MP3 Player With US Military Secrets Recalls Other Security Gaffes

January 28, 2009 01:27 PM
by Josh Katz
A man’s discovery of U.S. military secrets in his broken MP3 player spotlights recent blunders, including Afghan bazaars selling covert information and alien-hunting hackers.

NZ Man Finds Military Secrets in MP3 Player

Chris Ogle, 29, of New Zealand, did not find any songs on the old MP3 player he purchased. Instead, he discovered U.S. military secrets.

When Ogle was working in Oklahoma he bought the MP3 player for $15 in a thrift shop, but he got more than he bargained for. According to the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC), Ogle found “60 highly sensitive US military files,” including social security numbers, home address and cell phone numbers of American soldiers operating in Afghanistan and Iraq. There was also information about mission deployment on the device. A reporter in New Zealand even dialed some of the numbers to find that they were current.

Ogle handed the player with the files to two U.S. Embassy officials in New Zealand on Wednesday, and they rewarded him with a new MP3 player. Although it is still not clear why the files were stored on the device or how they got there, today an American woman said that someone robbed her home last year and the stole “flash drives containing sensitive military information,” AP writes.

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Related Topic: Recent military blunders

Afghan Bazaars Sell Military Secrets

In April 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported that stolen U.S. military secrets were being sold at bazaars in Afghanistan. Specifically, flash drives stolen from military laptops were on sale; the drives contained private information about military personnel, as well as “documents that were potentially embarrassing to Pakistan, a U.S. ally, presentations that named suspected militants targeted for ‘kill or capture’ and discussions of U.S. efforts to ‘remove’ or ‘marginalize’ Afghan government officials whom the military considered ‘problem makers,’” according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Biggest Military Hack of All Time”

Gary McKinnon of the United Kingdom searched for proof of an alien cover up by hacking into U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, Pentagon, and Department of Defense computer systems. According to Ars Technica, he is responsible for the “biggest military hack of all time.”
McKinnon was caught and the Bush administration had him extradited to the United States for prosecution. However, Mayor of London Boris Johnson recently called for President Obama to send McKinnon, who has Asperger’s syndrome, back to Britain, saying that the self-professed “bumbling computer nerd” doesn’t deserve such a response.

The Guardian writes: “And, yes, since you ask, he does think that he found evidence that the US military is infiltrated by beings from the planet Tharg. He even knows the names and ranks of various non-terrestrial officers, though unfortunately they have been deleted from his hard drive.”

U.S. Air Force Gaffes

In June 2008, findingDulcinea reported that the forced resignations of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley and Secretary Michael W. Wynne made Defense Secretary Robert Gates the “first defense secretary to fire both the military and civilian heads of a service at the same time,” according to The Washington Post.

The Air Force had experienced a string of recent oversight failures. In August 2007, the leadership came under fire for accidentally flying nuclear-armed cruise missiles across the United States, which were then left unmonitored. In March 2008, news surfaced that the Air Force had mistakenly shipped classified nuclear materials to Taiwan.

Gates said that his decision to force out the two officials was “based entirely” on the Donald report, which analyzed the Air Force’s nuclear weapons errors. Gates also suggested that this was not the end of the Air Force shakeup.

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