Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

YouTube Used for Whistleblowing 407

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the when-they-don't-listen-find-a-bigger-megaphone dept.
fightmaster writes "A Lockheed Martin engineer with concerns about the safety and security flaws in a fleet of refurbished Coast Guard patrol boats turned to YouTube in order to publicize concerns he felt were being ignored by his employer and the government. From the article: 'The 41-year-old Lockheed Martin engineer had complained to his bosses. He had told his story to government investigators. He had called congressmen. But when no one seemed to be stepping up to correct what he saw as critical security flaws in a fleet of refurbished Coast Guard patrol boats, De Kort did just about the only thing left he could think of to get action: He made a video and posted it on YouTube.com.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

YouTube Used for Whistleblowing

Comments Filter:
  • by linguizic (806996) * on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:34PM (#16004180)
    It took me long enough to find this but here's the actual youtube video [youtube.com].
    • by GoNINzo (32266) <GoNINzo@yahoo . c om> on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @01:18AM (#16005155) Homepage Journal
      It might also be helpful to point out that the guy made a slashdot account [slashdot.org] and is actively responding to questions of his points [slashdot.org] on here.

      I personally think it is rather commendable, and while I think the short term will be rough for him, hopefully it can bring to light other issues that the coast guard has been glossing over. My dad was in the navy and road an icebreaker on a trip up near the North Pole. If equipment was not rated to survive in the cold weather, they were basically useless to the crew.

      Keep it up, you have media attention now, and thanks to midterm elections, something might actually be done about it.

  • YouTube Video Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by LogicX (8327) * <slashdot@nospAM.logicx.us> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:35PM (#16004184) Homepage Journal
    Thank You slashdot editors for providing a link to the video in question. [youtube.com]

    It actually took me three tries to find it, entitled: "Homeland Security - Coast Guard Issues [youtube.com]"
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by StikyPad (445176)
      OMG.. you killed YouTube.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by psxman (925240)
        You bastard!
      • by a_nonamiss (743253) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @11:03PM (#16004629)
        You clearly don't understand the complexities of the Internet.

        You see, the Internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material. Ten movies streaming across that Internet and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got, an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday.
    • by smilindog2000 (907665) <bill@billrocks.org> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:32PM (#16004477) Homepage
      Look, I've dealt with big stupid government contractors. This video sounds par for the course. Hopefully, this YouTube video will kick somebody into action.

      And the real problem... who will take action? It's not anybody's job to fix fvck-ups.

      There are tons of outstanding engineers and managers who really care at Lockheed and the other companies involved. This project probably didn't get many of them.

      Here's my own personal similar story. Remember the BFV (Bradley Fighting Vehicle... which eventually became a good unit, I think). One of my first jobs was building the analog circuit to integrate the signal from gas gyros in a 'pistol' control. The tank commander would in theory pull the pistol and shoot it at an enemy. The result would be the gun turning automatically and sighting in on the target. The probem was that the gas-gyros drifted... a LOT. By the time you made a system semi-useful, it was only good for a few seconds out of the 'holster' at a time. The electronics took up a cubic foot INSIDE the BFV, and generated a LOT of heat. There was no way that system was going to be reliable.

      I recommended that they give the tank commander a joy-stick instead (reliable, low heat, low volume, darned cheap). Guess how far that went :-)
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:35PM (#16004186)
    That's like so Web2.0! He can even toss together a mashup of the boats' locations and some Google maps and have active video links pop up when you hover your mouse over the tags.

    Or he could have just sent an anonymous tip to the press who would have loved to pick up on something like this...
    • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:46PM (#16004248) Homepage Journal
      He could even setup a podcast of the commander in chief saying "You've sunk my battleship!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aardvarkjoe (156801)
      Or, maybe, instead of posting a video of him reading from a script, he could have just posted the script. Saves a lot of time and bandwidth for everyone involved.
      • by blake213 (575924) <blake DOT reary AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:48PM (#16004545) Homepage
        I think we all know that with the internet and all the videos available now, attention spans are getting far too short for most people on the net to be able to actually *read* something. Countless times I've seen posts (mostly on digg) that say something along the lines of: "TFA too long...anyone have a summary????". I can understand why he'd post a video, especially on the most popular video hosting site. People are just too lazy to read more than a paragraph. Or for that matter, write more than----
        • Re:Wow a TubeCast! (Score:5, Informative)

          by Pushnell (204514) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @01:01AM (#16005094)
          I agree with both you and the parent, so here is a brief summary for Generation Net:

          1) Not enough security cameras
          2) Bad (unshielded) communications cables
          3) Equipment won't survive the extreme temperatures
          4) No one cares, billions of dollars and national security at risk.

