Don’t read WL from your workstation, if read elsewhere make sure you wash your eyes or you go blind….

Via WaPo’s Federal Eye | Memo from OMB

MODEL AGENCY NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES AND CONTRACTORS CONCERNING SAFEGUARDING OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION AND USE OF GOVERNMENT INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS

The recent disclosure of U.S. Government documents by WikiLeaks has resulted in damage to our national security. Each federal employee and contractor is obligated to protect classified information pursuant to all applicable laws, and to use government information technology systems in accordance with agency procedures so that the integrity of such systems is not compromised.

Unauthorized disclosures of classified documents (whether in print, on a blog, or on websites) do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents. To the contrary, classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority.

Federal employees and contractors therefore are reminded of the following obligations with respect to the treatment of classified information and the use of non-classified government information technology systems:

  • Except as authorized by their agencies and pursuant to agency procedures, federal employees or contractors shall not, while using computers or other devices (such as Blackberries or Smart Phones) that access the web on non-classified government systems, access documents that are marked classified (including classified documents publicly available on the WikiLeaks and other websites), as doing so risks that material still classified will be placed onto non-classified systems. This requirement applies to access that occurs either through agency or contractor computers, or through employees’ or contractors’ personally owned computers that access non-classified government systems. This requirement does not restrict employee or contractor access to non-classified, publicly available news reports (and other non-classified material) that may in turn discuss classified material, as distinguished from access to underlying documents that themselves are marked classified (including if the underlying classified documents are available on public websites or otherwise in the public domain).
  • Federal employees or contractors shall not access classified material unless a favorable determination of the person’s eligibility for access has been made by an agency head or the agency head’s designee, the person has signed and approved non-disclosure agreement, the person has a need to know the information, and the person has received contemporaneous training on the proper safeguarding of classified information and on the criminal, civil, and administrative sanctions that may be imposed on an individual who fails to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure.
  • Classified information shall not be removed from official premises or disclosed without proper authorization.
  • Federal employees and contractors who believe they may have inadvertently accessed or downloaded classified or sensitive information on computers that access the web via non-classified government systems, or without prior authorization, should contact their information security offices for assistance.

Thank you for your cooperation, and for your vigilance to these responsibilities.

As to that item about Columbia University career counselors urging students not to post links to the documents or make comments on social media Web sites, including Facebook or Twitter:

“Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government,” said an e-mail the office said it sent to students on the advice of an alumnus who works for the State Department.

Ed O’Keefe also has an update from the State Department’s spokesman:  “But the employee’s warning, “does not represent a formal policy position,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Saturday.

“This sounds like an overly-zealous employee,” Crowley said in an e-mail. “Our focus is advising current employees not to download classified documents to an unclassified network. While we condemn what WikiLeaks has done, we cannot control what is done through private Internet accounts.”

Whew! That’s good to know,hmmnn?

Anyway, just think about your IT staff who must fumigate your unclassified computer system if you make the mistake of reading these cables at work.

And just to be sure, if you do read these cables elsewhere, wash your eyes or you go blind. Apparently, there’s a “voluptuous blond” in there.

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The fantastic Four Globetrotters and why we need our diplomats to blog their stories…

Her blog post started with a reference to a news item on “overpaid federal workers” and a warning:

“As a warning, the rest of this post might be troubling to some.  It’s not funny.  It’s tragic. It’s heartbreaking, and when I think of it, I cry.  But I want to share anyway, because those of you who are in the process of joining the Foreign Service deserve to have as complete a picture as possible about the job you are about to enter.  You need to know what might one day be asked of you.”

Then she writes in painful detail about dealing with the aftermath of an airplane crash.

“I wanted to go.  These were MY people.  They deserved to have their consular officer take care of them.”
[…]
“This was seven years ago this month, and time has made it easier to deal with what was ultimately diagnosed as PTSD.  I still have nightmares sometimes.  But I would do it all over again.”

Active links added.  Read the whole thing here


Wiki-Weapons of Mass Distraction Fallout: the Firing Squad is Lining Up Here and There …

WikiLeaks lawyer threatens release of its “thermonuclear device…”

You know it’s only a matter of time…

It took barely 24 hours after WikiLeaks released its first classified cable dump when Slate’s Jack Shafer writes that “the leaked cables make it impossible for Hillary Clinton to continue as secretary of state.[…] Diplomacy is about face, and the only way for other nations to save face will be to give them Clinton’s scalp.”

