Bringing Back the Paper Trail

It is hard to find an upside to the recent hack of our intelligence communities; the hack made accessible a huge amount of personal data for between four and 18 million people who have either filed for a security clearance or have been listed on one. But, our favorite Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, seems to have found one: sort of.

According to NBC news, intelligence agencies will go back to using old-fashioned pen and ink applications for new background checks until the system has been fixed. The ‘security enhancements’ will take between four and six weeks and, during that time, all applications will have to be filled out and submitted by hand.

This is the best we can do?

If China is behind the hack, which is probable, they have stolen not only all that data, but the lead in intelligence. Take the time to review our procedures, fix the problem and attempt to prevent the next one. I know that governments are not particularly forward looking, and our government has been having some major problems in that area for decades, but this is getting ridiculous.

Paper TrailFour to six weeks seems like a very small window to fix the current problem and also put in place preventative measures for the next. I have worked with computers and networks for years and, unless the government already had the newest version of anti-hacking software ready to go and already set to stop the current problem, it will take more than a month and a half to secure the computer systems that are at risk.

Half measures and stopgap fixes that will lead to bigger problems later on are not the right path to take here. The government should take its time and really fix the problem with cyber-security for any national interests. Don’t slap a Band-Aid over a sucking chest wound and claim that it is fixed. Do it right or don’t do it at all.

Secure the computers that personal and intelligence information is stored on, encrypt the data – surely the only country that has put a man on the moon can come up with decent encryption – and train the people with access to the system in using it. Although it seems like a no-brainer to me, Washington wants to be seen as ‘getting back to normal.’

Unfortunately, normal for Washington has included leaking secrets to our enemies like a sieve leaks water for years. I am certainly not a Luddite, but using pen-and-ink seems to be a small price to pay to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Matt Towns
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Matt Towns

Matt is a former military journalist who spent 10 years in the US Navy. He served in various posts during his career, including a couple of deployments on the USS Valley Forge (CG-50). After leaving the Navy, he worked in management for a number of years before opening his own businesses. He ran those businesses until 2012 when he chose to leave the retail industry and return to writing. Matt currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to the US Patriot blog and other websites about political affairs, military activities and sailing.
Matt Towns
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