The White House’s 2009 Cyber Review estimated the loss of intellectual property from companies as a result of cyber-based hacking in 2008 alone exceeded $1 trillion in value. FBI Director Mueller said in 2009 that his Bureau was aware of 3200 Chinese front companies operating in the United States. Kudos to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers for telling the American public about the significant efforts of countries like China to utilize every means available to spy on American companies – something the National Economic Security Grid has designated as the “Advanced Persistent Asymmetrical Threat.”
It helps those of us who might be considered “experts” in Washington, DC to get out once in a while. there is a need to see the real world and talk to real people. I was able to interact with both “non-Beltway” Americans in a recent trek through the Pacific Northwest. Despite the difficulties in the world, we have much to be grateful for, and friendly partner to the north (Canada) is one the United States should never take for granted.
Information travels through America’s cyber networks at the speed of light. The legislation that will be used to govern some aspects of network security is traveling at the speed of bureaucracy. The Senate has been debating two cybersecurity bills that will impact U.S. cybersecurity standards, but whatever Congress eventually decides, the onus is on U.S. citizens and businesses to step up their individual security efforts.
One issue that receives too little public attention is the blatant use of hackers by China to steal U.S. intellectual property, defense technology, and other data critical to national security and competitiveness. China is one of America’s biggest competitors, and they (hackers, Chinese corporations and the Chinese government) clearly have no problem penetrating U.S. public and private sector networks to leapfrog over the years of hard work and innovation. Are we not outraged?
When looking at the developments of the last year and a half in the Middle East, it seems quite clear that the media was too quick to coin the term “Arab Spring” to describe the popular unrest and overthrow of regimes in significant parts of the Arab World. It would be more appropriate to refer to what is happening in the region as the “Islamist Spring” because it is creating unprecedented opportunities for Islamist political movements to finally grasp the reins of power, such as with the elections in Egypt. All of this, of course, has implications for the region and the United States.
A recent Twitter exchange between the Taliban and the U.S. military shows how social media is evolving and how its current stage of development involves the use of Twitter to wage war on an ideological level. Over the past several years, social networking sites have become a catalyst for users to achieve political objectives. The U.S. Government and its security forces need to be constantly aware of how the enemy’s use of social media is evolving and proactively plan for ways to win the social networking battle.
People talk. That’s a fact. Whether at the water cooler, the fence post or on Facebook, people talk about almost anything and everything. Eventually though we all reach a point where what we really should do is just shut up. We’ve long crossed that point when it comes to intelligence and national security operations in this country. Lately there have been a truly disturbing number of very public examples that bring these conditions to light.
Like many Americans, I am concerned about the major intelligence leaks that have taken place over the past weeks and months. It i disturbing to see this kind of activity, particularly in time of war. The unmasking of Dr. Skakil Afridi, who helped bring Bin Laden down in Pakistan, and the significant reporting of the intricacies of cyber attacks against Iran’s nuclear program, makes me cringe.
The Arab uprisings created significant opportunities to counter radical Islamist propaganda and leverage financial tools against violently repressive regimes. Yet, they have also strained the intelligence community’s resources, forcing agencies to shift personnel and reprioritize their collection and analysis efforts. The Washington Institute’s new compendium, “Finding the Balance: U.S. Security Interests and the Arab Awakening,” delves into these issues in depth.
Earlier this month, I testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement on “The Welcoming Business Travelers and Tourists to America Act of 2011.” My testimony makes clear that while tourism is a valid goal, it cannot be done in an atmosphere where immigration law is not being enforced domestically, visa processing becomes a rubber stamping process, and the countries targeted have some of the highest overstay populations in the United States.