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Catching Up with Random Bits (Update)

On the road the last few days meeting up with some old colleagues and hanging with the Agora (thanks all). The real computer security threat in the Pacific Northwest? The static charge released when two hundred computer security experts in an auditorium remove their fleece jackets at the same time.

Got about four days of data to go through which will probably lead to countless posts, but wanted you to get out a couple quick bits before the week starts:

  • Army of Davids book review: It made me want to quit my day job.

  • Terrorist cyber capabilities: Not so ‘l33t after all.

  • Released captured media: Yes, I am excited about the potential. However, as every radio host has reminded me, the potential for running off half-cocked is also there. Any discrete item can be viewed as a bombshell, but basing your assessment on what was or was not going on in Iraq prior to the war on one document is a mistake. Aggregate a bunch of docs that all paint a similar picture and you’re doing a lot better. Extend this to a broader base, apply some more serious methodology, and I’ll be happy to start pimp-slapping nay-sayers with you. I’m not discounting the efforts of those Davids who have been taking shots at this, but this needs more rigor, much more data, and a modicum of organization.

Also consider this: We’re supposedly getting data that has been labeled “no intelligence value.” We have to take Uncle Sam’s word for it since the HARMONY descriptions aren’t complete. If the gov’t considers these items worthless, what are we to assume?

These items are all so blatantly false that no one in the IC believes they are true

These items are all true, but they so don’t fit with what the IC thought was going on through classified sources, that they’ve been rejected

There is a lot more data that we cannot get that suggests these items are worthless

When dealing in the world of mist and shadow the last case is always a probability (.3). The second case has happened on more than one occasion, so rank that high up on the probability scale (.7). For the first case to be true pretty much every piece of paper (or other form of storage media) in the country would have had to have been faked. In such an environment, how do you conduct business (.1)? If I can carve out the time I’ll try to put a poll up on the GI discussion groups and let you all vote on the issue.

Update: My friend R.N. smacks me up-side the head with an obvious stick:

“The docs are marked “NIV” for ISG requirements dummy. If it wasn’t on Dr. Kay’s shopping list, they probably were not looking for it. People look for what the boss wants.”

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.