America Has A Right To Fight CyberWar In The Shadows

thegoodshepherdThe people have a right to know what their government is doing, certainly when it involves deaths and possible abuses of a physical or civil libertarian nature. But there are some things we don’t need to know.

At any given movement, the world’s governments are all spying on each other, keeping an eye on enemies and allies alike in order to stay on top in one way or another. It’s why we have the CIA, the British have MI-6, the French the DGSE, Russia has the SVR, and so on. These are not nice things, but they must be done for nations to maintain and acquire power.

While a case could be made for The Guardian’s previous disclosures of NSA’s dragnet and the surveillance of Internet usage (before you even start, here is my position on that), the release of classified cyber-strategy documentation is just releasing sensitive material for the hell of it.

No abuses are detailed, and the release just damages cyberwarfare efforts for the benefit of the ego of the paper and its libertarian writer.

American cybersecurity has been compromised, and either doors have been opened to our adversaries or we will now need to spend tax dollars in order to undo the damage.

For what purpose? This is activity that rightfully stays in the shadows, much like spy work does. They’re looking at us, we’re looking at them and we’re all trying to stop the other guy from seeing what we have. There’s no need to help, and it could be dangerous to do so.

I don’t understand the idea that America has no right to engage in cyberwarfare, when our allies and adversaries all have been doing so for years now. There is an odd strain of thought out there that due to our superpower status, America shouldn’t be able to wage even this sort of combat. As if everyone else can be armed, but we shouldn’t be.

Whoever leaked this information has done harm to our security, and possibly worse. It isn’t uncovering potential abuse like the previous leaks did, just creating a security compromise and generating pageviews for a newspaper.

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    • Cerberus79

      “The people have a right to know what their government is doing, certainly when it involves deaths and possible abuses of a physical or civil libertarian nature. But there are some things we don’t need to know.”

      Of course, if we don’t know these “things” (whatever Willis means by that. He doesn’t say) we can’t know if they’re abuses, can we.

      Can we just consign Willis’ near-incoherant blog to the some internet garbage can and move on?

    • Zython

      In light of these events which have transpired over the past 11, but only became controversial recently for some reason, I anticipate Congress will leap into action to repeal the Patriot Act.

      Yup…any minute now…

      • dbtheonly

        Z,

        Your mouth to God’s ear.

        IBIYD.

        But all in a good cause, eh?

    • Dennis

      “This Administration also puts forward a false choice
      between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. I will
      provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools
      they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our
      Constitution and our freedom.

      That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more
      national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a
      crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a
      misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is
      not who we are.” -Barack Obama, 2007

      • Ebert McFartington VI

        Don’t pull a Jon Stewart and try to be a “moral relativist.” You’ll only confuse the hack.

    • Dennis

      If someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document – through library books they’ve read and phone calls they’ve made – this legislation gives people no rights to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law. No judge will hear their plea, no jury will hear their case. This is just plain wrong.
      -Barack Obama, Dec. 14, 2005

    • Christopher Foxx

      They’re looking at us, we’re looking at them…

      The objection isn’t that we’re looking at them, but that we (our gov’t) is looking at us (un-accused citizens).

    • gratuitous

      Perhaps I’ll just leave it at this: Since private citizens have no expectation of privacy on the internets (and I’ve been schooled on this point repeatedly over the last couple of weeks, just as I was 10 years ago when it was the Bush administration acting lawlessly), why do governments think that their internet shenanigans will forever escape a public airing?

      If I, a private citizen, should fear no government intrusion, why should governments fear intrusion by private citizens? If governments can be credited with no malicious intent (evidence to the contrary notwithstanding), why aren’t private citizens likewise credited?

      Luke 8:17; 12:2.

    • YesMan

      This garbage was barely worth reading, excepting only the revealing smear of Greenwald as a “libertarian writer.” Now, most of your readers will no doubt be morons, but for those who are more politically active, “libertarian” is somewhat of a dirty word. This is a rookie mistake, because libertarianism in America is actually known as neoliberalism in Europe, aka right-wing libertarianism (see: Hayek, Rothbard, and the actual US Libertarian Party). There is also left-libertarianism, e.g. Noam Chomsky, and that’s where Glenn Greenwald resides.

      • dbtheonly

        YesMan.

        No Man.

        In the USA the Libertarian movement has a strong rightward bent. The Libertarians tend to caucus with the Republicans (Sen. Paul, KY). They tend to run as Republicans (Con. Paul President 2012 & others).

        I don’t much care how “Europe” defines Libertarianism in the USA.

        Some Libertarians claim a left tilt to their philosophy & you can get into some definitional problems with exactly what is left/right. I don’t want to go into that morass so:

        Libertarians stand for freedom:

        Freedom to pollute “their” air & water; regardless of what that does to me down stream.
        Freedom to employ child labor.
        Freedom from intrusive vaccines; regardless of what that does to others in the community.
        Freedom from “fiat currency”.
        Freedom from paying a minimum wage.

