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.)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Threat To MilBlogs

Blackfive, Dadmanly, and Greyhawk all discuss the newest threat to MilBlogs -- the DoD. A National Guard team was activated in July to scan weblogs and other unofficial sources for OPSEC violations:
The team, which works under the direction of the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell, Army Office of Information Assurance and Compliance, notifies webmasters and blog writers when they find documents, pictures and other items that may compromise security.
The team uses several scanning tools to monitor sites for OPSEC violations. The tools search for such key words as “for official use only” or “top secret,” and records the number of times they are used on a site. Analysts review the results to determine which, if any, need further investigation.
Unfortunately, an unscrupulous milblogger could use the information provided in this official Army article to increase their hit counts. While I never use "for official use only" or "top secret" information in my blog, I now understand that by using the phrases "for official use only" or "top secret", I could get visits from the team, and also the follow-on analysts. If I were to say "for official use only" and "top secret" enough, I might even gain promotion within the TTLB Ecosystem. Bwa-hah-haaah!

But I wouldn't do that...

[Note: No "for official use only" or "top secret" documents were used in the writing of this post.]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That the Army is doing something like this sounds rather appropriate. I like the fact that their first response is not to go after the blogger, but to allow them to remove items. But in removing those, couldn't an examination of webcaches show what was sensitive? We have to wait to see if the application of judgement is as appropriate.

10/19/2006 6:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are they doing about the larger threat from MSM? It seems most milbloggers have enough military experience and concern for opsec to avoid disclosing classified information if they are aware of it. MSM however splashes classified info on the front page, especially if they know its classified.

10/19/2006 6:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you mean that using the phrases "for official use only" or "top secret" will increase your hit count?
Pretty simplistic mechanism. The phrases "for official use only" or "top secret" could simply be someone just typing them. Typing the phrases "for official use only" or "top secret", what a quaint notion 'typing'. Does that show my age? Would the kids still use a sentence like 'Typing the phrases "for official use only" or "top secret"' or would they use something like - 'Entering the phrases "for official use only" or "top secret"' or maybe 'keyboarding the phrases "for official use only" or "top secret"'. Seems too simple, I mean anyone could use the phrases Typing the phrases "for official use only" or "top secret" and have no access to anything remotely considered confidential. I mean I could type the phrases "for official use only" or "top secret"...

10/19/2006 8:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No worries, Bubblehead...even if you should somehow ever get busted for having top secret or even sensitive compartmented information on your blog, there's an easy way out: just stuff all related information in your socks, put on a suit, and stuff the rest in there.

If you need any additional details, just let me know.


Sandy Berger

10/19/2006 9:21 AM

Blogger Subsunk said...

Bully for you, Bubblehead. I hope they come on over here every day and find out what an outstanding blog you have, son.

There ought to be some advantages to having DOD watch you closely. They certainly don't watch jihadi websites as closely as they watch our own, or they'd close them down and eliminate the propaganda threat.

As the Texans said to the Mexican army in 1835 in Gonzales, TX (after the Mexicans demanded the Texans turn over 2 small cannons they had in their possession called the "Twin Sisters"):

Wienies! Come and take me!

Subsunk out.

10/19/2006 10:02 AM

Blogger LTC John said...

I think you are correct - gratuitously using terms such as FOUO or SECRET or even TOP SECRET would be quite a shame. I think it would be just fine for the NAVY or DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE to come look here. Perhaps even DONALD RUMSFELD himself would make a page view or two!

10/19/2006 12:47 PM

Blogger WillyShake said...

"for official use only"

"top secret"

"for official use only"

"top secret"

"for official use only"

"top secret"

"for official use only"

"top secret"


10/19/2006 1:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

let's see how clever these guys are.

printf("for official use only");
printf("top secret");

10/19/2006 2:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure the DoD didn't just set up those redheaded twins from Good Morning Vietnam to watch for "top secret" or "for official use only" stuff on the milblogs? Or their spiritual brothers, perhaps?

10/19/2006 6:16 PM

Blogger G-Man said...

If you had noticed BH, the posting that I had on October 11th 2005 (which you probably didn't notice... nobody seems to..) the Army/DOD are looking out for, postings that can jeapordize the troops overseas and whatnot. Ya wanna be careful with anything you say online. For myself, I blog about what is online or what I've heard from credible sources. Nothing top secret, nothing classified. Actually, I've been told that I'm being watched (as a blogger).

There are wives/girlfriends/boyfriends/husbands out there that do not understand the term "classified information". I've seen on several occasions where wives and girlfriends would just blurt out where their military counterparts are and what unit/boat they are with and how long they will be out and where they are going. Hello! Top Secret and Classified are just that, classified. You really want some idiot to find out whats going on and use it against us? Who knows.. Osama may be watching, or someone just as bad. So, ok, yeah, the government does at times cause us to pause and think - is this really necessary? Is this too much "big brother" but then I have to look back at some of the atrocities that have happened when we let our guard down.

Thank you
the SO

10/19/2006 8:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

g-man is right, but there's more to it than just classified stuff. Mostly, the family members know stuff that's not classified, but still can be used against our folks. We need to brief our families about OPSEC - protecting all the little bits of unclassified info that can be pieced together to reveal what we're doing. Teach them to keep quiet about where & when Dad's next overseas trip will be.

10/20/2006 9:22 PM

Blogger Miss Ladybug said...

I'm a little late to reading this particular post, but what it is reported these Guardsmen will be searching for is just silly...

Do they really think someone would preface "top secret" or "for official use only" information they shouldn't be disclosing with the words "top secret" and "for official use only"??

If someone forward deployed is breaking OPSEC, I think it would be more likely that they are relating personal experiences about missions and what-not that isn't being copied from any official documents.

Growing up an Army brat and living overseas, I watched a lot of AFN. I remember all those "commercials" about OPSEC and how innocent conversation could be overheard by "the enemy" and pieced together with other non-classified information that enabled "the enemy" to get the "big picture", just like Dr. Ken said.

That being said, with the media how it is today (much more sophisticated than back in the 70s and 80s when I was watching AFN), even if you shut down all the milblogs, the military doesn't have the authority to shut down civilian operated blogs or news organizations. Shutting down milblogs is a bad idea - just develop specific guidelines and make sure they are followed. Milblogs, in my opinion, do more good than harm. If it weren't for milblogs, all I would know about the war would be what is put out by major media outlets, most of which present information in a way highly biased to our military's efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

10/28/2006 10:14 AM


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