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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Scroll on Fox … Iranian president thinks the leaks were organized by the U.S. to stir up trouble between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

This guy is nuts!

Tony737 on November 29, 2010 at 10:41 AM

This is why DHS was a bad idea from the start.

“Shared intel” = wikileaks

faraway on November 29, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Manning felt that his talents were under appreciated, that he was smarter than anyone else. Looks like he’s going to learn to be Bubba’s wife for the next 20 years.

GarandFan on November 29, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Why would a music CD (much less CD-RW) or any other media, including paper, be allowed in or out of a “secure facility”???

Why would a “secure facility” even have the hardware and software on-site to allow outside computer media such CD, DVD, or memory stick to be connected to its computer system??

Businesses have systems which detect and immediately report and block any attempted use of unauthorized media. Why doesn’t our government???

I hope that there are SWAT teams of Level 3 security techs examining every single computer Bradley Manning had access to directly or by network connection for worms, viruses, keyloggers, etc RIGHT NOW! If data went out the open unguarded door, who knows what came in the same open door (see Stuxnet story)???

This is just stupid, ignorant, pure negligence!!!

landlines on November 29, 2010 at 10:50 AM

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

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

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

Someone earlier wrote that Obama was responsible for all of this. My point was that the security procedures were very likely designed and implemented well before 2009.

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Manning felt that his talents were under appreciated, that he was smarter than anyone else. Looks like he’s going to learn to be Bubba’s wife for the next 20 years.

GarandFan on November 29, 2010 at 10:47 AM

From what I’ve read he wont have the slightest problem with that.

Boxy_Brown on November 29, 2010 at 10:54 AM

If the attorney general can deem 70 websites as maybe doing something illegal and close them down, why can’t they do the same thing to wikileaks? Is this planned so they can go forward with taking over the internet? I don’t trust those in the regime and smell a big rat.

Kissmygrits on November 29, 2010 at 10:55 AM

You can’t seriously tell me no one suspected Manning was batting for the wrong team with Lady Gaga on his “favorite musicians” list.

Ryan Anthony on November 29, 2010 at 10:55 AM

As the Father of a US Army intelligence analyst (MOS 35F):

This has always been the scary thing for me. The fact that the Army saw so little need to protect secrets from people with clearances but with no need to see the information is frightening.

Don’t know anything about Manning, but my son is a smart, dedicated soldier; but with the occasional tendency to do strange things that 19 year old guys do on occasion. Things that seem like a good idea at the time, but can cause trouble later in life. The flows of testosterone at that age can overwhelm good judgment.

Indeed, for their own protection, I hope the Army is able to rouse itself enough to put stuff that can embarrass the nation out of the reach of the man-children who have no need for it. Yes, including my son.

Buckland on November 29, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Why would a music CD (much less CD-RW) or any other media, including paper, be allowed in or out of a “secure facility”???

Why would a “secure facility” even have the hardware and software on-site to allow outside computer media such CD, DVD, or memory stick to be connected to its computer system??

Businesses have systems which detect and immediately report and block any attempted use of unauthorized media. Why doesn’t our government???

I hope that there are SWAT teams of Level 3 security techs examining every single computer Bradley Manning had access to directly or by network connection for worms, viruses, keyloggers, etc RIGHT NOW! If data went out the open unguarded door, who knows what came in the same open door (see Stuxnet story)???

This is just stupid, ignorant, pure negligence!!!

landlines on November 29, 2010 at 10:50 AM

All you need is a USB port to be able to do this with a thumb or hot drive. Many companies in secure facilities purchase computers without USB ports (or permanently disable them); they also don’t have CD-RW drives or, in some cases, even CD-ROM drives. Some go as far as not allowing printing (I think they disable some functions on the network for this, but a computer or security expert can tell us more).

Not sure why the government didn’t do this, except that it probably costs more money.

