I've posted a lot on Mike McConnell but Glenn has the final takedown
[I]t isn't that people like Mike McConnell move from public office to the private sector and back again. That implies more separation than really exists. At this point, it's more accurate to view the U.S. Government and these huge industry interests as one gigantic, amalgamated, inseparable entity -- with a public division and a private one. When someone like McConnell goes from a top private sector position to a top government post in the same field, it's more like an intra-corporate re-assignment than it is changing employers. When McConnell serves as DNI, he's simply in one division of this entity and when he's at Booz Allen, he's in another, but it's all serving the same entity (it's exactly how insurance giant Wellpoint dispatched one of its Vice Presidents to Max Baucus' office so that she could write the health care plan that the Congress eventually enacted).
In every way that matters, the separation between government and corporations is nonexistent, especially (though not only) when it comes to the National Security and Surveillance State. Indeed, so extreme is this overlap that even McConnell, when he was nominated to be Bush's DNI, told The New York Times that his ten years of working "outside the government," for Booz Allen, would not impede his ability to run the nation's intelligence functions. That's because his Booz Allen work was indistinguishable from working for the Government, and therefore -- as he put it -- being at Booz Allen "has allowed me to stay focused on national security and intelligence communities as a strategist and as a consultant. Therefore, in many respects, I never left."
the wapo editorial was a blatant pitch focusing on three main points... one, the u.s. cyber-network is highly vulnerable to hostile attack... two, we should be very, very afraid, and three, the task of strengthening defenses against such attacks should be given to defense contractors... but glenn says it so much better than i do...
The overarching theme is all-too-familiar: we face a grave threat from Terrorists and other Very Bad People ("cyber wars"), and our only hope for protection is to vest the Government with massive new powers. Specifically, McConnell advocates a so-called "reeingeer[ing] of the Internet" to allow the Government and private corporations far greater capability to track what is being done over the Internet and who is doing it:
The United States is fighting a cyber-war today, and we are losing. It's that simple. . . . If an enemy disrupted our financial and accounting transactions, our equities and bond markets or our retail commerce -- or created confusion about the legitimacy of those transactions -- chaos would result. Our power grids, air and ground transportation, telecommunications, and water-filtration systems are in jeopardy as well.
Scary! And what do we need to submit to in order to avoid these calamities? This:
The United States must also translate our intent into capabilities. We need to develop an early-warning system to monitor cyberspace, identify intrusions and locate the source of attacks with a trail of evidence that can support diplomatic, military and legal options -- and we must be able to do this in milliseconds. More specifically, we need to reengineer the Internet to make attribution, geolocation, intelligence analysis and impact assessment -- who did it, from where, why and what was the result -- more manageable.
In one sense, this is just typical fear-mongering of the type the National Security State has used for decades to beat frightened Americans into virtually full-scale submission: you are in grave danger and you can be safe only by vesting in us far greater power, which we'll operate in secret: here, allowing us to "reengineer" the Internet so we can control it.
But there's something even worse going on here. McConnell doesn't merely want to empower the Government to control the Internet this way; he wants to empower private corporations to do so -- the same corporations which pay him and whose interests he has long served. He notes that this "reengineering" is already possible because "the technologies are already available from public and private sources," and explicitly calls for a merger of the NSA with private industry to create a sprawling, omnipotent network for monitoring the Internet...
In other words, not only the Government, but the private intelligence corporations which McConnell represents (and which are subjected to no oversight), will have access to virtually unfettered amounts of information and control over the Internet, and there should be "no borders" between them. And beyond the dangerous power that will vest in the public-private Surveillance State, it will also generate enormous profits for Booz Allen, the clients it serves and presumably for McConnell himself -- though The Washington Post does not bother to disclose any of that to its readers. The Post basically allowed McConnell to publish in its Op-Ed pages a blatant advertisement for the private intelligence industry while masquerading as a National Security official concerned with Keeping America Safe.
yeah, even though i did my own sound-off on this obscene op-ed piece and the incredible hubris of a guy like mcconnell, it's worth having another go at it...
my other posts on mcconnell, dating back to 2006 can be found here... Submit To Propeller