By Kevin Coleman Defense Tech Cyber Warfare Correspondent
Why is it that people without security clearances and no insight into the many classified cyber attacks discredit information derived from these incidents because the sources and some data cannot be disclosed? Some immediately jump to conspiracy theories and claim these incidents are made up for one reason or another in support of someone’s agenda.
For example, recently I read a report that was said to “debunk” a report of a specific cyber incident. The debunkers claimed the incident didn’t happen. Yet, I was personally involved in the incident at a classified level and experienced it first hand so I know it took place.
Another individual actually thought they knew more about a national cyber security issue than Mike McConnell, a former Vice-Admiral in the U.S. Navy, former Director of the National Security Agency, as well as being the Director of National Intelligence. It's one thing to disagree with analysis or statements by Admiral McConnell, but to think they know more is quite different!
If that is not bad enough, some totally discounted Richard Clarke’s stark warning of an "electronic Pearl Harbor," the United States must recognize that a full-scale cyber attack could cause death and destruction across the country within 15 minutes of launch, we must act quickly." They called much of Clark’s public cyber security statements “sensational sound-bytes,” and went so far as to claim this was just the Government trying to take over the Internet.
Equally concerning is a growing tendency to be just as dismissive of reports by private security companies. They have become easy targets given they do have a vested interest and may benefit from increased security concerns. There are things that happen that are above my clearance level that I do not have access to, but that does not cause me to throw out or disregard the entire case.
Have we as a nation lost trust in our officials who are given the responsibility to protect our country from the growing list of enemies? It sure seems as if that is where we are given the dismissive nature that has been exhibited lately. Is it any wonder why Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence resigned last week?
Who would want a role where you are constantly being second-guessed and criticized from the cheap seats. A very smart individual once told me: There are those that know, those that don’t know that they don’t know and those that think they know. Those who think they know are by far the most dangerous.