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:56 AM

this is pretty concerning. What is even more concerning is Manning’s rationale for leaking the information. Someone on Fox mentioned it was because Manning was angry/upset/despondent over his “boyfriend” breaking up with him?? Not sure if the announcer meant to say “girlfriend” or if the guy was actually in a gay relationship that went awry, but, shall we discuss DADT again?

ted c on November 29, 2010 at 10:57 AM

My husband (and I too, once upon a time) is stationed at Ft. Meade. Our cd collection at home are all copies, because my husband can only take in non-writable cds (he’s allowed to listen to music on a cd player with headphones). I call bogus that the kid was allowed to bring in a rewritable cd – but I can easily see how he snuck one in. What I don’t get is how he was allowed to let the disc anywhere near any secure computers – do people no longer think espionage is a threat? Is security really that lax, or is data no longer compartmentalized? Gives me heartburn just thinking about it.

I agree with John Bolton and what he said this morning on Fox – this guy committed treason, and espionage. This is a time of war, and he should be punished accordingly.

Anna on November 29, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Why bother even having security if they are going to be so sloppy. Just give the embassies facebook pages and let them make snarky comments about other world leaders on there. Goodness knows we have no one worthy to be called a world leader of our own right now.

pedestrian on November 29, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Well, color me not surprised in the least that a junior enlisted member was the hole in the security dyke. It is a well known fact amongst those with a clearance and two functioning brain cells that no matter what physical security procedures are put in place, the ultimate weakness will always be the humans in the mix, as all it takes is one moron like Manning to poke a hole big enough to drive a truck through.

Any system is only as secure as the people operating it.

That said, there was (and I’ve heard scuttle that draconian lockdowns are in progress) a ridiculous amount of access to anyone authorized to use the Secret level DoD/USG internet (SIPRNet – Secure Internet Protocol Routed Network). As a contractor, I personally was able to sit at a computer at a CONUS location and surf the types of info Assange was given just as easily as someone reading this comment can surf the World Wide Web. In fact, it is in many ways a mirror (structurally). At one point I found myself reading some of the very sitreps and message traffic that was probably in the earlier military docs dump, and wondering “why the f$%k can I even see this stuff? I have no need to know this!” (at which point I stopped even messing with it).

While a great deal of time and efort went into physically securing SIPR, there was damned little effort put forth to compartmentalize or restrict vast tracts of information. It was literally easier to find and peruse the sorts of stuff Assange got hold of than it is to find archived newspaper articles behind a registration wall.

Of course, this point will likely be lost on those ostensibly in charge of COMPUSEC, but who have only a fuzzy comprehension of the beast they’re actually dealing with.

But then, that’s what you end up with when a camel is designed by a committee.

Wind Rider on November 29, 2010 at 11:01 AM

his “boyfriend” breaking up with him?? Not sure if the announcer meant to say “girlfriend”

ted c on November 29, 2010 at 10:57 AM

Nope, it was a boyfriend…

right2bright on November 29, 2010 at 11:02 AM

If Australia wasn’t under Liberal control right now, they could possibly go after Assange for betraying their security interests. An unstable world does Australia no favors.

kingsjester on November 29, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Manning, who was p.o.’d over people not accepting his drag queen boyfriend.

Blake on November 29, 2010 at 11:08 AM

this is pretty concerning. What is even more concerning is Manning’s rationale for leaking the information. Someone on Fox mentioned it was because Manning was angry/upset/despondent over his “boyfriend” breaking up with him?? Not sure if the announcer meant to say “girlfriend” or if the guy was actually in a gay relationship that went awry, but, shall we discuss DADT again?

ted c on November 29, 2010 at 10:57 AM

Nope… if your ‘dar isn’t going off just looking at him, then it is malfunctioning… As Ace would say… “jazz hands”

Aww.. and it gave us a reason. Apparently, it was a desperate bid to keep Assange from breaking up with him.

Illinidiva on November 29, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Manning had been mouthy and belligerent since his days in his hometown.

kingsjester on November 29, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Be prepared for more “security” aimed at average Americans. If we can grope grannies instead of islamic thugs, we can shut down average Americans’ private communication, radio communication and enact more stringent bans in other areas like food production.

