Skip to comments.New U.S. Cyber Command Raises Privacy Concerns
Posted on 06/27/2009 7:20:57 PM PDT by BGHater
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has created a new cyber command in the Pentagon as part of the Obama administration's focus on cyberdefense. The new command will be headed by the director of the secretive National Security Agency. Privacy advocates worry about the role of the NSA and the militarization of the Internet.
In a memo this week, Gates said the nation's increasing dependency on cyberspace, alongside a growing array of cyberthreats and vulnerabilities, adds a new element of risk to national security. The memo says a new command is necessary, capable of synchronizing war-fighting effects across the global security environment.
James Lewis, a cybersecurity analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, says Gates' memo is a significant move for the Department of Defense.
"The significance is that it's a recognition by DOD of how important cyberspace has become for national security writ large and for how we fight wars in the future, so it's a big organizational step forward," Lewis says.
Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, now the director of the National Security Agency, will lead the new command.
The Defense Department has been low key about it. Analysts say that's to soothe concerns that it wants to take over the nation's computer networks. Privacy advocates worry about the role of the NSA, which monitors foreign communications and is not supposed to engage in domestic spying.
"People are leery about NSA having any sort of larger role and people are leery about this question of the militarization of the Internet. And even with DOD's statements, which I think are accurate, we're still going to have those concerns," Lewis says.
Many elements of cyberwarfare resemble the tactics of ordinary hackers. Viruses have been sent to disrupt civilian and military computers. Some 360 million attempts were made against Pentagon computers last year. Computers in Estonia and Georgia, which have had recent conflicts with Russia, were subject to denial-of-service attacks.
Herbert Lin of the National Research Council explains how such attacks work: "I get millions of other computers to make requests to this Pentagon Web site to get information from it, and they're all fake requests and they all happen to arrive at the same time, and in the meantime any legitimate request gets blocked out."
John Wheeler, who served as a special assistant to the secretary of the Air Force and helped formulate cyberwarfare strategy, says the U.S. has been getting mugged in cyberspace and that cyberattacks can do much to harm a potential adversary.
"There's a lot of things that could be done to break down the will of a nation by undermining and, so to speak, throwing sand in the gears of processes that the people depend on," he says. "It's a form of bombing or even fire-bombing populations to destroy their will."
Analysts draw analogies to nuclear weapons and the Cold War when discussing the role of cyberwarfare. But there has been little public guidance from the White House or Congress, Lin says.
"This is a subject that there has not been a lot of discussion about and we think that it's a subject that's way too important only to be discussed behind closed doors," he says.
Lin, who edited a National Research Council report on cyberwar, says oversight and rules of engagement for cyberweapons are inadequate. He and other analysts say it's time for a national debate over the role of cyberwarfare in U.S. defense strategy, not unlike that which occurred over nuclear strategy.
yea...with the collusion of Nokia & Seimmans , now teaming up
with Intel , perhaps we should be worried ....
Those companies seem to be willing to do whatever the requesting government ask of them to set up . Regardless of the consequences .
You betcha, by golly, when Iran nukes Isreal and NK nukes HI, we’ll just have to stand there and watch Gates and Obama just twitter the hell out of ‘em!!!
I imagine this will root out anything anti-government, rather than preventing the Chinese from hacking government databases.
Ya gotta have your priorities.
It’s going to be a matter of when, not whether, a significant hostile is going to launch the mother of all DDOS attacks upon the US internet infrastructure, and are we going to be ready for that? Good on Obama (can’t believe I’m saying that, but even blind pigs get acorns) for at least letting Gates look at this issue. This concern is not going to care who is in the White House.
>> “People are leery about NSA having any sort of larger role and people are leery about this question of the militarization of the Internet. And even with DOD’s statements, which I think are accurate, we’re still going to have those concerns,”
I’m not too concerned about our military. They’re professional, and sworn to uphold our rights, and I believe in my heart that they take that vow seriously.
At any pay grade below Commander in Chief, that is.
Bambi... Rahm... Holder... and any pussy “brass” those vermin appoint... now THEY worry me.
KaBOOM trumps twitter, every time!!!
Yep. They were responsible for the block in civilian intel coming out of Iran.
Stuff like this kills me. Where have these doofwads been living for the past 15 years?
For the technically savvy, there is NO privacy on the internet. Why do they think entire industries have popped up selling Spyware Protection and Virus Protection?
A different Gates is responsible for that.
Amen to that! ;-)
Imagine the uproar if this had happened under Bush. Every Rat politician and their fellow-traveler privacy groups as well as the Obama-ass-kissing media would be screaming about how Bush is trying to spy on the American people. Now all it rates is pretty much of a yawn by these assorted scumbaggery.
On the flip slide.
Imagine the uproar by Conservative if Obama had tried the Patriot Act, Department of Homeland Security, No Fly List, etc.
They made a great tag team.
Nobody - military or not - is trustworthy with absolute power. Most military officers and personnel will violate your constitutional rights if ordered to do so in the name of national security. Bet on it. There would be few objectors.
Fat chance this guy would have done anything like that to defend our country. So your 'flip side' is a flop.
You mean people’s cyberwarfare against Obama’s five sided polygon?
Someone with conscience will eventually surface the story.
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