U.S. Military Leak Exposes “Holy Grail” Of Security Clearance Files
The technology and computer security website, ZDNET.com has an article on their website today,March 13, 2017, with the title above. Zack Whittacker, a writer for Zero Day, writes that an “unsecured backup drive has exposed thousands of U.S. Force documents, including highly sensitive personnel files on senior, and high-ranking officers. Security researchers found that the gigabytes files were accessible to anyone — because the Internet-connected backup drive was not password protected.”
“The files reviewed by ZDNET contained a range of personal information, such as names and addresses, ranks, and Social Security numbers of more than 4,000 officers,” Mr. Whittacker writes. “Another file lists the security clearance levels of hundreds of other [active duty] officers, some of whom possess ‘Top Secret’ and other special access clearances. Phone numbers, and contact information of staff and their spouses as well as other sensitive and private information was found in other spreadsheets.”
Mr. Whittacker writes that “the drive is understood to belong to an [active duty] Lt. Col.”, whom ZDNET said that they would not reveal his identity since attempts to reach him by email — thus far — have not been successful.
“Among the most damaging documents on the drive, were recently completed applications [SF-86s] for renewal of security clearances for 2, U.S. four-star generals; both of whom recently had top U.S. military and NATO positions,” the publication noted. The SF-86 is a complete dossier on an individual and includes just about any and all personal information that a foreign adversary or anyone else for that matter, could use to try and figure out an angle for potentially blackmailing the individual.
“One of the compromised spreadsheets contained a list of [USAF] officers under investigation by the military, including allegations of abuse of power; and substantiated claims of wrongdoing — such as wrongfuly disclosing classified information,” ZDNET reported. “The records were collected in relation to a 6-day tour of Afghanistan by singer Channing Tatum in 2015.”
“Potomac, a DoD subcontractor, was the source of the large data exposure,” Mr. Whittacker wrote. He adds that “many of the exposed records belong to personnel assigned to the U.S. Special Operations Command.”
The question we maybe should be asking ourselves is what don’t the Russians and Chinese have?, with respect to anything we want to keep secret? is there anything left? V/R, RCP