DoD Says it No Longer Has Exclusive Access to Most Breakthrough Technology

22:50 30.01.2015(updated 08:29 31.01.2015)
Spokeswoman for the US Deputy Secretary of Defense says Pentagon no longer has exclusive access to the world’s cutting-edge military technologies.

MOSCOW, January 30 (Sputnik), Alexander Mosesov — The US Department of Defense no longer has exclusive access to the world’s cutting-edge military technologies, the spokeswoman for the US Deputy Secretary of Defense told Sputnik on Friday.

“DoD [Department of Defense] no longer has exclusive access to the most cutting-edge technology or the ability to spur or control the development of new technologies the way we once did,” Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson told the news agency.

Hillson added that “many, if not most, of the technologies we seek to take advantage of today are no longer in the domain of DoD development pipelines or traditional defense contractors.”

US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work’s spokeswoman added that should the Pentagon should act in this sphere in order to maintain its ability to project its power globally. Continue reading “DoD Says it No Longer Has Exclusive Access to Most Breakthrough Technology”

Report: F35 fighters unable to evade Russian and Chinese radars


30 April 2014
English: The Department of Defense's first U.S...


The US’s newly developed radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will not be able to escape Russian radars.

“The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter… is not, in fact, stealthy in the eyes of a growing number of Russian and Chinese radars,” the Aviation Week said.

It said the jet, which the Pentagon hopes would be stealthy, is “having all sorts of shortcomings.”

Continue reading “Report: F35 fighters unable to evade Russian and Chinese radars”

DARPA developing ultimate web search engine to police the internet

  Published time: February 12, 2014 22:35                                                                            

Reuters / Umit BektasReuters / Umit Bektas

​The Pentagon’s research arm that fosters futuristic technology for the military will soon begin working to surpass current abilities of commercial web search engines. Yet, once it masters the “deep Web,” the agency doesn’t say much about what comes next.

The Defense Advanced Research (DARPA) said its “Memex”   project will be able to search the far corners of internet  content that is unattainable by modern, mainstream search  engines, offering DARPA “technological superiority in the  area of content indexing and Web search on the Internet.” Continue reading “DARPA developing ultimate web search engine to police the internet”

Navy Yard shooter got clean bill of mental health just weeks before killing 12 people in gun rampage

  • Aaron Alexis left a note saying that he had been targeted by low-frequency radio waves for three months before the September 2013 shooting
  • That time period lines up with when he was regularly visiting Veteran’s Affairs doctors complaining of sleeplessness
  • Medical reports show doctors wrote him off and gave him sleeping pills, concluding ‘no problem there’ in reports
  • Alexis went on to kill 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:          09:21 EST, 31 January 2014

Medical reports have revealed that Veterans Affairs doctors were fooled for years by Aaron Alexis, the gunman who killed 12 people in last year’s rampage at Washington’s Navy Yard.

The records show that he lied so convincingly to those treating him that they concluded he had no mental health issues despite serious problems and encounters with police during the same period.

Just weeks before the shootings, a doctor treating him for insomnia noted that the patient worked for the Defense Department but wrote hauntingly ‘no problem there.’

More than 100 pages of treatment and disability claims evaluation records for Aaron Alexis, spanning more than two years have now been revealed.

They show Alexis complaining of minor physical ailments, including foot and knee injuries, slight hearing loss and later insomnia, but resolutely denying any mental health issues. Continue reading “Navy Yard shooter got clean bill of mental health just weeks before killing 12 people in gun rampage”

Army Fires Back on Its right to experiment on military personel without informed consent pre-1988

– at least 7,800 soldiers had been used as guinea pigs in Project Paperclip.

– Soldiers were allegedly administered at least 250 and perhaps as many as 400 types of drugs, among them Sarin , one of the most deadly drugs known, amphetamines, barbiturates, mustard gas, phosgene gas and LSD.

U.S. government sought drugs to control human behavior etc…

– Based on interpretation of the disputed Army regulation, Wilken agreed “that the duty to warn is properly interpreted as applying on an on-going basis, not just as part of the pre-experiment consent process, and is owed to service members who became test subjects before 1988.”



(CN) – The 9th Circuit battle over U.S. veterans subjected to Cold War-era drug experiments just got uglier as the Army filed a cross-appeal Tuesday.

The notice of appeal comes five years after Vietnam Veterans of America led a class action against various government entities, claiming that at least 7,800 soldiers had been used as guinea pigs in Project Paperclip. Continue reading “Army Fires Back on Its right to experiment on military personel without informed consent pre-1988”

Not Socially Acceptable: NSA boss video ‘most hated’ on YouTube in 2013?

EEV: In all fairness to the NSA director, he is only an employee of the government. It is not appropriate he be the fall guy, unless he acted independently of his supervisors.

 Published time: January 01, 2014 10:32                                                                            

Director of the National Security Agency Gen. Keith Alexander.(AFP Photo / Alex Wong)Director of the National Security Agency Gen. Keith Alexander.(AFP Photo / Alex Wong)

A YouTube video in which NSA boss Keith Alexander tries “to set the record straight” on the agency’s spying antics has nosedived. The half-hour interview triggered a wave of criticism from users, branding it the “most hated” video on YouTube.

In the wake of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations on the  massive espionage programs of the NSA, the spy agency has been  hard pressed to defend its reputation. Since the security leaks  emerged in May, the NSA has embarked on a campaign to clear its  name. As part of the push, the US Defense Department published a  video on YouTube in October seeking to justify the agency’s spy  campaign.

However, the video had far from the desired effect and has been  branded as one of the “most hated” videos of the year.  Out of the 187,833 people who have viewed the video up until now  16,407 have hit the dislike button, compared to a mere 300 who   “liked” the video.

Thousands of commentators also laid into the video, accusing the  NSA of brazen propaganda.

“This NSA interview is the most-hated thing on YouTube right  now,” said Google+ user Andy Sweet.

“How fearful are the NSA that they’re resorting to releasing  propaganda on YouTube. I’m sure all of the upvotes are bots or  shills,” wrote Kevin Willock in the comments section.

Other YouTubers also rounded into Alexander’s claims that the NSA  is indispensable in the fight against terrorism and to ensure  national security.

“So you believe Angela Merkel is an insurgent and a dangerous  terrorist, Keith?” chided one YouTube user, referring the  reports the NSA tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal  phone.

Read More:

Pentagon’s security chief misused authority, probe shows


Pentagon's security chief misused authority, probe shows

The head of Pentagon security forces misused his authority by treating employees to a golf outing during the workday, relying on others to fetch his lunch and improperly getting a relative into an agency firing range, a Pentagon investigation showed.

Steven Calvery is still the director of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, but he was subjected to an unspecified form of “administrative action” as a result of the investigation, a Pentagon spokesman said.

His civilian agency counts around 1,300 employees, including uniformed Pentagon police in charge of protecting the Pentagon itself as well as the Navy Annex and other facilities.

The Defense Department’s Inspector General detailed its findings in a 40-page report, which was completed in February but only released in redacted form on Monday.

It said Calvery misused his office staff by regularly relying on them to pick up his lunch and retrieve his coffee, something that was not part of their official duties.

“I would hope if they felt uncomfortable doing it, they would tell me,” Calvery was quoted saying in testimony. “And if they did feel uncomfortable, then that would be okay.”

It also singled him out for improperly approving four hours of paid leave for about 100-150 employees to participate in a golf tournament for the security force in 2009 and 2010.

After seeking legal advice, Calvery had already concluded on his own that they had to take time off starting in 2011 if they wanted to attend the tournament, which he saw as a team- building exercise.

The Inspector General’s investigation also found that Calvery improperly got a relative access to his agency’s firing range. While there, that unnamed relative used an agency weapon, ammunition and was helped by two firearms instructors.

“We determined that family members of other PFPA employees were not offered the same benefit,” the report stated.


Body Armor Details May Be Kept Close to the Chest




WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge won’t force the Pentagon to release autopsy information of U.S. soldiers killed in action to a former Marine doing research on the effectiveness of body armor.

Roger Charles has been involved in a legal battle with the Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and the U.S. Department of Defense over such records for more than four years, spanning the courtrooms of multiple federal judges.

According to U.S. District Judge Ketanji Jackson, Charles is a journalist and former Marine Corps officer researching the effectiveness of the body armor that the Pentagon issues to military personnel in combat zones.

He’s been trying to get the government to release autopsy and medical records for soldiers killed in combat, but the agencies have successfully withheld documents under FOIA exemptions.

“Consequently, by 2013, only one narrow issue remained in the case: whether defendants, who had invoked FOIA Exemption 5 to withhold redacted ‘preliminary’ autopsy reports in their entirety, have adequately established that the factual information that such records contain is not reasonably segregable from the exempted material,” Jackson writes.

The judge ruled that “defendants have sufficiently demonstrated that the factual material contained in the preliminary autopsy reports is not reasonably segregable,” granting the government’s motion for summary judgment.

According to the ruling, Charles specifically wants documents that “analyze fatal wounds from bullets that were inflicted on military service members wearing body armor in Iraq and Afghanistan between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2007, and analyze the relationship between personal body armor and lethal torso injuries sustained by such service members.”

But federal judges, for the most part, refuse to order the release of the requested information, ruling that autopsy reports are protected by inter-agency and intra-agency memorandum and medical records exemptions to federal law.

Earlier this year, the judge ruled that the Pentagon failed to properly invoke Exemption 6 – protecting the government from releasing medical records – when refusing to release 42 preliminary autopsy reports responsive to Charles’ modified request, but the matter is under appeal.


DoD to Award Contracts Throughout Shutdown, But Won’t Announce Them

Oct. 1, 2013 – 03:45AM   |

US Defense Department lawyers are working 'to see if there's any margin here or widening in the interpretation of the law regarding exempt versus non-exempt civilians,' said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is traveling in South Korea.

US Defense Department lawyers are working ‘to see if there’s any margin here or widening in the interpretation of the law regarding exempt versus non-exempt civilians,’ said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is traveling in South Korea.   (Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)

Shutdown fallout

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will continue to award hundreds of millions of dollars in acquisition, services and other types of contracts despite a government-wide shutdown, but don’t expect to hear about them.

The US Defense Department will not publicly announce contracts during the shutdown, Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman, wrote in an email.

But that should not stop the military services and defense agencies from signing pacts for equipment, supplies and other items.

The Pentagon will do “one big announcement” of the contracts awarded during this period when the shutdown ends, Christensen wrote.

