“Pearl Harbor Was a Bolt Out of the Blue” Unlike Cyber Attacks

In this new podcast (around the 11 minute mark), former NSA Director and Cyber Command chief Admiral Mike Rogers says cyber Pearl Harbor is wrong as a framework today because we’ve been watching cyber attacks continuously for 20 years and nothing anymore seems new, whereas…

Pearl Harbor was a bolt out of the blue that totally surprised us…

It only sounds weird to me because we’ve been watching cyber attacks for 40 years. Rogers says 2000 was when he and Navy came into it, yet Air Force history goes back much longer.

Speaking of Air Force history, I’ve written here before about the radar station that detected Pearl Harbor attacks but was ignored.

Rogers also says we are not an authoritarian state and don’t want to become one.

That follows an earlier awkward moment (just before the 4 minute mark) when Jeff Stein says Russia is a police-state and America is not.

These are fine projections of what America should be going forward but it’s a hard position to hold historically given how America has been effectively a white police state suppressing blacks since at least the 1830s if not earlier (Nixon even labeled his white police state platform of mass incarceration his “war on drugs”).

That being said, my favorite part of this is when Rogers points out the ransomware is both proof of failure in security while also that nation-state threats are not necessarily the most pressing issue. Organized crime and non-state gangs (e.g. white nationalists) seem to get a pass from big tech despite causing outsized harms.

And my actual least favorite part is when the second half of the podcast reveals CIA attempts to eradicate chemical weapons in Syria ended instead in widespread use. That’s not exactly how they tell the story (it comes with a lot of positive spin, believe it or not) yet that’s what comes through. On top of that the podcast ends by describing encrypted communications as a crap-shoot of recent technology nobody really trusts.

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