The Ramifications of Revelations

Sanjay Goel on the damage of Bradley Manning’s espionage.

Sanjay Goel, director of research at the New York State Center for Information Forensics and Assurance.

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 3, 2017) — With the Barack Obama commutation of the 35-year sentence of former U.S. intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, assessments have begun anew on the extent of national security damage done by the former Army private, then named Bradley Manning, when she made public a massive trove of U.S. classified information in 2010.

UAlbany cybersecurity expert Sanjay Goel took a long hard look at the repercussions of Manning’s actions, and published his assessment on Jan. 20 in a 1,100-word op-ed for the international independent news publication The Conversation.

The article, “Is part of Chelsea Manning’s legacy increased surveillance?,” was quickly picked up by many major news outlets, including the Associated Press, Newsweek, the Huffington Post and Salon.

Goel believes that the release of 250,000 diplomatic cables, Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports, military incident reports and war zone videos of Afghanistan and Iraq airstrikes in which civilians were killed created relatively little lasting damage to American diplomacy — although it probably caused or hastened the ouster of the presidents of both Yemen and Tunisia.

“The military revelations were more damaging,” he wrote of the battlefield brutalities which Manning characterized as “bloodlust.”

“But the most lasting effect will likely be a powerful new fear of so-called ‘insider threats,’” Goel wrote, and he explained how, after Manning’s actions, the military and intelligence communities began ramping up digital surveillance of their own personnel — even and possibly especially of those who had passed background checks and been given security clearance — to unprecedented levels “in hopes of detecting leakers before they let their information loose on the world.”

Goel, professor of Information Technology Management and director of research at UAlbany’s New York State Center for Information Forensics and Assurance, who has done extensive study on cybersecurity infrastructure within, business, financial and other private entities, also noted that Manning’s revelations are creating greater employee surveillance within companies and agencies that do business with the federal government.

The entire article can be read here.

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