          But, some of us really do prefer reading (and apparently, transcribing), and since google couldn't find me a transcript, here's one I made while waiting for my WoW trial to download, heh.

          ---
          Before I begin, I want to tell you that making videos like this is not something I do as a profession, so please bear with the crudeness of the effort, and my reading from a prepared statement.

          What I'm going to tell you is going to seem preposterous and unbelievable, and may be very hard for you to believe that our government and the largest defense contract in the world is capable of such alarming incompetence, and can make ethical compromises as glaring as what I'm going to describe. Having said that, I assure you that everything I'm stating here is accurate. I have resorted to creating this video because I've exhausted every avenue I can think of, and in spite of the negative effects it has had or will have on me and my family, I feel very strongly that I need to take this step in order to resolve these issues.

          The purpose of this video is to ask for your assistance in helping me resolve several serious safety and security issues relating to homeland security. Specifically, the U.S. Coast Guard.

          Several years ago, I was Lockheed Martin's C4ISR system engineering lead for the 123 project on the Deepwater program. The purpose of this effort was to upgrade the Coast Guard's fleet of 110-foot patrol boats, to not only lengthen their servicable life, but to add space onto the rear of the boat to accomodate the Zodiac rescue boat, and to install modern command, control, communication, computer information, and surveillance systems on these boats to prepare them for a post-9/11 world.

          My responsibilities on this effort were to ensure the designs we created fulfilled requirements, and to complete the installation and delivery of the first boat. During my tenure on this project, several critical safety and security problems arose.

          These issues included:

          -The camera surveillance system.

          We had a requirement to provide a camera surveillance system for the boats. The purpose of the system was to permit the Coast Guard to monitor these boats while in a Coast Guard port, without having to have a watch-stander on board. The main purpose of the system is to ensure that no one can access or board the boats without being seen.

          The implementation that Lockheed Martin proposed, and that was finally accepted by the Coast Guard, left two extremely large blind spots leading directly to the pilot house, or the bridge, of the ship. These blind spots are over 10 feet wide on the deck, and extend to hundreds of feet wide at the horizon. I have an engineering rendering of the blind spots. [holds up image depicting blind spots] Here is the forward part of the boat, and the covered zones are here in the lighter color. As you can see here, and here, there are two very large blind spots leading all the way to the horizon that the crew cannot see, and they lead right up and into the bridge.

          While this problem could have been easily remedied by simply providing another camera to fill the blind spots, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Coast Guard decided to deliver these boats without the extra camera. This situation leaves the boats and the crew in a position where someone could access the boat without beeing seen. While it is possible to augment the cameras with a watch stander, that situation puts the Coast Guard in the exact position they originally tried to avoid, with the additional expense of a system that does not meet their needs.

          The next issue:
          -Environmental survivability of the equipment.

          Just prior to the installation of the systems on the ship, we were fina
        • by OldManAndTheC++ (723450) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @02:54AM (#16005433)

          I think we all know that with the internet and all the videos available now, attention spans are getting far too short ...

          Way too long. Anyone have a summary?

      • Re:Wow a TubeCast! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @11:02PM (#16004625) Homepage
        By posting a video he's putting a face to the issue -- he becomes an actual person rather than merely a collection of words. It's far more engaging, and it makes a much greater impression than a semi-anonymous essay posted somewhere. Additionally, he probably wouldn't have gotten the press coverage he's getting if he had done as you suggest.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sbrown123 (229895)
      Or he could have just sent an anonymous tip to the press who would have loved to pick up on something like this...

      You think the media would have posted this? The media is more concerned with the (now cleared) Jon Bennett Ramsey suspect, a plane that crashed after flying off a short runway, and some polygamist that somehow ended up on the FBI most wanted list (I still wonder how that polygamist beat out all those serial child molesters, mass murderers, and terrorists).

      And despite this being out there now, e
  • by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:36PM (#16004191) Journal
    Very interesting. While I don't think all the equipment should be replaced to meet the artic temperature thing, I think that the problem should be noted, and the contractor should have to pay some reimbursement for not meeting all the terms of the contract. Some number of ships should be retrofitted, but it may be a big waste to do it with all of them
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Odin_Tiger (585113)
      contractor should have to pay some reimbursement for not meeting all the terms of the contract

      Why should LM shoulder all the blame and punishment? The Coast Guard was made well aware of the issues, but chose to push the project through anyways and quietly-but-knowingly accepted the faulty products.

