The phantom menace

Cyberwarriors

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“The United States is fighting a cyber-war today, and we are losing,” former National Security Agency chief Mike McConnell wrote in The Washington Post on February 28. “It’s that simple.” 

The reality is far from simple. If the government wants to thoroughly track online activity, McConnell admits, “we need to re-engineer the Internet to make attribution, geo-location, intelligence analysis and impact assessmentâ€"who did it, from where, why and what was the resultâ€"more manageable.” That’s right: He wants to re-engineer one of the most popular and revolutionary technologies of our time, just to allow the government to get in on the business of data security.

Wired called McConnell a “nice-seeming guy who’s willing and able to use fear-mongering to manipulate the federal bureaucracy for his own ends, while coming off like a straight shooter to those who are not in the know.” During the Bush administration, McConnell persuaded the president to sign a secret order to erect firewalls and build malware into military gear. Under Obama he’s at it again, lobbying for cyberwar from his perch in the private sector.