So how is this possible? It is because the money being used to sign the deals was appropriated by Congress in prior years.

At the same time, the Pentagon is looking to widen the number of civilian employees allowed to work despite the first government-wide shutdown in 17 years, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.

Hagel, who is traveling in South Korea, said DoD lawyers are working “to see if there’s any margin here or widening in the interpretation of the law regarding exempt versus non-exempt civilians.”

About 400,000 civilian workers are facing furloughs until Congress passes a fiscal 2014 appropriation. Lawmakers in the Democrat-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House were unable to strike a budget deal before the fiscal year ended at midnight on Monday, causing a shutdown.

“Our lawyers believe that maybe we can expand the exempt status,” Hagel said. “We don’t know if that’s the case, but we are exploring that, so that we could cut back from the furloughs some of the civilians that had to leave.”

Most DoD civilian workers have already been furloughed six days this year, the result of the Pentagon cutting $37 billion from its 2013 budget due to sequestration.

“This is going to impact the future of a lot of our employees,” Hagel said. “I’ve had a number of senior civilian employees in DoD talk to me last few months about their futures. Their spouses are not happy. They have families.”

It is still not entirely clear which civilian employees will continue to work during the shutdown. For example, civilians supporting activities such as combat operations in Afghanistan are exempt. Also, some civilians at military headquarters were still in their offices Tuesday because their salaries are paid through working capital funds.

The funding in those accounts — which are typically used by DoD to pay for services — is likely leftover 2013 money, said Gordon Adams, a professor at American University and former White House budget official.

Congress passed, and President Barack Obama signed, into law on Monday a bill that pays active-duty military throughout the shutdown.

Andrew Tilghman contributed to this report|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

DoD training manual suggests Founding Fathers followed ‘extremist ideology’

 Published time: August 25, 2013 11:41                                                                            

A man is arrested during the Occupy Wall Street protest September 17, 2012 on the one year anniversary of the movement in New York.(AFP Photo / Stan Honda)A man is arrested during the Occupy Wall Street protest September 17, 2012 on the one year anniversary of the movement in New York.(AFP Photo / Stan Honda)

A Department of Defense training manual obtained by a conservative watchdog group pointed to the original American colonists as examples of an extremist movement, comments that have sparked fear of a broader crackdown on dissent in America.

The training manual provides information that describes, among  other things, “common themes in extremist ideologies.”

Now, if the Department of Defense has its way, historical figures  who risked their lives to free America from British colonial rule   – names like Paul Revere, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin and  Samuel Adams – will be rebranded as dangerous extremists,  alongside the likes of skinheads and neo-Nazis.

The first paragraph of the section entitled ‘Extremist  Ideologies’ opens with a statement that has drawn heated  criticism: “In US history, there are many examples of  extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to  free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who  sought to secede from the Northern states are just two  examples.”

In America’s early colonial period, many colonists served in  state militias under the direction of the Continental Army in an  effort to free the Thirteen Colonies from British rule. Indeed,  the Second Amendment of the US Constitution clearly states: “A  well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free  state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be  infringed.”

The   document, entitled Equal Opportunity and Treatment Incidents  (EOTI), was obtained on Thursday by Judicial Watch, a watchdog  group, through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The military manual defines extremism as a “term used to  describe the actions or ideologies of individuals or groups who  take a political idea to its limits, regardless of unfortunate  repercussions, and show intolerance toward all views other than  their own.”

Some would argue the military manual invokes a rather broad and  loose definition that may be applied to any number of persons and  organizations, including the Girl Scouts of America, for example,  selling cookies door-to-door.

The manual warns military personnel that “the objectives of  extremist organizations is [are] viewed as detrimental to the  good order, discipline, or mission accomplishment of the unit and  is [are], therefore, subject to appropriate disciplinary  action.”

The manual goes on to discuss “Doomsday thinking” under   “traits or behaviors that tend to represent the extremist  style.”


A participant in Occupy Wall Street protest is arrested by police during a rally to mark the one year anniversary of the movement in New York.(AFP Photo / Emmanuel Dunand)A participant in Occupy Wall Street protest is arrested by police during a rally to mark the one year anniversary of the movement in New York.(AFP Photo / Emmanuel Dunand)


Extremists often predict dire or catastrophic consequences  from a situation or from a failure to follow a specific course,  and they tend to exhibit a kind of crisis-mindedness. It can be a  Communist takeover, a Nazi revival, nuclear war, earthquakes,  floods, or the wrath of God. Whatever it is, it is just around  the corner unless we follow their program and listen to their  special insight and wisdom, to which only the truly enlightened  have access.

Nowadays,” the manual continues, “instead of dressing  in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists  will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to  make the world a better place.”

Many Americans and civil rights groups fear that in the event of  another national emergency, perhaps on the scale of a 9/11, the  US military will take over the role of ‘maintaining law and  order’ inside of American communities. These fears were increased  after US President Barack Obama signed into law on Dec. 31, 2011  the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which grants  sweeping powers to the US military.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) came out with a harsh  rebuke immediately following passage of the controversial  legislation.

President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy  because he will forever be known as the president who signed  indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said  Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director.

The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no  temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and  future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from  any battlefield.  The ACLU will fight worldwide detention  authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or  internationally.

The signing of the NDAA nullifies the Posse Comitatus Act, which  worked to prevent the US military from taking over police  functions within local communities.

The US Congress passed a bill (on Jan. 1, 2012, known as the  National Defense Authorization Act) that repeals Posse Comitatus,  which means that we have now institutionalized and codified  martial law,” Congressman Ron Paul told a group of supporters  in June 2012, as reported by Live Leaks. “Right now the battle  against terrorism involves all of us. Everybody in this country  is a potential terrorist.

If you happen to visit a website, or attend a meeting that  contains a particular viewpoint…you can be accused of being a  terrorist and the bill says you have no right to a lawyer,”   Paul added.

In January 2012, a study funded by the Department of Homeland  Security (“Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the  United States, 1970 to 2008”) characterizes Americans who are   “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and   “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme  right-wing” terrorists.

Robert Bridge, RT

Bridge is the author of the book,   Midnight in the American Empire, which examines the dangerous  consequences of extreme corporate power in the United States.

Unhappy With U.S. Foreign Policy? Pentagon Says You Might Be A ‘High Threat’ : “Hema”

Matt Sledge

Posted: 08/07/2013 11:36 am EDT  |  Updated: 08/07/2013  5:19 pm EDT

Watch out for “Hema.”

A security training test created by a Defense Department agency warns federal workers that they should consider the hypothetical Indian-American woman a “high threat” because she frequently visits family abroad, has money troubles and “speaks openly of unhappiness with U.S. foreign policy.”

That slide, from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), is a startling demonstration of the Obama administration’s obsession with leakers and other “insider threats.” One goal of its broader “Insider Threat” program is to stop the next Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden from spilling classified or sensitive information.

But critics have charged that the Insider Threat program, as McClatchy first reported, treats leakers acting in the public interest as traitors — and may not even accomplish its goal of preventing classified leaks.

insider threat


DISA’s test, dubbed the “CyberAwareness Challenge,” was produced in October 2012, a month before the Obama administration finalized its Insider Threat policy. The slide about Hema is included in a section of the training about “insider threats,” which are defined by an accompanying guide as “threats from people who have access to the organization’s information systems and may cause loss of physical inventory, data, and other security risks.”

Both Hema’s travel abroad and her political dissatisfaction are treated as threat “indicators.” Versions of the training for Defense Department and other federal employees are unclassified and available for anyone to play online.

“Catch me if you can,” the training dares.

In a statement to The Huffington Post, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said, “DISA was sensitive to any civil liberty concerns that might arise from any portion of the curriculum, which is why it coordinated with 26 federal agencies to ensure the maximum amount of input was received before going live.”

“When considering personnel for a position of trust that requires a security clearance, there are many potential indicators that must be considered when evaluating for insider threat concerns,” he explained. “The department takes these variables into consideration based on past examples of personnel who engaged in spying or treasonous acts.”

Several million people across the federal government have taken the training since it was released, Pickart said, and there has been only one complaint. He added that the next version of the security awareness training, to be released in October, is being updated so that its insider-threat test focuses more on behavior, “not personal characteristics or beliefs.”

Notably, the CyberAwareness Challenge is given to a wide range of federal employees whose roles have far less to do with security threats than that of a National Security Agency contractor like Snowden. The Department of Housing and Urban Development even requires its private business partners accessing a tenant rental assistance database to complete the training.

The Defense Department version of the “CyberAwareness Challenge” shows a healthy familiarity with Manning’s disclosures to WikiLeaks: In one training slide, the user is asked what to do when contacted by a reporter from “WikiSpills.”


Identifying “WikiSpills,” even hypothetically, as a legitimate journalist organization is quite different from how military prosecutors have approached the real WikiLeaks in the trial of Manning. There the military has suggested that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took few steps to verify the leaks he received before publication and acted as a virtual co-conspirator with his source.

Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said the DISA training slide was “ignorant and clumsy.”

“The item ‘speaks openly of unhappiness with U.S. foreign policy’ simply does not belong on the list,” Aftergood wrote in an email to HuffPost. “It is not a threat indicator. It could apply to most members of Congress, if not to most Americans. By presenting the matter this way, the slide suggests that overt dissent is a security concern. That is an error.”

READERS: Have you taken this security awareness training or another “insider threat” test? The Huffington Post would like to hear from you. Email Matt Sledge at, or call 347-927-9877.

Pentagon purges Osama bin Laden raid records

Posted By Associated Press On 10:59 AM  07/08/2013 In Politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. special operations commander, Adm. William McRaven, ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public.

The secret move, described briefly in a draft report by the Pentagon’s inspector general, set off no alarms within the Obama administration even though it appears to have sidestepped federal rules and perhaps also the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

An acknowledgement by Adm. William McRaven of his actions was quietly removed from the final version of an inspector general’s report published weeks ago. A spokesman for the admiral declined to comment. The CIA, noting that the bin Laden mission was overseen by then-CIA Director Leon Panetta before he became defense secretary, said that the SEALs were effectively assigned to work temporarily for the CIA, which has presidential authority to conduct covert operations.

“Documents related to the raid were handled in a manner consistent with the fact that the operation was conducted under the direction of the CIA director,” agency spokesman Preston Golson said in an emailed statement. “Records of a CIA operation such as the (bin Laden) raid, which were created during the conduct of the operation by persons acting under the authority of the CIA Director, are CIA records.”