      Say a car salesman offers you $10k for your car. On the way there, you realize that you're leaking brake fluid, slowly but surely. So you're upfront about it when you finally get the car to the lot...and the
  • A Fine Example... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBC1977 (978793) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:38PM (#16004205) Journal
    While his employers probably will administratively punish and / or fire him, because his actions may save my coastie brothers and sisters
    in the long run,I tip my hat off to you. Sometimes you gotta grab life by the horns, to do the right thing.

    Regards,

    MBC1977,
    (US Marine, College Student, and Good Guy!)
    • It's sad to know that he will be punished in some form, maybe even thrown in jail, just for doing the right thing. All he wanted was to do a good job and protect the lives of those who protect all of ours.
      • by johansalk (818687)
        Those who protect all of yours are dispensible nobodies, they don't show up in the bank accounts of those in charge of the military-industrial complex contracts.
    • Re:A Fine Example... (Score:4, Informative)

      by deafpluckin (776193) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:47PM (#16004255)
      If you RFTA you'll find that he was fired a few days after the video appeared on YouTube and that Lockheed Martin claims that he was fired for financial reasons (he was transfered off the project on the ship even earlier when his complaints were first voiced). His claims have subjective merit but the politics dealing with him seem a little too convenient.
    • Re:A Fine Example... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:52PM (#16004275)
      While his employers probably will administratively punish and / or fire him

      Yeah, interesting thing about the Federal Whistleblower Act is that it only protects Federal employees.
      Contractors to the Federal Government are NOT protected.
    • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:20PM (#16004409)
      I think you are correct.

      People with real strength of character that do the right thing despite all the peer pressure in the world are often punished by our system and the cowards within it. It took 30 years for the military to recognize Hugh Thompson.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Thompson,_Jr [wikipedia.org].

      Or Sibel Edmonds, former FBI translator, is another good example:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sibel_Edmonds [wikipedia.org]

      In both cases, they are/were both punished for their roles by the very people they called out. This engineer will face a similiar time, I imagine. If not openly, they will find a unrelated reason to fire him within 6 months if not immediately. Or put him in a crappy closet as an office (same thing happened to my principle whose contract guaranteed they couldn't fire him for anything short of being a murderer. My school district once was paying 14 principles at the same time because of crap like this, but alas that's a different story...)
    • by hcob$ (766699) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:24PM (#16004430)
      While his employers probably will administratively punish and / or fire him, because his actions may save my coastie brothers and sisters in the long run,I tip my hat off to you. Sometimes you gotta grab life by the horns, to do the right thing.
      Also, to add to this from an Engineer standpoint. If you are an Engineer in Training(EiT) or Professional Engineer(PE) and you are serious about your job and your career, you are aware that there is a code of ethics for any Engineer; therefore, this IS the ONLY OPTION left. If this guy (as a PE I would assume) has gone through his management and Congress the only option is then to alert the the general public as a matter of ethics, espescially if he believe tests were altered/forged.

      In the end this must be said. This man is upholding the highest standards of what an "Engineer" is. If he ever faces legal action, I will gladly donate to his cause. Also, I would hope that the National Society of Professional Engineers [nspe.org] (NSPE) should not only suggest many good lawyers, but they should offer much assistance to this man as possible.

      He is in the most difficult place an Engineer could be. Chose between your family(supporting them with a career) or his duty as an Engineer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jafac (1449)
        From what he said, it sounds like his management told him to stop investigating where they were possibly not meeting up to contractual obligations. In this case, US sailors lives could be at risk. This also goes against established DoD contracting procedures, and the corporate policies of this guy's employer.

        If what this guy is saying in his video is true, Lucy's got some 'splainin' to do.

        On the other hand, this guy could be a flake or he could be lying.

        Very often, on these kinds of contracts, it turns ou
    • Re:A Fine Example... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by imispgh (998714) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:36PM (#16004491)
      I am already unemployed
    • Re:A Fine Example... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by imispgh (998714) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @11:09PM (#16004657)
      Thank you. The video was the last thing I wanted to do. Didn't want to live with these things eating away at me. Background 6 years Navy Comm Tech 1.5 years US State Dept Comm Eng - 8 months Comm Eng for Counter Terrorism group 12 yeas LM - Syst Eng, PM amd Eng Manager. Including SW PM for an Aegis BAseline and SW Eng Manager for LM NORAD projects
  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:39PM (#16004212) Homepage Journal
    If you point the finger at someone else, there are three more pointing back at you.

