Interesting questions about the Cyber Security Committee’s report

After the recent stir caused by purported cyber-attacks that struck the US Pentagon’s computers in October, news has emerged that the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency has finally revealed its findings about the future of online governmental security. The Commission, whose panel “includes executives, high-ranking military officers and intelligence officials, leading specialists in computer security, and two members of Congress”, spent the last few months visiting computer labs at the National Security Agency as well as being briefed “in closed-door sessions by top officials from Pentagon, CIA, and British spy agency MI5”. Its report, released yesterday, warns the next US president that the country “faces a cybersecurity threat of such magnitude that [he] should move quickly to create a Center for Cybersecurity Operations and appoint a special White House advisor to oversee it”. Interestingly, the Commission’s findings bear considerable resemblance with pre-election pledges by current President-Elect Barack Obama. Back during the election campaign, Obama had promised that “if elected, he would appoint a ‘national cyber-advisor’ who would report directly to the President”. This overlap is not surprising, considering that “several members of the Commission […] are advisors on President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team”. Incidentally, the Commission did not express an opinion on why, since the US government is so concerned about illegal cyber-attacks, its representatives voted against a formal resolution on international IT security at the 63rd UN Assembly, in September of 2008. The US was the only country to vote against the resolution, which was initiated by the Russian delegation. [JF]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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