Re: [fw-wiz] Top Secret DOD Data over the Public Internet? Thoughts?

From: Marcus J. Ranum (
Date: 08/22/04

  • Next message: Paul D. Robertson: "Re: [fw-wiz] Top Secret DOD Data over the Public Internet? Thoughts?"
    To: Matt Curtin <>,
    Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2004 11:33:06 -0400

    Matt Curtin wrote:
    >It seems that it would be a standard communications security problem.
    >NSA presumably has crypto to send messages safely over cables they
    >don't own, airwaves, and all kinds of other stuff.

    There are movements afoot to potentially completely re-write the
    notion of black networking and how classified materials are
    handled. I tried to allude to some of this in my earlier post on
    this thread. ;) In other words, there are forces arguing that
    maybe it might be OK to mix classified and SBU networks
    and it might even be OK to shift away from "need to know"
    toward "push to consumer" information architectures. Such
    changes would be profound in implication, results, and in their
    impact on how networking and computing is done within
    the DOD and IC.

    As you can probably imagine, these issues are technical as
    well as highly charged political footballs that touch on
    organizational pride, budgets, and missions. The 9/11 commission
    report and the political fallout from that, as well as the election
    year, are more likely to affect what happens than anything to
    do with technology and/or what makes sense. There are so
    many forces at play it's impossible to even sense them all
    at this time, or to guess what will win and what will lose. As with
    all of these intensely political turf-fights, we should expect
    to see "trial baloons" floated - and we should expect to see
    pre-emptive "media leaks" in which one agency leaks information
    to the press "BAD THING ABOUT TO HAPPEN" in a move
    for leverage. What was being said in the article was a journalist's
    re-interpretation of what a bureaucrat said about another
    agency's ideas. How accurate and unbiassed do you expect
    such reportage to be?

    As a citizen and taxpayer, I was horrified by the tiny toe-dip
    I took in researching how the government does its computing.
    Most Americans have no idea how dysfunctional bureaucracy
    really is, because - so far - it has managed to avoid collapsing
    under its own weight.

    If you want to truly horrify yourself on these topics, I have a
    reading list on:
    some of these books were source material for my book
    on homeland security. Taken together, they're really really
    really really depressing reading.


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