Huh? Sorry, Jack. We want her to keep/keep her scalp.

On November 30, in a Skype interview, TIME managing editor Richard Stengel asks the WikiLeaks founder whether Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should keep her job.  Hillary Clinton, Julian Assange said, “should resign.” 

Did Mr. Stengel actually expected an affirmative answer from Mr. Wiki-Weapons of Mass Distraction? Of course, not, but makes for a good headline.

Meanwhile, it did not take long for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez  to praised WikiLeaks for its “bravery” after the group began to publish 250,000 diplomatic cables and quickly called for Secretary Clinton to resign.

The card carrying member of the ‘axis of mischief” made this pronouncement in a state-run teevee, not sure which one, but one where only state views are appropriate food for the masses in the spirit of a free press.   

Scenesetter Venezuela: “Have you seen the WikiLeaks that are coming out?” Chavez asked a group of flood victims in the city — more than 30 people have been killed the last few days across Venezuela in the worst floods in 40 years.  “They are coming out with the dirty reports and the dirty war the Yankee embassies wage around the world. See how they abuse even the leaders of powerful nations; how they abuse that great friend of ours Vladimir Putin. They disrespect him!”

Right! Worse flooding in 40 years and he talks about WikiLeaks and Vlad!    

Has he blamed that flood on our “evil Yankee empire” yet? No? Don’t worry, he’ll get around to it. And let’s have somebody write a cable about it, shall we? No?  Well, can’t blame you — it’s an old chestnut roasting in an open fire …       

Over in Europe, a political party is urging the recall of US Ambassador Philip Murphy:

“MPs from Germany’s junior coalition party, the Free Democrats, have urged the US to recall its ambassador over comments released by Wikileaks. FDP deputy Hans Michael Goldmann told German daily Bild that Mr Murphy could no longer serve as an effective go-between. “Mr Murphy’s behaviour is unseemly,” he said. “Such an ambassador should be called home.” FDP deputy Bijan Djir-Sarai said for his part: “It is more than doubtful whether Mr Murphy can still be a trustworthy interlocutor.” But Mrs Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the government would continue to work with Mr Murphy. “The government is most certainly not calling for the ambassador to be recalled,” he said. “German-US ties are robust.”

Ambassador Murphy says in this interview, “It’s up to the United States government to decide how to protect its interests in Germany in the face of [the WikiLeaks publication],” Murphy said, adding “but I’m not going anywhere.”

We like this guy more and more everyday.

Philip Shenon in The Daily Beast made mention of US Ambassador to Tripoli, Gene Cretz on the possible shake up that may or may not shake you: 

“The shakeups are most likely at embassies where U.S. diplomats and other officials wrote classified cables—made public by WikiLeaks over the last week, or soon to be made public, with the Americans identified by name and title—in which they were harshly critical of corrupt or incompetent local government leaders.

Officials were reluctant to identify specific diplomats who might have to be removed from their posts. But they did not deny there were obvious candidates, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, a highly respected career diplomat who wrote in a 2009 cable—revealed in the initial WikiLeaks dump—that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi never travels without his “voluptuous blond” Ukrainian nurse.”

That blond bombshell was a state secret? 

In The Sunday talk show, “This Week,” our Ambassador to Kabul Karl Eikenberry was a perfect sitting target.  Former US Ambassador to Kabul, Zalmay Khalilzad says Ambassador Eikenberry must go and that  the U.S. Embassy in Kabul needs new staff.  Oh, dear! Mr. Khalizad was the 4th US Ambassador to Kabul after the embassy opened in 2001.  They’re almost cousins in service!    

Via ABC News:  “Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, said on the “This Week” roundtable discussion with George Will, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Sakena Yacoobi and anchor Christiane Amanpour that America’s current ambassador there, Karl Eikenberry, should go because his relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai had been irreparably damaged by leaks.” 

“I think he has — really, he’s been damaged very badly by the leaks that have taken place, here in Washington, before WikiLeaks and afterwards. And a trusting relationship, if that’s his objective, and I believe it ought to be, would require, I think, changes in terms of personnel that are responsible on a day to day basis in dealing with President Karzai,” Khalilzad told Amanpour.
[…]
“There is a huge trust deficit,” Khalilzad, who was born in Afghanistan, said. “If we want to deal with the issue of partnership with the government of Afghanistan, if we want to deal with the issue of domestic politics effectively, of capitalizing cooperation, we would need to have a new team to be able to do that.”

