Lack of Security at the Department of Homeland Security

So the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that DHS would remove the “right-wing extremist” report from their web site.* The horse-and-barn-door metaphor seems appropriate, because it’s a meaningless gesture: the report’s been cached and will continue to be available on other sites (for example, the Anti-Secrecy Society … a.k.a. the Federation of American Scientists).

The real question is, why was it on-line in the first place?

I have a copy of the report, which I downloaded almost a month ago; I don’t remember whether I got if off the DHS site, but I don’t think so. Notwithstanding the other controversy surrounding its contents I was more disturbed by the fact that several of the paragraphs are not marked FOUO, but instead are marked LES. Most people can recognize FOUO as “For Official Use Only,” but LES may not be as familiar. LES means “Law Enforcement Sensitive.”

How sensitive? The paragraph in the report that describes the LES marking says,

This product contains Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES) information. No portion of the LES information should be released to the media, the general public, or over non-secure Internet servers. Release of this information could adversely affect or jeopardize investigative activities.

Let’s see that again: “No portion of the LES information should be released to the media, the general public, or over non-secure Internet servers.”

I got the report over non-secure Internet servers. Who put it there? A reprimand would seem to be in order.

*According to this report.

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4 Responses to Lack of Security at the Department of Homeland Security

  1. Gray Rinehart says:

    The black sedan would be a little conspicuous in my neighborhood. I wonder about the nondescript, windowless van, though ….

    Sure, I wouldn’t mind seeing that LWE report. Thanks!

  2. dbergeron says:

    It is on the web, with the same kinds of markings. I suppose it was leaked after the Right Wing Extremist report became public.

    Having read both reports, I would say that there are considerable differences between the two. The LWE report talks specifics, both in terms of specific threats (i.e. cyber attacks) and it lists 10-12 different loose organizations that pose the threat. It does not lump all people who are concerned about the environment or animal cruelty into the watch group.

    The RWE report is much more general, with no specific threats. It is essentially says to watch out for people on the right. For example:

    “(U) Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

    So, if you are for small government, opposed to abortion, and would like the immigration laws of this country enforced, law enforcement needs to be on the lookout for you.

    One of the most egregious statements concerns veterans:

    “(U//FOUO) The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”

    The report uses the word perceived or perception 11 times.

    “(U//FOUO) Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures. Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish “financial elites.” These “accusatory” tactics are employed to draw new recruits into rightwing extremist groups and further radicalize those already subscribing to extremist beliefs. DHS/I&A assesses this trend is likely to accelerate if the economy is perceived to worsen.”

    What is supposed to happen if the economy really does get worse?

    “(U//FOUO) Paralleling the current national climate, rightwing extremists during the 1990s exploited a variety of social issues and political themes to increase group visibility and recruit new members. Prominent among these themes were the militia movement’s opposition to gun control efforts, criticism of free trade agreements (particularly those with Mexico), and highlighting perceived government infringement on civil liberties as well as white supremacists’ longstanding exploitation of social issues such as abortion, inter-racial crimes, and same-sex marriage.”

    If the government takes away a constitutionally guaranteed right, is that a perceived infringement?

    “(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremist groups’ frustration over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration has the potential to incite individuals or small groups toward violence. If such violence were to occur, it likely would be isolated, small-scale, and directed at specific immigration-related targets.”

    Did the government take some action on illegal immigration that I missed? How is it a “perceived” lack of action?

    The report tends to dismiss the issues that are giving rise to Right Wing Extremists. It appears to me that some of the complaints are valid. Unfortunately, they are in conflict with the current administration’s plans. I guess I can expect to see a dark sedan parked outside my house now.

    I can send you the LWE report if you’re interested.

  3. Gray Rinehart says:

    No, indeed. It may be more highly classified ….

  4. Conan says:

    Did you get a copy of the “left-wing extremist” one(s). Let me guess…