AM

So far, the only real surprises from these releases have been that Israel is a lot less inclined to attack Iran than the Sunni Arab nations in the region.

Buchananites/Paulbots hardest hit.

mudskipper on November 29, 2010 at 9:14 AM

mjk on November 29, 2010 at 9:08 AM

I find it funny too. Popcorn? or is it too early?

ORconservative on November 29, 2010 at 9:15 AM

He looks like a cross between Howdy Doody and Alfred E. Newman.

BierManVA on November 29, 2010 at 9:11 AM

I’m pretty sure he was the one holding the leash in the Abu Ghraib pictures.

txsurveyor on November 29, 2010 at 9:16 AM

I find it hard to believe that this one guy acquired everything from diplomatic cables from a dozen different countries, dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan and eastern Europe.

promachus on November 29, 2010 at 9:17 AM

Unless you see something truly confidential or harmful to national security on there, I wouldn’t lose a lot of sleep over it.
And if you do, it was probably released intentionally.

I would, however, still execute the dipwad.

justltl on November 29, 2010 at 9:18 AM

The Wrath of Hillary should hopefully guarantee the little twit gets the max. But unfortunately, we’ll probably find out he’s a closet Muslim, so he’ll get a slap on the wrist from the DoJ.

KS Rex on November 29, 2010 at 9:19 AM

Put the little freckled jerkoff in front of a firing squad.

fusionaddict on November 29, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Now that he’s phucked with Ogabe personally he just might be.

Caper29 on November 29, 2010 at 9:23 AM

I read somewhere that his motivation for doing this was DADT. He thinks the DADT policy showed that the U.S. deserved what it’s getting.

As a gay republican , I’ll say:

How did this f**ing %^$## get into the military in the first place??? His gayness can be seen from space. (Maybe we need a Gaydar Specialist in our recruitment centers.)

This man should have been executed by now.

Lothar on November 29, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Why is the WikiLeaks guy still alive? Shouldn’t he have more people gunning for him than Salman Rushdie?

Tommy_G on November 29, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Obviously, the security hole those new-fangled USB ports created had some of our people in Iraq flummoxed. Hopefully, theyve figured out that card reader slots on computers can download the same things when inserted with an SD card or other device that says “vacation pictures”.

jon1979 on November 29, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Maybe we should put the TSA in charge of the Pentagon and State Department secrets. I was searched THOROUGHLY before my return flight. Obviously this guy wasn’t.

barnone on November 29, 2010 at 9:28 AM

How could a PFC (esp this doofus) have unfettered access to this stuff in these quantities? What happened to compartmentalization? Where was the supervisor? The chain of command needs to have their chain jerked.

Dingbat63 on November 29, 2010 at 9:29 AM

How did this guy get security clearance?

Count to 10 on November 29, 2010 at 9:30 AM

Do we still hang traitors?

I R A Darth Aggie on November 29, 2010 at 9:30 AM

why aren’t they charging this kid with treason?

ramrants on November 29, 2010 at 9:30 AM

“Lady Gaga”? Talk about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”! If that isn’t a “tell”, then I do not want to here any B.S. about “witch-hunts”!

Leopold Stotch on November 29, 2010 at 9:30 AM

He should have labeled the storage device “Not Intended for Spying Purposes.”

Rot in jail big guy, you have no soul.

Mojave Mark on November 29, 2010 at 9:31 AM

“Lady Gaga”? Talk about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”! If that isn’t a “tell”, then I do not want to here any B.S. about “witch-hunts”!

Leopold Stotch on November 29, 2010 at 9:30 AM

I guess there’s more than one way to “stick it to the man”. HAW HAW!!!

fusionaddict on November 29, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Makes you wonder WHO wouldn’t get a Top Secret clearance.

Harry S on November 29, 2010 at 9:36 AM

He looks like the kid on the cover of MAD magazine.

parteagirl on November 29, 2010 at 9:37 AM

As a gay republican… Lothar on November 29, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Nobody cares. Really.

Akzed on November 29, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Court martial, dishonorable discharge, hanging. Shouldn’t take more than a day.

Extrafishy on November 29, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Count to 10 on November 29, 2010 at 9:30 AM

They are not doing their jobs, that’s why. Remember Nidal Hasan? Politicians have turned our military and our intelligence services to shyte.

dogsoldier on November 29, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Opie deserves. 1. a time out for bad behavior.
2. staked over a fireant mound for the rest of his short existence.

nimrod on November 29, 2010 at 9:43 AM

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.”