Golson said it is “absolutely false” that records were moved to the CIA to avoid the legal requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

The records transfer was part of an effort by McRaven to protect the names of the personnel involved in the raid, according to the inspector general’s draft report.

But secretly moving the records allowed the Pentagon to tell The Associated Press that it couldn’t find any documents inside the Defense Department that AP had requested more than two years ago, and would represent a new strategy for the U.S. government to shield even its most sensitive activities from public scrutiny.

“Welcome to the shell game in place of open government,” said Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a private research institute at George Washington University. “Guess which shell the records are under. If you guess the right shell, we might show them to you. It’s ridiculous.”

McRaven’s directive sent the only copies of the military’s records about its daring raid to the CIA, which has special authority to prevent the release of “operational files” in ways that can’t effectively be challenged in federal court. The Defense Department can prevent the release of its own military files, citing risks to national security, but that can be contested in court and a judge can compel it to turn over non-sensitive portions of records.

Transferring government records from one executive agency to another must be approved in writing by the National Archives and Records Administration, under the Code of Federal Regulations. There are limited circumstances when prior approval is not required, such as when the records are moved between two components of the same executive department. The CIA and Special Operations Command are not part of the same department.

The Archives was not aware of any request from the U.S. Special Operations Command to transfer its records to the CIA, spokeswoman Miriam Kleiman said. She said it was the Archives’ understanding that the military records belonged to the CIA, so transferring them wouldn’t have required permission under U.S. rules.

Other rules from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff dictate that records about military operations and planning are to be considered permanent and after 25 years, following a declassification review, transferred to the National Archives.

Also, the Federal Records Act would not permit agencies “to purge records just on a whim,” said Dan Metcalfe, who oversaw the U.S. government’s compliance with the Freedom of Information Act as former director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy. “I don’t think there’s an exception allowing an agency to say, ‘Well, we didn’t destroy it. We just deleted it here after transmitting it over there.’ High-level officials ought to know better.”

It was not immediately clear exactly which Defense Department records were purged and transferred, when it happened or under what authority, if any, they were sent to the CIA. No government agencies the AP contacted would discuss details of the transfer.

The AP asked for files about the mission in more than 20 separate requests, mostly submitted in May 2011 — several were sent a day after President Barack Obama announced that the world’s most wanted terrorist had been killed in a firefight. Obama has pledged to make his administration the most transparent in U.S. history.

McRaven’s unusual order would have remained secret had it not been mentioned in a single sentence on the final page in the inspector general’s draft report that examined whether the Obama administration gave special access to Hollywood executives planning a film, “Zero Dark Thirty,” about the raid. The draft report was obtained and posted online last month by the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group in Washington.

McRaven described steps he took to protect the identities of the SEALs after the raid, directing that their names and photographs not be released.

“This effort included purging the combatant command’s systems of all records related to the operation and providing these records to another government agency,” according to the draft report. The sentence was dropped from the report’s final version.

Current and former Defense Department officials knowledgeable about McRaven’s directive and the inspector general’s report told AP the description of the order in the draft report is accurate. The reference to “another government agency” was code for the CIA, they said. These individuals spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name.

The Defense Department told the AP in March 2012 it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden’s body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden’s body on the USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier from which he was buried at sea. The Pentagon also said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden’s body if he were killed. It said it searched files at the Pentagon, Special Operations Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla., and the Navy command in San Diego that controls the Carl Vinson.

The Pentagon also refused to confirm or deny the existence of helicopter maintenance logs and reports about the performance of military gear used in the raid. One of the stealth helicopters that carried the SEALs in Pakistan crashed during the mission and its wreckage was left behind.


Associated Press writer Kimberly Dozier contributed to this report.

Article printed from The Daily Caller:

URL to article:

Congressman blasts Obama’s Defense Department for blocking Marine colonel from appearing before Congress as key witness in Benghazi probe

By  David Martosko In Washington

PUBLISHED: 14:01 EST, 9 July  2013 |  UPDATED: 20:06  EST, 9 July 2013

Have you seen this man? U.S. Marine Corps Col. George Bristol commanded the Special Operations units in Northern Africa when terrorists attacked American diplomatic posts in Benghazi, Libya 

Have you seen this man? U.S. Marine Corps Col. George  Bristol, who is believed to have retired in March, commanded the Special  Operations units in Northern Africa when terrorists attacked American diplomatic  posts in Benghazi, Libya

A key witness to the military’s response  after the Sept. 11, 2012 terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya  hasn’t appeared before Congress to testify about what he knows.

And Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who  sits on the powerful House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, is losing  his patience with the Pentagon.

The Obama Administration’s Defense Department  has so far declined to tell the committee anything about Col. George Bristol’s  whereabouts, despite his position until March of this year as commander of Joint  Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara.

‘The Department of Defense is not willing to  pass along any sort of information,’ Rep.  Chaffetz told MailOnline. ‘That’s  unbelievably frustrating.’

Bristol’s former unit, which operates under  United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), played a key role in what unfolded as  armed terrorists executed a military attack on the Benghazi diplomatic post,  killing the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.


‘We know he was in the chain of command that  evening,’ Chaffetz explained. ‘We want to know what his position was. And we  will find out.’

Meanwhile, the Utah congressman is critical  of the Pentagon for refusing to provide access to Bristol, or tell Congress  where to find him.

Looking for answers: Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz wants to interview Bristol, but the Pentagon 'is choosing to not be helpful, he said'General Carter F. Ham, former commander of the U.S. military's Africa Command, testified before Congress in June about Benghazi

Looking for answers: Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz  (L) wants to interview Bristol, but the Pentagon claims it isn’t required to  furnish the whereabouts of retired officers. But General Carter Ham (R), the  retired former commander of the U.S. military’s Africa Command, was served up to  Congress by the Dept. of Defense


The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya was in flames during the military-style attack by terrorists in Sept. 2012. Congress continues to look for answers 

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya was in flames  during the military-style attack by terrorists in Sept. 2012. Congress continues  to look for answers, despite the Obama administration’s unwillingness to  cooperate


‘It’s obvious to us that the Pentagon is  choosing to not be helpful,’ said Chaffetz.

‘In general, they have probably been more  helpful on Benghazi than other agencies, but with Col. Bristol, this is somehow  different.’

Maj. Robert Firman, a Pentagon spokesman,  told CBS News on July 5 that the Department of Defense ‘cannot compel retired  members to testify before Congress.’

Chaffetz called that assertion  ‘Hogwash.’

‘General Ham is retired,’ he said, ‘and they  made him available.’

Army Gen. Carter Ham was in command  of  AFRICOM until April 2013, and was Col. Bristol’s superior on the day  terrorists, including many affiliated with the al-Qaeda-linked group  Ansar  al-Sharia, bombarded the State Department’s Benghazi outposts.

Ham testified on June 26 in a closed session  before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and  Investigations.

Stonewalling? The Pentagon refuses to provide information about where Col. Bristol can be found, even as congressional Republicans ask for answers and former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is now the Defense Secretary


Stonewalling? The Pentagon refuses to provide  information about where Col. Bristol can be found, even as congressional  Republicans ask for answers and former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is now the  Defense Secretary

Chaffetz said he and other oversight  committee Republicans are still attempting to track down everyone – both  military and civilian – who can supply crucial pieces of the Benghazi  puzzle.

Questions remain unanswered about why Special  Operations soldiers were prevented from boarding a military plane in Tripoli  during the attack – a plane that was already preparing to take off for Benghazi.

Other questions focus on the degree to which  the State and Justice Departments may have waited too long to act in the  attack’s aftermath, missing opportunities to find answers or collect evidence.

The FBI didn’t arrive on the scene in  Benghazi until approximately three weeks had gone by, citing remaining security  concerns in the Mediterranean coastal city.

‘You can’t do a thorough investigation  without talking to everyone who knows something or saw something,’ Chaffetz  said. ‘Absolutely everyone.’

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. personnel were killed by militants who attacked the diplomatic compound in the Mediterranean coastal town of Benghazi 

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three  other U.S. personnel were killed by militants who attacked the diplomatic  compound in the Mediterranean coastal town of Benghazi


And that, he said, includes the State  Department employees who worked in or around the consulate compound. More than  two dozen of them are believed to be either in military hospitals or under  Pentagon protection. As with Col. Bristol, the Department of Defense has not  provided Congress with any access to them.

‘I think we have a better idea of who they  are, and we know where some of them are,’ Chaffetz told MailOnline, comparing  the depth of Congress’ information with what it knew during the months following  the Benghazi attack.

‘But we’re no closer to getting interviews  with them. It will happen, but the State Department is just being incredibly  unhelpful.’

President Obama told reporters on May 1 that  he was unaware of any Benghazi survivors who had been prohibited from speaking  to congressional investigators, and he pledged to find out more.

‘I’m not familiar with this notion that  anybody has been blocked from testifying,’ the president said during a news  conference, in response to a direct question about the situation.

‘So what I’ll do is, I will find out what  exactly you’re referring to,’ Obama promised. The White House hasn’t commented  publicly on the matter since then.

Not just Benghazi: Protesters destroyed an American flag pulled down from the U.S. embassy in Cairo on the same day the Benghazi consulate fell 

Not just Benghazi: Protesters destroyed an American flag  pulled down from the U.S. embassy in Cairo on the same day the Benghazi  consulate fell

The State Department has pushed back against  claims that any of its career employees have been threatened with retaliation if  they provide members of Congress with new details about the Benghazi  attack.

‘The State Department is deeply committed to  meeting its obligation to protect employees,’ a spokesman told reporters during  a May 1 briefing, ‘and the State Department would never tolerate – tolerate or  sanction – retaliation against whistle-blowers on any issue, including this  one.’

Neither the State Department nor the Pentagon  responded to phone calls seeking comment. The Pentagon also did not reply to a  request for information about Col. Bristol’s whereabouts.

A Libyan man told the Associated Press that bloodstains outside the Benghazi consulate were from an American staff member who grabbed the edge of the column while he was evacuated 

A Libyan man told the Associated Press that bloodstains  outside the Benghazi consulate were from an American staff member who grabbed  the edge of the column while he was evacuated

Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

US army blocks access to Guardian website to preserve ‘network hygiene’

Military admits to filtering reports and content relating to government surveillance programs for thousands of personnel



The Pentagon insisted the Department of Defense was only seeking to restrict access to certain content. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters

The US army has admitted to blocking access to parts of the Guardian website for thousands of defence personnel across the country.