If America “can’t be trusted”, maybe a “world government” body in charge of these things can? Watch for it.

clnurnberg on November 29, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Ginger Thompson said in a New York Times article that in Wales “classmates made fun of him for being gay”[8], that former neighbors in Oklahoma described the young Manning as “opinionated beyond his years about politics, religion, and even about keeping religion out of politics.”[8], and that in the Army, Manning’s “social life was defined by the need to conceal his sexuality under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ “[8] Thompson said that sometime in 2008, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Manning became “part of a social circle that included politically motivated computer hackers and his boyfriend, a self-described drag queen. So when his military career seemed headed nowhere good, Private Manning, 22, turned increasingly to those friends for moral support”.[8]

http://goo.gl/Kiku

Blake on November 29, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Also be prepared for the Obama Admin announcing a civilian trial for the little turd

clnurnberg on November 29, 2010 at 11:15 AM

My point was that the security procedures were very likely designed and implemented well before 2009.

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:51 AM

I worked in a defense contractor’s “secure facility” in the late 1960′s. It appears that the security rules in place at that time have all been abandoned. This could not have happened then: the kid never would have gotten into or out of our facility. He would have been searched inside the facility again before he was allowed into the computer area, and again before he was allowed to leave the computer area. He would not have been allowed to carry anything out.

BTW: This kid could not have gotten a security clearance of any kind back then.

landlines on November 29, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Treason is easy if you have no morals I guess.
The article shows to me that there are alot of trustworthy people in the military, but obviously this manning needs to be swinging from the end of a rope.
Then we will see how “brave” he is.

ColdWarrior57 on November 29, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Why would a computer able to access this kind of sensitive information even have a CD burner on it, or be able to write to a USB stick?

Both are obvious security no-nos.

29Victor on November 29, 2010 at 11:17 AM

I’m not sure which is the more dire problem: the revelation of another very bad apple in the barrel, or that it was this easy to access such information. For crying out loud…three million people with access?! That’s not a secure system, that’s Facebook!

Dark-Star on November 29, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Manning, who was p.o.’d over people not accepting his drag queen boyfriend.

Blake on November 29, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Yeah. Imaging Manning were a disgruntled Christian. The press would be having a field day.

29Victor on November 29, 2010 at 11:20 AM

This didn’t happen because he was gay. This happened because he was a disloyal #%€^%. Sadly those exist in all groups. If it wasn’t that excuse, it would have been another.

For the record, I’m not gay, nor particularly “sensitive” to gay rights issues blah blah… But let’s not live down to lefty stereotypes.

That being said…

What kills me about this is my company does business with the DOD etc… And the security they insist we have would not have allowed this – period. The logs would have tripped an alarm on access immediately. Clearence is one thing, but we can also light up the boards based on “need to access”, downloads, downloads of material type X, writes to x, and volume accessed and or saved/written. That’s just for starters. The bottom line is they did not follow their own protocols. This is inexcusable.

Irritable Pundit on November 29, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Egad, there is no way these idiots would survive an audit, IT or otherwise. This is a real disgrace.

CantCureStupid on November 29, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Hey – I can’t wait until the government has all of our health information. I’m sure nothing like this would ever happen.

Can you?

Woo-hoo!

Good Lt on November 29, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Not sure why the government didn’t do this, except that it probably costs more money.
Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Because they are incompetent.

I can’t wait until they apply their awesome awesomeness of beaurocratic streamlining to my Health Care.

cntrlfrk on November 29, 2010 at 11:26 AM

All you need is a USB port to be able to do this with a thumb or hot drive. Many companies in secure facilities purchase computers without USB ports (or permanently disable them); they also don’t have CD-RW drives or, in some cases, even CD-ROM drives. Some go as far as not allowing printing (I think they disable some functions on the network for this, but a computer or security expert can tell us more).

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:56 AM

All you need is to disable the software which allows the USB subsystem to accept new devices: memory sticks then become useless. Commercial and military-grade software to accomplish this and also provide blocking and logging of all attempts to use un-vetted devices of any kind (including peripherals or additional memory of any kind, regardless of attachment method) is readily available.

