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Assault on US Military Info via Email

By marileev ·
CNET's story on accused terrorist webmaster Syed Talha Ahsan shows that the military needs to always be a step ahead of the terrorists

Most interesting in the story is that Ahsan was able to e-mail with U.S. Naval personnel and obtained then-classified plans of a naval battle group operating in the Straits of Hormuz. Their correspondence even included the group's vulnerabilities.

The ability to email such sensitive military documents shows the organization's shortcomings -

What else has been emailed out from the military to terrorists?

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Great communication

by Nathank In reply to Assault on US Military In ...

It just warms my heart to hear that our military has gotten so close with terrorists. Maybe after this war has ended we can invite Ahsan and his buddies over for a nice White House brunch.

How is it possible that someone so against us and our beliefs receive military secrets and other classified information. I don't think that it is their hacking ability that causes data leaks in the military, maybe its our own stupidity.

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Military Must Lock Down Info.

by marileev In reply to Great communication

The story actually says an "enlistee" provided the information to Ahsan, not any upper level officer, but the average sailor. How can a suborniate have this data at their dispose to email? This is just as aggregious as the military computers coming up for sale in Afghanistan.

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Used to be a Navy wife

by Tig2 In reply to Military Must Lock Down I ...

Incidentally, how's Washington? I miss the place.

Every sailor attached to a ship is routinely in possession of the information described. Sailor knows ship movement, ship movement is confidential information. If the sailor goes home and tells his family that he will be deploying on a certain date, he has just breached security.

It is up to the individual sailor to have both integrity and discretion. Without it, situations like the email to a known terrorist can happen.

It is n't an option to simply quit telling a sailor when the ship will deploy. Those men and women have families. Require that the military be single? OK, but what about paying the bills while gone? Even single sailors have to communicate their timelines and needs to SOMEONE.

The information that was passed was (a) known information regarding ship movement (confidential) and (b) the sailor's opinion of strength and weakness (UCMJ violation). That sailor should be identified and charged accordingly.

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More than deployment dates

by marileev In reply to Used to be a Navy wife

TiggerTwo, thanks for the good info, but the CNET article hinted that it was more than deployement dates. It stated that the Navy personnel also passed along information on the ship's weaknesses/vulnerabilities.

Washington is warm right now the weather people are saying it'll be 90+ for the next 10 days, no rain. Time to welcome the boats, Seafair is next week too.

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I should have been more careful, marileev

by Tig2 In reply to More than deployment date ...

When I said "ship movement" I know what that means- probably should have told you. My apologies.

Ship movement is information regarding a carrier group- the carrier itself and all ships attached to that carrier. It can include the movement of frigates, destroyers, tenders, etc. It can also include the movement of the air wings. This is all classified information that is communicated outside of the Navy on a routine basis. Has to be so that the sailor can plan appropriately.

As regards weakness/vulnerability- the sailor may have some actual data, but rarely enough to be of interest. "Need to know" insures this to an extent, advanced engineering and other things may also apply. I will make a money bet though that the sailor took information that he KNEW and added his own opinions and potentially rumours. That is a violation of the UCMJ.

To my direct knowledge, it would take a strategic nuclear device to take out a carrier. Those things are pretty tough. And tough to get to.

What worries me more is that this sailor made a decision to violate a code he swore to uphold. That is sickening- even more so because he certainly wasn't communicating his sea time to a family member, he was communicating to an unknown individual.

Would love to be in Seattle right now. I have a buddy in Bremerton that is probably hating the forecast- he does NOT like the heat! I miss Seafair- always a good time!

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Navy Honor Code

by marileev In reply to I should have been more c ...

Wow, I never knew that "ship movement" was so detailed. But you make an excellent point that this sailor passing information to Ahsan was in violation of naval codes he swore to uphold.

I wonder how Admiral Mullen in charge of Naval Ops is handling other potential security breaches.

Even the hearsay the sailor passed along to Ahsan could have given the enemy the edge.

Yeah, Seafair is great. The Bite of Seattle is this weekend - gastronomy galore & our company's sponsorinig a bunch of us to run in the annual Torchlight Run before the big parade.

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edited out

by X-MarCap In reply to Military Must Lock Down I ...

edited out

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it's our own stupidity....

by mroonie In reply to Great communication

Is email not an obvious everyday tool for communcation? Shouldn't it have been one of the first places the gov should've looked when attempting to place regulations on the leaking of private information after 9/11? How come they're not seeing the bigger picture here?

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What do you propose?

by jmgarvin In reply to it's our own stupidity... ...

I mean there has to be some kind of proposal to go along with this? What should we do with email?

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by JamesRL In reply to What do you propose?

At my former employer, the one with nuclear secrets, the rules were simple. If you were sending anything that might be "secret", it had to be encrypted, and the government agency we dealt with also had encryption and was cross certified. If you failed to encrypt something when you should have, you are gone. No appeals. Part of the job was to be security conscious and they had annual events to promote information security awareness.

Anything Top Secret was very well locked down.

There were intrusion detection systems to deter hackers, and any emails with attachments were logged and tracked.

We did once have our extermal website, which was outsourced, hacked and vandalized. After that it was moved to a DMZ and had firewalls and Intrusion detection turned on.


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