Can the Pentagon keep classified information safe?

Posted: October 6, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Can the Pentagon keep classified information safe?

The answer to the headline’s question is, of course, it depends.  The problem with information, some say, is that it yearns to be free.  “Free” and “classified” aren’t supposed to go together.

The Defense Security Service (DSS) has had “recurring” troubles overseeing contractors, according to a November 2009 survey of agency employees. The Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a contracting watchdog group, got its hands on an internal agency e-mail, dated Sept. 16, that has employees saying they’re concerned about a “lack of resources” at DSS to “accomplish the mission.”

To paraphrase Milton Friedman, only in the government do those who fail get plussed-up.

According to a source at DSS with whom POGO officials said they talked, the problems at DSS include having a lack of trained and experienced personnel who are “on-the-ground examining what systems contractors have in place to protect classified information.”

Of much bigger concern than a contractor control of classified should be overall governmental control of classified.  In this case, consider the crime Army Private First Class Bradley Manning has been accused of, that is, of being the father of all classified leaks.  As MSNBC reports

Manning faces two charges and 12 counts of illegally providing classified information to an unauthorized source.

Manning is also charged with unlawfully tapping into the military’s Secret Internet Protocol Router Network to obtain the video and more than 200,000 classified State Department cables.

Or, how about the national security leaks made to fluff up vanity, avenge slights, neutralize rivals, gratify egos, and to attempt to shape the historical record such as those made to Bob Woodward in Woodward’s book Obama’s Wars?


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