Pentagon to monitor military emails for "insider threats"

The Pentagon is kicking of a new initiative to monitor military emails in an attempt to detect insider threats.

Backed by DARPA, the project seeks to create “a suite of algorithms [capable of] detecting multiple types of insider threats by analyzing massive amounts of data – including email, text messages and file transfers – for unusual activity.” 

According to the Army Times, military officials hope to identify potential security threats like WikiLeaks suspect Pfc. Bradley Manning who allegedly downloaded thousands of classified documents, or Army major Nidal Hasan who stands accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood in New Jersey. (Hasan was in contact with Islamic extremists overseas before the shooting).

The project, officially dubbed the “Anomaly Detection at Multiple Scales program,” can best be described as “insider threat detection in which malevolent (or possibly inadvertent) actions by a trusted individual are detected against a background of everyday network activity.”

It remains unclear whether the tracking will be limited to official government computers, or how many troops might be monitored during the development phase which could take up to two years.

It should be noted that US military intelligence believes insider threats are steadily increasing, with authorities identifying at least five instances of plots or attacks from troops who had become “radicalized.”

“The Fort Hood attack was not an anomaly,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., recently told a hearing about military insider threats. 

“It was part of al-Qaeda’s two-decade success at infiltrating the US military for terrorism, an effort that is increasing in scope and threat.”