by Tom Burghardt
June 27, 2010
Tom Burghardt is a researcher
and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In addition to
publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, his
articles can be read on Dissident Voice, The Intelligence Daily,
Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing
He is the editor of Police State America: U.S.
Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press.
Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz once famously wrote that,
is the continuation of politics by other means."
A century later, radical French philosopher
Michel Foucault turned Clausewitz on his head and declared that,
the continuation of war by other means."
In our topsy-turvy world where truth and lies coexist equally and
sociopathic business elites reign supreme, it would hardly be a stretch to
theorize that cyber war is the continuation of parapolitical crime by other
Through the Wormhole
Speed and Politics, cultural theorist Paul Virilio argued that,
progresses at the speed of its weapons systems."
With electronic communications now blanketing
the globe, it was only a matter of time before our political masters,
(temporarily) outflanked by the subversive uses to which new media lend
themselves, would deploy what Virilio called the "integral accident" (9/11
being one of many examples) and gin-up entirely new categories of threats,
"Cyber Pearl Harbor" comes to mind, from which of course, they would "save
That the revolving door connecting the military and the corporations who
service war making is a highly-profitable redoubt for those involved, has
been analyzed here at great length.
With new moves to tighten the screws on
the immediate horizon, and as "Change" reveals itself for what it always
was, an Orwellian exercise in public diplomacy, hitting the "kill switch"
serves as an apt descriptor for the new, repressive growth sector that links technophilic fantasies of "net-centric" warfare to the burgeoning "homeland
Back in March, Wired investigative journalist Ryan Singel
wrote that the,
"biggest threat to the open internet" isn't "Chinese hackers" or "greedy
ISPs" but corporatist warriors like former Director of National Intelligence
Having retreated to his old haunt as a senior vice president with the
ultra-spooky firm Booz Allen Hamilton (a post he held for a decade before
joining the Bush administration), McConnell stands to make millions as Booz
Allen's parent company, the secretive private equity powerhouse,
Group, plans to take the firm public and sell some $300 million worth of
The Wall Street Journal reported last week.
"With its deep ties to the defense
establishment" the Journal notes, "Booz Allen has become embedded in a
range of military operations such as planning war games and intelligence
That Carlyle Group investors have made out like proverbial
bandits during the endless "War on Terror" goes without saying.
"relatively low debt levels for a leveraged buyout," the investment "has
been a successful one for Carlyle, which has benefited from the U.S.
government's increasing reliance on outsourcing in defense."
And with 15,000 employees in the Washington
area, most with coveted top secret and above security clearances, Booz
Allen's clients include a panoply of secret state agencies such as:
With tentacles enlacing virtually all facets of
the secretive world of outsourced intelligence, the firm has emerged as one
of the major players in the cybersecurity niche market.
While McConnell and his minions may not know much about,
hacks," Singel points out that what makes this
spook's spook dangerous (after all, he was NSA Director under Clinton)
"is that he knows about social engineering... And now he says we need
to re-engineer the internet."
Washington Technology reported in
April, that under McConnell's watchful eye, the firm landed a $14.4 million
contract to build a new bunker for U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM).
change by Pentagon standards perhaps, but the spigot is open and salad days
are surely ahead.
Now that CYBERCOM has come on-line as a "subordinate unified command" of
U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), it's dual-hatted Director, Air Force
General Keith B. Alexander confirmed by the Senate and with a fourth,
gleaming star firmly affixed on his epaulettes, the real fun can begin.
A denizen of the shadows with a résumé to match, Alexander is also Director
of the National Security Agency (hence the appellation "dual-hatted"), the
Pentagon satrapy responsible for everything from battlefield signals - and
electronic intelligence (SIGINT and ELINT), commercial and industrial
espionage (ECHELON) to illegal driftnet spying programs targeting U.S.
Spooky résumé aside, what should concern us here is what Alexander will
actually do at the Pentagon's new cyberwar shop.
Fact Sheet posted by STRATCOM informs us that CYBERCOM,
coordinates, integrates, synchronizes, and conducts activities to: direct
the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information
networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full-spectrum military
cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure
US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our
Antifascist Calling previously reported, CYBERCOM's offensive nature is
underlined by the role it will play as STRATCOM's operational cyber wing.
The training of thousands of qualified airmen,
The Register revealed last month, will form the nucleus of an "elite
corps of cyberwarfare operatives," underscoring the command's signal
importance to the secret state and the corporations they so lovingly serve.
Cybersecurity - The
New Corporatist "Sweet Spot"
Fueling administration moves to "beef up," i.e. tighten state controls over
the free flow of information is cash, lots of it.
The Washington Post
reported June 22 that,
"Cybersecurity, fast becoming Washington's
growth industry of choice, appears to be in line for a
multibillion-dollar injection of federal research dollars, according to
a senior intelligence official."
"Delivering the keynote address at a recent cybersecurity summit
sponsored by Defense Daily," veteran Post reporter and CIA media asset,
Walter Pincus, informs us that "Dawn Meyerriecks, deputy director of
national intelligence for acquisition and technology, said that along
with the White House Office of Science and Technology, her office is
going to sponsor major research 'where the government's about to spend
multiple billions of dollars'."
a Defense Daily profile, before her appointment by Obama's
recently fired Director of National Intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, Meyerriecks was the chief technology officer with the
Systems Agency (DISA), described on DISA's web site as a "combat support
"engineers and provides command and control capabilities and
enterprise infrastructure to continuously operate and assure a global
net-centric enterprise in direct support to joint warfighters, National
level leaders, and other mission and coalition partners across the full
spectrum of operations."
Defense Daily's June 11 confab at the Marriott Hotel in Washington
(generously sponsored by Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics and
The Analysis Group), Meyerriecks emphasized although "tons of products" have
been commercially developed promising enhanced security,
"there's not an
answer Band-Aid that is going to come with this."
All the more reason then, to shower billions of taxpayer dollars on
impoverished defense and security corps, while preaching "fiscal austerity"
to "greedy" workers and homeowners facing a new wave of foreclosures at the
hands of cash strapped banks.
"We're starting to question whether or not
the fundamental precepts are right," Meyerriecks said, "and that's
really what, at least initially, this [new research] will be aimed at."
Presumably, the billions about to feed the "new
security paradigm," all in the interest of "keeping us safe" of course,
means "we need to be really innovative, because I think we're going to run
out of runway on our current approach," she said.
Washington Technology reported Meyerriecks as saying,
"We don't have any fixed ideas about what
the answers are." Therefore, "we're looking for traditional and
nontraditional partnering in sourcing."
Amongst the "innovative research" fields which
the ODNI, the Department of Homeland Security and one can assume, NSA/CYBERCOM,
will soon be exploring are what Washington Technology describe as:
"Multiple security levels for government and
non-government organizations. Security systems that change constantly to
create 'moving targets' for hackers," and more ominously for privacy
rights, coercive "methods to motivate individuals to improve their
The Secret State's Internet
Since major policy moves by administration flacks always come in waves,
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the American Constitution
Society for Law and Policy June 18, that in order to fight "homegrown
terrorism" the monitoring of internet communications,
"is a civil liberties
trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security," the
Associated Press reported.
While the Obama regime has stepped-up attacks on policy critics who have
disclosed vital information concealed from the American people, prosecuting
whistleblowers such as
Thomas Drake, who spilled the beans on corrupt NSA
shenanigans with grifting defense and security corps, and wages a low-level
...and other secret
spilling web sites, it continues to shield those who oversaw high crimes and
misdemeanors during the previous and current regimes.
In this light, Napolitano's statement that,
"we can significantly advance
security without having a deleterious impact on individual rights in most
instances," is a rank mendacity.
With enough airspace to fly a drone through, the Home Sec boss told the
gathering "at the same time, there are situations where trade-offs are
What those "situations" are or what "trade-offs" were being
contemplated by the administration was not specified by Napolitano; arch neocon
Joe Lieberman however, graciously obliged.
As "Cyber War" joins the (failed) "War on Drugs" and the equally murderous
"War on Terror" as America's latest bête noire and panic all rolled into one
reeking mass of disinformation, Senators,
Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT)
Tom Carper (D-DE),
Protecting Cyberspace as
a National Asset Act of 2010 in the Senate.
The bill empowers the Director of a new National Center for Cybersecurity
and Communications (NCCC), to be housed in the Department of Homeland
Security, to develop a "process" whereby owners and operators of "critical
infrastructure" will develop "response plans" for what the legislation calls
"a national cybersecurity emergency."
This particularly pernicious piece of legislative flotsam would hand the
President the power to declare a "national cyber-emergency" at his
discretion and would force private companies, internet service providers and
search engines to,
"comply with the new risk-based security
requirements." Accordingly, "in coordination with the private sector...
the President [can] authorize emergency measures to protect the nation's
most critical infrastructure if a cyber vulnerability is being exploited
or is about to be exploited."
Under terms of the bill, such "emergency
measures" can force ISPs to "take action" if so directed by the President,
to limit, or even to sever their connections to the internet for up to 30
While the administration, so far, has not explicitly endorsed Lieberman's
bill, DHS Deputy Undersecretary Philip Reitinger told reporters that he
"agreed" with the thrust of the legislation and that the Executive Branch
"may need to take extraordinary measures" in the event of a "crisis."
Under the 1934 Communications Act, the
World Socialist Web Site points out,
"the president may, under 'threat of war,'
seize control of any 'facilities or stations for wire communications'."
"Though dated," socialist critic Mike Ingram avers, "that definition
would clearly apply to broadband providers or Web sites. Anyone
disobeying a presidential order can be imprisoned for one year. In
addition to making explicit the inclusion of Internet providers, a
central component of the Lieberman bill is a promise of immunity from
financial claims for any private company which carries through an order
from the federal government."
Under terms of the legislation, the president
requires no advance notification to Congress in order to hit the internet
"kill switch," and his authority to reign supreme over the free speech
rights of Americans can be extended for up to six months after the "state of
war" has expired.
While the bill's supporters, which include the secret state lobby shop, the
Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) claim the
Lieberman-Collins-Carper legislation is intended to create a "shield" to
defend the U.S. and its largest corporate benefactors from the "looming
threat" of a "Cyber 9/11," one cannot discount the billions of dollars in
plum government contracts that will fall into the laps of the largest
defense and security corps, the primary beneficiaries of this legislation;
thus the bill's immunity provisions.
Indeed, current INSA Chairwoman, Frances Fragos Townsend, the former
Homeland Security Adviser, was appointed in 2007 as National Continuity
Coordinator under the auspices of National Security Presidential Directive
51 (NSPD-51) and was assigned responsibility for coordinating the
development and implementation of Federal continuity of government (COG)
As readers of
Antifascist Calling are aware, plans include
contingencies for a
declaration of martial law in the event of a
"catastrophic emergency." Whether or not a "national cybersecurity
emergency" would fall under the penumbral cone of silence envisaged by
NSPD-51 to "maintain order" is anyone's guess.
a June 23 letter to Lieberman-Collins-Carper, the Center for
Democracy and Technology (CDT) and 23 other privacy and civil liberties
groups, insisted that,
"changes are needed to ensure that
cybersecurity measures do not unnecessarily infringe on free speech,
privacy, and other civil liberties interests."
CDT states that while,
"the bill makes it clear that it does not
authorize electronic surveillance beyond that authorized in current law,
we are concerned that the emergency actions that could be compelled
could include shutting down or limiting Internet communications that
might be carried over covered critical infrastructure systems."
Additionally, CDT avers that the bill,
"requires CCI owners to share cybersecurity
'incident' information with DHS, which will share some of that
information with law enforcement and intelligence personnel."
While Lieberman-Collins-Carper claim that,
"incident reporting" doesn't authorize "any
federal entity" to compel disclosure "or conduct surveillance," the bill
does not indicate what might be included in an 'incident report' and we
are concerned that personally-identifiable information will be
Count on it!
In a press release, INSA's chairwoman declared that the legislation is
"establishing a public-private partnership to promote national
cyber security priorities, strengthen and clarify authorities regarding the
protection of federal civilian systems, and improve national cyber security
Amongst the heavy-hitters who will profit financially from developing a
"public-private partnership to promote national cyber security priorities,"
include INSA "Founding Members",
Talk about one hand washing the other!
A casual glance at Washington
Technology's 2010 list of the Top 100 Federal Government Contractors
provides a telling definition of the term "stakeholder"!
Made Easy - Einstein 3's Roll-Out
During a recent
Cyberspace Symposium staged by the Armed Forces
Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), an industry lobby group
chock-a-block with defense and security corps, a series of
presentations set the tone, and the agenda, for CYBERCOM and the secret
state's new push for heimat cybersecurity.
During a question and answer session "with a small group of reporters" in
sync with the alarmist twaddle peddled by AFCEA and STRATCOM,
Systems' Amber Corrin informed us that "one possibility" floated by Deputy
Defense Secretary William Lynne III to "keep us safe," is the deployment of
the privacy-killing Einstein 2 and Einstein 3 intrusion detection and
prevention systems on civilian networks.
"To support such a move" Defense Systems
reported, "a task force comprising industry and government information
technology and defense interests... has been forged to examine issues
surrounding critical infrastructure network security."
Antifascist Calling reported last July,
Einstein 3 is based on technology developed by NSA under its Tutelage
program, a subordinate project of NSA's larger and more pervasive
privacy-killing Stellar Wind surveillance operation.
Einstein 3's deep-packet inspection technology can read the content of email
messages and other private electronic communications.
Those deemed "threats" to national security
networks can then be forwarded to analysts and "attack signatures" (or
suspect political messages) are then stored in a massive NSA-controlled
database for future reference.
Federal Computer Week disclosed in March that the Department of Homeland
Security's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT),
"plans to partner with a commercial Internet
Service Provider and another government agency to pilot technology
developed by the National Security Agency to automate the process of
detecting cyber intrusions into civilian agencies' systems."
"The exercise," according to reporter Ben Bain "aims to demonstrate the
ability of an ISP to select and redirect Internet traffic from a
participating government agency using the new technology. The exercise
would also be used demonstrate the ability for U.S. CERT to apply
intrusion detection and prevention to that traffic and to generate
automated alerts about selected cyber threats."
That testing is currently underway and has been
undertaken under authority of National Security Presidential Directive 54,
signed by President
George W. Bush in 2008 in the waning days of his
While the vast majority of NSPD-54 is classified
top secret, hints of its privacy-killing capabilities were revealed in the
sanitized version of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI)
released by the Obama White House in March.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed suit against the
government in federal court after their Freedom of Information Act request
to the National Security Agency was rejected by securocrats.
The agency refused to release NSPD-54, since
incorporated into Obama's CNCI, stating that they "have been withheld in
their entirety" because they are "exempt from release" on grounds of
In a follow-up piece earlier this month,
Federal Computer Week disclosed
that the exercise,
"will also allow the Homeland Security
Department, which runs the Einstein program, to share monitored
information with the National Security Agency, though that data is not
supposed to include message content."
"The recent combination of those three elements - reading e-mail
messages, asking companies to participate in the monitoring program, and
getting the NSA in the loop - has set off alarm bells about future uses
of Einstein 3," FCW's John Zyskowski disclosed.
Those bells have been ringing for decades,
tolling the death of our democratic republic.
As military-style command and control systems
proliferate, supporting everything from "zero-tolerance" policing and urban
surveillance, the deployment of packet-sniffing technologies will soon join,
license plate readers
...thus setting the stage
for the next phase of the
secret state's securitization of daily life.