Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Out of the Box

53 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 Newer→ Last

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Interesting how minimalist the coverage of this in the NZ media. But I guess someone falling
    off their bike in Eketahuna is clearly of greater import.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • jeremy gray,

    I/S has a grep of everything in the leaks mentioning NZ here. Better than anything I have seen from local press so far ....

    point chev • Since Apr 2008 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I/S has a grep of everything in the leaks mentioning NZ here. Better than anything I have seen from local press so far ....

    Quite. I've added that to the post, thanks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Fairly solid coverage on RNZ this morning. Since RNZ are the media for me, that seems like saturation :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    I/S has a grep of everything in the leaks mentioning NZ here. Better than anything I have seen from local press so far ....

    The Herald excerpted the more interesting bits.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1717 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I/S - these are just the subject lines you grep'd right? or the full text of each article

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    I summarised the entries, with quotes where I thought it would help (most entries, after all, are dead boring). Dim-Post has (some of) the full records here (though they've missed a few); alternatively I can forward you a text version.

    (Comparing Danyl's and my lists, looks like I missed one as well. Whoops)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1717 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    A lot of the coverage in overseas press at this point is just regurgitation of what the main three published yesterday. It's going to take a few days for any real analysis to come out of outlets that aren't affiliated with those that got early access. Hell, they've had the files for several weeks already.

    It's interesting that this is all material that's classified between Secret and SBU. Nothing at Top Secret, and probably (I haven't looked, but it's unlikely given the nature of what's been released) nothing that's Sensitive Compartmented Information.
    To me, that says that the leaker doesn't have TS clearance, rather than being an indication of any kind of conscience. Ignoring that a leak is a leak, and there's no real way to morally equivocate about leaking S but not TS, the likelihood of accidentally putting at least some TS-classified material into such a massive dump is so high as to make it nearly impossible to avoid. Alternatively the leaker deliberately only grabbed material from SIPRNet despite having a TS clearance, either on the grounds of lessening discovery risk (TS material is protected more closely than S) or of widening the pool of suspects for investigation to tens- if not hundreds-of-thousands of people, rather than a few thousand.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Matthew, you're an order of magnitude or more out.

    At the end of a two-year-investigation, the Washington Post reported last week (also carried by the Dom here in NZ) that

    An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

    Goodness knows how many can access mere Secret stuff and the rest.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Phil, what's really funny is that I have TSA open in another tab - link found while I was trying to recall the name for SIPRNet - but hadn't yet started reading. Spooky.
    And that is a very, very scary number. Terrifying, even, when one considers that Top Secret information is that which poses the risk of grave harm to national security interests if it is released. I bet nothing like 12,000 people (310m/854k=363. 4.37m/363=12,072) in NZ have TS clearances. I'd be amazed if it's half that.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    The Grauniad has the backstory on the leak and the leaker:

    For five days, Bradass87 [the leaker] opened his heart to Lamo [a hacker he approached and then IM'd for 5 days]. He described how his job gave him access to two secret networks: the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, SIPRNET, which carries US diplomatic and military intelligence classified "secret"; and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System which uses a different security system to carry similar material classified up to "top secret". He said this had allowed him to see "incredible things, awful things … that belong in the public domain and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC … almost criminal political backdealings … the non-PR version of world events and crises."

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 332 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Is all this a K.O. blow to the Domino Theory/Elders of Mecca brigade?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Matthew and others may want to peruse NZ's classification of information, and indeed the whole site

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    The Grauniad has the backstory on the leak and the leaker:

    Bradley Manning, aka Bradass87, was the leaker of the video showing the AH64 shooting in Afghanistan. Given that he's been in federal custody for several months now, I can't see how he could also be the leaker of this lot of information since the implication from Assange is that there's been coordination about release timing that involved the leaker.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Phil, I'm quite familiar with SIGS, as that aspect of governments' activities is an interest. The reality is that we just don't go gung-ho on classification like the Americans do. We don't have an entire law enforcement agency full of people with Top Secret clearance, for example. We couldn't muster 12,000 people if we gave every private, airman and rating TS clearance, and we don't. Even junior officers only get Secret.

