Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wikileaks Guidance

A message recently went out in the Navy community about how servicepeople should deal with the urge to read the Wikileaks website. Excerpts:
Per ALNAV 055/10, DON personnel are directed not to access the WikiLeaks website to view or download the publicized classified information.
Doing so would introduce potentially classified information on unclassified networks.
There has been rumor that the information is no longer classified since it resides in the public domain. This is NOT true. Executive Order 13526, Section 1.1(4)(c) states "Classified Information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information."
The subject information was neither properly nor improperly "declassified" by an appropriate authority and requires continued classification or reclassification. It is "apparently classified information" that appears to have been disclosed without appropriate review and authority. The information posted needs to be reviewed by the appropriate Original Classification Authorities (OCAs) to:
determine if it is classified, conduct damage assessments, and make a determination regarding continued classification.
Despite circumstances surrounding the WikiLeaks, all DON military, civilian, and contractor support personnel must continue to protect similar or identical information commensurate with the level of classification assigned per SECNAV M-5510.36, until the information is assessed by the appropriate OCAs. DON personnel shall:
A. Not confirm or deny the existence of potentially classified NSI in the public domain, and report the incident per SECNAV M-5510.36, Chapter 12.
B. Not contribute to the further dissemination of potentially classified NSI on DON unclassified IT systems by accessing websites or any other internet based capability (IBC) (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to view, copy or forward this information.
C. Ensure classified NSI is only shared with personnel with an authorized clearance, access, need to know, and only via authorized channels and systems.
D. Protect classified NSI commensurate with the level of classification assigned per SECNAV M-5510.36, until the information is declassified by the appropriate OCA.
E. Adhere to the services systems authorization access request form (SAAR; i.e., user agreement form) for the protection of information residing on DON networks.
F. Adhere to their non-disclosure agreement (SF-312) when granted a security clearance.
Please remember, Government information technology capabilities should be used to enable our war fighters, promote information sharing in defense of our homeland, and to maximize efficiencies in operations. It should not be used as a means to harm national security through unauthorized disclosure of our information on publicly accessible websites or chat rooms.
Attempts to the WikiLeaks site are being monitored by the OSD Computer Network Defense Service Provider (CNDSP).


1. Visit the Information Assurance Support Environment website and read the DoD WikiLeaks guidance,
2. Do not attempt to access the WikiLeaks website or access WikiLeaks information using search capabilities.
3. Inform other DoD military, civilians, and contractor personnel of the DoD WikiLeak guidance.
[Emphasis mine] It mostly seems common sense and in keeping with the intent of the classified material handling programs in place -- namely, don't put classified material into UNCLAS systems. That statement I highlighted does sound a little creepy, however.

Regarding the current situation, I'm amused that there are people who are calling for asswipe Julian Assange, an Australian (not an American), to be charged with treason. The real villain is the person who took the classified material and gave it to Wikileaks. If it turns out that PFC Bradley Manning was the person who did it, it seems to me that he knowingly stole classified information that could be of aid to the enemy during wartime, and knowingly gave it to someone he knew would disseminate it to the enemy (by posting it on the Internet). This seems to me to meet all the elements for conviction under the "Giving intelligence to the enemy" section of UCMJ Article 104 (Aiding the Enemy). I believe that he should get the maximum penalty for this charge if found guilty, which would kind of obviate the need for a civilian treason trial.

What I don't like are these calls for censorship coming from the right directed towards the media who published the leaks originally provided through Wikileaks, especially from Tea Party hero Rep.-elect Allen West (he of the "clearance that even the President... cannot obtain"). While there may be times a newspaper should hold off on printing something because it's the right thing to do, I think it would set a bad precedent if they were prosecuted for publishing classified material when they have not signed a non-disclosure agreement. Let's face it -- it's the government's responsibility to make sure classified information doesn't get out, not the press's job.

[Admin note: For those who are wondering why I'm posting the message above , I'm taking the guidance of the last quoted paragraph to heart and informing interested personnel.]


Blogger Vigilis said...

"While there may be times a newspaper should hold off on printing something because it's the right thing to do, I think it would set a bad precedent if they were prosecuted for publishing classified material when they have not signed a non-disclosure agreement."


To consider Julian Assange, however, one must also take into account what is his obviously neither Assange's motivation or competence: the Assange WikiLeaks Fraud. (2nd item).

12/14/2010 5:04 PM

Blogger MT1(SS)WidgetHead said...

