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Imminent Threat
Intelligence Officials Sound Alarm on Cyber Warfare

A number of top intelligence officials are warning about the dire threats of cyberwarfare, cyber-espionage, and cyberterrorism. Breaking Defense reports:

Sen. Susan Collins has a bill about how to improve cyber sharing that should go to markup next week and she spoke about the challenges cyber poses to the government this morning at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance annual conference here. Three former directors of National Intelligence — John Negroponte, Mike McConnell and Dennis Blair — also spoke about those challenges before an audience of more than 700 people at INSA.

The current Director of National Intelligence goes a step farther:

[…] James Clapper, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that cyber has now eclipsed terrorism as the top threat faced by the United States.

All the former DNIs agreed that the country has not yet figured out who should have what authorities to monitor and combat cyber attacks.

In response, these officials are suggesting that the U.S. establish a “Department of Cyber” (presumably with a more official-sounding name).

The virtual frontier is a dangerous one for individuals, companies, and governments alike. How we can tame it, or even if, remains an open question—but sounding the alarm is certainly warranted.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    The most important challenge for modern American politics is debunking the myth that high-end tax cuts create jobs. The second most important issue for political responsibility is protecting American weapons systems, infrastructure systems and business systems from cyber warfare. Everything else is down the list.

    • Andrew Allison

      There is more than enough evidence to suggest that high-end tax cuts not only create jobs but also increase government revenue to debunk your first sentence. Please note that I’m not drawing a conclusion, merely pointing out that the use of the word “myth” vitiates your argument. I couldn’t agree more with the second sentence. As today’s news that not just frontline communications in Ukraine but command and control in Kiev (not to mention the Chinese knock-off of the F-35) demonstrate cyber warfare is an enormous threat.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I’m glad we agree on the second sentence. Maybe I’m over-reacting, but I believe we are bumbling along toward some surprises in the cyber world—-and not, as some imagine, just because Obama is president instead of McCain. I don’t think we understand our exposures yet.

        As for taxes, the cuts of 2001 and 2003 were big enough to have us swimming in a pool of living-wage jobs—–if the conservative theory actually worked.

  • Andrew Allison

    Of course the should be a Department of Cyber Security — have we learned nothing from the never-ending failure of the various intelligence agencies to cooperate with each other?

    • Curious Mayhem

      There doesn’t need to be a Department of Cyber, any more than we needed a Department of Homeland Security, a sorry excuse for pork barrel and waste.

      Cooperation between agencies happens when there is political leadership to make it happen. Absent that leadership, nothing happens.

      • Andrew Allison

        I agree that HSA is a sorry excuse for pork barrel and waste, and that leadership is required; I think the virtual certainty of multiple departs fighting for a piece of the action and developing their own protocols is too high. What’s needed is a domestic adversary for NSA (because, unhappily, it has been amply demonstrated that we citizens need protection from the latter).

        • Curious Mayhem

          A domestic adversary is an interesting idea. The British split domestic and foreign intelligence into MI5 and MI6. The domestic side gathers information only; it has no powers of arrest or prosecution.

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