recommended reading

Gates orders more information sharing to stop inside attacks

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a new coordinated cyberspace counterintelligence policy that would better identify military personnel who pose a threat in an effort to avoid events such as the mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009.

E-mails and other electronic documents frequently have pointed to the possibility of wrongdoing. Investigators looking into the shooting said they had discovered at least 20 e-mails between Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, and radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki prior to the attacks.

Investigators believe al-Awlaki might have known in advance about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and he has had contacts with other radical Muslims, including Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane in December 2009.

Internal Army reports indicated personnel were aware of Hasan's tilt toward radicalism since 2005, and the FBI knew of the e-mail exchanges between Hasan and al-Awlaki well before the attack, but it determined the psychiatrist was not a threat.

The new policy is supposed to go into effect in August, Gates said in his memo, which was based on recommendations made by an independent review panel that studied the Fort Hood shooting. Togo West Jr., secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department during the Clinton administration, headed up the committee.

The policy will establish procedures for identifying potential threats to Defense Department personnel, information and facilities through coordinated, but not defined, cyber counterintelligence activities, the memo said. The policy will help alert Defense's investigative groups of threat information discovered during counterintelligence operations on Defense networks, systems and computers, Gates said.

The West panel also determined Defense agencies and departments cannot share information on personnel or vehicles that have been granted access to military installations. In addition, they cannot exchange data on people barred from an individual installation. The panel said security on bases is weakened because the military does not have access to the National Crime Information Center or the Terrorist Threat Screening Database.

Gates said in his memo the services have started projects to check databases if someone has access to a specific base and they have connected with law enforcement databases such as the NCIC and the terrorist threat database. But the memo suggested these improvements depend on funding, saying they face "resource constraints."

He also endorsed the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange, which the Navy first developed in 2004 to share information with local agencies with plans to fully deploy the system next year.

In addition, Gates directed Defense to adopt by September the FBI's eGuardian terrorist threat reporting system to share information on suspected terrorist threats with civilian agencies, and state and local law enforcement organizations.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.