on us cyber-defense

I was doing my usual reading through the news thing when I stumbled across an opinion piece by the ex Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell about how we should be preparing the nation’s cyber-defense strategy.

The piece is mostly a fluff-filled call to arms saying that we are woefully behind, but there’s no real reason for it and that really what we need is just the resolve to sit down and draw up some concrete plans and strategy for what it is that we’re going to do. I agree with most of that, but then I stumbled across this gem:

More specifically, we need to reengineer the Internet to make attribution, geolocation, intelligence analysis and impact assessment — who did it, from where, why and what was the result — more manageable.

This really perplexes me, because two paragraphs earlier he was talking about how Hilary Clinton was extolling the virtues of the Internet as a tool for free speech and democracy. Suddenly, when the U.S. needs to defend itself, we need exactly the tools that would make a repressive country best able to shut of the benefits of the Internet as a platform for expression.

It has just further convinced me that by keeping the current group of military and intelligence officials in charge of this, we will constantly be behind in the Internet-age.

Update: (3/2/2010) Wired wrote a story commenting on the same article pulling out the exact same sentence from McConnell’s op-ed. Good to know that I’m not the only one catching these things. They point out that McConnell has been fear mongering about this stuff in order to get bigger U.S. intelligence access to the Internet for years.

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