A spokesman said the military was filtering out reports and content relating to government surveillance programs to preserve “network hygiene” and prevent any classified material appearing on unclassified parts of its computer systems.

The confirmation follows reports in the Monterey Herald that staff at the Presidio military base south of San Francisco had complained of not being able to access the Guardian’s UK site at all, and had only partial access to the US site, following publication of leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The Pentagon insisted the Department of Defense was not seeking to block the whole website, merely taking steps to restrict access to certain content.

But a spokesman for the Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command (Netcom) in Arizona confirmed that this was a widespread policy, likely to be affecting hundreds of defence facilities.

“In response to your question about access to the website, the army is filtering some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks,” said Gordon Van Vleet, a Netcom public affairs officer.

“The Department of Defense routinely takes preventative ‘network hygiene’ measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information onto DoD unclassified networks.”

The army stressed its actions were automatic and would not affect computers outside military facilities.

“The department does not determine what sites its personnel can choose to visit while on a DoD system, but instead relies on automated filters that restrict access based on content concerns or malware threats,” said Van Vleet. “The DoD is also not going to block websites from the American public in general, and to do so would violate our highest-held principle of upholding and defending the constitution and respecting civil liberties and privacy.”

Similar measures were taken by the army after the Guardian and other newspapers published leaked State Department cables obtained via WikiLeaks.

“We make every effort to balance the need to preserve information access with operational security, however there are strict policies and directives in place regarding protecting and handling classified information,” added the Netcom spokesman.

“Until declassified by appropriate officials, classified information – including material released through an unauthorized disclosure – must be treated accordingly by DoD personnel. If a public website displays classified information, then filtering may be used to preserve ‘network hygiene’ for DoD unclassified networks.”

A Defense Department spokesman at the Pentagon added: “The Guardian website is NOT being blocked by DoD. The Department of Defense routinely takes preventative measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information onto DoD unclassified networks.”

DoD Calls Out China On Cyber Spying

Jun. 19, 2013 – 09:50AM   |
By Staff report   |

Filed Under

C4ISR Journal

The Pentagon for the first time is making direct allegations that China’s government and military are behind widespread cyber spying. Previously, the U.S. had tried to be diplomatic. But in the Defense Department’s annual report to Congress on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2013,” the language could not be clearer. It is well worth a read for anyone who follows the darker corners of cyber.“Cyber Activities Directed Against the Department of Defense. In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military. These intrusions were focused on exfiltrating information. China is using its computer network exploitation (CNE) capability to support intelligence collection against the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support U.S. national defense programs. The information targeted could potentially be used to benefit China’s defense industry, high technology industries, policymaker interest in U.S. leadership thinking on key China issues, and military planners building a picture of U.S. network defense networks, logistics, and related military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis. Although this alone is a serious concern, the accesses and skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct computer network attacks. …

“Cyberwarfare in China’s Military. Cyberwarfare capabilities could serve Chinese military operations in three key areas.

First and foremost, they allow data collection for intelligence and computer network attack purposes. Second, they can be employed to constrain an adversary’s actions or slow response time by targeting network-based logistics, communications, and commercial activities. Third, they can serve as a force multiplier when coupled with kinetic attacks during times of crisis or conflict.

“Developing cyber capabilities for warfare is consistent with authoritative PLA military writings. Two military doctrinal writings, Science of Strategy, and Science of Campaigns identify information warfare (IW) as integral to achieving information superiority and an effective means for countering a stronger foe. Although neither document identifies the specific criteria for employing computer network ­attack against an adversary, both advocate developing capa­bilities to compete in this medium. …

“In parallel with its military preparations, China has increased diplomatic engagement and advocacy in multilateral and international forums where ­cyber issues are discussed and debated. Beijing’s agenda is frequently in line with Russia’s efforts to promote more international control over cyber activities. China and Russia continue to promote an Information Security Code of Conduct that would have governments exercise sovereign authority over the flow of information and control of content in cyberspace. Both governments also continue to play a disruptive role in multi­lateral efforts to establish transparency and confidence-building measures in international fora such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), ASEAN Regional Forum, and the UN Group of Governmental Experts.”|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

June 7 memorandum from the DoD warning employees not to read information on any leaks

ScreenHunter_37 Jun. 18 23.42

ScreenHunter_38 Jun. 18 23.42

DoD Warns Employees of Classified Info in Public Domain

Categories: Leaks, Secrecy

As a new wave of classified documents published by news organizations appeared online over the past week, the Department of Defense instructed employees and contractors that they must neither seek out nor download classified material that is in the public domain.“Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites, disclosed to the media, or otherwise in the public domain remains classified and must be treated as such until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. government authority,” wrote Timothy A. Davis, Director of Security in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence), in a June 7 memorandum.

“DoD employees and contractors shall not, while accessing the web on unclassified government systems, access or download documents that are known or suspected to contain classified information.”

“DoD employees or contractors who seek out classified information in the public domain, acknowledge its accuracy or existence, or proliferate the information in any way will be subject to sanctions,” the memorandum said.

DoD: If You See A Leaked NSA Document, Press SHIFT And DELETE To Get Rid Of It

from the this-again dept

We saw this back when Wikileaks released a bunch of documents and the Defense Department and other government agencies told employees that they weren’t allowed to look at any of the documents, even though they were being splashed all over the press.  Now, it appears, the same thing is happening concerning the NSA leaks.  The Defense Department quickly sent out a memo to staff, saying:

Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites, disclosed to the media, or otherwise in the public domain remains classified and must be treated as such until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. government authority. It is the responsibility of every DoD employee and contractor to protect classified information and to follow established procedures for accessing classified information only through authorized means. 

This included instructions, such as the following:

DoD employees or contractors who inadvertently discover potentially classified information in the public domain shall report its existence immediately to their Security Manager. Security Managers and Information Assurance Managers are instructed to document the occurrence and report the event to the Director of Security Policy and Oversight, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSD(I)). The offending material will be deleted by holding down the SHIFT key while pressing the DELETE key for Windows-based systems and clearing of the internet browser cache.

Given how much these documents are now showing up in the news, you have to imagine that Defense Department “Security Managers” are up to their eyeballs in “reports” from staffers who “inadvertently” run across such classified materials.  On top of this, staff are told to not even acknowledge the existence of these documents:

DoD employees or contractors who seek out classified information in the public domain, acknowledge its accuracy or existence, or proliferate the information in any way will be subject to sanctions.

I’ve seen people defend these policies in the past, but they make no sense.  All they do is encourage a head-in-the-sand mentality within the government, in which employees are told to pretend that public information isn’t public.  As we’ve said before, in the business world, non-disclosure agreements are generally considered null and void the moment the same information becomes public via other means.  Because that’s dealing with reality.  Pretending that these documents aren’t out in the world, and having to fill out a report every time a government employee happens to hit a news article with one of these documents shown, seems like a tremendous waste of time and energy, all in an attempt to deny reality.

Link to Anonymous Leaked PRISM-related NSA docs

EEV: Always Click with Caution

Link to Anonymous leaks more PRISM-related NSA docs

Primary Page:

US discloses Israel’s top-secret military base outraging Tel-Aviv

  Published time: June 04, 2013 19:17      Edited time: June 04, 2013 21:05                                                                            

An Arrow II battery, a U.S.-backed Israeli missile shield, is seen at Palmachim base, south of Tel Aviv May 29, 2013.(Reuters / Amir Cohen)

An Arrow II battery, a U.S.-backed Israeli missile shield, is seen at Palmachim base, south of Tel Aviv May 29, 2013.(Reuters / Amir Cohen)

The US government has inadvertently revealed the details of a top-secret Israeli missile base in published bid requests, leaving military officials in Tel-Aviv in the state of shock.

Israel has turned to the US government with its plans to build a  state-of-the-art facility to host the new ballistic-missile  defense system, the Arrow 3, McClatchy’s Washington Bureau  reports.
In accordance with its usual procedure, the US Defense Department  has published the details of the $25 million project on a federal  business opportunities website so that contractors could bid on  it.
Over 1,000 pages of specifications included a thorough  description of the future base from the depth of the underground  complex to building materials to be used in construction.
The information on the facility at Tel Shahar is classified in  Israel, with the local military even refusing to officially  confirm its location between the cities of Jerusalem and Ashdod.
“If an enemy of Israel wanted to launch an attack against a  facility, this would give him an easy how-to guide. This type of  information is closely guarded and its release can jeopardize the  entire facility,” an unnamed Israeli military official  commented, refusing to say if the plans for the base will be  altered as a result of the disclosure.

“This is more than worrying, it’s shocking,” he added.

An Israeli Air Force Sikorsky CH-53 helicopter lands in the Tel Nof air base in central Israel.(Reuters / Baz Ratner)

According to the bid requests, the Arrow 3 system will include  six interceptor missiles in vertical launch positions to be  placed at the base, with a gantry crane to be erected for further  missiles.
High-grade concrete reinforced with steel mesh grids will be used  to build the structures encasing the interceptor system, which  will have steel blast doors and a system to protect electrical  wiring from the pressure during the launch.
The Arrow 3 is a defense system designed to intercept ballistic  missiles outside the Earth’s atmosphere. It’s expected to become  operational in 2015-16 to tackle possible threats from the  nuclear weapon program developed by neighboring Iran.     “We’re thinking mostly about the nuclear threat,” Col. Aviram  Hasson, who heads the Arrow 3 project, is cited as saying by “We want to reach a situation in which Israel has a  ready defense for any threat, present or future.”
Earlier, the head of the bidding process at Israel’s Defense  Ministry, Lt. Col. Peleg Zeevi, told Reuters that the project was  given to the Americans as the IDF needed “a player that has the  knowledge, ability and experience” in the field.
Since 1998, the US had built military facilities worth $500  million for the Israeli army, which, according to Zeevi, was   “aware of the security issues that arise in deals with foreign  firms.” But it seems that the scale of the disclosure of a  top-secret facility was too much to handle for the Israeli  officials.

US government orders Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed to remove blueprint for 3D-printed handgun from the web

Last week Wilson printed and fired the “Liberator” handgun

James Legge

Friday, 10 May 2013

The US government has demanded the removal of online files which allow users to 3D-print their own unregistered gun at home.

The blueprint has so far been downloaded more than 100,000 times since Defense Distributed – which spent a year designing the “Liberator” handgun – made it available online.

