90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
America’s Secret Wars

With Jacki Lyden in for Tom Ashbrook.

A look at the Obama administration’s top secret battlefields — from the tribal areas of Pakistan to cyberspace.

The image released by the White House and digitally altered by the source to obscure the details of a document in front of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at right with hand covering mouth, President Barack Obama, second from left, Vice President Joe Biden, left, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, right, and members of the national security team watch an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington. (AP)

The image released by the White House and digitally altered by the source to obscure the details of a document in front of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at right with hand covering mouth, President Barack Obama, second from left, Vice President Joe Biden, left, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, right, and members of the national security team watch an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington. (AP)

America has engaged in two conventional wars in the last decade, Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, attacks come through cyberspace. It’s called Olympic Games, and it’s aimed at Iran.

President Obama runs it. Somebody leaked it. And Congress is hopping mad that we know anything about it.

Chief Washington Correspondent David Sanger of the New York Times tells us what’s going on. Hackers, Commandoes, and Drone Strikes.

This hour, On Point: the front lines of Amercia’s Secret Wars.

-Jacki Lyden

Guests

David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, and author of the new book Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power.

From The Reading List

The New York Times “Is the United States at war with Iran? If David Sanger’s account in his new book, “Confront and Conceal,” on President Obama’s foreign policy, is to be believed — and I find it very believable — we certainly are.”

Los Angeles Times “The death of Abu Yahya al Libi is deemed a major blow to Al Qaeda. The Libyan gained notoriety for his escape from U.S. detention in Afghanistan in 2005.”

The New York Times “Not until after the Cuban Missile Crisis, 50 years ago this October, did a consensus emerge that the weapon was too terrible ever to employ again, save as a deterrent and a weapon of last resort.”

Excerpt

“Reprinted from the book Confront and Conceal by David Sanger. Copyright (c) 2012 by David Sanger. Published by Crown Trade, a division of Random House, Inc.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Hidan

    Where’s the Independent experts in his book? Why does he not quote the White House when it says such a cyber attack would/could be considered a act of war? Lastly has he ask himself why the Government would give him such information? Propaganda maybe?

    • Hidan

       Another Big Question is why is it that the Obama White House is not going after the Whistle blowers and people who leaked such information to Mr. Sanger? The Obama White house has pursued far more people than under the Bush Administration for leaking far less.

      Obama’s unprecedented war on whistleblowers

      http://www.salon.com/2012/02/09/obamas_unprecedented_war_on_whistleblowers/

      Yet when leaks favor the Obama White House amazing enough this is not the case..

      Would Mr. Sanger have any answers as to why?

      • Pancake Rankin

        Look at this little soft, petted, effete mouthpiece and posit him before a “real journalist” archetype. He’s more like a gossip columnist. (How may pimples does Brangelina  have today?)
        His primary talent is intuition as to what inquiries to avoid. (Now they’re gonna let him dip his beak in some publishing revenue because he’s been a good boy.)

        • Hidan

          Notice the near joy he had in talking about it and the dismissal of negative effects of such action.

          The piece much like his other interviews so far have been “look how great these actions are and it’s far better than “insert strawman”

  • Hidan

    Fair.org has some other troubling questions that Sanger(the Judith Miller for Iran) should answer.

    Today’s Times story ( “Obama Ordered Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran”) was useful and revealing. But it would have been much more interesting had reporter David Sanger cited independent legal experts on whether such cyberattacks constitute acts of war. If they do, the White House program could have far more profound consequences than merely disrupting Iran’s nuclear program.

    And if he has trouble pinning down a precise definition of what makes a cyberattack an act of war, Sanger could just quote from the Obama administration’s opinions on the question.

    Last year the White House commissioned a major study of cyberspace, International Strategy for Cyberspace (5/11), which found that

        States have an inherent right to self-defense that may be triggered by certain aggressive acts in cyberspace…. Certain hostile acts conducted through cyberspace could compel actions under the commitments we have with our military treaty partners…. When warranted, the United States will respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as we would any other threat to our country.

    Sanger’s failure to mention the White House view on how cyber attacks can be acts of war is all the more curious since he cites the report to make the less provocative point that Obama came to office with an interest in cyber issues: “He commissioned a major study on how to improve America’s defenses and announced it with great fanfare in the East Room.”

    http://www.fair.org/blog/2012/06/01/cyberwar-is-war-white-house-said-but-nyt-didnt-notice/

    Also Glenn brings up some more questions poinint out the Pentagon views on cyber attacks

    http://www.salon.com/writer/glenn_greenwald/

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576355623135782718.html

    Needless to say, if any cyber-attack is directed at the U.S. –rather than by the U.S.–it will be instantly depicted as an act of unparalleled aggression and evil: Terrorism. Just last year, the Pentagon decreed that any cyberattack on the U.S. would be deemed “an act of war.”

  • Worried for the country(MA)

     Not so secret.  Who is responsible for the leaks and why aren’t they in jail?

    • JeanBruce

      Scooter

      • Ggergmusic

        Scooter never leaked squat, not that it matters.

        • Charles A. Bowsher

           So you admit Cheney was the leak!

          • Gregg

            It was Richard Armitage who was not even charged. No biggee.

          • Charles A. Bowsher

             No biggee?  Every other agent that Plame had contact with overseas was put at risk and you say no biggee!

          • Gregg

            She must not have been covert if Armitage didn’t even get a slap on the wrist.

          • Charles A. Bowsher

             It was all protection for the coward cheney

          • Gregg

            Alrighty then.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            How often do you change your screen name to avoid the disreputable trail you leave behind here?

          • Gregg

            I changed it once a while back for one comment. I wanted to say something nice but my name is poison and it gets in the way. The other day there was a glitch and part of my email address accidently posted for a comment or two then it fixed itself. Other than that, never. If you expand my profile, it’s all there. I’m happy to own it.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            It’s not your name which is poison, but your mind.

    • Gregg

      John McCain says the leaks are coming from the “highest levels” of the White House. Diane Feinstein has sounded the alarm as well. It’s all about making a desperate President look good. National Security be damned.

    • Hidan

       Obama only goes after whistle blowers who make the government look bad. The actions of the drone and cyber attacks are worst than the leak but somehow the Republicans aren’t talking about that.

      Mainly cause they agree and would do the same.

    • jimino

      The fact that people are getting killed by drones is not a secret, and absolutely should be publicly debated.  Nobodies safety or security is compromised by doing so.  Or can’t you handle the truth?