The only people who allow either hardware or software reconfiguration of sensitive computer systems without security supervision are negligent idiots.

landlines on November 29, 2010 at 11:26 AM

I’ve served in the military for 22+ years. One of the issues that I, and others, were questioned about when entering MEPS was homosexual conduct (back pre-DADT). During regular training on operational security, homosexual conduct (as well as heterosexual conduct) and more generally, sex, is an issue that compels some treasonous individuals to give up information to those that would harm the US. If an individual engages in homosexual conduct, then apparently they could be more likely to give up information if they are enticed with such or to bargain away information in exchange for homosexual sex. I have no idea of Manning’s primary intent with regards to these leaks, I am merely stating what I know from firsthand experience. FWIW.

ted c on November 29, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Well, now we know if Russia doesn’t help on Iran .. up goes the Missile Shield … Batman & Robin can retreat to the “Bat Cave”

J_Crater on November 29, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Maybe they should learn from Social Security. Each person is given a PIN which gives them exact authority as to what they can access and what they can accomplish. Each promotion I got required a new FBI investigation of me and my PIN was changed according to what my duties were at the time. I could access only those activities I was allowed to access. How could a low ranking military person have access to all the areas he had. Additionally, we were not allowed to insert any outside items such as CD’s or sticks into the SSA computers. Bring in music to listen to while working?

Oleta on November 29, 2010 at 11:33 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.

Ed, security background checks for TopSecret-CodeWord clearance (which is what [or something simular) Manning must have had) have become a joke since the 60-70s era.

Back then the FBI conducted actual interviews, now they rely on phone numbers supplied by the applicant. I think this occurred under Clinton’s watch – budget cuts etc.

Gays, like Manning, were concidered security risks of the highest order (unstable mentality) – now we are PC and that no longer is a concideration. Just saying…

Also, it probably wasn’t a question of being allowed, rather one of trust. We were always required to have anything we carried into NSA submitted for search – like briefcases, folders – but a USB stick is too easy to conceal. However, when on site in the field no such searches were ever conducted – we were trusted – like Manning.

Friendly21 on November 29, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Manning was demoted to PFC from Specialist due to a separate incident. I don’t believe he ever held the rank of Corporal.

pmm on November 29, 2010 at 11:41 AM

The Bradley Manning Support Network doesn’t seem to be getting many hits. LOL

Blake on November 29, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Someone earlier wrote that Obama was responsible for all of this. My point was that the security procedures were very likely designed and implemented well before 2009.

Jimbo3 on November 29, 2010 at 10:51 AM

If that’s the case, then it’s the responsibility of the Obama (or any current) administration to review and improve them if they’re inadequate. What the hell do we have a government for anyway if not to keep on top of all this.

Sharke on November 29, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Having personally set up a ‘secure office’ for a client dealing with PII data, I am appauled by this. Our secure area required dumb terminals (no HDDs), secure Citrix access to approved (sometimes redacted) systems, no pens, no paper, no printers, no CD drives, no USB drives, no cell phones, no jackets, no desk-top toys, nothing got into a pass-locked door with security guard.

And this wasn’t even for Classified data. Seems to me that Government facilities would fail even a cursory Security Audit.

Sad, sad state of affairs.

ExPat on November 29, 2010 at 11:49 AM

ted c on November 29, 2010 at 11:27 AM

To add to your post, I worked in aerospace for 20 years with almost exclusive contracts with the US Navy and Air Force. These systems had a mixture of unclassified to Top Secret Data and as such everything you did for that contract was treated as if it were the highest classification. You were screened coming and going and if you brought anything into the workplace it was physically checked by security, if it wasn’t part of your work, you left it at the security station until you picked it up at the end of the day. There was no bringing in flash drives or CD/DVD RW. Some of the highest classification work was done in special vaults and you weren’t allowed to take anything in or out. Everything you needed to do your job was inside the vault.

This is a significant security breach and should cost some high ranking people their jobs and careers.

belad on November 29, 2010 at 11:57 AM

The DOD was not following proper procedures/protocol to protect sensitive material, period. Others need to get their act together to strictly follow those procedures/protocol. Along with this traitor, his superiors need to be prosecuted.

The fact that this bastard is gay is just a footnote.

SC.Charlie on November 29, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Sharke on November 29, 2010 at 11:49 AM

The problem is in the fact that the government is too big and has lost its span of control. Add to that the military along with the intelligence and security agencies of the country have become too politicized, from the top to the bottom. A wholesale house cleaning is needed to start to remedy the problem.

belad on November 29, 2010 at 12:01 PM

This is why DHS was a bad idea from the start.