Last week Defense Distributed built the gun from plastic on an industrial 3D printer bought on eBay for $8,000 (£5,140), and fired it.

The Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance wrote to the company’s founder Cody Wilson demanding the designs be “removed from public access” until he could prove he had not broken laws governing shipping weapons overseas.

“We have to comply,” Mr Wilson told news magazine Forbes in an interview.

But he said Defense Distributed had been set up specifically to meet requirements that exempted it from the regulations.

The designs have since been removed from the company’s Defcad site, but this may not prevent people accessing the blueprints, many links to which have been uploaded to file-sharing site the Pirate Bay, making them widely available.

Wilson – a self-described “crypto-anarchist” who believes everyone has a right to a gun – welcomed the government intervention, saying it would highlight the issue of whether it was possible to stop the spread of 3D-printed weapons.

The group’s website currently has a red banner at the top reading: “DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls.  Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.”

Wilson told the tech blog Betabeat: “We got an official letter from the Secretary of State, telling me who they were, what their authority was under US law and telling me they want to review these files to see if they’re class one munitions. That includes blueprints.”


A possible answer for protection against chemical/biological agents, fuel leaks, and coffee stains

Contact: Robert White Air Force Office of Scientific Research

A recent discovery funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research may very well lead to a process that not only benefits every uniformed service member of the Department of Defense, but everyone else as well

A recent discovery funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) may very well lead to a process that not only benefits every uniformed service member of the Department of Defense, but everyone else as well: protection from Chemical/Biological agents, to self-cleaning apparel, to effortless thermal management, to fuel purification as well as enhanced control of leaks—especially oil and fuels.

In 2006, AFOSR Program Manager Dr. Charles Lee funded Professor Gareth McKinley at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology exploring nanocomposite technology for Defense applications.  Anish Tuteja, an MIT doctoral student at the time, was exploiting the unusual surface properties of a nanocomposite with fluorinated nanoparticles, to create a superoleophobic surface.  After graduation, Tuteja moved to University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he is currently an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, specializing in chemical engineering and macromolecular science and engineering. He was awarded a Young Investigator Program grant from AFOSR in 2011, and continued to conduct the same line of research begun at MIT.  His team also included doctoral student Shuaijun Pan and postdoctoral researcher Arun Kota, as well as collaboration with Dr. Joseph Mabry, from the Rocket Propulsion Division of the Air Force Research Laboratory, at Edwards AFB, California.

In their latest paper, “Superomniphobic Surfaces for Effective Chemical Shielding,” in the current issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Tuteja and his team have demonstrated surfaces that effectively perform as “chemical shields against virtually all liquids.”

To make this possible, surfaces are prepared using a nanoscale coating that is approximately 95 percent air, which in turn, repels liquids of any material in its class, causing them to literally bounce off the treated surface.  The surfaces “possess hierarchical scales of re-entrant texture that significantly reduce the solid−liquid contact area.” It all comes down to controlling how much contact the liquid ultimately has with the treated surface.  To accomplish that the researchers apply the nanoscale coating using a process called electrospinning—using an electric charge to create fine particles of solid derived from a liquid solution.

The coating is a mixture of cross-linked “polydimethylsiloxane,” or PDMS, and liquid-resisting nanoscale cubes developed by the Air Force that contain carbon, fluorine, silicon and oxygen. While the material’s chemistry is important, so is its texture, because it hugs the pore structure of whatever surface it is applied to, and creates a fine web of air pockets within those pores, so any liquid that comes in contact with the coating is barely touching a solid surface.

According to Dr. Tuteja, when an untreated surface and a liquid get in close proximity, “they imbue a small positive or negative charge on each other, and as soon as the liquid comes in contact with the solid surface, it will start to spread….we’ve drastically reduced the interaction between the surface and the droplet.”  By effectively eliminating the contact between the treated surface and the liquid, there is almost no incentive for the liquid to spread, as such, the droplets stay intact, interacting only with molecules of themselves, and maintaining their spherical shape.

The research team has tested more than 100 liquids and found only two that were able to penetrate the coating: they were both chlorofluorocarbons—chemicals used in refrigerators and air conditioners. In Tuteja’s lab demonstrations the surface repelled coffee, soy sauce and vegetable oil, as well as toxic hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, and the surfaces are also resistant to gasoline and various alcohols.

This program is of particular interest to the Air Force and the Department of Defense, as it can be useful for self-cleaning surfaces (in particular, integral breathable protective Chemical/Biological Warfare defense in uniform clothing and sensor systems), improvement of thermal management efficiency in phase change cooling systems, fuel purification and the control of oil and fuel leakages in rockets and airplanes.  Not to mention, protection against the everyday coffee spill.

Pentagon laying off 46,000 staff



Pentagon laying off 46,000 staff

The US defence department says it has begun laying off most of its 46,000 temporary employees, as automatic defence budget cuts loom in March.

Deputy Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said the Pentagon was acting “because we’re running out of time” to absorb potential changes to their budget.

$50bn (£32bn) in cuts are due this year under the so-called fiscal cliff.

Lawmakers made a last-minute deal on 1 January to put them off for two months, but the ultimate outcome is undecided.

Mr Carter said he was directing each military service to produce detailed plans by 1 February on reducing short-term spending.

He also said the Pentagon could force its 800,000 civilian employees to lose one day of work per week without pay from April, in a move that would save $5bn.

The Pentagon and other parts of the US government face across-the-board cuts on 1 March, with an estimated $500bn decrease in the defence budget over 10 years.

The US defence department unveiled a strategy in early 2012 designed to accommodate at least $450bn in Pentagon cuts over the next decade, as the country winds down the Afghanistan war.

The automatic reductions due in March would be in addition to these savings.

(BBC News)

Antivirus biz’s founder unmasked as noted Chinese hacker

Original URL:

Blackhat once attacked US Department of Defense

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 29th November 2012 09:19 GMT

Free whitepaper – Gartner: Secure Web Gateway Malware Detection Techniques

Antivirus startup Anvisoft was founded by an infamous Chinese hacker who allegedly cut his teeth exploiting Microsoft Office security holes to hack US defence contractors, it has emerged.

Investigative journalist Brian Krebs uncovered evidence [1] – largely based on historic domain records for Anvisoft and reports compiled by VeriSign on Chinese hacking activities – to allege that black-hat Tan Dailin established the antivirus startup.

In response to inquiries from The Reg, Anvisoft confirmed via a message from its official Facebook account that the report is accurate. “Yes, it is true,” it simply stated.

Dailin, AKA Wicked Rose or sometime Withered Rose [2], allegedly led a state-sponsored four-man crew called NCPH – Network Crack Program Hacker. According to VeriSign’s iDefense, NCPH developed a rootkit [3] [PDF] that was used to infiltrate the US defence establishment in 2006. The group is accused of launching Microsoft Office-based attacks for two years before it disbanded in 2008.

Krebs followed various online clues to piece together his tentative conclusion that Dailin, a 28-year-old graduate of Sichuan University of Science and Engineering in Zigong, registered Anvisoft’s domain in 2011, and may still be a key player at the startup.

One of Dailin’s cohorts in NCPH, a hacker nicknamed Rodag, wrote a blog post describing Anvisoft’s Smart Defender as a “security aid from abroad” and praised the technology, Krebs noted.

A screenshot of FacebookAnvisoft confirms reports

Trademark registration records [4] pinpoint Anvisoft’s genesis in the Chinese city of Chengdu although the company states it is based in Toronto, Canada.

Kreb’s digital detective work, though persuasive, was far from conclusive, which he admits. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Anvisoft.

“Anvisoft may in fact be a legitimate company, with a legitimate product; and for all I know, it is. But until it starts to answer some basic questions about who’s running the company, this firm is going to have a tough time gaining any kind of credibility or market share,” Krebs noted.

Anvisoft’s technology has not been widely reviewed, but that’s not to say it is ineffective or untrustworthy. Against this Trend Micro, alone among mainstream antivirus software, flags up Anvisoft’s Anvi Smart Defender Free setup utility as malign, according to results from VirusTotal [5].

Western antivirus firms, at least, generally have a policy of not employing former malware writers. Aside for presenting a negative image [6] to potential customers, and sustaining the myth that antivirus firms employ an underground army of virus programmers to ramp up demand for their products, VXers are thought to be ill-suited to life in an antivirus firm.

Not only have they shown themselves to have dubious morals but from a purely practical view the skills required to write a decent antivirus program are not the same as those necessary to construct modern malware.

Almost all Western antivirus firms have a standing ban on employing anyone mixed up in malware for reasons explained in greater length by Sophos here [7]. ®

U.S. DoD’s Autonomous Weapons Directive Keeps Man in the Loop: ” Humans still must play an oversight role “

Nov. 27, 2012 – 01:43PM   |

The U.S. Defense Department has issued a new directive on the use of autonomous and semi-autonomous weapon systems, an attempt to regulate a technology that officials say could be years from becoming reality.

The directive, released Nov. 27, is focused on systems that can select and engage targets without the intervention of a human operator. Non-lethal autonomous systems, such as electronic attack or cyberspace systems, fall outside its jurisdiction. So do technologies such as the Patriot missile system, which have autonomous functions but still require human supervision.

Any autonomous and semi-autonomous weapon systems “shall be designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force,” the doctrine reads. Humans still must play an oversight role, with the ability to activate or deactivate system functions should the need arise.

Systems will also be required to go through “rigorous” verification and validation and operational test and evaluation stages to catch potential malfunctions before the systems ever see active duty.

Once through the testing stages, systems will require the approval of the undersecretary of defense for policy, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before their activation.

The overall goal of the new rules is to avoid “unintended engagements,” defined in the doctrine as “damage to persons or objects that human operators did not intend to be the targets of U.S. military operations, including unacceptable levels of collateral damage beyond those consistent with the law of war, [rules of engagement], and commander’s intent.”

The new rules aren’t in place to discourage the development of an autonomous weapon system, said David Ochmanek, deputy assistant secretary for policy force development, who described the doctrine as “flexible.”

“What it does say is that if you want to [develop an autonomous weapon system], there will be a rigorous review process, and if you expect it to be approved, you will be asked to show that your software and hardware has been subject to rigorous test and validation,” Ochmanek said.

While the department is looking toward the future, the report’s authors don’t expect to need the new regulations any time soon.

“This directive is, for once, out ahead of events,” Ochmanek said. “This isn’t something where we all of a sudden realized someone’s out there about to develop a Terminator and decided we better get a directive out. That’s not the case.”

