November 03, 2015

That'll Learn I'm!

Well the penalty for the NASA official who gave a Chinese official unfettered access to the Langley Reasearch Center for just under two years has been sentenced....to six months probation and 250 dollars


Woodell permitted Bo Jiang "complete and unrestricted access” to the NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia, according to the indictment filed October 20.  The indictment stated that he had violated NASA’s security and IT regulations over a two-year period, from Spring 2011 to January 2013.
 

I feel so safe that I might cry. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 09:01 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
Post contains 89 words, total size 1 kb.

1 Hey now, you can't seriously expect a high and mighty bureaucrat to receive a real sentence.  Laws are for the little people.

Posted by: Tom at Wed Nov 4 20:29:55 2015 (hBG9u)

2 I'm sorry, what is wrong with you? Have you confused NASA Langley with CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia? Do you want t put in prison anyone who's lending an unfettered access to a restroom in a McDonald's to a Chinese national? What insanity is this? It's only a freaking Langley! Not even Marshall or Michoud!

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wed Nov 4 21:01:07 2015 (XOPVE)

3 No, this is Langley Research Center, which has some fairly sensitive facilities as it does a fair amount of aerospace research and works closely with Langley Airforce Base. If they'd just given Chinese nationals access to the facillity ( that is unremarkable and there are a LOT of researchers from all over the world there) it wouldn't have been a problem. This seems to have been access to some of the sensitive areas, and in any event, the Chinese scientist in question felt the need to try and flee
Shortly after Wolf’s press conference Bo Jiang sought to flee the United States and was intercepted by federal agents at Dulles Airport on March 16, 2013. He had purchased a one-way ticket to his homeland in China.
The Chinese had in his possession a laptop with a Seagate External Hard Drive "that contained the NASA unauthorized, unrestricted access information,” from NASA Langley, according to the U.S. Attorneys office.

This seems to be a fairly major screw-up.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Wed Nov 4 21:13:54 2015 (5oCPR)

4 This is pure insanity. Bo Jiang was not a Chinese spy to begin with. Wolff was grandstanding like any Congresscritter. And prosecutors grasped around for someone to indict. As a result, they found a couple of guys who were responsible to whatever regulation violations. After that, the plea bargaining ensued (against which, BTW, Instapundit rails with regularity), and one of them ened with the probation and $250 fine, which raised the ire of the ignorant.

The whole story is not worth a discarded eggshell. It's pure abuse of prosecutorial powers, and a disgrace.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Thu Nov 5 14:00:28 2015 (XOPVE)

5 You should've cued to the nature of the problem even without googling, when you read "UNRESTRICTED ACCESS information" in the quote. There was no security violation at all. It was just "unauthorized".

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Thu Nov 5 14:03:14 2015 (XOPVE)

6 That's not to say there aren't thousands of Chinese spies all over. It's just that our useless counter-espionage folks could not get to them, so they trumped up charges against a random Chinese guy, then threw a book at whoever was in contact with him for the procedural violations. And then we have bloggers and their commenters demanding blood of innocents, while Chinese spies continue spying.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Thu Nov 5 14:05:51 2015 (XOPVE)

7 Does anybody get the feeling that Pete's brakes need changing?

Posted by: Wonderduck at Thu Nov 5 18:20:31 2015 (a12rG)

8
That's not to say there aren't thousands of Chinese spies all over. It's just that our useless counter-espionage folks could not get to them, so they trumped up charges against a random Chinese guy

That may well be the case with regards to Bo Jiang (whenever the only thing a person is convicted of is 'lying to investigators' the prosecution generally has nothing on them), however, it still looks like the NASA guys were not following security protocols. There is a bit more in the local paper here. The breach seems to involve access to a single computer rather than the unrestricted access to secure facilities which the DC piece implied. 
I do not work in IT and computers are very nearly black box tech to me so I can't speak to whether or not the violated protocols were asinine and pointless or not. But it does seem that granting an unauthorized person access to a computer with sensitive information would seem to be a problem.  The punishment might indeed be perfectly reasonable and the premise of my post is erroneous if that is the case, but the original article did not give that impression and I remain unconvinced that there was no disciplinary action warranted. The analogy I'm thinking of is that if one leaves the door to the armory unlocked, even if no weapons or ammunition goes missing, punishment is warranted.
(Of course given that this is the government, I'm perfectly willing to believe that the protocols that were violated  by the NASA guys were some Kafaesque gordion knot of stupidity, I just haven't seen any evidence that's the case) 



Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Thu Nov 5 18:32:00 2015 (5oCPR)

9
The analogy I'm thinking of is that if one leaves the door to the armory unlocked, even if no weapons or ammunition goes missing, punishment is warranted.

That sounds reasonable, but then we circle to my first comment: what is there to steal in Langley? They have HL-20 that they themselves stole from Russians, which I suppose is something, but still I cannot help noticing that no classified information was accessed.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Thu Nov 5 19:03:59 2015 (XOPVE)

10 Having met Pete, I give him a lot of latitude in such things. Of COURSE he's bloody cynical about government statements and motives; it's a sign of our good fortune that we're not.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Fri Nov 6 03:05:42 2015 (v29Tn)

11
what is there to steal in Langley?

Quite a bit probably, it's a NASA research center that adjoins an air-force base and does a good deal of work with engineering colleges. 
@ Avatar
it's a sign of our good fortune that we're not.
  It could also be naivete'.  Note that the premise of my post is cynically questioning the motives of the government...just from the perspective of a different set of worries. Something stinks here...whether its a whitewash or (as Pete suggests) a scapegoating is not clear to me. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Fri Nov 6 12:14:08 2015 (5oCPR)

12 Well, that formatting came out odd. I wonder why?

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Fri Nov 6 12:37:12 2015 (5oCPR)

13 I suspect, but I do not know, that Langley may be doing some interesting hypersonics research. It was their speciality historically, and Chinese should be mighty interested in it because of the emerging global strike capabilities. But that research should be strictly guarded and should not be mixed up with "unclassified" materials. I would say it's important enough to have dedicated, physically secure buildings and technical facilities.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Fri Nov 6 13:48:54 2015 (XOPVE)

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