When you close your eyes how do you see threats?
In today’s world, the concept of national security should be a primary goal of our government. As you will see from my research that national security today generally does not even look at ideologies that conflict with the Constitution of the United States of America.
Most of the threats to national security have come from persons who have undergone extensive background checks, or from persons who were somehow able to skip the process of a background check. Thus, the big problem we face today is coming from Insider Threats.
Today we have known actors from agencies affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and other networks affiliated with acts of terror making appointments to with the State Department and the Intelligence Community because the Muslim Brotherhood has yet to be declared a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
|Former DCI James Woolsey|
In the not very distant past, limitations were held against persons holding the ideology of Communism. Several foreign actors, a.k.a. spies were discovered during and shortly after the Cold War that had gained access to documents through their government positions. According to Feldman (2003), former CIA Director Woolsey once stated that we are currently in World War IV. Feldman observed that Wolsey considered the Cold War, World War III. World War IV is the war against Islamic terrorism. If Woolsey was correct in 2003, then it is essential to recognize this war as a war of ideological differences. Which could and should be essential to identifying possible insider threats.
A. Definitions: What is an Insider Threat?
Stockton and Olson (2013) wrote in their independent review of the Washington Navy Yard Shooting provided the official Department of Defense definition of Insider Threat taken from an Executive Order by President Obama in October 2011:
The threat that an insider will use her/his authorized access, wittingly or unwittingly, to do harm to the security of the United States. This threat can include damage to the United States through espionage, terrorism, unauthorized disclosure of national security information, or through the loss or degradation of departmental resources or capabilities. (p. 59)
Executive Order 13587 empowered the Attorney General and the National Director of Intelligence to form an Insider Threat Task Force. These orders expanded outward and now nearly every Federal agency has an insider threat program.
1. Definitions to program specifics
Wallace and Lofti (2014) provided an example of how an Insider Threat definition can be made department specific when they quote the TSA definition as “one or more individuals with access or insider knowledge that allows them to exploit the vulnerabilities of the Nation’s transportation systems with the intent to cause harm” (p.291).
B. Threat Examples
Wallace and Lofti (2014) discussed Insider threats to aviation. In doing so, they provide good examples that are seemingly glanced over for an element known as ideology. One example given is that of Terry Loewen, a 58 year old avionics technician, who was arrested on federal terrorism charges after 5 months of undercover work by the FBI (p. 291). In the article Terry Loewen, uses his inside access and knowledge to plan and execute an attack. He also expresses a desire to “engage in violent jihad on behalf of Al Qaeda” (p. 291). Wallace and Lofti also cite the example of an Insider threat to British Airways, Rajib Karim, who plotted in 2010 with Anwar al-Awlaki to destroy a flight (pgs. 290-291). Lofti and Wallace’s qualitative study was to examine what aviation personnel perceive as security threats presented from vetted and credentialed employees. They note that three of their six subjects were familiar with cases of past Insider threats such as Loewen and Karim. Three out of the six interviewed identified difficulties in catching a “lone-wolf terrorist” (p.297) Yet, not one discussion is written about the possible impact of ideology, however in two out four examples given on the topic of Insider Threats, the perpetrators had an Islamist ideology.
Amy Zegart (2015) stated that “in the past five years, trusted US military and intelligence insiders have been responsible for the Wikileaks publication of thousands of classified reports, the worst intelligence breach of in National Security Agency history, the deaths of a dozen Navy, civilians and, contractors at the Washington Navy Yard, and two attacks at Fort Hood that killed sixteen people and injured more than fifty” (p. 35).
Zegart posited of the 2009 Fort Hood attack attack listing the issues attributed to not catching and stopping Hasan’s attack. “To date, the 2009 Fort Hood attack has been attributed mostly to leadership failures, poor policy guidance, and political correctness regarding disciplining or investigating a Muslim-American in the military” (p. 36).
Zegart provides research on organizational theory and disasters to explain why the Army failed to prevent Hasan’s 2009 attack. She also states that evidence existed of the threat of what Hasan could do, as there existed evidence of the attack on Pearl Harbor. She points out that there is an organizational failure when there is not a “central coordinating mechanism” (p. 36). Zegart claims part of the reason for this is because of “’noise’ of false leads, irrelevant information and deception” (pp. 36-37).
Zegart does not disregard the importance of the known ideology of Hasan. In fact she emphasizes it in her discussion on Disincentives in the Disciplinary System. She notes that Hasan statements that his loyalty to the Koran took precedence over loyalty to the Constitution, and that this alone should have been sufficient grounds for a discharge (p. 40).
|Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi|
Patrick Poole (2013) wrote of missed Insider Threats such as Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi. He demonstrates that his Islamist (Islamic supremacist) views were not only widely known by the FBI, but that al-Amoudi’s support of groups that were recognized by the United States as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) was also known (p.3). Poole points out that al-Amoudi’s ideological views and support of terrorism was exposed in the Wall Street Journal by journalist Steven Emerson as early as 1996. Yet al-Amoudi somehow was granted access to Presidents and numerous others. On top of this his organization was granted the power to certify Muslim military chaplains.
Poole also noted in his work
Mustapha received a tour of the National Counterterrorism Center, a top-secret
facility as part of the FBI’s Citizen Academy civilian training program. In
September 2010. This brings into question whether students that have access can
be considered Insider Threats. Returning to the definition, it clearly includes
all persons who have authorized access to persons or materials. Only three
years prior Mustapha was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest
terrorism financing trial in America’s history, where evidence was presented of
his affinity towards Hamas.
|Shaykh Kifah Mustapha|
Data was collected from 13 federal departments including accessible information on military and civilian training on Insider Threats were reviewed. Private company materials claiming affiliation with the Department of Defense (DoD) were also reviewed when possible. Materials were discovered through a basic search on USA.gov which provided links to federal departments and their training materials.
Certain materials were discovered to be used across a wider platform of use than specific to a department or agency. Training materials created by the Center for Development of Security Excellence were discovered to have been recommended to civilian contractors. CDSE is listed on the federal database however it is not a department of the federal government. With that said, all of the contact information is routed through a .mil database. The CDSE (n.d.) Mission Statement and Vision revealed that it claims to be “a nationally accredited, award-winning directorate within the Defense Security Service (DSS),” with an addition claim that it provides “the DoD with a security center of excellence for the professionalization of the security community.”
All program training materials reviewed on Insider Threats were found to not discuss or present any information on ideological indicators, with the exception of the Army’s training materials. NCIS did not rank as high as the Army on this topic because NCIS training materials on Insider Threats are taught as a component of their Counter-Intelligence program and appears not to be taught separate from this topic. Because it is not taught separate trainees are taught Possible Espionage Indicators that examine ideology.
The Center for Development of Security Excellence created an extensive training material component complete with video, handouts and more. CDSE does not include Ideological Indicators, unless they include a component on Possible Espionage Indicators (PEIs). If this component is missing in training, ideology as an indicator of possible Insider Threat is not covered at all.
No discovery was made of any training or policy materials that provided specific indicators that would could create a discussion on Ideological Indicators for Islamic Terrorism. This is of interest, since persons claiming to Muslim have committed the majority of terrorist actions. However, in the CDSE training, one case is presented that could allow such a discussion. However the CDSE training material discusses only nationalism as a possible PEI.
The following federal agencies and departments and federal contractors are missing any mention of ideology as an indicator of Insider Threat from the available resources found through USA.gov.
· Department of Homeland Security
· DHS: National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center
· DHS: Science and Technology Directorate
· Department of Energy
· Information Systems Security Awareness
· Government Accountability Office (Training materials not found but reports indicate an absence of knowledge in this area.)
· National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies
· Defense Security Service
· US Department of Agriculture
· Department of Defense
· Department of Transportation (TSA)
· Sandia National Laboratories (Listed government contractor)
POSSIBLE INSIDER THREAT DISCOVERED
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), has posted on its site (Sandia National Laboratories, 2017) an interaction with a mosque that is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. This information was indicated by the mosque on its own site (ICNM, 2015). The mosque claimed: “ICNM is affiliated with Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and all associated properties are under the umbrella of North American Islamic Trust (NAIT)” (ICNM, 2015). Both ISNA and NAIT have been recognized in federal court as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation Trial in 2008 (King, 2017). In the article (Sandia National Laboratories, 2017),
Mohamed Ebeida of Sandia National Laboratories is credited with having created a bond between both SNL and the Islamic Center of New Mexico when he formed a Robotics team of Muslim teens sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories, which is based out of ICNM. Mr. Ebeida may or may not be aware of the problem this poses. This is why the federal definition of Insider Threats indicates a person may “wittingly or unwittingly” commit an action that may be deemed as a threat.
Malone (2015) wrote about numerous security breaches at Sandia Labs. Missing materials. When the article was published it observed that the private organization that ran the lab was being fined “$577,500 for its poor handling of classified nuclear bomb design information.” Private companies running federal programs may not grasp the importance on national security and/or they may not have a desire to spend what is needed of their profit margin in order to maintain national security at the labs. As stated in the observed possible Insider Threat above, the information is public knowledge. Anyone with a computer can find this link.
The absence of ideological indicators of Insider Threats specifically allows for three possible dangers regarding Insider Threats. It is also noticeable that no discussion of Ideological indicators specific to Islamic terrorism further places America at risk.
1) The hiring of personnel without examining ideology, may later allow persons to be act themselves or, be used to promote a threat to the country (Wallace and Lofti, 2014).
2) Granting security clearances to persons whose ideology may not agree with the Constitution may create an opening to revealing classified information to persons who consider themselves an enemy of the United States of America.
3) Granting access to secure locations to persons whose ideology does not agree with the Constitution places Americans at risk.
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