What a crazy cluster-fuck this whole thing is. Each morning, we're told to stay the hell away from it. Upon any contact, we're to report it ASAFP says my MTCS. Seems like basic common sense to me.

Perhaps the Army PFC will be sharing a cell with John Walker, and they can compare notes as to where they went wrong and how they were caught. A joint effort in writing a book together might work out in some entertaining fashion.

"How I fucked myself while engaging in sedition & espionage" might be a good working title.

12/14/2010 6:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I initially bristled about being told to stay away from the sites (plural since they migrate from server to server). But as we wrestle to come to grips with the who/what/when etc...we may also be trying to determine who else is accessing the site to either deposit or retrieve. It is just not a good place to be. I'm sure the most salicious stuff has been let out by the main stream media and there isn't any real value to go to the site anyway. My recommendation is to resist the urge and stay away.

...just my 2 cents.

12/14/2010 6:12 PM

Blogger SJV said...

What we have currently are not journalists, they are ratings/revenue generators and/or entertainers. That being said, the publisher in this case is not a news organization, it is a group publishing to a worldwide rapid access medium. The impact of their "open information" vision is discrediting the United States and its allies. They seem oblivious to the reality that discrediting the US merely strengthens the terrorists. What we need to do is let him go in the hills of Afganistan and let Bin Laden and his thugs take care of him.

12/14/2010 7:21 PM

Anonymous News Reader said...

What news media has either completely missed or soft pedaled into obscurity is the point that Pfc. Bradley Manning is a homosexual who betrayed his country because of his political goal to allow open homosexuals in the Army. In other words this creep decided to protest the Don't Ask Don't Tell law by becoming a traitor to his country.

12/14/2010 7:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coincidentally, today the headline was the blocking of major news sources by the Air Force to limit spillage. It has been interesting to see the reactions over the last few weeks. Technically, we have probably all accessed classified material online through reading headlines news. At what point does previously classified material become common knowledge?

12/14/2010 8:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hang'em all but it's H. Chuck Clinton that is responding irresponsibly.

12/14/2010 8:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can still look at the stuff on personal computers. But as others have mentioned, let the media do the work for you and just read about the good stuff.

I understand what the Navy is doing but looking at the big picture, preventing a couple of hundred thousand people from seeing it is statistically insignificant compared to the rest of the world.

The only thing I have gleaned from the info is that HRC has more balls than our president!

Another thing, why hasn't the PFC been given a fair trial, sentenced and then shot? I am pretty sure I remember (after all that time spent reading the UCMJ in the head) that as an approriate punishment.

12/14/2010 8:27 PM

Anonymous T said...

1) I'm pretty sure that the PFC cannot be sentenced to death, because as far as I know, Congress has not delcared war in either the Afghanistan "conflict" or the Iraq "conflict". Thus we are not war, thus he's a traitor but not a traitor in a time of war, thus no UCMJ death sentence. I'm not a JAG, obviously, but that is the ruling as I remember it, does anybody know for certain?

2) There's a lot of miconception about exactly what Wikileaks has actually released. They have access to 250K cables, and have provided all 250K to news organizations. However, what is currently hosted on the Wikileaks website are only the cables that have been discussed in other news outlets (approximately 1500, or about 0.5% of the total number of cables). More importantly, they are redacted in exactly the same way as the original news articles. I'm not condoning what they did per se, but the truth is far more responsible than the rhetoric suggests.

This is all from things I've read, since, I obviously am not allowed to go to Wikileaks proper.

3) The government reaction to this is probably the scariest attack on freedom of speech in our lifetime. As embarassing as the cables are, in my opinion, the official reaction of the Executive and Legislative branches is far more damning to America's standing. How hypocritical we must look to the rest of the world! We believe in free speech and freedom of the press (but only as long as they say what they want). Trying to shut down Wikileaks, trump up charges on Assange, and some politicians even calling for the assassination of Julian Assange is barely different from what China, Iran, or North Korea does. At the end of the day, our response to Wikileaks is doing far more damage to America's reputation around the world than the information contained in the cables.

For sure, prosecute the PFC, he obviously broke the law. But if you care about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, you have to grudgingly accept Wikileaks' existence, even if you don't condone it.

12/14/2010 9:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to know if feds are going to be told not to listen to NPR or any outlets broadcasting details on Wikileaks. This policy is really pretty comical. How interesting indeed is the DADT angle on this.

