Air Force Loves Military Athletes As Leaker Teixeira Says

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Dr. Emma L Briant is an internationally recognized expert and scholar of propaganda and information warfare, whose work was central to the disclosure of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and continues to spread the politicians, NGOs and businesses.

With the federal government spending about $1 billion a year on defense programs and civil society to combat ‘domestic threats,’ it’s no wonder people are asking how Read the secret documents posted by Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old teenager. A Massachusetts Air National Guard Airman, he was able to circulate on the backs of the Internet for months before authorities discovered their existence.

After the large documents were leaked by Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, new systems were created to prevent, or speed up, unauthorized access to top secret files. The shiny new application aimed at detecting insider threats is artificial intelligence. Obviously that didn’t happen in the Teixiera case.

Today, vendors spend billions selling AI threat intelligence systems that are designed to predict which government employees may pose a threat to national security. These tech companies are making big claims about the accuracy of their AI in detecting leakers, and they’re demanding a faster rate for their systems and for getting more data. .

Palantir is perhaps the most famous developer of such technologies. Its CEO Alex Karp recently said that AI systems are “very dangerous” but in the context of wars like Ukraine, they have “changed the world a lot” and cannot be put back in the box. Palantir says its tools for eliminating insider threats allow businesses to “identify suspicious activity or unusual activity using a variety of algorithmic methods.” .” To that end, last year the Pentagon awarded a “multi-million dollar contract” to Torch.AI, a data intelligence company based in Leawood, Kansas, “to support the Pentagon’s efforts to combat to insider threats,” called System. for Insider Threat Hindrance, or SITH. According to its CEO Brian Weaver, “There are few situations where data quality and availability are more important than cyber and insider threats.” Of course, that didn’t stop Teixiera and his friends from widely publishing top secret documents.

Fruit on his face

The Discord leak is an embarrassment to the National Insider Threat Task Force, a federal program under the Director of National Intelligence tasked with preventing, detecting, and mitigating threats such as this. On April 10, John F. Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, was in the dark about the extent of the hemorrhage, saying that the NSC did not know the extent of the incident. the public, who is behind their cause.

The “Insider Threat” is a concept with a long history, coined after Chelsea Manning’s leak in President Obama’s Executive Order 13857, which created an Insider Threat Task Force to develop a national program. His ideas, presented in NATO’s Cooperative Cyber ​​​​Defense Center of Excellence, have long explored AI predictive tools to identify leakers, including past criminals such as including Snowden and Manning. But it is the oldest man-made newspaper by Bellingcat’s Aric Toler and The New York Times, not AI, immediately identified the leaker after seeing documents on Russian Telegram.

Nigel Oakes, the founder of defense contractor SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, explained to me in 2017 how the Pentagon’s anti-terrorist approach was “so wrong” because, with the Few of the past national security leakers to learn, “you can learn. and no more data. Not only that, if the water of those who recorded is changing As a result, the knowledge of future threats or leakers may change, reducing their predictions to an imprecise science.

There are serious flaws in relying on a system that aims to predict future cases, such as the Discord leak, from cases in which AI has been trained. Airman Teixeira didn’t seek to blow the whistle on government projects he disagreed with and he didn’t take drastic measures to remain anonymous. Nor did he understand the full effect of his actions, although he used his own name and address Sign in to the Discord server. Everything FBI Requesting Teixeira’s personal information from Discord.

However, the AI ​​lobby counters that the solution to plugging those leaks will be to reduce the fraud that keeps software and programs safe and increase the monitoring of the Internet. But the Teixeira case is a weak case for ending the privacy of federal employees. Surveillance affects everyone, not just those with bad intentions, said Tom Devine, executive director of the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower advocacy group. Devine argued that anti-terrorist protection systems could be used against those who blow the whistle on government waste, fraud, and abuse.

The deception of tomorrow’s terrorists can be seen by destroying what is left of our privacy, the unlimited surveillance needed to identify all the threats that take the risk of the undermining democracy. The focus on government access to communication technologies may distract from identifying the root causes and solutions to ‘domestic threats’.

