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Old 12-17-2010, 06:20 PM   #381
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Originally Posted by yolland View Post
Cute story, but what grave secret injustice did the righteous whistleblowers expose by leaking this cable? Or the mildly interesting but politically irrelevant tidbit that the Dalai Lama, a man with zero influence over emissions policy, reckons global warming a more urgent cause than Tibetan autonomy? Or the wholly unsurprising gossip that Rahul Gandhi considers Hindu extremists (a key base for his party's major opposition, not incidentally) a more serious threat to his country than Muslim extremists? ...etc.

Again, I support real whistleblowing, civil disobedience for point-specific moral ends. But if the Geneva Conventions (not just US law) regarding diplomatic relations are to be subverted this extensively, I expect convincing ethical justifications for every step, not hackneyed pseudophilosophical bullshit about 'throttling total conspiratorial power' as some one-size-fits-all justification for appointing oneself the arbiter of transparency.

It is also possible to find the DoJ's casting about for charges against Assange dangerous, and the circumstances of Bradley Manning's detention indefensible, without supporting WikiLeaks' indiscriminate behavior and Assange's juvenile 'manifesto' in support of it.
yep, there is also a fair bit of crap and drudgery being released, i have to agree...

and like i've said before, much of the info isn't surprising... there's an awful lot of stuff we've been aware of already... but it does confirm some things i guess...

but maybe in this case, they just wanted to show Berlusconi up a bit, i don't know...
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:22 PM   #382
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Originally Posted by adam4bono View Post
So Wikileaks only published information about "unethical and outright illegal political actions"? Is something unethical or illegal if Wikileaks claims it to be? What about the impact to the US military, US State department, citizens performing dangerous work for the US government? How could it be right to take that information and expose it to terrorist involved in mass murder of people around the world?
No, they posted other stuff beyond that, too, and certainly there is merit in debating whether or not everything that was posted deserved to be shared (did I really need to know what such and such world leader personally thought of another world leader?).

But there has been stuff that's been posted that could prove to be beneficial to us, that would help us instead of hurt us, and stuff that could soon be posted that we should know about. If, for instance, we get more information about all the crap involved in pushing for the Iraq War, I'd consider that very beneficial, we deserve to know just how much BS got shoveled at us to allow that war to go on. Not knowing that kind of information has put many people's lives in danger.

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The Taliban and Al Quada benefit the most from the dumping of hundreds of thousands of private, classified information. The United States keeps certain information classified for a reason. The most important being keeping it out of the hands of people who intend to do the country and its citizens harm. Wikileaks just helped to make that information available to such people.
Actually, not necessarily. We're getting proof, for instance, that not everyone in the Middle East is behind what some of the crazy leaders/groups are supporting (countries going nuclear, attacks against us and other nations, etc.). That can potentially weaken the power of the terrorists, once they know that all their claims have been proven to be total lies, and can benefit us, because now we see more potential allies in our midst, who might be able to help us in whatever crap is going on over there.

And the Taliban and al-Qaeda are a lot of things, but they aren't stupid. If WikiLeaks didn't expose the information, they'd have likely found out about at least some of it in some other way. You don't think they keep tabs on our moves already? You honestly think they're naive enough to not know what we've been doing or will do? That's how you work in a war, you try and figure out the other side's secrets and try and stay one step ahead of them.

And once again, while some of the blame does indeed rest on the shoulders of those who exposed sensitive information, the government also deserves blame, too, for letting this information that's supposedly so sacred get out there so easily. There's some definite incompetence on the part of our government, as well as the governments of other countries, for not keeping tighter locks on this information. We're living in a technological age where pretty much ANYTHING out there is up for exposure, so for people to be so shocked that something like this would happen eventually strikes me kind of funny. It was only a matter of time, people.

I don't disagree that there is indeed information that should be kept secret for protection of the people and situations involved (as well as because it's simply not all that newsworthy). But there is also a time when you need to expose things, too. I guess if anything good has come from this it's that now we're being forced to figure out just where that line should fall.

