SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Military Art & Science Applied > Intelligence

Intelligence What do we know, need to know, and how do we get there?

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-10-2010   #1
BobKing
Council Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 21
Default Open Source Analysis of WikiLeaks?

What is the status of open source analytical products derived from purportedly classified sources? Specifically, many institutions and individuals are now publishing reports sourced from the WikiLeaks data sets.

Examples:

The Guardian, in the UK, published some interactive media on their Afghanistan: The War Logs page.

Wired Magazine's Danger Room recently published Open Source Tools Turn Afghanistan Into Illustrated Afghan Meltdown showing how researches have produced graphical representations from the data sets.

In another article last week Danger Room wrote about this in Pentagon to Troops: Taliban Can Read WikLeaks, You Can't.

Would any warnings regarding WikiLeaks, as referenced in the last article, extend to products that may have resulted from that source?

Some of these products look to be very interesting and perhaps worthy of discussion. Could an instructor at (West Point, Naval Academy, Naval War College, and so on) pull up either of the first two links in the classroom to jump start a discussion? Could that instructor download the product?
BobKing is offline  
Old 08-10-2010   #2
Van
Council Member
 
Van's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Honolulu, Hawai'i
Posts: 414
Exclamation Leaked classified material is still classified

Leaked classified material is still classified.

Reflect on the consequences of your actions, preferably before you act.

Download WikiLeaks materials onto a government UNCLAS computer, and that computer, media, drive is now classified at the level of the material. If you work for the government or a company with government contracts, think long and hard before poking around the leaked material.

This having been said, I'm still interested in accounts of this stuff that show up in the news.
Van is offline  
Old 08-10-2010   #3
BobKing
Council Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Kansas
Posts: 21
Default

Van

My root question remains - what does it mean specifically when you write "Download WikiLeaks materials...?"

If someone downloads the Flash presentation from the Guardian's site, is that "WikiLeaks materials?"

If someone saves the image in the Danger Room article (linked below) is that "WikiLeaks materials?"
REF: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/da..._label_map.jpg

This is more than an academic question.

Vignette

The Danger Room blog writes the article linked in my original post.

Blogger A references that article, writing a post about the degrading situation in Afghanistan and "hot links" to the image or blatantly copies it without giving any credit. In his article he does not source anything and makes no reference to WikiLeaks.

Reader B (or Instructor B) finds Blogger A's post and saves it to his PC - what is the status of the image? If answers to previous questions were "Yes, it is still WikiLeaks material" - how was Reader B to have known that?

For the record, I have not, and will not, go to the WikiLeaks site from my work computer, nor would I download anything to my home computer.
BobKing is offline  
Old 08-11-2010   #4
jmm99
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,021
Default No brightline answers ....

but here is a thread, Efing Wikileaks, dealing with a 2008 Wikileak; and my post, Belated response to Cavguy post # 8, with links to several resources.

BLUF: The issues become murkier as we go down the chain of transmission, which could involve a number of people before it reaches the Web or media outlets. The possibility of using a conspiracy charge against others in the chain becomes less likely the further removed from the original source.

The current reality is illustrated in this thread, The AIPAC Case - Redux, where the extensive pleadings - leading to a dismissal of charges - are at FAS, USA v. Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman ("The AIPAC Case"): Selected Case Files.

The AIPAC case was heavily politicized; but, that element aside, it does exemplify the difficulties in prosecuting downstream classified leakage under current law.

Of course, Van is correct: "Leaked classified material is still classified." - and, if you're an employee of the government or of a company with government contracts, you could get into a republication bind by DLing and then passing on the data.

At this point, specific legal advice (from JMM) ends. Everyone else feel free to pontificate to your hearts' content.

Regards

Mike
jmm99 is offline  
Old 08-11-2010   #5
Pete
Council Member
 
Pete's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: North Mountain, West Virginia
Posts: 990
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
... you could get into a republication bind by DLing and then passing on the data.
What pray tell does the GOP have to do with it?
Pete is offline  
Old 08-11-2010   #6
Van
Council Member
 
Van's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Honolulu, Hawai'i
Posts: 414
Default

My personal rule of thumb is to get no closer to the compromised material than articles published in reputable, established news media (BBC, AFP, Reuters, etc; NOT blogs or organizational news postings like a corporate or academic press page).

This allows for a reasonable degree of situational awareness without getting too close to the flashing red lights. I'll admit that I might be over-cautious, but I've had some real "Margaret" type security managers over the years (from Dennis the Menace; "I'm tellin' my mom!").