His intentions are quite clear…and during war time. High Treason. At the very least life imprisonment. But is there nothing the US government could charge Assange with even if he’s out of their geographic jurisdiction?

RepubChica on November 29, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Wonder if Manning here will be offered the usual customary last cigarette and blindfold before the firing squad blows away his sorry rear end?

pilamaye on November 29, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Firing squad? Ummmm, no, I think he’s more likely to get his own reality show!

Tony737 on November 29, 2010 at 9:46 AM

What’s Obama’s response? Or does he even know?

ORconservative on November 29, 2010 at 9:47 AM

If this punk is guilty, and we know he’s guilty, he should be executed, post-haste.

IronDioPriest on November 29, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Sure, but every soldier involved in the security breach should be discharged, dishonorably, and the person who designed this “security” system should be fired and barred from doing business with the DoD or the Federal government, ever again.

Manning is a traitor, but the astonishing incompetence is the real crime.

Jaibones on November 29, 2010 at 9:48 AM

One of the informal (but no less real) tenets of army life is: “Don’t f*ck yer buddy.”

Somebody up ahead noted “where is the uproar” over the RW-CD lapse… Lemme tellya–in addition to WANTING to eff his buds, this guy REALLY effed ‘em. Can you IMAGINE what security measures have been implemented since this boy’s discovery/incarceration? Can you IMAGINE what has happened to his ENTIRE chain of command? His colleagues? The entire mil intel protocol? Ugly, ugly, UGLY.

Hieronymus on November 29, 2010 at 9:49 AM

O/T: Tariq Aziz only gets 10 years! WTF?

Tony737 on November 29, 2010 at 9:50 AM

Outstanding take Ed. The real issue is how did the US get compromised like this. The timeline puts this squarely on Barry’s watch. The State Dinner crashing just the tip of the iceberg on lapsed security. Hillary has to fall on her sword reset button and resign — and for the US to be effective in diplomacy, Barry needs to resign too. Who is going to trust American diplomacy under this administration?

Mark30339 on November 29, 2010 at 9:51 AM

What’s those distant sounds I’m hearing? It’s as if millions of American citizens are either sobbing or screaming at government incompetence taken to new levels. And the really good news is that it’s our money being mis-spent.

jeanie on November 29, 2010 at 9:52 AM

So…. given the size of the ‘leak,’ why are Manning and Assange even still alive?

Assange is just a smarmy anarchist and Manning, like other prisoners in the war on terror, should be killed after they give up all their useful intel.

krl on November 29, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Why is the WikiLeaks guy still alive? Shouldn’t he have more people gunning for him than Salman Rushdie?

Tommy_G on November 29, 2010 at 9:25 AM

The conventional wisdom seemed to be that we can whack him at our leisure, but that everyone will know we did it. The real question is who cares? It seems like it is necessary to assassinate the Australian albino just to convince our allies that we remain a serious country.

Jaibones on November 29, 2010 at 9:53 AM

The Wrath of Hillary should hopefully guarantee the little twit gets the max. But unfortunately, we’ll probably find out he’s a closet Muslim, so he’ll get a slap on the wrist from the DoJ.

KS Rex on November 29, 2010 at 9:19 AM

Think about this. If this scandal happened under the Bush administration, the mainstream media would be lambasting every one in charge, and calling for Condoleezza Rice’s firing. How were State Dept archives accessible in a computer system in Iraq? While I believe Bradley Manning, (if proven guilty first, unlike the DOJ’s Gestapo tactics of shutting down websites), he should be sentenced to the full extent the law allows, BUT there were serious security breeches that allowed Manning to waltz into a room and access this material. This also goes to the top. The Obama administration and the chain of command apparently does not take national security seriously enough to protect vital information. When the foddering media has their next press conference with the President, don’t expect a “YES WE DID” to come from the teleprompter.

Rovin on November 29, 2010 at 9:55 AM

I blame George Bush.

darwin-t on November 29, 2010 at 10:01 AM

Outstanding take Ed. The real issue is how did the US get compromised like this. The timeline puts this squarely on Barry’s watch. The State Dinner crashing just the tip of the iceberg on lapsed security. Hillary has to fall on her sword reset button and resign — and for the US to be effective in diplomacy, Barry needs to resign too. Who is going to trust American diplomacy under this administration?