Oh, and that story about Berlusconi and Bono is funny and sad at the same time. Yes, that's the only reason you should give aid, to avoid being berated by a rock musician. Not simply out of the goodness of your heart, no. Shouldn't be that surprising, though, based on what I've heard about Berlusconi, a lot of people think he's a creep anyway, so...

Angela
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:33 PM   #383
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The damage caused by this specific crime pales in comparison to the damage caused to the nation by exposing it.
I'm confused as to what damage was done by the Watergate exposure, besides Richard Nixons credibility and image...
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:12 PM   #384
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Ahhhh, so that makes it ok for Wikileaks to publish sensitive information effecting the national security of the United States?

If I got all the private records about you and your family from someone else, would that make it ok for me to publish it online?
Blah blah blah. There are three words I'm interested in from your original claim:

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You think its right to steal sensitive, private, classified information about a war, based on the mere presumption of "war crimes"?
You appear to be unfamiliar with the details and motivations of the various actors in this whole case. Bradley Manning is not a Wikileaks employee.
Who "stole" it? Well, Bradley Manning leaked it based on first-hand exposure to authentic US documents showing what he believed to be wrongdoing and state abuses. That's a basically accepted whistleblowing concept, based on ACTUAL information, not "mere presumption".

Others can (and have, in this very thread) objected to the alternately trivial or potentially damaging nature of some of these releases, but that's a specific complaint more about the "public interest" judgement of newspapers writing stories and Wikileaks, than Manning's role.

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Well, its an important distinction you failed to mention. Otherwise, people assume that all 2.5 million people have access to anything that is classified, and that is far from being the case.
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Although the US hasn't yet started officially keeping track, FAS thinks there were around 2.5 million people with security clearances for confidential material as of 2009. It's not 3.4 million, but does that really help anyone sleep easier at night?

From the recent Washington Post series Top Secret America, we know that an estimated 854,000 people have top secret clearances. (The articles mention that's 1.5 times the population of Washington D.C.)
It was that obvious to literate adults. The general level of information Manning leaked is apparently around the classified/secret level, meaning we can reliably peg a range of 1-2.5 million people who could have seen some of these documents.

And the point of the problem with post 9/11 information pooling is that the US tried to make it so all those 2.5 million people COULD see it.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:11 PM   #385
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because our own private information is of no interest, or possibly value, to anyone but ourselves, unlike classified information...
Obviously, private, classified information related to US national security is far more important, and should definitely remain private and classified and not exposed.

I don't think and individuals private information should be exposed either, but exposing such information would indeed be the lesser evil in this case.

Also, if and individuals own private information were of no interest or value to anyone, there would be no reason to keep it private!
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:14 PM   #386
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Um, you might want to read my post again...

Now I'm understanding why you're not getting some of this.
You claimed there were people in THIS forum who had posted that the earth was flat. I simply asked for you to link to it. That means I'm looking for a link in THIS forum, not some other website that does not involve this forum. If someone in this forum had a conversation in a prior thread, in which they stated the earth was flat, provide the link. Understand?
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:40 PM   #387
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Blah blah blah. There are three words I'm interested in from your original claim:



Who "stole" it? Well, Bradley Manning leaked it based on first-hand exposure to authentic US documents showing what he believed to be wrongdoing and state abuses. That's a basically accepted whistleblowing concept, based on ACTUAL information, not "mere presumption".

.
Well, I seriously doubt your hero looked at all 250,000 documents before he copied them illegally. Its not up to Bradley Manning to determine what US national security information can be made available to the public.

The fact that he was the initial person who "stole it" is irrelevant. Wikileaks has no right to publish the information. Its private classified information.

With your logic, if Bradley Manning had stolen the launch codes for ICBM's in North Dakota, it would be ok for Wikileaks to publish them. After all as you say, wikileaks did not steal the launch codes, Bradley Manning did.

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It was that obvious to literate adults. The general level of information Manning leaked is apparently around the classified/secret level, meaning we can reliably peg a range of 1-2.5 million people who could have seen some of these documents.