The case of the Guardian's Flash presentation... I've met some security managers who would try to suspend access for that. Thankfully, they had bosses who were better endowed with common sense and perspective. Caveat lector.

Re: you linking to a naughty site -
I'd approach with caution. I think I'd be reluctant to post "THIS WAY TO CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS, but at your own risk"; it falls under the whole "avoid even the appearence of misconduct" standard.

If you're dead set on linking to, or reposted any of the compromised material, I strongly urge you to discuss your ideas with an attorney before you do it. (Consultations without court appearances tend to be much cheaper.)
Van is offline  
Old 08-11-2010   #7
AmericanPride
Council Member
 
AmericanPride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: "Turn left at Greenland." - Ringo Starr
Posts: 964
Default

This whole episode reminds me of the contoversy surrounding the music industry's (failed) attempts to stop pirated music on the internet through litigation. This problem is going to persist in the digital age. Legitimate or not, that Iraq-deployed MI soldier had grievances about the war effort. That tells me somewhere in the chain of command between his immediate supervisor and the President, there is serious miscommunication about the justifications and methods of the war. It also tells me that the government and the Army need to improve how they sell what they do, not only to the population, but also to the people working for them. The MI soldier was a specialist, but he had access to thousands of documents. Either the government needs to ensure that its personnel are politically reliable, or it needs to embark on policies with greater concensus in the ranks and the population. In the arguments about domestic surveillance, proponents sometimes state that if you are not breaking the law, you have nothing to worry about. If our cause is just, and our people and soldiers believe in it, then what do we have to worry about?
__________________
When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot
AmericanPride is offline  
Old 08-11-2010   #8
BayonetBrant
Council Member
 
BayonetBrant's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 260
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
Either the government needs to ensure that its personnel are politically reliable
I sure you didn't mean for this to sound quite so... soviet. But it does.
__________________
Brant
Wargaming and Strategy Gaming at GrogHeads
Military news and views at GrogNews

“their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of ‘rights’… and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure.” Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers 1959

Play more wargames!
BayonetBrant is offline  
Old 08-31-2010   #9
AmericanPride
Council Member
 
AmericanPride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: "Turn left at Greenland." - Ringo Starr
Posts: 964
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BayonetBrant View Post
I sure you didn't mean for this to sound quite so... soviet. But it does.
Yes, I did intend for it to sound that way. Usually (but not always), the military is employed towards some political end. If we are to maintain a reliable, all-volunteer military force to achieve the occasionally controversial political objective, then either the reliability of the volunteers needs to be a criteria for their selection, or more effort needs to be made to find consensus among the volunteers. During the Revolutionary War, unpaid volunteers simply walked off the job. Now, disgruntled volunteers can compromise national security to a surprising scope and depth. The problem isn't the soldier, his access to information, or even the fact that he released classified material to the public. The problem is that we have yet to reconcile the all-volunteer military concept (and the unique accompanying characteristic of American culture to glorify and hero-worship military service) with the increasingly expeditionary character of our military operations.
__________________
When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot
AmericanPride is offline  
Old 08-31-2010   #10
Steve Blair
Moderator
 
Steve Blair's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Montana
Posts: 3,195
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
Yes, I did intend for it to sound that way. Usually (but not always), the military is employed towards some political end. If we are to maintain a reliable, all-volunteer military force to achieve the occasionally controversial political objective, then either the reliability of the volunteers needs to be a criteria for their selection, or more effort needs to be made to find consensus among the volunteers. During the Revolutionary War, unpaid volunteers simply walked off the job. Now, disgruntled volunteers can compromise national security to a surprising scope and depth. The problem isn't the soldier, his access to information, or even the fact that he released classified material to the public. The problem is that we have yet to reconcile the all-volunteer military concept (and the unique accompanying characteristic of American culture to glorify and hero-worship military service) with the increasingly expeditionary character of our military operations.
The glorification is actually quite recent (say after 1940 or so), and I honestly don't think you'd find a draftee force any more reliable under your criteria.
__________________
"On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War
Steve Blair is offline  
Old 09-01-2010   #11
AmericanPride
Council Member
 
