Please don’t misunderstand me. Our troops are great. They are possibly the best educated, best trained, and brightest troops in the world today. I am not, and would not, demean their intelligence. There leadership is, however, a completely different matter.
Siobhan Gorman, Yochi J. Dreazen and August Cole at The Wall Street Journal report:
Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations.
Senior defense and intelligence officials said Iranian-backed insurgents intercepted the video feeds by taking advantage of an unprotected communications link in some of the remotely flown planes' systems. Shiite fighters in Iraq used software programs such as SkyGrabber -- available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet -- to regularly capture drone video feeds, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter.
The potential drone vulnerability lies in an unencrypted downlink between the unmanned craft and ground control. The U.S. government has known about the flaw since the U.S. campaign in Bosnia in the 1990s, current and former officials said. But the Pentagon assumed local adversaries wouldn't know how to exploit it, the officials said. ...
Has the Pentagon never heard the old saw about how "assume" makes an ass out of u and me? In this case, for the price of a movie date with popcorn, insurgents may well be able to compromise the mission of a $4.5-million piece of high-tech hardware that is a key element of U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yet the Pentagon has known about this possible compromise for a very long time. Who was it who claimed the adults were in charge? Because it's not clear that the video from the new Reaper drone, at $10 million apiece, will be encrypted to overcome this major deficit. Aerial drones comprise a third of the Air Force's acquisition budget for 2010… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Daily Kos>
If the Shiite fighters in Iraq have this $26 software, you’d better believe that the AQ and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan have it as well. Duh!! Is there a better way to illustrate how big a mistake it was to keep the Defense officials and Generals from the Bush/GOP regime? These folks achieved their elevated status because of their willingness to goose-step behind the Fuhrer, while those who chose competence over blind obedience were thrown under the bus.