    Every Cabinet Minister is vetted to TS. Every MP is vetted to at least Secret. Even if every MP was vetted to TS, and every one of them had six vetted staff, that's still fewer than a thousand people. They don't all have six vetted staff, and they're not all vetted to TS. Many MPs will never be vetted that high in their entire careers, because they'll never need to be.

    Most cops never go near classified material, though my understanding is that they're all vetted to Confidential just through the process of becoming constables, and obviously the DPS and STG are all vetted to TS. Not sure about the AOS. Similarly most military personnel don't get clearance, though there are quite broad swathes of the trades that need it because of their roles - signallers/comms operators, for example, and intelligence personnel. The SAS all have TS, for obvious reasons, and above a certain grade all officers will be vetted before gaining further promotion. That, however, only equates to another few hundred people. Most MFAT policy staff are vetted, though where S ends and TS begins isn't something that people talk about so I only know that there's a line. Although every employee walking the hallways of the SIS and GCSB buildings is TS vetted, that's fewer than 500 people. Our military support operations aren't surrounded by people with clearance, even to Secret, never mind to TS.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I bet nothing like 12, 000 people
    (310 m/854 k = 363 . 4 .37m/363 = 12, 072 ) in NZ
    have TS clearances

    Yes, but those that do include Paula Bennett, Murray McCully and Gerry Brownlee.

    Seriously though, are MPs really vetted and "cleared"? We have a right to elect who we want - even if they're a secret Taliban.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I just saw an cartoon, unfortunately not so great, making the point that unpluggable leaks have been rather a feature of US politics lately.

    in re Bradass87, I was left with the impression everyone though he probably had a tonne of stuff. I'm not sure anything Assange's said is properly inconsistent with this timeframe. (haven't followed assiduously)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    widening the pool of suspects for investigation to tens- if not hundreds-of-thousands of people, rather than a few thousand.

    I had a security clearence level of Secret, I think. It wasn't at all necessary given that most of what I was doing was putting up press releases on a public website, but it was what was required if you worked for MFAT.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    I bet nothing like 12,000 people (310m/854k=363. 4.37m/363=12,072) in NZ have TS clearances.

    I'll have a very rough stab and say 3,500 as a first cut:

    Dept Prime Minister and Cabinet, 100% = 100
    Ministerial offices, 100% = 200
    Foreign Affairs, 100% = 900
    GCSB, 100% = 350
    SIS, 100% = 250
    Customs, 50% of non-frontline = 200
    Defence, 10% = 900
    Immigration, offshore and senior = 100
    other agencies, say 10-ish people each = 500

    Many heroic assumptions above, eg, Ministry of Women's Affairs wouldn't have 10 clearances but Justice might have many more than that. Happy for anyone to collaborate and refine. Nicky?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Seriously though, are MPs really vetted and "cleared"? We have a right to elect who we want - even if they're a secret Taliban.

    Vetted, yes. Cleared, that's up to the PM (I assume, given that they're head of DPMC). Cabinet Ministers are all cleared, because things like deciding to go to war are within their purview.
    Being vetted doesn't mean you get a clearance, it just means you get investigated so that the person who does grant the clearances can make an informed decision. And MPs have to be vetted because there are select committees that have sensitive responsibilities. Putting someone onto a committee that deals with defence matters, for example, and then finding out that, actually, they're on the hook to some Chinese mafioso for gambling debts isn't a very good look. Doesn't mean they can't be elected, but it does mean they're probably not a good choice for handling national security material.

    Joanna, if you didn't have to submit to a credit check it was only Secret. And not in the least surprised that MFAT requires clearance, given what their role is in our international relations.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    Bradley Manning, aka Bradass87, was the leaker of the video showing the AH64 shooting in Afghanistan. Given that he's been in federal custody for several months now, I can't see how he could also be the leaker of this lot of information since the implication from Assange is that there's been coordination about release timing that involved the leaker.