“Shared intel” = wikileaks

faraway on November 29, 2010 at 10:45 AM

It’s possible to share information without making it available to everyone. It does take a little more work, but isn’t that supposed to be WHY we have so many government employees? We can choose to share in a secure manner. In fact, major corporations do it all the time, when working on joint projects.

hawksruleva on November 29, 2010 at 12:05 PM

If an individual engages in homosexual conduct, then apparently they could be more likely to give up information if they are enticed with such or to bargain away information in exchange for homosexual sex. I have no idea of Manning’s primary intent with regards to these leaks, I am merely stating what I know from firsthand experience. FWIW.

ted c on November 29, 2010 at 11:27 AM

There’s also an increased blackmail susceptibility. That increased risk didn’t go away with DADT, in was probably made even worse. Even in our current PC culture, outing someone can be very damaging.

hawksruleva on November 29, 2010 at 12:09 PM

The only people who allow either hardware or software reconfiguration of sensitive computer systems without security supervision are negligent idiots.

landlines on November 29, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Is “negligent idiot” a synonym for government?

hawksruleva on November 29, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Obama to demand government takeover of the web as a National Security issue in 5…4…3…

cntrlfrk on November 29, 2010 at 12:14 PM

A fellow employee of the defense contractor for whom I work was fired back in the mid-1980′s for being homosexual. The FBI/NSA or whoever found out he was gay and he lost his security clearance. No security clearance — no job.
They said he was “blackmailable” becasue he was trying to stay “in the closet”.
How is that any different from DADT?

bugsy on November 29, 2010 at 12:18 PM

“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.”

Data needs to be processed, summarized and with sensitive information like informant names removed, before it put in a pool for sharing. You don’t just blow the door open and let everything scatter everywhere.

Count to 10 on November 29, 2010 at 12:24 PM

FTA: “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.”

Don’t miss Mere Rhetoric’s analysis of this point: “…Obama’s June 2009 meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah ended with the monarch flying into a tirade and more or less telling the President to get a grip.”

There are other articles today mocking the usual old media suspects for their attacks on Israel when they claimed that Israel was trying to push the US into war with Iran, and their opining that Saudi Arabia would never approve an attack on another muslim nation. Hilarious stuff.

Bammie’s administration obsesses over the ‘palestinians’; this information illustrates how naive that view is.

slickwillie2001 on November 29, 2010 at 12:25 PM

You know, if we executed people for treason, like Manning for instance, the next military/civil servant that wants to divulge state secrets simply because he doesn’t agree with US policy or because his personal life sucks and he feels unappreciated might just think twice.

This is like everything else in government – no accountability and lax punishment just invites more of the same. Doesn’t matter if it’s senators and ethics violations or military personnel leaking secrets. No doubt a ton of people could leak this type of information, but they wouldn’t if they knew that they’d be executed when found out.

Free Indeed on November 29, 2010 at 12:26 PM

I wonder if there is a market for a big factory run of a current-processor MB with old-style keyboard and mouse connections, no USB capability anywhere, and locked buses? CD-DVD RO. Might be a good option for government/corporate use.

slickwillie2001 on November 29, 2010 at 12:28 PM

There’s also an increased blackmail susceptibility. That increased risk didn’t go away with DADT, in was probably made even worse. Even in our current PC culture, outing someone can be very damaging.

hawksruleva on November 29, 2010 at 12:09 PM

that’s right! A gay in the military that gets caught in a compromising position can be blackmailed. The same is true for a guy cheating on his wife or gambling. Money and sex are two of the biggies that compel these people to give up the goods, either quid pro quo or to keep something covered up. Aldrich Ames and Robert Hansen were different though. They were more egotistical spies that gave up information out of ideology as well as an ego trip knowing that they could give it up without anyone catching them.

very concerning.

ted c on November 29, 2010 at 12:31 PM

With all due respect, I have extreme doubts about the Guardian report and the number of junior personnel who have TS or higher for a variety of good reasons and one of them is the number of TS clearances stated. When the press starts spouting out numbers in regards to the military. People must read between and behind the lines on what was being printed and what was being actually said. The 3 million people that the Guardian reported is a smoke screen to protect the leakers or sources.

