Secrecy Isn’t What It Used To Be

Results of CIA investigations continue to be leaked. Concern was expressed at this norm-breaking. The norms exist for a reason, though. The CIA’s reason for existence is national security.

The President of the United States is acting in conflict with the recommendations of his national security agencies and in conflict with national security. Sending troops to the border for political effect. Sharing another nation’s highly classified intelligence with an adversary. Bragging about a plane that he believes is invisible. Failing to visit the troops in war zones. And more.

This is a conundrum for the national security agencies. The internet and the availability of information are changing their roles too.

Information once of limited availability is now on the internet. Some are free, some for sale. Overhead satellite photos, court documents, historical archives, social media that inadvertently shows significant features. Read More

Too Much Information

Do you wear a Fitbit?

If you do, satellites may be watching you.

Yesterday, Strava, a social network that collects data from devices with GPS, uploaded a heat map of its users around the world to the internet. Intelligence services are now combing that map for data about hidden military bases and other tidbits. It’s apparently not just fitbits, but mobile phones and a lot of other devices.

The Guardian gives a few examples. A few more after the jump. Read More

Congratulations to MIIS!

Last Friday, April 8, a remarkable meeting was held at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, California. Attendees included Lassina Zerbo, executive director of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization; Jerry Brown, Governor of California; Rose Gottemoeller, US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and Nonproliferation;  and Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation. Read More

Links – January 13, 2016

The Volunteer Verification Corps in action. As soon as I saw the footage of the North Korean missile test, I knew the crew at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies would be on it. Here’s their analysis. Top photo is from that analysis.  It also looks like the test was from a barge, not a submarine. North Korea presents a perfectly successful hydrogen bomb test to the world, then a marvelous missile test. Neither is quite what North Korea wants us to think. That means we have time to work on diplomacy. My op-ed in the Globe and Mail. Read More