OT-Hackers, Media Hype & Disinformation

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17 February 2000. Thanks to Wayne Madsen.

February 17, 2000



For what it is worth, I am a 20-year veteran of the computer security community. I have served in the Navy, National Security Agency, State Department, Computer Sciences Corporation, RCA, and have consulted on computer security with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, international banks, telecom companies and even firms that manufacture candy.

While working for the FBI and Naval Investigative Service, I put one US Navy official in Federal prison for espionage and other crimes, and I was involved in U.S. counter-terrorism work in Greece and the Philippines. I think I know how the "spook" community operates and, more importantly, how it thinks.

The hype associated with the recent Internet flooding is outrageous and serves the agendas of the military and intelligence communities regarding new vistas for bloated Pentagon and espionage budgets.

On 17 February, National Public Radio's Diane Rehm Show had a round table discussion featuring James Adams, a former London Sunday Times reporter in Washington who is now a drum beater for information warfare, and Jeffrey Hunker, the former head of the White House Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office. Adams suggested that for critical infrastructure protection certain civil liberties must be forfeited. He also stated that Internet transactions should not be afforded the same degree of privacy as the U.S. mail.

Hunker was uncomfortable that some people think that scare mongering has been at the center of the recent packet flooding of the Internet. Adams supported the CIA's creation of IN-Q-IT, a CIA Trojan Horse in the Silicon Valley. According to Adams, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a virtual CIA proprietary firm, is funding, through IN-Q-IT, a program called Net Eraser. None of the participants in the Rehm Show were willing to talk about Net Eraser and some seemed very nervous about discussing it in detail.

This radio program is highly indicative of the current hype surrounding the Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks on DOT COM sites on the Internet. Even the use of the acronym DDOS is amazing. Here they are, twenty-something DOT COM executives, who probably never thought about computer security except for watching re-runs of "Hackers" and "Sneakers," using Pentagon-originated terms like "Distributed Denial of Service" attacks.

Why? Who told them to use those terms?

Then Clinton manages to take 90 minutes to attend an Internet security summit on February 15. Northern Ireland's peace agreement is falling apart, the Israeli-Palestine agreement is unraveling, and Russia's new President is putting ex-KGB agents in his government, but Clinton has enough time to talk with a group of e-commerce barons, computer security geeks, and even one hacker. The whole thing appeared to be staged and scheduled way in advance.

The whole so-called Internet "hack" smells of a perception management campaign by the intelligence community. Perhaps the system flooding was coordinated by one group -- however, those types of attacks probably occur on a daily basis without being reported by the world's media. It is important to note that one of the key components of information warfare -- according to the Pentagon's own seminal documents -- is perception management -- psychological operations to whip up public support for a policy or program. The early Defense Science Board reports on Critical Infrastructure Protection actually call for a campaign to change the public's attitude about information system and network security.

The Pentagon is a master at deception campaigns aimed at the news media. They constantly broadcast disinformation to television and radio audiences in Haiti, Serbia, Colombia, Mexico and elsewhere. They are now extending this to cyber space. Critical infrastructure protection is a masterful ruse aimed at creating the myth of impeding cyber-peril.

The major domo is a weird chap named Richard Clarke, a Dr. Strangelove-type character who is Clinton's counter-terrorism czar. He always talks about defensive cyber-warfare but clams up when it comes to offensive US cyber-operations. That is classified.

However, it is certain that the US Government has already done more to disrupt the Internet than any other actor -- state-sponsored or freelance. For the past few years, US government hackers have penetrated networks at the European Parliament, Australian Stock Exchange, and banks in Athens, Nicosia, Moscow, Johannesburg, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Zurich, and Vaduz. The US also engaged in network penetrations in Yugoslavia during the NATO war against that country.

Why doesn't NPR, CBS, ABC, NBC and the others focus on what the US is doing to disrupt the Internet? They are instead falling into a familiar Pentagon trap of deception and diversion.

-- Surf Find (surffind@surffindd.xcom), February 18, 2000


Thanks for the report! Very interesting...

-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), February 19, 2000.

I knew it! LL is a spook.

-- (nemesis@awol.com), February 19, 2000.

Is it any surprise this is an immediate result of the "hackers'" actions? Don't worry, more Internet taming will follow: laws, enforcement, etc. Will the people see through it? Or will they believe whatever requires the least amount of effort?

-- aqua (aqua@is.good), February 19, 2000.

Perception Management - it seems that this is the government's raison d'etre more than action within lawful and appointed realms of responsibility.

Spin, spin, spin, and half of what they are spinning could even be their own creation.

Great report from a guy who sounds like he knows. At least you're not one of the brainwashed robots who can't see reality staring him in the face. Soon we'll have a cyber anti-terrorist army that is bigger than the real army, and will have a tidy little budget (and job security).

-- paul leblanc (bronyaur@gis.net), February 19, 2000.

This sounds to me like another tax supported Welfare Programs for the Corporate"Barons".Reminds me of the public,tax supported Bus Routes running through the Neighborhoods of Multi Million Dollar Mansions near Atlanta.None of the Residents are ever seen on the Buses.These are created to subsidise the Income of that Millionaire Riff Raff,living there,and bring in the Slave Labor,that cannot afford a Car of their own,to take care of the Brats they breed and clean up their Pigstys.

-- Not Fooled (go@get.em), February 19, 2000.

In responding to earlier similar threads, there were some, including myself, who maintain the U.S. Gov`t sponsered theory. They have as much, perhaps more to gain than any individual or group, foreign or otherwise. The beauty associated with their clandestine approach is in its simplicity. The initial plan and eventual net result is in convincing the sheeple. Persuading them to adopt an alternative belief. Come on, how easy is that? Afterall, our Bill the Prez had high approval ratings while being impeached. Conspiracy theorist-Oh God help us, not another one.

-- NoJo (RSKeiper@aol.com), February 19, 2000.

Thank You for the informative piece, but thanks for your 20 years of devotion to the military service and our country, I had considered a career, I was with Delta Company 1st Bn 9th Marines aka(the walking dead) but decided I was better off at home.

-- robert knight (rknight@nb.net), February 19, 2000.

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