The US military have access to the names of all military personnel past and present who have TS or above clearances and they have the ability to narrow down who are the likely suspects. But the Guardian placed the high above number for one simple reason, to instill fear and paranoia to the US servicemen and to it’s citizens that the military can’t be trusted to keep secrets and to protect those who want the US weak and divided.

DinobotPrime on November 29, 2010 at 12:39 PM

What did he do all day besides listen to music and download secrets? Sounds like a sweet job. Didn’t anyone think “hey, maybe he should be WORKING instead of humming Lady Gaga tunes”?

jnelchef on November 29, 2010 at 12:41 PM

PS, it also becomes difficult for the military CI, FBI and CIA to look for the real moles when the reported number is 3 million rather than the actual 25000 or so with TS clearance.

DinobotPrime on November 29, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Can you imagine the media if this were on Palin’s watch?

Firebird on November 29, 2010 at 12:47 PM

DinobotPrime on November 29, 2010 at 12:39 PM

I agree. 3 million is an absurd amount. The active duty population is IIRC 1.2 million on the high end. So, 100% of the DoD and an additional 1.8 million GS/contractors??? Even if it were 1/2 of the DoD that’s 600K people. BS. Informational compartmentalizing is considerable. This info was probably accessible to TS cleared people with access to SIPRNET in a SCIF. That’s still a lot of people, but those systems and facilities are not accessible to most USMIL personnel.

ted c on November 29, 2010 at 12:47 PM

And considering the source, a leftist newspaper. If I am a betting man, the leakers would be a commissioned officer or a high ranking NCO in the military side with several axes to grind who have a higher than TS clearance, a civilian contractor with a severe case of misguided conscience and members of State who have different agendas.

DinobotPrime on November 29, 2010 at 1:00 PM

This is the same government that wants a government run single payer health insurance program…

d1carter on November 29, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Wait. There are 3 million federal employees?

lorien1973 on November 29, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Our whole intel industry is a joke from Valerie Plame and the NYT editorials, to most of the NSA Middle Eastern support personnel being Muslim and Jewish, to the FBI not even being able to prevent their agents from cheating on tests. I’m sure foreign entities are disappointed that what they paid at least a few hundred dollars for is now free to the public.

crscott on November 29, 2010 at 1:18 PM

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

This post is great and accurate and if your log in name is short for Iron Maiden, Dio, and Judas Priest you really are my hero!!!!!!

Joey1974 on November 29, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Ed, please stop hand-wringing over the fact that a low ranking “corporal” had access to this material, none of which was Top Secret, and only 6% of which was even Secret. For your information, the armed forces included an Army Security Agency from 1945 to 1976. Its function was secret signals intelligence. All of its staff had Top Secret clearance as well as special Crypto clearance above the Top Secret level, and was recruited from among those scoring in the top 10% in the Army’s personnel testing program. This was the same 10% from which Officer Candidate and Warrant Officer Candidate programs recruited.

The bulk of the ASA work was performed by Specialists, Grades 4 and 5 (the soldier in question is actually a Specialist, not a Corporal). The ASA Specialists routinely handled military and diplomatic material at, and above, the Top Secret level. In the 31 years it operated during the Cold War period, there was never a scandal like the current one, despite the fact that it was considered to be one of the worst duty assignments in the Army. Because the ASA was a joint venture between the Army and the NSA, the Army tended to ignore the ASA and it rapidly became a “3R” organization, which stood for no rank, no recognition, and no respect, despite the high intelligence, education, and integrity of its staff.

Everyone knew at the time that the Army was making a huge mistake in its outright indifference to the ASA. The soldier in question could not have been in the ASA, as he is gay and clearly does not exhibit an extremely high level of intelligence. Ironically, he appears to have worked for the organization, Army Intelligence, which the ASA was integrated with in 1976. I have always been under the impression that the standards of the Professional Army are higher today than during the period of the draft. In this case, at least, I am clearly mistaken. PC, and lowered standards apparently wins again!

John Adams on November 29, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Wow. Talk about a punchable face.