Mark30339 on November 29, 2010 at 9:51 AM

I’d be very surprised if the security measures weren’t designed and implemented well before 2009.

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM

No, the most troubling part of the Wikileaks story is how American diplomatic and military security can be so easily compromised by … Lady Gaga?

The list of things govt cannot run gets longer by the day.
Post Office,SS,Medicaid,Medicare,Public Schools,VA, HUD,Fannie/Freddie Mac,border patrol, and now national security(the military). Feel free to add to list. It sucks to live in a world where you have no doubt that at some point, those you put in charge of anything will absolutely fail at their jobs.

If this punk is guilty, and we know he’s guilty, he should be executed, post-haste.

IronDioPriest on November 29, 2010 at 9:01 AM

He is guilty,along with hundreds of others who were complicit and negligent in their (most basic)duties.

canditaylor68 on November 29, 2010 at 10:03 AM

Does this guy understand what anarchy really means? He’s helped create a world that is less trustful, more suspicious, and less likely to work together. That doesn’t just hurt America. It hurts all people in all nations. Good for him.

He definitely should stand trial for treason. If this isn’t treason, then it’s never been committed.

hawksruleva on November 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Manning should be hanged from the neck until dead. This is pure treason

paraff on November 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Memory stick. Not CD. You know, a TSA-style patdown wouldn’t necessarily turn up a memory stick.

So far, the leaks themselves are BO-RING.

S. Weasel on November 29, 2010 at 9:02 AM

The memory stick was given to a Guardian reporter. He/she doesn’t say who provided the memory stick. It certainly can be a CD-RW walking out of the facility, but afterwards, it can be transferred to any number of media, including memory sticks and hard drives attached to http servers.

I’ve been in uncleared defense contractor sites with better security than that.

One rule for thee, and another for me.

unclesmrgol on November 29, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Manning is the perfect poster child for allowing homosexuals to serve in the military.

CatoRenasci on November 29, 2010 at 10:05 AM

More heads need to roll than just PFC Dipsh!t. Attrocious OPSEC, not only because he was able to bring writable media in, but because he had access to information that couldn’t possibly have anything to do with his duty assignment. And even on the off chance that there was a mission need for this pig to have access to this information, there is obviously no log monitoring occurring to track downloaded data by time of download and user. The entire chain of command should be relieved at the VERY least.

CantCureStupid on November 29, 2010 at 10:06 AM

Another example of why government must shrink rather than grow. These folks can’t run a food stand, but yet they have the power to destroy the private sector; the engine of freedom.

Keemo on November 29, 2010 at 9:05 AM

Midas touch in reverse. Everything the government touches turns to sh*t.

james23 on November 29, 2010 at 10:06 AM

Doesn’t this make everyone really eager to share all of there medical data with the government? What could possibly go wrong, with these security experts on the job?

These events show once again why we should dramatically shrink the size of government. If the state department was smaller, it would have less time to engage in some of the games that were exposed. And smaller agencies are easier to secure. Imagine, for example, how easy it would be to get a stuxnet-type virus into the government via any of the thousands of agency workers.

hawksruleva on November 29, 2010 at 10:07 AM

Why is the WikiLeaks guy still alive? Shouldn’t he have more people gunning for him than Salman Rushdie?

Tommy_G on November 29, 2010 at 9:25 AM

When is Mr. Assange going to do a document dump of Chinese, NoKo, or Iranian documents? Wouldn’t that actually contribute more toward the peace of the world? Or is just possible that his interest in world peace only extends as far as saving his own hide?

KGB on November 29, 2010 at 10:07 AM

I’d be very surprised if the security measures weren’t designed and implemented well before 2009.

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Typical response from a 52-percenter. It’s alway some one elses fault and time stands still.

I suppose those levies in New Orleans were designed before Bush came into office too Jimbo.

Rovin on November 29, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Manning is the perfect poster child for allowing homosexuals to serve in the military.

CatoRenasci on November 29, 2010 at 10:05 AM

There’s plenty of stupid mis-guided straight guys, and I’m sure some of them serve in the military. But Mannings actions will probably end up harming some of the other gays in uniform, precisely because of reactions like yours.

hawksruleva on November 29, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Why is the WikiLeaks guy still alive? Shouldn’t he have more people gunning for him than Salman Rushdie?

