Policy: National Security

State Department's computers are wide open to another Edward Snowden, IG finds

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Watchdog,National Security,Edward Snowden,Kelly Cohen,State Department,Inspectors General,Accountability,Cybersecurity,Technology

State Department computers are vulnerable to being hacked, yet officials there have made little progress in fixing the problems first identified three years ago.

"Significant deficiencies" were identified in 2011 by the department inspector general. However, there have been no fixes, "thereby leading to continuing undue risk," according to the IG in a recent report.

"Because these recurring weaknesses continue to put at significant risk the integrity of the Department's overall information security program," the IG designated the weaknesses as a "significant deficiency," as defined by the Office of Management and Budget.

The IG also noted in the heavily redacted report that recent well-publicized breaches of highly sensitive government data illustrate the importance of fixing the problems in the department's computer systems.

The department daily processes millions of documents such as visas, diplomatic cables and foreign policy communications.

Governing access to the equipment and data is also a crucial issue, as the IG warned of the possibility of Edward Snowden-like disaster within the department if it doesn't fix the problems identified two years ago.

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