Machiavelli Hobbes on November 29, 2010 at 1:27 PM

This is the same government that wants a government run single payer health insurance program…

d1carter on November 29, 2010 at 1:04 PM

You’re not confident that the democratics would keep Republicans’ medical records confidential?

slickwillie2001 on November 29, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Examples of ‘Top Secret’ and ‘Secret’ communiques in the leaks: Polish News: Wikileaks Reveals Obama Traded Away Missile Shield For Russian Support on Iran

I’m sure there are many more.

slickwillie2001 on November 29, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Manning felt that his talents were under appreciated, that he was smarter than anyone else. Looks like he’s going to learn to be Bubba’s wife for the next 20 years

Well that will be great for him, considering he’s a homosexual.

royzer on November 29, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Court Martial and hanging. These Obama plantation socialist have never been held responsible for their acts. Bill Ayers is their role model. Make an example of these murderous traitors for all to see. Or hope you or your loved ones don’t die as a result of the Obama plantation assault on America.

frizzbee on November 29, 2010 at 2:04 PM

The 3 million number is an exaggeration. All I can figure is that someone added the number in DOD, CIA, and State together. You’d have to add DHS and FBI, and probably some others as well, to get to 3 million. It’s not a credible number.

For one thing, only a minority of the personnel in DOD can access these cables. It’s not like you can just log on to the secret-level network and go troll all the State Dept cables. Database access is user-dependent. Manning had access because he was an intel analyst whose user account was issued by an intel center. Joe Bagodonuts at the weapons depot may have access to the secret system, but he can’t just browse the US mission cables.

Ed keys properly on the IT security at Manning’s work center. There is a point at which you have to trust your people, but no one should be playing his personal tunes CD on a classified-network computer at all. That’s what MP3s are for.

J.E. Dyer on November 29, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Epic fail. We can’t keep our own clearance people from leaking devastating info or some a$$clown from putting it online but by golly, we’ll make sure granny gets a pat down on her way to Des Moines.

scalleywag on November 29, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Epic fail. We can’t keep our own clearance people from leaking devastating info or some a$$clown from putting it online but by golly, we’ll make sure granny gets a pat down on her way to Des Moines.

scalleywag on November 29, 2010 at 3:09 PM

That just about says it all.

hillbillyjim on November 29, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Manning is the best argument evah for why we should keep homos out of the military. They are deranged and subject to instability and acts like this. Like muslims, they cannot be trusted. Period.

warriorlawyer on November 29, 2010 at 3:55 PM

I think Larry Sanger sums up how I feel about this http://www.larrysanger.org/wikileaks.html

As for those who say that all gays should be kept out of the military because of this, given the history of espionage your logic would already have kicked out all heterosexuals, married couples, men, women, the religious, and the nonreligious. Lets just remember that people are responsible for their own actions and not try to tar everyone who has the same hair color as them. I know many gays that have given decades of their life, in good honorable service and don’t deserve your petty smears. Theres good reason to examine DADT and one of them is that relationships that have to be hidden like you are asking every gay service member to do, can be used by others to compromise their morals and common sense. Keeping gay relationships in the light of day can only be a good thing from a security and psychological perspective.

Zekecorlain on November 29, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Maybe Hillary can explain how a PFC had access to thousand of diplomatic messages and how he was able to walk out with them?

huckleberryfriend on November 29, 2010 at 4:35 PM

I imagine that every new Wikileaks hit has Bradley Manning regretting he ever got mixed up with Julian Assange, since his chances of ever seeing daylight again are shrinking by the hour.

RebeccaH on November 29, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Holy mackerel. The damage resulting from all this won’t even be fully evident for years to come and there will be a lot of it.

What a ginormous and complete flustercuck.

And all because of some troglodyte homunculus who looks like Howdy Doody.

FlatFoot on November 29, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Manning + noose = justice.

profitsbeard on November 29, 2010 at 6:57 PM

Charge him with treason and execute him.

I promise you this will end the problem.

Vegi on November 29, 2010 at 7:37 PM

ASSociated Press BLAMES BUSH IN 5…….4…….3….

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.

