Doofus Of The Day #995

Today’s award goes to whoever in the National Security Committee of the Australian government is responsible for this fiasco.

The Cabinet Files is one of the biggest breaches of cabinet security in Australian history and the story of their release is as gripping as it is alarming and revealing.

It begins at a second-hand shop in Canberra, where ex-government furniture is sold off cheaply.

The deals can be even cheaper when the items in question are two heavy filing cabinets to which no-one can find the keys.

They were purchased for small change and sat unopened for some months until the locks were attacked with a drill.

Inside was the trove of documents now known as The Cabinet Files.

The thousands of pages reveal the inner workings of five separate governments and span nearly a decade.

Nearly all the files are classified, some as “top secret” or “AUSTEO”, which means they are to be seen by Australian eyes only.

But the ex-government furniture sale was not limited to Australians — anyone could make a purchase.

And had they been inclined, there was nothing stopping them handing the contents to a foreign agent or government.

There’s more at the link.

Perhaps the US government should hire whoever was responsible for that mess.  If we put them in charge of the FBI’s archives, judging by their track record, we’d learn in short order what really went on in that department, and who plotted/planned/concealed what in connection with whom!



  1. Reminds me of the warnings given about selling off used copiers. Newer models keep visual records of each page scanned, and some second-hand copiers were found to contain some very interesting government papers not intended to be seen outside certain circles.

  2. Copiers now are just digital scanners attached to digital printers. They have persistent memory in addition to hard drives. The only way to prep them for DRMO is to take them apart and remove the memory chips and drives. These should then be destroyed, preferably by pulverizing. The scan head also needs to be removed and destroyed, as it also retains images.

    Don't get me started on everything being wireless enabled by default.

  3. I'll be deliberately vague here because I'm not sure of legalities or statutes of limitations but I'll relate a story I'm aware of.

    Back in the 80s surplus packaging from a government/private contractor operation was sold in bulk as scrap which got sold to businesses or individuals who then in turn sold it as scrap or sold it to the general public in more manageable quantities. Quite popular program and worked well for the operation and the public and it went on for decades as far as I know. One individual bought a couple trailers full of various empty packaging and took it home where he discovered that some of the packaging wasn't empty. The contents were probably worth quite a bit of money and definitely not something that was intended to be tossed out in the trash. The contents were disposed of quietly and securely so that no one lost their jobs and the scrap sales could continue. Had it been publicized like this Australian incident heads would've rolled.

    And before you ask, no, this isn't the ever popular apocryphal 5.56 or .50 cal ammo can story we've all heard about for years. Lol

  4. Copier tech here. The Scan head of digital copiers is just a lamp and a CCD display-same as digital cameras. it doesn't retain anything. The drum is overrwitten with every single copy or print made, and even without them-many modern machines do self checks which puts a test pattern on the drum which is checked for accuracy. The physical memory IC's on the boards is for the copier operating systems, engine control etc.

    When we replace a customers machine we offer them the old hard disk-which is the only place where any customers data would be, if they don't have it set up to encrypt from the get go. All ours go in with encryption capability on the hard disks. Not that most customers USE that.. Most don't want the old HDD either.

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