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BlueWolf's Howl

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July 18, 2004

Above Security

Just like some people think that they are above the law, there are people that think they are above security. There's no such thing. Both always eventually get caught and suffer consequences. Perhaps the personal consequences are lessened because of whatever "specialness" made them think they could do it in the first place...but, there is most certainly a ton of collateral damage.

Your security is only as good as the weakest link in the chain. The weakest link is NOT always the weakest person. Often, it's the most powerful person with the weakest security.

Los Alamos lab activities suspended following security lapse

Yes...this is the same Los Alamos that lost that classified hard drive a while back... Oh, yeah, they recovered it - behind a copy machine.

And yes, this is the same lab that was the birthplace of the atomic bomb. Richard Feynman worked there. So did David Greenglass (the brother of Ethel Rosenberg). The security issue is even covered in the movie Infinity (Matthew Broderick and Patricia Arquette). Broderick (as Feynman) makes a fool out of the security guard by leaving the checkpoint three times without entering. As is common....they got mad at him for playing tricks instead of being angry that there was a huge hole in the fence that allowed him to enter without going through the checkpoint...

Needless to say...there's probably a lot of today's prima donnas working at that lab. That's the nature of the beast. And security is often inconvenient. That's the nature of the beast too. No, you can't leave classified documents laying all about your desk in disarray at the end of the day and just go home. You have to sign that material in and out of the safe where it's kept. That's inconvenient. So what? It's also inconvenient to have a gaping hole in National Security.

For those who don't understand the implications of the halt of classified work... Most people at that lab can't do their jobs right now. They're doing nothing but going over inventory lists and worrying which heads are gonna roll over this incident.

I applaud Pete Nanos for finally taking a stand on it. I'm sure it wasn't easy. Plenty of important people must have thrown a hissy fit that they couldn't do their important work because of the stoppage. I know the kind of pressure that creates. But, still...I have to point out....he missed a spot:

He said there will be exceptions to his order, so that critical missions and essential national security functions continue unabated.

This is exactly what created the situation in the first place. And these are probably the worst offenders. People in critical and essential positions are too busy and too important to be bothered with security. And there's your weak link -- right in your most crucial spot.

This often happens in the corporate world too. The lowly desk jockey at any company is forced to follow all the rules. Tight security there. And what does that desk jockey have access to? Nothing important. But, all that unimportant stuff is secured tightly because he/she has to follow all the security rules. And the top "C" letter people? Well...we don't want to tell them that they have to have a hard password. If they want to use their child's first name as their password (and never change it), well... how can you say no? They run the company. None of the other rules apply to them, so why should the inconvenient security rules apply? And what kind of information do they have access to? Everything important. The stuff that should be locked up tighter than a drum. Oh...and don't forget...they're VERY important...and that important information should be available to them anywhere, anytime, in an easily accessible manner.

Well...guess what...? If it's available to YOU, it's available to anyone who can log in as you. With your username and password, they ARE you to the computer. The computer can't tell the difference. And the weakest link is exploited for the best information...

No one is above security. If you still think you are, YOU ARE the vulnerability...

Posted by BlueWolf on July 18, 2004 12:57 PM