The Pentagon, already embarrassed by WikiLeaks’ publication of classified documents, needs to tighten up management of hundreds of its own websites because some sensitive information is inadvertently being posted there, according to a new inspector general report.
A review of 436 of the Pentagon’s public websites found the Department of Defense failed to properly manage them, maintain an inventory of them, and ensure that information posted on them is first reviewed. “As a result, sensitive information continues to be posted to DOD public Web sites, putting DOD missions and personnel at risk,” the watchdog report said.
The sensitive information included such things as social security numbers, information from 702 documents stamped “for official use only,” and more than 1,000 postings of information designated “for limited distribution,” it said. Once information is posted online, even if just for a few minutes, Internet archiving tools can capture and distribute it.
The inspector general recommended that the Pentagon within 120 days create and maintain an inventory of all publicly-accessible websites, and require all web administrators to receive security training. In accompanying remarks, Pentagon officials said they agreed with the recommendations
FAST FACT: The inspector general found 452 out of the Pentagon’s 470 public website administrators did not complete required training.
Following are other new watchdog reports released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), various federal Offices of Inspector General (OIG), and other government entities. Congressional Research Service reports, which prepared for lawmakers but not made public, were provided by the Center for Democracy and Technology.
* Rail and bus transit systems face heavy expenses to keep up with growing ridership and to maintain equipment already in place. The Federal Transit Administration estimates $77.7 billion is needed to bring all systems into a state of good repair and then an annual $14.4 billion to maintain them. (GAO)
* Bomb-sniffing dogs and walk-through portals that can detect traces of explosives are alternatives to the controversial use of whole-body imaging of airline passengers. However, the Transportation Security Administration suspended work on trace portal systems because of unreliability, and dogs trained to sniff out explosives may not be able to detect non-metallic weapons. (Congressional Research Service)
* The TSA received $734 million in stimulus money to improve detection of explosives in checked baggage but does not have a plan to ensure the timely installation of smaller detection equipment that can be installed in airport terminal lobbies. (OIG)