And the point of the problem with post 9/11 information pooling is that the US tried to make it so all those 2.5 million people COULD see it.
Once again, there is not one level of access to classified material. The fact that Bradley Manning successfully accessed and copied over 250,000 documents does not mean his security clearence was originally designed to allow him to view all such documents. There are technical problems with the system which may have allowed this.

Yes, there are 2.5 million people who have some access to classified material. But there are several dozen levels of security clearances.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:44 PM   #388
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Originally Posted by adam4bono View Post
Obviously, private, classified information related to US national security is far more important, and should definitely remain private and classified and not exposed.

I don't think and individuals private information should be exposed either, but exposing such information would indeed be the lesser evil in this case.

Also, if and individuals own private information were of no interest or value to anyone, there would be no reason to keep it private!
oh dear...

i'm afraid i have to bow out of this funny little conversation adam4bono...
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:47 PM   #389
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Originally Posted by The_Pac_Mule View Post
I'm confused as to what damage was done by the Watergate exposure, besides Richard Nixons credibility and image...
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Breaking into the democratic party offices is one thing (during an election in which the President was going to win in a massive landslide anyways), removing an elected leader of a vital country during times of crises in South East Asia and the rest of the world is indeed another.
Its interesting to note that the North Vietnames after Linebacker II in December 1972 never launched another major offensive against South Vietnam until Nixon had left(been removed essentially) office.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:50 PM   #390
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oh dear...

i'm afraid i have to bow out of this funny little conversation adam4bono...
Well, before you do that, why don't you post all your private information about yourself in this thread. After all, since no one cares about it, you don't have anything to worry about, right?
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:01 PM   #391
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No, they posted other stuff beyond that, too, and certainly there is merit in debating whether or not everything that was posted deserved to be shared (did I really need to know what such and such world leader personally thought of another world leader?).

But there has been stuff that's been posted that could prove to be beneficial to us, that would help us instead of hurt us, and stuff that could soon be posted that we should know about. If, for instance, we get more information about all the crap involved in pushing for the Iraq War, I'd consider that very beneficial, we deserve to know just how much BS got shoveled at us to allow that war to go on. Not knowing that kind of information has put many people's lives in danger.

Well, I don't think any of the leaks have had any information about US policy towards Iraq prior to the invasion in 2003. Thank God that dictator and his family are no longer running that country.

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Actually, not necessarily. We're getting proof, for instance, that not everyone in the Middle East is behind what some of the crazy leaders/groups are supporting (countries going nuclear, attacks against us and other nations, etc.). That can potentially weaken the power of the terrorists, once they know that all their claims have been proven to be total lies, and can benefit us, because now we see more potential allies in our midst, who might be able to help us in whatever crap is going on over there.
Well, the US government already knows this stuff. Its their private classified information. Joe Johnson does not need to know this stuff. Also, several middle eastern leaders may be less likely to share information in the future if they know its going to be suddenly exposed. Several middle eastern leaders walk a fine line between what they tell the public in their countries and what they tell the USA. Exposing such private conversations could actually strenthen terrorist in places like Yemen when people who only partially oppose the government see things they don't like. It could drive the fence sitters into the hands of the terrorist and create stonger insurgencies to overthrow important US allies in the region which would benefit Al Quada.

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And the Taliban and al-Qaeda are a lot of things, but they aren't stupid. If WikiLeaks didn't expose the information, they'd have likely found out about at least some of it in some other way. You don't think they keep tabs on our moves already? You honestly think they're naive enough to not know what we've been doing or will do? That's how you work in a war, you try and figure out the other side's secrets and try and stay one step ahead of them.
If that were the case, there would be no benefit to keeping information classified.
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:21 PM   #392
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Originally Posted by adam4bono View Post
You claimed there were people in THIS forum who had posted that the earth was flat. I simply asked for you to link to it. That means I'm looking for a link in THIS forum, not some other website that does not involve this forum. If someone in this forum had a conversation in a prior thread, in which they stated the earth was flat, provide the link. Understand?
No, I didn't, like I said go read the post again. You're having basic reading comprehension issues, but that makes me understand why you're having some problems discussing this issue.
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:08 PM   #393
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Well, I seriously doubt your hero looked at all 250,000 documents before he copied them illegally.
You are correct, and I was wrong that the rest of those 250,000 documents were packaged off to Wikileaks based on the presumption of future crimes within. But the key point your original sentence missed that caught my attention was that Manning already saw state abuses in the documents he DID see, so that further presumption had a rational basis.

