Pentagon Spent Millions to Counter Insider Threats After WikiLeaks Fiasco

Pfc. Bradley Manning allegedly downloaded classified files from military networks and leaked them to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

Pfc. Bradley Manning allegedly downloaded classified files from military networks and leaked them to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Patrick Semansky/AP

That didn't stop Edward Snowden from downloading highly classified data at NSA.

Since 2010, when Pfc. Bradley Manning allegedly downloaded classified files from military networks and leaked them to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, the Pentagon has paid millions of dollars for technology designed to protect networks against insiders intent on leaking sensitive data -- the kind of activities former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden claims to have done in releasing classified files on the agency's spying operations.

NSA, which is part of the Defense Department, doesn't appear to have enabled those protections, despite earlier Pentagon assertions the technology was rolled out departmentwide.

The Host-Based Security System, launched in 2010, prevents the use of removable storage devices such as CDs and thumb drives on Defense Department networks. An NSA information technology official, who left the agency in the summer of 2012, said that at that time, HBSS was not installed

Between 2010 and early 2013, the military had spent at least $12 million on core implementation contracts, according to budget analysts. Going forward, the Defense Information Systems Agency, which provides IT support throughout the department, is expected to pay about $1.3 million annually for software licenses, said Ray Bjorklund, founder of BirchGrove Consulting.

Snowden, an NSA system administrator working for Booz Allen Hamilton until he was fired last month, allegedly transferred to a thumb drive classified information about how the agency tracks domestic call data and foreigners' Internet activities. 

"There's usually a collaboration between DISA and NSA on net security technologies," Bjorklund said, but "NSA may have been responsible for funding its own implementation under the DoD directive."

In fall 2010, Defense officials directed military components to ban downloading information onto removable devices from the military's secret network, using technologies such as HBSS. 

The move came after Manning, who as a low-level intelligence analyst based in Iraq in early 2010, allegedly downloaded to a CD classified files about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to release publicly on the anti-secrets website WikiLeaks.

A December 2010 memorandum from the Committee on National Security Systems, an interagency group that sets national policy, advised Defense organizations to “begin using physical configuration, software settings, a capability such as a Host-Based Security System (HBSS) (a DoD capability designed to address exploit traffic on network hosts)" or any combination of those approaches "to disable all 'write' privileges," meaning downloads, "for all forms of removable media devices" on national security systems. 

By early spring 2012, most Defense organizations had activated the technology.

Federal spending databases indicate a slew of contractors, including General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, and now BAE Systems were hired to deploy the McAfee-developed HBSS. Booz Allen does not appear to be on military's payroll for this particular project. 

HP, NCI Information Systems and SAIC are among the vendors that individual military departments have commissioned for HBSS services, according to the databases.

NSA declined to say whether the agency had installed or activated HBSS. 

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.