Where's the Head of Security?

I had a nice chat with a gentleman in the know this evening about WikiLeaks. Since he was speaking to me as a private person and not in an official capacity, he shall remain nameless. He brought up the issue that has been bothering him since this whole thing broke:

Why was it possible to obtain this much data - much of it marked secret - without someone knowing?

Who was (still is? I would imagine this person assigned to latrine detail in the meantime) head of security at the State Department? They have themselves a "Bureau of Diplomatic Security". Isn't it their job to keep an eye on the data floating around and the people with access to it? They have all this theater about having to have security clearances in order to see certain documents.

Of course, I've always thought it was a farce ever since doing my doctorate. There were papers that I wanted to read that pertained to my dissertation, but they could not be sent outside the United States and could only be read by a US citizen. Since I was at that time still a US citizen, I flew over, read the documents, and took lots of notes.

Oh, wait - they apparently didn't have anyone assigned to computer security. Look at this job announcement:

DS To Recruit Security Protective Specialists
On Monday, December 21, 2010, Diplomatic Security will open the position of Security Protective Specialist. The application period will close Thursday, January 20, 2011.  Interested individuals may access the announcement through www.usajobs.gov.
Apparently, Eric J Boswell is still the head of security.  If I was Hillary Clinton, I would have had his head on a plate the day after WikiLeaks broke. Why are the commentators in the US not demanding that Something Be Done about the computer security up at State?

Oh, maybe this is why:
Ambassador Boswell earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University, and served in the U.S. Army. He speaks French.
Does Stanford offer computer science degrees as a B.A.? I realize that security is more than just computers, but it would be useful if the guys at the top actually understood computers.

The gentleman and I pondered the state of computer security at weapons sites around the globe. This sent a shiver down both of our spines, so we called it an evening, wished each other a Merry Christmas and went out into the cold and snow.


Anonymous said...

well, funny you should ask:

Wikileaks: How our Government IT Failed Us -- It wasn’t an insecure SIPRNet that created the “perfect storm” that allowed Private Bradley Manning to dump the State Department cables to Wikileaks. It was the failure of our government to apply standard IT practices in a theater of war. (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/perlow/wikileaks-how-our-government-it-failed-us/14988)

and then there is this, of course:

The Media Gets It Wrong on WikiLeaks: It's About Broken Trust, Not Broken Condoms (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/the-media-gets-it-wrong-o_b_797436.html)


WiseWoman said...

Thanks, those are great links!