Although Ochmanek declined to guess at a timetable for the development of this technology, “I can say with confidence that there is no development program going on right now that would create an autonomous weapons system,” he said.

The idea of a robotic military UAV that can identify enemies and hunt them down is a long-time staple in science fiction. But even when autonomous military systems become a reality, they are unlikely to resemble something out of “Star Wars” or “The Matrix.”

“When you hear folks talk about this outside the Pentagon, in reports, they tend to leap to the hardest case … something making a judgment call that [is] hard for people to make,” said a defense official involved with the drafting of the new doctrine.

The official used the example of two cars driving on the ground, one with an ally inside and one with an enemy inside. A machine would have to process an incredible amount of different data to be able to decide which car should be targeted.

“We don’t want to build a robot for that. Machines won’t have an advantage in that case,” said the official, who added that DoD would have a series of meetings with interested parties to brief them on the new doctrine.

The specter of that “hardest case” was raised in a Nov. 19 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, “Losing Humanity: The Case against Killer Robots.” The report warned of the need to regulate autonomous devices, “which would inherently lack human qualities that provide legal and non-legal checks on the killing of civilians.”

Ochmanek denied any connection between the release of the HRW report and the new doctrine, which was in development for 18 months with the help of representatives from the Joint Staff, DoD’s acquisitions office, the Office of the General Counsel, the U.S. military services, and the research and development community.|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

Osama bin Laden: Navy emails lift the lid on secret burial at sea

The first details of Osama bin Laden’s secret burial at sea have been revealed in internal US military emails which show that no sailor witnessed the covert funeral.


President Barack Obama in the Situation Room of the White House watches the mission to catch Osama bin Laden (right) on May 1, 2011.

President Barack Obama in the Situation Room of the White House watches the mission to catch Osama bin Laden (right) on May 1, 2011. Photo: Reuters

3:06AM GMT 22 Nov 2012

The emails, which were heavily blacked out, also disclosed that Islamic rituals were observed in the lead-up to the burial, and revealed that bin Laden’s body was referred to as a FedEx package.

The correspondence represents the first public disclosure of government records about the former al Qaeda leader’s burial. They were released on Wednesday by the Defense Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Associated Press,

One email stamped secret and sent on May 2 by a senior Navy officer briefly describes how bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet, and then placed in a weighted bag.

According to another message from the Vinson’s public affairs officer, only a small group of the ship’s leadership was informed of the burial.

Bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011, by a Navy SEAL team that assaulted his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. His body was carried out to sea by the USS Carl Vinson.

“Traditional procedures for Islamic burial was followed,” the May 2 email from Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette reads. “The deceased’s body was washed (ablution) then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag.

“A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased’s body slid into the sea.”

The email also included a cryptic reference to the intense secrecy surrounding the mission. “The paucity of documentary evidence in our possession is a reflection of the emphasis placed on operational security during the execution of this phase of the operation,” Admiral Gaouette’s message reads.

Recipients of the email included Admiral Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General James Mattis, the top officer at US Central Command. Admiral Mullen retired from the military in September 2011.

Earlier, Admiral Gaouette, then the deputy commander of the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and another officer used code words to discuss whether the helicopters carrying the SEALs and bin Laden’s body had arrived on the Vinson.

“Any news on the package for us?” he asked Rear Admiral Samuel Perez, commander of the carrier strike group that included the Vinson.

“FedEx delivered the package,” Admiral Perez responded. “Both trucks are safely enroute home base.”

Although the Obama administration has pledged to be the most transparent in American history, it is keeping a tight hold on materials related to the bin Laden raid.

In a response to separate requests from the AP for information about the mission, the Defense Department said in March that it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden’s body.

It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden’s body on the Vinson.

The Pentagon also said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden’s body if he were killed.

The Defense Department also refused to confirm or deny the existence of helicopter maintenance logs and reports about the performance of military gear used in the raid.

One of the stealth helicopters that carried the SEALs to Abbottabad crashed during the mission and its wreckage was left behind. People who lived near bin Laden’s compound took photos of the disabled chopper.

The AP is appealing the Defense Department’s decision.

The CIA, which ran the bin Laden raid and has special legal authority to keep information from ever being made public, has not responded to AP’s request for records about the mission.

Source: AP

U.S. Army Sponsored Artificial Intelligence Surveillance System Attempts to Predict The Future

    10/29/2012 @ 5:12AM     |4,088 views

English: This was the most up-to-date DARPA lo...

In something that looks straight out of the CBS show “Person of Interest“, the science website is reporting on a potentially important breakthrough from researchers at Carnegie Mellon. In research sponsored by the United States Army Research Laboratory, the Carnegie Mellon researchers presented an artificial intelligence system that can watch and predict what a person will ‘likely’ do in the future using specially programmed software designed to analyze various real-time video surveillance feeds.  The system can automatically identify and notify officials if it recognized that an action is not permitted, detecting what is describes as anomalous behaviors. According to the paper, one such example are cameras at an airport or bus stations with an autonomous system flagging a bag abandoned for more than a few minutes.

The paper presents a complex knowledge infrastructure of a high-level artificial visual intelligent system, called the Cognitive Engine. In particular it describes how the conceptual specifications of basic action types can be driven by a hybrid semantic resources. In layman’s terms, the context of an action. For example, is a person leaving a bag because he’s sitting next to it? Or has that person left all together?

The goal of the research is to create artificial intelligence system similar to that of human visual intelligence. The ability for a computer system to make effective and consistent detections. The researchers noted that humans evolved by learning to adapt and properly react to environmental stimuli, becoming extremely skilled in filtering and generalizing over perceptual data, taking decisions and acting on the basis of acquired information and background knowledge. These computer vision algorithms needed to be complemented with higher-level tools of analysis involving knowledge representation and reasoning, often under conditions of uncertainty.

The Cognitive Engine represents the core module of the Extended Activity Reasoning system (EAR) in the CMU-Minds Eye architecture. Mind’s Eye is the name of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA*) program for building AI systems that can filter surveillance footage to support human (remote) operators, and automatically alert them whenever something suspicious is recognized (such as someone leaving a package in a parking lot and running away).

Alessandro Oltramari, a postdoctoral researcher and Christian Lebiere, both from the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon, suggest that this automated video surveillance approach could find applications both in military and civil environments.

* DARPA is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of new technologies for use by the military.

Find Reuven on Twitter @rUv | Linkedin | Google+

After snagging $4.6B contract, Lockheed plans ‘cyber kill chain’ for Global Information Grid

Oct. 22, 2012 – 07:10PM   |

SAN FRANCISCO — The Defense Department’s day-to-day operations are linked in a vast, international in-house data communications network called the Global Information Grid. Seven million people — uniformed members of the armed forces as well as civilians — rely on it to exchange classified and unclassified information on personnel, vehicles, weapons and surveillance systems. Now, in a coup coming in tight economic times, Lockheed Martin has taken over the multibillion-dollar contract to manage and upgrade the system.

One of the major innovations Lockheed plans to bring to the GIG is heightened cybersecurity, said Angela Heise, the company’s vice president for enterprise information technology solutions. Hackers attempt to penetrate Defense Department computer networks millions of times per day, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Oct. 11 during a speech at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York. Lockheed Martin plans to bolster the GIG’s security with a “cyber kill chain” — a computer security measure aimed at what are called advanced persistent threats. In those attacks a hacker penetrates a network and remains there for months or even years. In order for that type of attack to succeed, hackers must worm their way into high-value networks, remain there undetected and send sensitive data to outside computers. Cyber kill chains seek to stop advanced persistent threats by blocking one or more of the hacker’s steps.

The Defense Information Systems Agency stunned observers in June when it announced that Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Solutions won the GIG Services Management-Operations, or GSM-O, contract, worth as much as $4.6 billion over seven years, to manage the grid. It was a contract held for more than a decade by Science Applications International Corp.. SAIC protested the decision, claiming DISA failed to evaluate properly the risk and cost of Lockheed Martin’s proposal. On Oct. 1, the General Accountability Office upheld the award, clearing the way for Lockheed Martin and its teammates to proceed.

DISA officials declined to discuss the controversy. Heise attributed Lockheed Martin’s success to its plans to “transform” the network and a strong team that includes AT&T Inc., global aerospace giant BAE Systems; Telcordia Technologies Inc., the research and technology company formerly known as Bell Communications Labs; and Serco Inc., the U.S. arm of the British management services firm Serco Group PLC.

It will take Lockheed Martin and its partners six to nine months to take over managing the GIG and begin making improvements, Heise said Oct. 11. One of those innovations is an Amazon-powered storefront designed to help members of the armed forces, policymakers and support personnel find and purchase products and services related to the grid. Lockheed Martin also is seeking to improve database management.

“We have this large-scale global network and we need to be able to identify every element in that network: every router, every switch, every little piece along the lines,” Heise said. “To be able to have a complete database of all that information is very significant not only for good management and operations, but it also helps us look for ways to transform that network.”

On Oct. 2, DISA issued the first one-year task order to Lockheed Martin to take over day-to-day operations of the GIG, said DISA spokesman Steve Doub.

Loren Thompson, defense analyst with the Lexington Institute, said programs like GSM-O are particularly important to government contractors like Lockheed in light of looming federal budget cuts.

“GSM-O supplies essential support services to the military’s global grid, and thus is the kind of award that is unlikely to be scaled back in a tight fiscal environment,” Thompson said in an email. “If you were trying to build a stable federal information technology business in unstable times, this is the sort of contract you would want.”|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

Japan Takes Action Against Complex Cyber Threats

Oct. 9, 2012 – 11:46AM   |

In the year since a sophisticated cyber attack on Japan’s largest military contractor unleashed a flood of revelations about the vulnerability of the country’s most sensitive technical data, cybersecurity has vaulted onto the country’s national security agenda.

In August 2011, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries discovered viruses on its systems in 11 locations across Japan, including in plants that build many of the nation’s missiles, military helicopters, fighter jets, rockets, submarines and nuclear power reactors. Some 45 servers and 38 PCs were infected by at least eight types of viruses when employees unwittingly opened emails containing malware. The company, also Japan’s lead contractor for the SM-3 Block IIA missile being built with the U.S. and for 38 of Japan’s F-35s, sat on the news. When local media brought the attacks to light the following month, the Ministry of Defense rebuked Mitsubishi for failing to immediately inform the ministry of any security breach.