    According to the backstory I linked to, Bradass started copying stuff quite a few months ago (Pentagon now thinks it was last November but the Graun says they were incredibly slow to respond). He started sending it to Wikileaks at some point, and in Feb Wikileaks published a single document (presumably from Bradass) - the Icelandic communication.

    Then in early April they published the AH64 shooting video from Bradass, but the Pentagon still couldn't find the source of the leak. All this time presumably Bradass is copying stuff and sending it to Wikileaks, and they're holding onto it (not publishing it yet).

    On 21 May Bradass starts IMing Lamo (who knows why - maybe he just needed to vent the enormity of what he was doing to someone) and 2 days after that connection was first made, Lamo contacts the US Military. On 25 May Lamo meets with people from the Pentagon and on 26 May they arrest Bradley Manning at US Forward Operating Base Hammer, 25 miles outside Baghdad.

    All of a sudden there's massive pressure on Assange, he's told he may be in physical danger, he goes to ground for a while. Talks to the Graun a few days later and tells them Wikileaks is preparing to get everything online, but then decides to do a deal with the Graun, the NYT and Der Speigel - both so that they can focus on and pull to the surface important stories that he's worried might otherwise be lost in the welter of raw data, and also so that the authorities can't stop them publishing (which they might do if he only approached one newspaper in one jurisdiction).

    They spend a few weeks trawling through the leaked documents that Assange has made available to them - and then all together, they publish.

    Meanwhile:

    Meanwhile, somewhere in Kuwait, Manning has been charged under US miitary law with improperly downloading and releasing information, including the Icelandic cable and the video of Apache helicopters shooting civilians in Baghdad. He faces trial by court martial with the promise of a heavy jail sentence.

    The timeline (and Assange's comments) fits with Bradass being the source of all the documents - not just the AH64 shooting video.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 332 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Only just read Matthew @ 4.42 and subsequent posts after my 5.14pm. You'll see I have had a stab at numbers.

    MPs are certainly not vetted, and I believe Ministers are not. Certainly nothing I saw in a decade at Parliament. The presumption is that the vetting is part of the political process, if people vote them in, they pass muster.

    Ministerial office staff have a clearance - not sure what the rating is. They ven cleared me. Other MPs staff, backbenchers and opposition, are not vetted.

    All MFAT 'rotational' staff - ie diplomats and others posted overseas - are Top Secret.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Phil, don't forget Police. STG has an establishment of 60, I believe, plus probably half that in support staff (radio techs, etc). DPS shares a lot of the support staff, but has its own constables. Thinking about it, AOS are probably also TS-cleared. Also intelligence analysts, senior officers (all commissioned are TS-cleared, I would assume), etc.

    900 for defence? Really? SAS plus 1 Commando is over 100 fighters, never mind their support staff. A lot of the support staff are cleared highly because they have to look after functions that involved TS material. A friend was TS-cleared because he was a network engineer supporting TS networks, for example.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    900 for defence? Really?

    heroic assumptions

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Grateful if you could cite sources for saying that MPs and Ministers are vetted.

    To me vetting starts with filling out the form for the SIS and then they go and interview your friends family etc. Happened for staff including me. I checked my memory with two former MPs - vetting never happened for them in Parliament or in Government.

    Putting someone onto a committee that deals with defence matters, for example, and then finding out that, actually, they're on the hook to some Chinese mafioso for gambling debts isn't a very good look. Doesn't mean they can't be elected, but it does mean they're probably not a good choice for handling national security material.

    The Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade committee doesn't handle 'national security material', nor do other select committees. The committees don't make decisions but rather scrutinise the government. Their papers are not secret and they report publicly.

    There is the Intelligence and Security Committee which handles SIS GCSB and any security business. Meets rarely, you can look at NRT for his take on it. Current members are Key, Goff, Turia, Hide, and Russel Norman.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.