12/14/2010 10:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

...continued from 10:48 PDT - regarding the applicability of a capital treason charge. I'm no lawyer either, but it doesn't seem to me to be a slamdunk on whether the crime was committed in time of war. I think an argument can be made either way, and there is no clear precedent I'm aware of. We'll have to wait and see what happens.

12/14/2010 10:53 PM

Anonymous kerwin said...

The most interesting part of the story is the colossal weight of government and corporate censorship. Is this the beginning of the end of the dream for a freer, more open world through the internet?

Great piece, hopefully we can spend more time discussing the implications rather than debating the specific facts of the situation.

12/15/2010 3:04 AM

Anonymous Flash Traffic said...

t +1

12/15/2010 3:52 AM

Anonymous Kenny said...

Can I say that this specific action by the Air Force is mega asinine?

12/15/2010 4:47 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

Kenny: say away

The Air Force is blocking access to such notorious villains as the New York Times. This places it in the position of denying to its members the free exercise of those very rights they've sworn to protect. One wonders how they'll police newsstands...

12/15/2010 5:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ducky, Is this stuff on Wikileaks now considered "open source"?

12/15/2010 5:48 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

If that's a serious question, the serious answer is no, it retains its current security classification.

However, it's extremely doubtful whether anyone could be prosecuted for using this information in an open way - that ship has sailed. Navy acknowledges that in its ALNAV with what amounts to an order to follow orders; the path that prosecution would follow for a sailor accessing this info would probably be violation of the ALNAV rather than disclosure of classified info.

One wonders what action will be taken against those charged with maintaining the system to prevent disclosures as in this Wikileaks affair. We've got the guy who gave away the info - Manning - and we know who and what organization promulgated it to the world: Wikileaks. What we haven't heard is who was responsible for stockpiling and protecting this amount of classified traffic in such a way that an obscure junior enlisted guy off in the Middle East could download and then transfer the whole pile, undetected and apparently with ease.

We also probably owe ourselves at the official level some review of why so much innocuous and unremarkable traffic is in fact classified. If everything has to be protected because some twit hung a classified-info label on it, then protecting the stuff that really is national-security sensitive information is a lot harder just because of sheer volume.

12/15/2010 6:09 AM

Blogger John said...

@Flash Traffic 0352: Agreed; t +1

@Rubby Ducky 0530: Agreed. Very bad precedent.

@All: The release of any classified information does not declassify it and appropriate action must be taken to protect it now that it is out.

The PFC may indeed be guilty. As mentioned, we are not at war. I'm not a JAG either, but I am an American citizen; I say it would be wrong to execute the PFC regardless of the nature of his 'treason'.

The PFC is being used as a scapegoat to divert attention from the true culprit in this whole mess: the American political system. How pompous and self-righteous we are.

12/15/2010 6:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously. Just trying to understand the difference between an insurance salesman gleaning classified information from some drunk nukes v. classified information published on an internet website. One is open source while the other is not.

For my part , both those guys should be publicly executed in a very messy way.

12/15/2010 8:46 AM

Anonymous News Reader said...

Article 106a—Espionage says that giving war plans to a foreign faction is punishable by death. The article makes no distinction between crimes committed in wartime versus peacetime.

12/15/2010 11:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


We are not at war? Bullshit. Just because Congress has not formally declared war does not mean we are not fighting a war. Congress will never again formally declare war. The definition of what is war, and the requirement that government formally declare it as such changed with Viet Nam and the VA’s Agent Orange settlements. The legal precedent has been set.

12/15/2010 11:32 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

The UN Charter of 1945, which prohibited threats or use of force in international relations, was intended to render declarations of war unnecessary. Since our Constitution has never been ammended to reflect subservience of U.S. sovereignty to the UN, our congress is free to formally declare war on another state. Before our congress sends our "blood and treasure" into foreign lands to render the ultimate sacrifice, it should have the backbone to declare WAR.

Due to the preponderance of lawyers elected to and now routinely appointed to federal office (sGoogle - "Lawyer-Political Complex"), however, U.S. sovereignty is being diminished by lawyers with wealthy mainly (Middle Eastern) foreign clients (e.g. Saudi Arabia).

Before calling this a conspiracy theory, try to explain to the rest of us exactly how 2% of the U.S. workforce in a single profession (lawyers) can possibly represent the remaining 98%. Answer: no way!
But don't blame them, blame the fools who keep electing them.

12/15/2010 12:39 PM

Anonymous Slimey said...

