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Bloggers a threat to National Security

Trains, planes, and bloggers.

WASHINGTON - It's the government's idea of a really bad day: Washington's Metro trains shut down. Seaport computers in New York go dark. Bloggers reveal locations of railcars with hazardous materials. Airport control towers are disrupted in Philadelphia and Chicago. Overseas, a mysterious liquid is found on London's subway.

And that's just for starters.

Those incidents were among dozens of detailed, mock disasters confronting officials rapid-fire in the U.S. government's biggest-ever "Cyber Storm" war game, according to hundreds of pages of heavily censored files obtained by The Associated Press. The Homeland Security Department ran the exercise to test the nation's hacker defenses, with help from the State Department, Pentagon, Justice Department, CIA, National Security Agency and others.

The laundry list of fictional catastrophes -- which include hundreds of people on "No Fly" lists suddenly arriving at airport ticket counters -- is significant because it suggests what kind of real-world trouble keeps people in the White House awake at night.

Imagined villains include hackers, bloggers and even reporters. After mock electronic attacks overwhelmed computers at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an unspecified "major news network" airing reports about the attackers refused to reveal its sources to the government. Other simulated reporters were duped into spreading "believable but misleading" information that worsened fallout by confusing the public and financial markets, according to the government's files.

Reporters getting breaking news stories wrong is nothing new. Wasn't the State Department bombed on 9-11? How many different versions did we hear of Actor Heath Ledger's death? Wasn't he surrounded by pills? If I die at home one day, I'll be surrounded by lots of pills. Right now I'm taking up to 16 pills at a time during the day. All prescription medicines. Do the math if I have 30-day supplies of them all.

Back to bloggers and the press being a national security threat. Was the AP article a self-fufilling prophecy? For it also says-

The AP obtained the Cyber Storm internal records nearly two years after it requested them under the Freedom of Information Act. The government censored most of the 328 pages it turned over, marked "For Official Use Only," citing rules preventing the disclosure of sensitive information.
As James Joyner at OTB points out,
Let me get this straight:

The AP is publishing cyber-security planning scenarios, thus making it easy for the enemy to know what's not being planned for.

The major papers are routinely publishing reports on highly classified documents.

Bureaucrats and Congressmen who are losing turf battles leak state secrets all the time.
And it's bloggers that they're worried about?

What do you expect in a country where the presidential races or specualtion start the day after the last election ended? It's a crazy country we live in, but I love it.

Are bloggers a threat? Charlton Heston in the movie 'Midway'(Jay may like me quoting this) sums things up nicely.

"They're no more a threat to national security than your pet Airedale."


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Comments (11)

Are the New York Times and ... (Below threshold)
kb:

Are the New York Times and MSNBC considered bloggers in this article?

Bwhahahaah.....as usual the... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Bwhahahaah.....as usual the liberals get everything backasswards.

Bloggers are a threat! Not... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Bloggers are a threat! Not so much to national security, but to the so-called main stream media.

I'm sure John McCain can be... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I'm sure John McCain can be persuaded to end the threat bloggers pose.


I wish I was joking.

"Bloggers reveal locati... (Below threshold)
marc:

"Bloggers reveal locations of railcars with hazardous materials."

Pat "Leaky" Lahey and Arthur Sulzberger, Jr are bloggers?

Who knew!!

maybe if the article actual... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

maybe if the article actually said bloggers were a threat ...

talk about a straw man ...

Part of the new think is ch... (Below threshold)
Joec:

Part of the new think is change all the descriptions. Black is white, up is down, terrorist is freedom fighter, blogger is a security threat, accuse the innocent, excuse/ignore the guilty, etc. etc. etc. Keep up the drumbeat of lies to mold the mass think and the sheeple will believe anything. 1984 is just coming a few years late......

Blogs have wackos and misin... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Blogs have wackos and misinformation but they are also very good sources of good information and brainstorming type of discussion. Also people who actually are in a position of knowledge can be tempted to give out information to prove a point that may be better off not disclosed. The MSM and free press have been guilty of this on many occasions as well.
Blogs and free press are generally more helpful than harmful. Caution should be taken however from both. The idea that everyone has a right to know everything is not only asinine but dangerous.

Jeff - "maybe if the ar... (Below threshold)
marc:

Jeff - "maybe if the article actually said bloggers were a threat ... talk about a straw man ...

So you don't consider "Bloggers reveal[ing] locations of railcars with hazardous materials" a threat?

Good thing you were in no position to vote yea or nay on the Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Standards Act of 1990.

Talk about a clueless man ...

The article said, "Imagined... (Below threshold)
Dodo David:

The article said, "Imagined villains include hackers, bloggers and even reporters." (Emphasis mine)

Care to guess what major newspaper is most likely to have villain reporters?

Somehow I think the report ... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

Somehow I think the report that bloggers were pegged as a threat may result from some misdirection on the part of those running the simulation.

You put something absolutely inane into an otherwise serious event, and let the press find out about it. They leak it, making you look silly. This causes people to doubt your competence. That is a good thing, because among those doubting your competence are your enemies -- who proceed to underestimate you.

Can't happen? Government isn't that clever? Let me give an example. Armed marshals aboard aircraft are supposed to be wearing coat and tie. Bloggers ragged on the stupidity of the government for doing this because it made it obvious who the marshals were. Then, a few years back sky marshals actually shot a killed a passenger acting in a threatening manner. (The guy had mental problems, was off his meds, and doing a pretty good imitation of a terrorist.)

Both sky marshals were wearing casual clothing -- Hawaiian shirts according to witnesses. A few days later a memo was leaked to the press, purportedly from Homeland Security. It was a stiff note to all sky marshals, reminding them that casual clothing was unacceptable while on duty. It reminded them that they were to wear a coat and tie at all times when on duty.

Of course the whole blogsphere erupts in a chorus of "How dumb is that? Everyone will know who the sky marshals are!"

And one day, when terrorists actually try to take over an airliner, they will start by taking out some poor schmuck wearing a coat and tie -- only to get drilled by the sky marshal, who is wearing a John Deare gimmie cap, workshirt, and jeans.




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