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Posted: 4/14/2006 10:22:48 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/14/2006 11:03:50 AM EST by M4]
U.S. Buys Back Stolen Data by Afghan Base

Apr 14, 2:50 PM (ET)

By DANIEL COONEY

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AP) - American investigators armed with a "box full" of cash have paid thousands of dollars to buy back stolen computer drives - many of which contain sensitive military data, shopkeepers outside the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan said Friday.

But dozens are still on sale, including memory sticks with information ranging from U.S. troop resumes to photographs of Air Force One during President Bush's visit last month.

The surfacing of the stolen computer devices has sparked an urgent probe to discover how security could have been breached at the heavily guarded Bagram base, which coordinates the fight against Taliban and al-Qaida militants and includes one of the military's main detention facilities for suspected terrorists.

U.S. military spokesman Lt. Mike Cody said he could not comment because an investigation was ongoing.


Shopkeepers let an Associated Press reporter review about 40 of the drives on a laptop computer Friday. Most were blank or did not work, but three contained data, including a soldier's military discharge certificate, troop resumes and photographs of Air Force One during Bush's visit to Afghanistan last month.

One shopkeeper, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of retribution, said soldiers went around the market outside the base Thursday carrying "a box full of afghanis (the Afghan currency), buying all they could find."

He said he sold about 50 for $2,000, roughly $40 each. A day earlier, he was selling them for about half that price.

"They said they wanted them all and price wasn't important," the shopkeeper said.

The troops hadn't returned to the market by Friday afternoon despite dozens of the flash drives still being available. Another shopkeeper, who declined to be identified for the same reason, said the troops promised to return.

Included on some memory drives seen by AP earlier this week were the Social Security numbers of hundreds of soldiers, including four generals, and lists of troops who completed nuclear, chemical and biological warfare training.

The Los Angeles Times also reported that some drives had classified military secrets, including maps, charts and intelligence reports that appeared to detail how Taliban and al-Qaida leaders have been using southwestern Pakistan as a planning and training base for attacks in Afghanistan.

The documents, which seemed to be based on conversations with Afghan informants and official briefings, outlined how the U.S. military came to focus its search for militants on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border, according to the newspaper.

The Times also said the drives appeared to contain the identities of Afghan sources spying for U.S. Special Forces that operate out of Bagram.

The shopkeepers have said they were not interested in the data and were only selling the drives for the value of the hardware.

They say the drives were stolen by some of the 2,000 Afghans employed as cleaners, office staff and laborers at Bagram. Though workers are searched coming in and out of the base, the flash drives are the size of a finger and can easily be concealed on a body.

The memory sticks seen Friday included photographs of mine clearing vehicles that appeared to have been damaged by explosions.

There were several performance reviews of troops, which included their Social Security numbers. One review reprimanded a soldier for misplacing his weapon.

U.S. commander Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry has ordered a review of policies and procedures relating to the accountability of computer hardware and software at Bagram, outside which hundreds of shops have sprung since the Americans took it over in 2001 after ousting the Taliban for harboring al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

The leaked data wasn't the first time secret information has been discovered electronically by reporters in Afghanistan.

Shortly after U.S.-led troops invaded Afghanistan in late 2001, a journalist for The Wall Street Journal bought a computer in Kabul that had belonged to al-Qaida. It contained memos of the terrorist group's chemical and biological weapons program, justifications for killing civilians and a propaganda video made from footage of people fleeing from the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11 attacks.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:29:25 AM EST
whats wrong with bitch slapping these pieces of shits and taking the shit???? screw paying them dirty mongrols
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:39:05 AM EST
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:44:07 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/14/2006 10:46:55 AM EST by M4]

Originally Posted By AROKIE:
whats wrong with bitch slapping these pieces of shits and taking the shit???? screw paying them dirty mongrols



Well, I suppose with the bankroll we have vs. what it costs to get our stuff back, they might figure that if they get heavy handed in taking back the drives, in the future, these same people will just sell underground rather in their store fronts where they're easy to relocate.

I know one thing, I'd scare the LIVING SHIT out of ANY Afghan working on the base and let it be known that if ANYONE is caught stealing ANYTHING, they're gonna be locked up after they have the living shit kicked out of'em.

In addition, any U.S. personel that is responsible for ANY information that wasn't properly secured will be told it's their ASS if ANYTHING under their watch gets stolen.

LOCK IT THE FUCK UP PEOPLE, SOLDIERS LIVES ARE ON THE LINE.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:45:21 AM EST
So the Feds can come in your house take everything for whatever investigation without paying you dime, but we have to pay worthless pieces of shit money to get our own shit back. A nation that we spilled blood to secure for their free voting asses. Goddamn
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:47:15 AM EST

Originally Posted By readytorock556:
So the Feds can come in your house take everything for whatever investigation without paying you dime, but we have to pay worthless pieces of shit money to get our own shit back. A nation that we spilled blood to secure for their free voting asses. Goddamn



i swear, we give the enemy more rights than our own citizens
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:47:33 AM EST
Why didn't they encrypt the drives?
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:49:45 AM EST
Great. I think its just another third world entitlement program designed to prop up the local economies.

BTW - No profanity in thread titles. I got smacked for it not long ago.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 11:04:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By thompsondd:
BTW - No profanity in thread titles. I got smacked for it not long ago.



Ooooops. Fixed now.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:23:29 PM EST

Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By AROKIE:
whats wrong with bitch slapping these pieces of shits and taking the shit???? screw paying them dirty mongrols



webapps.dnr.state.mn.us/graphics/thin_ice.jpg



wow.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:30:28 PM EST
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:35:15 PM EST
Maybe one of the soldiers sold the computers to Hadji??

The USB drives were probably left/lost and the Hadjis picked them up/stole them.

FREE
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:44:01 PM EST
Catch the bastards & lop off their right hand so everyone knows that they are thieves!
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:53:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/14/2006 6:54:16 PM EST by MTShawn]
I'm sure they've already thought of it, but they need to cover down on the Laundry point. I was in Bagram for 6 months in the first half of 2004, and nearly everybody had a flash drive. Steps that I'm not willing to discuss here were taken to try to avoid the potential of classified material being transferred to these drives, but there's always a hole somewhere. Laundry is the most likely point where any Afghans could get their hands on these drives - they certainly weren't allowed in classified areas under any circumstance while I was there. I'm thinking that people who felt like they had a need to transfer info put it on their flash drive, conducted business, and then left the drive in the pocket of the uniforms they turn in for laundry. My other guess is that the article is playing up the amount of drives with info (they cited three) and the Afghanis are now selling cut-rate junk out of Pakistan or Iran back to the US Forces knowing that every time a US Soldier sees a flash drive out there, they are going to be concerned about it.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:55:24 PM EST
I would not like to be the person or persons that this is finally nailed on. Ouch!
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