WikiLeaks spurs NASA to emphasize information protection

Memo spells out agency stance toward WikiLeaks revelations

Reacting to recent disclosures of classified information by WikiLeaks, NASA issued a warning on Dec. 3 to all of its employees reminding them of the importance of safeguarding classified information.

In a short memo obtained by SpaceRef.com, NASA reminded employees that classified information, even if posted in the public domain, “remains classified and should not be accessed, downloaded, copied, or retransmitted utilizing government IT resources or equipment.” The memo also stated that the WikiLeaks site has been blocked by the NASA Headquarters Information Technology and Communications Division to prevent the spilling of classified information from agency computers that could be published on WikiLeaks.

The chief of NASA’s Headquarters Security Office, Paul Raudenbush, declined to comment further on the memo for Federal Computer Week. 

The memo also stated that employees should review all of NASA’s security policies so the agency could stay in compliance with various federal laws concerning the handling of classified information; “including but not limited to Executive Order 13526, Classified National Security Information (Dec. 20, 2009) and its implementing directive 32 C.F.R Part 2001 (June 25, 2010).”

Specifically, the memo told employees to overview four security information documents to stay in compliance with federal laws:

  • NPR 1600.1, NASA Security Program Procedural Requirements w/Change (04/01/2009).
  • NPR 2810.1A, NASA Information Security Policy.
  • Basic IT Security for 2010 (SATERN).
  • NASA Headquarters Security Awareness Training 2010 (SATERN).
The agency's communications department confirmed that NASA headquarters sent the memo.


About the Author

Dan Rowinski is a staff reporter covering communications technologies.

Reader comments

Fri, Apr 26, 2013

If never a straight answer would follow the federal guidelines and,oh here it comes, follow dod policy on classified information handling instead of trying to make up their own rules they would not be in the lime light so much. Yes they are a dod funded agency, and yes they think the normal rules don't count for them.

Thu, Dec 9, 2010 Jeffrey A. Williams

NASA is a great organization but when it comes to cybersecurity like most other government agencies it is years behind the curve, yet they are catching up fast. As a 20+ year vetran IT security professional it has been clear to me that keeping certain information secure that is in digital format of any sort by government agencies was/has long been viewed as on a as needed basis and those defined needs were sometime too vuagely defined or largely not followed fully and/or adaquately. The human factor was also not well considered by DoD or State.

Mon, Dec 6, 2010 RayW

What everyone seems to forget (including the numb-brains who post on the internet sites like yahoo) is that despite the fact that China is running rampant through our networks (CAC cards and dumbing down user PC access to mostly Microsoft products and a few other products did not stop it), Wikileaks and other shock media seem to get their information from the time honored system of walking out the door. All the network security in the world, including isolation, will not stop that.

Despite all the security on the computers, I can still take (not that I care to) any classified information out the door that I want, and no one would be the wiser. Until we have a better way of knowing what people are doing in the work place, we will have the problem of leaks. Unfortunately, we have to balance trust, productivity, economics and a few other factors with the amount of protection surrounding the information. Too much security and nothing gets done, not enough security and you have no power left (troop movements or commercial manufacturing secrets, all the same).

As far as blocking Wikileaks at NASA, just take it to the library and dump it there. And training? We already have quarterly training, monthly training, yearly training, and refresher training for several different security aspects. What do they propose next, weekly?, daily? Reminds me of a job I worked at that had a requirement to hire a certain large percentage of "minorities", many who happened to be from the Middle East. Half of them disappeared one Christmas break, took all the knowledge on the classified program we were doing, and went back home (Russia was the big presence there then).

Freedom comes at a cost, a more controlled society would not have this big of a problem, but that too is a cost, just different.

Sun, Dec 5, 2010 DEFENDER OF THE FREE WORLD

Holy Molly... what would happen if a similiar thing happened at NASA and all the files of recovered alien artifacts and technology was accidentely releashed to the public? heads would probably roll...

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