June 10, 2013

Air Force ‘Notice to Airmen’ Warns Them Not to Read NSA Data-Mining and Related Stories

In a story which I can attest is accurate, Gina Loudon at WND.com, formerly WorldNetDaily, reports that the Air Force’s 624th Operations Center is warning airmen not to look at the news.

That’s not exactly what they’re saying, but they might as well be. What the “Notice to Airmen” says is that “Users are not to use AF NIPRNET systems to access the Verizon phone records collection and other related news stories because the action could constitute a Classified Message Incident.” It’s currently pretty hard to go to a news site without seeing a blurb on a “related story,” given how many “related stories” there are which go way beyond Verizon to nine tech companies, 50 other companies, Edward Snowden, White House, congressional and bureaucrats’ responses, etc. The Air Force’s claim that reading a news story or even looking at documents which have been made public is a “Classified Message Incident” is pretty shaky, based on the definition provided in a two-year old memo I located. That definition, and a grab of the censorious memo, follow the jump.

Here’s the relevant portion of the memo:


Here’s the definition I found of a “Classified Message Incident,” accompanied by additional commentary (bolds are mine):

6/8/2011 – AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — A classified message incident is when classified material or information is sent through e-mail over an unsecured work center computer such as the one I am using to write this article. A CMI is a foundational break down in our ability to protect classified information and results in a loss of man-hours, money and time. We as a team must focus on preventing these costly incidents and ensure everyone has a broader understanding of the CMI process and how we can prevent them.

Causes of CMIs are numerous and highlight poor classified protection practices. Computer users can prevent CMIs by not transmitting sensitive to classified material through normal e-mail and instead use secure means such as secret internet protocol router network, commonly referred to as SIPRNet. Information Protection practices are aimed at preventing the transmission of classified material through e-mail. E-mail users must take the time to consider material classification being written on their desktop or laptop before sending. Poor classified protection practices can be eliminated by slowing down. Always determine classification of material you are working with and never send classified via unsecured means.

Raising awareness about what a CMI is and how to prevent them are positive steps we can take to continue our efforts in preventing them. Together, we can make a difference by slowing down when writing information, ensuring we are fully aware of the type or classification of material we are working with, and learning from our costly mistakes. Remember, preventing CMIs saves man-hours, money and time.

Everything discussed above has to do with sending information which shouldn’t be sent.

If the Air Force has an argument, it’s that its personnel arguably shouldn’t be sending “look at this” emails to friends, relatives and acquaintances about the allegedly security-compromising leaks.

There is nothing in the CMI definition or the rest of the memo which could conceivably stretch its definition to include receiving the bits and bytes of a news story and then reading it.

The Air Force memo effectively keeps service members from accessing Drudge, the New York Times, the Associated Press, and virtually every other national and international news site’s home page for the next several days — if not weeks and months, at the rate things are going.

This isn’t what our service members has in mind when they swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” and that they “will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;” Those sections of the oath come before those relating to obeying the orders of the President of the United States and the officers appointed over them.

Officers at the 624th need to be ordered to stop bullying their subordinates. Frankly, someone deserves some serious discipline for issuing such a tyrannical order.

This story, whose accuracy I was able to indirectly verify, is not news anywhere except WND.

Does anyone remember the military ordering soldiers not to read stories about Watergate in 1973 and 1974? I didn’t think so.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

AP’s Liz Sidoti, Despite Angst Over Obama’s ‘Credibility,’ Still Has Blinders Fully Engaged

When last seen at NewsBusters in February, the Associated Press’s Liz Sidoti was talking down to the public about its “collective obsession with the trivial” less than a week after AP reporter Ken Thomas wasted 500 words of print and bandwidth on how Florida Sen. Marco Rubio took a sip of water during a speech.

Now Sidoti, who is the AP’s National Political Editor, is quite worried — actually, obsessed – that the public might waking up and contrasting what President Barack Obama is delivering compared to what he has promised at a most inopportune time, and that “controversies” might overtake Dear Leader’s second-term agenda (bolds are mine):


Tweet of the Year



Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (061013)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.


Lost in the noise over Michelle Obama’s petulant, immature response to a heckler at a Democratic fund-raising event (“Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide”) was the pathetic theme of her speech, which can be summarized in four words: “It’s for the children.”

What about this administration is “for the children”? The over $6 trillion in new debt since the administration took office ($10.63 trillion then, $16.74 trillion as of Thursday)? The higher education bubble caused by the breathtaking expansion in student (and parent) loans for college? The steep price they’ll have to pay for health insurance coverage far in excess of what they’ll ordinarily need? The temporary/part-time economy these clowns are creating?

“For the children” was last seen as a last-refuge cop-out during the Clinton administration. It’s come to that point under Obama as well.


Another scandal to add to the scandal exhaustion list, in case you missed it (and it’s totally understandable if you have): “AP: Obama officials using secret e-mail accounts”


Cincinnati’s going broke while pretending it has all kinds of money to throw at its ill-advised streetcar plan: “Cincinnati’s pension and retiree health care systems require an $85.5 million contribution next year, 53 percent of total payroll and dramatically more than the city says it can afford.”


Related to the previous item:

Cincinnati officials say no taxpayer money would be used to operate the controversial streetcar once it is built.

But an Enquirer examination finds that would make it one of the most unusual streetcar systems anywhere.

“There is no public transportation system in the world, with the exception of Hong Kong, that isn’t subsidized by the government, particularly in the U.S. where fare box revenue covers less than 50 percent of what it costs to operate” …

Barring a miracle, Cincinnati, which as noted above can’t afford it, will be taking on yet another ongoing and at this point undetermined annual cost. It won’t be small.


Delegitimized 2012 General Election Update: “IRS officials knew as early as 2010 that pro-life and conservative groups were being targeted by the Internal Revenue Service. Of course, no news broke about the scandal until after President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election victory.”

Positivity: Pope dwells on God’s wordless love

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

From Vatican City:

Jun 7, 2013 / 01:14 pm

Pope Francis said God does not love us with words but through closeness and tenderness during his morning Mass on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“He does not love us with words, he comes close and gives us his love with tenderness,” the Pope said.

“Closeness and tenderness!” he stressed on June 7 at the chapel in Saint Martha’s House.

God loves us by “drawing near” and “giving all his love,” he preached, adding that he does so “even in the smallest things, with tenderness.”

Pope Francis made his comments based on Ezekiel 34, in which God shows his love by caring for the lost, wounded and sick sheep.

He referred to the feast as “the feast of love” of a “heart that loved so much.”

The pontiff then dwelt in greater depth on how Jesus loved with his deeds and life.

“This is a powerful love, because closeness and tenderness reveal the strength of God’s love,” said Pope Francis.

“The Lord loves us tenderly, the Lord knows that beautiful science of caresses, the tenderness of God.”

Besides God’s love being given through acts, the Holy Father underscored that God loves more by giving than receiving.

“These two criteria are like the pillars of true love, and the Good Shepherd above all else represents the love of God,” said Pope Francis. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

NYT Defends Partial Walkback of Editorial’s Original Blanket Condemnation of Obama; How Will They Handle Edward Snowden?

Sometime late Thursday afternoon, an editorial at the New York Times bitterly criticizing President Obama for the expansion of surveillance efforts during his administration contained this sentence: “The administration has lost all credibility.” Within a few hours, as seen here, that sentence was changed to “The administration has lost all credibility on this issue,” and set off in a separate paragraph.

The Times is pretending that it didn’t do what it obviously did:(more…)