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The iBigot List

Teri O’Brien at The American Thinker considers the impact that Apple-like compartmentalization would have on . . . well . . . the IC:

So, I think [DNI Negroponte] should resign, and President Bush should give [his] gig to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. To understand why, check out the article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal “At Apple, Secrecy Complicates Life, But Maintains Buzz.”

“While many tech companies assign internal code names to products, Apple goes a step further. It often gives different departments dissimilar code names for the same product, current and former employees say. If a code name leaks, Apple can more easily track down the department from which the leak originated.

Apple managers carefully track who knows what about secret projects, maintaining “disclosure lists” of those who have been briefed, according to the former and current employees. When employees receive documents containing sensitive information about unannounced products, the documents are often watermarked with the recipient’s name, a practice meant to discourage carelessness.”

It’s good old-fashioned CI practice, but gums up the works from a broader intel perspective. Put up too many barriers and it becomes impossible to effectively understand a given problem. I think we’ve had enough of that, thank you very much. It also does little to stop purely partisan leaking at the highest levels (the name McCarthy ring any bells?) because by design such individuals get access to all the eggs in the basket. I’m sure there are technical solutions that would permit widespread sharing yet also allow for granular tracking, but given the generally dismal success rate of even simple IT projects in this domain, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

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.