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Once again, there is not one level of access to classified material. The fact that Bradley Manning successfully accessed and copied over 250,000 documents does not mean his security clearence was originally designed to allow him to view all such documents. There are technical problems with the system which may have allowed this.

Yes, there are 2.5 million people who have some access to classified material. But there are several dozen levels of security clearances.
I can see why, if you're obsessively waving the labels "private, classified" around as an all-purpose shield, that a description of the number of people with access using terms like "hundreds of thousands" and "millions" is threatening.

SIPRNet according to Google had predominately collateral Secret clearance, which is to say there were generally no access restrictions (besides NOFORN) to this information beyond just having a Secret clearance. And again- post 9/11, the US was trying to remove technical barriers to make this info more open and readable. (Bradley Manning himself had Top Secret/SCI clearance)
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:27 PM   #394
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In this thread adam4bono wages a lonely war against Watergate, and the future tense.
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:31 PM   #395
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I love the Watergate arguments. It shouldn't have been exposed because it removed a lying, criminal president at a time of "crisis" in Vietnam, which the Americans were responsible for orchestrating.

I suppose that this is American Exceptionalism.
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:23 PM   #396
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:28 PM   #397
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Well, I don't think any of the leaks have had any information about US policy towards Iraq prior to the invasion in 2003. Thank God that dictator and his family are no longer running that country.
Not yet, but who knows what else could show up in the leaks down the line?

I'm certainly not losing sleep over Saddam not running things anymore, either, but I also know there are some out there who would feel differently .

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Well, the US government already knows this stuff. Its their private classified information. Joe Johnson does not need to know this stuff.
If we want to try and prove that the entire Middle East isn't out to get us, yeah, we kind of should know it. Right now there's so much fearmongering and misinformation being spread to people about that area of the world, this information can help clarify a lot of things for us. And it makes it a hell of a lot less likely for the U.S. government to drum up support for war by claiming the Middle East hates us when we have the proof that they don't (just because some in the government know that information doesn't mean they're not going to try and twist words anyway).

And perhaps the U.S. government DIDN'T know all of this beforehand. Some of it's probably new to them as well.

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Also, several middle eastern leaders may be less likely to share information in the future if they know its going to be suddenly exposed. Several middle eastern leaders walk a fine line between what they tell the public in their countries and what they tell the USA. Exposing such private conversations could actually strenthen terrorist in places like Yemen when people who only partially oppose the government see things they don't like. It could drive the fence sitters into the hands of the terrorist and create stonger insurgencies to overthrow important US allies in the region which would benefit Al Quada.
Except that we didn't put the information online, some yahoo in Sweden did. So it wouldn't really make sense for the leaders in other parts of the world to be mad at us, or vice versa. It's not like our president was sitting there waving private documents going, "Hey, guys, look at this stuff I got from talking with the leader of Yemen, you won't believe it!"

That said, though, yet AGAIN, if they found out this information, it was partially due to our government not keeping it properly secured to begin with, so we are kind of at fault in some ways and we should take the blame we deserve for that. And so should the leaders of any other nation who didn't seal up their documents more tightly, Middle Eastern ones included (once more, it isn't just our side of things that's getting exposed, it's theirs, too). But we don't deserve blame for putting it online, 'cause we didn't. Assange and his buddies did.

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If that were the case, there would be no benefit to keeping information classified.
Oh, there still is a benefit. While they're busy trying to crack our strategy, we have to be ahead of them and try and keep everything as secret as possible so they don't succeed. And they have to be ahead of us, and so on and so on. Sometimes this game of chess works, sometimes it doesn't. But it still never hurts for us to try. And it's still naive to expect that they won't keep trying, either.

Angela
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:30 PM   #398
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Hm. Good point. Was actually starting to be reminded of that myself.