    • Don_B1

       The initial “leak” occurred when Stuxnet escaped from an Iranian’s computer when, because of a programming error, it jumped to the Internet as it did not recognize it was in a new environment.

      What these “leaks” seem to have done is confirm the widely accepted speculation that the U.S. and/or Israel were behind it. The details of how it works were already in Iran’s possession; the “extra” facts in Sanger’s book are unlikely to further help Iran avoid such attacks beyond what examining Stuxnet will.

      While the release of background details will be perceived as a negative in some quarters, the horse had already left the barn and if it gets utility and chemical company executives to recognize the real threat from other countries and thus take strong steps to prevent that type of attack, it will be a positive result. U.S. companies have been reluctant to the extreme to spend money to protect their networks adequately, as documented by The New York Times and PBS’s “Frontline.” Just recently OnPoint did a program on how China is extracting trade secrets from U.S. companies in the $billions/year.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I was hunting around the web for the location Hesokhel, east of Miran Shah, capital of North Waziristan, where reports say Al Libi was killed by drone.  Google has a 2009 map, and does not show much in that region at all, which may be by design.  There is no Hesokhel, let alone street view of it.  I see a moonscape.  No Miran Shah either.  But we are down from 117 drone strikes two years ago, to 64 one year ago, and now under 20 this year.  Al Libi’s name may mean “out of Libya,” but it sure looks like it ought to mean al-ibi, from Latin ubi, meaning I was elsewhere.
        Anyway, since we found out about Stuxnet when it got loose, these cyberweapons might be less controllable than desirable.  My/your computer too could be recording your strokes, turning on your microphone and video, and eviscerating your data.  I have certain data thus eviscerated a few weeks ago, and I see by FoxNews that Facebook will soon tell us all that we all or many of us lose internet service 7/9/12 due to DNSChange malware, which can be cleaned from http colon slash www dot dcwg dot org click Detect.  Skeptic that I am, I’m thinking FoxNews will infect me there, if Olympic Games hasn’t done so already.  (So I try to keep everything backed up.)  
    Now I bought Sanger’s book today – yay, rah, love it.  Where exactly are the front lines with our current enemies?  Swiss cheese comes to mind.

    • JeanBruce
      • Pancake Rankin

        If she float then surely she is wicked (a witch), but if she drown her soul is saved.
        Warning: Drone death may be pre-ordained.

    • Wm. James from Missouri

      My computer has a key logger on it as I write this post. FYI : I try to give “them” as much wrong and useless information as I can ! As far as my post go; they are public anyway. A person might want to consider using “key” words from time to time, so that, the spy center in Bluffdale, Utah and Eschelon in Great Britain

      http://whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLITICS/ECHELON/echelon.html

      will pick up on “you”, thereby providing a path to those who are hacking you ! I don’t like being spied on but since I can’t change this fact at this time, I will opt for a little “back at ya” Aikido !

      • Ellen Dibble

        Thanks!

      • Pancake Rankin

        Devices are inexpensive. You could buy a used one and start over cheaper than a debug. I discard frequently by gifting to lower incomes.

  • JeanBruce

    Who’s the brunette in the back?
    Audrey Tomason, Director for Counterterrorism for the National Security Council per Audrey Tomason
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Obama_and_Biden_await_updates_on_bin_Laden.jpg

  • at

    America’s biggest secret war is it’s war against it’s own citizens.  This is most evidenced by the continual and accelerating transfer of wealth from the average citizen to the 1%, and there is nothing that can be done about it legally because the same folks who are benefiting most from it wrote the laws with their campaign contributions.
    The police and the military will not hesitate to gun you down, if order to do so. All laws all equality before the law, all moral decency will be trampled without thought in defense of a rigged system, by the dupes of those who did the rigging, just so they won’t quite be in the same position as those disposed of by the quest of the 1% for greater returns on their capital.

    • Hidan

      With Returning vets coming home back into the police department and the U.S. copying some of it’s more racist and bigoted allies tactic the police department is becoming more and more militarized. We can see this with any large scale protest and the police response and there actions in preventing or taking away video of such abuse and abusing the Wire Tap laws to jail people who record such abuse.

      How many times does one hear how the police department budgets are being cut and police are getting laid off? What is often missed is the crap load of money given to them by Homeland Security and the arms and weapons there rocking.

      I have no doubt if 1960′s type rallies where to occur in the U.S. now the same if not worst actions would be used by the police but this time they have the Corp Media to spin things.

      • Pancake Rankin

        Concur: Homeland Security will follow the Syrian Model if protest becomes effective. They already proto-typed the Chinese model as to cyberspace.
        The Owners write and interpret law. If the past didn’t matter across the board, Bradley Manning would be surfing in  Baja right now.I thank Ellen for noticing Google Earth is “sanitized” to prevent public corroboration. (She was trying to confirm the drone assassination story.) This applies domestically too. I’ve found Duke Energy’s and Southern Company’s shames are under a digital umbrella, so I can’t help but think the 1% provides us “customized” remote sensing right down to their enclaves.

        • Hidan

          You forget the U.S. government doesn’t use properganda only all other governments do.

          Here’s another Fun Fact

          Both the U.S. military and HLS both are listed as Corp Donors to NPR of course the amounts are not listed as to how much they get.

        • GodAlmighty

           Welcome back to one of my favorite commentators — Pancake

      • okitaris

        Excellent comment;  One wonders who is giving the orders in Washington  the president or homeland security? Power accrues to those who can operate in secrete remember J. E. Hoover.

  • JustSayin

    A six year old could solve the issues of our methods in these nations. Just reverse the conditions and think about it for two minutes. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/07/leon-panetta-visits-afghanistan_n_1576453.html

    “U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday pressured Pakistan to do
    more to root out the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani terrorist network from its
    territory, saying that U.S. officials are “reaching the limits of our
    patience.” …”

    “… U.S. lawmakers from both parties have been urging the U.S. State
    Department to designate the Haqqani network a foreign terrorist
    organization.

    The U.S. has given Pakistan billions of dollars in aid for its
    support in fighting Islamist militants. Despite pressure from the U.S.,
    Pakistan has remained reluctant to go after insurgents, particularly the
    Haqqani network. …”

    DUH! Our 1% is paying their 1% billions per year to solve the problem??? This isn’t a business deal (or is it?)… so to keep the money coming in, token cooperation is given and our borrowed debt ballooning money is funneled into any group that will keep the “terrorism” going.