AmericanPride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: "Turn left at Greenland." - Ringo Starr
Posts: 964
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
The glorification is actually quite recent (say after 1940 or so), and I honestly don't think you'd find a draftee force any more reliable under your criteria.
The issue isn't the all-volunteer concept itself, but the employment of a glorified all-volunteer military used in an expeditionary manner for the occasional controversial political objective. The Iraq leak could not reconcile the two, and decided to expose what he thought to be criminal and immoral behavior. Soldiers are encouraged, after all, to act with integrity and personal courage, and the Army's own values led him in that direction. There is a cognitive dissonance at the core of this issue. One solution is to screen volunteers for their political reliability.
__________________
When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot
AmericanPride is offline  
Old 09-01-2010   #12
Steve Blair
Moderator
 
Steve Blair's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Montana
Posts: 3,195
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
The issue isn't the all-volunteer concept itself, but the employment of a glorified all-volunteer military used in an expeditionary manner for the occasional controversial political objective. The Iraq leak could not reconcile the two, and decided to expose what he thought to be criminal and immoral behavior. Soldiers are encouraged, after all, to act with integrity and personal courage, and the Army's own values led him in that direction. There is a cognitive dissonance at the core of this issue. One solution is to screen volunteers for their political reliability.
And again, if you look back, we've been here before with an all-volunteer force. You're focusing on the wrong issue. It's not so much political reliability as it is saturation of information combined with over-classification.
__________________
"On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War
Steve Blair is offline  
Old 09-01-2010   #13
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
And again, if you look back, we've been here before with an all-volunteer force. You're focusing on the wrong issue. It's not so much political reliability as it is saturation of information combined with over-classification.
Not to mention there is no way to 'enforce' political reliability. None. You can't even screen for it in hiring as many people will change in strange ways as they grow older...
Ken White is offline  
Old 09-10-2010   #14
Jeremy White
Registered User
 
Jeremy White's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 4
Default Question on How to View Wikileaks

As a graduate student my particular area of study is military propaganda and I am very interested in viewing some of the reports that Wikileaks has reportedly published. However, when on the site I click on links such as this one claiming to be a 2006 overview of Taliban Propaganda in Helmand Province. However, the site instructs me to "see attachment" but as far as I can tell there is no attachment. Can anyone help me figure this out?

Also, in case any academics are interested, I checked with the IRB board for approval to use wikileaks as a source and they responded that until the U.S. military comes out and says that anything in the Afghan War Diaries isnt true that we should consider it to be a legit source.
Jeremy White is offline  
Old 09-10-2010   #15
jmm99
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,021
Default Answer to Puzzle

I'm looking at the webpage as I write - and see a database "card" and below it a photo map. The photo map can't be the "attachment" to the 31 Dec 2006 report, since the photo map is labeled: "Imagery (c) 2010 ..."

So, my guess is that the "See Attachment" ref. is to an attachment to the "card" that Wikileaks either does not have or did not link.

Welcome to the forum

Mike
jmm99 is offline  
Old 09-11-2010   #16
Rex Brynen
Council Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Montreal
Posts: 1,599
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy White View Post
Also, in case any academics are interested, I checked with the IRB board for approval to use wikileaks as a source and they responded that until the U.S. military comes out and says that anything in the Afghan War Diaries isnt true that we should consider it to be a legit source.
If so, your IRB gave you a rather odd reply since they ought not to be in the business of determining the veracity of data sources, but rather the ethics of using them.

As I see it (and I serve as chair of a Research Ethics Board), the issues are as follows:

1) Since Wikileaks neither obtained informed consent from individuals named in the data nor (in most cases) redacted their names, you need to be extremely careful in using any data that could possibly identify an individual.

2) Paradoxical as it seems, even though the data is in the public domain it remains classified, and disseminating it further might be technically illegal. If you ever hoped to gain a security clearance, or if you have one that you wish to maintain, you may wish to keep this in mind.

3) In discussing use or interpretation of the Wikileaks data with others who hold current security clearances, you could potentially put their future clearances and hence employment at risk. Your informed consent procedure ought to assure that they are aware of this.

To be honest, #2 and #3 are rather remote and abstract possibilities. On the other hand #1 is a major concern to which your IRB ought to have alerted you.
__________________
They mostly come at night. Mostly.
Rex Brynen is offline  
Closed Thread

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Open Source Intelligence (OSINT): merged thread SWJED Intelligence 77 04-27-2017 11:24 AM
Georgia's South Ossetia Conflict - Political Commentary Jedburgh Central Asia 433 01-18-2017 10:54 AM
Open source Qali-i-Jangi imagery needed Shadling RFIs & Members' Projects 6 08-27-2009 07:52 PM
Terrorist Groups Thesaurus / Open Source Guide SWJED Adversary / Threat 1 11-17-2006 03:19 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation