Pentagon Says It Erred In Y2K Fix Of Intelligence Computer System (AP) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Pentagon says it erred in Y2K fix of intelligence computer system
ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
Friday, January 14, 2000

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

(01-14) 02:41 EST WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon has acknowledged mistakes in its pre-New Year's Eve testing of a Y2K correction for a computer system that processes imagery from intelligence satellites. The computer system broke down that night, interrupting the flow of spy satellite information for several hours.

It insists, however, the trouble did not jeopardize U.S. national security.

Defense Department spokesman Kenneth Bacon on Thursday said the Pentagon would have had to shut down temporarily the intelligence computer system in order to make an ``end-to-end'' test of its Y2K fix. Instead, officials decided to test the fix piecemeal, allowing the system to keep running, he said.

``They tested each section of the fix, but they never tested them all together, and it turned out that was the mistake,'' Bacon said. ``It was a mistake because the sections didn't fit together -- the sections of the fix.''

Bacon said this was the only significant Y2K breakdown among the several thousand Pentagon computer systems that were fixed at a cost of $3.6 billion.

The computer system with the glitch is operated by the Pentagon's highly secretive National Reconnaissance Office.

Bacon said some aspects of the problem could not be discussed publicly because of the sensitivity of U.S. spy satellite operations. But the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday that the computer system that broke down was at a satellite ground station at Fort Belvoir, Va., south of Washington. The Tribune reported that the satellite signals were redirected to a receiving station in New Mexico.

The Tribune also reported that U.S. photo reconnaissance satellites were all but blinded by the Y2K breakdown for nearly three days. Bacon denied this. He said the outage lasted only a few hours before a backup system was in place. The backup gave the Pentagon only 50 percent of its normal capacity initially, but that rose to about 90 percent by the time the regular system was fully fixed Sunday night, Jan. 2, he said.

``We lost a little corner of part of our total intelligence take for several hours. That's what happened,'' Bacon said.

Bacon said Vice Adm. Thomas Wilson, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told him the New Year's Eve computer problem had only a ``very, very, very marginal'' impact on the nation's defense readiness.

The Tribune's Washington bureau chief, James Warren, said in response to Bacon's comments: ``We understand that ultimately there can be honest debate about how serious this problem was, but we unequivocally stand behind what multiple sources told us.''

Other Pentagon officials previously acknowledged that a portion of the satellite imagery was lost due to the computer breakdown, and they have insisted that this did not jeopardize national security.

``At no time were we blinded,'' Bacon said. ``This has been a canard that's been thrown around in the press from day one. At no time were our intelligence collection systems blinded. That is because we have redundant systems designed precisely to deal with a variety of situations.''

Bacon said the several-hour outage on New Year's Eve was not more troublesome than interruptions that sometimes occur due to weather or other problems.

``This was well within the type of temporary interruption that we experience on a fairly regular basis,'' he said.

-- Diane J. Squire (, January 15, 2000



"Bacon said this was the only significant Y2K breakdown among the several thousand Pentagon computer systems that were fixed at a cost of $3.6 billion. "

I still have that Bridge in Brooklyn at bargain basement prices for anyone gullible enough to believe this clap trap.

Why are they willing to disclose this particular problem at this time???


-- Ray (, January 15, 2000.

"i>"Why are they willing to disclose this particular problem at this time???"

Only reason to do this would be that the information was already known in too many places -- we're not the only folks with hi-tech intelligence systems. If you can't stifle it, spin it.

-- Tom Carey (, January 15, 2000.

According to Don McAlvany (McAlvany Intelligence Report) audio program in November, he stated that during the August GPS rollover, the Navy lost its satellite connection. It seemed to be down for some time -- days or weeks.

If it took three months for the GPS snafu to become public, it is surprising that anything is being acknowledged now, even partially, about this latest satellite/computer mishap.

-- Lurkess (Lurkess@Lurking.Net), January 15, 2000.

Just a theory to explain why disclose this:

Perhaps, the Russkies were sitting beside our image operators at Norad and watched the rollover unfold - saw 3 scuds launch at Grozny and later 7:00pm EST blank screen.

We need to tell the Russians and Chinese that we are back up and running so they behave like the gentlemen (and ladies) that they are.

-- Bill P (, January 15, 2000.

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