Where’s the Report on the Security of Unclassified IT Systems?

voyager624/Shutterstock.com

Congress ordered the review last year.

The White House and the intelligence community faced a deadline last week to inventory unclassified IT systems from which attackers could glean classified material.

Last December's $1.8 trillion federal spending bill ordered the Obama administration to provide its findings to Congress within 180 days. 

On Monday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Office of Management and Budget, who were tasked with the audit, could not provide Nextgov with a progress report.

It is unclear if the mandate is a response to Hillary Clinton's private email server, which reportedly contained messages that referenced classified activities -- or concerns about the sensitive contents of unclassified systems in general. 

The administration must "identify all unclassified information systems that provide access to information that may provide an adversary with the ability to derive information that would otherwise be considered classified," the legislative text states. 

Defense Department and intelligence systems are exempt from the scavenger hunt.  

The evaluation must describe what dangers might unfold should there be a breach of one of the unclassified systems. In addition, the law requires estimates for the cost and impact of redesignating the at-risk systems as a "national security system."

The report to lawmakers was supposed to be unclassified, with a classified annex.

Over the past few years, there have been incidents involving the State Department and military where classified information was shared via unclassified systems.

The Army's Deployable Disbursing System conducted 655 transactions that contained classified pieces of data relating to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Patricia Marsh, then-assistant inspector general for defense business operations, said in a 2010 audit. 

"The unauthorized disclosure of classified information in an unclassified system, such as DDS," she said, "could place unsuspecting warfighters or trusted foreign officials in harm's way and cause damage to national security." The Federation of American Scientists obtained the Army report through an open records request. 

The tool, at the time, stored data from commercial and miscellaneous payments processed by the Army, including expenditures supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

An adversary could discover classified intelligence by mashing up information from multiple sources or by breaching an unclassified system that holds mismarked sensitive information. 

For example, more than 20 emails on former State Secretary Clinton's reportedly insecure unclassified homemade server were later classified as “top secret” by the CIA because they discussed the program to hunt and kill terrorist suspects using drones, among other intelligence sources and methods.

"The emails contain direct and indirect references to secret programs," officials told The New York Times in late February.

More recently, it was revealed that attackers can aggregate information -- from Clinton’s insecure machine, a reportedly insecure State email server, and redacted Clinton messages -- to discern secrets. 

At least 47 of the redacted Clinton emails contain the notation "B3 CIA PERS/ORG," meaning the deleted material refers to CIA personnel or agency-related matters.

"Because both Clinton's server and the State Department systems were vulnerable to hacking, the perpetrators could have those original emails, and now the publicly released, redacted versions showing exactly which sections refer to CIA personnel," the Tribune news service reported June 9.

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.