    In other words, the standard pointing gesture highlights the intense scrutiny the whistleblower will face.

    Spend your silver bullet wisely.

    I sincerely hope that follow-on work isn't hard to come by.

    If YouTube had existed in time for some space-shuttle engineers, we might not have had two birds transferred to NADA.
    • by antispam_ben (591349) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:36PM (#16004492) Journal
      If YouTube had existed in time for some space-shuttle engineers, we might not have had two birds transferred to NADA.

      You don't need Youtube to expose things. Free Geocities websites have been available for a decade or so. The popularity and exposure of the Internet perhaps came too late for Challenger, but as Columbia was orbiting there were emails going between engineers and management, saying the launch videos show something hitting the orbiter, let's have a big telescope look at it in orbit to see if it's okay. Management nixed the idea, though it had been done on early shuttle flights when tiles were a concern. If these concerns had been made public on a Geocities page, perhaps things would have been different.
      • Microsoft kills (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ArsenneLupin (766289)
        The popularity and exposure of the Internet perhaps came too late for Challenger, but as Columbia was orbiting there were emails going between engineers and management, saying the launch videos show something hitting the orbiter, let's have a big telescope look at it in orbit to see if it's okay. Management nixed the idea, though it had been done on early shuttle flights when tiles were a concern.

        Management nixed the idea, because they never "got it" in the first place. And in this particular case, it was

  • Too you (Score:5, Funny)

    by dotslashdot (694478) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:39PM (#16004216)
    I guess when your youboat is going to sink, you need a youtube to keep you afloat.
  • by Software (179033) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:40PM (#16004220) Homepage Journal
    He is unemployed after being laid off by Lockheed Martin days after he posted the video. Lockheed said that the video did not influence the decision to lay off De Kort and that he had had been notified earlier this year that he would be out of a job.
    Pull my other one, it makes a sound! Does Lockheed Martin really expect people to believe them?

    Seriously, this dude has some balls, if not much sense. Tip for all you would-be whistleblowers: make sure you have the facts, the media, and God (not necessarily) overwhelmingly on your side before you start. Otherwise, you're just screwed. I hope the guy can find another job, or get a book deal. De Kort, thanks for taking one for the team.

    • by Ian Wolf (171633)
      Definite balls. I must say that if I were faced with a similar situation I do not believe I would be as brave/stupid (take your pick) as this guy.
  • by linguizic (806996) * on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:41PM (#16004223)
    In the article it said that he was fired shortly after he posted the video, but he knew before hand that he was going to get canned. I wonder how much of his actions reflect wanting retribution or just having nothing to lose.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pilgrim23 (716938)
      the problem here is a belief that defense contractor work, and the suckage on the taxpayer teat has a direct relationship with the original requsted specification. Nothing could be further from the truth. This fellow honestly believes what he does what he builds or what he designs bears ANY resemblence to what some boots on the ground WANTED. Who was it who said: "Elephant: mouse designed by commitee to government specification" ?
  • by queenb**ch (446380) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:46PM (#16004252) Homepage Journal
    Once upon a time, corporate giants and goverment entities could ignore the little guys with impunity. Now, anyone with a sufficiently good story can post it and attract a large public audience.

    Power to the people!

    2 cents,

    QueenB
  • by Nimey (114278)
    Cue Congress opening hearings on silencing the leak instead of solving the problem...
    • by voice_of_fate (998696) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:23PM (#16004428) Journal
      If this had occurred in Great Britain, De Kort would have been a loyal Myrmidon and refrained from causing such a scene. A British company would not have made such a mistake as Lockheed Martin's engineers. Also, the system used in the so-called "United States" is inferior. In Britain, such disloyalty would have caused De Kort's disappearance before he had a chance to release such material.

      Britain will use this knowledge when it moves to take back its colonies.

      De Kort is correct: his government is incompetent. The solution is obvious: Americans, subject yourselves to superior British rule.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lelitsch (31136)
        Uh, in Britain, he would have been hit with the Official Secrets Act, prosecuted, driven out of the country and maybe put in prison for a few weeks until the government realized that they mede complete asses of themselves. ;)
  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:53PM (#16004280) Homepage Journal
    The heritage of the SAME company that have bribed government heads, bureucrats in countries tenfold around the world, including germany, to oust their competitors and sell their f104s. Their FAULTY designs.

    The SAME company who caused around 150-200 air service pilots to lose their lives around the world flying their faulty f104s.

    The SAME company which recently admitted their wrong doing.

    The SAME company, which is at it AGAIN.
    • Sad but true (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Scrameustache (459504) *
      lose their lives around the world flying their faulty f104s.

