OMB

OMB’s New Security Memo Suggests WikiLeaks Is Media

A number of outlets are reporting on the OMB memo requiring agencies to review their security procedures in response to WikiLeaks.

Now, this memo is explicitly a response to WikiLeaks. It’s a follow-up on a memo sent in November that names WikiLeaks.

On November 28, 2010, departments and agencies that handle classified national security information were directed to establish assessment teams to review their implementation of safeguarding procedures. (Office of Management and Budget, Memorandum M-11-06, “WikiLeaks – Mishandling of Classified Information,” November 28, 2010.)

And one of the questions it directs agencies to ask names WikiLeaks (and, in a sign of the government’s nimbleness, OpenLeaks) specifically.

Do you capture evidence of pre-employment and/or post-employment activities or participation in on-line media data mining sites like WikiLeaks or Open Leaks?

But the delay–almost six months between Bradley Manning’s arrest and the November memo, and another month until this memo, sort of reminds me of the roughly eight month delay between the time Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to set his underwear on fire and the the time a bunch of grannies started getting groped at TSA security checkpoints.

Why the delay?

And from a document usability standpoint, this list of questions designed to help agencies identify weaknesses is a piece of shit. Trust me. No matter how good a bureaucrat is, asking them to use nine pages of nested bullets to improve a process is not going to work. This is simply not a credible process improvement effort.

I also wonder why it took WikiLeaks to initiate this effort. Just as an example, Los Alamos National Labs has been losing both storage media, computers, and BlackBerries going back a decade. You’d think the vulnerability of one of our nuclear labs would alert the government to our overall vulnerability to the loss of data via computer medium. Yet losing data to–presumably–our enemies did not trigger this kind of no-nonsense vulnerability assessment, WikiLeaks did.

The Russians and the Chinese are probably bummed that WikiLeaks will make it a teeny bit harder for them to spy on us.

All that said, Steven Aftergood makes one curious observation about the memo: this unusable list of nested bullets suggests that agencies should monitor employees’ contacts with the media.

Among other troubling questions, agencies are asked:  “Are all employees required to report their contacts with the media?”  This question seems out of place since there is no existing government-wide security requirement to report “contacts with the media.”  Rather, this is a security policy that is unique to some intelligence agencies, and is not to be found in any other military or civilian agencies. Its presence here seems to reflect the new “evolutionary pressure” on the government to adopt the stricter security policies of intelligence.

“I am not aware of any such requirement” to report on media contacts, a senior government security official told Secrecy News.  But he noted that the DNI was designated as Security Executive Agent for personnel security matters in the 2008 executive order 13467.  As a result, “I suspect that an IC requirement crept in” to the OMB memo.

I agree with Aftergood: it is troubling that an intelligence community requirement now seems to be applied to the federal workforce as a whole.

But isn’t this, at the same time, rather telling?

If a memo instituting new security reviews, explicitly written in response to WikiLeaks, institutes a policy of reviewing contacts with the media, doesn’t that suggest they consider WikiLeaks to be media?

Truck-Sized Loophole for Theft

Howie’s right. The media ought to be paying more attention to Congressman Peter Welch’s call for an investigation into how a giant loophole got stuck into rules aiming to force companies to report contracting fraud.

House Democrats targeted a multibillion-dollar overseas contracting loophole Friday by vowing to investigate why — and how — it was slipped into plans to crack down on fraud in taxpayer-funded projects.

The inquiry will look at whether the exemption was added at the request of private firms, or their lobbyists, to escape having to report abuse in U.S. contracts performed abroad.

"Granting this safe harbor for overseas contractors flies in the face of reason," Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., wrote Friday asking the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to investigate. The panel monitors government procurement policy.

"By taking this action, the Bush administration is sending an unambiguous message: If you are a U.S. government contractor in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere overseas, you have a green light to defraud our government and waste taxpayer dollars," Welch wrote to Democratic leaders of the committee.

Basically, under voluntary reporting requirements, government contractors have been reporting less and less of the fraud that they’re committing. Go figure. So DOJ decided to make reporting of fraud mandatory. But someone–it looks like someone in Bush’s Office of Management and Budget (and Fraud Support, apparently)–snuck in a waiver of mandatory requirements for contractors working outside of the United States.

→']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @astepanovich Sharknado was an instant classic too you know. (And no, I'm not watching.)
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @CUEwindsearch No. You sign NDAs when you work w/govt. Snowden did. That's why he's being prosecuted. @korch
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @SusieMadrak Does that mean you're feeling better yet? @Johngcole
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @SusieMadrak And he can shrink wrap ANYTHING! (Sung to the tune of the UPS logistics ad) http://t.co/Xo3pfJnQ1t @Johngcole
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @SusieMadrak Bestest general since Washington. Them's some superlativing. @Johngcole
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @CUEwindsearch No. It's that you are (I'm assuming) not some who has been entrusted w/secrets under NDA. @korch
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel How long until that cop fired from Ferguson PD is beating up black kids as a mall security guard in a parking lot?
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @SusieMadrak Just read Michael O'Hanlon's Petraeus smooch. it'll make you pee your pants. http://t.co/2uZaP8gvwj @Johngcole
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @CUEwindsearch If you were running a Tor server govt believed someone used to leak to WL, they would raid & charge you w/kiddie porn @korch
5hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @CJonesScout: Harrison Bader in eight plate appearances this week against UCF: 2-2, 1 HR, 6 BB, 4 R, 2 SB.
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @CUEwindsearch In short, there are laws. They apply to people who sign NDAs but have never been w/people who haven't. @korch
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @CUEwindsearch S Kim had an NDA. GG/BG/LP do not. No one is being charged w/possessing docs bc that is legally problematic in US. @korch
6hreplyretweetfavorite
March 2015
S M T W T F S
« Feb    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031