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Old 12-18-2010, 10:54 PM   #399
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Needs more Resolution 1441.
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:41 AM   #400
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You have to realize that everyone that has access to classified information does not have equal access or the same access as everyone else. There are different levels of security clearance. At least that is how it is supposed to work. The more sensitive the information, the smaller the number of people who have access to it.
Indeed, there is top secret, and up to now no top secret infos were leaked by wikileaks. So what is this about and how wide-spread are top secret clearances? How hard would it be for foreign intelligence agencys to get top secret information when, in corporate America, 265,000 employees working at nearly 2,000 contractors have access?

According to a series of articles by the Washington Post (which probably does the same damage to national security interests as wikileaks, but I recently haven´t heard any of any Washington Post journalists haunted or death-threated) published here in July 2010 (months before wikileaks pusblished any of those cables)

"it is a system in which contractors are playing an ever more important role. The Post estimates that out of 854,000 people with top-secret clearances, 265,000 are contractors. There is no better example of the government's dependency on them than at the CIA, the one place in government that exists to do things overseas that no other U.S. agency is allowed to do."

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Well, the US government already knows this stuff. Its their private classified information.
It´s the classified information of the US governments private contractors. Apparently, top secret informations are not as top secret as you believe.

"Private contractors working for the CIA have recruited spies in Iraq, paid bribes for information in Afghanistan and protected CIA directors visiting world capitals. Contractors have helped snatch a suspected extremist off the streets of Italy, interrogated detainees once held at secret prisons abroad and watched over defectors holed up in the Washington suburbs. At Langley headquarters, they analyze terrorist networks. At the agency's training facility in Virginia, they are helping mold a new generation of American spies.

(...) As companies raid federal agencies of talent, the government has been left with the youngest intelligence staffs ever while more experienced employees move into the private sector. This is true at the CIA, where employees from 114 firms account for roughly a third of the workforce, or about 10,000 positions. Many of them are temporary hires, often former military or intelligence agency employees who left government service to work less and earn more while drawing a federal pension.

Across the government, such workers are used in every conceivable way.

Contractors kill enemy fighters. They spy on foreign governments and eavesdrop on terrorist networks. They help craft war plans. They gather information on local factions in war zones. They are the historians, the architects, the recruiters in the nation's most secretive agencies. They staff watch centers across the Washington area. They are among the most trusted advisers to the four-star generals leading the nation's wars.

The Post's estimate of 265,000 contractors doing top-secret work was vetted by several high-ranking intelligence officials who approved of The Post's methodology. The newspaper's Top Secret America database includes 1,931 companies that perform work at the top-secret level. More than a quarter of them - 533 - came into being after 2001, and others that already existed have expanded greatly. Most are thriving even as the rest of the United States struggles with bankruptcies, unemployment and foreclosures.

The privatization of national security work has been made possible by a nine-year "gusher" of money, as Gates recently described national security spending since the 9/11 attacks.

With so much money to spend, managers do not always worry about whether they are spending it effectively.


"Someone says, 'Let's do another study,' and because no one shares information, everyone does their own study," said Elena Mastors, who headed a team studying the al-Qaeda leadership for the Defense Department. "It's about how many studies you can orchestrate, how many people you can fly all over the place. Everybody's just on a spending spree. We don't need all these people doing all this stuff."

(...) Contractor misdeeds in Iraq and Afghanistan have hurt U.S. credibility in those countries as well as in the Middle East. Abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, some of it done by contractors, helped ignite a call for vengeance against the United States that continues today. Security guards working for Blackwater added fuel to the five-year violent chaos in Iraq and became the symbol of an America run amok.

(...) Misconduct happens, too. A defense contractor formerly called MZM paid bribes for CIA contracts, sending Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who was a California congressman on the intelligence committee, to prison. Guards employed in Afghanistan by ArmorGroup North America, a private security company, were caught on camera in a lewd-partying scandal.

But contractors have also advanced the way the military fights. During the bloodiest months in Iraq, the founder of Berico Technologies, a former Army officer named Guy Filippelli, working with the National Security Agency, invented a technology that made finding the makers of roadside bombs easier and helped stanch the number of casualties from improvised explosives, according to NSA officials.