Re: Treason. For a conviction, two people would have had to witness PFC Manning access the system, copy the documents to the flash drive, hand over or email the flash drive contents to Wikileaks or whoever else. From what I've followed in the news, all they've got is essentially an IRC chat transcript of him claiming to have done it. If he's guilty, I'd like to see him strung up as much as the next guy but if we don't give him the constitutionally required due process, this will set a terrible precedent for future alleged treason trials.

Of course, if we do find two witnesses, we're most likely finding two accomplices.

12/15/2010 1:41 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

12/15/2010 8:46 AM: If information can be gathered by any resourceful observer through routine conversation with another civilian, that seems pretty 'open source' to me. If you think some law has been broken, bring charges.

Am not sure how Clancy was to know what's classified and what's not (nor what was BS and what the truth). He simply carried out conversations with people he knew.

The stuff Wikileaks has posted also fits my definition of open source: Jesus, it's open now! Doesn't mean it's not still classified. But the open-or-not question, that train left the station.

12/15/2010 1:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

well enough, how about USAA outsources all information management to India - including personal records for top military and government official’s. The crime is occurring under your nose.

12/15/2010 3:27 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Gently, Grasshopper. Not everything you don't like is a crime.

12/15/2010 4:20 PM

Anonymous T said...

USAA outsources to India now, too?! Damn, that's one of the reasons I loved banking with them so much, they kept everything in the states.... I guess nowhere keeps it all American anymore....

12/15/2010 4:28 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

USAA is a Fortune 500 company, one of the largest 500 corporations in the US. It would be almost impossible to find any company on that list that's not involved in global business, for sales and supplies. We live in a global economy.

Example: automobiles. It is now US law that new cars sold in the US carry a sticker showing what percent of the car's content is actually US made. This is what the range looks like: Note that even the 'US companies' aren't.

'Buy American' is almost without meaning. And before you comment on how terrible this is, check carefully where your computer was made, mouse, keyboard, modem, etc.

12/15/2010 4:59 PM

Blogger Mike said...

I think any submariner truly appreciates the necessity of security classifications, and what they mean to the lives of our fighting forces.

However, I don't see how the ability of this country to fight a war IMPROVED with these decisions to ban Federal/Military personnel from reading information that's not only posted in a public light, but also one of the major topics of public discussion in the nation at this time.

The only thing this decision does is highlight the lack of freedom that's a part of life in the military - and highlighting this lack of freedom during the information age can only hurt retention (or add more weight to the "get out" side of internal stay in or get out debates).

There is not a human being alive that wants to be "Banned" from doing anything - even if it's something they never wanted to do to begin with.

In addition, most military people feel (appropriatly) that they have a right to know more, and have more information to them, than Joe Public.

12/15/2010 5:32 PM

Anonymous T said...


I agree that every business is in some ways multinational, but I personally am vaguely uncomfortable with my banking information being handled overseas. Also, it's a shame that low paying white collar jobs are routinely outsourced to India (or Indonesia, phillipines, etc), to take advantage of third world wages and lax labor laws in these countries. It hurts both American people (mostly those who are not as well educated) and, in my guess, probably the company in the long run as it will not be cheaper indefinitely.

Losing these lower middle class jobs to what amounts to third world slave labor is a direct contributor to the ever widening income gap that's killing the middle class. Free trade has given an outsized benefit to the very rich and left the rest of us behind. I'm disappointed to see USAA following in this trend (especially as a member-owned company).

12/15/2010 6:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

t: the cheap labor concern is another matter. It the concern that a firm with virtually all military members would outsource claims, applications, processing and even banking to any Middle East country is at minimum alarming. As a military member, I would not want anyone processing my claim in India to know what I do and where I live. The wikileaks situation really is about how loose these agencies and firms have become on control, access and transmission of sensitive info.

12/15/2010 10:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

DON telling me what to read on my own time and dime? Two words for ya: FUCK YOU! If it's in the public domain, by definition, IT IS PUBLIC. No amount of legalese will change that common sense FACT.

12/16/2010 4:15 AM

Anonymous T said...


I just sent a complaint to USAA. You should too.

12/16/2010 6:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what exactly did your complaint say? That you're a xenophobic retard that doesn't even know that India isn't a Middle Eastern country?

Please explain how your data or info. is any less secure in India than it is in Texas or Florida.

Before you answer you should know that I am the CSO, responsible for all the physical and data security, at a very large division of an aerospace company, the same one that owns EB. I'm also a CISSP and have forgotten more about security than you'll ever know.

