DOD Web-Watchers Find War Plans Online

WASHINGTON (04/26/2000) - A new reserve unit that monitors the U.S. Department of Defense's presence on the World Wide Web has found an astonishing amount of classified or sensitive material on public sites.

The Web Risk Assessment Team, established by the Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense, is made up of reservists who spend one weekend each month scanning DOD Web sites, according to Air Force Lt. Gen. John Campbell, commander of JTF-CND.

A survey of 800 major DOD sites on the Internet recently revealed as many as 1,300 "discrepancies," some of them involving highly classified information, Campbell said. The team uncovered more than 10 instances where information on Pentagon war plans was posted.

Also among the discoveries has been information on computer system vulnerabilities and more than 20 detailed maps of DOD facilities.

Some of the maps and photographs included detailed plans of a facility known as "Site R," which serves as the alternate Joint Communications Center for U.S. nuclear forces, according to Campbell. The overhead photo of "Site R" showed the location of underground tunnel entryways and a detailed floor plan of the facility.

Likewise, the Web site for an annual exercise known as "Cobra Gold" included an entire list of participating units, communications frequencies and call signs for aircraft and data on Identification Friend or Foe squawks, which are signals used by pilots to determine if a plane is friendly or enemy.

In another instance, the team found a classified excerpt in a policy document on counterterrorism.

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