Skip to comments.Valerie Plame on the 'Scary' State of Cybersecurity [and Scott Walker]
Posted on 07/24/2015 5:47:59 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Cyber warfare has gone nuclear.
So says Valerie Plame, the former covert CIA agent who spent her intelligence career working against the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Now shes taking on a new task: helping government agencies and companies stem the relentless flood of hacker attacks.
Theres a huge impact on national security and intelligence, says Plame, who this spring became an adviser to cybersecurity startup Global Data Sentinel. The new normal is going to be more and more of these hacks, whether its Target or Home Depot or the Office of Personnel Management or Jennifer Lawrences nude photos.
Not that shes abandoned her interest in nuclear weapons. Plame, who works with disarmament non-profits Global Zero and Plowshares Fund, endorsed the recent Iran nuclear deal--and had harsh words for some of its critics, Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker in particular.
I am fully supportive of [the Iran deal]. I believe it is a good deal--its not perfect, but by its very nature, an agreement is going to be a compromise, she says. The options are war versus peace, and I am delighted that so far it appears that peaceful negotiation has won the day.
The deals critics include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, many Senate Republicans, and Wisconsin governor Walker, who recently said he would reverse the deal on day one if he becomes president. Plame singled out that comment for particular scorn.
What does Scott Walker know about nuclear policy? There is strong bipartisan consensus among nuclear policy experts that this is a good deal so... eyeroll, she says. Those who have been seriously arguing against it, critical of it, they have nothing better to offer in its place, except war.
Walkers campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Secretary of State John Kerry and other White House Cabinet members on Thursday appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations committee, to present the Obama administrations case for the deal.
Plames covert identity was blown in 2003 by journalist Robert Novak, using information leaked by aides to George W. Bush. Given that history, shes particularly concerned about the recently disclosed breaches of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)--even if thats been eclipsed this week by the more salacious-sounding hacker attack on Ashley Madison, the website for people seeking extramarital affairs.
As long as youre not involved with it, it sounds funny, says Plame, who started laughing when informed of the Ashley Madison attack. The things that keep me up at night are things like [hackers] getting into the software system of a nuclear site.
But she later added by email: THIS will get the publics attention--even if the OPM hack doesnt!
That agency's data breaches this spring exposed information on more than 21 million people, some 7 percent of Americans. Worse, the affected data is more sensitive than the by-now-routine names and emails and credit card data that most of us have come to expect will be stolen by cybercriminals at some point in time. The hacked OPM records contained background investigation information on federal employees and job applicants, including information about their family members and potentially even their mental health and financial history.
That makes the OPM data breach the most dangerous in terms of national security or intelligence, Plame says. The information that is held there is very sensitive. Its not just federal employee applicants and employees--its their spouses, their family, their neighbors, their landlords. So this is a gold mine for those who would want to target federal employees.
The U.S. government has decided not to publicly assign blame for the attack, although top intelligence officials had previously called China the leading suspect. The attacks mean that the cybercriminals could now have access to detailed information about every member of Congress--which keeps its records at OPM, according to Plame.
This is a spy thriller, she says. You have a foreign government with everything--medical history, psychological history, everything on a sitting Senator.
And while thats her most pressing concern, Plame acknowledges that private-sector data breaches have the potential to be equally damaging in the long run.
From a counter-intelligence viewpoint, the OPM breach is really scary--but if we continue to see the erosion of purely commercial enterprises, where people lose confidence, the economy falters, she says. Whether its a private website, a commercial website or whether it is government owned, its part and parcel of the same concern, and it is our national security.
Plame in May joined the advisory board of Global Data Security, a New York-based firm founded in 2014 by John-Philip Galinski and Nigel Walker. She says she got involved when she was approached by Chairman Steve Fadem about 18 months ago, after she gave a talk in Chicago.
Her role as an adviser is not clearly defined, but Plame says she plans to bring her intelligence background to bear on the new threat of cyber attacks: What happened with OPM is jaw-dropping in terms of its implications, she says. This whole issue of cyber warfare, for lack of a better phrase right now, is only going to get worse before it gets better.
Her identity was leaked by an aide to Colin Powell, iirc.
Richard Armatige, right?
That’s the storyline.
That paragraph is so mendacious and ludicrous I'm flabbergasted.
Blame for the attack? From what I understand, the OPM under Archuleta outsourced sys admin to a Chinese firm, giving them root access. In other words, they didn't even need to overcome firewalls, access control lists, and a lot of safety measures, they already had access level clearance to step through all those protections. Of course, what does one expect when a political hack is given her reward of a sinceure in the administration?
As for Valerie Plame, her 15 minutes expired long, long ago.
“.....Her role as an adviser is not clearly defined, ........
She was a clerk typist!
Most people, if they bother to plow through the article, would place Valerie's name in that sentence in place of Walker's.
Tell us about your role in Operation Merlin where B Clinton “accidently” provided the Iranians with the plans for a nuclear triggering device.
>>What happened with OPM is jaw-dropping in terms of its implications, she says.
Evidently the cultural worship of the emperor’s new Buzzword and Bullshyte adorned cyber-underoos isn’t as effective at securing data as it is in securing L.I.F.E.R. expectations.
Plame was never an under cover field agent. She was a CT, desk jobber, and she let anyone in the DC area or ?? know that she worked for the CIA.
When real agents get exposed, they and their family are in real danger.
Her biggest danger was a bad hair day before whining on left wing tv, ABCNNBCBS that she had been exposed as an agent or getting a paper cut:
Is that old commie hag still around?
Valerie’s daughter had already told all her friends on social media that mommy was a spy.
I recall hearing that too.
Well, isn’t this special?
As with many dealings involving Bill and Hillary Clintons backers and friends, there is no direct evidence that she directed help to Wilson or Symbion. But Wilsons pitch to Clinton and MCCs subsequent action at least creates the appearance of political favoritism. Its the type of mutual back-scratching laid out in Peter Schweizers recent book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Make Bill and Hillary Rich.
The Clinton campaign did not return a request for comment. Nor did MCC. Minutes for the agencys board meetings only go back to 2013.
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