Posts Tagged ‘classified’

Classified report: Russia tied to blast at U.S. embassy

July 27, 2011 Comments off


Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the chamber’s Republican whip, said he sent a classified letter in June to the House and Senate intelligence committees asking them to investigate the incident and report back to members. (Associated Press)

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in a classified report late last year that Russia’s military intelligence was responsible for a bomb blast that occurred at an exterior wall of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, in September.

The highly classified report about the Sept. 22 incident was described to The Washington Times by two U.S. officials who have read it. They said the report supports the findings of the Georgian Interior Ministry, which traced the bombing to a Russian military intelligence officer.

The Times reported last week that Shota Utiashvili, director of information and analysis for the Georgian Interior Ministry, said the embassy blast and others in his country were the work of a Russian military intelligence officer named Maj. Yevgeny Borisov.

“It is written without hedges, and it confirms the Read more…

Classified Spy satellite launched from California base

January 21, 2011 Comments off

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — The largest rocket ever launched from the West Coast blasted off Thursday with a classified defense satellite on board.

The 235-foot-tall Delta IV Heavy Launch Vehicle lifted off at 1:10 p.m. carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The booster rose into the sky over California’s central coast and arced over the Pacific Ocean, a spectacle visible over a wide area.

United Launch Alliance, the joint venture of rocket builders Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., said in a statement that the launch was a success.

The launch was pushed back two minutes to avoid an object in space that could have been in the path of the rocket, said Michael J. Rein, a ULA spokesman.

No payload details were released. The NRO operates satellites that provide information to the Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense.

This was the fifth launch of a Delta IV but the first from the West Coast. The other four launches were at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Capable of generating nearly 2 million pounds of thrust, the liquid-fuel rocket has a central core booster and two strap-on boosters that make the assembly 50 feet wide. An upper second stage takes over when the first stage is exhausted.

Preparing for the launch took three years and $100 million in infrastructure upgrades at Vandenberg, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The launch director, Lt. Col. Brady Hauboldt, said in a statement before the liftoff that the launch would mark a milestone by restoring heavy lift capability in the nation’s western range. The last heavy lift Titan IV-B was launched at Vandenberg in 2005.

In its past, the launch complex was once configured for West Coast space shuttle launches, which were canceled after the 1986 Challenger disaster, and the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory program, which was canceled in 1969. It was last used in 2006.

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Feds: leaking is worse than spying

January 21, 2011 Comments off

Leaking classified information to the media is a more serious offense than spying, the Justice Department argued in a court filing last week.

The argument came in a motion supporting the detention of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer indicted for allegedly giving a reporter classified details about a CIA program aimed at interfering with Iran’s nuclear efforts.

“The defendant’s unauthorized disclosures…may be viewed as more pernicious than the typical espionage case where a spy sells classified information for money,” the prosecution team wrote in a brief submitted by attorneys at Justice Department headquarters and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Alexandria, Va.

“Unlike the typical espionage case where a single foreign country or intelligence agency may be the beneficiary of the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, this defendant elected to disclose the classified information publicly through the mass media. Thus, every foreign adversary stood to benefit from the defendant’s unauthorized disclosure of classified information, thus posing an even greater threat to society,” the brief said.

Sterling, who unsuccessfully sued the CIA for racial discrimination, was arrested earlier this month in Missouri on the indictment charging him with unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, mail fraud and obstruction of justice. The indictment doesn’t specify the precise nature of the information leaked, nor does it identify the reporter involved, but the charges contain enough detail to peg Sterling as a source for information contained in a book by New York Times reporter James Risen.

The Justice Department’s brief emphasizing the dangers of leaks could be seen as a preview of arguments the government will make against Wikileaks if authorities proceed with a prosecution of its founder, Julian Assange, or others who are part of the group. A prosecution of Wikileaks would open a significant new front in the Obama Administration’s war on leaks, which has so far targeted only leakers for prosecution and not those who receive the leaks.

NASA Sold Computer Hard Drives Containing Sensitive Government Info

January 10, 2011 Comments off

Julian Assange may have needed a mole inside the Army to get sensitive government documents for WikiLeaks, but thanks to the lax IT procedures at NASA, it looks like he may have only needed an eBay account.

Due to weak security measures and an agency culture that struggles with properly handling property transfer, NASA sold hard drives to the general public that contained information that could help hackers penetrate the space agency’s computers, according to a new report from the NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The computers were left over from the shuttle program, which NASA sold off publicly after they had been properly sanitized of any sensitive information. However, it seems that a combination of poorly designed procedures and individual failures led NASA personnel to skip that sanitation step. Overall, 10 entires PCs that might have contained IP information and other sensitive data are known to have ended up sold to private citizens.

“During our audit, we discovered significant weaknesses in the sanitization and disposal processes for IT equipment at four NASA Centers – Kennedy and Johnson Space Centers and Ames and Langley Research Centers,” the report reads.

This is not the first time that NASA has come under fire for poor information technology and equipment management. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), NASA misplaced $94 million in equipment between 1997 and 2007, and failed to meet their goals of stopping such losses in six of those ten years.

A 2007 GAO report portrayed a NASA culture where property mismanagement and loss rarely results in punishment. In one instance, a NASA employee escaped punishment despite providing an explanation for losing a laptop consisting of the excuse “this computer, although assigned to me, was being used on board the International Space Station. I was informed that it was tossed overboard to be burned up in the atmosphere when it failed,” the 2007 GAO report said.