If Top Gov't Officials Need To Leave Blackberries Outside A Meeting, Shouldn't Someone Guard Them?

from the just-a-thought dept

Apparently a Mexican press attache at a meeting with White House officials in New Orleans saw an opportunity and swiped the Blackberries of a bunch of White House staffers. At many such meetings, it's required for attendees to leave their phones and mobile devices outside of the meeting room. You would think that with such high-powered government officials that someone would then be left to guard the devices, but apparently not. This guy grabbed a bunch of the devices and made a run for the airport, where he was caught by Secret Service officials, who promptly showed him the surveillance camera footage of him taking the devices. His response was that he thought the devices had been left behind, and he was merely picking them up to return them to their owners, which might be more believable if the folks weren't still in the meeting room when he grabbed all the devices. Who knows if it's true, but I'm still wondering why no one was guarding the Blackberries.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Daffy Duck, Apr 25th, 2008 @ 5:06pm

    Oh look - I'm important

    Funny how things work out when you are a big shot mucky muck.
    However - its TS for the rest of us when our data is stolen from the back seat of an employee vehicle via an unencrypted laptop.
    Seriously, I now believe that at least some of these instances are on purpose and for profit.

     

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    Chunky Vomit, Apr 25th, 2008 @ 5:36pm

    Apparently somebody was on guard as the guy was caught.

    So maybe a better question to ask is why the government uses the same kind of security model that McDonalds uses for children's shoes in their play places?

    Do they really need a person guarding the devices? Why can't they just put a big safe in the room where the government employees are having their meeting?

     

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      BTR1701, Apr 28th, 2008 @ 6:05am

      Re: Phones

      > Why can't they just put a big safe in the
      > room where the government employees are having
      > their meeting?

      Because per government regulations, the phones can't be in the same room where classified material is being discussed.

      This isn't an issue of not wanting the meeting interrupted by ringing phones. It's an OPSEC issue because it's fairly easy for a hostile intelligence agency to turn your cell phone into a wireless bugging device.

       

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Apr 25th, 2008 @ 5:47pm

    Well...at least he didn't claim...

    ...to be a "Guest Agricultural Worker" who thought it was his job to "Pick the blackberries".


    Ok.

    I'll go to my room now.

     

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    Deputy Dog, Apr 25th, 2008 @ 5:49pm

    I dont get it.
    If the meeting is so sensitive that electronic devices are not allowed inside ... then why is it being held at a location which lacks appropriate security accomodations ?

     

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      aUScitizen, Apr 25th, 2008 @ 8:10pm

      Re:

      Your"Big Government at work".
      High-powered government officials get the job by being some politicians friend or family & have little knowledge of the position they are put in.
      Certainly you don't expect such important people to secure crucial information left in their care.

       

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    Larry, Apr 25th, 2008 @ 9:20pm

    Don't believe all the troll bait

    Sorry for this but...

    I'm tired of reading all the "government bashing". I mean REALLY. Whatever it is you bashers do, I know that the "light of day" would show you to be even bigger dummies about this kind of crap. I digress...

    I'm retired military (scoff all you want). I got a job OUTSIDE the "government" when I "retired" and what a bunch of bozo's. Yeah, I guess they could make some money, but only by selling overpriced crap to the dummies that make up 40% of our population (I'm talking at YOU aUSchtizen). The "managaged" to work themselves into a tizzy about the stupidest little things, but let the good ideas wither and die (no, not all my ideas).

    So, now I work for the "government". Yeah, I get asked to do stupid shit now and again...Wanted to have a meeting and was told to provide an attendance list with names, SSN's etc via email...after I got done laughing I told them to badge my visitors themselves and call my supervisor if they didn't like it (they never did). I won't be one of those dummies with "personal information" on my stolen laptop.

    Dummies work everywhere, not just the government. Most of them seem to have a computer AND say some of the dummest shit I've ever heard.

    Go somewhere else and post about how our "government" is oppressing freedom of religion by removing children from an illegal and dangerous situation (yeah, I said illegal, marry two women and see where it lands YOU regardless of your "religion").

     

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      mike allen, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 12:50am

      Re: Don't believe all the troll bait

      A government lacci militaristic brain washed salute the flag and drop trousers for Bush guy huh.