    “…”It is very important that Pakistan take steps to deal with this
    threat,” Panetta said. “We have made that clear time and time again. We
    will continue to make that clear that it is an intolerable situation to
    have those attacking our people, our forces, have the convenience of
    being able to return to a safe haven in Pakistan.”…”

    The real question is: Is Panetta an idiot?

    • Hidan

       Sad thing is DC democrats aren’t going to criticize the President cause there guy in power while the republican agree with such programs and actions. So what happens is the Democrats help make such policies status quo and bipartisan.

      We even have democrats using the “if you don’t support the president you support terrorist” NeoCon line

    • okitaris

      True most 6 year olds could solve most of our problems.   6 year olds are post toddler and are practicing cooperative play and if not inter-feared with would be practicing cooperative work when of age.    The  whole world under the behest of capitalist so as to fit people into the individualized moneyed economy spend 12 years reversing the natural maturation process of moving from selfish toddler to cooperative child.  

  • Hidan

    Since the White House is obviously trying to spin it’s drone Program I like to add.

    http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/02/04/obama-terror-drones-cia-tactics-in-pakistan-include-targeting-rescuers-and-funerals/

    Obama terror drones: CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals

    The CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of  civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals, an investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times has revealed.The findings are published just days after President Obama claimed that the drone campaign in Pakistan was a ‘targeted, focused effort’ that ‘has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties

    What’s also troubling is any military age male is considered a terrorist or militant
     

  • Hidan

    Speaking publicly for the first time on the controversial CIA drone
    strikes, Obama claimed last week they are used strictly to target
    terrorists, rejecting what he called ‘this perception we’re just sending
    in a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly’.

    ‘Drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties’, he told a questioner at an on-line forum. ‘This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists trying to go in and harm Americans’.
     

    But research by the Bureau has found that since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children.  A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.

  • Hidan

    The below is problem the reason the WH said they got the # 2 guy to avoid the below.

    A question of legality

    Despite such assertions, some international
    legal experts continue to question the covert drone campaign, arguing
    that the strikes amount to little more than state-sanctioned
    extra-judicial executions.

    http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/02/04/a-question-of-legality/

    Justification

    Surprisingly, after almost a decade of drone attacks outside
    the battlefield, the question of their legality has never been tested in
    a US or international court, even when US citizens have been targeted.

    According to a wide range of international law experts consulted by
    the Bureau, for the CIA’s drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen to be
    legal they would at the very least need to be covered by the Laws of
    Armed Conflict (LOAC).

    Professor Dapo Akande, who heads Oxford University’s Institute for
    Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, believes that under LOAC the killing of
    civilian rescuers is problematic: ‘The question is, can rescuing be
    regarded as taking part in hostilities, to which for me the answer is
    clearly “No”. That rescuing is not taking part in hostilities.’

    People just cause your guy’s in office doesn’t make what he’s doing right and when Neo-Cons and the more extreme right-wingers are defending him you gotta now something wrong in his actions.

     

  • Gregg

    We should have had a clue early on when President Obama ordered the assassination of the two black Muslim teenagers. He loves that stuff. It’s much tidier than the nasal rinse.

    • Hidan

      rinse and repeat  gregg, rinse and repeat, you been schooled many ties by mutiple people that Water-boarding is torture not “sic” Nasal Rinse. It causes mental and physical issues within the victim

      http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1892721,00.html

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/waterboarding-is-torture–i-did-it-myself-says-us-advisor-398490.html

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/02/AR2007110201170.html

      Always the partisan hack.

      • Gregg

        Yes, targeted assassination (no habeas corpus, no trial, no jury) is much preferred. 

        • Hidan

           neither are, but again your comment is partisan in nature(like always) and nearly all republicans support both methods

          • Gregg

            No we prefer the nasal rinse, it doesn’t hurt and lives are saved. 

          • Adks12020

            Where’s no proof that torture like water boarding even works?

            I know Cheney says it works but the fact is there are plenty of psychological studies that show torture isn’t any more effective than other methods of interrogation.

            People admitted they were witches as result of torture.  That doesn’t mean they were witches.  It means they wanted the torture to end so they said what the interrogators wanted to hear.

          • Gregg

            It doesn’t hurt and Leon Panneta said it ultimately led to Bin Laden. Jose Rodriguez is also on record and he was there. Also, a plot to level the Library Tower in LA was thwarted. There were only 3 victims (far less than the assassinated ones) and they proved very helpful.

          • Pancake Rankin

            Where would an intense interrogation of Leon lead?

          • Don_B1

             The fact that the U.S. authorized torture has hurt our international standing as well as our own attitudes for many of its citizens.

            As head of the C.I.A., Panetta had to “take its back” but the C.I.A. had NO experience in interrogation but felt put down when the F.B.I., with a long history in effective interrogation techniques told them torture did not work. Inter-agency rivalry raised its ugly head.

          • Gregg

            The world loves targeted assassinations within their sovereign borders. Right?

          • Steve_T

             You keep saying it doesn’t hurt, I’m sure that is not first hand information. Locking a person in a box with no light, very little food no toilette, that doesn’t hurt. It’s also not humane. When you loose your morals as to what is good and bad, you also loose your humanity. I hope you never have to experience the hopelessness of screaming in fear and anguish, pleading to deaf ears,  laughing mouths that echo your pitiful pleas as  you try to get a breath to stay alive.

          • Gregg

            That’s why it’s better to hit’m with a drone like a video game. No muss no fuss… no trial.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            HAVE you been ‘nasal rinsed’, by someone that doesn’t like you, SEVERAL times a day, at random times, DEMANDING answers to questions that you don’t want to answer?
              Or, are you saying that it doesn’t hurt YOU, when someone ELSE gets ‘nasal rinsed’?

    • jimino

       Just to be clear about your view on the actual topic, you are or are not opposed to the use of drones in the manner Obama has used them, and would or would not oppose that same use by Romney if elected? 

      • Gregg

        I’ll be honest with you Jimino, my charged comment and the loaded phrase “nasal rinse” are used to make a larger point. That is the world is dangerous, the world needs America’s leadership and war is being waged against us whether we respond or not. President Bush was prudent and had a duty to implement his very rare use of enhanced interrogation, military tribunals and Gitmo. Obama and his supporters made him into a monster for waterboarding but look at Obama’s actions. So, I am guilty of rubbing the collective hypocrites face in the fact that waterboarding is nothing compared to targeted assassination and the outrage is inversely feigned.

        However, hypocrisy is not my point either. Obama is a fraud in over his head or a radical… or both. His campaign rhetoric was empty calories for the conspiracy starved masses. They ate it up but it was never true, not when it’s his ass on the line. So there’s that.

