Congressman Twitters Security Breach

Personal responsibility.  Within any organization, you have to trust someone.  You put trust into somebody, expecting they will take the responsibility.  Big lapses end up on the evening news.  People typically think its the low paid administrative assistant who blunders through a social engineering exercise.  Or maybe it’s the disgruntled system administrator trolling through the online personnelle files looking for something of value.  Possibly the forgetful road warrior and the expectation that with more mobility, more  information will be leaked.  

A Wired Magazine correspondent documented the inadvertent disclosures through the use of GPS embedded into many of today’s cell phones.  The NSA went through the trouble of securing the BarackBerry not only because he is the boss, but after hearing the vulnerabilities and mitigations, the residual risks were understood.  I’m sure the Agency guys didn’t need to explain to him about leaving his phone in an adversary’s hands or randomly text messaging his buddies about hitting the bar later that night.

That’s why I’m puzzled by this weekend’s actions of Congressman Peter Hoekstra – former Chairman, and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.  This is the guy supporting the warrant-less wiretapping, so that Al-Qaeda wouldn’t know US Intelligence was watching them.  During what was supposed to be a secret congressional trip to Iraq, Hoekstra Twitters the details of the weekend trip.  I understand a minor slip, those are planned for and around.  From the Congressman’s tweets, it seems like he was trying to cause an incident, discussing travel coordination and locations with timestamps:

On the way to Andrews Air Force base.12 hour flight to mid east Be back on Mon instead of tues….

Just landed in Baghdad…..

Moved into green zone by helicopter Iraqi flag now over palace.Headed to new US embassy….

Talk about a lapse in responsibility.  This isn’t even a judgement call – Hoekstra jeopardized all of his fellow travellers.  Thankfully everyone returned safely home, at least according to Hoekstra’s last tweet:

Headed home!Situation in Iraq improves significantly.Afghanistan poses challenges!Lots of stuff to talk about when I get home Monday late pm

Even with the best policies and practices in place, everything hinges on the end user.  Their understanding of each action that takes place and their role in the ultimate security/privacy of the whole is paramount to the success of the mission.


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