Intercepts

Coordinated Intell

The concept of coordinated intelligence may seem like an oxymoron, but Defense Department Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is hoping to change that perception as he continues his search for an "intell czar."

In a Pentagon town hall meeting earlier this month, Rumsfeld said DOD officials are interviewing candidates for the position.

"I think it's readily apparent to people that we have a number of intelligence-gathering entities" within DOD, Rumsfeld said. "We've got all kinds of pieces floating around. There's not a single person that is over those except me."

And he acknowledged that he does not have time to coordinate all of those pieces.

"It is a disservice to [intelligence agents] to not have that process continuously going on so that they are constantly calibrated as to what they ought to be focusing on, what those priorities ought to be," he said.

A senior-level manager will help coordinate that across the department, he said.

Rumsfeld has said that intelligence — and making sure that the United States has it and its enemies do not — is one of his biggest concerns.

"We have a big world, a complicated world, a world with a lot of closed systems that are very difficult to get at," he said. And there are a lot of technologies that enable enemies to "burrow underground and find ways to prevent the rest of the world from knowing what it is they're doing, particularly when they're up to things that are to harm other people."

Call for Security

DOD is cracking down on the use of wireless devices that could be used to overhear and even record sensitive conversations in classified areas. But at least one of the potential vulnerabilities is easily mended, said Christopher Doherty, senior director of public affairs for Nextel Communications Inc.

Doherty said the "automatic answer" feature on many mobile phones, including the increasingly popular flip-open models that don't require a button to be pushed to answer a call, could easily be disabled, making the phone more secure.

"Auto answer is very convenient while you're driving down the highway, but might not be as appropriate in a secure facility," he said.

Lost and Found

After an all-out search, DOD has recovered those two laptop computers that were taken from a tightly controlled area of U.S. Central Command, at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla., which is coordinating the war in Afghanistan.

Officials from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) said they were holding a man who confessed to removing the laptops, one of which contained classified material.

Investigators recovered the laptops from a private residence not far from the base, said Maj. Mike Richmond, spokesman for OSI. The man in custody was in the military, but they would not identify him.

Richmond said that OSI computer forensic agents were conducting an analysis of the laptops themselves to determine whether any data had been manipulated.

Furthermore, military officials would not say why somebody would have removed the laptops from Central Command.

Under the military's court-martial process, the facts of the case are presented to the person's commanding officer, who then makes a determination about whether to file charges.

The laptop computers were reported missing Aug. 7. A search for the PCs involved nearly 50 investigators.

Might be time for DOD to consider an anti-theft PC Card.

Intercept something? Send it to antenna@fcw.com.

About the Authors

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.




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