Fire Ambassador Eikenberry and hire pray tell, who? Let’s see — how about President Obama hire somebody in the ins with the president of Afghanistan, somebody who has great influence with that complicated man over there?  Perhaps somebody who used to dine at the Kabul presidential palace six times a week?

Not content to opine that Hillary should resign, Mr. Wiki-WMD on Sunday also called for the resignation of President Obama:

“The whole chain of command who was aware of this order, and approved it, must resign if the US is to be seen to be a credible nation that obeys the rule of law. The order is so serious it may well have been put to the president for approval,” Julian Assange told Spanish daily El Pais.

I’m surprise he did not just call for the resignation of the entire US Government leadership and get it over with.  If everyone in the executive branch resigns (not that they would), would that give the WH to Mr. Boehner of Ohio? Just curious, my civics lessons did not go that far.

Although Mr. Assange is all over the news, we don’t know where he is hiding at this time.  We are, almost sure, that he is not/not in Ecuador, because although he was recently offered  residency there that was quickly withdrawn. “In a 180-degree reversal, Ecuador President Rafael Correa withdrew Wednesday an offer by a deputy foreign minister to allow WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange residency in the country. Correa dismissed as ‘a personal statement’ the remarks on Tuesday by Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas who had said Assange would be offer residency rights.”

Just as well, they are evacuating over there because the Tungurahua (“throat of fire”) volcano went online.

Meanwhile, Mr. Weapons of Mass Distraction’s lawyer has just put out a warning for all you folks out there on the possible release of WikiLeak’s “thermonuclear device”:

Mr. Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens warned that if Mr. Assange were to be brought to trial on rape accusations he faces in Sweden, or for treason charges that have been suggested by U.S. politicians, he would release the encryption key. The tens of thousands of people who have downloaded the file would instantly have access to the names, addresses and details contained in the file. WikiLeaks, Mr. Stephens said, has “been subject to cyberattacks and censorship around the world and they need to protect themselves … This is what they believe to be a thermonuclear device in the information age.”

So that’s that folks — the leaking service is now officially called … what’s the word, it’s at the tip of my tongue ….. reditus nigri?  I think they used a familiar phrase– something called an “insurance policy” in gigabits…. blackmail sounds well, quite evil….and bad for PR. 

 

 


Quickie: After the Leaks, the Shakeup

Via The Daily Beast | Philip Shenon in After the Leaks, the Shakeup:

The Obama administration is planning a major reshuffling of diplomats, military officers, and intelligence operatives at U.S. embassies around the world out of concern that WikiLeaks has made it impossible—if not dangerous—for many of the Americans to remain in their current posts.

Administration officials tell The Daily Beast that while planning is only in its preliminary stages, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the CIA assume that they will have to shake up staffing at a number of American embassies and consulates within the coming months.

The shakeups are most likely at embassies where U.S. diplomats and other officials wrote classified cables—made public by WikiLeaks over the last week, or soon to be made public, with the Americans identified by name and title—in which they were harshly critical of corrupt or incompetent local government leaders.

“That’s another part of the tragedy of this,” said a senior U.S. national-security official. “We’re going to have to pull out some of our best people—the diplomats who best represented the United States and were the most thoughtful in their analysis—because they dared to report back the truth about the nations in which they serve.”
[…]
there has been no formal move by those governments so far to force the ouster of U.S. diplomats identified in the cables.

“We think it’s only a matter of time, though,” predicted a senior official. “You’re bound to see some PNG-ing of our diplomats.” (He was referring to the diplomatic term “persona non grata,” applied when a government demands the removal of an unwelcome foreign diplomat.)
[…]
“Then it gets more complicated, since we’ll be put in the position of having to retaliate,” the official continued. “They’ll PNG our people, and we PNG some of their diplomats in return.” In cases in which there is no formal protest, he said, the U.S. will still want to move diplomats out of their posts because they will have been effectively frozen out of any ability to interact with local government officials.
[…]
A White House official tells The Daily Beast that “there have been no heart attacks” and that the State Department has been working for months to try to identify the U.S. diplomats and their local intelligence sources whose work—and safety—might be compromised in the cables released by WikiLeaks.

Read the whole thing here.

We note that the blind quotes on the staff shuffle is from a “senior U.S. national-security official” not a State Department official.  Should we read anything from that?