        To your question, I don’t object to the targeted assassinations. I object to politicizing it for political gain and I think a more comprehensive strategy is warranted.

        • jimino

          The fact that you obviously don’t hold the same level of disdain for Bush, who campaigned on a foreign policy that rejected nation building, then used a totally unrelated 9-11 to do the exact opposite of what he promised, to disastrous effect, tells me a lot about your views.  The fact is that a lot of former Obama supporters now are highly critical of his policies in this area, which I never recall happening with Bush’s supporters, since they would have been branded non-patriots like those of us who did.  As far as politicizing for political gain, which this administration has no monopoly on, at least Obama has actual accomplishments to crow about.

          • Gregg

            The Bush Doctrine did not exist before 9/11. The war on terror is not about something as small and petty as revenge. It’s about changing the Middle East. We are not safe as long as nations oppress their women, starve and slaughter their citizens or harbor and finance terrorist organizations (whichever organizations not just Al Qaeda). The war is already raging.

            If Obama understands this then God Bless him but I have my doubts. We can’t be everywhere every time but I believe in the “axis of evil”. And in a post 9/11 world if a nation is known to have used WMD on her people, invades another sovereign nation, regularly fires on our jets, swindles the world with “Oil for Food”, has rape rooms, torture chambers, public executions, violates 16 UN resolutions and we get Congressional approval, a 17th final unanimous vote in the UN security Council and if we give them yet one more deadline and we get the finger then I say invade every time.

            BTW, I don’t consider the liberation of 50 million disastrous just because Bush doesn’t crow.

          • jimino

             I would suggest the Bush doctrine most definitely did exist before 9-11, just by another name, in the neocon world best identified with the Project for a New American Century. 

            The idea that Obama does not detest every problem you point out is ludicrous.  But the idea that we can militarily invade and conquer places where those things occur and thereby rectify them is even more ludicrous.  We are finding that out and those problems will be present somewhere after you and I are long dead, and the USA will have more than a generation of wasted money and damaged soldiers as the lasting  impact of those efforts.

          • Gregg

            Then civilization as we know it will end.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            MANY of the things you decry, are being done here, to some degree, by ‘Christians’, ‘compassionate conservatives’!

  • wauch

    When is the liberal media going (i.e., MSNBC & NPR) going to call out this bespoke liberal president for his war crimes that make many of Bush’s look like child’s play? This is a betrayal of my vote and the vote of many of my fellow progressives. He will note receive my vote in 2012 neither will any other Democrat. Don’t worry I am not going to vote for any GOPers but this notion that the Democrats are an alternative is nonsense. Shame on Obama et al and GOP for continuing to alienate us geopolitically with brute force rather than multilateral efforts.

    • Pancake Rankin

      “Never question the Duopoly” is the first rule of elite journalism. The two parties are in a contest to please the Oligarchs. No venue makes this plainer than foreign affairs. (The labels conservative and liberal are nearly meaningless at home, so how would they affect strategic interests?) The President becomes a flak on remote murder. He must defend it as part of his spokesmodel role. He may choose from the menu of who to kill first but he is unwelcome in the kitchen (our secret government). So when Barack or George stand at the lectern like schoolboys they recite what they’ve been told. 

      (By  the way: Ideological Gridlock is also a concoction.
      Puppets, bought elected officials,  never flub the script.) This is obvious to a thinking person. But some immature minds relish a pretend contest. What a waste of effort in Wisconsin! But Megatech (TV license holders) raked in the dough: Another circus staged to deny bread and butter.

      All Presidents are war criminals by definition under the Nuremburg Protocols, performing actions that warrant execution.

    • Don_B1

       I want to at least slightly disagree with you. I do not see the cyberwar against Iran as a “war crime” although that may be just in my view. But when you consider the threat of Iran and the possible reaction of Israel, which could cause huge upsets in the Middle East, this action by President Obama is probably a really human life-saving step. It does go beyond spy planes (Francis Gary Powers) but when the alternative is likely a full-fledged war it seems justifiable. It is NOT (ineffective) torturing human beings who may or may not be attempting to harm you, as the Bush administration did. It was effective for some time until it escaped to the whole Internet from Iran.

      The publicity from private hackers all over the world let Iran discover the worm and it has competent programmers who will (have) figure(d) out how to prevent this worm and maybe future ones from being effective now.

      Jackie’s question, “Is cyberwar preferable to a full war?” gets to the basic problem that confronted both Bush and Obama.

      • Pancake Rankin

        If you do not see cyberwarfare against foreign states by the USA as an act of war then how can you allow our regime to claim such acts by others as an act of war against us? (Maybe you’re too sentimental about Israel, which as 200 nuclear missiles and the strongest military in Europe.) We might also claim the right to militarily attack any state that “harbors or hosts hackers” even when these operatives are not  affiliated with said government. By that reasoning the USA itself might have to be bombed in response to Web-meddling. (Destroyed the village in order to save it.) How would you respond to a cyberattack by Israel on domestic US interests or infrastructure?
        Are you a Zionist first, or an American first?
        But at root, any humanitarian would prefer fried software over fried human bodies. I assume you are a humanitarian. If not, there is no consensus to be reached.

        • Don_B1

           Actually, while I support Israel’s right to exist, I definitely do not support much of the current government’s policy toward the Palestinians or, particularly, its potential to carry out its threats against Iran. I think that would be the beginning of the end for Israel; it could only delay the Iranian program, with more virulent consequences in the future.

          I do see a difference between Bush’s attack on Iraq for unproven WMD and Obama’s cyber effort against Iran both in terms of quantity of people affected and the real possibility of bad consequences if the step was not taken. It was not an easy decision for me, nor do I think it was for Obama.

          The Republicans like to talk about making “hard decisions.” A hard decision is when you decide to do something that you did not want to do, usually for ideological reasons but you do actually compromise an important principle for an even greater good. When Republicans decide to cut the safety net, they do that FOR ideological reasons, not reluctantly against their wishes. Those are NOT “hard decisions” for them. The Bush administration decisions to use torture came not reluctantly but because they did not step back and analyze the likelihood of success; they used their “gut” opinion and went with it.

          I truly wish the world were black and white, or at least more so than it is, but I try to recognize where the real gray areas are and try to balance the possible steps to take.

          I realize that non of us are likely to see examples of why the Patriot Act provisions are needed, and while I am sure that at least most of them are not needed I know I cannot prove it for at least some of them.