      Here's a hint: If a company is in the business of making, marketing, and selling bombs, they have 0% respect for human life.

      Try and keep that in mind :(
  • His points... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BenJeremy (181303) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @09:58PM (#16004306)
    OK, let me summarize what he covers (I didn't finish the last bit of the video, though).

    1. Blind spot in watch cameras.
          OK, thanks for pointing those out. Now we can board the boats and steal them. Yes, this is an issue, and one that should be fixable, but extra cameras will also affect the systems that digitize and monitor them, as well. Still, this system should be fixed, but it's not a major thing, and now you've just told anybody who's interested (in a bad way) how to take advantage of the flaw. Thanks.

    2. FLIR Equipment not rated for -40 deg
          My problem with this is, working in automotive systems, we regularly see this requirement, and it's more of a "spec" thing. Most electronics are fine in cold weather... short of devices with moving parts (hard drive, for example). Just because the FLIR is not "rated" at -40 doesn't mean it can't handle such temperatures, only that one or more components (chips, capacitors, resistors, etc...) in the system are not CERTIFIED to operate at the wide range of temperatures. Certification for this requirement is often an expensive process and often, certified and uncertified parts are identical in everything but price (or availability, more often). I think he's a little bit out there on this one.

    3. Use of non-shielded cable in "secure" communications systems.
          This one is a bit ridiculous, and shows his paranoia. The cables failed "visual" - of course, because they are not shielded. He concludes that because they are not shielded, they MUST have failed the electronic test, and because they officially passed, somebody must have cheated. While Tempest-class (back in my days as a Marine) cables were shielded out the ying-yang, and there was, even back in the 80's some amazing intel gathering stuff out there (pull phone conversations from a telephone wire, 30 feet from the pole, wirelessly, for example)... we are talking about CUTTERS. ON THE SEA. Effectiveness of devices that can isolate and monitor any given cable line over more than 100 feet falls off dramatically, particularly in a signal-rich (i.e. "noisy") environment. I'm guessing the electronic test DID pass, which is why it was allowed to be built with the unshielded cable. Still, why couldn't they have provided proper shielded cable? It's not like a huge price difference, and if availability was an issue here, what about simple external mesh around the cable runs?

          Like I said, I see he has concerns, but this is really the wrong way to deal with it, and puts our Coast Guards at much greater jeopardy than the things he's addressing!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by linguizic (806996) *
      now you've just told anybody who's interested (in a bad way) how to take advantage of the flaw. Thanks.

      This might be enlightening for you:

      Security through obscurity [wikipedia.org]
      • by BenJeremy (181303)
        I don't think it was the contention of the Coast Guard to keep the flaw, but advertising it with a diagram is a bit careless.

        Every day, we see a new virus "concept" but the person who discovers a flaw generally doesn't give away enough details (hopefully) for script kiddies to start immediately taking advantage of the discovery.

        My point was by announcing the problem, and giving away more than enough detail, he's essentially given anybody with access to Coast Guard docks the road map to enter their 100ft cut
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jartan (219704)
      People missed one important point. They tested -one- piece of equipment to see if it was rated for the temperatures the ship might go into and they were told to stop testing for such a thing.

      That means they added several things all of which could fail in intended temperatures. It could be stuff that fails in extreme heat or humidity too.

      All in all though I found it kind of amusing that the guy making the video thinks people will find it shocking. Personally I expect govt contractors do this kind of stuff
      • Re:His points... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by BenJeremy (181303) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:32PM (#16004479)
        Like I said, I've worked in the automotive industry, and from the engineering side, we often don't see all the testing. I might have missed his role, but my impression was he was one engineer on a big team. If he was the system engineer, none of these compromises would have happened, right?

        As one guy on a big team, he's not going to see a lot of testing.... but my main point was that temperature ranges for "Automotive spec" cover down to -40, and often, we are faced with being unable to get the part rated at the spec; this isn't because the part not rated for the spec won't work, and work reliably, it's because automotive temp ratings require a LOT of certification, and costs a LOT of money. You can build a motherboard with every chip and part, except ONE CAPACITOR, rated for automotive temp, and the motherboard technically FAILS the rating, even if it can pass the temperature extremes in an environmental testing box and under duration. So here, I sympathize with Lockheed Martin's team based on my own experience, and also know that none of the systems I've been a part of for automotive (same temperature extremes he quotes) have EVER failed because of temperature extremes - and that's hundreds of thousands in vehicles world wide (Canada to Saudi Arabia).

