INSCOM IO Vulnerability Assessment Division
‘Aw, c’mon… It’s not like there’s a spy here in the restaurant. What are you worried about?’ You might have heard those words yourself, in any lunch spot.
But, what if you hap pened to hear it in a restaurant in Laurel, Md., just a short while ago? What if the restaurant had been the one belong ing to Saubhe Jassim al Dellemy?
All the ‘ realistic’ reas surances that not talking about goings- on at work would just be ‘ paranoid’ would have been dead wrong.
As documented in the Washington Examiner and other news sources, al Dellemy recently pleaded guilty to spying for Iraq for almost 15 years – from 1989 to 2003 – working for Saddam Hussein to iden tify U.S. opposition to the Hussein regime.
His restaurant, less than 10 miles from the National Security Agency facility at Fort Meade, Md., was a key location in his espionage activities.
Too often, we think, ‘It can’t happen to me.’ We believe that what we’re talking about isn’t classi fied, so it isn’t important – but that’s not true.
According to the Manchester document the al- Qaeda training manual recovered by British authorities in a raid on a terrorist safe house – our enemies learn about 80 percent of what they use from watching what we do, listening to what we say, and reading what we put out in public ( like our MySpace pages). We help our enemies plan their attacks by as suming we’re safe here, so we can speak freely… just like lunch patrons at al- Dellemy’s restau rant thought they were safe.
Before you speak in public – at a restaurant, in the commissary or PX, or out at a movie – think about what you’re about to say. Does it involve the Army’s ability, or inabil ity, to carry out a mis sion? Does it involve what we’re doing, or about to do, as part of our operations? If so, then, there are certainly times to talk about that, but is this one of those times?
Operations Security, or OPSEC, means taking the time to think about what we say. OPSEC doesn’t mean not talking to anyone about any thing – that would make it impossible to carry out our missions, or protect our Soldiers.
OPSEC does mean re membering that our ad versaries pay attention to what we say, even here in the D. C. area just ask Saubhe al Dellemy.
We owe it to those we care about to consider what we’re saying- in public, over the tele phone, through e- mail or Web sites – and choose what we should say, and what we should not.
If you need help figuring out what to take special care to control, ask your unit OPSEC officer for a copy of your Critical Information List. It is a short list of key items we particularly need to pro tect. Think about the things on that list, and don’t let the public know them.
Your decision to con trol critical information may stop the next al Dellemy, protecting our mission and our Soldiers. Our enemies need information to hurt us. It’s up to you to make sure they don’t get that information.