          But the effort to remove them for any legislator would be ineffective as the Republicans would attack him to the point that he would be gone and unable to accomplish the retraction anyway. Count me cynical.

  • Yar

    The Flame ‘malware’ gained access by using Microsoft Windows update authentication certificates.  If it can be proven that Microsoft allowed our Government to use Windows update certificates for Flame to gain access to Iran’s computers, then what does that say about our own rights to privacy. Who’s to say Flame can’t, won’t or hasn’t already been used on US citizens?  This is my problem with secret wars.  Without rule of law, US citizens become casualties of war.

    • Pancake Rankin

      It’s a worm or virus for computers, and a gas or shot or isotope for human bodies, so you  can see why some in Pakistan were alarmed by the use of false immunizations, resulting in a prosecuted informant. Turn that one around and imagine your pediatrician working for an intelligence agency. (Little Mimi has an infection that only “naming names” can cure!) Devices are ubiquitous like used cars but  the human body is another matter. (Maybe poorer and darker skinned bodies have a fractional price tag.)

      • Yar

        Pancake, welcome back, missed you over the past few months.  I fear profiling of computer users, with enough information one can pick the profile to accomplish any task, including murder.  We all have a price on our heads, just ask an insurance agent. 

        • Pancake Rankin

          On the ground, NC and Vermont are the same.

  • Wm. James from Missouri

    I no longer believe that mankind is capable of solving its’ problems enmasse. This is why I support Transhumanism, supercomputing, and AI, and the hope of genetic enhancement. Man is a War-ing species, and all actions begin within the mind. If you want to change the state of the world, you will have to change the state of your mind !

    There is a new Ted talk that I find interesting as are the links below. Enjoy !

    “Will our kids be a different species ?”

    http://www.ted.com/talks/juan_enriquez_will_our_kids_be_a_different_species.html

    Some problems that need to be understood and solved.

    At the bottom of the article in Wiki on; “Tragedy of the commons”

    The commons Diner’s dilemma

    Enlightened self-interest

    Free rider problem Inverse commons (also known as “The cornucopia of the commons”)

    Khazzoom–Brookes postulate

    “The Market for Lemons”

    Overexploitation

    Population control

    Primitive accumulation of capital

    Race to the bottom

    Social dilemma

    Social trap Socialism

    Somebody Else’s Problem

    Tragedy of the anticommons

    Tyranny of small decisions

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       There’s a reason that machines and dictators both have an off switch.  Your desire is frightening.

      • Wm. James from Missouri

        The types of systems I have in mind DO have an “off switch”. I wish I had an “off switch” for all those who claim to rule in my behalf today.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          AMEN to THAT!

    • AC
      • Pancake Rankin

        Those who  can’t afford enhancement for cash can always sign a “student loan.” TED, because it is the brainchild of digital wealth, always results in a widening (but invalid) “human worth gap”. And this in itself tends to reinforce and legitimize the underlying wealth  and income gap, and lead to advocacy  for a eugenics of subspeciation. (TED is at root NAZI science.)
        It’s the wildly lucky winners of the digitech lottery saying to the underclass,”Why can’t you do that?” Maybe the proof would be to see how these entrepreneurs would do in a rough beginnings contest. (It ain’t genetic anyway.)

        • Wm. James from Missouri

          My daughter was born with a genetic condition and learning disability. ( I won’t tell you what it is because it is her business not yours. ) Her life has been and will continue to be a type of *ell. Our society and economic system does not treat such people with the kind of goodness and grace that, I think, you assume it does !
          Her only hope is to bypass the current state of the world !

          By the way, she was talked into a “student loan” that would, as they promised her, give her the help and skills she needs to survive. They did not help and she does not have any new skills. However, she DOES now have debt that she will never be able to pay ! !
          If you think our current system is somehow good and correct, I am here to tell you that you are very, very misinformed !

          • Terry Tree Tree

            MORE wonderous banksters?  How LOW will they stoop, to steal other peoples’ money?

    • Ellen Dibble

      I cite you to Edward O. Wilson’s recent book “The Social Conquest of Earth,” with a scientist’s long look at the way evolution allows those to flourish who learn to live together, work together, but consign the others to the trash heap of evolutionary experiments.  It seems we have more choice than many species in whether we become more collaborative or the opposite.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Computers and AI, are HUMAN developments? 
         No way that human failings will NOT be transmitted?
         What would be the benefit of these?   To Whom, or What?

      • Wm. James from Missouri

        One of the blessings of algorithms is that they can be written in such a way that they can search the “ solution space “ in ways and and speeds that humans can’t. Networks and algorithms can be made to “evolve” into new networks that possess properties and powers that you did not code for, often called “emergent” phenomena . Short of surgery or some very unusual medical condition, our brains remain fixed in form and to a much lesser extent, content. Computing systems of the future will be able to leapfrog current evolutionary limitations by leaps and bounds. This will allow us to pick and choose systems that will produce favorable human outcomes.

        • Clem2

          Our brains are anything but “fixed in form”, they are the most dynamic organ, capable of extreme rewiring.

      • Wm. James from Missouri

        Also Terry Tree Tree ;  I wish to add, that, if we should ever encounter alien intelligence in the Universe, we will almost certainly find some that have developed advanced computer or “computer like” intelligence. We will no longer be able to say that any intelligent derivatives are, by necessity, “Human”. Intelligence is, I believe, a Universal “Property”. It exist whether Humans exist or not !

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Aliens that could come to Earth, SHOULD be too intelligent to do so?

  • AC

    this is the first i have heard of this…
    who are the sources and are they credible?

    • Pancake Rankin

      They have the mike.

  • MrNutso

    Addressing the “America” part of this, since the early 60′s and the start of our involvement in Vietnam (maybe even earlier in other areas), Presidents have extended the use of “American Power” from military advisers to air strikes.  During the Cold Ware this as seen as doing anything to contain Communism and the Soviet Union.  Presidents of both parties, the parties themselves and the american people were generally for this (until the bodies started piling up in Vietnam).  After the end of the Cold War, use of american power was limited, the biggest action being the no fly zone in Iraq (which was multi-national anyway).  Bush upped the ante with the war on terror which fostered preemptive action (Iraq, drone strikes).  Now a President must take what ever action possible against supposed enemies, least 1 american life be lost especially in the U.S.

    We as a nation must decide if we are going to continue the almost constant state of war and if so, books about “secret wars” and leaks are meaningless.  If we are in a constant state of war, we can bet there are secret things going on and our enemies if they have any brains (and most do) will assume we are trying the tactics that are being leaked.

