The Spooks Will Never Have Their Software Self-Spying Working

Mark Hosenball seems to have gotten as obsessed with the Intelligence Community’s inability or unwillingness to implement the automated Insider Threat tracking software mandated by Congress (see here and here). After reporting last week that the Hawaii NAS location where Edward Snowden worked didn’t have insider threat detection software installed because of bandwidth problems, he reported earlier this week that DOD will miss the new Congressionally mandated deadlines to have it working, again partly for bandwidth reasons.

But the intelligence agencies have already missed an October 1 deadline for having the software fully in use, and are warning of further delays.

Officials responsible for tightening data security say insider threat-detection software, which logs events such as unusually large downloads of material or attempts at unauthorized access, is expensive to adopt.

It also takes up considerable computing and communications bandwidth, degrading the performance of systems on which it is installed, they said.

[snip]

The latest law requires the agencies to have the new security measures’ basic “initial operating capability” installed by this month and to have the systems fully operational by October 1, 2014.

But U.S. officials acknowledged it was unlikely agencies would be able to meet even that deadline, and Congress would likely have to extend it further. One official said intelligence agencies had already asked Congress to extend the deadline beyond October 2014 but that legislators had so far refused.

If the Intelligence Committees were unable to get the IC to take this mandate seriously after the Chelsea Manning leaks, I don’t see any reason they’ll show more focus on doing so after Edward Snowden. They seem either unable to back off their spying bandwidth draw far enough to implement the security to avoid another giant leak, or unwilling to subject their workers (or themselves?) to this kind of scrutiny.

This is why I made the Ozymandias joke the other day. Parallel with our headlong rush toward destruction via climate change, the IC doesn’t seem able to reverse the manic demand for more data long enough to protect the collection systems they’ve got, or at least the mission critical ones. That is not a sign of an organization that can survive long.

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