May 23, 2010
NSA Director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander told the Senate Armed Services Committee in April that he would work to protect the privacy rights of Americans online. It was an interesting comment from a man who heads up an organization responsible for a massive program of illegal dragnet surveillance of domestic communications and communications records of millions of ordinary Americans since at least 2001.
“NSA is the only place in the U.S. government that has the capabilities we need for defense of the private networks,” James A. Lewis, a senior fellow and cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the CIA’s favorite newspaper last year. “We need to find a way to use those capabilities without putting civil liberties at risk.” CSIS is an insider think tank dominated by the likes of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft. Henry Kissinger and other freedom lovers.
Threats against computer networks in the United States are grossly exaggerated. Dire reports issued by the Defense Science Board and the Center for Strategic and International Studies “are usually richer in vivid metaphor — with fears of ‘digital Pearl Harbors’ and ‘cyber-Katrinas’ — than in factual foundation,” writes Evgeny Morozov, a Belarus-born researcher and blogger who writes on the political effects of the internet.
Morozov notes that much of the data on the supposed cyber threat “are gathered by ultra-secretive government agencies — which need to justify their own existence — and cyber-security companies — which derive commercial benefits from popular anxiety.”
On Friday Alexander was appointed to head up the newly activated Cyber Command, a subordinate unified command under United States Strategic Command “designed to conduct virtual combat across the world’s computer networks,” according to The Guardian. The ceremony held at Fort Meade, Maryland, was “low-key” in order to not draw media attention.
Early last week the Air Force assigned approximately 30,000 “digital troops” to “the front lines of cyber warfare,” a number that represents a third of the troops in Afghanistan. “The transformation is part of the service’s larger emphasis on cyberspace operations and merging most computer system operations and network warfare functions under Space Command’s 24th Air Force, based at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas,” reported the Air Force Times on May 19.
The Pentagon considers cyberspace a warfighting domain equal to land, sea, air and space. In 2003, the Pentagon classified the internet as an enemy “weapons system” requiring a “robust offensive suite of capabilities to include full-range electronic and computer network attack.”
In short, the mission of the Cyber Command will be primarily offensive, not defensive.
Bush retread Def. Sec. Robert Gates ordered the creation of the Cyber Command in June of 2009 specifically in response to the “already significant and growing digital threat” from “foreign actors, terrorists, criminal groups and individual hackers,” according to the Air Force Times.
During the above mentioned Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing Alexander said the Pentagon’s Cyber Command will enjoy “significant synergy” with the NSA. “We have to show what we’re doing to ensure that we comport, comply with the laws,” and protect the privacy of the American people, said Alexander.
“I am personally committed to this transparency, and I know that the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, and the rest of the Administration are as well,” said Alexander.
Obama has consistently violated his election pledge to provide more transparency in government. Alexander’s comment that the CIA, the DoD, and other associated agencies will suddenly become transparent and answerable to the American people after decades of secrecy and dishonesty is at best an incredulous statement.
“Alexander was repeatedly asked about privacy and civil liberties impact of his new role, and gave answers that were, well, full of platitudes but essentially uninformative,” notes Privacy Digest.
Numerous organizations, including the ACLU and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, signed on to a letter sent to Howard Schmidt, the White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, requesting a meeting on the implications of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command. In February, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency and the National Security Council, seeking a key document governing national cybersecurity policy.
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The Privacy Digest doubts the organizations will be granted access to Schmidt.
The Cyber Command will naturally roll the usual “private enterprise” suspects into the mix. Later this week, the U.S. Strategic Command will hold a “cyberspace symposium” in Omaha, Nebraska. “This event will provide an exciting venue for information exchange among leaders in Cyberspace. Fostering innovation and collaboration between the private sector and government to delve into tough cyber issues will be paramount for this symposium,” a press release states. The symposium will be sponsored by Lockheed Martin, HP, Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI, Cisco, CSC, General Dynamics, QinetiQ, Raytheon and the spooky MITRE Corporation.
The Pentagon’s Cyber Command was not established to fight Somalian or al-Qaeda hackers in remote backwater caves — or China and Russia for that matter. It was established to fight the real enemy — the American people.
Since “everything changed” following September 11, 2001, Homeland Security has worked closely with the Pentagon to monitor and subvert the real threat to the government — political activists and organizations within the United States. In addition to snooping anti-war organizations, the DHS has worked overtime (with a complaisant corporate media) to portray the patriot movement as violent and a threat to national security.
It is not merely anti-war and patriot activists and organizations the government is targeting. Bloggers and journalists who are not part of the Mockingbird corporate media have also fallen into the sights of the government.
According to investigative reporter Wayne Madsen, at least some members of the NSA want to deal with pesky bloggers in a more direct and deadly fashion. In August of 2008, Madsen reported that an executive level NSA staff person was on record saying that significant sentiment exists within the NSA to kill troublesome bloggers and journalists.
Cyber Command is an integral part of the ruling elite’s overall and over-reaching control grid. In order to fight against the growing number of people now awake to their agenda, our rulers must take out the independent media on the internet. Cyber Command is not about hackers in China. It is about truth-tellers in the U.S. The “growing cyber threat” hyped by the government and the corporate media is merely cover for the real agenda.