  • Jamesjsheridan

    These programs use copyright code released under the GPL, requiring full disclosure of source code.
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/06/06/1256217/stuxnetflameduqu-uses-gpl-code 

    Somre aspects of these programs were copied and pasted from existing programs.

  • X-Ray

    If this is a Secret operation, why are we talking about it? Those who leaked the information should be identifed, arrested and tried for Treason.

    • Charles A. Bowsher

       Maybe if we had charged with Treason a sitting vice President who outed an undercover CIA agent we might not be having this conversation!

      • Gregg

        Who could you possibly be referring to?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        And caused the deaths and imprisonment of how many of her ‘sources’, which would have been ‘sources’, now?

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Are the guests sources from the current Admin. or from the former Admin?

  • Pffefer

    This is just another example that showcases American hypocrisy: It is wrong and illegal if you do it, but it is not wrong or illegal if we do it. The US is above the law and everyone else, simply because we are the only superpower in the world and we call the shots.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      The US is the law. There is no “above”. There is only below, in the missionary position.

  • Yar

    What would Richard Nixon have done with these ‘weapons’?  That should provide an answer to why we should not have secret programs like this.

    • Hidan

      He was a few generations away from Fox News and he Echo Chamber. Drones are alreadly being used by some police department and will sooner or later be used on killed or injurying americans in america the excuse will be it’s protecting people from criminals and the media will hype up and bring on “experts” to claim such using the often qouted line “if you have nothing to hide than……” The MIC lobby has been pushing for Drone use and in a few years it will be decided if the use of drones by private companies is legal to fly in U.S. airspace. I’m guessing there be a FBI back plot that was prevent using drones in the U.S.  

      • Hidan

        “the”

  • okitaris

    The U.S. has been at war since  it’s inception.   An important definition of war is to take by force or threat of force the resources of an other (nation).   This is what American capitalism does.    If a nation refuses to submit to the ruling class  of America demand for entrance into there economy we threaten them with a gargantuan military and if they still refuse the U.S. ratchets up the pressure.  
          Also there is no such thing as cooperation in a capitalist regime.    Every action and thought is dominance and submission.   “Winers” and loosers.    But humanity cannot survive with out cooperation.  
         Children practicer cooperation as children when they reach a certain age previous to this cooperative phase they are toddlers who can only consider themselves and selfishly hold onto there toys and play by themselves.      We can no longer afford remaining in the toddler phase.

    • Pancake Rankin

      Yes, capitalism is a form of war (relentless power competition) that must resort to bloody combat to sustain itself. (That explains the current mania for vampires in infotainment.) Piaget would be tickled by your development model in which you describe capitalist infantilism as arrested. (Notice how Arrested Development is the name of a show about inane greed witin a family and also of a hip-hop group. The name itself shows astute insight and suggests a mission of social education.) I’d like to see you continue exploring this theme. You’re already schooling me. The Owners of  the USA have always been at war with the citizenry as well as resource competitors. IMO-The private property clauses (without limits) in the Constitution, and the telltale allowances for slavery, are in themselves declarations of war by the wealthy on  the remainder or humanity.

  • Hidan

    Bull.

    Obama support the Egytian despot to the last minute, than supports is successor in the aftermath, than sent government supported NGO’s to
    Interfere(often ones that supported despots over democracy) with democracy in egypt.

    The interview was nothing more than P.R. for drone strikes and cyber warfare(as long as it’s not directed against the U.S. than that would be war, terrorism, etc). And the only criticism was that the public found out about it(which the government lied over and over about not doing such) not the actions the white house are engaging in. As well no critics of either policies where brought to counter what Mr. Sanger was claiming.

  • Ellen Dibble

     I read I believe in Sanger’s book that we have to look ahead to various Islamist governments, as if that were a danger.  It seems to me not necessarily.  There are people-to-people connections that were so much less possible in the Cold War, where also certain demonization went on, both directions.  Remember the idea that Red is bad, Communism is evil, and all its citizens too?  So I’m wondering, when I had a dinner with a hundred or so Muslims one evening here, the women kept to themselves, and the men were the ones sort of allowed to speak to me.  I tried to open channels to the women, but it didn’t happen.  Had I been a housewife and a mother, it would probably be different.  But on other terms, no.  It feels to me a little false to look at the Muslim world only interacting with men, although it seems that is what feels safest to those societies.  I’m not talking about tourism or professional contacts, such as a journalist might be able to pull off.  I look for that sort of insight from Sanger’s book too; what sort of access did he have to which parts of those cultures?  But I find mostly info about contacts within the American government.  Thanks for that, for sure.

  • Artisticidea

    The entirety of the United States’ illegal preemptive wars of aggression in Central Asia, Africa and its recent military buildup in S.E. Asia and Eastern Europe is driven by the Hydrocarbon strategy of the 6 Energy Supermajors.  The “War on Terror” is a flimsy excuse whose contours, composite groups and constantly contradicting details change as fast as the need to secure a new pipeline contract or an oil shipping route.  Only in 2010, Leon Panetta said there were only an estimated 42 or so “Al Qaeda” members in Afghanistan. Earlier, George Bush was questioned about why his administration did not capture or assassinate Bin Laden when they had him in their sights – 3 times.  He said “Bin Laden is not a major concern of ours at this point. He is irrelevant.”  Cheney reported clearly and unequivocally on the Tony Snow Show in 2006 that there was no credible evidence linking Osama Bin Laden to the Sept. 11 attacks and he was never charged with these attacks by the FBI.  CBS revealed that the US Military had payed the Taliban over $250 million USD in 2011 in trucking contracts to convey our own troops across the country…so they could hunt down members of the Taliban.  Hillary admitted publicly that State Dept. officials had met privately with leaders of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan, after accusing the Pakistani government of “harboring” the Haqqani Netowrk, who were “Al Qaeda Affiliates”. How can you meet with the leaders of a network in closed door sessions when a cooperating government is “harboring them”?  James R. Clapper, head of the National Intelligence Community and Leon Panetta, DoD Chief, issued a statement before Congress in Jan. 2012 claiming that there was no evidence that Iran was attempting to develop nuclear weapons. During a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on June 5, 2012, Israel’s Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, said that Iran has not decided whether or not to build nucelar weapons.  All this, when it is a known fact that Israel, which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has between 400 and 600 nuclear warheads.

    There are 6 major straits across the globe which, collectively, see the majority of the world’s oil pass through them each day. The US has surrounded each of these straights with military bases and is engaged currently in producing flimsy and phony cover stories to delude its citizenry as the actual reason it is engaged in theaters of war and NATO-funded armed insurrections against leaders it funded up until only recently.