Tommy_G on November 29, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Where is Cat Stevens when you need him?

hawksruleva on November 29, 2010 at 10:10 AM

I’d be very surprised if the security measures weren’t designed and implemented well before 2009.

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM
Typical response from a 52-percenter. It’s alway some one elses fault and time stands still.

I suppose those levies in New Orleans were designed before Bush came into office too Jimbo.

Rovin on November 29, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Don’t you think the basic security procedures for operations in Iraq were designed within a few months after we began operations there?

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Why is he still breathing? He has admitted how he stole the info and seems to be bragging about it. He should be executed post haste.

Sporty1946 on November 29, 2010 at 10:13 AM

I agree with Jaibones as far as discipline for his coc, and termination of business with the security contractor who “designed” the apparently nonexistent security measures in use at the time Howdy Doody with a fairy wand (really?? geesh!) was at work stealing us blind, in defiant acts of treason. I’d be shocked if that has not already happened to the coc, but even more so if it DID happen to the contractor. Also, hanging, shooting – whatever is the old school treatment for treason…absolutely MUST happen, or we have no justice system and no order anymore.

Minorcan Maven on November 29, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Oh, please. Tell me that Manning was an encryption genius that spent years cracking some Pentagon code to access the mainframe while rappelling into an antechamber deep in a basement and into a Situation Room. Do not tell me that a corporal was allowed to carry a rewriteable CD into a secure communications area by labeling it as a pop music mix tape. I’ve been in uncleared defense contractor sites with better security than that.

If someone has been cleared to work with secret or top secret data, they have been given some levels of trust. I am sure, based on Manning’s comment, that the flash drive was checked to contain music; he was then allowed to take it in, since he was “trusted.”

Remember The Falcon and the Snowman? Same thing. Clearance given after thorough screening, and thus a “trusted” intelligence worker. We haven’t learned much, it seems, since the 1970′s, about continuous checking on what these “trusted” workers are actually DOING.

The better question is: why wasn’t the drive checked BEFORE HE LEFT the facility? That is when the sh*t should have hit the fan, because he had erased the music and put a compressed file onto the drive.

Big red flags, guys! That is where the security actually broke down. If a device can be written to, it can be erased and written to again – and MUST be checked before allowing the device to leave the premises.

DINORight on November 29, 2010 at 10:15 AM

“Lady Gaga”? Talk about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”! If that isn’t a “tell”, then I do not want to here any B.S. about “witch-hunts”!

Leopold Stotch on November 29, 2010 at 9:30 AM

Thanks…I just spit a mouthful of coffee everywhere. ;)

Manning is the perfect poster child for allowing homosexuals to serve in the military.

CatoRenasci on November 29, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Give it a rest, huh?

JetBoy on November 29, 2010 at 10:16 AM

When is Mr. Assange going to do a document dump of Chinese, NoKo, or Iranian documents? Wouldn’t that actually contribute more toward the peace of the world? Or is just possible that his interest in world peace only extends as far as saving his own hide?

KGB on November 29, 2010 at 10:07 AM

Ummmm…..if the guy’s goal is actually to take down the US, then he won’t leak anything that is not related to US relations, or somehow damaging to the US. He may say “world peace” is his goal, but it is clear from what he has actually leaked that this is a lie.

DINORight on November 29, 2010 at 10:18 AM

I’d be very surprised if the security measures weren’t designed and implemented well before 2009.

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Be prepared to be very surprised. If Mr. President can have his Blackberry (where all traffic inbound and outbound goes through Toronto), then almost every other rule is up for grabs. And, from first hand experience, some concerning media have been relaxed considerably since Mr. Obama took office. Not to the point where Mr. Manning could have done what he did if he were following the rules, but certainly enough so he could do it and appear to be following the rules.

unclesmrgol on November 29, 2010 at 10:23 AM

Don’t you think the basic security procedures for operations in Iraq were designed within a few months after we began operations there?

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:11 AM

YES! And don’t you think there’s a serious need for improvement? Is it possible that basic security procedures were compromised because command and control did nothing to improvise or update said security?

Rovin on November 29, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Sorry, but the easiest way to deal with this is have him end up in a gutter face down…
Then let it be known that people who steal state secrets may only have 13 minutes of fame…

right2bright on November 29, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Manning is the perfect poster child for allowing homosexuals to serve in the military.