(...) Washington's corridors of power stretch in a nearly straight geographical line from the Supreme Court to the Capitol to the White House. Keep going west, across the Potomac River, and the unofficial seats of power - the private, corporate ones - become visible, especially at night. There in the Virginia suburbs are the brightly illuminated company logos of Top Secret America: Northrop Grumman, SAIC, General Dynamics. Of the 1,931 companies identified by The Post that work on top-secret contracts, about 110 of them do roughly 90 percent of the work on the corporate side of the defense-intelligence-corporate world.

To understand how these firms have come to dominate the post-9/11 era, there's no better place to start than the Herndon office of General Dynamics. One recent afternoon there, Ken Pohill was watching a series of unclassified images, the first of which showed a white truck moving across his computer monitor.

The truck was in Afghanistan, and a video camera bolted to the belly of a U.S. surveillance plane was following it. Pohill could access a dozen images that might help an intelligence analyst figure out whether the truck driver was just a truck driver or part of a network making roadside bombs to kill American soldiers.

To do this, he clicked his computer mouse. Up popped a picture of the truck driver's house, with notes about visitors. Another click. Up popped infrared video of the vehicle. Click: Analysis of an object thrown from the driver's side. Click: U-2 imagery. Click: A history of the truck's movement. Click. A Google Earth map of friendly forces. Click: A chat box with everyone else following the truck, too.

The evolution of General Dynamics was based on one simple strategy: Follow the money.

The company embraced the emerging intelligence-driven style of warfare. It developed small-target identification systems and equipment that could intercept an insurgent's cellphone and laptop communications. It found ways to sort the billions of data points collected by intelligence agencies into piles of information that a single person could analyze.

It also began gobbling up smaller companies that could help it dominate the new intelligence landscape, just as its competitors were doing. Between 2001 and 2010, the company acquired 11 firms specializing in satellites, signals and geospatial intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, technology integration and imagery.

On Sept. 11, 2001, General Dynamics was working with nine intelligence organizations. Now it has contracts with all 16. Its employees fill the halls of the NSA and DHS. The corporation was paid hundreds of millions of dollars to set up and manage DHS's new offices in 2003, including its National Operations Center, Office of Intelligence and Analysis and Office of Security. Its employees do everything from deciding which threats to investigate to answering phones.

General Dynamics' bottom line reflects its successful transformation. It also reflects how much the U.S. government - the firm's largest customer by far - has paid the company beyond what it costs to do the work, which is, after all, the goal of every profit-making corporation.

The company reported $31.9 billion in revenue in 2009, up from $10.4 billion in 2000. Its workforce has more than doubled in that time, from 43,300 to 91,700 employees, according to the company.

Revenue from General Dynamics' intelligence- and information-related divisions, where the majority of its top-secret work is done, climbed to $10 billion in the second quarter of 2009, up from $2.4 billion in 2000, accounting for 34 percent of its overall revenue last year.


The company's profitability is on display in its Falls Church headquarters. There's a soaring, art-filled lobby, bistro meals served on china enameled with the General Dynamics logo and an auditorium with seven rows of white leather-upholstered seats, each with its own microphone and laptop docking station.

General Dynamics now has operations in every corner of the intelligence world. It helps counterintelligence operators and trains new analysts. It has a $600 million Air Force contract to intercept communications. It makes $1 billion a year keeping hackers out of U.S. computer networks and encrypting military communications. It even conducts information operations, the murky military art of trying to persuade foreigners to align their views with U.S. interests.

- note: $1 billion a year and they couldn´t stop Bradley Manning? well.... -

(...) In September 2009, General Dynamics won a $10 million contract from the U.S. Special Operations Command's psychological operations unit to create Web sites to influence foreigners' views of U.S. policy. To do that, the company hired writers, editors and designers to produce a set of daily news sites tailored to five regions of the world. They appear as regular news Web sites, with names such as "SETimes.com: The News and Views of Southeast Europe."
The first indication that they are run on behalf of the military comes at the bottom of the home page with the word "Disclaimer." Only by clicking on that do you learn that "the Southeast European Times (SET) is a Web site sponsored by the United States European Command."