    1. Strait of Hormuz. Iran’s western border is Iraq and Turkey. Iraq is an occupied puppet state and Turkey is the doormat of NATO. Check. Iran’s eastern border is Pakistan & Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a weak, US backed proxy government. Pakistan’s Military is funded by the US and has agreed to let the US pummel its viliages and cities with drone attacks. There are US miliatry bases riddled through each country. Check. Iran’s North Border is Turkmenistan, wherein the US has bases and several security agreements with its corupt leaders. Check. Iran’s south border is the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, including the all-powerful Strait of Hormuz: all are completely contolled by US Naval forces. Check, check, check. 45 bases, squadrons of aircraft carriers, war ships and drone depots. Check. Operation Syria Takedown via NATO-backed insurrectionists is the final puzzle piece before the proxy invasion of Iran beginning with an Israeli air strike at the end of 2012. Check.

    2. Bab el-Mandab. Entrance to the Red Sea, bordering – you guessed it – Yemen and Somalia. Think constant drone strikes, destabilization campaign targeting known unalligned civilian centers, and covert ops to instigate further destabilization, drive up food prices and therefore justifying military occupation on “humanitarian” grounds. Check.  The silly excuse of sending in covert ops troops to defeat the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda – along with the extremely suspicious timing Kony 2012 video – just so happens to correspond with other military ops in S. Sudan – whose indepence we sponsored to finally secure the oil reserves Chevron had identified there in 1979.  The Ugandan president himself is a greater war criminal than Kony, by now a small time, near defunct jungle militia warrior. One of the pipelines runs through Uganda, which borders S. Sudan, into Kenya.

    3. Gulf of Suez. It is not a coincidence that the US has made sure that the Egyptian Military has not let go of power and that the President was elected without any definition of his constitutional role. We fund their armed forces, as we have for many years, and ran our secret, illegal CIA extradition program over the last 10 years on their soil through our point-man, Omar Suleiman, a sinister torture master. Mubarak, our old strong man, was proving uncooperative and pushing back on certain demands for privatization. Expect a “controlled transition” which will see both massive privatization and iron-clad pro-Western stances on Suez. No more OPEC 1973-style shennanigans will be tolerated. The canal will remain open and with rock-bottom duty fees – period.

    4. Strait of Malacca. The New Cold War with China is in no small way connected with the drilling and shipping rights off the S. China Sea, whose vast oil reserves, much of which surround Vietnam, were identified by Standard OIl in the 1950s. Yes, there is a Vietnam War connection, but there’s not enough room here to get into that. The is surrounding the main shipping route of oil and other goods which runs from the Strait of Malaca near Burma through the S. China Sea. This is the only reason why we bribed the Myanmar Govt. – who had previously been involved in an insidious deal with Unocal (now Chevron) to build a pipeline during the 1990s from its sea through Thailand – to put the puppet opposition leader Ang Sang Suu Kyi into parliament, while they sacked the rest of her entire party under their nasty totalitarian boot. One month later – US Resumes trade relations with Myanmar. Pathetic. This is also the reason why the US has reoopened its military base in the Philippines and a new base on the Northern Australia coast. The Shipping lanes will be Red, White and Blue.

    5. Strait of Bosporus. Turkey is a NATO doormat. Greece hardly has the will or wherewithal to exert any pressure on the use of its adjacent waters to collect fees from passage. This has been a secured region since the end of the 2nd World War. The US has literally surrounded the entire shipping lane periphery with bases, from Romania, to Bulgaria, through Greece, Turkey and Crete.

    6. Panama Canal. With at least 2 US backed coup d’etats and other outright invasions, Uncle Sam’s talons aren’t about to loosen their hold on this all-important Western Hemisphere shipping lane – especially when China is negotiating the construction of a rival railroad serving the same purpose with Columbia.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Isn’t it a SHAME that these GREEDY rich, control SO much, when we have the techonology to get ALL of our Energy from the U.S.?   Enough Solar Power blesses Texas, to power the U.S.?   Bio-fuels are completely re-newable, and could easily replace oil products, with Methanol, Ethanol, bio-diesel, and others? 
         Each state could raise MOST, if not ALL, of its own fuel requirements, that would be LESS polluting?

      • Artisticidea

         I sympathize with your sentiments, except with the biofuel endorsement. Biofuel crops require a hefty amount of oil inputs to begin with, take up giant swaths of valuable farmland and water and cause food prices to escalate. They are also usually produced using Monsanto GMO corn, which results in a loss of precious biodiversity as well as toxic crosspolination with healthy natural species.  Resist Biofuel propaganda and promote Wind, Hyrdo and Solar.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Sensible solutions to all the problems that you address to biofuels, exist. 
            For example, biofueled farm equipment can be used to farm biofuels!

        • Terry Tree Tree

          If you read
          ‘Energy Victory’, by Robert Zubrin, please tell me your opinion of Mr. Zubrin’s ideas?

  • Hidan

    In Yemen, the increase in drone  attacks has resulted in a doubling of the ranks of the local branch on Al-Qaeda. Some would-be attackers reportedly cite the drone attacks on civilians as motivation to attack the United States. And former CIA Pakistan station chief Richard Grenier tells the Guardian (6/5/12):

  • TomK in Boston

    Random thoughtsss;

     We sure have reached the Orwellian state of perpetual war. Like in 1984, I don’t think anyone would notice if the enemy changed. Does anyone get excited when it’s announced that some extremely important terrorist has been killed? It’s an endless list, we blow them up with a bunch of “collateral damage”, and the beat goes on.

     Sci-Fi war is becoming reality with blinding speed. The drones and the cyberwar are right out of William Gibson and The Matrix.

     Too bad the “deficit hawks” write blank checks for this. W was the first president to cut taxes during a war. It puts “starve the beast” on steroids. That is, cutting taxes and feeding the military beast allows you to starve everything else.

     I really hate the term “defense spending”. Why doesn’t anyone mention “offense spending”?

     President Obama is a card-carrying Neocon.

  • http://opensalon.com/ marygrav

    Old War Heroes, like John McCain belong in the 20th Century.  He know little or nothing about post-modern technology, i.e. the Internet.  War on the ground is easy, even at 5000 feet flying over a rice paddie dropping bombs on speck on the ground.  But cyber warfare is quite different.