Yet the Mitsubishi stories were just the start of a stunning wave of revelations about similar attacks on other leading companies and institutions. IHI Corp. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, both major space and military contractors, soon confirmed they had been targeted. In late October, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura admitted the foreign ministry and several Japanese embassies had been under attack since June. Just after that, it was revealed that computers and servers used by three members of Japan’s Lower House had been hacked.

The bad news has continued into 2012. In April, Nissan reported malware and data breaches in its global network; in June, the group known as Anonymous hacked the finance and transport ministries’ Web pages, forcing the finance ministry to reveal that 123 of its desktop computers had been infected with a remote-access Trojan in 2010 and 2011.

The attacks have been getting more sophisticated, said Motohiro Tsuchiya, a professor at Keio University and member of the Information Security Policy Council, Japan’s top-level government cybersecurity advisory body.

“The recent tactic has been attacking peripheral institutions with lower security and then getting in behind the lower barriers — for example, by attacking think tanks. When this … started, everyone knew something was wrong,” Tsuchiya said.

Instead of brute-force denial-of-service and similar techniques, attacks against the Japanese government and the defense industry increasingly take the form of sophisticated targeted email messages carrying malware.

“In 2010-11, we saw emails mimicking legitimate email addresses, and the attachment files are no longer just [executable] files but also PDFs,” said Masahiro Uemura, who directs the office of IT security policy at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, known as METI.

In 2011, such attacks accounted for one-third of all recorded attacks, a record, Uemura said. Worse, he said, attackers appear to be focusing on Japan’s infrastructure, especially control systems such as those used in power plants and the manufacturing industry. He said nearly 37 percent of infrastructure-related control systems are connected to the outside, and the vast majority has only perimeter security measures, Uemura said.

The flood of attacks has galvanized government action on cybersecurity policy domestically and internationally.

In October 2011, METI set up the Initiative for Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership of Japan, which brings the country’s strategic sectors together to share information on cyber attacks and policy. Nine of the country’s top defense companies are members.

“Our minister personally asked us last fall to set up this initiative to protect our most critical industries. The attack on Mitsubishi was the trigger,” Uemura said.

Tsuchiya said the attacks jolted the Information Security Policy Council, which had rarely met since the Democratic Party of Japan came to power in 2009 with little policy focus on cybersecurity. This summer, the senior advisory board released Information Security 2012, which describes how the government might work with the private sector to protect critical infrastructure. The report suggested setting up large-scale attack drills with operators from nuclear plants, the gas distribution network and telecommunications; urging defense contractors to better ward off attacks and share information with the government; and implement measures to protect smartphones from viruses.

Meanwhile, the prime minister’s Cabinet Secretariat is now coordinating government policy much more actively. After the Anonymous attacks, for example, the Cabinet Secretariat set up an emergency support team to make better preparations against cyber attacks on government organizations.

The attacks also jump-started Japanese efforts to reach out to the U.S. and other foreign partners. In February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs replaced a lower-level body with a Cyber Task Force under the control of Ambassador Tamotsu Shinotsuka. Ministry documents show the new group has five policy units: international rule-making, cyber crime, system security and protection, economic issues and national cybersecurity.

Still, Tsuchiya said, “The foreign affairs ministry hadn’t really been focused on cybersecurity, but this changed this year when [Minister of Foreign Affairs Koichiro] Gemba showed up at the June ISPC meeting. It was the first time any foreign minister had attended.”

Now, he said, international cooperation, especially with the U.S., is high on the agenda. Cooperation is now written into the U.S.-Japan security alliance. In April, a joint statement by the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee announced Tokyo’s intention to join the Convention of Cybercrime and to strengthen bilateral cooperation, critical infrastructure, system-security control, incident management and operational cooperation.

Most importantly for Uemura, he said his department now meets regularly with counterparts in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to discuss coordination and address U.S. concerns on defense product issues. The partners are working toward an information-sharing security framework that may be announced in the coming months.

The ministry’s main policy is to promote international rule-making and norms setting in line with U.S. and European policies, according to one ministry official. The official cited U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague’s February 2011 “Seven Principles” speech at the Munich Security Conference as one of the key references for Japanese policy and said Japan supports the promotion of the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime.

Tsuchiya said the foreign ministry is working to promote international rules in line with U.S. and European policy to form international norms of behavior at the International Conference on Cyberspace in Budapest in October.

Significantly, Gemba has laid out a tentative Japanese policy on the right of self-defense against cyber attacks, an interpretation that theoretically paves the way for Japan to take defensive action. While it does not go as far as the U.S. Defense Department’s 2011 announcement that the U.S. may treat cyber attacks as “acts of war,” the Japanese government for the first time has recognized cyberspace as a national security domain, just like land, sea, air and outer space.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense is beefing up its capabilities. The ministry, which created its first cybersecurity unit in 2000 and added the C4 Systems Command to protect its Defense Information Infrastructure data network, has about 380 people devoted to cybersecurity, said Koji Yoshino, the principal deputy director of the ministry’s Defense Programming and Planning Division.

The ministry’s baseline for cybersecurity and information exchange with the U.S. is based on an April 2006 memorandum of understanding that asks both sides to increase their capability against cyber attacks. After a CD-ROM containing classified Aegis radar data went missing in 2007, a new agreement was made leading to a bilateral agreement requiring Japan to tighten its military information security policies.

The focus on information security has been deepened further by the two countries’ cooperation on ballistic missile defense, which requires sharing information from Aegis ships, Patriot missile batteries and other sensors.

In the past two years, Yoshino said, the ministry has added a cyber planning coordinator to the Joint Staff Office, worked to drill people on responding to attacks, and begun developing tools to gather and analyze information about the latest attacks. It has also improved cyber analysis at Japan’s signals intelligence agency, called Defense Intelligence Headquarters and modeled after the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, he said.

This year, the C4SC added tools to improve information collection and dynamic and static analysis, particularly of malware, said Keiichi Sakashita, who directs the Information Assurance Office.

In September, the ministry’s cyber defense strategy took two steps forward. First, the ministry requested 21.2 billion yen ($270 million) to set up a new cyber defense force with about 100 people, which will combine the ministry’s previous efforts to create its own version of a Japanese Cyber Command, along with 13.3 billion yen to reinforce cyber defense of the ministry’s core Defense Information Infrastructure.

Tsuchiya applauded the move.

“The MoD has been trying for two years to set up the unit, but the attempts were refused by the finance ministry,” he said.

Second, the ministry is now writing doctrine on responding to a cyber attack, said Tetsuya Ito, who directs the strategic planning office of the ministry’s Defense Policy Division.

In September, a ministry panel released new guidelines for dealing with cyber attacks and affirming Japan’s right to respond.

“If a cyber attack takes place as part of a military attack, this can be considered to fulfill the first condition for invoking the right of self-defense,” said a report issued by the panel.|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s


U.S. energy companies victims of potentially destructive cyber intrusions: The secretary said that a coordinated attack on enough critical infrastructure could be a “cyber Pearl Harbor”

Posted By John ReedThursday, October 11, 2012 – 8:56 PM

Foreign actors are probing the networks of key American companies in an attempt to gain control of industrial facilities and transportation systems, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta revealed tonight.

“We know that foreign cyber actors are probing America’s critical infrastructure networks,” said Panetta, disclosing previously classified information during a speech in New York laying out the Pentagon’s role in protecting the U.S. from cyber attacks. “They are targeting the computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants, and those that guide transportation thorough the country.”

He went on to say that the U.S. government knows of “specific instances where intruders have gained access” to these systems — frequently known as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (or SCADA) systems — and that “they are seeking to create advanced tools to attack these systems and cause panic, destruction and even the loss of life,” according to an advance copy of his prepared remarks.

The secretary said that a coordinated attack on enough critical infrastructure could be a “cyber Pearl Harbor” that would “cause physical destruction and loss of life, paralyze and shock the nation, and create a profound new sense of vulnerability.”

Panetta’s comments regarding the penetration of American utilities echo those of a private sector cyber security expert Killer Apps spoke with last week who said that the networks of American electric companies were penetrated, perhaps in preparation for a Stuxnet-style attack.

Stuxnet is the famous cyber weapon that infected Iran’s uranium-enrichment centrifuges in 2009 and 2010. Stuxnet is believed to have caused some of the machines to spin erratically, thereby destroying them.

“There is hard evidence that there has been penetration of our power companies, and given Stuxnet, that is a staging step before destruction” of electricity-generating equipment, the expert told Killer Apps. Because uranium centrifuges and power turbines are both spinning machines, “the attack is identical — the one to take out the centrifuges and the one to take out our power systems is the same attack.”

“If a centrifuge running at the wrong speed can blow apart” so can a power generator, said the expert. “If you do, in fact, spin them at the wrong speeds, you can blow up any rotating device.”

Cyber security expert Eugene Kaspersky said two weeks ago that one of his greatest fears is someone reverse-engineering a sophisticated cyber weapon like Stuxnet — a relatively easy task — and he noted that Stuxnet itself passed through power plants on its way to Iran. “Stuxnet infected thousands of computer systems all around the globe, I know there were power plants infected by Stuxnet very far away from Iran,” Kaspersky said.

While the utilities have been penetrated, Panetta said that the Defense Department, largely via the National Security Agency, is “acting aggressively to get ahead of this problem –putting in place measures to stop cyber attacks dead in their tracks” under a whole-of-government effort.

The Department of Homeland Security, working with the Department of Energy, has the lead in responding to the attacks that Panetta disclosed tonight, senior defense officials told reporters during a background briefing about Panetta’s speech. The Pentagon officials believe they know who was behind the attack but would not reveal who that may be. They did note however, that Russia, China, and increasingly, Iran have developed worrisome cyber capabilities. DHS officials were not available for comment.

Panetta added that the Pentagon stands ready to “counter” cyber threats to U.S. national interests. He did not, however, use the word “offensive” to describe any of DoD’s operations in cyberspace.

“If we detect an imminent threat of attack that will cause significant physical destruction or kill American citizens, we need to have the option to take action to defend the nation when directed by the President,” said Panetta. “For these kinds of scenarios, the [Defense Department] has developed that capability to conduct effective operations to counter threats to our national interests in cyberspace.”

He went on to insist, though, that the Pentagon has only a supporting role to civil agencies in defending U.S. civilian infrastructure from cyber attack and that DoD will not monitor citizens personal computers.

“That is not our mission,” said Panetta.

The Defense Department will only have the lead in responding to cyber attacks when deemed appropriate under the rule of armed conflict, said one of the defense department officials.

