The US military instituting a ban on the use of removable media on their systems was a reasonable, if not overdue, security measure to help prevent future leaks of classified documents which could lead to another WikiLeaks-type of scandal. Now, the government is not only taking measure to prevent documents from leaking out, but they also want to enact measure to keep the current leaked diplomatic cables from coming back into their systems.
Fidelis Security, an American network security company that deals with government and military agencies, is now claiming that the federal government has asked them to create a firewall system that would keep WikiLeaks documents from any source out of unclassified government networks.
“The interesting twist by our customers is they now want it to be used on inbound traffic to prevent consumption of classified materials from WikiLeaks and other places,” Fidelis Security’s VP and security strategist Kurt Bertone told AOL News in an interview this week.
Even though the documents are now in the public domain, officials are attempting to prevent “pollution” of their networks by the WikiLeaks cables.
This is a task that’s easier said than done, says Bertone. “This information is going over the entire Internet, and it’s impossible to block access to every site that re-posts WikiLeaks cables.”
In addition, the CIA has now started a WikiLeaks Task Force, known internally by the apropos acronym WTF, according to the Washington Post. The mission of this task force is to investigate and report upon the diplomatic damage that has occurred due to the leaked cables.
“The director asked the task force to examine whether the latest release of WikiLeaks documents might affect the agency’s foreign relationships or operations,” said CIA spokesman George Little. They will also be examining the immediate impact of any newly-released files, including monitoring if confidence in the US government and military’s secret-keeping abilities is declining.
While I can completely understand the “damage control” mission assigned to the newly-created WTF (Surely it will get old making fun of the name, right? Maybe not…), the firewall to keep out leaked documents seems like it would be an impossible, money-burning project. The mere mention of the idea tells me that federal agencies have little faith in their employees’ intelligence and aptitude. To prevent data from leaving the network in the first place makes sense, but to keep it from getting in once it’s out seems asinine. Certainly there are better ways to spend the government’s increasingly limited budget.