    As a Senator, we assume that he is literate, if not computer literate, but he is ignorant of what he speaks.  What he should do is read
    Wired for war : the robotics revolution and conflict in the twenty-first century
    Singer, P. W. (Peter Warren) New York : Penguin Press, 2009.  As you see this book and it CD have been available for years and P.W. Singer has been of OP several times.  If he wants the easy text to drones and their availablity at gun shows he should read or listen to this text.

    P.W. Singer was also an advisor to Senator Barack Obama on Eduction.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      I was told by a couple of fellow veterans, that John McCain wrecked 6 U.S. Navy planes while ‘hot-dogging’, including the one he was shot down in, over Vietnam.
         As I understand it, he hadn’t flown many missions when he was shot down, and spent the rest of his time at the Hanoi Hilton, with time to think about showing off.

  • Vincedipasquale

    This is not about the evolution of a president; it is about the devolution of a pathologically narcissistic charlatan.  For the sake of containing  the Zionist entity, my (sic) country would risk unmitigated catastrophe.  The US long ago ceded its sovereignty to Israel.  As Menachim Begin said long ago regarding the proposition that Israel become the 51st state: ”Why, then we would have just two senators.”     

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Here we go again with the Zionist ownership of America meme. 

      The US has long shared strategic interests with Israel in the Middle East. US foreign policy has always been about US interests, and that has meant alliances with very strange bedfellows. But any dalliance in that bed has been by mutual agreement among consenting partners (I won’t call them adults, as these are both adolescent nations with overlarge egos).

      • Pagassae

        And your proof of the ownership is? You sound more anti Semitic than anything.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          WTF is your problem – no reading comprehension?

          I was chastising Vincedipasquale for his anti-Zionist bullshit.

          But anti-Zionist is not the same as anti-Semitic, as many Jews are anti-Zionist..

    • Roy Mac

      The world is such an agreeable place when you’re able to ignore facts, isn’t it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mhammerschlag Michael Hammerschlag

    America has already been hit with a devastating attack. Wired Mag proved pretty definitively that the great NE Blackout of 2003 (31 million from In. to Me, Detroit was dark for a week) was caused by the Blaster-I Love You virus that infected OHIO’s First Energy Windows computers that ran most of their sensors (blackout started in Ohio). They progressively became blind and deaf as their sensors went down + couldn’t match + coordinate power flows. It infected half computers in France, 60% in Germany, and hit me too. It attacked a process in  Windows where the idiotic default action was to restart the computer- I happened to see that when I first went through processes and changed it to “do nothing”, so I was never hurt. Multiple restarts are very bad- they’ll scramble your hard discs after 4-5 (if you’re away from computer). They identified the writer in the Phillipines, but they had no laws to charge him.

    Thought the CIA should have some antivirus hit squad to go after punks like him- now it’s mestasicized till we just can’t stop the infections and attacks. Only solution is antivirus screening on the trunk lines of the Internet itself, redundently stopping them at a billion computers is the stupidist  approach possible.

  • anonymous coward

    Re “cyber-assassination” — see “internet-connected medical devices”…

  • Bill

    Drones are just another way to get to a safe distance, the way the first archer, shot an arrow at a man with a spear.  The arrow could be shot from a safe distance, compared to how far the spear could be thrown.  This follows forward through many weapons to now.  I don’t think the archer did the same moral hand wringing about soldiers fighting on an equal footing, that we are over drones.

  • Bill

    Drones are really already available, in the form of hobbyist radio controlled aircraft.  An easily purchased airplane might be launched a few miles from a political or sports event, and handed off from one controller to another, as they did line of sight control, until it arrives at the target.  There must be one last controller to guide it to the target.  There is not need for terrorists to get a real military drone.  Hopefully, our Homeland Defense is not still suffering from a lack of imagination.

  • Pagassae

    dfsds

  • Gregg

    First, apologies for the off-topic comment but I need some help. Despite the accusations, I have not been one to call President Obama a Socialist. Obamacare is decidedly more Socialist than Capitalist, only the “single-payer” types disagree but that’s not rational. Single-payer would be all out Socialism, Obamacare just leans heavily that way. Obama himself could be described the same way. Why pick a fight? I let it go.

    There was the “One Nation” rally that was aided by Obama’s “Organizing for America” (Saul Alinsky language) and the large presence of Socialist but you can’t judge a man by his supporters. Van Jones was an Obama appointed Communist. Everybody does it, why quibble? Bill Ayers? Don’t get me started.

    But what do I say now?

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/302031/obamas-third-party-history-stanley-kurtz
     

  • Slipstream

    Oh no!  Jacki Lyden.   I can’t stand listening to her.  I have missed a number of good shows because she was hosting.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 18, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17, 2014. President Vladimir Putin has urged an end to the blockade of Moldova’s separatist province of Trans-Dniester. Trans-Dniester, located in eastern part of Moldova on border with Ukraine, has run its own affairs without international recognition since a 1992 war. Russian troops are stationed there.  (AP)

Deadly clashes in Eastern Ukraine. A white supremacist rocks Kansas City. The Marathon bombing anniversary. And Bloomberg on guns. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Apr 18, 2014
This undated photo provided by NASA on April 2, 2014 shows Saturn's moon Enceladus. The "tiger stripes" are long fractures from which water vapor jets are emitted. Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon, they announced Thursday, April 3, 2014. Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. (AP)

Oceans in Space. The new discovery on a moon of Saturn, and the possibility of life there.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 17, 2014
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men burn leavened items in final preparation for the Passover holiday in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish town of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, April 14, 2014. Jews are forbidden to eat leavened foodstuffs during the Passover holiday that celebrates the biblical story of the Israelites' escape from slavery and exodus from Egypt. (AP)

In the week of Passover and anti-Semitic gunfire, we look at the history of the Jews with acclaimed historian Simon Schama. Plus, Pope Francis and the Catholic Church today.

 
Apr 17, 2014
Students cheer and wave as President Barack Obama, not pictured, exits the podium after speaking at the University at Buffalo, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, beginning his two day bus tour speaking about college financial aid.  (AP)

The inside dope on college financial aid. The way it really works, who gets what, and how.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

More »
Comment
 
How Boston Is Getting Ready For the 2014 Boston Marathon
Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

Boston Globe metro reporter Maria Cramer explains how the 2014 Boston Marathon will be different than races in the past.

More »
Comment
 
WBUR’s David Boeri: ‘There’s Still Much We Don’t Know’
Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

WBUR’s senior reporter David Boeri details the ongoing investigation into the alleged Boston Marathon Bombing perpetrators.

More »
Comment