US Intelligence Computer Crashes for 3 days : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

-- bardou (bardou@balloneyy.xcom), January 30, 2000


bardou, i think you and i were posting on the same topic at the same time. i just posted an article on this also, it is a different article however. : )

-- boop (, January 30, 2000.

If you would like to receive a free Y2K newsletter on the latest glitches and computer crimes just send your name and email address. I hope to soon have a Web site.

-- Richard Markland (, January 30, 2000.

Yeah, I found an article about it last night, too, but forgot to post it:

An NSA "not y2k" problem

The other thing that seemed as though it might be of interest was this one:

Texas families assess blast damage


Army battalions eight miles away at Fort Hood launched a volley of 155 mm Howitzer artillery shells toward their property.

`We still live here,'' said Tammy Shoaf. ``They better check their instruments before they start up again.''

(end snips)

Before you jump all over this, I am simply curious to know what kind of instruments determine where and when these volleys will go. And, of course, whether or not they are computerized. Does anyone know?

-- Rachel Gibson (, January 30, 2000.

A while back, there as a grassroots Internet campaign to flood the N- S-A's Echel*n system with e-mail and newsgroup postings filled with Echel*n keywords. The goal was to overload the Echel*n computers. If the N-S-A's computer failure had occurred at that time, it would be easy to see that the anti-N-S-A spam campaign succeeded. Perhaps it still did. It can take weeks or months for spam to filter out and mushroom into a spam explosion.

(Echel*n is the code name for one the N-S-A's primary missions: interception of all correspondence and communications bound for foreign countries, running it through speech recognition, pattern recognition, and keyword libraries to spot "interesting" content, which would then be forwarded to human intelligence officers for analysis. Recently, Echel*n has been "outed" with convincing evidence, and this evidence also indicates that domestic communication has also long been included in this interception program. In addition, while the information is shared with US strategic partners, information gleaned that is of use to U.S. companies competing with foreign corporations, such as bids that have been placed for contracts. The public uproar overseas has led to promises of investigations, but what is there to investigate that the governments don't already know about?)

-- Ceemeister (, January 30, 2000.

U.S. intelligence computer crashes for nearly 3 days

January 29, 2000

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. government sources say there is no indication that the crash of an important spy computer operated by the super secret National Security Agency was caused by sabotage or the Y2K glitch.

An NSA spokeswoman confirmed Saturday that computer systems at the NSA headquarters in Ft. Meade, Maryland, crashed last Monday and remained down for almost three days.

"It was a real problem," said an unnamed government source.

A source said the loss of the computer systems was "not insignificant." And although the problem has been largely overcome, the source said Saturday it was still not 100 percent repaired.

The NSA is responsible for protecting U.S. information systems and producing international intelligence information. It also tries to find weaknesses in codes and information systems used by U.S. adversaries.

Access denied

Monday's crash affected "the processing of intelligence, but not the collection of intelligence," according to the spokeswoman. In other words, the computer continued to receive information, but workers were unable to access it.

She said no other NSA locations were affected.

A U.S. official told CNN that most, if not all of the affected data had been stored in the computer for later analysis, but the official said the timeliness of the information was lost in some cases.

"There are some things you want to know right away, and we will have to go back and see if anything significant was missed," the official said.

Contingency plan invoked

The spokeswoman said engineers began working on the problem immediately after it occurred late Monday, and computers were back within the window of operations within 72 hours.

Sources said a contingency plan for just such an event went into effect after the problem was discovered.

Officials said as soon as the computer system went down, so- called "work arounds" allowed the highest priority information to be processed, such as intelligence needed to support U.S. troops deployed around the world.

Sources said the problem occurred because the computer system was overloaded and badly stressed. Indicating the scope of the crash, sources said NSA technicians had to reconstruct the entire system.

-- Cheryl (, January 30, 2000.

Spy agency confirms computer outage

Source: AP | Published: Sunday January 30, 3:10 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 - The super-secret National Security Agency confirmed tonight that it had a 'serious computer problem' last week that affected its ability to process intelligence information.

The agency issued a brief statement a few hours after the outage was reported by America's ABC News, which said its sources characterised the problem as the biggest computer failure in the history of the NSA.

'This problem, which was contained to the NSA headquarters complex at Fort Meade, Maryland, did not affect intelligence collection, but did affect the processing of intelligence information,' the agency statement said. 'NSA systems were impacted for 72 hours.'

It said the outage started Monday evening and that the system was restored on Thursday.

'There was no evidence of malice or no evidence of a Y2K problem,' said an agency official who asked not to be identified by name.

'Contingency plans were immediately put into effect that called on other aspects of the NSA system to assume some of the load,' the agency statement said. 'While intelligence collection continued, NSA technicians worked to recover the IT (information technology) infrastructure. That backlog of intelligence processing is almost complete and NSA is confident that no significant intelligence information has been lost.'

The statement said the agency 'is currently operating within the window of normal operations'.

Until a few years ago, the National Security Agency was so secret there was no public acknowledgement by the government of its existence and employees could be disciplined for merely saying they worked there.

It specialises in electronic intelligence gathering through satellites, telephone intercepts and other methods.

The Defence Department acknowledged earlier this month that it made mistakes in its pre-New Year's Eve testing of a Y2K correction for a computer system that processes imagery from intelligence satellites.

The computer system broke down that night, interrupting the flow of by satellite information for several hours.

However, the Pentagon insisted the trouble did not jeopardise US national security.

-- Cheryl (, January 30, 2000.

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