Instead of complaining about a "middle eastern country" (fucktard) you may want to ask some pointed questions about how USAA is keeping your info secured. The answers, not that you'll understand them, might surprise you.

The vast majority of data breaches have occured in this country, caused by US citizens at US facilities. You may want to keep that in mind before you go popping off about something you obviously know little about.

12/16/2010 11:45 AM

Blogger tennvol said...

Anonymous @12/16/2010 11:45 AM: +1!

12/16/2010 1:50 PM

Anonymous T said...


I apologize for saying that India is in the Middle East. I do in fact know that India is not in the Middle East, and am not sure why I wrote that (my last roommate was an Indian citizen working on an H1 Visa, so I know at least something about Indian culture... ). My concerns with outsourcing to India (or other foreign countries) are three-fold).
- We are using the fact that some countries have less well-developed labor laws to exploit their populace. You could try to rationalize it away by saying that if we didn't give them $1/hour jobs, they wouldn't have jobs. Well, my response is that a similar rationalization can be used to justify the exploitation of all types of disenfranchised people. In fact, I've heard it from my aforementioned roommates parents when justifying their severely underpaid servants.
- I do have concerns about the safety of my data overseas. I suspect you are alluding to some form of virtualization for your personal information regarding account numbers, names, SSN, addresses, etc, so that employees do not have your "full picture". Perhaps more data breaches have occurred in the US, but I worry that criminal systems that are not as well developed in foreign countries could reduce the hesitation to attempting to steal personal information, and decrease the chances of offender being punished. (This is the least of my concerns, btw).

12/16/2010 9:25 PM

Anonymous T said...

- Globalization has been a disaster for lower middle class Americans. We had "The greatest generation", so-named because of their shared sacrifice to accomplish the greater good. Ever since, we've had nothing but "ME" generations, who seem motivated primarily by increasing their own profits by stepping on the backs of others. Instead, we outsource hundreds of jobs and increase the pay of the already absurdly well-compensated CEO's.
I think it's a national disgrace. We are a nation in decline, and complicit in our own downfall all in the sake of "profit".
- I'm not 100% convinced of the long-term economics of outsourcing. At some point, Indian citizens will no longer work for $3/hour. Their wages are going up faster than ours, so what happens when the economics are no longer favorable? I suspect it will be a lot more expensive to move your IT operations back in five years to the USA.
- Lastly, outsourcing blows ass for customer service. Nobody prefers talking to Steve from Bangalore. Employees hate dealing with outsourced IT and backend processing while Customers hate dealing with outsourced customer service. Several high profile companies have rolled back a lot of their outsourcing (Dell, Apple) because it didn't live up to expectations. It may be "cheaper" but there is a real cost in the hassles of dealing with distance, communication issues, and differences in cultural knowledge.

That said, I do 100% support the DREAM Act.

12/16/2010 9:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

t: Thanks for that perspective. Points well stated.

12/16/2010 10:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon CSO: I am so glad you finally earned your CISSP certificate. I’m sure earning it online made it even more prestigious to you and those you wish to admire you. Acknowledged, you are clearly smarter than all of us. It’s a shame though that you have forgotten more than I’ll ever know. I was counting on your help. You are indeed creative having blended the word “tard” in such astonishing and profound ways. After reading your post I believe you are a savant.

12/16/2010 11:56 PM

Anonymous 3383 said...


Every job sent overseas is also a consumer sent overseas. Is an employee in Mumbai more likely to buy a GMC or a Tata? Will he buy a home in Maharashtra or California?

12/17/2010 3:42 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

The only thing I have gleaned from the info is that HRC has more balls than our president!

Probably bigger ones too. And those don't count Bill's, which she keeps in a jar on her nightstand. Only one more year to the 2012 primaries. Cankles versus Obama in the Dem primary, anyone?

And yeah, on DoD/government servers, big no-no. On "my own dime, on my own time" as someone put it? Yeah, like to see ya try and stop us.

The change in Article 106 came about because of the Walker/Whitworth affair, because they couldn't give those guys the dirt nap. Then again, what are they going to do to the idiot NCIS caught earlier this week? You'd think they would figure out that they're gonna get caught at some point...

12/17/2010 8:24 PM

Blogger Idaho Real Estate said...

IT is a tough world. It is even tougher if you are stupid.

12/22/2010 12:55 PM

Anonymous T said...

Thanks for the idaho Contractor spam....

12/22/2010 5:22 PM


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