A recent Bloomberg News report reveals that according to U.S. State Department officials, a Georgia Institute of Technology course for federal employees and contractors has been identified as the source of a 2009 disclosure of sensitive information about U.S. weapons technology for American eyes only that was viewed by internet users for 15 days in 36 countries, including China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan.
The university media quality control supervisor Edward Bailey told investigators that when asked by an instructor to copy the course on infrared technology used in weapons-aiming systems, to DVD, he instead uploaded it to servers.
“I completely forgot the course’s access was restricted,” Bailey explained according to documents obtained from Georgia Tech by Bloomberg through a public-records request.
With dozens of universities around the country granted access to classified government research contracts, all of which are under the condition that the universities employ an “Americans only” research team, the Georgia Tech lapse raises questions about the security measures in place and enforced on campus. Bloomberg Reports:
Even as they enroll more graduate students from countries such as China and Iran, universities are conducting more research that is restricted to American citizens and permanent residents because of its national-security implications. Foreign governments are targeting universities to “obtain restricted information or products,” the FBI said in a 2011 report.
The breach in security at Georgia Tech is even more troubling considering recent reports from alarmed national security officials who say that there has been a resurgence of spying on U.S. universities. ‘Real News’ opened Monday discussing the Georgia Tech case and the protection of classified information on American campuses.
When analyzing the story, The Blaze’s National Security Editor Buck Sexton questioned whether universities have the reasonable capacity this day and age to secure the “gargantuan” amount of information that is deemed classified against the threats of espionage. Dr. Sebastian Gorka from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies joined the panel Monday and commented that breaches of classified information, like what happened at Georgia Tech in 2009, are unfortunately not uncommon. Dr. Gorka remarked that the problem is two-fold, with the openness to national security information across the board in the United States when compared to other nations, combined with more non-American eyes exposed to such classified coursework as universities recruit more international students and enemies abroad target such privileged information on campus.
“There seems to be no consequences for when the information gets into the wrong hands,” said Dr. Gorka. “That’s not how we should be doing things.”