        Humidity is another problem, and again, certification is very long, expensive, and many suppliers forego this. Sometimes, it's impossible to build a system with rated components simply because of avialability - the parts you need just have never been certified. That is a big difference from components that CANNOT operate at those ranges.
    • Shouldn't the Coast Guard have paid to have the equipment certified though? I mean, we're talking about putting multiple servicepersons' lives at risk; shouldn't the equipment at least be formally tested for the very circumstances in which they're going to be used?

      Unfortunately, I think he's going to be arrested for treason for the very reasons you mentioned. I thought this as soon as I saw him put up a diagram of the camera's blindspot. He's violating United States national security in a very big way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by theLOUDroom (556455)
      doesn't mean it can't handle such temperatures, only that one or more components (chips, capacitors, resistors, etc...) in the system are not CERTIFIED to operate at the wide range of temperatures

      As someone who DESIGNS things that ACTUALLY ARE required to work at -40 deg C, I can say that it is MORE than a specsmanship thing.
      To put it simply, a system is more than the sum of its components. Every part in your system could even be certified to operate at -40 C, but unless the whole system is designed th
    • by brennz (715237) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:45PM (#16004534)
      He said "We found out the FLIR system would not survive temperatures below -5". There is a vast chasm between saying "this FLIR is not rated for -5" and saying "the FLIR would not survive temperatures below -5". I'm not sure on FLIR sensitivity to cold weather, but he is implying it would then break.

      Oh another point, all tactical systems that handle classified material and are not in special facilities, e.g. a SCIF [fas.org], need to be protected against TEMPEST [wikipedia.org] / COMSEC & all that jazz. This is common knowledge for anyone with a SIGINT [wikipedia.org] background in the mil/intel arena.

      Obviously a cutter [uscg.mil] is built for shallow water work. That means near to shores not way out in the Atlantic Ocean. Big Antenna on the shore, camo'd in the trees, picks up classified comms - not unrealistic.

      There is no such thing as paranoia when it comes to protecting classified material.

      Initially, I was considered as written by an amateur, but then I noticed that part about you being a Marine. Figures!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Flavio (12072)
      We have different takes on this. You're using a lot of assumptions regarding favorable operating conditions to justify these as forgivable design problems. With military grade equipment you can make no such assumptions. I see all these issues as negligent corner cutting.

      Problem (1) indicates that the system has a critical design flaw -- one that defeats its sole purpose.

      Problem (2) shows that Lockheed Martin didn't follow the specs and actually refused to test some subsystems for compliance. If the engineer
    • Re:His points... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by imispgh (998714) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:53PM (#16004571)
      Cameras - this doesn't affect any system that digitizes or montors them . All we need was one more camera. As for the security aspect - the CG and LM maintain there is no issue. As such I cannot compromise a non-problem. The boast have been this way for almost a year. if there were issues the CG had plenty of time to correct them. Which is better not fixing this and having that secusrity isue or fixing this with the video (the video was alast resort after 3 years - see below)? (Now the CG has to use a watch stander - they are more secure) FLIR was an example - it might also have been fixed by adding a heater. See we didn't get the environmental requirements until after design review and most of the equip was bought (which is nuts - this is also the time I came on the program ) The FLIR was the first system we looked at. When I told management there was an issue with the FLIR they directed us to stop looking in to the rest. So. . .my worry is that there are more issues (and not just temp) Cables - EVERY SINGLE cable on each boat that was supposed to be shielded is not. Almost 100 cables on each boat. We actually removed the shielded cable for the old systems we were putting back in. I have a TEMPEST background. I also talked to experts in Lockheed as well as the company that certs Air Force One. All agree that under these conditions it is very improbable that the instrumented test would pass. Also - the IG asked for test data months ago - and hasn't gotten it. They also asked to independently check the boats. The CG won't comply. Don't you think they would if the test actually passed? As for the way I did this. I spent 3 years - went through 3 LM ethics investigations, coporate legal, the CEO and Board of Directors. I went to the Commandant of the CG, the CO of the boats, the Navy, GAO, NSA etc. Finally the DHS IG agreed to investigate. They have told me all of my claims look to be legitimate. However they can't continue because the CG isn't cooperating. I then went to the Homeland Security Committee and asked them to push the CG - they refused. Meanwhile these boats are operating. Also - all the other gov't orgs who use those classified circuits are at risk. My advice to some of you - since you are engineers. Don't assume or make judgements until you know what you are talking about. Feel free to email me - imispgh@yahoo.com
      • Re:His points... (Score:4, Informative)

        by _xeno_ (155264) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @11:54PM (#16004832) Homepage Journal

        Ah, another new poster discovers that Slashdot's "HTML formatted" doesn't add <br>s. You want "Plain Old Text" which, strangely enough, allows normal HTML formatting but keeps your paragraphs.:)

        You also might want to mention that you're the person who posted the video as well, for those who don't bother comparing your username to the video poster's user name.

