Tags: Barack Obama | ISIS/Islamic State | MidPoint | Tony Shaffter | North Korea | Cyber War | Barack Obama

Lt. Col. Shaffer: US Ill-Prepared for Cyber War Under Obama

By    |   Friday, 19 December 2014 03:56 PM

The United States has the capability, but presently lacks the political will, to treat the Internet as a battlefield and punish enemies for attacks on electronic infrastructure, such as North Korea's disruption of Sony, defense analyst and black-ops warfare veteran Tony Shaffer told Newsmax TV on Friday.

"Look, this cyber war has been going on for a long time," retired Army Lt. Col. Shaffer told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner. "This is not the first battle. Most of it's been conducted in the dark. Trust me, there's a lot of stuff that's been going on for the past 15 years. This is not new."

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"With that said, this government — the current administration — has no clue what to do," said Shaffer, a scholar with the Center for Advanced Defense Studies.

President Barack Obama told reporters Friday that the U.S. would respond at a time and place of its choosing, but he declined to specify what the response will be to a costly data breach and subsequent threats that prompted Sony to pull a movie, "The Interview," that lampoons North Korea.

Shaffer said that retaliation would not necessarily have to be in-kind.

"It could be physical attack," he said, explaining that North Korea's actions go beyond simple hacking into a larger realm of "information operations" and therefore invite a wider range of retaliatory measures.

"Nothing says within the rules of land warfare that we have to [reply] with a cyberattack," he said. "We have other options, and this is where the administration is completely missing the boat."

Meanwhile, countries including North Korea and China have continued to develop their cyber warfare capabilities and probe America's computerized systems for weaknesses in areas such as the nation's electrical power grid, said Shaffer.

"Could they do offensive operations to shut those things down? No doubt, they could," said Shaffer. "There's things that they've done that we haven't even detected yet."

Shaffer also discussed a welcome development in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS): a win for Kurdish forces, backed by U.S. air power, in a region that ISIS fighters had previously overrun.

He called the advance by Kurdish peshmerga fighters "significant," especially considering they are "fighting with one hand tied" because of a needlessly constrained use of U.S. air power on the Kurds' behalf.

"I think the number is 1,361 airstrikes over the last six months," said Shaffer. "That's nothing. We should have done that in two weeks. So we need to do more, the Kurds can do more, and we should get behind them. Right now there's an effort to train about 12 brigades, four Kurdish, eight Iraqi regulars. We have to focus on the Kurds first before we focus on the rest of Iraq."

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The United States has the capability, but presently lacks the political will, to treat the Internet as a battlefield and punish enemies for attacks on electronic infrastructure, defense analyst and black-ops warfare veteran Tony Shaffer said.
Tony Shaffter, North Korea, Cyber War, Barack Obama
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2014-56-19
Friday, 19 December 2014 03:56 PM
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