        Freedom to have an unsafe workplace.
        Freedom to have “business combinations” i.e. monopolies &/or “trusts”.
        Freedom to spend as much in elections as they choose.
        Freedom from patent or trademark regulation.

        And that’s just what I can do in this time allotted.

        “That governs best which governs not at all”, has huge ramifications.

        • YesMan

          Again, that all applies to right-libertarianism. Just because they claim they’re the true “Libertarians,” doesn’t mean it’s right. Chomsky says the same about left-libertarianism:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwQEgOKEEXI

    • http://brianzick.com brian zick

      So how do you feel about Daniel Ellsberg and his exposure of the Pentagon Papers?

    • Mr X

      Obamanista rationalization hamster. Rationalize this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt2yGzHfy7s

      • Christopher Foxx

        20 seconds in isolation from any surrounding context. Meaningless.

        • Mr X

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df2p6867_pw

          We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set.

          We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.

          So look at it in context…how exactly would the Peace Corps be just as powerful as the military? I’ve read this rebuttal:

          http://www.factcheck.org/2008/11/obamas-national-security-force/

          It doesn’t make any sense. And besides that, Obama hasn’t created the strictly civilian corps he promised. But he has ordered Homeland Security to have a standing order for 2 billion bullets, 400 million rounds per year (AP), of which the DHS spokesperson interviewed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) could only verify that 10 million are used for actual training.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZv-LVruaqA

          So…390 million rounds stockpiled last year to ‘save money’. Over 1,000 rounds per armed DHS employee — more, as Rep. Chaffetz points out, than the Army.

          So you still have a rebuttal?

    • http://sonic.net/~ckelly/Seekay/mtbwelcome.htm RepackRider

      People want to be protected from the boogie man because they are scared, and the political powers are careful to keep the cowards in a state of perpetual fear.

      I am in hundreds of times more danger from other Americans with guns or drunk on the roads than I am from foreign terrorists. I don’t spend my time worrying about those dangers, and I don’t campaign against gun ownership or alcohol use..

      Do not include me in begging the NSA for protection from your irrational fear of terrorists,. You don’t have a constitutional right not to be scared.

      You DO have a constitutional right to privacy in your lawful communication.

      • dbtheonly

        Repack,

        Cyber-attacks are not the same as foreign terrorist attacks.

        “You DO have a constitutional right to privacy in your lawful communication.” But those communications are already being monitored & analyzed for the purposes of tailoring advertising to suit you. Do you really want to say the Govt. can’t use information gathered & used by Apple, Google, & Facebook?

        • Buzz Killington

          To say that, you must also say that all such data belongs to Apple, Google, & Facebook, rather than to the users who provide it. Where does it end? Should the government have access to *all* data that *any* third party has access to?

          Surveillance is inseparable from censorship.

          • dbtheonly

            But Buzz,

            The surveillance is already there. It’s just a question of who’s using it.

        • http://sonic.net/~ckelly/Seekay/mtbwelcome.htm RepackRider

          “Do you really want to say the Govt. can’t use information gathered & used by Apple, Google, & Facebook?”

          Yes. What would I have to say for you to understand that? I have information about people from their dealings with my company that is none of the government’s business.

        • Christopher Foxx

          But those communications are already being monitored & analyzed for the purposes of tailoring advertising to suit you. Do you really want to say the Govt. can’t use information gathered & used by Apple, Google, & Facebook?

          When I use Google or Apple or Facebook, I know who I’m handing info over to. There’s a privacy policy available that I’ve agreed to.

          Folks are not agreeing to the privacy policy put forth by the government.

        • Christopher Foxx

          Cyber-attacks are not the same as foreign terrorist attacks.

          How not? If a foreign entity (a gov’t or terrorist group) attacks a computer network, how is that not an attack?

          • dbtheonly

            Christopher, definitions mostly. We went around a week or so ago about the definition of “terrorism”. Repack was blurring the line.

            Confidentiality between:
            Doctor/Patient
            Priest/Penitent
            Attorney/Client
            Advertiser/ Victim.

            One of these things is not like the others.

            • Christopher Foxx

              db, I’m missing what you’re saying. I still don’t see how a cyber attack isn’t an attack. Nor why my willingly giving my info to a company is the same as my gov’t reading my mail* against my will.

              One is something I willing participate in, and can chose to avoid if I want (I don’t have to do business with Facebook) the other is not. One isn’t really able to do anything other than send me marketing materials, the other has vast powers.

              * Yes, I’m aware that the gov’t isn’t really actively doing that, but that they could is the aspect being discussed.

            • dbtheonly

              Okay Christopher,

              Cyber-warfare are attacks against the “web” of the target be it infrastructure, overloading service, malware insertion, or such. “Terrorism” is an overused word but I tend to limit it to attacks that go boom.

              You don’t have to do business with Facebook, I don’t. But Apple, Google, Facebook etc. track your activity. They do for the purpose of selling you stuff & you did sign off in the TOS.