CatoRenasci on November 29, 2010 at 10:05 AM

No, he’s the perfect poster child for allowing those who like Lady Gaga to serve in the military.

unclesmrgol on November 29, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Yes, it’s that easy – Bringing media in or out in a SCIF is not allowed, but the problem is that once you get clearance and are granted access, there’s a certain level of trust that you have to be granted in order to accomplish your job (people are in and out of the SCIF all day – patdowns and searches are simply not practical)

Intelligence has to be accessible in order to do the job properly – information about one group can come from multiple sources, and different agencies, and the secure networks are designed to keep outsiders out, but once in, you have access to a significant amount of classified data. You have to.

The failures here are multiple – the kid exhibited behavior that made him a security risk, yet his supervisors failed to report it, and his access should have been suspended.
Outside media (CDs, Memory Sticks, MP3 players, cell phones etc) are not allowed into the secure area (unless it’s classified material being carried by a designated courier). Regardless of what it was labeled, it shouldn’t have been allowed in, and there’s absolutely no reason he should have been listening to music on a secure computer (if for no other reason than the risk of introducing a virus). Someone watching him with headphones plugged into a military computer should have immediately said something…

All this will succeed in doing is reducing the ability for different agencies to share intelligence, making it more likely that we will have the same issues come up that led to 9/11′s intelligence failures.

RustMouse on November 29, 2010 at 10:27 AM

I’d be very surprised if the security measures weren’t designed and implemented well before 2009.

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Sow what you are saying is that Obama and this administration is incapable of improving a system? They take what is “given” them and continue with that?
Well we elected a personality, not a leader, so what you state makes sense.

right2bright on November 29, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Put the little freckled jerkoff in front of a firing squad.

fusionaddict on November 29, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Firing squad is too honorable, traitors are hung.

I can’t believe the DOD is too stupid to disable the CD-RW drive and the USB ports on its classified computers. Well, I guess I can believe it. I mean this guy was the bottom of the food chain and he had access to EVERYTHING? In the old days, our enemies had to turn someone high up to get this kind of info, now any PFC or State Department janitor can walk out with it. We’re fooked.

jnelchef on November 29, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Court Marshall the damn bastard and send him to Levenworth for twenty-five or more years. He’s guilty. Then make it impossible for others to do the same thing that he did. As for the Wikileak Website owner, the American Military should just invite that bastard for a two week tour of Afghanistan on the front-line. Let him get shot at from both sides. He would come back a mental wreck.

SC.Charlie on November 29, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Where is TSA when we need them? If you touch my Lady Gaga, I’ll have you arrested…

d1carter on November 29, 2010 at 10:36 AM

And to think there are people who say we shouldn’t have more gays in the military.

greggriffith on November 29, 2010 at 10:37 AM

A govt that guarded the breaking of the Purple and IJN 25 Japanese codes. That fooled Hitler and the OKW that Patton lay waiting in East Anglia to come ashore at Pas de Calais.That hid the existence of the F117, to the point of working with Aurora Model Co. to produce a bogus model called the F 18 that Clancy used in Red Storm. This govt gets beat with a flash drive and a stack of RW CDs you can pick up at Staples for $20. Maybe we ought to pack it in.

xkaydet65 on November 29, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Adrian Lamo is a hero. I used to follow him on Twitter. The likes of Glenn Greenwald attacked him all the time.

MayBee on November 29, 2010 at 10:40 AM

RustMouse on November 29, 2010 at 10:27 AM

I was on active duty when the John Walker ring was busted. There was a military wide downgrading of clearance levels. It mainly affected people no longer working where they’d need a higher level.

What I’d like to know is why a Private, or Seaman, or Airman, serving on their first hitch should be allowed access to info of such varied importance?

For the record, in 22 years service I never had a clearance higher than entry level, except for a two year period, and that was only to be able to read certain message traffic. I rather enjoyed the low-tech Navy.

TugboatPhil on November 29, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:11 AM

My guess is that the security design was workable — the Salahi State Dinner crashing implies a culture of disregard and reckless override. The leaked cables look like a failure by supervisors to rigorously enforce the procedures already in place. Of course there’s no way for us to know until a full inquiry is completed and reported (or leaked). But how do we hold Bush responsible for lapses occurring 2 years after he left? Rovin at 9:55 AM above is right. The leftist press would be Potus head hunters if these same facts erupted during Bush’s term.

Mark30339 on November 29, 2010 at 10:40 AM

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