        But anyway, with the paragraphs readded:

        Cameras - this doesn't affect any system that digitizes or montors them . All we need was one more camera. As for the security aspect - the CG and LM maintain there is no issue. As such I cannot compromise a non-problem. The boast have been this way for almost a year. if there were issues the CG had plenty of time to correct them. Which is better not fixing this and having that secusrity isue or fixing this with the video (the video was alast resort after 3 years - see below)? (Now the CG has to use a watch stander - they are more secure)

        FLIR was an example - it might also have been fixed by adding a heater. See we didn't get the environmental requirements until after design review and most of the equip was bought (which is nuts - this is also the time I came on the program ) The FLIR was the first system we looked at. When I told management there was an issue with the FLIR they directed us to stop looking in to the rest. So. . .my worry is that there are more issues (and not just temp)

        Cables - EVERY SINGLE cable on each boat that was supposed to be shielded is not. Almost 100 cables on each boat. We actually removed the shielded cable for the old systems we were putting back in. I have a TEMPEST background. I also talked to experts in Lockheed as well as the company that certs Air Force One. All agree that under these conditions it is very improbable that the instrumented test would pass. Also - the IG asked for test data months ago - and hasn't gotten it. They also asked to independently check the boats. The CG won't comply. Don't you think they would if the test actually passed?

        As for the way I did this. I spent 3 years - went through 3 LM ethics investigations, coporate legal, the CEO and Board of Directors. I went to the Commandant of the CG, the CO of the boats, the Navy, GAO, NSA etc. Finally the DHS IG agreed to investigate. They have told me all of my claims look to be legitimate. However they can't continue because the CG isn't cooperating. I then went to the Homeland Security Committee and asked them to push the CG - they refused. Meanwhile these boats are operating. Also - all the other gov't orgs who use those classified circuits are at risk.

        My advice to some of you - since you are engineers. Don't assume or make judgements until you know what you are talking about. Feel free to email me - imispgh@yahoo.com

  • When I first saw the headline I thought.. cool blow job videos on YouTube. They finally allowed the X rated stuff.

    Sadly, I'm disapointed.
    • When I first saw the headline I thought.. cool blow job videos on YouTube. They finally allowed the X rated stuff.

      That guy certainly blew HIS job.
  • Lockheed Martin is well known for crappy business practices. I had the misfortune of working with one of their products - The Defense Messaging System (DMS) [globalsecurity.org]. They had one of those huge mega-indefinite supply contracts they milked for so many years....What a total piece of pigslop.

    Many government contractors go out of their way to shaft the US government, all in the name of the dollar. I hate these unethical bastards!
  • Surprise? (Score:4, Informative)

    by symbolic (11752) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:16PM (#16004391)
    "It may be very hard for you to believe that our government and the largest defense contractor in the world [are] capable of such alarming incompetence and can make ethical compromises as glaring as what I am going to describe."

    No. Not even close. I think it's quite obvious that they're capable of such alarming incompetence. Consider: Katrina. WMD/Iraq. 9/11. Diebold. No-bid contracts. Overbilling.

    There's really not much more that needs to be said.
  • And guess what (Score:4, Insightful)

    by johansalk (818687) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:24PM (#16004436)
    This video was posted 3 weeks ago and only had a 100 odd ratings, even after appearing on slashdot. Meanwhile a regular skanky youtube teen could get thousands within a hours. Even you guys will probably move on to the next story in a few minutes. I think the government is safe.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by palutke (58340)
      Yeah, he'd have better ratings if he'd flash his tits at the camera while describing the fraud.
  • This just gave me an excellent idea for a remake of "Turk 182"

    That made money, right?
  • Screw media (Score:4, Funny)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:56PM (#16004590)
    From the video:

    "I will not share my name on this video to avoid harassment to my family".

    From the article:

    "Michael De Kort was frustrated."
  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @10:57PM (#16004595) Homepage

    Here [llnwd.net] is a direct link to the .flv file, if you want to archive it in case it mysteriously disappears from YouTube.

