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A Blog on Understanding, Informing, Empowering, and Influencing Global Publics, published by Matt Armstrong

Let me share some news with you: Gates likes the CNAS report but does not like that it is a CNAS report

According to the Voice of America, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates endorses the recent report – Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan – authored by Major General Michael Flynn, Captain Matt Pottinger, and Paul D. Batchelor. However, according to VOA, the SecDef took issue with the report being published by CNAS.

Continue reading “Let me share some news with you: Gates likes the CNAS report but does not like that it is a CNAS report” »

Noteworthy

“Our ‘don’t hate me because I’m beautiful’ message isn’t working either.  Like Jim Glassman says, it’s not about us, it’s about them.  The sooner we recognize that, the better.” – Angela Trethewey and Joe Faina in talking about Sen. Lieberman’s Not-So-Straight Talk on Public Diplomacy

“One of the problems with Open Source research is that most of it is farmed out to contractor [companies], who are just using it as unclassified work for people who are in the process of getting their clearance.  This is one of the reasons contractors will NEVER contribute to the field of Open Source.  Their analysts pick up some skills but then are ripped out of there to serve on a higher-paying contract, once they get cleared.  This brain drain is a huge problem.” – Open Source Spy Looks for Upgrade by Noah Shachtman

“The decline of the U.S. military’s acquisitions workforce, and the resulting reliance on private contractors to perform oversight on weapons program, is ‘going to be sooner or latter one of the biggest stories of the military complex in this half of the century,’ according to one longtime defense industry professional.” – Pentagon Weapons-Buying: ‘Dumb as a Bag of $600 Hammers’ by David Axe

“Hackers knocked out Al Qaeda’s online means of communication, thus preventing them from posting anything to commemorate the anniversary.” – Hindustan Times (h/t MT)

Online Symposium at CTLab: Social Science in War starts next week (22 September 2008)

“Google is talking about moving some of their data centers offshore, which in their mind apparently means at sea. … The ‘water-based data centres’ would use wave energy to power and cool their computers, reducing Google’s costs. Their offshore status would also mean the company would no longer have to pay property taxes on its data centres, which are sited across the world, including in Britain.” – Google Going Offshore? by Galrahn (see also Google and Am FP)

“Despite almost seven years of fighting, the administration has still not clearly articulated a strategy and has starved the effort of resources. … Good tactics and more troops are not a substitute for a strategy – and in fact can significantly raise the cost of a bad strategy. Both candidates need to explain the strategy that justifies such a commitment.” – The Good War? by T.X. Hammes

The Clean Team: cleaning the image

In the Washington Post about the six Gitmo prisoners to be tried over 9/11: 

The Bush administration announced yesterday that it intends to bring capital murder charges against half a dozen men allegedly linked to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, based partly on information the men disclosed to FBI and military questioners without the use of coercive interrogation tactics.

The admissions made by the men — who were given food whenever they were hungry as well as Starbucks coffee at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — played a key role in the government’s decision to proceed with the prosecutions, military and law enforcement officials said.

FBI and military interrogators who began work with the suspects in late 2006 called themselves the "Clean Team" and set as their goal the collection of virtually the same information the CIA had obtained from five of the six through duress at secret prisons.

To ensure that the data would not be tainted by allegations of torture or illegal coercion, the FBI and military team won the suspects’ trust over the past 16 months by using time-tested rapport-building techniques, the officials said.

Such decadence.  No wonder people fear us

H/T Noah

 

Social engineering through flirting, robot flirting

Interesting story at CNET (h/t Kurzweil): 

Those entering online dating forums risk having more than their hearts stolen.

A program that can mimic online flirtation and then extract personal information from its unsuspecting conversation partners is making the rounds in Russian chat forums, according to security software firm PC Tools.

The artificial intelligence of CyberLover’s automated chats is good enough that victims have a tough time distinguishing the "bot" from a real potential suitor, PC Tools said. The software can work quickly too, establishing up to 10 relationships in 30 minutes, PC Tools said. It compiles a report on every person it meets complete with name, contact information, and photos.

That squirrel might really be watching you

spysquirrelJust because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean everyone isn’t out to get you. Turkish official media is reporting IRNA, Iran’s official news agency, that Iran has captured 14 “spy squirrels”.

Iranian police has captured 14 “spy squirrels” equipped with modern technology including GPS units, cameras, and listening devices.

The report said that the squirrels that were trained for espionage and information-gathering, are believed to be sent to Iran by Israel.

Yes. The squirrel uplinks to the pigeon loitering overhead who relays it to a gopher in his command bunker who then tasks the badgers, who are training in Basra.

Hmmm, good idea

From Michael Tanji commenting on an article about the DIA trying to bridge worlds:

General, please, it’s simple: you have computers, wikis and blogs – use them. Everyone else in the information business is working this way (some are getting ready to go beyond it). If you can’t grasp it, if your office chiefs can’t grasp it, I guarantee the kids you hired since ’02 do (as well as the mid-career folks who now wear yellow badges). It’ll work. It works millions of times every day. Make that your pilot and save yourself the grief, time and expense.

Hmm… a wiki… that’s a fine idea