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FBI Flap Highlights Security Challenge

A high-profile security flap at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the White House has forced these organizations to face up to how they lock down their systems.

Leandro Aragoncillo, an FBI analyst and former White House aide, was charged with allegedly downloading documents from the Bureaus classified Automated Case System (ACS) database and forwarding the information to officials in the Philippines.

There is growing concern that Aragoncillo, who reportedly spent 31 months at the White House beginning in 1999, may have compromised national security during his time in Washington.

Yesterday, White House press secretary Scott McClellan confirmed talk of an “ongoing investigation” into the affair, but refused to comment on whether or not the West Wing’s security systems were lax, saying instead, “It’s important to let the facts come out.” He promised that the White House “will continue to cooperate fully” with the Department of Justice.

Security experts say the brouhaha highlights the challenges involved in keeping networks secure. Even vendors admit firewalls and intrusion detection systems are only one part of the equation. “Technology will never solve all the security issues,” says Anthony Sanchez, vice president of marketing at Waterford Technologies, which makes email archiving and security products. “Historically, humans are the weakest link.”

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