SPY’s Book Specialist, Matt Arnold
Today, May 6th, Richard Clarke will be speaking at the International Spy Museum for one of our free noon lunchtime author debriefings and book signing. From 1992 to 2003, Clarke held several positions within the National Security Council as National Coordinator and Chair for issues dealing with security, infrastructure protection, and most importantly counter-terrorism. Effectively, he was our counter-terrorism czar. From this position, he became one the strongest voices arguing in favor of more effective measures against Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. He favored the use of Predator drone strikes to take out Bin Laden and submarine cruise missiles strikes to destroy training camps in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, it took 9/11 before many of these ideas were effectively tried and/or accomplished. In 2003, he would leave government and come to widespread recognition a year later with the release of his memoirs detailing these events and his experiences. He believed strongly that the public had a right to know what happened on 9/11.
Now, with his new book Clarke brings to our attention a new threat to our national security, Cyber War. Cyber-security was one of the last policy issues he dealt with under the last Bush administration. Unfortunately, the same lack of interest in Al Qaeda that plagued the days leading up to 9/11, plagued his final days in government dealing with cyber-security. The Bush Administration seemed content to let the private sector protect the taxpayer as long as the government could protect itself. That all started to change when the Chinese successfully hacked the Pentagon in June of 2007 along with several other significant cyber-attacks attacks in Germany and Britain. The margin of error was shrinking.
Last September, the International Spy Museum launched a new exhibit dealing precisely with many of the issues portrayed in his new book. This exhibit, called Weapons of Mass Disruption, presents the threat we faced from cyber-terrorists and the significant number of other countries that have developed cyber-warfare capabilities. According to Clarke, our capabilities as a nation toward cyberwarfare are considerable and probably the best in the world despite. But, what about our cybersecurity? You may be prepared to live a week without the Spy Blog, but how about a week without electricity? Given that Richard Clarke has debriefed four presidents, we should probably all be listening to what he has to say.
To learn more check our Richard Clarke’s book: Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It