Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cyber War, Part 3

The National Security Agency is described as "the world's premier electronic intelligence organization" in Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It by Richard A Clarke. "Hearing McConnell or his successor Minihan, talk about NSA even on an unclassified basis, you begin to understand why they believe re-creating some of its capabilities elsewhere is folly and perhaps impossible.  They both speak with real reverence about the decades of experience and expertise NSA has in "doing the impossible" when it comes to electronic espionage. NSA's involvement in the Internet grew out of its mission to listen to radio signals and telephone calls.  The Internet was just another electronic medium.  As Internet usage grew, so did intelligence agencies' interest in it.  Populated with PhDs and electrical engineers, NSA quietly became the world's leading center of cyberspace expertise.  Although not authorized to alter data or engage in disruption and damage, NSA thoroughly infiltrated the Internet infrastructure outside of the U.S. to spy on foreign entities. ... the Director of NSA ... [is] the head of U.S. Cyber Command ... [and thus] The assets of NSA [are] available to support U.S. Cyber Command. ...Minihan and McConnell are both concerned that U.S. Cyber Command cannot defend the United States.  'All the offensive cyber capability the U.S. can muster won't matter if no one is defending the nation from cyber attack,' said McConnell.  Cyber Command's mission is to defend DoD [the Department of Defense] and maybe some other government agencies, but there are no plans or capabilities for it to defend the civilian infrastructure."