CIA director John Sipher got it required The main problem is that many people have serious intellectual disabilities. That is expected Juvenile surveillance is done with little life experience and they may not know the suspects unless they have an arrest warrant. Whatever the truth, no one in Teixiera’s chain of command, least of all the AI ​​sniffers, picked up on Teixiera’s months of racist and antisemitic rants—or so they reported.

Youth Quake

In any case, the army relies on the constant recruitment of young people, considering billets. Teixeira entered intelligence through the side door as an IT technician, which allowed him to access a system that holds information documents. His unit, the 102nd Intelligence Wing, is part of the Air Force’s Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS), which does military intelligence, including foreign imagery from drones.

Perhaps the DOD needs to look at its own process and culture.

As the military adapts to new technologies such as AI, augmented reality and automation, it is increasingly looking for professionals with the right technical skills. This has prompted the military to intensify its efforts to recruit young players, who have developed smart systems such as the ability to monitor remote operations in remote locations such as with Afghanistan, use the screens for 12 hours at a time, or work in peripheral pages, to fill the roles as needed for the DCGS to publish the data entered by the drones.

According to the Washington Post, “the Air Force has become a leader in fostering a sports culture.” The military is looking for platforms that are popular with gamers such as Discord, or through “military sponsors of gaming leagues” that feature active war games. Despite Teixeira’s role in technical support, “the pain involved in this project is not isolated to drivers, technicians or sensor users,” explained me a veteran of DCGS with no title. This veteran said “a culture change is needed” for recruits between the ages of 18 and 24, who have spent countless hours perfecting their war game skills, get mental health support.

One of Teixeira’s high school classmates, Kailani Reis, told the Boston Globe that Teixeira was “super quiet” and gave off “loner vibes,” while another classmate, Sarah Arnold, remembered her keep calm and keep to himself, according to the Associated Press.

In 2019, according to the Washington Post, the Air Force sponsored a sports competition to identify its best athletes among 350 competitors. The idea is to promote mental health among its youth during the cancer season.

Capt. Oliver Parsons, the founder of Air Force Gaming, explained that the service needs to work with a support network to help young players cope with the isolation that has taken them. by the Covid-19 virus.

“We are not robots. We’re normal people,” Parsons said, adding that if the military doesn’t embrace the gaming culture, service members will go elsewhere.”

Now, in a highly ironic twist, it’s the Air Force that encourages young players to use Discord, the platform Teixeira has turned to to connect with the government and share what it’s all about. saw every day at work. In encouraging the use of the platform, however, the Air Force did not understand how many extremist users of 4Chan would use it to network and share information, which would challenge its They are young soldiers at high risk of encountering the extremist fringe.

The cool idea of ​​Teixeira about the distribution of top secret documents in the channels when we consider how the training and training of the military has eliminated the important boundaries that separate the unfortunately, at home wargaming from actual military conflicts.

After announcing last year’s troubling military campaigns for his 4th Psychological Operations Group, a surprise, was created to appeal to young people drawn to revolutionary ideas. Studies show that the adoption of revolutionary ideas can lead to radicalization and violence, in the military that is exacerbated by trauma or psychological distress. After concerns grew about the involvement of members of the military in the siege of the US Capitol on January 6, the DoD took steps to address internal threats from extremists, with the return of its leases. But the problems run deeper.

However, most data security issues come from the third-party companies themselves, unlike Teixiera, Manning and Reality Winner, who are not held responsible when things go wrong. In 2017 over 100 gigabytes of sensitive data were found to be unsecured on an Amazon Web Services server, believed to be linked to a security breach. It appears that nothing has been saved.

Analysts are trying to figure out why Teixeira did what he did – not to mention how to stop leaks like his. But before the AI ​​lobby demands ‘Insider Threat’ scrutiny, perhaps it’s worth asking what kind of culture the digital army has nurtured. ###

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