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Government The Internet United States Your Rights Online

US Government Strategy To Prevent Leaks Is Leaked 336

Posted by samzenpus
from the who-leaks-the-leakers? dept.
Jake writes "The US government's 11-page document on how to get various US government agencies to prevent future leaks has been leaked. It doesn't get any more ironic than that. After the various leaks made by WikiLeaks, the US government understandably wants to limit the number of potential leaks, but their strategy apparently isn't implemented yet. It's clear that the Obama administration is telling federal agencies to take aggressive steps to prevent further leaks. According to the document, these steps include figuring out which employees might be most inclined to leak classified documents, by using psychiatrists and sociologists to assess their trustworthiness. The memo also suggests that agencies require all their employees to report any contacts with members of the news media they may have."
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US Government Strategy To Prevent Leaks Is Leaked

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  • Ironic? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hardtofindanick (1105361) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @10:09AM (#34814414)
    Encryption algorithms are also public, that doesn't mean they won't work.
  • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@ n e tzero.net> on Sunday January 09, 2011 @10:20AM (#34814486) Homepage Journal

    I love knowing how America keeps creeping to become more and more like the Soviet Union with a similar kind of loss of privileges.

    Where the debate really needs to be centered is on two things:

    • What items ought to be kept secret?
    • Does the federal bureaucracy really need to be so big in the first place?

    By far and away too much is classified material. I don't mind having things like the locations of military units and certain other generally time-sensitive information being classified, but there certainly is a whole bunch of stuff being labeled as classified material mainly because it would be embarrassing if the information was disclosed. That stuff should not be protected under an official secrets act and I wish that a harder evaluation would result in trying to decide what exactly should be considered classified material in the first place.

    Speculating that the King of Saudi Arabia is an ass should not be considered an official secret.

  • Re:That's not irony! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RichardJenkins (1362463) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @10:23AM (#34814508)

    Isn't irony ("Situational irony" as Wikipedia calls it seems to be what most folks mean when they say it) when the opposite of what you expect to happen happens? For example, if I implemented a set of policies to prevent leaks and then those policies caused a leak - very ironic. That's not what happened here, what is the irony in this situation?

  • by nblender (741424) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @10:40AM (#34814596)
    I do some work for a military contractor and the sheer amount of classified information that's flying around is simply beyond astounding... A lot of things that are banal and boring are marked Top Secret in order to prevent sub-contractors from hiring foreign workers... It's not that the information itself is or needs to be Top Secret but marking it so is a way to keep jobs local...
  • Wikileaks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, 2011 @10:42AM (#34814606)
    Wikileaks does not 'leak' anything. They report leaks.
  • How about (Score:4, Interesting)

    by unity100 (970058) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @10:42AM (#34814608) Homepage Journal
    not doing things that would hang heavy on the conscience of people, causing them to leak stuff ? not betraying them ? not misusing their trust ?

    then the need for finding 'trustworthy' people who would have to go through security audits, psychiatrists, sociologists, would be at a minimum.

    we are not the age of empires in which dumb lackeys blindly do whatever they are ordered to. people of this age, have conscience compared to the dark ages. you wont be able to make them do evil shit, and then keep their mouth shut, if there is a way for them to blow the whistle.

    but maybe the problem in the recruitment strategy. touting being a democracy that protects freedom, you recruit people to that cause, with patriotic lines. then, they discover that, what they do actually go against what they had had joined the force for .... basically, they are being deceived with shallow excuses and justifications.

    only dumb enough people would buy bullshit. the rest, will leak, regardless of whether you employ armies of psychiatrists, or not.
  • by Artifakt (700173) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @10:52AM (#34814704)

    Classification was originally evolved for military intelligence. Do military intelligence right, and you report only on capabilities, not intentions, opinions, or personalities. A proper MI report describes what assets and liabilities Saudi Arabia has, and stays away from speculating about whether the King or anyone else will use them a certain way. Civilian oversight decides whether someone is an enemy and will use their military assets to attack, not the military (at least that's the way it's supposed to be in the US). If a trained observer notes that the Saudis are selectively putting crews to work at sites that produce lower grade crude oil, that might actually be classified secret, if only to make it harder for the Saudis to figure out who the person generating the report is. But that report shouldn't speculate about why the Saudis might be selectively marketing their lower grade crude and conserving their top grade, let alone go into the observer's opinion of the King's personality.
    Part of the problem here is that civilian persons, including both diplomatic personnel and decision makers, are using the classification system that is only built to work for military intelligence and only built to work if the m.i. process is done right up to the time the decision to classify is made. The civil oversight is using classification to cover their asses, and they go to that mode easily because they're already misunderstanding how classification should work just by thinking it will work for the kind of stuff they put in a report.