       

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      ToySouljah, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 2:59am

      Re: Don't believe all the troll bait

      Well, this instance was a security mishap..no matter how dumb and preventable as it is. There are many reasons to hate the US government though. Knowingly invading a country on false pretenses (he knew it was BS), killing of innocent civilians in said country (read the blogs coming from soldiers not censored by the military), raping our constitution (non-Patriot Act), spying on citizens (now trying to move it online), the list goes on and on...it would be easier to list the good things they've down which I'll list in my next paragraph.

      Well lets see...well we are getting $600 to spend! Yay! I knew I could think of something....lmao. Seriously though the bad outweighs the good by far. Politicians are way too crooked to serve us which is their job, but they are too busy taking bribes...sorry...keep saying that...I mean campaign contributions from corporations.

      I soon see a revolt if things do not shape and I think the government senses it too which is why they are trying to take away citizens right to own firearms, but Bush has wiped his ass with the Constitution before so everyone has just gotten used to it. The real patriots living in the US though are getting fed up and hopefully I can be there to storm the whitehouse to drag his ass out to the street for a public trial for the crime commited towards humanity...him and all his cronies.

       

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        Republican, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 10:27am

        Re: Re: Don't believe all the troll bait

        I get really tired of hearing from you fruit loop liberals about the reason we invaded Iraq. If Bush knew it was BS then all the Dems that voted for it and the rest of the world knew about it too. After all, everyone was given the same intel about Iraq. The intel wasn't just given to President Bush! Innocent civilians always get killed in war, but our soldiers over all do their best to limit those casualties. I really think that people like you need to just sit down and shut up with all your BS!!

         

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          ToySouljah, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 6:03pm

          Re: Re: Re: Don't believe all the troll bait

          Actually, many Americans knew it was BS. I know about collateral damage and yes it is a part of war, but not when you deliberately kill innocent civilians for the hell of it or for target practice. Check out this link. It is a video of just a few things going on in Iraq from the eyes of an ex-marine...yes I say ex since he washed his hands of them. There are more videos listed on the page as well, but look around and you will find out the truth. Of course it is easier for the typical American sheep to go to Fox or CNN and listen to the lies instead since it paints a pretty picture for you. Citizens such as yourself are the reason this country will never change. You all just go along letting them take away your freedom in the name of "security"...just remember what Benjamin Franklin said "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". He was right, but as long as most of America remains blinded then it will get much worse. So tell me...what would it take for you all to wake up and realize what is really going on and who really runs this country? It's not the president...it doesn't matter who is in office really since they are just puppets taking orders from the banks and big corporations. Try to read between the lines/lies told to you through the media. Real patriots are now labeled terrorists because we believe in the Constitution set forth by our forefathers and what it stands for. You on the other hand are loved by the government because you so easily give up your rights and give them more power, but in our eyes you are nothing but non-patriotic citizens who hopefully will wake up and help take back our country alongside us.

           

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          mobiGeek, Apr 29th, 2008 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Don't believe all the troll bait

          The rest of the world knew exactly what the Bush administration did...and that's why EVERY OTHER COUNTRY (except for the ultra-powerhouse Poland) refused, even under MASSIVE pressure, to not invade Iraq.

          The true allies were side-by-side with the US when it came to the invasion of Afghanistan, and tried very desperately to help the realize the errors in their reasoning for invading Iraq.

           

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        American, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 3:57pm

        Re: Re: Don't believe all the troll bait

        Ok, 1. The war was voted forward by 90 some odd percent of the country. 2. The patriot act, which I opposed, was voted forward by a large majority. 3. The list that goes on and on does so because of a general lack of intelligence in the American voters...who are mostly Democrats.

        Enough of the Bush Bashing. Whether you are for the war now or not, it's most likely you were for it then, so the responsibility for it's consequences weigh just as heavily on you. Quit pointing fingers and accept what you voted him to do.

         

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          Deb, Apr 27th, 2008 @ 9:17am

          Re: Re: Re: Don't believe all the troll bait

          I voted for a war based on LIES.

          If we had the truth, it's highly doubtful there would be a war.

          Amazing we could liberate Europe in 4 years, but liberating a teeny country will take a decade or more.

