US military emails accidentally sent to Mali for years

Pentagon says it's aware of the issue and takes all unauthorized disclosures of controlled unclassified information seriously.

Yayınlanma: 18.07.2023 - 11:36
US military emails accidentally sent to Mali for years
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Millions of sensitive US military emails have been accidentally sent to Mali for years due to a typo, a report said Monday. 

The emails were misdirected because people typed in ".ML," the domain for Mali, instead of the US military's ".MIL" domain name used for emails, according to the Financial Times.

The unintentional leaks have resulted in the exposure of highly sensitive information, including diplomatic documents, tax returns, passwords, and the travel details of top officers, the report said.

It happened despite repeated warnings over a decade, with the issue first reported by Dutch internet entrepreneur Johannes Zuurbier, who manages Mali’s country domain.

Lieut. Commander Tim Gorman, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said the Department of Defense (DoD) is aware of the issue and takes all "unauthorized disclosures of Controlled National Security Information or Controlled Unclassified Information seriously."

"DoD has implemented policy, training, and technical controls to ensure that emails from the ".mil" domain are not delivered to incorrect domains," Gorman said in response to emailed questions from Anadolu.

"Such emails are blocked before they leave the .mil domain and the sender is notified that they must validate the email addresses of the intended recipients," he said.

"While it is not possible to implement technical controls preventing the use of personal email accounts for government business, the Department continues to provide direction and training to DoD personnel. The office of the DoD CIO oversees this matter," he added.

According to the Financial Times report, the emails also included an urgent diplomatic letter from the Turkish Embassy to the US State Department about possible operations by the PKK/YPG terrorist organization against Turkish interests in the US.

Zuurbier told the Financial Times that he has collected close to 117,000 misdirected emails from within the Pentagon since January alone and many more in years prior

"This risk is real and could be exploited by adversaries of the US," he wrote in a letter he sent to the US in July.

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