PappyD61 on November 29, 2010 at 7:56 PM

Every time I see that little weasel’s face, I have an irresistible urge to punch him right in the mouth!

JayVee on November 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Shoot him.

Yesterday.

Don’t care if he’s gay or not.

He committed treason.

Shoot him. Hang him. Fry him. Something. As soon as is practicably possible.

SgtSVJones on November 29, 2010 at 9:08 PM

I imagine that every new Wikileaks hit has Bradley Manning regretting he ever got mixed up with Julian Assange, since his chances of ever seeing daylight again are shrinking by the hour.

RebeccaH on November 29, 2010 at 4:46 PM

You kidding?

He’s probably convinced himself that he’s a “real patriot” whose being unjustly punished by now.

Bastards like him have to always be the victim and can never ever accept responsibility.

Machiavelli Hobbes on November 29, 2010 at 10:28 PM

Why would a music CD (much less CD-RW) or any other media, including paper, be allowed in or out of a “secure facility”???

(…)

landlines on November 29, 2010 at 10:50 AM

WORSE, it was a REWRITABLE disk (a CDR) that was used (taken into the facility, used to write over with Classified info, then taken out of the facility with the Classified info. on it).

That’s like taking a big empty bag into a vault and walking out with it full of gold bullion and nary a guard perplexed about either.

It’s mind-blowing that this leak ever occurred and how, I agree. And we the public are expected to believe there is authority present there? It’s just mind-blowing how ineptly handled the atmosphere of “security” was in this regard.

Lourdes on November 29, 2010 at 11:20 PM

Shoot him.

Yesterday.

Don’t care if he’s gay or not.

He committed treason.

Shoot him. Hang him. Fry him. Something. As soon as is practicably possible.

SgtSVJones on November 29, 2010 at 9:08 PM

I completely agree with you.

I’m sure, though, that there are a cadre of Hahvahd lawyahs steaming away as we write with plans to claim some victimization or another.

Lourdes on November 29, 2010 at 11:23 PM

Maybe Hillary can explain how a PFC had access to thousand of diplomatic messages and how he was able to walk out with them?

huckleberryfriend on November 29, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Well…she’s never explained what happened to Vince Foster!

;]

Lourdes on November 29, 2010 at 11:24 PM

Manning is the best argument evah for why we should keep homos out of the military. They are deranged and subject to instability and acts like this. Like muslims, they cannot be trusted. Period.

warriorlawyer on November 29, 2010 at 3:55 PM

As for those who say that all gays should be kept out of the military because of this, given the history of espionage…

Zekecorlain on November 29, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Warriorlawyer has the most accurate perspective. I’m sure there are individuals here and there who are engaged in homosexuality who have their tables well set but the overall “community” is not known for their mental balance and yet, anything but balance. There are just too many emotional tantrums, acts of revenge against perceived ‘enemies’ and similar behaviors that are generally not stable…to be trustworthy in the worst of situations.

Lourdes on November 29, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Oh dear God…I know why that prick’s face is so familiar to me now

I SAW HIM WHEN I WAS GROWING UP!

We played against each other for some team, I think it was a JROTC competition.

I KNOW I saw him somewhere, he purportedly lived only 30 minutes from where I grew up!

SgtSVJones on November 30, 2010 at 12:17 AM

More info from wired.com

SgtSVJones on November 30, 2010 at 12:25 AM

Looks like a young Lindsey Graham…

SuperCool on November 30, 2010 at 1:08 AM

I have a secret clearance at a military contractor and I can tell you that our access to classified material is strictly on a need-to-know basis. I don’t know how this clown could be able to access all that state dept. stuff. Something is really wrong there.

RustBelt on November 30, 2010 at 7:40 AM

Manning felt that his talents were under appreciated, that he was smarter than anyone else. Looks like he’s going to learn to be Bubba’s wife for the next 20 years.

GarandFan on November 29, 2010 at 10:47 AM

He needs to be tied to a post, and have a bullet put through his heart.

Ward Cleaver on November 30, 2010 at 10:44 AM

When they make the TV movie of this, they should call it The Blue Falcon and The Snowman, with Sean Penn in the role of Assange.

Christien on November 30, 2010 at 11:48 AM

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