           

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            JJI, Apr 27th, 2008 @ 12:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Don't believe all the troll bait

            And who's responsibility was it, Deb, to get the truth to you before you voted on the war? Was it the government's responsibility? Was it network tv's responsibility? NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! It was your responsibility. And as far as liberating Europe in 4 years goes.... We liberated Europe from a group of soldiers in uniforms. Don't you think that if our current enemies would declare themselves as such, the war would now be over? Come on, grow up and start reading something besides those picture books.

             

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      Camper, Apr 27th, 2008 @ 3:48pm

      Re: Don't believe all the troll bait

      *roasts marshmallows over the flame war*

       

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    sendeth, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 4:15am

    quote

    i'm going to go out on a limb and quote al gore, "lock...box"

     

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    liberal, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 10:41am

    we're tired of you too. STFU

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 3:09pm

    really, did this just become another pissing contest?

     

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    yea right, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 6:44pm

    DHS Blackberrys

    Things like this happen all too much at DHS. They just figured out that they may contain sensitive information and should be reported like laptops. Love our government!!

     

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    Overcast, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 8:36pm

    Hmm, why leave them outside?

    Someone listening in the whole time? Wouldn't it be easier to request they are turned off or put in silent mode?

     

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      mobiGeek, Apr 29th, 2008 @ 10:03am

      Re:

      Previous articles on TechDirt and others have pointed out that Gov't official complain that no one pays attention in meetings due to BlackBerries.

      Rather than deal with the problem appropriately, they take a heavy-handed, blunt-force approach

      If the content of the meeting is not enough to retain people's interest, then why hold the meeting? Or is it that the meeting is too long, too inefficient, too general?

      Yep, don't address the root problem. Eliminate the competition. Sounds almost....corporate.

       

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    haha, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 10:32pm

    So reading through the comments, I almost forgot what the article was about. People, stop turning everything into party politics! Moving on, it is rather unfortunate that those running our government would display such a lack of common sense. I have to point out that security recovered the phones so it is not like our government was completely ignorant in this situation.

     

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    fat Tony, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 10:35pm

    Not protected?

    The reason they are left outside is because of EMSEC. Emission Security...any transmitter can somehow be used to transmit data if you are smart enough.

    As far as I can tell, the reason they were not guarded is due to the fact that the secret service was recording the entire chain of events. Guarded...monitored...I can't imagine that you would need some shlub to stand there and watch 10-30 phones. Particularly not when there is a camera watching. That is sorta the point of monitoring systems...sorta

    fT

     

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    erik L, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 11:10pm

    "any transmitter can somehow be used to transmit data if you are smart enough."

    you realize were talking about the US government, right?

     

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    TW, Apr 27th, 2008 @ 8:08am

    Most of you seem to be your typical angry libs. Why else would your believe that it was the government's fault, rather than the criminal.

     

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      Comedian, Apr 27th, 2008 @ 5:19pm

      Re: Typical Libs

      Your comment could have been a lot more cutting. For example,
      "Wait aren't the Libs Against more goverment monitoring?", but I side track myself.
      It takes 2 sides to create a situation like this, Perp and Victim. The Government were sitting big dumb and happy watching a TV monitor, mean while the Perp showed up on monitor stole stuff and was later apprihended.
      This is one of 2 scenerios, 1- Government inappropriate level of security, or 2- Deliberate attempt to "leak" information or entangle someone. You can choose which one based on the level of your paranoia.
      Cheers.

       

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    Bandit, Apr 27th, 2008 @ 8:55am

    To break it all down

    I feel that every person who was voted in to some goverment office should only serve 2 terms. No matter if it was a pressendent or a congressmen or a senator and a repersenative. Then after they serve thier term or term's should go back to thier civil live's again. That way every thing would be changeing with the times.

     

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    David, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 7:39pm

    Should have used a courtesy box

    Anyone ever heard of or used an "Office Courtesy Box" by chance?

    That would have solved the problem. Morons.

     

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    NC, Nov 24th, 2009 @ 7:35pm

    To David

    Nice. Our office just got a shipment of the office courtesy box boxes and have a policy that prior to all classified meetings that we host, an office admin has at least one office courtesy box for each person.

    Pretty simple and so far, effective.

     

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