In the shadow of giants such as General Dynamics are 1,814 small to midsize companies that do top-secret work. About a third of them were established after Sept. 11, 2001, to take advantage of the huge flow of taxpayer money into the private sector. Many are led by former intelligence agency officials who know exactly whom to approach for work.

Abraxas of Herndon, headed by a former CIA spy, quickly became a major CIA contractor after 9/11. Its staff even recruited midlevel managers during work hours from the CIA's cafeteria, former agency officers recall.

Other small and medium-size firms sell niche technical expertise such as engineering for low-orbit satellites or long-dwell sensors. But the vast majority have not invented anything at all. Instead, they replicate what the government's workforce already does.

A company called SGIS, founded soon after the 2001 attacks, was one of these. SGIS sold the government the services of people with specialized skills; expanding the types of teams it could put together was one key to its growth. Eventually it offered engineers, analysts and cyber-security specialists for military, space and intelligence agencies. By 2003, the company's revenue was $3.7 million. By then, SGIS had become a subcontractor for General Dynamics, working at the secret level. Satisfied with the partnership, General Dynamics helped SGIS receive a top-secret facility clearance, which opened the doors to more work.

By 2006, its revenue had multiplied tenfold, to $30.6 million, and the company had hired employees who specialized in government contracting just to help it win more contracts.

"We knew that's where we wanted to play," Girgis said in a phone interview. "There's always going to be a need to protect the homeland."

Eight years after it began, SGIS was up to revenue of $101 million, 14 offices and 675 employees. Those with top-secret clearances worked for 11 government agencies, according to The Post's database.

The company's marketing efforts had grown, too, both in size and sophistication. Its Web site, for example, showed an image of Navy sailors lined up on a battleship over the words "Proud to serve" and another image of a Navy helicopter flying near the Statue of Liberty over the words "Preserving freedom." And if it seemed hard to distinguish SGIS's work from the government's, it's because they were doing so many of the same things. SGIS employees replaced military personnel at the Pentagon's 24/7 telecommunications center. SGIS employees conducted terrorist threat analysis. SGIS employees provided help-desk support for federal computer systems.

Still, as alike as they seemed, there were crucial differences. For one, unlike in government, if an SGIS employee did a good job, he might walk into the parking lot one day and be surprised by co-workers clapping at his latest bonus: a leased, dark-blue Mercedes convertible. And he might say, as a video camera recorded him sliding into the soft leather driver's seat, "Ahhhh . . . this is spectacular."

And then there was what happened to SGIS last month, when it did the one thing the federal government can never do. It sold itself.

The new owner is a Fairfax-based company called Salient Federal Solutions, created just last year. It is a management company and a private-equity firm with lots of Washington connections that, with the purchase of SGIS, it intends to parlay into contracts.

"We have an objective," says chief executive and President Brad Antle, "to make $500 million in five years."

(...) Of all the different companies in Top Secret America, the most numerous by far are the information technology, or IT, firms. About 800 firms do nothing but IT.

Some IT companies integrate the mishmash of computer systems within one agency; others build digital links between agencies; still others have created software and hardware that can mine and analyze vast quantities of data. The government is nearly totally dependent on these firms.


Their close relationship was on display recently at the Defense Intelligence Agency's annual information technology conference in Phoenix. The agency expected the same IT firms angling for its business to pay for the entire five-day get-together, a DIA spokesman confirmed. And they did."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonlit_Angel View Post
And once again, while some of the blame does indeed rest on the shoulders of those who exposed sensitive information, the government also deserves blame, too, for letting this information that's supposedly so sacred get out there so easily. There's some definite incompetence on the part of our government, as well as the governments of other countries, for not keeping tighter locks on this information. We're living in a technological age where pretty much ANYTHING out there is up for exposure, so for people to be so shocked that something like this would happen eventually strikes me kind of funny. It was only a matter of time, people.
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