              But we’re talking about two different things. Defending against cyber-attacks is not the same as monitoring activity. To what extend can/should the Govt go in making sure hackers don’t shut down the water treatment plant? How far for shutting down the electrical grid? What was the movie where the bad guy turned all the traffic lights in the city green?

              And Google/Facebook don’t have vast powers? I’ve seen some articles showing how unpleasant Facebook can get & imagine if Apple shuts down your Smart Phone because they feel you’ve violated the TOS.

            • Christopher Foxx

              To what extend can/should the Govt go in making sure hackers don’t shut down the water treatment plant?

              They should work to make sure the water treatment plant (or air traffic control system or banking system or…) is protected against attacks. That is, that the system is secure and attempts to hack are detected.

              This is the system used for centuries. You own a bank and want to make sure it can’t get robbed? You put in security systems that make robbing it difficult if not impossible. What you don’t do is start frisking every one in the city to see if they much have burglary tools in their pockets.

            • dbtheonly

              But again you’re confusing the two issues.

              Defense can carry you only so far if you don’t identify & stop the bad guys. They’ll get lucky & get through one day. Like hockey, defense gets you only so far.

            • Christopher Foxx

              Sure, there are limits to defense. If there weren’t, no bank would ever have been robbed.

              But the response to those limits isn’t to start encroaching on individual freedoms.

            • dbtheonly

              But Christopher, phone records haven’t been private for 30+ years. I don’t think even a warrant is required. The Judicial oversight was put into place to restrict the potential excesses of the Executive.

              Now we may disagree about what the standards ought to be; but the system worked exactly as intended & it’s hard for me to see what the RWMO would have had President Obama do instead.

              And I see you & other well-meaning persons jumping on a Fox “Scandal du jour” to hammer the President.

            • Christopher Foxx

              (RWMO?)

              db, we may disagree about what the standards ought to be, but that doesn’t mean my motivation is just to find a reason to hammer the President.

            • dbtheonly

              Christopher,

              Right Wing Media Organization.

              I did not mean to imply that your motivation is to hammer the President. But Fox’s is. They create these “scandals du jour” and run with them. When you buy in to their story; you play their game.

            • Christopher Foxx

              When you buy in to their story; you play their game.

              Sometimes there is something to be bothered about there. There are legitimate concerns about the gov’t collecting vast amounts of info that should be discussed. Obama’s war on whistleblowers or his administration’s treatment of Bradley Manning would be other examples.

              I should be precluded from finding fault with Obama just because Fox is also doing so. Finding fault on a topic that Fox also finds fault in doesn’t mean you’re “buying their story”. Fox attacking someone shouldn’t provide a shield for all criticism.

            • dbtheonly

              Christopher,

              The Fox “scandal” reports are in some form slanted, incomplete, overblown, mis-stated, or flat incorrect. The goal is to generate anti-President Obama buzz which then can become its own story.

              Whether you accept Chez’s position that none of us has any expectation of privacy; or if you accept Cesca’s assertions that the whole Greenwald story is based on a misunderstanding of the Techinical details; or if you accept my contention that all the information is available to advertisers; the point is that Fox et. al. have driven a wedge into the Democratic Party.

              You are not estoped from criticizing President Obama. When Fox tells you to do so; common sense ought to dictate a deep breath & a strond second look before unleashing the ire.

            • Christopher Foxx

              db,

              I agree with you completely on what Fox does and why.

              I don’t care for the slanted “whether you agree with Chez, or Cesca, or me…” presumption that the only options available are agreeing with someone. Not that I don’t necessarily, but it’s a slanted slate of options.

              It’s good to know I’m not stopped from criticizing Pres Obama. It’s unsettling to see any suggestion that I do so because Fox tells me to.

            • dbtheonly

              No Christopher, sometimes I feel you try as hard as Dennis to misunderstand me.

              Chez makes a very good argument in his “None of us has Privacy Anymore” article. Agree with him or not as you choose. I find it unsettling.

              Cesca makes an argument that this whole issue is a misreading of technical words which means one thing to an IT guy & something else to mainstream America. Agree with him or not as you choose.

              But Fox is pushing this issue. That’s a fact. You are not objecting because of Fox; but you are doing so alongside of them. When you find yourself on the same side as Fox; I only ask that you consider your “teammates” & ask yourself what goals you intend to accomplish.

            • Christopher Foxx

              sometimes I feel you try as hard as Dennis to misunderstand me

              Honestly, db, I’m not trying to misunderstand you. Quite the opposite really.

              When you find yourself on the same side as Fox; I only ask that you consider your “teammates” & ask yourself what goals you intend to accomplish.

              And, again, just because I happen to have some criticisms of Obama, even ones Fox has also had, doesn’t make them tainted criticisms.

              (I’m not trying to misunderstand you, db. And I certainly do understand the feeling of trying to be clear about something and having the other side just not get it.)

    • Bubble Genius

      The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a computer is a good guy with a computer.

    • dbtheonly

      Agreed, but I’m confused by where cyber-strategy leaves off & where the Batman Standard applies.

      Can we only respond when a hacking attack occurs?
      Can we follow on if the attack is unsuccessful?