  • by richwalkup (998728) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @11:55PM (#16004838)
    As prior military who worked on UHF SATCOM (satellite communications systems) for a period of nearly four years as a lead programmer in the Air Force, I would tend to believe rather than disregard these statements. I have worked with forces from US Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Air Force, NATO forces, etc and in real-world scenarios, operational security is often overlooked or even covered up in order for projects to not lose funding or lose face in the eyes of upper management and project supporters high up in the government. It is also overlooked sometimes because of the BS red tape involved to implement the simplest security protocols. I pray that some of these issues have been resolved or that the shortcomings described have been negated by other means, however I doubt it. I wish you good luck in your fight and hope that in the end you are vindicated - if so, I hope you sue LM's ass off for the hell I'm sure you've been through. Thanks for standing up - let us know how we can help.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @12:45AM (#16005044)
    I am a Program Manager for a large defense contractor. I have no first hand knowledge about the specific program and concerns described in the video. However, I can provide some insight into how and why the Coast Guard and a contractor might ethically and responsibly act in the ways described in the video.

    First, most defense contracts of the type described are so called "Cost Plus" contracts. That means that the Government and the contractor share the financial risk of executing the program. The government agrees to reimburse the contractor for whatever the actuals costs of executing the program are plus a pre-negotiated profit. The government retains complete control over the contract, regularly audits the contractor's financial data to establish the actual costs, and reserves the right to modify or cancel the contract at any time.

    The DoD also has standard military specifications (mil-specs), and the -40 to +140 deg. temperature range cited in the video sound like a standard mil-spec to me. Now, if you are the government and I tell you the cost of refitting ships with FLIR that operates at -40, you might decide you don't really want that feature and grant a waver on the mil-spec. Why would you do that ? Well, you might know that the ship's engines won't work at that temperature either because the fuel oil will be too viscus. Why go to added expense for one component if another critical component won't work anyway ?

    The government is in complete control. When the government insists on over-specifying systems, you get the notorious $1000 hammer. The classic example was a spec that required every component of an aircraft be able to survive 72 instantaneous Gs (a very hard landing). Do you have any idea how expensive coffee pots that can survive that many Gs are ? Guess what, you paid for them. The smarter decision would be to replace a $13 coffee pot after every such "crash". I assure you that the coffee pot is a lot cheaper than the pilot's back surgery.

    Similarly, blind spots in camera coverage can be inexpensively corrected, and the Coast Guard may have elected to pay a low cost small business supplier to correct the problem instead of paying a large defense contractor's rates. Again, the government has control over all of these decisions.

    Finally, if the cabling passes the TEMPEST tests, then it passes. It is entirely possible that the hull of the ship makes a very effective Faraday cage, and additional shielding on the cables is a wasted expense. Again, the government may actually be saving you money.

    I don't know if the accusations have merit or not. I just wanted to point out that everything accused might be true and still be both ethical and down right sensible.
    • by azrider (918631) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @08:36AM (#16006478)
      I used to be a System Administrator in classified labs for a large DOD contractor. During the time I was there, I not only saw DSS and NISPOM regulations being violated, but actively evaded.
      On one occaision, there were four attempts to install equipment which compromised separation of classification. This was because the equipment had already been purchased prior to DSS approval.
      It got to the point that three of us (the ones who actively enforced NISPOM) were actually told by management that we were not to report concerns to Information Security.
      At the same time, our team of three was able to obtain provisional authority from DSS for a prototype RED to BLACK automated interface by demonstrating that all concerns and NISPOM requirements were addressed. Management was amazed that we were able to do in 2 weeks (with This demonstrates the contractors view as to what is important.
  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @03:05AM (#16005459)

    We had a whistleblower where I work a few years back. He claimed some sort of technical problem in one of our products.

    The problem was, and I was in a position to know, he was absolutely, completely wrong. But he kept up and kept up like it was a mental illness or something.

    So I tend not to automatically side with the so called whistleblowers until I have better info.

  • by C_Kode (102755) on Wednesday August 30, 2006 @09:35AM (#16006820) Journal
    Sounds somewhat similar to Alaska Airlines Flight 261 in Jan. 31, 2000. A maintenance guy reports all kinds of problems to the government because Alaska Airlines wanted to save money instead of properly maintaining their planes by keeping them in the air, but in the end nothing gets done and 88 people die because of it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Airlines_Fligh t_261 [wikipedia.org]

    What isn't listed in this Wikipedia was the guy that reported all the problems. His story is told in the National Geographic Channel's Air Crash Investigation about the crash. (it was on last night)

"Well hello there Charlie Brown, you blockhead." -- Lucy Van Pelt

Working...