Business, Govt Conceal Scope of Cyber Threat

Monday, 18 Apr 2011 09:44 AM

By Ronald Kessler

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Because they don’t want to lose customers, most companies conceal how often foreign countries and industrial spies penetrate their computer systems, Louis B. Tucker, who just left as the minority staff director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, tells Newsmax.

“The cyber threat is very serious,” says Tucker, who has formed a consulting firm called Mission Sync to provide advice on a wide range of intelligence and national security issues.

“There is an incentive in the business community to under-report the number and severity of attacks upon them because they don’t want to have their business reputations damaged,” Tucker adds.

cyber threat,Louis Tucker,Committee on Intelligence,CIA,Mission Sync
Noting that his comments do not reveal classified information, Tucker says a large share of the cyber attacks on private companies and on the U.S. government come from foreign countries.

“They are trying to penetrate our vulnerabilities,” Tucker says. “I think in the cyber world, we’re in the phase today where our enemies are building their capabilities and establishing ways to exploit our defenses.”

Those countries where attacks come from include China and Russia, says Tucker, who previously was a CIA intelligence officer and is still a Navy SEAL reservist.

Efforts to come up with a more robust, coordinated approach to dealing with the threat have stalled, Tucker says.

“The House and the Senate have taken very different approaches to cyber security,” he says.

“Within the Senate, it is hard to get something through without a super majority, and Congress is waiting on the administration. So until the administration puts out its proposal and the policymakers on the Hill know where the administration sits on this issue and what they are going to support, nothing is going to happen.”

While President Obama has adopted most of the Bush administration’s strategy for dealing with terrorism, a muddled approach to detention and interrogations remains a major deficiency.

Obama has required that interrogators follow the Army Field Manual when asking questions of terrorists captured overseas. That allows even less leeway than FBI agents or police officers have in interrogating suspects.

“When it comes to detention and interrogation, we still don’t have fully developed policies, and therefore some of our operators believe it’s better to kill a terrorist than to detain and interrogate him,” Tucker says. “That means valuable intelligence may be lost to us.”

Besides taking out terrorists, the United States needs to develop a better strategy for winning the ideological battle.

“I think more emphasis should be put on convincing potential recruits to terrorism that they are on the wrong side,” Tucker says. “If you are going to win the war, then you have got to address the ideological aspects and stem the flow of recruits.”

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.






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