To protect the United States from crippling cyber attacks by “foreign adversaries,” Panetta said the Pentagon will focus on the following:

  • Developing new cyber capabilities via the more than $3 billion spent on cyber issues annually;
  • Establishing policies and organizations that DoD needs to execute its mission in near real-time with other federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI;
  • Improving DoD’s cooperation with private industry and international partners via better information-sharing about cyber threats and the establishment of basic cyber security standards for critical infrastructure providers.

Panetta also urged Congress to pass the Cyber Security Act of 2012, which would allow real-time information-sharing between businesses and the government, restrict the type of information government can collect on private citizens and how that information may be used, as well as set minimal cyber security standards that critical infrastructure providers should meet.

Fast-Acting Cyanide Antidote Discovered: thiocyanate

Posted for filing 2008 study

A tailings pond containing cyanide-laden wastes covers acres at a gold mine near Elko, Nevada. Cyanide poisoning is a risk for anyone who is exposed to the chemical. A new antidote that can be taken orally and works in less than three minutes is particularly important for industrial workers, firefighters and victims of terrorism, who might receive large doses of the chemical. (Credit: Gary Mowad, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

ScienceDaily (Jan. 1, 2008) — University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design and Minneapolis VA Medical Center researchers have discovered a new fast-acting antidote to cyanide poisoning. The antidote has potential to save lives of those who are exposed to the chemical — namely firefighters, industrial workers, and victims of terrorist attacks.

Current cyanide antidotes work slowly and are ineffective when administered after a certain point, said Steven Patterson, Ph.D., principal investigator and associate director of the University of the Minnesota Center for Drug Design.

Patterson is developing an antidote that was discovered by retired University of Minnesota Professor Herbert Nagasawa. This antidote works in less than three minutes — meeting the United States Department of Defense “three minute solution” standard.

“It’s much, much faster than current antidotes,” Patterson said. “The antidote is also effective over a wider time window. Giving emergency responders more time is important because it’s not likely that someone will be exposed to cyanide near a paramedic.”

The antidote was tested on animals and has been exceptionally effective, Patterson said. Researchers hope to begin human clinical trials during the next three years.

The antidote is also unique because it can be taken orally (current antidotes must be given intravenously) and may be administered up to an hour prior to cyanide exposure.

Cyanide is a rapid acting toxin that inhibits cellular respiration — it prevents the body from using oxygen. This means it rapidly shuts down many of the fundamental biochemical processes the body needs to survive. Symptoms of acute cyanide poisoning include headache, vertigo, lack of motor coordination, weak pulse, abnormal heartbeat, vomiting, stupor, convulsions, coma, and even death.

When released in an enclosed area, cyanide can be particularly deadly and impact a victim very quickly. Survivors of cyanide poisoning are also at risk of short-term memory loss and development of a Parkinson’s-like syndrome.

Because cyanide occurs naturally in pitted fruits, some grasses and other foods, and the body has mechanisms to detoxify small amounts in the diet. The new antidote takes advantage of this natural detoxification pathway by providing the substance the body naturally uses to convert cyanide to non-toxic thiocyanate.

The research will be featured in the Dec. 27, 2007 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

The theory and proof of concept for the research originated from Nagasawa, who has since retired from the University of Minnesota, but Patterson continues this work at the Center for Drug Design.

The study is being funded by a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Obama administration officials say there’s no point crafting detailed sequestration plans

Prepare for the Worst

Oct. 7, 2012 – 04:14PM   |

Obama administration officials say there’s no point crafting detailed sequestration plans, given it’s a crisis created by Congress that might never happen.

But Pentagon Comptroller Bob Hale last week finally hinted at some implications, saying civilian workers might be furloughed to cover Afghanistan operations. He also said the Defense Department would look to protect its top programs and avoid costly terminations.

Even though DoD is not yet making detailed plans, Hale stressed the Pentagon will be ready if sequestration goes into effect. Ready or not, a 10 percent chop off DoD’s annual budget — a sequestration requirement — is a big hit, all the more following cuts over the past two years.

Unfortunately, wisdom will not prevail in a timely fashion: This is an election year. Republicans want details to criticize Obama for cutting defense; the president won’t play along, blaming Congress for creating this mess in the first place. That leaves a looming threat to the defense section frozen by uncertainty and workers fearing for their jobs.

No matter how you slice it, sequestration will only make a bad situation worse, and Congress has a responsibility to avoid it. Yet it has demonstrated a tendency toward nonpartisan irresponsibility. DoD leaders absolutely must do more to prepare for a worst-case scenario.|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

Lockheed: No Sequestration Layoff Notices This Year ; WARN Act is now useless as taxpayers will pay the bill for ALL violations

Oct. 1, 2012 – 05:13PM   |
Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO Robert Stevens has repeatedly warned that automatic budget cuts effective Jan. 2 would be devastating to the defense industry.

Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO Robert Stevens has repeatedly warned that automatic budget cuts effective Jan. 2 would be devastating to the defense industry.   (Lockheed Martin)

After months of political wrangling over layoff notices that the world’s largest defense contractor has threatened to send to employees days before Americans go to the polls, Lockheed Martin has said it will not issue the notices this year, according to a company statement issued Oct. 1.

Citing guidance from the White House released Sept. 28 that the government would shoulder the cost of potential lawsuits if broad factory closings are required, the company has decided not to issue notices that it previously said would be required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Jennifer Allen wrote in an email.

“The additional guidance further ensures that, if contract actions due to sequestration were to occur, our employees would be provided the protection of the WARN Act and that the costs of this protection would be allowable and recoverable,” Allen wrote.

Allen also noted the guidance’s mention that contract cancellations are not anticipated.

“The additional guidance offered important new information about the potential timing of DoD [Department of Defense] actions under sequestration, indicating that DoD anticipates no contract actions on or about 2 January, 2013, and that any action to adjust funding levels on contracts as a result of sequestration would likely not occur for several months after 2 Jan,” she wrote. “After careful review of the additional guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Defense, we will not issue sequestration-related WARN notices this year.”

DoD officials have repeatedly said they did not anticipate many contract cancellations even if the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration take effect. The sequestration procedure as legislated in the Budget Control Act does not target funds that have already been obligated to contracts, instead requiring a percentage cut that would impact future contract actions and new contracts.

In late July the Department of Labor (DoL) issued a notice telling companies that no WARN Act notices were needed, citing the unpredictable nature of sequestration. The White House guidance from Sept. 28 noted that contractors have been skeptical of that direction.

“Despite DoL’s guidance, some contractors have indicated they are still considering issuing WARN Act notices, and some have inquired about whether federal contracting agencies would cover WARN Act-related costs in connection with the potential sequestration,” the Sept. 28 guidance said. “To further minimize the potential for waste and disruption associated with the issuance of unwarranted layoff notices, this memorandum provides guidance regarding the allowability of certain liability and litigation costs associated with WARN Act compliance. Specifically, if (1) sequestration occurs and an agency terminates or modifies a contract that necessitates that the contractor order a plant closing or mass layoff of a type subject to WARN Act requirements, and (2) that contractor has followed a course of action consistent with DoL guidance, then any resulting employee compensation costs for WARN Act liability as determined by a court, as well as attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs (irrespective of litigation outcome), would qualify as allowable costs and be covered by the contracting agency, if otherwise reasonable and allocable.”

Some defense executives have questioned whether issuing WARN notices makes sense given the lack of available talent, saying that they would look to pick-off prime talent from competitors if the notices were issued.

In her statement, Allen reiterated Lockheed’s concerns about sequestration.

“We remain firm in our conviction that the automatic and across-the-board budget reductions under sequestration are ineffective and inefficient public policy that will weaken our civil government operations, damage our national security, and adversely impact our industry,” she wrote. “We will continue to work with leaders in our government to stop sequestration and find more thoughtful, balanced, and effective solutions to our nation’s challenges.”|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE


Military rape victims sue Leon Panetta claiming Department of Defense ‘failed to punish dozens of sexual assaults’

  • 20 men and women  claimed they were harassed, raped, or assaulted
  • Further  allege they suffered retaliation when they reported alleged  crimes

By Associated Press

PUBLISHED:22:42 EST, 28  September 2012| UPDATED:00:56 EST, 29 September 201

A lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court  in San Francisco alleging current and former members of the U.S. military were  sexually assaulted while serving.

The 20 women and men filing the lawsuit  against Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and other top officials claim they  were harassed, raped or assaulted and suffered retaliation when they reported  the incidents.

The lawsuit accuses the leadership of the  U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force of failing to prosecute and properly investigate  claims of sexual assault.

Daniele Hoffman, who was a victim of sexual abuse while serving in the military, speaks at a press conference in San Francisco 

Daniele Hoffman, who was a victim of sexual abuse while  serving in the military, speaks at a press conference in San Francisco


A lawsuit was filed Friday in San Francisco federal court on behalf of a group of military veterans who allege they were sexually assaulted during their serviceKole Welsh

Hoffman and Kole Welsh spoke at the conference; a  lawsuit was filed Friday in San Francisco federal court on behalf of a group of  military veterans who allege they were assaulted during their  service

Susan Burke, the lead lawyer representing the  plaintiffs, has filed four other lawsuits alleging assaults in military  branches.

A federal judge in Virginia in December  tossed out a similar suit. Although the judge called the allegations troubling,  he said the military disciplinary system should handle the cases.

Cynthia Smith, a Department of Defense  spokeswoman, declined to discuss the latest lawsuit.

In March, after several service members filed  a suit against the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, funding was increased for  investigators and judge advocates to receive training in sexual assault cases.

Kole Welsh, who was a victim of sexual abuse while serving in the military, speaks at the conference 

Kole Welsh, who was a victim of sexual abuse while  serving in the military, speaks at the conference


In addition, a two-star general was appointed  to direct a sexual assault response and prevention office.

The Pentagon is assembling a data system to  track reports of sexual assault and is reviewing how commanding officers are  trained in preventing and responding to rape cases.

Smith said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta  has ordered the department to take additional steps, including the creation of a  special victims unit.

he order was made the same week the Army  charged Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair with sexual misconduct while serving in  Afghanistan.

It was not clear if Sinclair had an attorney,  and a phone listing found for him was disconnected.

Nonetheless, the lawsuit filed Friday said  not enough was being done about the issue.

‘The U.S. Army and Air Force leadership has a  pattern and practice of ignoring and failing to prosecute rapes and sexual  assaults,’ the lawsuit states

Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook