OODA OriginalUncategorized

A different take on document exploitation

Hat tip to John Robb
Finally, a media outlet that doesn’t have a problem with amateurs exploiting captured material:

BAGRAM, Afghanistan — No more than 200 yards from the main gate of the sprawling U.S. base here, stolen computer drives containing classified military assessments of enemy targets, names of corrupt Afghan officials and descriptions of American defenses are on sale in the local bazaar.

Shop owners at the bazaar say Afghan cleaners, garbage collectors and other workers from the base arrive each day offering purloined goods, including knives, watches, refrigerators, packets of Viagra and flash memory drives taken from military laptops. The drives, smaller than a pack of chewing gum, are sold as used equipment.

Packets of what?

The thefts of computer drives have the potential to expose military secrets as well as Social Security numbers and other identifying information of military personnel.

A reporter recently obtained several drives at the bazaar that contained documents marked “Secret.” The contents included documents that were potentially embarrassing to Pakistan, a U.S. ally, presentations that named suspected militants targeted for “kill or capture” and discussions of U.S. efforts to “remove” or “marginalize” Afghan government officials whom the military considered “problem makers.” [. . . the author then does everything but steal the identity of a military officer . . .]


Lt. Mike Cody, a spokesman for the U.S. forces here, declined to comment on the computer drives or their content.

“We do not discuss issues that involve or could affect operational security,” he said.

Stop worrying about discussing and start ACTING!

There was a time not that long ago when GIs took out their own trash; they swept their barracks and company area sidewalks, GI-ed their own latrines, and all around kept their own house. They were able to do this AND do their real jobs. This was also a time when DIs had no problem goading young recruits into participating in physically challenging and dangerous activities by telling them to “reach down the front of your drawers and grab a-hold.” At some point GIs became too good or too busy to clean up their own mess. This had to have developed within the last decade or so, since the last time I was in Iraq the Division CSM made everyone dismount their vehicles (this was the Cav) and police call what until that morning had been our encampment (we were minutes from driving back into Saudi Arabia). At the time I figured the winner could be as messy as he wanted to be, but in retrospect it did seem the polite thing to do.

Today a deployment isn’t a deployment unless Anthony’s Pizza and Burger King aren’t setting up trailers next to the G2, and a DA contracting officer isn’t setting up a tent to hire local nationals to cook, clean and otherwise do the chores that troops (or mom) would normally take care of. Taking out trash too much of a distraction? Laundry taking up too much PlayStation time? Burning cut-down 55 gallon drums full of MRE excretions cutting into mil-blogging? Compare all of these inconveniences with letting your enemies obtain your most detailed and sensitive information!

Packing your own trash may be a pain in the ass, but it might just mean you still have an ass to complain about.

File under: You’ve got to be f’ing kidding me

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.