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Disappointed that the Air Force was not sending linguists like her into the field, Reality began to look elsewhere for fulfilling work. She was honorably discharged in November 2016, at which point she applied for jobs with NGOs in Afghanistan, hoping to use her Pashto to actually talk to people — maybe refugees, maybe kids on Christmas morning. That same month, she began to test the boundaries of her oath to keep information secret. Reality says she wanted to know how her colleagues had uploaded personal photos onto their secure computers. She searched using the phrase “Do top secret computers detect when flash drives are inserted” and inserted a thumb drive. According to Reality, an admin box popped up. She didn’t have the password. She ejected the drive.
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This is perhaps the most surprising thing about the story of Airman Reality Winner, linguist, intelligence specialist, a woman who spent years of her life dropping in on conversations among people this country considers potential enemies: It did not occur to her, in a moment of crisis, that someone might be listening.
Based on her test scores, Reality was selected to be a cryptolinguist, which is to say she was tapped to help the military eavesdrop on people speaking languages other than English. She wanted Arabic, but the ones assigned to her were Dari and Farsi — languages of use to a military vacuuming up conversations from Afghanistan and Iran. She would spend two years becoming fluent and another year in intelligence training before she was sent to Maryland’s Fort Meade. Along the way, she’d be one of a few students admitted to a selective program in Pashto, yet another language in which she would become fluent.
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To get to the second floor of the Whitelaw Building, where Reality Winner appears to have worked from February until June, she first had to drive into Fort Gordon, “Home of the U.S. Cyber Center of Excellence,” past low-slung brick buildings and uniformed military in formation, past massive satellite dishes behind barbed wire, toward the $286 million, 604,000-square-foot sleek white listening post that is NSA Georgia, gleaming and gently curved, surrounded by a parking lot full of the middle-class cars of working intelligence-industry professionals.
Author: Nihad123, 13.04.2015 at
Surveillance requires surveillors; mass surveillance requires more of them. In 2011, according to a document leaked by , the number of people who worked for the 16 agencies that the government considers to be part of the intelligence community was 104,905. But that number doesn’t include contractors, to which most intelligence funding — 70 percent, according to a PowerPoint leaked to investigative journalist Tim Shorrock — now accrues. Precisely how many Americans are involved in the country’s $70 billion intelligence project remains unknown, probably, even to members of the inner circle; senior officials marvel at its size and redundancy. The intelligence contractors Booz Allen Hamilton, CRSA, and SAIC each employ well over 15,000 people, and there are hundreds of smaller companies like the one for which Reality worked. A single Army research-laboratory contract inked in 2010 involved 11 “prime” contractors and 180 subcontractors. This contract, and these numbers, also come to us via leak.
Author: GuLeScI_RaSiM, 13.04.2015 at
With so many having access to so much, the fabric of secrecy is stretched thin, vulnerable to puncture. And so the Obama administration launched an unprecedented crackdown against whistle-blowers, charging more of them under the Espionage Act of 1917 than all previous administrations combined. To “detect and prevent” potential leakers, the Obama administration introduced something called “insider threat” training.
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“What do insider threats look like?” asks a student guide prepared by the Center for Development of Security Excellence. “They look like you and me.”