  • Re:Ironic? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by teachknowlegy (1003477) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @10:57AM (#34814738)
    Are we really this dumb as a society? It's *supposed* to be public. Either it is intended to work while still publicly disclosed or it's a decoy. Of course it could be a test, someone could have forgotten to classify it, or any number of other things could have happened. Just because it is stated that it's to prevent leaks, doesn't mean they want to prevent it from being leaked. Our leaders are often smarter than you give them credit for (and yes, they are often dumber, too).
  • The Irony Overwhelms (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jawnn (445279) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @10:59AM (#34814742)
    From the summary...
    "...these steps include figuring out which employees might be most inclined to leak classified documents, by using psychiatrists and sociologists to assess their trustworthiness. "

    McCarthy, Stalin, and Mao would all be proud. Those who do not, fundamentally, "think right", will be treated... differently. Never mind the fact that screening of the type were talking about here has a dismal record at predicting behavior. It was designed to predict pathology. The two are, believe it or not, rather different things.
  • elephant in the room (Score:5, Interesting)

    by conspirator57 (1123519) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @11:32AM (#34815008)

    or perhaps the number one thing the government could do to prevent leaks in future would be to... i don't know... *NOT DO ILLEGAL SHIT* or, and i know i'm way off base, *NOT SUBVERT ITS OWN IDEALS OF FREEDOM AND EQUALITY*

    But, sadly James Earl Jones already played the US Government:

    Whistler: "I want peace on earth and goodwill toward men."
    Bernard Abbott: "We are the United States Government! We don't do that sort of thing."

  • by drdanny_orig (585847) * on Sunday January 09, 2011 @12:32PM (#34815424)
    Mod parent up, please. Why is this glaringly obvious solution NEVER discussed?
  • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@ n e tzero.net> on Sunday January 09, 2011 @03:15PM (#34816734) Homepage Journal

    I hate to break the news, but America was involved in World War II as early as 1940. The problem was that the entire U.S. Army consisted of about 30,000 soldiers mostly stationed in the "colonies" of America (the Philippines primarily, although in a few other places too) and of course in a few training bases. Instead, like what Wilson did during World War I, America became the "arsenal of democracy" and all that other BS while Roosevelt tried to build up the armed forces of America. Airmen from America were openly encouraged to join the Royal Air Force to develop some necessary skills (normally that forces you to renounce your citizenship... accepting a position in the officer corps of another country).

    By 1941 America was supplying most of the raw materials (steel, grain, and other stuff) to the UK to help fight off Nazi Germany. There were of course indigenous industries in the UK as well, but it was more than a mere supplement to those resources, and Liberty Ship production. At its peak about three ships of this class were launched each day. That is an insane amount of metal, not to mention the contents of those ships was rather large too.

    As to if America ought to have been involved to that extent, that is certainly something debatable. The debate about going into World War II was something that was extensive and there certainly were many opinions about the topic well before December 1941. This is a debate that I wish had happened prior to going into Iraq, where I believe a formal declaration of war should have happened... with the territory acquired to become sovereign territory of the USA. If America wasn't prepared to do something that raw, it shouldn't have gone into there in the first place. Ditto for Afghanistan and I dare say Vietnam as well.

  • Re:How about (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @04:02PM (#34817126)

    I've long thought military recruitment strategies were targeted at lesser brains...

    Your views are uninformed. The American military is on average better educated than the population.

    Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers [heritage.org]
    American soldiers are more educated than their peers. A little more than 1 percent of enlisted personnel lack a high school degree, compared to 21 percent of men 18-24 years old, and 95 percent of officer accessions have at least a bachelor's degree.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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